Honda push mower with bagger
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Honda Mulching Push Lawn Mower
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We looked at the top Lawn Mowers and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we’ve determined the best Lawn Mower you should buy.
Update as August 31, 2022:Checkout The Best Lawn Mower for a detailed review of all the top lawn mowers.
This lawn mower delivers consistent cuts even on high grass, thanks to its twin Micro Cut blades. It sports multiple functionalities and is equally effective whether mulching, mowing or side-discharging. The 190 cc engine is also reliable, running smoothly at up to 4 mph.
In our analysis of 44 expert reviews, the Honda Mulching Push Lawn Mower placed 8th when we looked at the top 15 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
From The Manufacturer
Smart Drive – Variable Speed 0 to 4 mph., Mulch, Bag, Discharge. No Tools or attachments needed, Micro cut Twin Blades – For an ultra fine cut for mulching and bagging, 12ga Steel Deck, Easy to Start GCV160 Engine. CARB and EPA Compliant, Auto Choke, 2-Position Handle, or fold for easy storage, 8-inch Ball Bearing Wheels, 6 Position Cutting Height Adjustments 1-1/8″ – 4″, 2.4 Bushel Bag, Foam Grip Handles, Zone Start Safety System – kills engine when you let go of flywheel lever Manual Fuel Shut Off.
What experts liked
The Honda has rear-wheel drive, a powerful 190 cc engine, and a two-blade cutting system, so it offers great traction and can tackle tall, thick grass with no problems.
For the nature of its efficiency, this self propelled lawn mower has a double blade feature. This is the secret which has enhanced its three in one functionality of mowing, mulching and eventually side discharging without any problems.
The twin MicroCut blades slice with enough combined precision to potentially swear anyone off single-blade mowers for life. That means more than neatly trimming with perfect consistency from start to finish.
The Honda HRX performs well, giving your grass a smooth, even cut. This is largely thanks to the special MicroCut blade.
The Honda microcut twin blades offer 4 cutting surfaces and ultra fine clippings, meaning more clippings per bag, less time emptying the bag, and an excellent cut with less work.
The 190 cc engine allows you to mow at a decent clip, and it starts more easily and runs more efficiently than most side-valve engines.
What experts didn’t like
If it has a minor downside, it would be the occasional rough start. Honda’s auto-choke ordinarily smooths out waking up the engine to mow from a cold start with nearly perfect consistency, but this model every so often still roars to life a bit stubbornly.
If I’d have to find a downside, then it is the price point – it’s a bit more costly than the average self-propelled mower.
Our Expert Consultant
Vicki Liston writes, produces, and narrates “On The Fly…DIY,” an award-winning home improvement and DIY show of unique project tutorials for the casual DIY’er.
Home improvement and all things DIY have been Liston’s passion since she bought her first house in 2007 and she started making video blogs in 2014. She’s performed hundreds of DIY projects, from small ones to major, wall-smashing renovations and can teach you how to make a trendy DIY barn door for cheap. The proceeds earned from “On The Fly…DIY” are donated to no-kill animal shelters and rescue organizations. You can find her show on Prime Video.
Overall Product Rankings
Makita Battery Powered Commercial-Grade Lawn Mower
Litheli Adjustable Height Push Lawn Mower
Greenworks Manual Push-Button Start Lawn Mower
Craftsman M105 Pull-Start Adjustable Cutting Deck Lawn Mower
PowerSmart DB2321SR Adjustable Easy-Store Lawn Mower
BLACKDECKER MTC220 Adjustable Length 3-In-1 Lawn Mower
American Lawn Mower Company 50514 2-In-1 Slim Lawn Mower
Honda Mulching Push Lawn Mower
Sun Joe 13-Amp Electric Lawn Mower
Cub Cadet Steel Deck Gas Push Lawn Mower
EGO Power Manual High-Torque Lawn Mower
Troy-Built Self-Propelled Dual-Lever Lawn Mower
BLACKDECKER Automatic Feed Spool Lawn Mower
Craftsman M105 Zag Treaded Tires Lawn Mower
An Overview On Lawn Mowers
Mowing the lawn: It’s one of the dubious joys of homeownership. Depending on where you live, what type of lawn you have and what time of year it is, you might have to cut your grass as often as twice a week. So it’s important to pick a lawn mower that will not only last but also makes the job as painless as possible.
Luckily, lawn care technology has come a long way, even for the old reliable walk-behind mower. While the power source may vary these days, the principle is the same: a rotating blade attached to a motor, encased in a wheeled, low-lying frame. Some models use a gasoline engine, fueled by regular unleaded gas in most cases. To start this type of lawn mower, just give a sharp yank on a pull cord. Keep hold of the throttle and off you go, with the help of a propulsion system that turns the wheels at walking speed and saves you from having to push the mower around.
Then there are fully electric mowers. Technically, they’ve been around for decades, but this type of mower has truly come into its own in the 2010s. Electrics like the Greenworks 12-Amp are powered by a cord, which means you’re tethered to an outlet. Others run on rechargeable batteries. Either way, these models are typically best suited to small-to-medium yards, although pricier battery-powered mowers can sport a surprisingly long operating time. They may even have the option of a removable battery, allowing you to charge one up while the other is running. While most electrics are not self-propelled, the mower itself is typically much lighter and easy to maneuver. And while they are also pricier, you’ll save in the long run by not having to buy gasoline.
And where does all that grass go once it’s cut? Generally, mowers have a rear or side bag (or both) designed to catch all that debris, which then must be emptied. A greener option that many mowers have is a mulching setting. In this case, there’s no bag to fill or empty. The mower simply cuts the grass into significantly finer pieces, which then get spread back onto the yard. Not only does this save your back the trouble of emptying the bag, but your lawn will thank you, too. Mulch can act as fertilizer for your grass and also helps it retain the moisture that it loses on hot days. Not to mention, you’ll keep grass out of city landfills, where it makes up a significant chunk of waste.
Whether you mulch or not, you’ll want to adjust your mower to fit the job. Most mowers have a height adjustment lever to lift the blade a few inches. Some mowers make the job more difficult than others. You might have to make the adjustment on each wheel individually or just once to lift or lower the entire deck. Needless to say, overgrown yards with thick weeds should be tackled at the highest setting possible. For regular use, a good rule of thumb is to cut no more than one-third the height of your lawn each time.
You might be tempted to cut lower (and therefore less often), but grass that’s too short is susceptible to heat damage and creates an environment for weeds to thrive. Too tall, and your grass becomes harder to mow and more inviting to critters like snakes and mice. Of course, the ideal height can vary widely depending on the type of grass you have. For expert pointers, take a sample and ask your local garden center what kind of lawn you have and how to care for it.
Finally, safety is always something to keep in mind when dealing with a whirling set of steel blades. Keep small children off the lawn while any mower is in operation, and check the area beforehand for loose objects or thick branches that might cause a jam or create flying shrapnel. A good mower casing will guard against the latter, but it’s not a bad idea to wear goggles just in case. Walk-behind mowers have definitely made strides in safety over the years. “Many of these mowers have a safety feature that kills the engine as soon as you let go of the control handle,” says Vicki Liston, the host of “On The Fly…DIY,” an award-winning home improvement show with fun tutorials. “Some mowers also have a blade brake clutch feature, which stops the blade when you let go of the handle but doesn’t turn off the mower.”
Honda Dominates the Best Gas Push Mowers, According to Consumer Reports
Lawn mowers are handy in the warmer months, but they eventually break down and need to be replaced. While you’ll usually pay over 450,000 for the average push lawn mower, it’s possible to get one for less than 500.
Of course, it’s hard to know which ones to buy with so many makes available. Finding an affordable lawn mower might also mean sacrificing some performance and longevity. If you need something that excels at both, Honda is one of the best lawn mower brands.
Consumer Reports loves Honda lawn mowers
According to Consumer Reports, the Honda HRX217HZA is currently the best gas walk-behind mower. Consumer Reports tests its mowers in three key areas: side-discharging, bagging, and mulching.
A mower with good side discharging means that the discharge chute will disperse grass clippings evenly. Mulching refers to the fineness of the clippings and how evenly they’re spread across your lawn. Finally, you want a mower with a bag that doesn’t fill up too quickly.
The Honda HRX217HZA has excellent mulching abilities, and testers could fill up the mowing bag completely with no leakage. However, it can’t side-discharge lawn clippings as smoothly or evenly as other mowers.
Some reviews say that the HRX217HZA runs smoothly with electric starting but will never start after one pull. This mower also has excessive noise levels while standing behind it, so you’ll probably want headphones or earbuds.
However, this Honda mower has excellent handling and doesn’t lose momentum during extended lawn trimming sessions. It also has a convenient blade-brake clutch to conceal the blade at the press of a button. With this, you can safely step away from the handlebar with the engine engaged.
The Honda HRX217HZA usually retails for around 980. If that’s out of your price range, the Honda HRN216PKA is excellent.
You get near-perfect side-discharging, mulching, and bagging performance for just 460. It’s also easy to start, provides a perfectly even cut, and handles just as well as the HRX217HZA mower.
Unfortunately, the Honda HRN216PKA’s cheap price point does come with a few quality shortcuts. The wheels are less durable with their plastic construction, and many owners report minor manufacturing flaws.
Despite having a perfect reliability rating, the pull-starter is prone to wearing out after a few years. The mower still starts, but it requires a few extra pulls.
How do Consumer Reports judge the quality of lawn mowers?
To start, Consumer Reports takes each mower to testing grounds filled with 1,800 pounds of grass seed. Once everything has grown, the lawn mower will cut 500,000 square feet of grass, which amounts to 3,000 pounds of clippings. In addition to even ground, each mower is driven over ditches and slopes to get the complete picture of its performance.
When a mower is relatively quiet and has more convenient features, it will also have a higher score. Like vehicle scores, Consumer Reports also takes the surveys from actual owners into account when ranking lawn mowers. This allows Consumer Reports to understand better how well each mower holds up after several years.
Why a good lawn mower is important
A healthy lawn keeps your property looking neat, manages the insect population around your home, and encourages even growth. That’s why it’s essential to find a lawn mower that will do its job without wearing out too quickly.
Since lawn mowers are a steep investment, proper research beforehand is required to get your money’s worth. Fortunately, it’s easier to find your perfect mower with resources like Consumer Reports and quality manufacturers like Honda.
What You Should Know About Lawn Mowers
Self-propelled lawn mowers can take some of the effort out of walk-behind mowing.
There are two basic types of walk-behind mowers: push and self-propelled.
The push type of mower is usually smaller, lighter, and easier to store. They are used primarily for smaller, level lawns. They are perfect for cleaning up areas that larger riding lawn mowers may miss. They can be run by gasoline, cords, or battery.
Self-propelled lawn mowers usually have a larger cutting diameter and can move on their own through operator controls. These mowers can also be powered by gasoline, cords, or battery. Since they take the brunt of the pushing away, self-propelled mowers are perfect for larger lawns up to a half-acre, and they can easily handle hills and sloped lawns. These self-propelled mowers aren’t fully robotic lawn mowers so you still have to do some work guiding them around your yard.
What Is A Self-propelled Lawn Mower?
The first self-propelled lawn mowers started to appear in the late-1960s. As suburbia grew and lawns got larger, pushing a heavy steel mower around on a summer afternoon wasn’t what most people wanted to be doing.
The first self-propelled mowers had primitive front-wheel drive systems that worked well enough, but the mowers often moved along too slowly. Sure, you weren’t pushing but you were caught in a slow-moving lawn-cutting procession. Early mowers either moved too slowly or too fast to match a natural walking speed.
Today’s mowers offer a much better propulsion system. The Honda NeXite Variable Speed 4-in-1 Gas Walk Behind Self-propelled Mower with Select Drive Control, for example, allows a variety of walking speed settings. Owners can literally dial in their preferred walking speed so that they become one with the mower, not being pulled and not having to push.
The Ego Power Select Cut 56-Volt Brushless 21-in Self-propelled Cordless Electric Lawn Mower even allows the operator to drive out to the lawn without the blades turning. That is a great feature.
Today’s self-propelled mowers reduce operator fatigue and make cutting the grass easier than years ago. Self-propelled mowers make cutting on hills safer and more efficient. And with modern speed options they make a summertime chore a little more enjoyable.
Gasoline, Corded Electric, or Battery—Which Lawn Mower is Right for You?
Battery-powered lawn mowers can be powerful and efficient.
Gasoline-powered lawnmowers have kept lawns manicured for decades. They are powerful, reliable, and affordable, and come with features such as self-propelled movement, mulching features, and self-cleaning availability. They are powerful enough for large lawn care jobs and can tackle any lawn from a quarter- to half-acre acre. Any lawn bigger than that would necessitate a riding mower.
But gas-powered mowers emit dangerous carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, require yearly maintenance, and require the storage of gasoline and oil. This may not be suitable for some consumers.
Corded electric mowers have been around for years and were historically the choice of consumers who had smaller lawns and didn’t need the more powerful gasoline mower. While powerful enough to get most cutting or trimming jobs done, the one obvious drawback to a corded mower is the electrical cord.
For any yard worthy of mowing, a long electrical extension cord is required to power the mower. This can be a minor annoyance, such as having to keep the cord free from getting tangled in trees and bushes, to a major annoyance when you drive over it and cut it into small pieces.
However, corded electric mowers require no gas, oil, or maintenance and, other than a blade sharpening from time to time, can perform reliably for years.
Battery-powered cars, power equipment, and tools have been around for a long time. The electric motors were strong and reliable enough, but the battery was not. Just a few years ago, an electric car could expect to go only 100 miles on a charge, and power tools and equipment didn’t last long either. In the past few years, battery technology has improved by leaps and bounds.
Electric cars can expect hundreds of miles on a charge and power tools and equipment can last a full day. This lithium battery technology found its way to lawnmowers and it has created a viable option for those consumers who don’t want gas and don’t want a cord. These battery-powered mowers are powerful, efficient, lightweight, and green. Many now use brushless electric motors, which are more efficient, produce more torque, and are longer lasting than the older electric motors with brushes.
How often should I mow my lawn?
Cutting the lawn too often and only cutting it when it gets overgrown are both unhealthy for a lush, beautiful lawn. The rule of thumb in the lawn-care industry is to keep the grass between 3 inches and 3.5 inches in length. This allows the grass to be long enough to thrive in hot, summer weather.
When cutting grass, never take more than a third of the blade at once. In other words, never cut more than an inch or so. Not only does this cause clumping of grass on the lawn or in the mower bag, but it takes too many nutrients and moisture from the grass itself.
After the late winter fertilizer treatments and the often heavy rains, lawns start to come to life. You’ll find that the grass will need cutting every 4 to 5 days in order to remove just enough length. As the summer wanes on and the temperature rises, the grass will grow a bit slower and a once week cutting is adequate.
It is also important to keep the blades of your lawnmower good and sharp. Since the lawnmower blades are often made of steel, they will develop a dull edge after a season of cutting. A dull edge on a blade will tear the grass and not cut it. This may result in browning of the tips of the grass and put more stress on the mower as well.
While you are under the deck checking those blades—and always disconnect the spark plug wire before going under the mower—be sure there is no old clumped up grass clinging to the mower deck.
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TJ is the Director of Content Development at Reviewed. He is a Massachusetts native and has covered electronics, cameras, TVs, smartphones, parenting, and more for Reviewed. He is from the self-styled “Cranberry Capitol of the World,” which is, in fact, a real thing.
Kevin Kavanaugh is a retired public school teacher and a product tester for Reviewed. Kevin has been cutting lawns for just about 50 years. He has always been intrigued by all things mechanical, be it watches, power equipment, vintage bicycles, or classic cars.
Toro mowers have garnered more recommendations from us than any other brand for two reasons: build quality and cut quality. These were amply demonstrated in our testing as the Recycler turned in the best ratio of cut area per amp-hour of battery in the self-propelled category, while at the same time not skimping on cutting, mulching, or bagging quality.
We attribute this outstanding mower performance to three features, all upgrades to the previous version of this machine. First, the air vent at the front of the mower deck seems to improve mulching and bagging performance. Toro calls it Vortex technology, a design that increases air flow under the deck. This helps to stand the grass for a cleaner cut, which improves mulching performance, and also allows better airflow into the bag when collecting the clippings.
Next, the company’s redesigned “Atomic” blade configuration appears to assist the air flow and clipping movement. Finally, the three-phase, 60-volt motor is exceptionally efficient, resulting in a large cut area for a single battery.
Toro has maintained features that make this mower work: rear wheel drive, a one-piece deck that’s all steel (no plastic nose), 11-inch wheels to help it roll over roots and crevices, and the same fold-forward handle that was an industry breakthrough when it was introduced some years ago.
This is one of Ryobi’s top-of-the-line mowers, and it’s American-made construction is something we wish we saw more of. It delivers a tremendous cut area with its two 6-Ah batteries providing a total of 12-Ah of capacity, and its X-shaped blade leaves a pristine surface in its wake.
Ryobi estimates the design should provide 70 minutes of run time; we didn’t time our cut, but it strikes as plausible. Its rear-wheel drive and reasonably aggressive tire tread pattern provide good hill climbing and sidehill cutting performance, and its bagging on all surfaces (level, sidehill, and uphill) is also commendable.
Other ease-of-use features include an easily installed or removed bag that mounts and dismounts straight up and down through the handle; deck adjustment is quick and easy thanks to a single-level deck height adjustment. The straight edge deck is polypropylene; it will never rust and needs very little care other than basic cleaning.
Toro TimeMaster 30 in. Briggs Stratton Personal Pace
The Toro Timemaster 30-in. mower has been around for several years and has earned a reputation as a sturdy workhorse for homeowners who want to cut down on their mowing time. It’s also used by some professionals as well. A few years ago the Timemaster got a slightly more powerful Briggs and Stratton gas engine, so it should have no issues powering through most demanding mowing jobs.
The Timemaster is rear-wheel drive and features Toro’s Personal Pace drive system that’s used on many of its self-propelled mowers. This allows the mower to move at your speed by simply pushing down or releasing the handle, which is spring-tensioned.
With a 30-in. deck, Toro claims the Timemaster will help you reduce your mowing time by about 40% compared to using a standard-sized mower. You can mulch, back, or side discharge with the Timemaster, and the handlebar can be locked in a fully vertical position to reduce space consumption in storage.
If you have half an acre to a full acre of lawn to mow and prefer the experience of a walk-behind mower versus a tractor or zero-turn, the Timemaster is worth a look.
Craftsman mowers have been doing very well in our tests, so we can recommend this one because it’s so much like the many other of the brand’s models that we’ve tested. If you’re looking for a good blend of maneuverability and power, you’ll get it with this mower. Its front drive helps move it along and makes it easy to turn.
It’s important to note that front-drive mowers do lose some traction when running uphill, particularly with a full grass bag. But if your slope is less than 20 degrees, and you’re not bagging uphill, you’ll be fine. The side discharge will also help you handle tall grass. Adjust the two deck levers to bring the mower up to full height and have at the rough stuff.
The fact that this mower bags, mulches, and side discharges is a plus, enabling you to handle a wide range of mowing conditions, from early spring and late into the fall. Three-function mowers like this are our preference for that versatility.
This is a beauty of a mower, with a cast-aluminum deck and a smooth-running Briggs Stratton 163-cc engine. We tested the Honda engine-equipped version, and it was effective at both bagging and mulching, even in moist grass.
Equipped with rear-wheel drive and the Personal Pace system (the farther you push the drive bar, the faster the mower goes), it’s an effective hill climber and moderately effective on sidehill cutting. It has relatively small 7.5-inch tires on all four corners, which causes this Toro to bump up and down a bit on washboard surfaces. But the good news is that it’s equipped with a far higher quality tire than we’re used to seeing these days. We didn’t notice them pick up any grass on moist surfaces.
Other features we like include its forward-fold handle that has a built-in shock absorber that Toro calls a Flex Handle Suspension, and a high-quality grass bag that loads through the handle, from the top.
Are there special maintenance considerations with self-propelled mowers?
Yes. Both front- and rear-wheel drive mowers typically feature a drive belt, which can crack or wear out over time. Fortunately these belts are not difficult or particularly expensive to replace.
Secondly, you may have to replace the drive wheels occasionally. These wheels are driven with gears. there are typically teeth on the inside diameter of the drive wheel that line up with a gear on the axle. These teeth can wear out, especially if they are made of plastic. Higher-end mowers may feature drive wheels with a metal gear that meets the metal axle gear, which improves longevity of these components.
My lawnmower says I don’t ever have to change the oil, but just add oil when needed. Is this OK?
It’s not a good idea to never change the oil in your lawn mower. In a lawn mower, same as a car, oil degrades over time and is less effective at reducing heat and friction in metal components. Changing the oil in your lawn mower is easy to do and will significantly increase its service life. For most homeowners, changing the oil at the beginning or end of each mowing season should be sufficient, though there is certainly no harm in doing it more often.
Roy Berendsohn has worked for more than 25 years at Popular Mechanics, where he has written on carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical, woodworking, blacksmithing, welding, lawn care, chainsaw use, and outdoor power equipment. When he’s not working on his own house, he volunteers with Sovereign Grace Church doing home repair for families in rural, suburban and urban locations throughout central and southern New Jersey.