Outdoor Power Equipment Reviews

Commercial Gas Mowers

Feature Set
Fuel Efficiency
Cutting Power
Cutting Area
Noise Level
Value
Final Thoughts

The CRP218520 Snapper Commercial lawn mower offers an excellent value in the commercial gas sector. It has the cutting power to handle all but neglectful conditions and has a solid build. Its mechanical drive system seems antiquated, but it's also easy to maintain and repair. With a price that can save you $500 or more over high-end models, it's a mower well worth your consideration.

Overall Score 4.2 Shootout Results

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Snapper Commercial Lawn Mower CRP218520 Review


Snapper Commercial Lawn Mower Balances Quality, Performance, and Value

Our expectations of gas mowers raise dramatically when they’re advertised as commercial models. So when we tested 24 different mowers in our gas mower and battery-powered mower reviews, we anticipated a jump up in performance and quality from our commercial contenders. The CRP218520 Snapper Commercial lawn mower comes to us from a brand that has enough history to know a thing or two about mowing technology.

Pros

  • Solid build
  • Excellent cut quality
  • Handles 2 weeks worth of fast growth easily
  • Ninja mulching blade improves cutting ability when mulching

Cons

  • Drive handle cover likes to come off
  • Drive handle is awkward to release and re-engage on every turn
  • Smaller fuel tank than other commercial mowers

Shootout Results

The CRP218520 Snapper Commercial lawn mower offers an excellent value in the commercial gas sector. It has the cutting power to handle all but neglectful conditions and has a solid build. Its mechanical drive system seems antiquated, but it’s also easy to maintain and repair. With a price that can save you $500 or more over high-end models, it’s a mower well worth your consideration.

Residential Gas Lawn Mower Ranking: 3rd place

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Performance

We use a variety of tests to come to our conclusions and you’re welcome to take a look behind the curtain. You can find those details in our gas mower shootout.

Cutting Power

As we consider performance, one key point is that the other commercial models we tested use Honda’s GXV160 engine and Snapper uses a 190cc Briggs & Stratton professional series engine.

We started out measuring our mowers’ cutting speeds by starting out with no-load testing. The Snapper Commercial’s 21″ blade, without being put under any kind of stress, maintained 2797 RPM with a 174.7 MPH speed at the blade tips.

Out of our commercial gas-powered lawn mower options, this was the slowest. However, that’s still plenty of speed for cutting and we need to consider how it changes under load before coming to any kind of judgment.

With battery-powered motors, a light load/maintenance cut is enough to drive the engine to direct more power to the blade. Generally, we’ll see an increase in blade tip speed here. But with gas-powered engines, the blade tip speed stays remarkably similar to its no-load speed.

However, throwing the mowers under a heavier load will affect blade tip speed for gas power. When we upped the pressure, we saw an 8.9 MPH drop with this Snapper Commercial lawn mower. It’s the biggest reduction we saw, dipping to 165.7 MPH.

The blade is still able to cut well at that speed, but the engine does seem to bog down easier than other commercial models.

Torture Test

We threw this mower into our torture test, where we cut a straight line into 5 weeks’ worth of grass growth and walking at a consistent 2.5 MPH. When the mower quit, we measured the distance.

It’s worth noting that there are too many variables for this to be a completely objective measurement of a mower’s performance. So, we didn’t factor in these results in our final scoring.

With that disclaimer, the Snapper Commercial lawn mower traveled just 13′ before it bogged down. The winner of this test made it 100′ further and one of our battery-powered mowers mowed past 60′.  However, it cuts 2 weeks’ worth of growth almost as easily as 1 week’s worth.

The takeaway is that if you’re in a situation where you have to tackle neglectful overgrowth, start by cutting as high as you can and take your time until you get it under control. For grass that’s just gone for an extra week or 10 days, it’s going to cut well.

Cutting Area

Ideally, you want to be able to mow without having to refuel halfway through the job. It’s not as big of a deal as having to charge a battery, but it still takes time and breaks up your workflow. We measured the cutting area we were able to get on a tank of fuel to see who excels in this category.

The Snapper Commercial lawn mower only has a 36-ounce fuel tank and that limits it compared to other commercial mowers. Still, you’re looking at more than an hour of runtime on a tank.

With its 21″ blade, that works out to 26,022 square feet of mowing per tank, or 0.60 acres before you’ll need to stop and refuel.

Fuel Efficiency

While the cutting area is a legitimate consideration, the other side of the coin comes down to fuel efficiency. How much fuel will your engine use? Will it sip or gulp down the gas?

With 68 minutes of runtime on a tank, you’re looking at roughly 2.12 acres of cutting per gallon of fuel. That’s right in the middle of the 1.88 – 2.57 acres/gal range we tested.

As an interesting side note, the residential mowers were quite a bit more efficient, hitting a range of 2.11 – 3.02 acres/gallon.

Feature Set

Variable Self-Propelled Drive

The Snapper Commercial mower has a few interesting features about its drive train and allows for a variable walking speed up to 4 MPH. It functions by using a mechanical disc transmission. The disc slides left or right against the flywheel—further out to go faster or closer in to move slower. To set your pace, just adjust the lever on the left side.

To engage the drive, there’s another lever you need to hold down against the handle. It works and is comfortable enough, but there are a couple of downsides. First, you have to let it back up and re-engage it every time you stop the drive to turn. That wouldn’t be the case if it were front-wheel drive.

The rubber cover on that lever likes to come off as well. For long-term use, I’ll probably use some electrical tape to keep it from sliding.

Deck Material

We would expect nothing less than a steel deck for any mower that claims to be commercial grade. The Snapper Commercial model doesn’t disappoint here.

As long as we’re taking a look at the deck, we might as well talk about the unorthodox design of the Ninja Mulching Blade. This X-shaped blade provides better suction and more cutting surfaces than standard blades. In practice, this blade design is part of what helps us confidently mow through 2 weeks’ growth without slowing down.

Height Adjustment and Range

The Snapper Commercial mower gives you 7 height level adjustment stops that range from 1.375″ to 4.25″. This type of range should be able to tackle most types of grass pretty effectively.

We like single-point height adjustments, but they’re rare on gas lawn mowers since the single point has to be the weight of the mower for height adjustments. The Snapper Commercial uses an adjustment on each of its 4 wheels just like the rest of its commercial competition. It takes more time to adjust your height, but your mower is more durable and stable.

Handle Positions

Rather than using multiple handle positions, the Snapper opts for a slide on the handle adjustment. This actually the whole setup much more customizable than simple 2 or 3-position pivot points.

Discharge Options

As the Ninja Mulching style, Snapper focuses primarily on mulching with bagging as a secondary option. If you want to side discharge instead, you can pick up the shoot separately.

Additional Features

  • Cup Holder

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Value

Where both eXmark and the Honda will run you well north of $1000, the Snapper seems like a downright steal at $799 (or even less online). That’s where the whole story starts to wrap up. Snapper gives you confident cutting and a quality build for $500 less than you’ll pay for a high-end Honda.

Plus, this mower comes with a 3-year residential warranty. If you’re using it commercially, you get a 1-year warranty on the mower.

The Bottom Line

The CRP218520 Snapper Commercial lawn mower offers an excellent value in the commercial gas sector. It has the cutting power to handle all but neglectful conditions and has a solid build. Its mechanical drive system seems antiquated, but it’s also easy to maintain and repair. With a price that can save you $500 or more over high-end models, it’s a mower well worth your consideration.

Snapper Commercial Gas Mower Manufacturer Specs

  • Model: Snapper CRP218520
  • Engine: Briggs & Stratton 190cc Professional Series
  • Engine Torque: 8.5 ft-lbs
  • Fuel Capacity: 36 ounces
  • Starting: Recoil
  • Blade: 21″ Ninja mulching blade
  • Drive: Rear-wheel disc drive
  • Maximum Speed: 4 MPH
  • Cutting Height: 1.25″ – 4″
  • Price: $799
  • Warranty: 3 years residential, 1 year commercial

 

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