Outdoor Power Equipment Reviews

Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

Feature Set
Fuel Efficiency
Cutting Power
Cutting Area
Value
Final Thoughts

The Troy-Bilt TB490 XP 4x4 self-propelled lawn mower is a fine example of what a premium homeowner model should be. It has plenty of power, a quality build powered by a consumer Honda engine, and excellent cut quality. It finished 4th in the residential class of our shootout, mainly because cheaper options are closing the gap in performance, fuel efficiency, and runtime. But don't let that fool you. If high-quality results and longer life expectancy are priorities for you, Troy-Bilt delivers a better product.

Overall Score 4.1 Shootout Results

Troy-Bilt TB490 XP Lawn Mower Review


Troy-Bilt’s Gas Mower Comes With 4×4 Capability

A good lawn mower can last you years if you take care of it and we sought out some of the best models available on the market today. We took a look at a lot of the current battery-powered models along with professional and residential gas-powered models. The Troy-Bilt TB490 XP lawn mower showed up to our shootout as a residential option and a 4-wheel drive model at that.

Pros

  • 190cc Honda engine produces excellent cutting power
  • Excellent cut quality
  • Combination 4-wheel and 2-wheel drive system
  • Easy start-up
  • Deck wash

Cons

  • Drive controls feel a little flimsy

Shootout Results

The Troy-Bilt TB490 XP 4×4 self-propelled lawn mower is a fine example of what a premium homeowner model should be. It has plenty of power, a quality build powered by a consumer Honda engine, and excellent cut quality.

It finished 4th in the residential class of our shootout, mainly because cheaper options are closing the gap in performance, fuel efficiency, and runtime. But don’t let that fool you. If high-quality results and longer life expectancy are priorities for you, Troy-Bilt delivers a better product.

Residential Gas Lawn Mower Ranking: 4th place

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Performance

We get into the details of our testing for any interested parties. That information can be found in our gas-powered mower shootout!

Cutting Power

Your cutting speed is important; the faster the blade spins, the better cut you get. It creates better suction and leaves a cleaner cut. Ideally, you want a mower that can maintain a high top speed under lighter loads, but keeping it up when the going gets tough is what sets better lawn mowers apart.

We measured each mower’s blade tip speed and RPM under no load to see what the baseline performance level for each one was. The Troy-Bilt TB490 XP lawn mower churned out 3177 RPMand reaching 198.4 MPH at its blade tips.

While none of the gas options were disappointing, Troy-Bilt delivered the 2nd highest speed overall.

We learned pretty quickly that the drop-off in performance between no-load and maintenance load is pretty inconsequential for gas power, so we move straight on to heavy load performance.

The Troy-Bilt 4×4 lawn mower, even under a heavy load designed to simulate thicker, overgrown grass, still managed to move at 3065 RPM and 191.4 MPH. This was a drop of 7 MPH, and while the overall margins were really slim, the Troy-Bilt finished in an overall third place for power.

When you talk about maintaining 3000+ RPM when you’re cutting tough grass, you have cutting power you can count on in almost any situation. Troy-Bilt is there with its Honda engine and has a lot to offer in this critical area.

TriAction Cutting System

Troy-Bilt’s TriAction cutting system is well worth noting. Grass first passes through a rake guard to stand it up, then gets cut by an S-blade that extends to the side of the deck. Finally, the symmetrical deck creates a strong vacuum that allows clippings to circulate freely for better mulching.

It creates a more even cut with better mulching results than we see with most gas mowers. If you’re the kind of guy or gal that really wants a clean, professional look when you’re done cutting, this is a feature that makes a big difference.

Cutting Area

Obviously, we don’t want to have to stop in the middle of a job to refuel if we don’t have to (but at least we don’t have to wait on batteries to charge). So we like to measure the type of runtime and area a mower can cover on a tank of gas.

The Troy-Bilt TB490 XP runs for 67 minutes under maintenance-cut conditions. Walking at a constant rate of 2.5 MPH, you can cover 25,848 square feet, which translates to 0.59 acres.

Overall, this was the lowest runtime we saw from any of our gas-powered mowers, but it also has a smaller 36-ounce tank than its competition. Since we’re still talking about more than an hour of runtime, it’s not a major point of concern and certainly not something we consider a make-or-break item on its own.

Fuel Efficiency

The other half of the runtime equation comes down to fuel efficiency. Some mowers have bigger fuel tanks, which can cover for poor fuel efficiency on runtime, but we ultimately want an engine that doesn’t chug gas.

The Troy-Bilt TB490 XP can cut 2.11 acres on a gallon of gas in our testing. It’s the lowest in the residential group, but not a big surprise considering it goes with a more muscular 190cc Honda GCV engine. It’s one of the trade-offs you make for that excellent cutting power.

Noise Level

We kind of just expect a gas-powered mower to make a bunch of noise. Compared to battery-powered mowers, they practically scream. But even some of the gas-powered models have taken sound levels into consideration and some are louder than others.

The Troy-Bilt TB490 XP cranks out 91 dB(A), which seems to be about the average for our gas mowers. We did see one mower reach 86 dB(A) (the Honda HRC216), but everything else ranged from 89 dB(A) to 94 dB(A).

If you’re planning on mowing for a few hours with the TB490 XP, or any of these other mowers, you’ll definitely want to look into some hearing protection.

Feature Set

All-Wheel Drive

The Troy-Bilt TB490 XP mower is the first mower that lets you switch between front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive. The controls feel a little flimsy (which seems to be the case across the board with this type of design), but the drive is pretty smooth and works well.

As a concept, we love the idea. Here in Florida, a “hill” means there’s more than a couple of inches elevation difference from one side of the yard to the other. Our biggest obstacles are drainage ditches for the most part. It’s easy to engage just the front or rear and keep plenty of speed going.

Living in parts of the country that have actual hills, you can engage 4-wheel drive when you need it and back off to 2-wheel drive when you don’t without stopping to adjust anything.

Deck Material

You got cold, hard steel with Troy-Bilt’s deck. This isn’t unusual for a gas mower, which nearly always prioritizes steel’s durability over plastic’s lighter weight for a higher quality build.

Height Adjustment and Range

Troy-Bilt gives you a two-point height adjustment on the TB490 XP, rather than the standard 4-point adjustment that seems to be the norm on gas mowers. These allow you to drop the height of your cut in any of 6 positions ranging from 1.125″ to 3.75″.

Handle Positions

The Troy-Bilt works well with short folks, tall folks, and everyone in between with its 3-positon adjustable handle.

Discharge Options

The TB490 XP allows for mulching, bagging, and side discharge right out of the box.

 

Additional Features

  • All-Terrain Tires: To increase the traction when you need it, the mower also includes tires with an all-terrain tread design.
  • Automatic Choke System (ACS): prevents engine flooding and makes start-up simple.
  • Integrated Deck Wash

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Value

The Troy-Bilt TB490 XP retails for $529 at your local Home Depot and comes with a 3-year warranty.

 

While we don’t only look at the price when we consider a tool’s value, it is a significant part of calculating the value score. This Troy-Bilt model is the most expensive of the residential models that we tested, and by about $50.

So let’s put that in context. This is definitely a “you get what you pay for” self-propelled lawn mower. The build is solid, it has excellent power, leaves a great cut, and has that 2-wheel/4-wheel drive combo system. While the price may be off-putting for budget-conscious buyers, it’s a nice step up for Pro-minded homeowners.

The Bottom Line

The Troy-Bilt TB490 XP 4×4 self-propelled lawn mower is a fine example of what a premium homeowner model should be. It has plenty of power, a quality build powered by a consumer Honda engine, and excellent cut quality.

It finished 4th in the residential class of our shootout, mainly because cheaper options are closing the gap in performance, fuel efficiency, and runtime. But don’t let that fool you. If high-quality results and longer life expectancy are priorities for you, Troy-Bilt delivers a better product.

Troy-Bilt TB490 XP Mower Specs

  • Deck: 21″ TriAction cutting system with integrated deck wash
  • Deck Height Adjustment: Dual-lever
  • Engine: Honda GCV Series
  • Displacement: 190cc
  • Starting System: Standard recoil with ACS
  • Drive System: AWD
  • Speed Control: Variable four wheel drive
  • Cutting Height Range: 6 settings from 1.25″ – 3.75″
  • Discharge Type: 3-in-1; mulch, bag, side discharge
  • Grassbag Capacity: 2.3 bushels
  • Fuel Capacity: 1.0 qt.
  • Oil: 12 oz.
  • Handle Style: Adjustable 3-position ergonomic handle with Comfort Grip
  • Wheels: 8″ front, 11″ rear, All-Terrain Tread
  • Warranty: 3-year limited
  • Price: $499

For more information, check out Troybilt.com.

 

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