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Toro TimeCutter SW4200 Review

By: Carl Laron on May 08, 2017

Bottom Line

The Toro TimeCutter SW4200 has steerable front wheels and conventional steering wheel control to eliminate the learning curve needed to operate traditional lever-controlled ZTRs. Cutting performance is very good as well.

Pros

  • Steerable front wheels
  • Steering wheel-type control
  • Good cutting performance
  • Well-regarded engine
  • Good safety features

Cons

  • Not suitable for tall grass or rough terrain
Our Analysis
Specs

Breaking it down

Performance

No shortcomings. Handling and ease of use are what separate the Toro SW4200 from many other zero-turn mowers, but the maker didn't forget that cutting performance matters, too. Testing reveals that, while some other mowers might do a better job at one or more of mulching, bagging, or ejecting clippings out the side, the SW4200 is very competent when it comes to all three of these common tasks -- "consistently impressive cutting," says ConsumerReports.org.

Ease of use

Easy handling. This is where the Toro sets itself apart from traditional zero-turn mowers. Instead of casters and a lap-bar/lever control system that is easy to use but takes a little time to master, the SW4200 has steerable front wheels and a steering wheel, making operation a breeze from the get go. This steering system also improves performance on rolling terrain -- conventional zero-turn mowers do a poor job on slopes, and, in the extreme, can even be unstable and prone to tipping over. Other pluses include a comfortable high-back seat and the ability to check fuel levels without getting off of the mower.

Safety

Smart parking. While the improved stability on slopes goes a long way toward improving overall safety of the SW4200, it's not the only headline in that regard. This zero-turn mower includes Toro's Smart Park braking system that automatically sets the parking brake and disengages the blades (while keeping the engine running) if the operator leaves the seat. The parking brake also automatically engages anytime the mower engine is turned off. The Toro SW4200 can mow in reverse, but that requires a key that can be removed to prevent inexperienced users from doing so.

Our Sources

Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

The Toro SW4200 zero-turn riding mower is tested byConsumerReports.org. Bagging, mulching and side discharging are all rated, and the mower gets an overall score that can be compared to other zero-turn models. The review is only available to subscribers, however.

Paul Hope, March 13, 2017

The Toro SW4200 gets a shout out in this free ConsumerReports.org article naming the best riding mowers and lawn tractors. It's not the top finisher in the category, but still a top alternative for those that prefer a "more familiar driving experience" rather than the steering levers used by most ZTRs.

Paul Sikkema, Not Dated

The Toro SW4200 makes Paul Sikkema's list of top "economy" (priced under $3,900) zero-turn mowers for 2017. It further earns recommended status, with Sikkema adding "This is a great mower if you want a ZTR but don't like lap bars."

Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of May 2017

In nearly 120 reviews, the Toro SW4200 earns an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5; 87 percent of owners would recommend this mower. Some of the reviews are culled from the manufacturer's website, others are unique to HomeDepot.com. Most are extremely pleased, especially those who upgraded from an older zero-turn mower. The few complaints we found are all over the place -- scattered durability issues, complaints of poor traction and some saying it simply does not perform as well as a comparably-priced lawn tractor.

Contributors to MowersDirect.com, As of May 2017

There are many fewer reviews here for the Toro SW4200, just about 28, but they are much more positive, with an overall rating of 5 stars out of 5. All would recommend the mower to a friend. In addition, product expert Jose Castellanos gives it a recommendation.

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