The Toro TimeMaster 30 is a unique mower with several unusual features. For one, it cuts an entire 30-inch swath of grass, eliminating the need to overlap cuts on the next pass, and it’s designed to save time, hence the name TimeMaster.
However, this mower also has an above-average number of buyer complaints, along with others who say it is the best mower they ever owned. In this review, we’ll sort out the facts in an unbiased way, so you can decide if this is the walk-behind mower you want.
Toro 30-Inch Push Mower Pros and Cons
This mower gets the work done in record time due to several innovative features. These features include Toro’s Personal Pace® automatic speed adjustment that senses the operator’s pace and changes the machine’s rate of travel to match it.
- Full 30-inch cutting width
- Robust 223cc Briggs and Stratton engine
- Two ways to adjust the handlebar height
- Handlebar folds over the top for storage
- 3-in1 bag, side discharge, and mulching features
If your lawn is expansive and your time for mowing short, this mower might be precisely what you need. This Toro walk-behind, self-propelled mower has several time-saving features that live up to the name of TimeMaster.
For example, one of the most frustrating parts of mowing with many lawnmowers is needing to overlap the cuts on adjacent passes because the blades do not cut the entire width of the cutting deck. When this happens, you have to make significantly more passes across the lawn to get the whole area trimmed and looking good.
However, you won’t have that problem with this mower. The blades cut an entire 30-inch swath of grass, matching the width of the wheelbase so that you can zoom back and forth across the lawn with a minimal number of passes. The extra-wide 30-inch deck is one of the largest sizes for a walk-behind mower, giving you another advantage in mowing a vast lawn area. In addition, the top rate of speed at 4.5 mph is pretty much a jogging pace for most people, so you really can move as fast as you want to go.
Another timesaver on this machine is the Spin-Stop mechanism. For example, if you need to walk away from the device to empty the collection bag or move something out of the way, in many lawnmowers, you have to turn off the engine first and then restart it when you come back. With this walk-behind, the blades stop spinning when you release the control bar, but the engine stays on, so you can do what you need to do without starting and stopping the machine multiple times.
When you do want to shut off the engine, a button is located on one side of the handlebar. By holding this button down for several seconds, the engine shuts off. However, not holding the button long enough results in the engine starting back up again.
You can also readily change the height of the mowing deck into one of the available seven positions by moving leavers on the front and back wheels on the left side of the machine instead of needing to adjust the height on all four wheels like on many other lawnmowers. This feature is also a small but meaningful time-saving advantage.
This Toro lawn mower is also a 3-in1 design: You can set it to discharge clippings from the side chute, mulch them under the deck and leave them on the lawn, or collect them in the rugged, jumbo-size collection bag that snaps on and off the machine with ease for fast disposal.
On the downside, there have been multiple consumer complaints about mechanical failures during and after the warranty period. For example, we found reports of transmission problems, drive belts failing, under-engineered parts in the self-propel cables, and blown fuses in the electric start system.
These problems are not likely to result from improper maintenance, although they could arise from improper use: for example, trying to cut weeds or grass that is too tall and thick could damage the transmission. These problems could also result from poor manufacturing of parts and low quality materials.
On the other hand, numerous consumers report being highly satisfied with the performance of this machine. However, due to the potential of having a mechanical problem with this mower, it’s crucial to buy it from a local dealer where you can get service if you need it, and be sure to register the warranty.
Toro TimeMaster 30 Main Product Features
This mower comes with a ten ft-lb gross torque, 223cc gas engine made by Briggs&Stratton. The engine uses an electric start system and also has a pull cord for backup starting. In the first three years under warranty, this machine is guaranteed by the manufacture to reliably start-up on the first or second pull of the cord or when turning the key and cranking the engine briefly. A button on the handle stops the machine, which stays on when you walk away from the mower, unlike many other lawnmowers.
The fuel tank has a somewhat small capacity of 1.2 quarts, enough to continuously mow for about one hour. However, this Toro mower can cut up to 10,000 square feet of lawn area or more in this amount of time. One annoying issue with the gas tank is a sponge inside the opening to prevent vapor locks. It considerably slows down how fast you can pour gas into the tank, leading to the possibility of spilling some.
This machine runs on regular gas without the addition of 2-cycle oil. It’s crucial to only use non-ethanol fuel for the best performance of this garden equipment. The engine requires routine maintenance like oil changes and air filter replacement which are described in detail in the owner’s manual and involve minimal tools and experience to perform.
– Personal Pace® Self-propel Feature
The Personal Pace® feature comes with many Toro products, including this one. This innovative drive system senses the operator’s walking speed and adjusts the self-propel to match the same rate. As a result, you can speed up and slow down whenever you need to without manually changing gears. The top speed is 4.5 mph.
When you let go of the control bar to walk away from the machine, the machine and spinning blades stop immediately while the engine runs. This feature is a crucial safety point that lets you safely move away from the device without taking extra time to start and stop the engine, and it’s a benefit to anyone with children and pets in the yard while mowing.
– Cutting Deck and Frame
The deck is made of steel, and the frame is cast aluminum. The solid wheels ride on ball bearings capable of handling the machine’s weight without problems. The wheels are 10-inch diameter in the rear and 8-inches in the front and are bigger than many mowers. Easily adjust the deck height to one of seven settings using the hand-operated leavers on the front and back wheels on the left side of the mower.
A washout port on top of the deck allows for rapidly blasting debris from under the deck without turning the machine over or raising it.
– Size and Weight
The overall dimensions of the mower are 65.7-inches long, 32.2-inches wide, and 44.3-inches high, with the handles extended. However, the handle conveniently folds over the top of the mower for more compact storage in two dimensions.
The weight of this mower is 140 pounds, making it heavier than many in its class. The extra weight results from the advanced propulsion mechanism and solid frame. The high weight gives an advantage over lighter machines when working on ground with low traction.
Toro provides a 3-year Guaranteed-to-Start policy in the warranty, promising to fix any issues starting the mower in this period, providing the owner maintains the machine according to the owner’s manual.
This warranty is an advantage to buyers who are concerned with problems reported about this mower. However, buying from a nearby dealer that services Toro products make it much easier to get repairs if you need them. Keep in mind that this machine is heavy and can be hard to transport if you must take it in for repairs.
The Toro TimeMaster 30 is designed for making fast work of mowing the lawn. It offers multiple features to speed up how long it takes to mow, delivering on this objective. Unfortunately, numerous buyers report mechanical failures on this machine and are disappointed due to the high price tag.
On the other hand, many other buyers report not having problems, finding this machine works well for fast, reliable mowing on large and primarily flat lawns.