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View Full Version : Toro 21" vs. Honda 21" vs. Snapper 21"


Merkava_4
09-14-2009, 05:50 AM
Greetings and Salutations!! :usflag:

I'm just a small time guy and I'm not even sure if I'm worthy of posting in this sub forum; if not, fill free to move or delete this thread.

I've been doing some small postage stamp 50 feet x 50 feet residential yards in my own neighborhood on the side apart from my day job; which has been cut to 30 hours a week because of the recession. I've been using a reel type mower which is fine for cutting short Bermuda, but doesn't cut tall fescue very well unless you want to kill it. Some of the houses in this subdivision have tall fescue lawns, but they were all originally planted with Bermuda by the builder.

I think I've narrowed my selection down to 3 rotary mowers:

1.Toro Hi-Vac 22189 Commercial
2. Honda HRC216K3HXA Commercial
3. Snapper Hi-Vac CP2160KWV Commercial

They all have a BBC except for the Snapper, but the Snapper is excellent at suction. I don't know how well the Toro and Honda are at suction. I'm doing all bagging and don't need to mulch at all; which is why I'm putting a priority on suction rather than mulching ability. A user friendly mower with easy to use controls would be nice too.

My next door neighbor is a professional gardener. His routine is to edge and trim first, then blow all the clippings onto the center of the lawn, and then mow with his Snapper Hi-Vac commercial mower in a clockwise direction. The Snapper has such excellent suction, that it leaves nothing behind. My only reservations about the Snapper is that it has no BBC. I'm thinking if the Snapper had a 1/4 inch thick aluminum deck like the Toro, along with a Hydrostatic shaft drive transmission like the Honda, it could very well be the perfect WB bagging mower, but I know that's wishful thinking.

What are your thoughts?

hate2work
09-14-2009, 08:09 AM
I'd go with the Honda. Bags well and gives you the variable speed and BBC.

I've also read many good reviews of the HRX217HXA, $400 cheaper and 20 lbs lighter. It doesn't have the commercial engine, but that's not stopping this guy from giving it a good workout this summer.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?p=2991226

T.E.
09-14-2009, 08:32 AM
I'd go with the Toro. Do a search on here some have had some problems with the Honda's. Although this might be a preference thing.

Heintooga
09-14-2009, 09:07 AM
Snapper uses Durasteel (http://www.durasteel.net/) for their decks. I have a six year old mulcher and it shows no signs of rust, cracking or warping so don't let the deck sway you. I also have two new Snapper disc-drives and it's obvious that they're smooth, dependable and would be easy to adjust or repair if needed. I looked into the Hondas and read too much about their drives being expensive to replace in case of failure and the carbs have a tendency to surge. However, I opted the HRC216K3PDA and got rid of after two months. I would have tried a Toro but there are no independent dealers near so that was a no-go. My favorite 21" is a Snapper CRP2160KWV and the only difference in the one you listed is the deck is flared out at the bottom edges instead of turned under. I liked the Honda engine well enough but the FJ180V seemed stronger in the heavier stuff.

PS... A strong factor should be which dealer would you be more comfortable with.

Merkava_4
09-14-2009, 09:17 AM
Thank you for the replies. I've pretty much scoured all the posts relating to 21 inch rotary mowers going back 200 threads from page 1. A lot of guys were concerned about mulching ability and the overall weight of the machines, but very little has been discussed about suction.

I've downloaded all the owner's manuals for all 3 machines and so far, the Honda seems like it would have the easiest controls to operate, but I'm still not sure. I wish one of you guys have operated all 3 machines. :D

Merkava_4
09-14-2009, 09:26 AM
My favorite 21" is a Snapper CRP2160KWV and the only difference in the one you listed is the deck is flared out at the bottom edges instead of turned under.

What are your thoughts about not having a blade brake clutch on that machine?

vanncann
09-14-2009, 09:48 AM
Honda is the best push mower out. Very expensive but will last for many years and you never have to work on it. Mine is great at vacuuming and mulching. The Snapper I had broke into after the first day, so I took it back and got my Honda.

Heintooga
09-14-2009, 10:39 AM
What are your thoughts about not having a blade brake clutch on that machine?

If I see something ahead I kick or toss it out of the way, slowing the machine only if needed. Plus, If one 'had' to stop (ie. to move a larger object) the engines start so easily it's no big deal. I see a BBC as something else to add weight and to break. I use 21" only and the reasons I've opted for three Snappers are they are dependable, durable, easy to adjust/repair, parts are easy to get and they are versatile (mulch/bag/discharge as well as anything on the market).

ps... In the six years I've been using Snappers I've never had anything break or wear out.
pss.. The only differences in the P2160KWV and CP2160KWV are the wheels and $170.

TuffWork
09-14-2009, 11:13 AM
I've only owned one mower with a BBC, and will probably not make that mistake again. My Toro has spent way too much time getting fixed. I've probably spent the cost of the mower on replacing clutches in the two and a half years I've owned it. My vote goes to the snapper.

jweiner
09-14-2009, 01:01 PM
Honda makes one of the best engines available!

Outback
09-14-2009, 02:02 PM
Just one thought. If you choose to go with Toro, go with the recycler where you can still bag or mulch. The hi-vac models we have have been nothing but trouble for us. Not to mention they are a pain in the butt to work on compared to the recycler.

MOHUSTLER
09-14-2009, 02:36 PM
My vote goes to snapper, have been using them for a long time and they are verry well built machines. As for the BBC im not a fan, as someone else said you will replace clutches ALOT.

JimLewis
09-14-2009, 04:39 PM
Well, in Oregon wet grass is a fact of life. Either from dew over night or a shower the day of the mowing. So if for no other reason, Honda mowers are the best for us. Nothing bags thick or wet grass like a Honda. I don't care what high-lift blade they try to sell you. I've used them all. But for the most part we've stuck with the Hondas for almost 13 years now for mainly that reason.

Now if bagging grass isn't really a concern to you, or if your grass has fairly thin blades or is never wet when you mow it, you may want to go with something else. I don't know.

I will say the Hondas have their issues. Heavy as heck, wheel rachets always needing to be fixed or replaced, etc. But I will also say they have some killer features that I love too. The twin cross-cut blade is freakin' slick as heck. It mulches dry grass like nothing else. The engines last forever. They start first or second pull every time, forever. I love the blade clutch so you don't have to start the mower again after dumping the bag, and the speed is very good too. Hard to keep up with sometimes.

Overall I love Honda. They have all business for these reasons.

Merkava_4
09-14-2009, 06:48 PM
Just one thought. If you choose to go with Toro, go with the recycler where you can still bag or mulch. The hi-vac models we have have been nothing but trouble for us. Not to mention they are a pain in the butt to work on compared to the recycler.

Outback, can you elaborate a little more on the trouble you've been having with the Hi-Vac model? I had thought that the 22188 heavy duty commercial recycler and the Hi-Vac commercial 22189 were the same basic design except for the deck shape.

- hate2work
- T.E.
- Heintooga
- vanncann
- TuffWork
- jweiner
- Outback
- MOHUSTLER
- JimLewis

Thank you all for the replies -- I appreciate it. :waving:

THC
09-14-2009, 07:01 PM
My only reservations about the Snapper is that it has no BBC.
I wouldn't buy a mower without that option.

I have a toro 21 heavy duty commercial. I swear the 3rd gear is just for travel because there is no way it will mow that fast. it won't even mow at full speed in 2nd gear half the time.

I mulch but when I do bag, the toro is horrible. I find it difficult to empty the bag. You basically have to hold that door on the bag open, then try and dump it into a garbage can and even if it doesn't get all stuck up there (which it always does) you have to shake it up and down and it still leaves a mess on the ground.

The cheaper toros I have, the super recycler and normal recycler, are much better baggers. You take the bag off the mower and lean it on your leg. The put a plastic bag over it and then upside down and you're done.

lawnboy dan
09-14-2009, 07:16 PM
the ground speed on the toro 3 speed is way too fast . i only use 1st

Merkava_4
09-14-2009, 07:27 PM
I mulch but when I do bag, the toro is horrible. I find it difficult to empty the bag.

Is the Toro horrible because it's difficult to empty the bag, or is it horrible because it leaves clippings behind?

Which model Toro do you have if I may ask?

madisonpressurewashing
09-14-2009, 08:06 PM
I like my Honda alot.

cush
09-14-2009, 08:13 PM
The toros are built for midgets. At 6'2" it is a back killer for me.

JimLewis
09-14-2009, 08:34 PM
Hey now!!! That's not nice. They don't like to be called "midgets"......they prefer the term, "Mexicans".

Roger
09-14-2009, 08:39 PM
... It doesn't have the commercial engine, but that's not stopping this guy from giving it a good workout this summer.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?p=2991226


I am the guy. Yes, the non-commercial engine is getting a heavy workout, every day, and on many days, all day long. It continues to run fine -- starts on first pull, runs smooth, has good power, etc. It is no different now, than when I first started in late March, early April. Obviously, no hour meter, but I expect that it is close to 600 service hours by now. I'm looking for 700-800 by end of season, and will be satisfied if it still is in one piece.

The 217 is a high-end consumer model, with BBC. In this model, the BBC does not take up any space under the deck, unlike some models. The center hub may stick down just a bit further than some non-BBC models. But, I don't consider the BBC an impediment to mulching.

I concur with Jim Lewis about bagging in wet conditions. It does well.

I have a Toro Proline 21 as a secondary machine (~7 years old). It has a 2 cycle Sizuki engine, non-BBC, 3 speed transmission. In comparison, bagging is poor, relative to the Honda. In heavy Spring conditions, I take out all kicker plates, use a high-lift blade (intended for the hi-vac model), and use a bungee cord to pull the door open as far as possible for maximum clearance in the bagging chute. All those things do help, but does not match the Honda. I agree with a comment made above about emptying the bag on the Toro -- full bag, with wet/damp grass makes for a very difficult dumping. The inset on the bottom edge, an inset that is necessary to have the bag fit over the transmission drive, prohibits the debris from easily falling out of the bag. On the other hand, the Honda bag has a completely open rectangular end, with the bag slightly tapered. This enables the debris to always fall right out without any difficulty.

As a side note, the Versa-Mow feature on the Honda 217 works well. The partial opening settings are useless. But, the "instant" bag to mulch, and visa-versa, has saved us much time this season. We have been bagging only where necessary on a lawn, and with a 5 second interruption to move the green knob from one side to the other, the clippings are being mulched. It is never used at any intermediate setting, only fully slid to one position, or the other. The partial settings might make a great sales tool, but in reality, are useless in the field.

tacoma200
09-14-2009, 09:30 PM
Getting off the subject a bit which brand/model would be preferable for side discharge on hills. We don't bag or mulch, don't need a blade brake necessarily, just dependability and traction, low center of gravity..?

orlawncaresvc
09-14-2009, 10:02 PM
I'll take a honda commercial over the toro and snapper any day. i believe the toro commercial 21 inch is an overpriced machine. and the snapper, well thats a piece of .... to me. honda has a better motor and their dome deck design is awesome.

Merkava_4
09-15-2009, 12:00 AM
orlawncaresvc,

What do you think about the blade control yellow button; the blade control lever; and the traction control lever on the commercial Honda? Are they easy enough to use?

ACA L&L
09-15-2009, 01:07 AM
I vote for the toro. Been using the toros for mowing since day one. we have one snapper that we use to clean up lawns after we rake up all the leaves in the fall. They do a real nice job with the hi-vac. But as a one shot mow/clean all i would take the toro anyday. Mowing in the summer with the snapper hi vac would take forever.

Merkava_4
09-15-2009, 01:30 AM
Mowing in the summer with the snapper hi vac would take forever.

Now why would that be? You guys keep leaving me hanging with these one liners that peg my curiosity. :D

hate2work
09-15-2009, 07:21 AM
orlawncaresvc,

What do you think about the blade control yellow button; the blade control lever; and the traction control lever on the commercial Honda? Are they easy enough to use?

I borrowed my nephew's commercial Honda a few weeks ago for about two hours of mowing. It took about 10 minutes to get the hang of how to use the controls, and by the time I was finished it was pretty easy.

Roger
09-15-2009, 08:11 AM
Merkava ... The yellow blade control button is only activating a latch that engages the BBC control cable. Once the latch is engaged, there is no need to be concerned about the yellow button (e.g. no need to keep it depressed with a finger/hand).

I didn't mention anything in my previous post about the controls. In comparing controls for the Toro and Honda (I think the 216 commercial is the same as my 217), I prefer the Toro. The Toro is the "half way" style of control, that is pulling up the bail half way disengages the kill switch, pulling all the way fully engages the ground drive. Initially, I thought this to be a real problem, but after use, it is not a problem at all. I think the Exmark 21" machine uses a two bail system, one for operator presence (kill switch), another for ground drive. My Toro, and I think newer ones as well, use the single bail, half way for operator presence, full engagement for ground drive.

The Honda with the BBC does not require the operator presence bail. The ground drive bail needs to be pushed against the handle for engagement. It is easily used as a handle for maneuvering on turns - one hand on the upright portion of the handle, the other on the ground drive bail. I always put the "outside" hand on the upright portion, the "inside" hand on the ground drive, changing when making right-hand turns, or left-hand turns.

But, the Toro is more convenient. It took awhile for me to understand the difference, and it is really very simple. The Toro is a finger-reach control, whereas the Honda is a hand-reach control. In other words, the Toro can be managed with fingertips, whereas the Honda requires use of a full hand motion. With the Toro, both hands can remain on the primary handle, but not so with the Honda. One must be removed in order to deactivate/activate the ground control bail. Because of this, I find the Honda more cumbersome to handle with many turns. In straightline running, it is fine. But, most of us don't run them with much straightline running. Having said all that, this issue is not a deal-breaker.

MOHUSTLER
09-15-2009, 09:58 AM
Hey now!!! That's not nice. They don't like to be called "midgets"......they prefer the term, "Mexicans".


ROTFLMAO:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

BillWil
09-15-2009, 10:30 AM
I have run the Honda commercial, the Toro commercial, and the Snapper commercial. I am in MI and bag all year with my 21's. The Honda is a fine mower. I have one that is now 7 years old. The engine is fine, but the BB and the tranny are expensive to repair. All parts for the Honda are expensive and, as others have said, it is heavy. The Toro commercial is heavy as well. I'm told it mulches better that the Honda. My Toros held up well,but the ones with the BB broke every few years. The Snappers are not as heavy, can be had with a Honda engine, and are easy to work on. Parts are readily available. I don't like the way the starter rope is positioned, but I remedy that with a velcro strap on the bail and then cut the rope at the engine. If I were replacing one now I would go with another Snapper. However, the one I have is only 3 years old and that opinion could change if it gives me a surprise. I can get the Snapper commercial for considerably less $ that either of the others.

Merkava_4
09-16-2009, 05:41 AM
Rodger
BillWil

Thank you both VERY much for your comments. :waving:

NORTHMAN
09-16-2009, 06:40 AM
Whats the difference between the SPCP2160KWV(Snapper Pro) and the CP2160KWV?How does the Disc Drive work?Until this post I never really considered the Snapper,now I am,thanks.

hate2work
09-16-2009, 08:03 AM
Whats the difference between the SPCP2160KWV(Snapper Pro) and the CP2160KWV?How does the Disc Drive work?Until this post I never really considered the Snapper,now I am,thanks.

Aren't the Snappers bag only machines? I think they are designed for bagging only, and that wouldn't work for me.

Merkava_4
09-16-2009, 08:14 AM
Aren't the Snappers bag only machines?

They've got some mulching models and they look like they have the same deck, only without the Hi-Vac chute and bag. I imagine they use a mulching blade too.

hate2work
09-16-2009, 08:19 AM
They've got some mulching models, and they look like they have the same deck, but without the Hi-Vac chute and bag -- I imagine they use a mulching blade too.

So they are either bag or mulch, and you have to choose when you buy it? Sheesh, not much versatilty there lol

I went to the Snapper website trying to find a local dealer, stuck in my zip code and the closest dealer to me is 400 miles away in California!! That's pretty much a deal breaker for me :hammerhead:

Shasta Lake Landscaping
09-16-2009, 08:29 AM
The snapper decks look the same on the mulcher and hi-vac ones but the hi-vacs have a ring flared in around the bottom of the deck to control blow out, the mulcher decks are kind of flared out-ward and have a raised lip in the front, very hard to tell the diff. unless you really look, or cut with it. In my opinion nothing can beat the suction of a snapper hi-vac with the extra wings bolted to the blade, the old ad's used to say they could suck a quarter up off the driveway.

Merkava_4
09-16-2009, 08:35 AM
Here's a picture of the Snapper Hi-Vac (Model P21875BV)

http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n284/MACDRIVE/WEB%20PHOTOS/SnapperHi-Vac.jpg

joed
09-16-2009, 08:48 AM
I have an Exmark metro 21". One of the ways I've found to get around the bagging issues is to use these big plastic contractor bags that I get from Home Depot. I first empty the bag into the plastic bag and then empty the plastic bag into the yard waste bags. Doesn't take long to do and it solves the issue of the bag's door not opening.

Merkava_4
09-16-2009, 08:53 AM
the mulcher decks are kind of flared out-ward and have a raised lip in the front, very hard to tell the diff. unless you really look, or cut with it.

I finally noticed the flare on the bottom of the mulching deck -- I stand corrected. :)

Merkava_4
09-16-2009, 08:58 AM
Out here in California, all the tall fescue at residentials and shopping centers get bagged with 21" WB's.

I wonder where you guys are running the mulchers out. :confused:

S man
09-22-2009, 09:07 PM
Getting off the subject a bit which brand/model would be preferable for side discharge on hills. We don't bag or mulch, don't need a blade brake necessarily, just dependability and traction, low center of gravity..?

Snapper hi vac.

Deori
09-23-2009, 12:44 AM
I will say the Hondas have their issues. Heavy as heck, wheel rachets always needing to be fixed or replaced, etc. But I will also say they have some killer features that I love too. The twin cross-cut blade is freakin' slick as heck. It mulches dry grass like nothing else. The engines last forever. They start first or second pull every time, forever. I love the blade clutch so you don't have to start the mower again after dumping the bag, and the speed is very good too. Hard to keep up with sometimes.


+1, I agree on the pros and the cons and we've got 8 of the HRC216s. Any of you guys who used that model before they switched to the mentioned twin cross-cut "microcut" blades need to give them another look, it makes a HUGE difference in their cutting/mulching ability.

mcw615
09-23-2009, 09:13 AM
A lot of what I run are the 21" Toro's... I have 6 of them, the other 5 are the standard commercial mowers that run about $1500 without the BBC, this year I added the Toro Hi-Vac w/ BBC, I LLOOVVEEE IT.. Although it is a bit heavier, but it truly lifts up the grass much better so you don't have to cut twice in the spring.

My old business partner that sold out owned a company back in his home state Washington with 200 customers, and only used the 21" mowers, they had Exmark 36" Metro's but he only ran Honda, he said he loved the mowers, they have two blades underneath, I at one time agreed to let him purchase one to try it out because we were having problems with having to double cut but the closest honda shop was 45min-1hr away so I backed down and said that's too much fuel (last summers fuel cost) to have to take a mower to a shop. This Spring I purchased the Toro Hi-Vac and it solved all my problems, and I have noticed I don't have to sharpen the blade as often as the standard commercials.

Merkava_4
09-24-2009, 02:27 AM
A lot of what I run are the 21" Toro's... I have 6 of them, the other 5 are the standard commercial mowers that run about $1500 without the BBC, this year I added the Toro Hi-Vac w/ BBC, I LLOOVVEEE IT..

How do you like the action of the BBC bail lever and the self propel bail lever?

brucec32
09-24-2009, 02:58 PM
A) that thick aluminum deck makes it HEAVY. You aren't going to break a normal thickness aluminum deck unless you are really abusive.

B) BBC makes more sense when bagging, as you don't have to restart when emptying the bag, but I wouldn't make it a deal killer. They add more weight, complexity, cost, and tend to be a problem area on some machines in terms of reliability.

C) research that shaft drive. Some have had problems with pins shearing from too much torque, and outright failures. Some belt systems work great and are very reliable and easy to fix if they ever did wear out.

D) I'd be careful driving even 50' with mowers in the back of a truck unless you have a commercial auto policy. Read your policy, if you're engaged in business activity and have an accident, you are not covered. Worth a few hundred extra a year to upgrade. Same goes for liability coverage. You could damage something, hurt someone, or even just be accused of damaging something and sued. The policy provides for your defense costs as well as actual damages. Earning a few hundred on the side could turn out to be the most expensive mistake of your life if something happened.

Greetings and Salutations!! :usflag:

I'm just a small time guy and I'm not even sure if I'm worthy of posting in this sub forum; if not, fill free to move or delete this thread.

I've been doing some small postage stamp 50 feet x 50 feet residential yards in my own neighborhood on the side apart from my day job; which has been cut to 30 hours a week because of the recession. I've been using a reel type mower which is fine for cutting short Bermuda, but doesn't cut tall fescue very well unless you want to kill it. Some of the houses in this subdivision have tall fescue lawns, but they were all originally planted with Bermuda by the builder.

I think I've narrowed my selection down to 3 rotary mowers:

1.Toro Hi-Vac 22189 Commercial
2. Honda HRC216K3HXA Commercial
3. Snapper Hi-Vac CP2160KWV Commercial

They all have a BBC except for the Snapper, but the Snapper is excellent at suction. I don't know how well the Toro and Honda are at suction. I'm doing all bagging and don't need to mulch at all; which is why I'm putting a priority on suction rather than mulching ability. A user friendly mower with easy to use controls would be nice too.

My next door neighbor is a professional gardener. His routine is to edge and trim first, then blow all the clippings onto the center of the lawn, and then mow with his Snapper Hi-Vac commercial mower in a clockwise direction. The Snapper has such excellent suction, that it leaves nothing behind. My only reservations about the Snapper is that it has no BBC. I'm thinking if the Snapper had a 1/4 inch thick aluminum deck like the Toro, along with a Hydrostatic shaft drive transmission like the Honda, it could very well be the perfect WB bagging mower, but I know that's wishful thinking.

What are your thoughts?

TheC-Master
09-24-2009, 09:30 PM
I wouldn't buy a mower without that option.

I have a toro 21 heavy duty commercial. I swear the 3rd gear is just for travel because there is no way it will mow that fast. it won't even mow at full speed in 2nd gear half the time.

I mulch but when I do bag, the toro is horrible. I find it difficult to empty the bag. You basically have to hold that door on the bag open, then try and dump it into a garbage can and even if it doesn't get all stuck up there (which it always does) you have to shake it up and down and it still leaves a mess on the ground.

The cheaper toros I have, the super recycler and normal recycler, are much better baggers. You take the bag off the mower and lean it on your leg. The put a plastic bag over it and then upside down and you're done.
I can mulch on 3rd speed with my exmark 21 in some crazy grass. Plus you can apply the speed somewhat like an accelerator. Good stuff how high is the grass you're cutting? I don't need BBC as I don't bag.

Jpeg lawn maintenance
09-24-2009, 09:47 PM
The toros are built for midgets. At 6'2" it is a back killer for me.

i hear ya man i just thought about running mine over today gonna look into gettign something else.

Green Industry Pro
11-30-2009, 04:48 PM
If I see something ahead I kick or toss it out of the way, slowing the machine only if needed. Plus, If one 'had' to stop (ie. to move a larger object) the engines start so easily it's no big deal. I see a BBC as something else to add weight and to break. I use 21" only and the reasons I've opted for three Snappers are they are dependable, durable, easy to adjust/repair, parts are easy to get and they are versatile (mulch/bag/discharge as well as anything on the market).

ps... In the six years I've been using Snappers I've never had anything break or wear out.
pss.. The only differences in the P2160KWV and CP2160KWV are the wheels and $170.

I have a snapper rp216019kwv. It is a good machine and I agree with everything you have said about snapper walks(heintooga).It is the one with the kawasaki fj180v w/oil filter and disc drive sp.The deck lip isnt rolled under, its flared out(wanted the rolld under lip cause I bag 95% of the time but dealer didnt have one)and the kaw engine is a monster on torque.Just the other day I put a mulch plate on mine and demolished deep leaf piles and then ran back over the yard with the bag to pick up the remaining ones.You cant slow the engine down.DONT WORRY about the drive system.Snapper has kept the same system for over 20 years for a reason.Its extremely easy to adjust/repair.You dont need to spend extra money for a bbc.If your strong enough and healthy enough to be able to mow yards and to start the mower the first time, then why cant you do without the bbc and start the machine after you empty the bag.(hope I didnt offend)


I WOULD BUY THE SNAPPER(as you can tell because I already have one LOL)it has the best value and simplicity,abd simplicity is good.

p.s. comment on my threads:usflag::usflag::usflag:

Nutsedge
05-17-2012, 01:58 AM
Only posting in this old a## thread is to see if I get a response from Roger and because its about the first Google response to the search "Honda v snapper mower'! So if anyone else is contemplating a Honda mower they can see Rogers and my experiences with them.

As a Honda mower owner that first owned a Snapper powered by a b and S I feel the Honda line of mowers is simply unsurpassed by ANY other manufacturers in every category but price. However over the course of ownership I would feel very comfortable saying that total cost of ownership of a Honda mower will end up being the lowest due to the quality of the machine as a whole.

I am the guy. Yes, the non-commercial engine is getting a heavy workout, every day, and on many days, all day long. It continues to run fine -- starts on first pull, runs smooth, has good power, etc. It is no different now, than when I first started in late March, early April. Obviously, no hour meter, but I expect that it is close to 600 service hours by now. I'm looking for 700-800 by end of season, and will be satisfied if it still is in one piece.

The 217 is a high-end consumer model, with BBC. In this model, the BBC does not take up any space under the deck, unlike some models. The center hub may stick down just a bit further than some non-BBC models. But, I don't consider the BBC an impediment to mulching.

I concur with Jim Lewis about bagging in wet conditions. It does well.

I have a Toro Proline 21 as a secondary machine (~7 years old). It has a 2 cycle Sizuki engine, non-BBC, 3 speed transmission. In comparison, bagging is poor, relative to the Honda. In heavy Spring conditions, I take out all kicker plates, use a high-lift blade (intended for the hi-vac model), and use a bungee cord to pull the door open as far as possible for maximum clearance in the bagging chute. All those things do help, but does not match the Honda. I agree with a comment made above about emptying the bag on the Toro -- full bag, with wet/damp grass makes for a very difficult dumping. The inset on the bottom edge, an inset that is necessary to have the bag fit over the transmission drive, prohibits the debris from easily falling out of the bag. On the other hand, the Honda bag has a completely open rectangular end, with the bag slightly tapered. This enables the debris to always fall right out without any difficulty.

As a side note, the Versa-Mow feature on the Honda 217 works well. The partial opening settings are useless. But, the "instant" bag to mulch, and visa-versa, has saved us much time this season. We have been bagging only where necessary on a lawn, and with a 5 second interruption to move the green knob from one side to the other, the clippings are being mulched. It is never used at any intermediate setting, only fully slid to one position, or the other. The partial settings might make a great sales tool, but in reality, are useless in the field.

Do you still have the HRX Roger (ill bet so! and what have you had to do to maintain it other than adjusting the speed control or throttle cable position?

I have run the Honda commercial, the Toro commercial, and the Snapper commercial. I am in MI and bag all year with my 21's. The Honda is a fine mower. I have one that is now 7 years old. The engine is fine, but the BB and the tranny are expensive to repair. All parts for the Honda are expensive and, as others have said, it is heavy. The Toro commercial is heavy as well. I'm told it mulches better that the Honda. My Toros held up well,but the ones with the BB broke every few years. The Snappers are not as heavy, can be had with a Honda engine, and are easy to work on. Parts are readily available. I don't like the way the starter rope is positioned, but I remedy that with a velcro strap on the bail and then cut the rope at the engine. If I were replacing one now I would go with another Snapper. However, the one I have is only 3 years old and that opinion could change if it gives me a surprise. I can get the Snapper commercial for considerably less $ that either of the others.

Im puzzled as to why you would take the Snapper over the Honda since you have had what seem to be 7y good use from the H and only 3y from the Snapper when you posted this? You aslo say "I'm told it mulches better that the Honda." which is strange sounding as you own both, I would think you would post your own feelings on this, can you elaborate on what your trying to say?

You say that parts for a Honda mower are expensive, are you just talking about the transmissions/propulsion system and not in comparison to other manufacturers trannys because they are all steep. This is one reason why I choose to get the Hydrostatic model (only push mower with this type of propulsion) because its not really even a maintenance system and due to the very few parts entailing it, garners what I would call the most trouble free/most reliable tranny available.

As for pretty much every other part on a Honda mower, I think you need to start ordering your parts online and not getting them from a local shop. Show me even one other mower that you can get a WHOLE ENTIRE CARB for only $16. Try pricing about a carb for a Tecumseh powered Lawn Boy (huge POS that I was fixing for someone), they are $78! The control lever units and cables are usually only $15-$20 for the entire thing. So again, I have yet to find a single part for a Honda that when compered to a similar part for another mower exhibit these higher prices you are claiming and actually in reality I have found that they are much cheaper.

The very first time I cut my lawn with my newly acquired HRX217HXA (5y old when I bought it) the grass was easily 10"+ tall (HRX max cutting height is 4" so that means I was taking at minimum, 6" of grass off!). This was also at 9am on a Sunday morning where it had rained for 24+ hours prior, stopping at about 8pm the night earlier so needless to say with no dayligt to dry things out, it was sopping wet out in the lawn! That being said, when I cut the lawn I had it set to 100% mulch and that if it could do a champ job that day it would do anything else I would ask of it. And let me tell you, it blew my expectations out of the water.

Here are some pix. I think you can see from the shots, I dont have some scraggly lawn. I have a service provider apply ferts and weed control. Anyone in the midwest and probably other areas know that early spring with a good fert routine and half way decent rainfall will force you to sometimes cut three times a week as to mot het overwhelmed/overwhelm your mower.

This is my side yard which is the wettest area of the lawn. Pre cut.
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r288/bsmith782/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_4075.jpg

back yard.
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r288/bsmith782/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_9286.jpg
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r288/bsmith782/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_9792.jpg

One single swipe at 65%-70% speed set. Please save this pic to your cpu and zoom in to see as clearly as possible that there are maybe a few clipping s left behind. This astonished me, no bogging at all and really not even a drop in rpms. Unbelievable!
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r288/bsmith782/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_4625.jpg

Two great cut/uncut shot at ground level.
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r288/bsmith782/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_5061.jpg
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r288/bsmith782/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_2503.jpg

Another illustration of just how wet it was. This was the area of my side yard where I turn around. That's it all I did to make this mess was turn around aver my rows!
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r288/bsmith782/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_0750.jpg

Another depiction of how cleanly this mower cuts on a single swipe!
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r288/bsmith782/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_3995.jpg

Cut on left uncut right.
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r288/bsmith782/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_7091.jpg

Yet another singular ultra clean swipe taking at least 6" off on a super wet very thick lawn.
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r288/bsmith782/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_1175.jpg



+1, I agree on the pros and the cons and we've got 8 of the HRC216s. Any of you guys who used that model before they switched to the mentioned twin cross-cut "microcut" blades need to give them another look, it makes a HUGE difference in their cutting/mulching ability.

Completely agree! High lift schmylift! The OE Honda micro cut blade setup is amazing. I cannot imagine ANY mower performing better than these Honda's brand new at the current time.

The ONLY critical (not even a big deal at all either) thing I could say about the HRX217HXA is that the handle system can cause hand/thumb cramps but by the time im done mowing my yard I still come away thinking that the bars are set up as best they can with all the controls offered. Im 6'1" so the height and bar length are great for me. Easiest starting mower I have ever experienced and I agree that the $100 electric start should only be opted for if you are elderly/very small or just want to show off! The BBC "roto stop" is super easily controlled. While the engine is running you only need push the yellow button down then push the bar forward and it comes to life. This is another case of the great design of the handle setup as if you just want to move the mower with its propulsion you simply push the bar forward with the propulsion bar and your scooting to wherever you need.

I simply cant say enough about this mower and can pretty much guarantee anyone who gets it will feel the same.

THG
05-17-2012, 03:50 PM
We dont use 21' mowers that often so I cannot speak to all the mowers you listed but I will chime into to say that we have Snapper High Vacs and they will bag, mulch or side discharge and the Hi-vac system is very strong. The suction from the Snapper Hi-Vac in my opinion is as good as it gets. Unlike one of the posters on this topic, I would never consider the Snapper to be a POS.

Nutsedge
05-17-2012, 04:05 PM
Yeah and another thing I forgot to mention is that the Nexite decks that cone on the HRX Hondas must be super slippery as after mowing in the conditions above (super wet grass) there was barely a blade of grass stuck to the bottom of the deck. So not only is the Nexite deck corrosion proof but it does not need to be scraped down to keep the proper suction the engineers designed.

I have read a few people who have said that their Honda composite decks ad a hole blasted trough them but I have yet to see any pics. And even if they all were actually true, the amount of normal metal decks that have been destroyed by lawn debris is so many more times greater it's a relatively moot point in my opinion. Even if you took into account the vastly larger number of metal decked mowers and divided failure rate commensurately.
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mikeypizano
05-17-2012, 09:09 PM
Honda HRC216 here and wouldn't think of using anything else!

jkilov
05-18-2012, 05:38 PM
This thread is "a tad" old but I'll add my opinion since I've owned all of them.

Toro:
- heavy
- geared too high (1st gear is OK, 2nd is fast, 3rd is useless)
- somewhat less ergonomic than the competition
- bags poorly and makes a mess when emptying
- transmissions like to fail (imput bevel gear, bearings, selector slider)
+ the above parts can be ordered separately and replaced for little $
+ the rest of the mower holds up well
+ mulches OK
+ comes with a Kawi which is a very well balanced engine
+ price tag is still acceptable

Honda HRC:
+ cuts & bags great
+ GXV160 engine is proven, reliable, smooth and gas efficient
- it's also underpowered and can barely mulch any real grass
+ the hydro tranny is precise and a treat to use
- servicing it requires a PhD in engineering, if broken it can't be fixed and replacements are very pricy
+ drive is shaft powered: smooth, positive, debris and maintenance free
- it also makes the engine a special stock item: very expensive to replace if something goes wrong
+ BBC fits well with the bagging configuration
- but really isn't needed as the engine is so easy to restart
- adds weight (clutch assembly + heavy flywheel)
- yellow engagement tab is annoying to use
- heavy
- overpriced

Honda HRX:
+ nicely balanced product, light and productive, a real treat to use
+ cuts and bags well
+ reasonably priced
+ Nexite dack has a sandwich/honeycone structure, making it strong, light and quiet
- "Nexite" is polyproplyene (PP), more commonly known as "plastic" though better than yoghurt cups
- sandwich deck adds "dead" cutting width, making trimm cuts more difficult
+ Versamow lever allows quick change from bag to mulch
- but really doesn't work well at in-between positions
+ GCV engine is light, smooth and gas efficient
- and sealed by glue, hard to fix when valves get stuck
+ holds up well for a residential mower
- but not under real commercial use
- parts are expensive, making it a throw away item if say a tranny goes bad

Snapper commercial:
- Snapper is owned by Briggs :dizzy:
- you have to choose a dedicated deck
+ but they really do perform better (hivac) than most combo decks
+ Briggs OHV engine is a real powerhouse and cheap to replace if you hit a stump
- and a real gas hog, "commercial" features include a plastic cam & throttle (likes to stick)
+ steel deck is simple and robust
+ "Fred Flintstone" disc drive holds up very well
+ differential helps a lot when turning
- it also slips when one wheel looses traction, this thing needs a torsen
- bland appearance, doesn't look like a pro contractor mower
+ overall a good balance of power, lightness and productivity
+ very good price tag

I find it hard to admit but after using 21" for many years my vote goes to the snapper. For $700-$800 you get a real productive machine that cuts down anything. The Briggs engine has it' niggles but holds up suprisingly well. The lack of BBC really isn't a problem.

The Toro is an OK mower, but I never liked using it. If they would put some effort into making the thing more ergonomic and useful more people would give it a try.

The honda HRC is top of the line quality, but productivity is just too low and the thing is over-engineered (japanese mouse trap), hit a rock and you'll need: 2 new blades, new BBC and new crank (a special item due to shaft drive) which will cost several hundred $, I find this a bit annoying.

Anyway, my 2 cents on these mowers...

Mikegyver
05-18-2012, 05:52 PM
Honda is the way to go. I have one that has to be in the neighborhood of 15-20 years old and it still cranks on the first pull...
Mike

Deori
05-18-2012, 06:43 PM
They do offer the Toros with a Honda engine too. I personally like that the Kawi engine has a 1 Gallon fuel tank while the Honda is only about .25 Gallon. I have to agree that Toros are and always have been terribly unergonomic which is the biggest reason I've always stayed away. All we use are 21" mowers out here and our HRCs are expensive to get repaired but on the plus side, very rarely need repairs. That and they just run forever! So it's a toss up. I also agree that they can't mulch wet grass for crap. If its wet, we're bagging.
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lawnkingforever
05-18-2012, 06:46 PM
My last 2 pushmowers were a Honda and a snapper. Currently I use a Toro SR4, which I bought last month off of a local dealer. My application for a pushmower is as a trim mower and for a couple gated yards.

The Honda was much too heavy and hard to turn. Parts were also expensive. Built like a tank and a good choice for an lco that uses smaller mowers alot. For a seldom used trim mower, not a good choice for my purpose.

The snapper I liked alot, very fast and nimble. It was also very light in weight. Good on hills.

The jury is still out on the Toro and the personal pace system. After a month with it I do like it. Mulches good and bags ok. Side discharge is not very good. It does start very easily.

I will go back to a snapper for my next pushmower.

Though I don't keep my pushmowers around long. As soon as they start needing maintenance or falling a part I get rid of them. My pushmowers have always got more abuse from trailering them than actual use. Pushmowers were not made to be strapped down on a trailer. The new Toro super recycler has been going in the bed of the pick up has helped keep the wheels in better shape.
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