Push Mower Reviews

Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Feature Set
Fuel Efficiency
Cutting Speed
Cutting Area
Value
Final Thoughts

We're really impressed with the level of performance the Craftsman M310 gives you for its price. It really simplifies things with its auto-starting and never change oil designs. Beyond that, it just works well. There are a couple of quirks, like the feel of its self-propelled controls, but it offers a very satisfactory mower experience. 

Overall Score 4.6 Shootout Results

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Craftsman M310 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Review


Easy-Starting and Reliable Craftsman M310 Lawn Mower Appeals to Homeowners

We recently took a close look at 24 different lawn mowers. Some were geared toward homeowners while some were geared toward Pros and we had a mix of both battery-powered and gas-powered mowers. Coming from the residential gas-powered camp, the Craftsman M310 self-propelled lawn mower has the type of feature set, power, and a price tag that appeals to homeowners who want a decent cut without having to physically shove a mower around the yard.

Pros

  • Easy start-up; no prime, no choke
  • No oil changes required – seriously
  • Easy adjustments on cut height and handle positions
  • Excellent power
  • Excellent value

Cons

  • Flimsy self-propel controls

Shootout Results

We’re really impressed with the level of performance the Craftsman M310 gives you for its price. It really simplifies things with its auto-starting and never change oil designs. Beyond that, it just works well. There are a couple of quirks, like the feel of its self-propelled controls, but it offers a very satisfactory mower experience.

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 out word for it. However, feel free to check out the details in our gas mower shootout.

Cutting Power

The faster the blade tip speed, the easier a time a mower has with the cut. When grass gets thicker and taller, the engine’s ability to maintain blade tip speed will determine how well it can handle the overgrowth.

Under no load, the Craftsman M310 banged out 3192 RPM with the blade tip moving at 199.3 MPH. This is faster than every other mower we tested under no load.

For a light maintenance cut, the speed is barely going to drop, making Craftsman one of the best at cutting the grass instead of tearing it. As long as you keep the blade sharp, you’ll get excellent results.

Throwing our mowers under a heavy load, we tested them again to see how they handled the stress. We saw a drop-off of 7.5 mph, with the Craftsman M310 still reaching 3072 RPM and a blade tip speed of 191.8 MPH. These were the fastest speeds we saw from the residential mowers, and faster than all but 1 mower from the Pro sector as well.

In terms of overall cutting power, this Craftsman self-propelled lawn mower offers excellent performance for nearly every type of homeowner. Whether you cut every week or sometimes let things go a little too long, the engine does an excellent job of keeping the blade speed high.

Cutting Area

All that power doesn’t mean a hill of beans if the mower can’t run for very long. No worries for this Craftsman self-propelled lawn mower though. On a full tank, it can run for 94 minutes when tackling weekly-cut levels of grass growth.

Moving at a steady 2.5 MPH, you can expect to be able to clear 35,997 square feet worth of yard. That equals 0.83 acres. This was good enough to finish 2nd in our area testing for residential mowers.

If you have more lawn to cut, you can always refill the tank and keep going.

Fuel Efficiency

Of course, actual fuel efficiency helps with the area you can manage as well. The Craftsman M310 comes with a 40 oz fuel tank, which is about average. But how does the mower actually manage its fuel consumption?

With its 40-ounce fuel tank running the engine for 94 minutes, we can break it all down as such: the Craftsman M310 mows 900 square feet per ounce, or 2.64 acres per gallon. That’s nothing to shake a stick at, but two models in this class actually did better.

Feature Set

ReadyStart Pull Start

We’re starting to see easy start features on many of the residential gas mowers coming out these days, and it’s a real blessing. Not wrestling with the choke and pull start for minutes on end is a nice change of pace from the mowers I used growing up. Instead, you pretty much just give the cord a pull on the 163cc Briggs & Stratton engine a quick tug and off you go.

It might take a few tries if your mower has been sitting around during the slow season, but you don’t have to guess with a manual choke.

Variable Speed Self-Propel Drive

The Craftsman M310 self-propelled lawn mower has the variable drive speed we like to see from our mowers. We’re not in love with the design of the controls though; they feel flimsy, just like every other brand’s attempt at this design. However, in terms of functionality, it’s easy enough to use. You just need to squeeze the drive handles to engage the rear-wheel drive.

Deck Material

Since the self-propelling drive does the hard work for you, we can’t see a reason why a mower wouldn’t use a steel deck (or aluminum, as is the case of the eXmark Commercial 21). Craftsman seems to agree with us on this point, as they’ve opted for a steel deck design for the M310.

Height Adjustment and Range

We’re iffy about a single point height adjustment with gas mowers because the weight of the mower can introduce flex and fatigue to that point, resulting in a flimsy look and feel. It’s something we normally see on lighter battery-powered mowers (although the Cub Cadet SC 900 uses a single point design, and it feels really sturdy).

The Craftsman M310, however, reaches a compromise here. Rather than forcing the user to adjust the deck height at each of the wheels, it employs a two-point adjustment at the front and back of the mower. It feels pretty sturdy, and only having to adjust two wheels is still more convenient than four.

This mower has 6 different height settings that range from 1″ to 3.5″. We might like to see a bit more range on the top end for our St. Augustine grass, but this mower has the range to tackle most grasses pretty effectively.

Handle Positions

The Craftsman M310 self-propelled lawn mower has 3 handle positions to accommodate most heights. Short folks, tall folks, and medium-sized folks can all find a handle position to make the job more comfortable. Plus, Craftsman uses these easy-to-adjust clips on the handle that make the adjustment super-simple.

Discharge Options

You can mulch, side discharge, and bag up your clippings. Plus, should you choose to bag up your clippings, Craftsman includes a 2.3 bushel Dust Blocker bag that reduces the amount of dust and debris that you’d inevitably breathe otherwise.

Additional Features

  • Dust Blocker Bag
  • Just Check & Add: Craftsman claims that you’ll never need an oil change with the M310. Just check your oil levels from time to time, add your motor oil, and mow.
  • Built-in deck wash port

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Value

The Craftsman M310 self-propelled lawn mower presented the best value out of any of the residential gas mowers we looked at. For one thing, it was the least expensive at $359 while going toe-to-toe with Husqvarna for many of the tests.

For a mower that’s well under $400, you get a solid build and the performance of mowers that cost quite a bit more.

The Bottom Line

We’re really impressed with the level of performance the Craftsman M310 gives you for its price. It really simplifies things with its auto-starting and never change oil designs. Beyond that, it just works well. There are a couple of quirks, like the feel of its self-propelled controls, but it offers a very satisfactory mower experience.

Craftsman Self-Propelled Mower Specs

  • Model Number: M310
  • Engine: Briggs & Stratton 725exi
  • Engine Start: Recoil
  • Displacement: 163cc
  • Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
  • Speed Control: Variable
  • Wheel Size: 8″ (front); 11″ (rear)
  • Cut Height: 6-position
  • Height Range: 1.25″ to 3.75″
  • Cut Range: 1/4 acre to 1/2 acre
  • Weight: 84 lbs
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty
  • Price: $449

For more information, check out Craftsman.com.

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David S

I can attest to the quality of a Craftsman lawn mower. I purchased a Craftsman power propelled lawn mower at the end of 1993 before I lost my 10% employee discount. It was purchased at a Sears outlet store and was on sale. That combined with my discount ended up making the price less than half its regular price. It didn’t have a choke, just a primer bulb that you pressed twice, and it always started on the first pull. After becoming unable to cut my lawn in 2012, it sat for a few years unused and never started. When… Read more »