Sears Craftsman 550 Series Push Lawnmower

by Dana
(Texas)

I just brought a Sears Craftsman 550 Series push lawnmower. It has the ability to bag grass from behind it, thus letting you get into tight spaces or throw it out the side if you don't want to bag your yard. You can also close both doors and on a yard with not too tall of grass, mulch the yard.


The grass catcher is made from a soft, tightly woven material that should cut down on the dust let through it. It has a metal wire frame around the edges of the grass catcher bag to hold its shape.

While this does have the possibility of being torn, I prefer the ability to collapse it, as opposed to the hard plastic grass catcher variety that does not store well. I find the lawn mower very light weight and easy to push even through it is not a self propelled . I did buy the one with large back wheels on it to make it easier to maneuver as a non-self-propelled lawnmower.

It has a 158 cc size engine, and while it cuts through the tallest grass, it doesn't seem to use a lot of gas. I can easily mow a normal front and back yard on one tank, which is a quart of gas. You have to prime it a couple of times to start, but it does start easily with the first pull and then after it has warmed up.

I have had good service from other Sears craftsman lawn mowers in the past, as my last one lasted for 20 years. Removing the grass catcher is a little awkward as it is connected under the handlebars.

With a well manicured lawn, one shouldn't have to empty the grass catcher much at all, as this lawnmower also mulches grass very well, too.

Comments for Sears Craftsman 550 Series Push Lawnmower

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May 11, 2015
Rating
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Craftsman 550 Silver Series
by: Avid

I have one of the 22" mulching varieties with the B & S engine. Yep, it speeds up and slows down without reason and regardless of how I set the idle spring. Has the presets which I hate. It fouls a spark plug between every 5 to 10 tanks of gas. Its embarrassing to run. BUT It does start on the first or second pull, does not burn oil and will mulch about anything up to an inch in diameter. No bag, just chops the crap out of grass, leaves and twigs. I stopped raking leaves in the winter - just mulch them now. So I buy extra < $2 lawn mower spark plug (no matter it fouled the expensive ones too!) and change out the plugs more often than the oil. Just think what this mower could be with a Kawasaki on it.

Mar 31, 2015
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Spanky
by: Quentin

For all of you saying that a briggs motor sucks, well I have had Spanky for seven years and it is a bad little bitch.

Aug 28, 2014
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550 Crapsman
by: Hank

Starts fine, after 2 minutes it revs up and down, sucks gas, and fouls plugs. Cannot adjust anything because it is preset from the factory. To sum it up, it's just a lousy piece of junk. I'm afraid if I put it on the curb, it will only be returned to me.

Jun 18, 2013
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excellent mower
by: satisfied owner

we've had the 550 series pusher for 5 yrs. and has always started on the 1st pull after 4 priming strokes without exception!! even after letting it set all winter with a 1/2 tank of gas in it. I always change oil after each season. now it's time to change the wheels and blade. keep the foam air filter clean & oiled.

Jun 06, 2013
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Done after four years
by: Anonymous

After four years babying this machine I've decided to pull the plug and get something new. After getting clued into the ethanol problem the first year, it ran fine using stabilizer in the gas. I did try medium-grade gas, but the machine would not tolerate it, ran poorly until I was able to flush it out and replace with 87 octane.
Last two years the mower kind of revved up and down as you mowed, had it into the repair shop once, but finally decided I got my four years out of it and bought a new one.

May 23, 2013
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need bag
by: Anonymous

I need a bag for this unit? Where can I get one? I have tried Sears stores, online Sears and Craftsman websites, and Amazon. I am losing hope. If someone can share advice, I'd appreciate it.

May 04, 2013
Rating
star
The newer Briggs and Stratton engines are JUNK on multiple brands!
by: Anonymous

Any model from any maker with the newer Briggs and Stratton 500 to 700 series engine on them is a PIECE OF JUNK!!

Go to the Briggs and Stratton website to see the TONS of complaints about these engines!!

The WORSE part is these engines are just about EVERYWHERE!!!

They are on Craftsmans, Troy built, Toros and more!

EVERYONE IS COMPLAINING ABOUT THEM!!




Apr 21, 2013
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Best push mower I've ever had
by: Anonymous

I wish I could buy another one of these. This is the best mower I've ever had (other than my 1987 Rickel store mower). It's the lightest, most easiest manuvering push mower I've ever owned. Never a problem with starting. The only problem I have had is the mulch cover for the discharge chute....which could be a better design....more positive securing of it would be nice....I have mine duct taped to keep it on. GREAT MOWER!

Jul 27, 2012
Rating
star
craftsman 550
by: Anonymous

This thing has been nothing but a headache since I bought it.Buy something else,I'm going to have to.

Jul 22, 2012
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550 series sputters
by: Ace Houle

I've had mine for 2 seasons. It started to stall towards the end of first season. I learned that it needed the filter serviced. This year it is sputtering. I have replaced the filter, and cleaned the carb and fuel tank. Didn't solve the issue. I am now using 'ethanol-free' fuel and am going to change the diaphram. That should do it! One design flaw I have noticed is the placement of the air intake. Why would it be located where most of the dirt and dust comes from under the deck by the front wheel? All in all, it starts within 3 pulls and gets the job done.

Jun 23, 2012
Rating
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Briggs engines & Craftsman mowers
by: Rover1961EHS

Well, I see a lot of complaints about Sears mowers. I bet the average Joe does not know that the majority of mowers today are built by one manufacturer. MTD of Cleaveland, OH

That includes Bolens, Crafsman, Troy Built, Yardman, Yard Machines, Rmeington, their own lines, many private store brands.

The choice to use Briggs engines prodominately was a good choice, since it is a simple, reliable brand. The one big loss for Craftsman was when Tecumseh (my favorite) went out of business.

The ethanol in the gas is a real problem, due to the release of water into the gas. You should be adding a fuel stabilizer and maybe using a higher grade gas.

The problem with ethanol is so bad that outboard motor companies and service centers are nowrecommending you only use the highest octane you can find, and treating it with a stabilizer.

Jun 17, 2012
Rating
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Black smoke ough idle
by: Anonymous

This is an update to my last post: I took the carburetor off the mower and disassembled it. It wasn’t difficult at all and there are two internal mesh filters. I cleaned the inside by picking at small deposits using a small screw driver and blew out the other openings with a piece of small tubing (one end in my mouth), put it back together and it runs great. For someone that doesn’t feel comfortable taking things apart too much, maybe an easy to order replacement carburetor might prove useful. All is all, I can’t say it’s the mowers fault so, I would rate it a very good product.

Jun 15, 2012
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rough idle black smoke
by: Anonymous

I've had mine for two years and it's been great. Unfortunatley mine started with the engine speed bouncing up and down with black smoke and poor fuel consumption. I clean the foam filter regularly, but now I'm faced with removing or replacing the carburator. I saw the other posts about the ethanol in the fuel and if that is the problem, the carburator parts have to be made better.

Jun 09, 2012
Rating
star
Craftsman 550 lawn crapper
by: Hammer & Hammer

This truly is a work from the house of crap! When the manufacturer's built this they knew it was a POS but went ahead and sold it to unsuspecting consumers under the name Briggs & Strat. My brother in law and I both purchased this lawnmower at the same time, have the same problems at the same time. Auto choke makes the decision for you by driving on the highway and rolling it out on the highway. Whoever created this POS should choke and die just like the lawnmower! Happy trails!

Jun 08, 2012
Rating
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Their Lawnmowers suck
by: Anonymous

I purchased a lawnmower 3 months ago from Sears. I took it out the box and put Oil and gas in it. It broke within 15 minutes. Iwhen back to Sears and they gave me a new one for $25.00 more because they didn't have the one that broke in stock. This new one lasted 2/1/2 months and now is back at Sears being fixed. Their Lawnmowers "SUCK." SO UNHAPPY !!!! And one more thing,I'm also having trouble with my new Sears Blower now. Don't wast your money .

May 26, 2012
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Well.......
by: Anonymous

"These Lawnmowers today,You Can't Talk To Them"

May 11, 2012
Rating
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runs but misses really bad
by: Anonymous

did the usual things like clean the filter,change the spark plug and change the gas but didn't help.I tore it down and the manifold was cracked got one for 10 bucks plus shipping and put it on and all is good now.

Apr 10, 2012
Rating
star
Mower just will not run
by: Anonymous

This mower is junk. Got mine at Sears lasted 1 mowing season and my yard is very small and all flat ground. I went to Walmart and got a small murray mower and it works well. I will never buy anything at Sears again. I also tried every problem solver posted with no results,,,,What a waste of time and money..JUNK JUNK JUNK JUNK

Jan 10, 2012
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Some shouldnt be allowed to own a screwdriver let alone a mower...
by: BOB

I see alot of mowers from the repair side of things. The 550 model is one of the best engines Briggs has ever made. They lightened up the block by replacing the iron liner with a nikasil plating similar to what is used in a chainsaw engine. The carb is the same simple above tank side draft diaphragm type that has been in use since the early 1960's. Gone is the choke and in its place is a primer that sprays fuel straight into the intake for a fast start. The expensive paper element air cleaner has been replaced with the tried and true foam filter that is sink washable.

Ive seen two problems with the engine which really are not the fault of the manufacturer. First, alcohol laced gas. Unfortunately water will be absorbed into the alcohol portion of the gas through condensation. Once this happens, acids begin to form in the fuel that clog up the carb and will literally dissolve the diaphragm. Do not allow the unit to sit with fuel in the tank through the off season. Believe the ethanol 'green' lie if you care to, but corn should be used for food not fuel. The other problem Ive seen are cracks in the intake manifold. It may fail from a sharp blow to the side of the carb or a hit from the front. Hard starting and rough running are usually an indication that there is a crack in the intake manifold. If you mow under porches or in and around alot of trees, be careful of bouncing the unit off solid objects. Should the intake manifold crack it is an easy repair and the part costs around $10.

Hope this helps some of you with your hard starting and rough running problems. Truly the engine is a much better design than any of the other available Chinese made options.

Dec 14, 2011
Rating
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bad idle
by: Anonymous

Having the same problems with the rough idle as most other commentors. Starts fine, but as soon as the engine gets warm the idle is all over the place, but it does not stall. Warranty just ran out so looks like i'm SOL. If anyone figures out what the problem is, please post.

Oct 02, 2011
Rating
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some tips if you're willing
by: Anonymous

I picked up my 550 series off the street-someone had put it out for trash. The symptoms were it only ran for a while and stopped when you stopped pumping the red priming button. Took the top off and two bolts holding the carb and tank swilled out with clean gas. Then it ran ok.

Second problem was that it misfires and konks after a while, plenty of white smoke from the exhaust. Took out the plug and lots of black residue. Took off the head and tons of black carbon like build up inside... Oil seeping out from the piston. Needed new piston rings. Now starts and runs like a champ.

Oct 02, 2011
Rating
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worked fine... until it didn't
by: Anonymous

Received "almost new" from family for new house... worked fine from July until the end of September. Went through a few tanks of gas (some until it stopped), then one day I ran a tank until empty and now it won't start again. Cleaned the air filter, changed the oil, I suppose I could try premium gas...

Sep 25, 2011
Rating
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550 series mower missfire
by: Al H.

Purchased two of the 2009 Craftsman 550 series push lawn mowers. One for my in-laws and one for myself. Both worked fine for the first year. Halfway through 2011 both mowers have the same problem. Startup ok for the first min. or so then RPMs all over the scale. Black smoke every 5th or so stroke. Higher fuel consumption. Blackened Spark plug in less than an hour. Cleaned both machines thoroughly. Cleaned the air filter and carb, new gas, new spark plug, still does the same old thing. I wonder if the is a defect with the magneto. Any Sugestions?

Sep 24, 2011
Rating
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many issues......avoid, avoid, avoid
by: Anonymous

I bought this mower in the late summer of '09...ran perfectly. However, from the first mow of the following spring on it blew black smoke, wouldn't start, ran intermittently, and the pull rope broke. After changing all of the previously mentioned items from other posts I brought it in in the spring of '11. Need and enirely new carb. Basically one year of use. IT then worked great for all of two months and now it will not prime....piece of garbage.

Sep 18, 2011
Rating
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Craftman 21" cut mower. w/ 4cy-Brigg& Stratton motor
by: Anonymous

My Mower is a bery good and reliable garden machine. Its morot is very powerfull (Brigge & Stractton 185 cc) 4 cycle motor easy to start just put normal gas and pull the strim..

Sep 05, 2011
Rating
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P.O.S!!!!!
by: Anonymous

Like everyone else has said, once it does start after priming 3 times (manufacturer recommendation) It'll run smooth till it heats up then starts to spit & sputter, erratic idle, blows some black smoke...NOT to mention the great weld job with the quality steel they use to hold the rear bagger in place, the weld broke & you can't buy a replacement part for it(it got lost somewhere in the yard, don't ask me, I wasn't mowing the lawn, the lawn fairies must've grabbed it, LOL)so you have to use a couple of bungee straps to hold it in place!!!! Gotta love the chinese quality of this product!!!!!! Thanks CRAPSMAN!!!!!

Aug 19, 2011
Rating
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FYI.....idling problems and starting problems
by: Anonymous

the problem isnt the mower, its the ethanol gas. the rubber gasket under the carb swells. replace it and all is well.....now the muffler is a different story. mine just decided to blow right off.....

Jul 03, 2011
Rating
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briggs @ stratton 550 mower Sears
by: Anonymous

This mower is a P.O.S. ran one or two tanks of gas thru it, now it won't start unless you prime it with starter fluid, or leave it sit in the sun for a while (poor fuel atomization) once running it constently revs up and down blowing black smoke as it does so (rich condition) it takes 1+ tank of gas to do a 20X40 yard. as a master mechanic I have had it apart once already, and found a plastic carb with a rubber sleeve as the intake, pure junk. I once held B@S in high esteem, but it now seems BS is a great name. I hate to pay the money but Honda here I come!

Jun 30, 2011
Rating
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Maybe it is the lawnmower after all
by: Dunn

We bought ours from Sears....dont have a big yard thought it would be perfect...well.....its been back to Sears 3times for repair within the warranty time frame...just got it back and it lasted one mow.....gave up...bought a riding lawn mower, not one problem.

Jun 07, 2011
Rating
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ABSOLUTE JUNK
by: Anonymous

Had this mower for 3 yrs. The last 2 yrs. all it does is rev up and stall, if it even starts at all. I've changed the spark plug,filter,changed the oil, and even put stabilizer in over the winter every year. I will be putting it by the curb for the next garbage picker. You get what you pay far. (Not much).

May 25, 2011
Rating
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Don't Buy! Don't Buy!
by: Anonymous

I used it 5 times. Now it seems to have idle problems and stalls all of the time. Are you, the reader, seeing a pattern yet? Craftsman might build a good wrench... but their mowers suck!

May 22, 2011
Rating
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The lawn mower is garbage
by: Anonymous

I have owned 5 mowers, 7 snowmobiles, 6 outboard moters, and a motorcycle and do much of the servicing myself. This mower is worst peice of garbage I ever purchased. I bought it to mow only the areas I couldn't reach with my rider. It lasted about 3 tanks of gas (small tanks). Now I can barely keep it running. Since it all started when I ran the tank dry, I am convinced it picked up alttle dirt and is extreamlly ill-tollerant of dirt. If I am going to have to take this this apart and clean it twice a year, I might just as well junk it.

May 21, 2011
Rating
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Very Pleased
by: Anonymous

I bought this mower and have had no trouble with it for two years. I have a herniated disc and had to have something that started easy - which it always did until this year. I am having trouble starting it now but my son is coming over to change the spark plug.
I love this mower and would highly recommend it and I live in Florida where you have to mow twice a week in the summer!

Mar 19, 2011
Rating
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Lawnmower
by: Anonymous

Some people should never own a lawnmower unless a class on how to use it and maintain it is passed.

With a mandatory owners manual to be read or you go to jail and a common sense test to see if one would know what color red is?
If failed then one would never be allowed to own anything with a motor to do yard work!

I would agree the QC on some Craftsman items are suspect,but instead if pi**ing and moaning about it return it for repair while under warranty or ask your neighbor or a reputable repair person.
Usually its a simple fix with the proper input.

Feb 21, 2011
Rating
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NO PROBLEM WITH MINE!
by:

you guys are a bunch of babies. I mow commercially, still in college and have had this mower for two years and i dont have any of the above problems and I work it hard on 6 of my 40 yards. Follow the break in instructions and change your oil yearly. You are probably having trouble keeping it running because the gas is old and varnished, an air way is blocked, or you tipped it on its side with the carb on the bottom and its really flooded.

Sep 12, 2010
Rating
star
wont start or stay running
by: Anonymous

Finally I figure it out after reading all the reviews...and can conclude it is not me! The 550 mower is junk! Used it one time and have struggled to start it and keep it running since. This mower is horrible and now i know why. It does not get enough fuel pressure to stay running AND you cannot adjust anything (it's all factory set)

Sep 07, 2010
Rating
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It is a piece of garbage!
by: Anonymous

Bought this Craftsman ( Sears) 550, Silver Eddition (158 cc engine) April 2010. Right from the beginning it was hard to start. Thought maybe my fault. 2nd time, 3 weeks later, same thing. 3rd time, same thing. Tried different priming. Tried premium gas. Nothing worked. Took out the old dependable Hand Lawn Mower. Our yard is only 2000 SF. This is a piece of s...t. As the other user said 'you get what you pay for'. I should have remembered "I am too poor to buy cheap stuff".

Aug 26, 2010
Rating
star
Absolute Junk
by: Anonymous

Bought this Craftsman 550 Series push lawn mower new at the end of the 2009 season. Used it twice before the winter set in. It was hard starting and ran very slow. I figured it would work it self out but in 2010 it was even harder to start, keep running and ran so slow it wouldn't even cut average height grass without stalling. I tried everything to no avail. It's headed for the dump. What an absolute piece of garbage. I would get down on my hands and knees with scissors to cut my grass before I would ever buy another Craftsman mower.

Jul 22, 2010
Rating
starstar
Lasted About 18 Months
by: Tony

I bought a new Sears Craftsman 550 series push lawn mower with the rear bagger and mulcher in March 2009. It worked fairly well for the '09 mowing season, except that the rubber flap behind the rear tires kept falling off and I eventually mowed over it and tore it up. Then the clips on the wire frame for the bag broke, so I had to order a new bag. I'm NOT hard on the machine, it just seemed flimsy. For the 2010 mowing season, it worked up until the third week of July and then went kaput. Changing the spark plugs and air filter did not help. So, now I'm going to junk the darn thing and buy something better. My advice? Only buy the Craftsman mower if you're only going to need it for a year.

Jul 03, 2010
Rating
star
Don't buy
by: Anonymous

Like another commenter I had a craftsman eagle 1 for almost 20 years and it died last year. So I bought the 550 and after five mows it is blowing black smoke, losing power and I have to fill the tank twice where one tank full lasted the first time I used it. I guess they don't make them lik ethey used too.

May 15, 2010
Rating
star
2 runs and doesn't work
by: Anonymous

Bought this piece of crap and used it twice. Now it won't start. Blowing black smoke, may be flooded? Cleaned it up, dried it out and we'll see.

My advice? Stay away from all Sears products. They're a disappointment.

May 01, 2010
Rating
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mower want start
by: Anonymous

The only time the mower will start is when i prime it and then it runs for a few secoonds and then it dies. Also blowing oil from the air manafold. I know that can't be good. Help!

Mar 12, 2010
Rating
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Great mower/very good value
by: Dick (N. California)

Bought this last yr on sale at OSH during 1 of their "We pay sales tax" weekends, which where we live in CA becomes a 10% discount. It's a nice size for our 45' X 40' lawn & checking other mowers in this size, this was a really good value. It has worked great. The grass catcher is easy to attach & detach. Unlike older mowers, it doesn't have a choke, but instead, you push a plunger 3-4 times to prime it, & it's always started right up. When I 1st used it 3 weeks ago, because it'd been used since last fall I pushed the plunger 4 times, it started on the 1st pull.

Jun 17, 2009
Rating
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very disappointed
by: Anonymous

I had a Sears Eager 1 for ages that finally died so I decided to go with them again. Picked up the 550 model because I don't bag and like a simple mulcher. Out of the box and onto the lawn.
The wheel height was on the middle setting for normal cut and the blades practically plowed up the ground. At the highest setting it looks like a normal cut. Have to fill the tank 3 times to mow the yard when before only once. Ran out of gas, refilled it and now the engine revs up and down , lots of carbon on new spark plug, leaves lots of grass clippings, you get what you pay for!

May 06, 2009
Rating
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speed adjustment
by: John

I purchased a model 550 series Sears lawn mower and want to slow it down . . speed is too fast. Tehy tell me I can't do it. Any one know how?
John

May 03, 2009
Rating
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It starts, it cuts, it was inexpensive
by: JimBo of Bath, NY

We bought a 550 158cc Sears Craftsman lawnmower two years ago. It starts every time and it cuts fine. Since we always use the side discharge, I can't comment on the back-bagging attachment. There are two minor negatives, but very minor. First, the safety bar that must be held in place or it automatically shuts off becomes annoying after a while -- a bother to your grip. We keep a small clothespin-like clamp on the handle to hold it down permanently. Second, it requires a hefty pull on the rope to get it going. Sometimes my wife has had to ask me or my son to get it going. But that it never fails to start makes it a great value. Having left it one quarter full of gas over the winter, I just went to mow for the first time. I added some fresh gas, pulled it, and it started on the first pull. Yard mowed. Now it's time to eat lucnch, drink a beer and watch the Yankees.

Apr 17, 2009
Rating
starstarstarstar
A reliable mower for small to midsized lawn
by: Bryan

First and foremost, I have to say that anything by Craftsman screams quality. Most of my power equipment and tools are Craftsman brand and I couldn't be happier.

Living in suburban Missouri, I have no real need for anything over the top. My lawn is not very big so all I needed was something that would give me a great cut, handles great, and also gives my lawn that nice fresh cut look.

I went to Sears and purchased this Craftsman 550 Series 158CC bagless mulching mower with 5.5 ft. lbs gross torque. This was a fairly inexpensive model and was worth every penny. My lawn has never looked better! I fertilized my lawn earlier this year and so the grass really came in green and lush. My concern was that the mower was going to eat up the grass rather than give a nice clean cut. My fears dissipated as I took so much pride in the result.

I recommend this lawn mower for anyone who needs a reliable mower for small to midsized lawn. It didn't suck gas (always a concern nowadays), the blades stay super sharp on their own, and it's easy to push around the yard.

If you have a bigger lawn, then I suggest you go with something a little bigger in power or perhaps a riding mower.

Apr 17, 2009
Rating
starstarstarstar
Ease of use and good price
by: Nancy

Last year, my old lawnmower finally had it's final day after starting it and it vibrated more than I could tolerate. It gave it's last shudder and emitted a cloud of smoke and oil. I had blown the engine.

Time for a new lawn mower.

I was really at a loss of what to get and how much to pay for one, so I went to several places. As much as I would have preferred a self propelled one because of an embankment I have, but the price range was too much for me, so I opted to go to Sears and see what was available there.

Sitting on the floor was a Craftsman 550 with a 158 cc engine by Briggs and Stratton. It had a good span of a 22 inch cut which was what I was looking for and it was on sale to boot.

I took that baby home and decided it was time to mow the grass before my dog got lost in the growth. After checking to see if there was already oil in it, I filled it was gas and dutifully pushed the primer button three times as recommended for a cold engine, held the bard in and pulled the cord. No start up. Oh, dear. I tried again. No start. I have found with this lawn mower that I would always need to give four to five pushes on the primer to start her up. Once I figured this little trick out, my Craftsman and I have gotten along great.

As with most lawn mowers, it's difficult to keep it going if the grass is wet as the wet grass will cling underneath and interfere with the blades, perhaps stalling out because of this, so I simply wait until evening to do the lawn. Where I live, there's always a lot of dew in the morning. Other than that one problem, I'd give this lawn mower a 4 star rating for its ease of use and the price.

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