View Full Version : Honda 21" mowers

06-11-2003, 01:06 PM
I have running nothing but John Deere JX85's for years and I'm not going to buy the 75's and spend the money to upgrade them. Are the Honda's good baggers? Tell me what you think about them. Is the hydro model worth it?

Let it Grow
06-11-2003, 02:01 PM
I've got two Honda Hydro's and I love them. They are great baggers. Honda's are all I have used so I don't know what other mowers are like, but I'm very satisfied with mine. The hyrdo's are great, you can set the speed right where you want it.

06-11-2003, 02:15 PM
We've got 8 of the HRC216HXA (Commercial Hydrostatic) mowers. As far as I am concerned, they are the best thing around. Once you buy one and use it for a week or two you'll see what I mean.

Last year one of our trucks and trailers got in an accident and two of our mowers were out of commission for about 2 weeks. During that time, we rented two John Deer hydrostatic commercial mowers. After ours were fixed / replaced and that crew got their Hondas back they were soooo happy. The John Deers were a decent replacement but not nearly as good as the Hondas. I never saw my crew so happy and relieved before.

I can't say enough good about Hondas. And yes, the Hydro is worth the extra $100 or so. One of our mowers is NOT hydrostat - it's a 2 speed. And it is the one that hardly ever gets used. Nobody likes it compared to the hydros. The hydros are easy to go at varying speeds on the fly. The 2 speeds are just stop and go. Nothing in between. The hydros are sweet. You can just press on the bar a tad and go super slow if you want (e.g. when you turn) and then slowly press the bar in the faster you want to go. This bar acts just like the hydro lever but easier to use. Guys who've been around Hondas a while know what I am talking about. It's a cool feature.

06-11-2003, 03:12 PM
so you consider them better than a Toro or Exmark?

06-11-2003, 05:04 PM
Never used an Exmark. I've never even seen a 21" Exmark in any equipment store around these parts. But Hondas are better than the Toros, JDs, and Snapper top end commercial models. I can say that for sure - from experience.

06-11-2003, 05:14 PM
Jim, what all equipment do you have? Could you give me a list of what all you own?

06-11-2003, 05:50 PM
Honda's are excellent bagging and mulching trim mowers..... and yes they are worth the price.

06-11-2003, 08:13 PM
Honda's are horrible mulchers compared to the Toro's.

I dumped all my Honda's a few years ago after realizing I was forced to bag what could easily be muched with a Toro 21" or discharged with a Lawnboy.

06-11-2003, 08:27 PM
Honda's are good mowers if you bag but thats it .Toros are more versatile and do a great job. If youre looking at bagging only maybe Honda is for you but we need a mower for many different applications mulching is really nice.

06-11-2003, 09:52 PM
Use to run Hondas... then Hondas and Toros... Then just Toros...

The Toro belt drives just like a hydro, the toro is the best mulcher, the Toro has a shorter more upright handle which eliminates a step each turn, the Toro can easily be made into a good bagger by removing the kicker plates and installing a high lift blade...

The Honda engine will outlast any other and is a good bagger, but after running them side by side, I found that I was using the Honda less and less...

Both are good machines, but my preference went to the Toro...

Good Luck, Clay

06-12-2003, 02:16 AM
I guess I've never used Hondas for anything but bagging. We have no use for mulching up here really. So maybe those comments about Hondas being bad at mulching are true. Couldn't say. We always bag and they are the best at that.

I've never really listed my equipment. But since you asked, here is what we have;

4 1972 Chevy 3/4 ton Pickups
1 1998 Dodge Pickup
7 Honda Commercial Hydros
1 Honda Commercial 2 spd.
1 Honda Homeowners special 2 spd
5 Shindaiwa T230 String Trimmers
1 Shindaiwa T260 String Trimmer
6 Echo PB46HT Backpack blowers
3 Shindaiwa LE230 Stick Edgers
1 Stihl FS? Stick Edger
4 open trailers
1 Stihl Articulating hedge trimmer
1 Shindaiwa commercial hedge trimmer
1 Big ole rototiller
1 small mantis rototiller
6 Shindaiwa 3 gal backpack sprayers

Boxes of irrigation tools and parts
Tons of hand tools

That's about all I can think of. My favorite piece of eq. is the articulating hedge trimmer. That thing is so slick. What used to take us hours (hedges) now takes just minutes.

Just Turned Pro
06-12-2003, 01:56 PM
I use the Honda Commercial Hydros. They are great bagging mowers but do not mulch well. They seem like the standard around here for most LCO’s that service residential clients.

Around here it is so wet most of the year that they are a necessity. You can use them in the heaviest, wettest, longest grass with no trace of clippings or clumps when you bag. I run either the stock Honda blades or an after market high lift (Silver Streak I think).

As for the mulch kit, I have not had good luck with it. If it is wet or I have am cutting off more than a half inch it clumps up under the deck and seems to clump on one of the rear wheels.

The only other downer is that they are heavy mowers. You have to be careful when the ground is soggy in the spring so that you leave tire marks and tear the turf.

06-12-2003, 04:11 PM
Around here it is so wet most of the year that they are a necessity. You can use them in the heaviest, wettest, longest grass with no trace of clippings or clumps when you bag. Agreed. Oregon, like Washington, typically has very wet, thick, heavy grass. And I suppose that's one reason we like the Hondas so much. Tried the Toros and the Snapper commercial (with a high lift blade kit) and still didn't cut our wet grass nearly as well as the Hondas do.

06-12-2003, 07:37 PM
we've used both exmarks adn hondas the exmarks gear driven were a much faster mower to use the bag held a lot more grass but was difficult to dump and didn't work well with wet grass, the honda worked great on wet and dry grass the the bag was smaller but easier to dump. we sold our exmark and bought another honda.

06-12-2003, 08:47 PM
This should solve the small bag problem on the Honda's. I have one on a Toro 21", less plugging than the stock, but it's not as large as the Honda Accelerator.


06-12-2003, 09:02 PM
I've owned 2 commercial hondas over the past 12 years or so...great engine, very good bagging system..but...as some of the guys said above, they are worthless at mulching in the heavy growth season. They are very comfortable to operate but their problem with mulching is why I cant buy another one....oh...and they have an historic transmission problem....both of my Hondas had to be torn down and the trans reparied...the mechanic at the mower shop said he sees allot of the same problem.. the engine will run forever and takes allot of abuse

06-12-2003, 09:20 PM
I have a honda 216 and have a love hate relationship with it. It does a better job as a bagger than the commercial lawnboys, but as soon as it gets dry enough, we switch to mulching and that's where the lawnboy rules.

The one thing that I hate about all commercial 21 are that they weigh a ton and can't be used in our rain season because they tear up the lawns.

Maybe we all should scream and holler to the manufactures to build us a commercial machine that when needed to, you can lift up stairs or the back of a truck easily by one person.


06-12-2003, 09:37 PM
This is a very interesting discussion on the Honda. I have used both the John Deere and Toro and think that both are great. The Honda has always interested me because of the hydro system. Can that drive system be set at any speed? I also was intrigued with their quadracut system for mulching. How does that work?

06-12-2003, 10:40 PM
I own both Honda and Toro mowers. My Honda keeps my moutian bike company in the garage. They (the Hondas) are very heavy and as said don't mulch well, however if all you plan on doing is bagging they are great baggers. I'm a Toro man through and through though my advice is buy a 2 cycle Toro before they are gone.


06-12-2003, 11:10 PM
I don't use my honda much anymore, but when I do use it I love the thing. However I will say that it is HEAVY, but also very well constructed. I have really pounded the heck out of that frame and it keeps on going.

06-12-2003, 11:20 PM
I've used Snapper, Lawnboy, Toro, Honda and John Deere mowers.

Snapper: Great cut...bad for bagging really thick stuff...when mulching it spreads the clippings out fine...doesn't leave all of em on say the left side of the deck like other mowers. I like the big bags and large gas tanks. I hate the little drive handle...so hard to get to when you need it most. Both wheels don't spin at the same speed so if you're mowing wet grass its hard to mow along cuz tires will spin.

Lawnboy: Used a two cycle...nice mower...good cut...changing from bagging to mulching is tedious....doesn't bag too well in my opinion but as others have mentioned...good mulcher. Two cycle engines had a period of the carbs having problems....so it would run rough until I got a freebie honda that used more oil then gas.

Honda: Loved that mower! Easy to use...great cut...great bagger...not the best mulcher but it works well enough with mulching blades....but hella heavy...it eventually seized it up cuz it ran outta oil from leaking. smaller bag then i would like. Now trannie problems with the hydrostatic.

JohnDeere is what i use now...jx75. Great great mower....nice cut...not the best mulcher...leaves a trail on the left side in thicker grass but is virtually unstoppable...engine runs really really nice. Bag is too small. they need another gear between 4th and 5th. 4th a lil too slow...5th isn't too fast for me...but cuts a lil rougher.

i'm done