Honda HRX217VKA Review

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Honda HRX217VKA Review
Bottom Line

The Honda HRX217VKA is a solid all-around mower that gets high praise for its excellent mulching and bagging capabilities. The self-propelled motor means you don't have to muscle it up and down large or hilly yards, and a new control system makes it easier to keep the speed constant. 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 with slightly different features as the Honda HRX217K5VKA (Est. $600).

Pros
  • Easy to start
  • Excellent mulching and bagging
  • Extensive warranty
  • Terrific reliability
Cons
  • Lacks some features for the price

Breaking it down

Performance

Best-in-class mowing and mulching. The Honda HRX217VKA gets top marks from experts for its mulching and bagging abilities. Roy Berendsohn of Popular Mechanics raves about its "velvet finish." 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).

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, thanks to its self-propelled, rear-wheel drive. Owners like the automatic transmission, with five settings to drive from 0 to 4 mph. TheSweethome.com reports that the lawn mower's control system was updated before the 2015 season, which fixed some issues with jerky acceleration. Testers at Popular Mechanics note that the deck-lift levers are too small, making it uncomfortable to adjust. 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.

Safety/noise

Be careful when cleaning. The one quibble that a few experts and owners have about the Honda HRX217VKA is that it lacks a washout port. That means you have to tip the lawnmower over to clean out any retained grass or clumps. Be sure to turn the engine off first and let the blades come to a full and complete stop before doing so. Honda does not rate its lawn mowers for noise levels, but experts recommend always wearing hearing and eye protection when using powered lawn equipment.

Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

Honda HRX217VKA self propelled mower, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

Editors test around 70 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.

2. Popular Mechanics

Best Lawnmowers of the Year: Comparison Test, Roy Berendsohn, Oct. 7, 2015

Roy Berendsohn and his crew test eight walk-behind lawn mowers on real-world lawns, including the Honda HRX2172VKA (similar to the HRX217VKA). The Honda comes in at number three on the list, with Berendsohn calling it, "the luxury car of walk-behind lawnmowers."

3. TheSweethome.com

The Best Lawnmower, Doug Mahoney, Apr. 13, 2016

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 2016. This is the third straight year that the HRX217K5VKA has been chosen as the best lawn mower.

4. HomeDepot.com

Honda HRX217VKA GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of May 2016

The Honda HRX217VKA is one of the highest-rated lawn mowers in the HRX series, with an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 in more than 435 reviews. Eighty-nine percent would recommend the mower. Most say it has made mowing their lawn much easier than other mowers they have owned, they also praise how "finished" their lawn looks. There are a few quibbles about durability issues.

5. MowersDirect.com

Honda HRX217VKA (21") 190cc Self-Propelled Lawn Mower, Contributors to MowersDirect.com, As of May 2016

Around 105 owners review the Honda HRX217VKA, giving it an overall rating of about 4.5 stars out of 5. The easy-start engine, dependable performance and solid construction are among the attributes users like most. It's recommended by 89 percent of owners. The site also gives the HRX217VKA an overall A- rating, based upon expert analysis, manufacturer ratings and customer reviews.