Craftsman M230 163cc 21-inch Self-propelled Gas Lawn Mower Review

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By Kirsi Jansa

Gas lawn mowers have long been a staple for maintaining neat and tidy lawns. They offer the power and persistence to handle varying grass types, providing homeowners with reliable performance season after season.

Craftsman 21-inch 163cc FWD Gas Self-Propelled Mower (M230)

Craftsman 21-inch 163cc FWD Gas Self-Propelled Mower (M230)

Craftsman brings forward its 21-inch gas-powered lawn mower designed to deliver efficiency, ease of use, and versatility for those who take pride in maintaining a pristine lawn.

Quick Overview

  • Engine Size: 163cc Briggs and Stratton
  • Deck Size: 21-inch 3-in-1 convertible deck
  • Cutting Heights: 6 positions, from 1.25 inches to 3.75 inches
  • Bag Capacity: 1.9 bushel Dust Blocker bag
  • Rear Wheel Size: 11-inch wheels

Quick Overview

Detailed Review

Seamless Movement with Variable Speed

The Craftsman M230 stands out with its self-propelled variable speed feature. Its front-wheel drive system offers a unique adaptability that caters to individual mowing rhythms. This means users can mow their lawns at the most comfortable speed, ensuring an efficient and leisurely mowing experience.

Engine Excellence and Maintenance Ease

Powered by a robust 163cc Briggs and Stratton engine, the Craftsman M230 is designed for a hassle-free start. Gone are the days of cumbersome priming before getting to work. Innovative features like ReadyStart and Just Check and Add simplify the process, ensuring a swift start and significantly reducing maintenance routines.

Versatility and Customization in Mowing

The 21-inch 3-in-1 convertible deck showcases the mower’s true versatility. It offers users a range of options: discharging clippings, mulching them back for lawn nourishment, or collecting them in the 1.9 bushel Dust Blocker bag. Additionally, the dual-lever mechanism provides further customization. Users can effortlessly choose from six distinct cutting heights, ranging from 1.25 to 3.75 inches, ensuring the lawn’s appearance is tailored to exact preferences.

Versatility and Customization in Mowing

Innovative Design for Easy Cleanup and Mobility

Post-mowing cleanup becomes a straightforward task with the Craftsman M230. The Dust Blocker bag, specifically designed to reduce airborne dust and debris, also facilitates simple composting or disposal of grass clippings.

The addition of a deck wash port is another thoughtful touch, allowing for an easy connection to a garden hose to rinse away trapped grass underneath the mowing deck. Moreover, the 11-inch rear wheels provide enhanced maneuverability. Whether navigating flat gardens or undulating landscapes, these wheels ensure optimum control and fluid movement across all terrains.


  • Self-Propelled Variable Speed: Allows users to mow at a comfortable pace, making it user-friendly and adaptable to individual preferences.
  • Efficient Engine Design: The 163cc Briggs and Stratton engine, equipped with ReadyStart and Just Check and Add, ensures hassle-free starts and minimal maintenance.
  • Versatile Mowing Options: The 21-inch 3-in-1 convertible deck offers multiple mowing choices, from discharging to mulching or collecting in a bag.
  • Customizable Cutting Height: Dual-lever mechanism offers 6 cutting heights, allowing users to tailor the lawn’s appearance.
  • Innovative Cleanup Features: The Dust Blocker bag minimizes airborne dust, and the deck wash port allows easy cleaning of the mower deck.


  • Front Wheel Drive: While it offers good maneuverability, front-wheel drives can sometimes struggle on uphill terrains compared to rear-wheel drives.
  • Size Limitation: The 21-inch deck size might be less efficient for users with larger lawns, requiring more passes to cover the same area.
  • Gas-Powered: Being gas-powered means it emits greenhouse gases, unlike electric mowers.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Even with reduced maintenance features, gas mowers require more upkeep than electric mowers, including oil changes and spark plug replacements.
  • Noise Level: Typically, gas-powered mowers are noisier than their electric counterparts, which can be a concern in residential areas.

User Feedback


  • Many customers appreciate the 163cc Briggs and Stratton engine, noting that it provides consistent power and efficiency throughout the mowing session.
  • The 21-inch 3-in-1 convertible deck is a favorite feature among users, as it allows for versatile mowing options that suit various lawn needs.
  • Several buyers have highlighted the convenience of the 6-position height adjustment, emphasizing that it offers the flexibility to achieve a perfect lawn finish every time.


  • A few users have mentioned that the 1.9 bushel Dust Blocker bag fills up too quickly, requiring frequent emptying during larger mowing tasks.
  • Some customers have pointed out that the 11-inch rear wheels, although good for maneuverability, might not be durable enough for rough terrains or prolonged usage.
  • People who used this mower have occasionally commented that the 21-inch deck size, though efficient for smaller lawns, might not be the best choice for expansive lawns as it requires multiple passes.

Final Words: Should I Buy Craftsman M230 21-inch Gas Lawn Mower?

The Craftsman 21-inch 163cc FWD Gas Self-Propelled Mower (M230) is not just a tool but a testament to efficient lawn care. With its array of features and robust build, it promises both performance and longevity. Whether you have a small yard or a more expansive lawn, this mower ensures that each mowing session is a seamless experience.

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