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Honda HRX217VKA

Est. $600
Reviewed
June 2014
by ConsumerSearch
Honda HRX217VKA

Best lawn mower

Pros
  • Easy to start
  • Excellent mulching and bagging
  • Extensive warranty
Cons
  • Speed control issues

Bottom line

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, but some say it's hard to keep the speed constant. The strong, four-stroke engine powers through tall, wet grass, and the durable NeXite deck carries a lifetime warranty.

Performance

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 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).

Ease of use

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, though a few say the controls are too jerky for smooth acceleration. Testers at Popular Mechanics say the paddle levers to control speed can be operated with your thumbs or the heels of your hands.

According to J.D. Power and Associates, owners rank Honda as one of the best lawn care machinery brands. The HRX217VKA comes with a five-year mower warranty (the longest in our report). The 21-inch-wide deck also has a limited lifetime warranty for residential users.

Safety/noise

Relatively quiet. In its review of eight lawn mowers, Popular Mechanics measures the comparable Honda HRX2172VKA noise output at 89 decibels adjusted, making it one of the quietest mowers the magazine tests. Experts still recommend wearing hearing protection for any lawn mower noise over 85 decibels.

To operate the mower, Honda requires users to hold down a lever against the handle to engage the blades. When released, a flywheel brake stops the blades from spinning and turns the engine off. A few owners find it inconvenient to restart the mower each time they need to empty the bag.

Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

Editors test 55 self-propelled mowers as part of their extensive lawn mower and tractors report, including electric mowers and single-speed and multiple-speed gas mowers. Their rating scale includes an evaluation of each mower's ability to mulch, bag or side-discharge grass clippings without clumping.

Review: Lawn Mowers & Tractors, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

2. PopularMechanics.com

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." The 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

3. J.D. Power & Associates

Editors of J.D. Power and Associates say that durability, usability, performance, price and maintenance are some of the most important factors shoppers consider when buying a new lawn mower. During their most recent walk-behind lawn mower satisfaction report, the editors rank the Honda brand fourth -- behind John Deere, Toro and Troy-Bilt -- but it's still above average.

Review: 2012 Walk-Behind Lawn Mower Satisfaction Report, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Aug. 30, 2012

4. HomeDepot.com

The Honda HRX217VKA has an average 4.5-star score, based on a 5-star scale, at HomeDepot.com, where most of the 320-plus owners give it rave reviews. Many call it "the best mower ever" and say this Honda is worth the price because it's easy to start, a champ at mulching and well built.

Review: Honda GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of June 2014

5. MowersDirect.com

Nearly two dozen owners rate the HRX217VKA as a 4.7-star mower on this website, which uses a 5-star scale. The easy-start engine, dependable performance and solid construction are among the attributes users like most. Jose Castellanos, the site expert, doesn't review this mower, but he does review the similar Honda HRX217HYA.

Review: Honda HRX217VKA (21") 190cc Self-Propelled Lawn Mower, Contributors to MowersDirect.com, As of June 2014

6. Bestcovery.com

The Honda HRX217VKA is included in Bestcovery.com's lineup of best self-propelled lawn mowers. Author "Dale Y" gives it a rating of 5 out of 5 and says it gives the "smoothest cuts on the planet." He says the lawn mower is on the pricey side but is loaded with user-friendly features. It isn't clear if the mower was tested.

Review: Honda HRX217VKA Lawn Mower, "Dale Y", Not Dated

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