The Honda HRX217VKA is a solid all-around mower. Easy-start features and excellent mulching and bagging capabilities make maintaining a beautiful lawn easier than ever. The self-propelled motor makes light work of even the largest or hilliest yards, and a new control system makes it easier to keep the speed constant than before. The strong, four-stroke engine powers through tall, wet grass, and the durable NeXite deck carries a lifetime warranty. This Honda mower is also sold as the Honda HRX217K5VKA and the Honda HRX2175VKA.
Best-in-class mowing and mulching. The Honda HRX217VKA gets top marks from experts for its mulching and bagging abilities. Popular Mechanics gives it five stars for its finely cut clippings and users say the mower mulches so well it's hard to see the discarded clippings. The Versamow System lets you decide how much grass you want to bag, mulching the rest into fine pieces. It isn't the best at side-discharging grass, but tests show it still handles the task very well. Users attest that the four-stroke GCV190 engine is tough enough to power through thick or wet grass without bogging down and say it's effortless to start. The HRX217VKA meets emission requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Reliable and well-built. Though the Honda HRX217VKA is heavy -- about 90 pounds -- most users don't have any problems maneuvering it around the yard. Owners like the automatic transmission, with five settings to drive from 0 to 4 mph. A few say the controls are too jerky for smooth acceleration but TheSweetHome.com reports that the lawn mowers control system has been updated for 2015, and that should go a long way toward fixing that issue. Testers at Popular Mechanics say the paddle levers to control speed can be operated with your thumbs or the heels of your hands. Honda self-propelled mowers rank among the most reliable brands in one large independent survey. The HRX217VKA comes with a five-year mower warranty. The 21-inch-wide deck also has a limited lifetime warranty for residential use.
Relatively quiet. In its 2014 review of eight lawn mowers, Popular Mechanics measures the noise level of last year's model, the very similar sans control update Honda HRX2172VKA, at 89 dbA, making it one of the quietest mowers in that year's tests. That said, experts still recommend wearing hearing protection for any lawn mower noise over 85 decibels. The new control system no longer requires users to hold down a lever to maintain forward speed. "It's more like cruise control," says TheSweetHome.com.
Honda HRX217VKA Reviews
Editors test 63 self-propelled mowers as part of their extensive lawn mower and tractors report, including the Honda HRX217VKA. The review includes an evaluation of the mower's ability to mulch, bag or side-discharge grass clippings without clumping. Separately, the site includes a ranking of brand reliability that's based on a survey of its membership.
Review: Honda HRX217VKA self propelled mower, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Based on research and discussion with lawn care experts and professionals, Doug Mahoney names the Honda HRX217K5VKA -- essentially identical to the Honda HRX217VKA -- as the best lawn mower for 2015. Though hands-on tests have not yet been done, they are slated for later in 2015.
Review: The Best Lawnmower, Doug Mahoney, Apr. 17, 2015
3. Popular Mechanics
Roy Berendsohn and his crew of testers take eight convertible mulching mowers to a farm in southern New York. For over three weeks they run the mowers through "sun, wind and rain." Last year's Honda HRX2172VKA (similar to the HRX217VKA) is one of two mowers to earn a perfect five-star score.
Review: Best Lawnmowers of the Year: Comparison Test, Roy Berendsohn, Not Dated
The Honda HRX217VKA has an average 4.5-star score, based on a 5-star scale, at HomeDepot.com, where most of the 400-plus owners give it rave reviews. Roughly 89 percent say that they would recommend it to a friend.
Review: Honda HRX217VKA GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of May 2015
More than 40 owners rate the Honda HRX217VKA as a 4.7-stars out of 5. The easy-start engine, dependable performance and solid construction are among the attributes users like most. It's recommended by 88 percent of owners. The site also gives the HRX217VKA an overall A- rating, based upon expert analysis, manufacturer ratings and customer reviews.
Review: Honda HRX217VKA (21") 190cc Self-Propelled Lawn Mower, Contributors to MowersDirect.com, As of May 2015