Troy-Bilt TB30R Review

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Troy-Bilt TB30R Review
Bottom Line

If your property and budget are small, experts and owners say that the Troy-Bilt TB30R can come up big. It's an impressive grass cutter compared to most machines in its price range, though you'll be emptying the small bags often if you'd rather collect the clippings than mulch or just disperse them. The manual transmission translates to jerkier handling, one report says, and some owners caution against mowing on slopes, though the mower is judged easy to use by most.

ProsVery good mulching, Very good when discharging clippings to the side, Comfortable seatConsPoorer performance when bagging, Manual transmission, Wide turn radius

Breaking it down

Performance

Two out of three ain't bad. That's the view of most expert reviewers and owners, who say that the Troy-Bilt TB30R is a very good performer when it comes to mulching clippings or just discharging them out the side. Things get a little dicey when it comes to bagging, however. Jose Castellanos, product expert at MowersDirect.com says that the TB30R "sucks up grass clippings, leaves, and pine needles from your lawn." The problem lies in what happens afterwards as another reviewer notes that the twin bags that hold the clippings are small, fill up quickly, and don't fill to capacity. Though there aren't a ton of user comments regarding bagging, we spotted a few that second those opinions. Note that this mower is offered in two essentially identical versions. The 13CC26JD011 uses a Briggs & Stratton engine and is sold exclusively at Lowes. Troy-Bilt and independent dealers sell the 13B226JD066, which uses a Troy-Bilt branded engine. Regardless, feedback on both versions is identical.

Ease of use

Jerky handling. Most experts and users laud the TB30R for its ease of use. The compact size fits places where large lawn tractors won't -- such as between closely spaced trees and through suburban fence gates. It's also easier to find a spot for it in a garage or shed for storage. The seat is high-backed, pivots, and is generally judged to be comfortable. If there's a drawback, it's that the TB30R uses a manual transmission rather than an automatic transmission as is typical on pricier models. That translates to jerkier handling, one expert says. Several owners find the transmission to be hard to use as well, though most report no issues.

Safety/noise

Stay level. That's the advice of several owners at Lowes.com, who note that while the TB30R does fine on a flat lawn, it feels unstable or even dangerous when called on to mow slopes. That's typical for rear-engine riding mowers like the TB30R, however, and the manufacturer recommends not mowing on slopes if you feel uneasy doing so, and warns against mowing on any slope greater than 12 degrees (most front-engine lawn tractors can handle larger slopes -- typically 15 degrees). A gauge to help determine the slope is provided in the manual. The mower has the typical safety interlocks to prevent unsafe operation. That includes interlocks that prevent starting unless the parking brake is on and the power take off (PTO) is disengaged, and that turn off the mower if the operator leaves the seat and the parking brake is off or the PTO is engaged. The engine will also turn off if the bagger, deck chute or mulch plug (depending on the mowing mode) is removed. Noise issues go largely unaddressed by experts and users.

Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

Troy-Bilt TB30R 13BC26JD lawn tractor, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

The Lowes-exclusive Troy-Bilt TB30R 13BC26JD011 rear-engine riding mower is part of the large comparative review of lawn tractors at ConsumerReports.org. It's tested and rated for cutting performance and use factors, and an overall score that can be compared to similar rear-engine tractors is awarded.

2. Lowes.com

Troy-Bilt TB30R 10.5-HP Manual 30-in Riding Lawn Mower, Contributors to Lowes.com, As of May 2016

In nearly 265 reviews, the Troy-Bilt TB30R model 13CC26JD011 earns an overall rating of 4.1 stars out of 5; 81 percent would recommend the mower to a friend. Some reviews were originally posted at the Troy-Bilt site; others are unique to Lowes.com. Most say it's a terrific value, and a good choice for small to medium lawns. There are some scattered durability complaints, and those with larger properties seem less-pleased with performance.

3. MowersDirect.com

Troy-Bilt TB30R (30") 420cc Rear Engine Riding Mower, Jose Castellanos and Contributors to MowersDirect.com, As of May 2016

Site product expert Jose Castellanos awards the 13B226JD066 version of the Troy-Bilt TB30R his Recommended label and says that it "offers a great alternative to a traditional push mower." There are more than 50 unique owner reviews here as well. Most are pleased, with 88 percent saying they would recommend the mower to a friend.

4. Amazon.com

Troy-Bilt 420cc OHV 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2016

The Troy-Bilt TB30R 13B226JD066 model earns a 4.4-star rating here after about 105 reviews. Most users are very pleased with this mower, saying it's a terrific choice for a small lawn.