PDA

View Full Version : What 21" mower to get, and other newbie questions


ZachThurston
09-08-2007, 08:36 PM
Hey, I'm ending my first year cutting lawn and I'm thinking of buying a new mower. I mow 13 lawns a week and plan to add about 20 more next year.

First off: What is the real difference between a HRX and HRC mower, I mean yeah the HRC is the commerical version, but I've used both and they seem similar to me. (ones I'm looking at HRX217HXA, HRC216HXA) There's about $400 difference between the two at the Honda dealer.

Second: What is the verdict on Snappers? My neighbor and the guy who refers lawns to me both love them, but I've read on here that they're not the best for mulching and thats what I prefer to do. On Snapper engines, is the Kawi or the Honda better? Why does the most expensive pro model not have their wonderful disc drive?

Third: What is the best mulching mower? I used to think Toro's were the best, but my JA62 with High Lift Blades and the mulch plug on it will mulch much better. I like the Honda Microcut system because by its nature it seems to be a great mulching system.

Fourth: Does anyone use JX75's? Thats the mower at the top of my list since my JA62 works great, only complaint is that it only goes 3MPH which is why I'd get the 75 as its top speed is 4MPH.

Fifth: Are Kawi engines good? My JA62 runs a BS Intek @ 6.75HP, but the JX75's Kawi only pulls 6? Is full pressure lube that big of a deal, the Honda engines don't seem to have it?

Sixth: Deck material: Aluminum or Steel? I know aluminum won't rust, but my Toro's deck is steel and its older than the JA62 with no rust. From what I can tell, when you mow commerical, you kill other parts of the mower long before the deck can rust, and the HRC mowers have steel decks.

So amidst all my questions, the mowers I'm looking at are:
Honda: HRX217HXA, HRC216HXA
Snapper: Any of the 21'' Pro series http://snapperpro.com/commercial_trim_mowers.php
Deere: JX75

Thanks for any help, it is greatly appreciated!

SongBird LawnCare
09-08-2007, 08:59 PM
why not get a walk behind?

that is SO much faster...

ZachThurston
09-08-2007, 09:02 PM
Because a 32 inch lawn mower wouldn't fit through the gates on 6 of my lawns.
AND I don't have alot of money.

lawnpro724
09-08-2007, 10:11 PM
When you consider durability, serviceability, reliability and quality of cut I would suggest you go with Toro Proline. Toro is the most widely used 21" commercial mower on the market for a reason, they will go through hell and back and keep on going.

IHusky
09-08-2007, 10:15 PM
If you go Snapper, do not get the high-vac model. It will bag like theres no tommorow, but won't mulch for sh_t. The mulcher model with Nija Blades mulches okay. The transmission on the Snappers are great and gives u infinate speed. I would take a Kaw any day over a brigss 6.75.


Its too bad that you don't have enough money for a 32 wb. Once you go wb, you'll never want to mow with 21 again. If customer has too big of back yard and I can't get my wb in, then bye, bye, but thats just me.

If you're doing 13 yard a week, that Royobi stuff is not going to last. You better start putting money away for commerical blower and trimmer too.

Good luck.

RedWingsDet
09-08-2007, 10:17 PM
Im a huge fan of the Lawnboy 2 cycle with the side bagger. The cut is unbelieveable, and its not self propelled, which I like because I really only use it for steep hills anyway and the self propelled wants to pull you down. I have both a lawnboy 2 cycle non-self propelled side bagger and a lawnboy 4 cycle self propelled with a rear bagger, I prefer the 2 cycle ALOT MORE.

ZachThurston
09-08-2007, 11:10 PM
@ lawnpro 724: Thats weird, all I see around here are HRC216's I don't think I've seen a Toro Proline before, but I know that the local dealer sells them. They just try to shove their Honda's down your throat everytime you go in there. :angry: My dad has an 1988 Toro recycler that runs great even though he hasn't changed the oil in it for 5 years (its pitch black...) I just hate the drive system on it because you have to reengage the BBC everytime you turn. My Toro PP runs good other than the stupid drive system (which is why its my backup mower...) the control panel on the 88 Toro looks an awful lot like the proline...I guess they just stick with what works. So Ill look more into those.

@ Ihusky: Thanks for the info on the Snappers. I really always try to mulch unless it looks unsightly or the customer "thinks" that bagging is better. :rolleyes: I would love to use one of the 32's but the majority of my lawns wouldn't be able to fit them through their gates so its really not an option even if I had the money, but a friend of mine who I've worked for off and on uses HRC's on two people crews and mows about 35 lawns a week without too much trouble. Yeah I know the Ryobi stuff won't last, but I got it in April, it was all I could afford at the time (1st year) and its still running pretty good. Once they die I'm planning on going with the Stihl Kombisystem from a real equipment dealer (not Home Cheepo lol)

@RetWingsDet: Yeah I really need to have a self propelled seeing as it would be my main mower, but I've really never even know they put 2stroke motors on mowers! haha I will hand it to you, those front discharge ones are about the wierdest looking mowers I've ever seen :laugh: Doesn't Toro make lawnboy? I think I saw something about SensaSpeed in a manual I used the last time the stupid drive on my Toro broke...

Thanks for all your contributions and I look forward to reading more.

Grass Happens
09-08-2007, 11:26 PM
HRC has the sweet gx series motor, while the HRX has the over head cam consumer engine. Thats pretty much the only difference. You do know that john deeres new 21" are the snapper easy line mowers, right? but like the ez line, they have gear boxes, NOT the sweet disc drive. Same deck however. I used to have a snapper with the intek. I liked how the ninja blade mulched. I however hate the intek, because it doesn't like to restart when hot. So it you were bagging, and needed to change the bag, time for a heart attack. Oh,. and snappers are so damn heavy...

ZachThurston
09-09-2007, 12:10 AM
So what you're saying is that its really not worth 400 bucks more for a slightly different engine? The two mowers look almost identical... Whats the same with the JD mowers? They don't look alike to me...That stinks you have the problem with the Intek, I haven't had that problem with mine. Sometimes it takes more than one pull to start it backup however. I like the airfilter on it. I almost had a heart attack today with mine, I was mowing a lawn that had a bunch of fist shaped rocks around the edge, but this lawn hadn't been mowed for like 3 weeks (she only has me do it like that...grrr) and the 'lawn' grows like a foot past those rocks into her "garden" so stupid me followed the line that went off into the garden and my blade took a whack at one of those rocks. The engine stopped, and the blade was really badly damaged (had to replace it...oh well) but it didn't blow out the engine thank goodness. The Snapper I'd buy would be the Kawi one anyways so yeah. Which of the pro series do you think is best? I personally don't like their whole Z Bag or whatever its called. How bout where the drive handle is? I like my JD cuz the drive handle stays in finger reach when its enaged. What I don't like about the HRX/C is you have to take your hand off the handle to reengage the drive. What I did like about those mowers is they are FAAAAAAAAST! Bogged down alot when mulching, but other than that...

Grass Happens
09-09-2007, 02:25 AM
I like the roto-stop on the Honda's, AKA blade brake. Your right, the JS series of john Deere mowers are the SPV/Easy Line of snappers, the JX may be John Deere through and through. Yea My intek started cold fine, but as soon as it warmed up, it took like 10 pulls. Valves were fine, carb was clean, compression was OK? Briggs doesn't publish compression numbers. I've herd mixed reviews on the little Kawasaki's. Don't let your customers tell you three weeks, Especially something like this, you bend the crank, thats alot of money your out.

joshco84
09-09-2007, 08:47 AM
i would stay away from the new deere's. the old se and sx mower were some of the best push mowers ever made, but they took the oil filter off and put plastic wheels on it.

ZachThurston
09-11-2007, 07:37 PM
@Grass Happens: Yeah I really like the way Honda does the BBC on their mowers, but I don't know if I really want a mower that has one (JX-75) Because I've heard that its just another thing to go wrong and there's less protection for the engine. Thats wierd on your Intek, I just hope it doesn't happen to mine.

@joshco84: Yeah I've heard that many places. After reading all these opinions, maybe I'll take the Deere off the top of my list. I do have a question though, is full pressure lube and filter all that important? Honda's commercial engines don't have that feature? I know that OHV is a for sure but IDK about the other.

Thinking of adding to the list:
20057 Toro SR4 Super Recycler http://toro.com/home/mowers/superrecycler/20057.html
As you can see from my signature, I have a 2002 Toro Recycler thats been a decent mower, other than the drive system. It mulches really well, and the personal pace is a breeze to use, so its logical I follow with a better toro.

Grass Happens
09-11-2007, 09:07 PM
In all honesty, I would go with the honda. The blade brake is another feature that can go wrong, however, it does provide more protection for the engine. You hit a rock etc, and it just messes up the BBC mechanism, not the engine. Next spring I probably pick me up a honda...

ZachThurston
09-11-2007, 09:12 PM
Alright I've never thought of it that way. Which honda were you talking about?

cgaengineer
09-12-2007, 06:51 AM
You would be happy with a Snapper in my opinion, its cheap and easy to fix the disk drive when it wears out. Just dont get the EasyLine one, they are junk...plastic differential.

deere615
09-12-2007, 12:38 PM
I run 2 Hrx217's are they work great for me in the next year or 2 I might get the HRC, I think the only major difference is the commercial model is a steel deck. Hondas have always got the job done for me.

S man
09-12-2007, 11:46 PM
@ lawnpro 724: Thats weird, all I see around here are HRC216's I don't think I've seen a Toro Proline before, but I know that the local dealer sells them. They just try to shove their Honda's down your throat everytime you go in there. :angry: My dad has an 1988 Toro recycler that runs great even though he hasn't changed the oil in it for 5 years (its pitch black...) I just hate the drive system on it because you have to reengage the BBC everytime you turn. My Toro PP runs good other than the stupid drive system (which is why its my backup mower...) the control panel on the 88 Toro looks an awful lot like the proline...I guess they just stick with what works. So Ill look more into those.

@ Ihusky: Thanks for the info on the Snappers. I really always try to mulch unless it looks unsightly or the customer "thinks" that bagging is better. :rolleyes: I would love to use one of the 32's but the majority of my lawns wouldn't be able to fit them through their gates so its really not an option even if I had the money, but a friend of mine who I've worked for off and on uses HRC's on two people crews and mows about 35 lawns a week without too much trouble. Yeah I know the Ryobi stuff won't last, but I got it in April, it was all I could afford at the time (1st year) and its still running pretty good. Once they die I'm planning on going with the Stihl Kombisystem from a real equipment dealer (not Home Cheepo lol)

@RetWingsDet: Yeah I really need to have a self propelled seeing as it would be my main mower, but I've really never even know they put 2stroke motors on mowers! haha I will hand it to you, those front discharge ones are about the wierdest looking mowers I've ever seen :laugh: Doesn't Toro make lawnboy? I think I saw something about SensaSpeed in a manual I used the last time the stupid drive on my Toro broke...

Thanks for all your contributions and I look forward to reading more.

My advice on 21" mowers from experience, Don't get a toro proline!! They look great and solid which they are, but for me, they would never cut right. Mulching is horrible with the toro. And they are REALLY heavy. I prefer snapper anyday. I have a commercial snap with the kaw and a residential one with the new briggs dov. Both are great and cut great. They require a little more maintenence than a toro or honda but are worth it. I have never used a honda commercial.

Also DO NOT buy a stihl combo job. I had a one and costed close to $1000 out the door. The straight edger is rediculous and doesn't edge right ever. and the hedge trimmer is heavy. Also when the powerhead breaks you can't use the attachments. I luckily sold mine and now have all separate dedicated units. A better way to go. Anyway good luck with your biz and decisions on equipment.

J&T Kiev
09-12-2007, 11:55 PM
Toro is a superior machine, it does an excellent job mulching and bagging. When bagging, replace the recycler blade with a high lift blade, the grass will pack tight in the bag. In our area its all cool season grasses and many mornings there is heavy dew the lawns are wet. The prolines do a good job bagging wet grass. Toro is the best mulching 21” mower on the market, the Kawasaki engine handles tall grass that bogs down the ageing 5.5 Honda engine. The Toro transmission is a simple change out in the event it goes out. Honda repairs and parts are expensive if the hydro system breaks down.
As far as reliability goes, there is no equal, One of my Suzuki powered Toro's was placed into service during the 1997 season; it still runs and cuts smooth and flawlessly, every few seasons a drive belt and tire replacement but that is about the extent of repairs .

ZachThurston
09-16-2007, 12:05 AM
Haha, I have people telling me that Toros suck and others saying they're gold! LOL I know everyones been pushing a WB but as I said before not very many lawns would work with it. However, I've checked out the Exmark Metro 26 (made by Toro right?) Is it a good mower?

Common Ground
09-16-2007, 12:59 AM
ok here goes my first post. :cool2: Lawnsite.com is FRIGIN FANTASTIC!!!! :cool2: Its got humor and valuable advice. Im hooked. :waving: Its on now, im all registered with the state, got buisiness cards on the way and im ready to buy some epuipment. I am just starting out so i think GO CHEAP. I am going to buy a 21" mower and a weedeater from home cheapo this week. I am thinking, get the cheapest one available. What do you think about this? I am taking out a classified ad in the services section of the paper too.
I will be working out of the back of a jeep wrangler for the time being. :dizzy: will upgrade to a small trailer when i have enough work to cover it. they sell one at home cheapo for 500$
I hope this is the right thread for this post :hammerhead:
thanks to everyone here , lAWNSITE.COM is FRIGIN FANTASTIC!!!

lawnpro724
09-16-2007, 10:01 PM
@ lawnpro 724: Thats weird, all I see around here are HRC216's I don't think I've seen a Toro Proline before, but I know that the local dealer sells them. They just try to shove their Honda's down your throat everytime you go in there. :angry: My dad has an 1988 Toro recycler that runs great even though he hasn't changed the oil in it for 5 years (its pitch black...) I just hate the drive system on it because you have to reengage the BBC everytime you turn. My Toro PP runs good other than the stupid drive system (which is why its my backup mower...) the control panel on the 88 Toro looks an awful lot like the proline...I guess they just stick with what works. So Ill look more into those.

@ Ihusky: Thanks for the info on the Snappers. I really always try to mulch unless it looks unsightly or the customer "thinks" that bagging is better. :rolleyes: I would love to use one of the 32's but the majority of my lawns wouldn't be able to fit them through their gates so its really not an option even if I had the money, but a friend of mine who I've worked for off and on uses HRC's on two people crews and mows about 35 lawns a week without too much trouble. Yeah I know the Ryobi stuff won't last, but I got it in April, it was all I could afford at the time (1st year) and its still running pretty good. Once they die I'm planning on going with the Stihl Kombisystem from a real equipment dealer (not Home Cheepo lol)

@RetWingsDet: Yeah I really need to have a self propelled seeing as it would be my main mower, but I've really never even know they put 2stroke motors on mowers! haha I will hand it to you, those front discharge ones are about the wierdest looking mowers I've ever seen :laugh: Doesn't Toro make lawnboy? I think I saw something about SensaSpeed in a manual I used the last time the stupid drive on my Toro broke...

Thanks for all your contributions and I look forward to reading more.

You have to re-engage BBC every time you turn?? I never have. Just lower the handle a little to turn then raise it back up and go. The BBC won't disengage unless you drop the bar all the way. It takes getting used to but we have been using them since the early 90s without a problem.

scalpit77
09-17-2007, 03:47 PM
Exmark Metro 21, wouldn't have anything else. I had one on my res. route before I started for myself. 4 1/2years of heavy use, never in the shop for repairs. Tore a John Deere up in six months.

Common Ground
09-18-2007, 01:24 AM
I went to home depot to buy a mower today. I cant really afford a commercial model at this point. Plenty of cheap mowers available but they have a honda hrr216 (tda and vxa models)and an electric start toro. Something keeps telling me to get the best mower i can afford. I dont really want an electric start mower so the hondas are what it boils down too. they run about 500$ or a bit less. Their selling one at 100$ off because it was returned and serviced. Im thinking of buying that one its a honda hrr model. I cant really afford a new walk behind. if i could that would be my first choice. oh and the hondas are self propelled or push. the One that is discounted is a push mower. could'nt i get a job done quicker with a push mower?

Tlvoskamp
09-18-2007, 01:01 PM
Get a 21" proline. They are worth it and there is no better feeling knowing your equipment is going to be there for you and no worst feeling when your mower is sucking wind and you are wishing you would have bought the proline.

Tlvoskamp

mower&more1986
09-18-2007, 10:10 PM
go with you can afford but once you get going and making money upgrade
Also stay away from financing in the beginning. once you are establish you should consider it but dont spend more than you make imo

ccondie
09-19-2007, 12:08 AM
I agree with lawnpro... Just get a toro proline. they will last forever. or better yet just get a 32 or 36" walkbehind. You wont regret it, especially if you plan on growing in the next few years.

Common Ground
09-20-2007, 06:15 AM
i went with the hot toro residential mower in the area. the super recycler 20054. Also purchased a shindaiwa t230x. Now i need buisiness!!!!:weightlifter:

ZachThurston
09-21-2007, 11:42 PM
@ Scalpit77: How about the Metro 26?

akvadam
01-28-2008, 07:54 PM
Dont know if this helps anyone but consumer reports had the honda hrx as its best overall performance mower. Beat the toro recycler, and several others... Have had good luck with other things besides mowers that consumer reports has recommended....