View Full Version : commercial 21\" mowers

03-04-2001, 11:54 PM
I've used (and abused) many Toro residential mowers, usually consining them to the bone yard after one season.
Can anyone recommend a good commercial grade 20 - 21 " self-propelled mower with good warrantee?

03-05-2001, 01:06 AM
Welcome to Lawnsite. I am sure you will find all the info you are looking for and more here. Try the search function and enter something like 21 inch mowers or trimming mowers or push mowers- something like that and you will find what you are looking for. :)

03-05-2001, 08:30 AM
I have a 21" Toro Pro-Line Commercial mower. It has a 2.5 bushel bag and the 4.5 2 cycle Suzki engine. Run's great and stripes nice too. I have used it for two seasons without any problems. Cost was $899.00 for it. I really think it will last for many,many years. I will buy another when this one gives out. All I can say is it is one heavy duty mower, that was built to run for hours at a time. One cemetary in my town has 12 of them, and they put the local convicts behind them and run them non stop all day. That's what I am looking for in a mower. To each his own. Some would rather buy the $99 specials and replace them every year. Not me!!!!!!
Good Luck,

03-05-2001, 08:58 AM
I agree with mowman, I have 3 toro proline's. Just plain good mowers, but thats my choice. When looking, look for steel wheels, grease zerts, thick decks. MY three are 6,4 and 2 years old and all all in good shape( paint needs work!)and I plan on having them for quite some time.

lawrence stone
03-05-2001, 09:08 AM
I have two of the self propelled versions of what the mowman has in his fleet.

One was purchased new in 1989. That machine has gone thru at least one carb, handle and I had to replace the deck (a rock hit a stress crack and made the unit a side discharge machine).

The only one was a orphan (same model and year as above only a few numbers apart)I found at the local dirt dealer.
Some scrub brought it in for service and never picked it up.
I paid the repair bill $250(for a new tranny) and walked away with a low hour unit for the price of a new consumer P.O.S. I have to take this engine apart this spring and install new crankcase seals to get it back to 100%.

This mowers are the best by far to use as mulching machines.
They bag well too but the bags are harder to empty vs. a Honda commercial.

If you are going to mulch buy a Commercial Toro.
If you are going to bag buy a Commercial Honda.

If you buy anthing else you will pay for it in lost production and downtime.

03-05-2001, 11:14 AM
Commercial Toro is the way to go. 2 cycle or 4, really doesn't matter. These are the best 21" mowers on the market right now.

03-05-2001, 11:33 AM
I have had my Toro Proline for almost 10 years ,only thing I regret is not going for the selfpropelled model.Mine is the 2 stroke always starts and goes forever on a tank of gas.The bagger works great for me ,I also got the removable side discharge chute for those wet days .It slipped out of my hands once ,ended up going over a stone embankment I thought it was history.Only damage was a bent wheel adjuster no deck damage at all.I started it back up and finished up the lawn.One thick aluminum deck!

03-05-2001, 01:40 PM

How do you like the discharge kit for your proline? I have a Exmark 21" with the 6.5 hp briggs on it. And I've been thinking about getting the side discharge kit for it.

03-05-2001, 01:57 PM
Airens hands down for me. Tried snapper, lawnboy and toro, I will never go back to any other.

03-05-2001, 05:26 PM
Suprised not to see John Deere commercial 21. It is a good machine that takes abuse. Almost all the commercial guys here use Toros or JD. None others that I have seen. The JD is a 4 cycle with pressurized lube and good 3 way abilities. Hope this helps. By the way I have a toro proline, had it for many years. like it lots too. when it goes i will get a deere since the 2 cycle will probably be gone due to the environment thing.

03-05-2001, 06:32 PM
I am really suprised that the Honda didn't get suggested more. If you are going to pay the price for a commercial mower then you need to check the Honda with the hydrostatic transmission.
Why get a mower that you have to match your speed to when you can get one that will go at your most comfortable speed. I think Honda is the only 21" with this transmission.
Got two of them that have lasted since 1990 and still start on the first or second pull.
I know that all the mowers listed are great but the hydrostatic (and blade clutch) was my deciding factor.

03-05-2001, 06:34 PM
I've got a 21" snapper comm. that i've had for 5 or 6 years.has worked very well for me when i use it .

03-05-2001, 07:53 PM

03-05-2001, 08:17 PM
All i use is JD 21 inch with the Kawaski motors, i use them on 7 grave yards and they all have lasted more then 3 years, only basic maintance was needed, and my guys pound the piss outa them.

David Hickerson
03-05-2001, 08:46 PM
Look at the Honda HRC216 Hydro. Top of the line machine. We abuse those mowers. We average 20 yards a day on that machine. I have a few of them and they cut great. They are pricey but you can depend on them. Bagging is great. Mulching is fast and simple. Plug type system. Dual blade that does a fantastic job of cutting. Very comfortable 6 speed setting. I could go on and on. I paid $960 for the mower and $30 for the mulching kit.

03-05-2001, 08:56 PM
Side discharge option works OK ,I wish the blade had a little more lift to throw the grass a little farther.May try gator blade or the Toro version this year.Great for when it is too wet to mulch ,and it is easily cleaned being made of thick plastic.Installs is seconds just remove the mulching block.I dont think it was very expensive either.

03-05-2001, 09:02 PM

Thanks for the input. I will be picking up the side discharge kit for my metro 21. I won the mower in late summer so didn't get a lot of use with it. I like everything about the mower except where the transmission control is located. Also want to discharge with it during wet conditions like you mentioned.

03-05-2001, 09:18 PM
Snapper 21 inch mowers. The parts are readily available when and if needed for great prices. These mowers have been in production for ever with little more than cosmetic changes. Pretty much foolproof and EASY to work on. As I was told by a Snapper Rep(regarding the time proven design)
"if it ani't broke, don't fix it. Kawasaki 5hp engines--unstoppable. These things idle so quiet when you back off the throttle, they just purr like a kitten! :)

03-05-2001, 10:21 PM
The Hondas you guys are using, do they have a steel deck or the Xenoy deck? The only hydro I've seen is the Xenoy.

David Hickerson
03-06-2001, 08:02 AM
My decks I believe are all steal. If the Xenoy is a plastic like product, that is the step down model. The HRC216 has a lot of other better features that the other models do not have.

03-06-2001, 09:08 AM
Hello Everybody:

Toro or Honda is only way to go!

I would opt for the one that is most popular in your area.

Because of Service & Parts Availability!

A unit that is not very popular in your area will cost you plenty of down time waiting on parts. So again opt for which is most popular in your area!

03-06-2001, 09:37 AM
Thanks for all the great advice guys! I was leaning toward Toro or JD, now it might come down to price between those. Those Toro guys really make a good pitch, though. Canadian summers can be tough on mowers, what with the spring clean-ups and all.

Thanks again

mow better

lawrence stone
03-06-2001, 10:10 AM
Frankly I think you would be better served if you bought a used 32 Toro vs. a new 21 mower of any kind.

With a 32 inch toro you can get thru gates even with the bagger (factory) installed.

Most of them came with 12.5 kohlers. Thats a lot of power just to spin one 32" blade.

PS You can also attatch a sulky to a 32" toro and you now have a riding mower vs. a 21 you HAVE to walk behind.

PSS A 32" mower cuts twice as fast as a 21. A sulky will give 3X production vs. a 21.

[Edited by lawrence stone on 03-06-2001 at 03:14 PM]

03-06-2001, 10:38 AM
I agree with Stone, do not waste your money on a high dollar 21". Get something bigger. My honda 21" is awesome, but it hardly ever comes off the trailer. The 32" or 36" is what you should be looking for. You will retire the 21" to bigger mowers pretty soon. Do not look back and wish you have your $$ back.

03-06-2001, 12:10 PM
I'll have to agree with Cleve and David;

Honda HRC216 HydroStatic Drive is THE BEST on the market. We won't use anything else. Toros are great but only if you haven't used a Honda. I would seriously question anyone's sanity if they told me they used a HydroStatic HRC216 for a few weeks and then told me they still preferred Toros.

Yes, these are steel decks, not the cheapo Xenoy ones you see at Home Depot.

They're about $1050 - $1150 depending on where you buy them but I'd pay $1500 if I had to. They're worth every penny. Also, at least in my area, the Honda Repair Shops are freakin; awesome! They put a priority on commercial customers so I'll get any mower problem fixed usually within 24-48 hours. Their service is barnone.

I dunno what 65Hoss is talking about. All we use are 21"ers. Guess it depends on the area and size of yards. In our area we couldn't use anything bigger. Yards too small.

03-06-2001, 12:12 PM
By the way, you're not probably gonna find the Commercial HRC216 Hydro anywhere but at a Honda Dealership. That's why you haven't seen them, Grateful11.

If you are going to buy one email me. I can tell you how to save $50 - $150 on one.

03-06-2001, 01:47 PM
Jim, most people that have 21" step up to bigger mowers, the 21" are hardly used anymore. Most of the time you can us a 36" where a 21" can be used. Then you can also get more production from a 32". The wider the cut the smoother the finished product.

Do not get me wrong I love my honda commercial. I just do not think its worth the money since todays technology has made the bigger commercial wb far superior.

03-06-2001, 02:24 PM
I am going to have to buck the horse on this one. The best possible finish this industry has to offer is by a 21in deck. Unfortunately for guys like you and I we would have to have more employees than the local factory to cut our properties this way.

Commercial 21in
I too would place my vote for the Hondas. However at the price most dealers charge for the same $700-900 unit, one could very easily purchase two Scotts brand mowers from The Home Depot, and have 6 yrs of great production, not to mention the swivel front casters. Although I personally find them to be a PITA on slopes and hills.

As far as production for these units go the only place for them in my book is special gated areas where a 36 or larger is not recommended(around pools, parking dividers - and the like). I have found that we are even using the larger deck mowers for aprons on residential properties.

Just my nickle

[Edited by kutnkru on 03-06-2001 at 07:27 PM]

03-06-2001, 02:24 PM
Toro Proline all the way. I've tried an Ariens and didn't make it through the season but the Toro with a Kaw. is going strong into it's second season.

lawrence stone
03-06-2001, 02:49 PM
Jim you can cut you mowing labor cost in half just by buying
two new machines.

#1- 36" Wright stander

#2- 32" Toro with a eXmark deck and a single wheel velke

Both units would be fitted with a Wright standard size metal bagger.

With the density you have I would use a 3 man crew with 2 men mowing and traveling from job to job on the machines most of the time while the 3rd man trims and blows and keeps moving the truck to follow the mowers.

03-06-2001, 04:22 PM
Are you telling me you think the 21" leaves the lawn looking as smooth as the bigger decks? The larger decks give a smoother look and more professional appearance.

03-06-2001, 07:44 PM
There will always be a place for 21 inch mowers. In my operation, that place is as a trim mower. But, I don't compromise on this piece of equipment just because I don't do whole lawns with it. I don't have time for wheels falling off and height adjusters coming loose,etc. I use Snapper push mowers with Kawasaki 5 hp engines. Nice combo......nice mower.

03-06-2001, 08:23 PM
If you think about it you can cut more contours with a 21in than we can with our deck mowers. My decks from 48-60 will not cut every crack and crevase of a lawn, where a 21 incher would. I have always been of the mindset that a trim mower will provide the best possible cut. I am not talking striping or patterns, but actually what gets cut sf for sf.


03-06-2001, 09:42 PM
I bought a Toro super recycler 21" w/5.5 h.p. engine when I started my biz cause I knew I would need a small push mower from time to time. It's a home owners model. Picked it up from a 70 year old fellow and it has never given me a problem. Just cuts and cuts. Starts on the first or second pull faithfully. I could not justify paying top dollar for a 21" commercial for the limited use I give mine.

03-06-2001, 09:43 PM
I bought a Toro super recycler 21" w/5.5 h.p. engine when I started my biz cause I knew I would need a small push mower from time to time. It's a home owners model. Picked it up from a 70 year old fellow and it has never given me a problem. Just cuts and cuts. Starts on the first or second pull faithfully. I could not justify paying top dollar for a 21" commercial for the limited use I give mine.