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Troy-Bilt unveils an outdoor tool for all seasons

Transform this one machine into a lawn mower, snow thrower, leaf blower, or pressure washer.

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Troy-Bilt

Troy-Bilt hopes to address many of the inconveniences of maintaining your yard with its all-in-one Flex. A single, powerful base can snap to a variety of attachments so you can mow the lawn, clear the driveway of snow or the yard of leaves, or even wash the exterior of your home with a single, versatile machine. Troy-Bilt's transforming wonder looks to save garage space, and for less than the cost of purchasing a lawn mower, leaf blower, snow thrower, and pressure washer separately.

Starting this spring, exclusively at Lowe's, you'll be able to purchase the Troy-Bilt Flex and the aforementioned four attachments. The base itself will cost $400. The mower will be $500, the flex washer and leaf blower $280, and the snow thrower $400. Troy-Bilt has already announced plans for future attachments as well, including a power broom, log splitter, water pump, and shredder. No pricing information is available for those pieces.

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Troy-Bilt

How much space you'll actually save is debatable. Each attachment looks similarly sized to a full-sized machine collapsed for storage. Troy-Bilt will sell a customized set of shelves, but looking at the pieces together, it certainly seems like the whole package might still require a big corner of your garage or shed. Troy-Bilt claims a 60-percent gain. The translation to functional space is trickier.

Each attachment comes a la carte, meaning it's not quite the steal it initially appears to be. Troy-Bilt spins their piece-by-piece approach as allowing you the flexibility to choose the parts you actually need. That's fair, but you'll certainly need to invest in at least a couple of pieces to make the initial cost of the base worthwhile, as each individual attachment costs roughly the same as a mid-ranged machine from each category.

That said, the specs for each match or are better than most mid-range machines. The mower's wide 28-inch front gives much more coverage than its similarly priced competition with a 21-to-22 inch typical width. The snow-blower's two-stage performance actually makes it a good deal at $400. A two-stage thrower allows it to handle much deeper snow, since separate impellers are used to pull it in then launch it out. You'll typically spend $500 for a machine with this capability.

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Troy-Bilt

The engine at the center of the many Flex configurations also looks impressive. At 208cc (cubic centimeters), it's larger than most mower and snow-blower engines, and that typically translates to more horsepower. The Troy-Bilt Flex might not be quite as cost or space effective as I initially presumed when I heard of an all-in-one machine, but only having to maintain a single engine for all of your yard-care needs certainly gives it a big edge in convenience.

The Troy-Bilt Flex has a significant cool factor going for it. Attaching each piece is supposedly as simple as snapping it into place; they release via a lever. To be worthwhile, though, the Flex will need this mechanism to be durable as well as easy and each piece will need to be able to perform up to the level of the competition, especially since you won't save that much money.

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