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Power equipment quality; Big Box store vs. Local mom/pop shops

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by timbo, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. timbo

    timbo Navy Veteran NES Member

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    My wife and I are looking at buying a lawn tractor/mower this year...we have a 1 acre lawn that is strangely shaped and very hilly. It's really no longer fun to mow it with a push mower though some parts of it will still be easier with the push mower we have. It's a nice mower, Husky that is 4 wheel drive but it takes me 3-5 hours to mow the lawn with that mower.

    I was under the impression that there is a quality difference between power equipment sold at Big Box stores like Lowes and the same equipment sold at a mom and pop store. Same Model numbers, different quality.

    Is this true?

    We have a mom and pop store near us that carries one of the manufacturers I'm looking at but they are about 25% more expensive for the same model and their pickings are pretty slim. I'd rather go with the mom/pop store but 25% more on a $2000 mower is a lot of money for me and they don't seem to want to budge on their price.
     
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  2. andrew1220

    andrew1220 NES Member

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    I often heard this with equipment as well as guns. Never really knew what's truth and what's bs. Curious to hear what others have to say.
     
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  3. rcwhat

    rcwhat

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    If it’s the same exact model number I don’t see how it could be any different. The 25% is most like due to a better warranty and service through the mom n pop. Not to mention they probably don’t get the quantity discount a big box store enjoys
     
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  4. mgrick02

    mgrick02

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    Apparently there is difference in quality between buying from FW Webbs and the same product from HD.
     
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  5. massgun

    massgun

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    I have heard this forever as well regarding power equipment and also plumbing fixtures. If an item has the exact same model number/name, you would naturally think there would be no difference. I would talk to the folks at the local shop and ask them directly if there are any differences. If not, ask about extra/extended warranty, priority scheduling if it does need service, parts discounts, anything they may offer that might offset the higher initial price enough for you to give them your business.
     
  6. *chris*

    *chris* NES Member

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    Absolute BS, companies are not going to track parts based on the same model number but different serial numbers. Just FUDD so the local shop owners can still afford their lake houses.

    That being said, for anything with hills I would avoid any box store tractor that is not a ground engaging "garden" tractor. The Achilles heel of cheap tractors is the cheap hydrostatic transmission. For a while, I was buying "broken" 100 series John Deere tractors from craigslist, pressure washing them, fixing them and selling them for $1000-1500 for fun. For every tractor with a well-maintained engine and a blown hydro I would find a poorly maintained engine with the connecting rod through the block and a spiffy clean hydro. 3 hours of work would put $1000 in my pocket.

    Husqvarna makes some reasonably priced garden tractors with heavy duty hydros. Years ago I had a GT2554 with a bucket that I welded onto the front and did a ton of digging with it.

    Good luck

    Chris
     
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  7. LuvDog

    LuvDog NES Member

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    For some products that I’ve shopped for in the past there is a difference between big box and authorized retailers.
    They may have the same model number but the SKU may be different.
    Differences are usually in the quality / thickness of metals. Connectors. Accessories.

    That being said. Watch out that the mom and pop isn’t running a shady business and going to HD or Lowes for Costco and buying a product and then just selling it again at a markup

    Manufacturers definitely do make a special run of models strictly for big box stores and they make them to fit a price point set by the buyer
     
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  8. timbo

    timbo Navy Veteran NES Member

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    Chris, could you elaborate on what you mean by a ground engaging garden tractor....I am looking at a couple of the higher end Huskys but the reviews are kind of concerning. I don't want a zero turn mower. I want something I can pull a small trailer behind as well
     
  9. one-eyed Jack

    one-eyed Jack Manufacturer Dealer NES Member

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    I recently bought a generator that was $950 on line for $950 from a local power equipment guy. Cash, no sales tax, he delivered it with gas in the tank, oil in it, test ran it for me. That's the way I like to shop. Jack.
     
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  10. Davidk

    Davidk NES Member

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    I purchased a name brand faucet at Home Depot. It was nearly 100% plastic inside. My plumber refused to install it because he said it was junk and said to buy from his supplier. I purchase the exact same style, from the same manufacturer from a plumbing supplier. Not only was it $5 less than the one from HD, it was metal inside. I don't know if the part numbers matched as I didnt look. After that point, I purchase as little as possible from the box stores.
     
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  11. Palladin

    Palladin NES Member

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    the John Deere tractor at HD and the one at the JD store, are two different machines. HD has JD make them as a 'store brand' , where there were metal parts, not it's plastic, and so on. The $1400 tractor at HD is a 'value buy' of the similar model at Deere stores, in fact HD has their own model numbers.
     
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  12. Mr.E

    Mr.E

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    As others have said in regards to certain products, the model could be identical but built to different standards/specs to save $$. Check appliances at HD or Lowes vs. a local shop or online from the manufacturer and the sku will be different. Yes this is first hand experience.
    Is this true for power equipment, that I don't have first hand experience with. But I would certainly put money on it...
     
  13. timbo

    timbo Navy Veteran NES Member

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    I have noticed this as well with plumbing fixtures...I only buy them now from a reputable plumbing supply place near me but they do have the cheaper plastic stuff as well for those that can't afford to pay a few bucks more. I usually subscribe to "Buy once, Cry once" but there are times that a less expensive tool that you're only going to use once or twice is better than paying premium price for the same tool.
     
  14. Mark from MA

    Mark from MA NES Member

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    Big box stores generally carry the lower end stuff. So what generally happens is they shop home depot, then go to a dealer and end up getting talked out of the lower end stuff and of course it costs more. We are talking apples to oranges here.

    Now if you see a john deere model ABC at HD and one at a dealer. They are the same. If there is a minor difference in price it’s because the dealer will probably be there to service and warranty, and deliver it. Thats WORTH paying. If there is a HUGE difference, thats not worth it.

    Basically these low end units are made all at the same place to a general spec, and just painted whatever john deere, cub cadet, or craftsman wants them painted

    Until you are looking at tractors in the 4-5 grand range, thenyour looking at actual manufacturing differences and cost.

    If you have hills make sure you check out the transmission and hydro specs. Buy the best one you can afford. Hydros are what dies in these things.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
  15. Woodstock

    Woodstock NES Member

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    A garden tractor, as opposed to a lawn tractor, will have the heavier transaxle that Chris is describing. Usually the larger the rear wheels will tell you it's built with the good hydro and will accept a rototiller or snowblower. I bought a used John Deere GT 275 in 2002 and I've been beating the hell out of it ever since, winter and summer. People I know have gone through three lawn tractors in the same time. You won't find a new one for $2000, but if you watch Craigslist some good used ones do pop up.
     
  16. cbrxx

    cbrxx NES Member

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    Same model number should be the same. When I got my Ariens snowblower, it was @ $1500 or so and local dealer was just a few percent higher than HD. Probably about equal to the credit card fees, so I offered cash for the few percent discount and got it from him. Would rather buy from the local guy if he is in the ballpark, but 25% more is crazy.
     
  17. Mark from MA

    Mark from MA NES Member

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    Guns? What...like a mossberg pump at walmart is different than one from a local dealer? Total bullshit....same sku , same gun.
     
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  18. wilson911

    wilson911

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    I thought you said you were married?


    28019.jpg
     
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  19. Mark from MA

    Mark from MA NES Member

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    If you want something decent in a tractor plan on spending money.

    However Ive had my low end Cub Cadet for 10 years. I maintain it and fix it. Its easy.

    Most clowns that complain and have to buy new mowers every 5 years dont know how to turn a wrench or change oil and wonder why their shxt breaks. Then they blame the manufacturer when they ride hard and put away wet every year.
    If you take care of it, even low end stuff will last for the most part. But if you need a heavy duty piece of equipment plan in spending 5k or more.
     
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  20. nstassel

    nstassel NES Member

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    This. A used GT is excellent but getting older. At your price point you can get a used Deere X300 which will be a good machine compared to anything you get for 2K at Dealer or big box.
     
  21. timbo

    timbo Navy Veteran NES Member

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    [laugh] Well, yeah I am...but I want to stay married. At this point in my life, I want to keep the status quo...and my wife.
     
  22. SonOfAGun

    SonOfAGun NES Member

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    The only experience I can share is with a weed whacker. I bought one at Lowe's or HD, but ended up getting my lawnmower of the same brand at a local place. I pointed to the same model weed whacker I bought and asked if there were differences between the one he had and the one I bought -same model number, mind you- and he said no, same item, same box, he can't match their price, and they can't match his warranty and repair service should anything happen to the item.

    Since then I've assumed the same to be true. Since the big box weed whacker, I figured anything with an engine I'd potentially have to have warranty work on, I'd rather buy from a local authorized retailer who can service the things that they sell, instead of dealing with the big box 'call the manufacturer, we don't do anything in house' tag line. Worked out so far with my lawn mower, snow blower, and chain saw. Plumbing? Don't know, YMMV.
     
  23. drgrant

    drgrant Moderator NES Member

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    A lot of these "lawn tractors" these days are just f***ing junk, though. The stuff that wears out is the stuff you don't normally mess with in
    maintenance. Like I have a husky that has steering issues (the gear is f***ed up) and a rod that pops off the steering rack, and so on. Granted the thing is probably
    10+ years old but you can tell the reason its broken is because it was f***ing junk to begin with.

    Most of them are not built like a JD 318, 332, 420, 430 etc from the late 80s early 90s. Those machines are so robust that you will likely wear out the
    motor before you wear out the rest of the machine.

    -Mike
     
  24. mgrick02

    mgrick02

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    Like my Honda 5518, bought it in 91 and still going. Built like a tank. Super pricey it was though!
    One of the first sub compact 4 wheel drives.
     
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  25. Mr.E

    Mr.E

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    [​IMG]
     
  26. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    @timbo just go to the Barn store. The guy that services there is a small motor savant. And they're nice there......
     
  27. millbilly

    millbilly NES Member

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    I've had that same exact experience
     
  28. ReluctantDecoy

    ReluctantDecoy

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    Massive chain stores do have the ability to leverage national level purchase power to have some larger manufacturers make store-specific versions of best sellers. And with this comes the penny pinching on both sides. Either the manufacturer is forced to slightly reduce quality in order to make a profit on the heavily discounted wholesale orders, or the chain requests a modified version that they can sell at a lower price point. Sometimes this means taking an existing device/model, gutting the quality out of it, and repackaging. This will almost always result in a new sku though, so there should be no confusion if you are getting the original or a chain store special, even if things look similar on the outside.

    There are, however, some brands and companies that refuse to do this at all. Some are just too small to make many different skus. Others just have principle.
     
  29. jpm

    jpm NES Member

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    same SKU is the same item, that doesn't mean the same model is the same item though. Compare the SKUs
     
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  30. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    @timbo big box stores have buying leverage, and can sell at a lower price point. Mom&pop have no such leverage, and the price point reflects that.
     
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