21" mower for bagging wet grass: Honda HRX 217VKA or Toro 22156 semi-commercial

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by joed, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. joed

    joed LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,193

    I have a 21" Exmark Metro (2008 model) with the 6 hp Kawasak KAI engine and BBC. Great mower but when it gets into wet, thick grass, as we saw a lot of this past May with all the rain in my area, it has a lot of trouble. The grass sticks to the deck, the chute is too narrow, and everything clogs up, leaving a big mess. Then I have to go scrap off all the stuff before mowing again. A lot of places were taking me double the time to get through.

    So, I'd like to try to find a nice 21" mower that bags wet grass well. I'm looking at two choices:
    1. Honda HRX217VKA.
    That's the one with smart drive/paddles to control the speed. I looked at the hydro version. I know it's a better set up but the handle is long. I have a lot of tightly landscaped properties where this would slow me down. The shorter length of the VKA version would be more suitable for me.

    2. Toro 22156:
    Semi-commercial model with the 190 cc Honda GSV engine.

    My dealer is steering me away from the Honda and toward the toro. He says it's more suitable for commercial use. Both units are close in price.

    Anyhow, any thoughts as to which will be the most useful and most productive?

  2. joed

    joed LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,193

    Any responses?

    Was also wondering if the non-BBC version of my Exmark/toro 21" commercial unit would do better in wet grass? I've only had the BBC version.
  3. tjjn06

    tjjn06 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 76

    We have the HRX217HXA and absolutely LOVE IT. It's cut quality is awesome in every condition we have had yet. Mulching in thick, wet grass isn't good (but hows is?), but bagging is absolutely no problem in all conditions.

    Our biggest complaint is that when the bagger starts getting full, it likes to pop a lot of "wheelies".

    Seems to get good fuel usage.

    Definitely recommend this unit to anyone willing to spend the money on a really good push mower.
  4. Merkava_4

    Merkava_4 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,354

    My biggest complaint about the Toro's are the short little handles that are designed for midgets.
    The Honda's have nice tall handles that come to a comfortable hight and keeps your back happy.
  5. RLS24

    RLS24 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,603

    I have 2 of the older Toro units (same design as your eXmark), one is BBC and the other is not. Theres no difference in what you're looking for between the BBC and non BBC
  6. gebby

    gebby LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 712

    I know that it is not on your list but, you might want to look at a Ariens. Mine packs really good and, has plenty of power. My experience with wet grass is no matter what it is going to take some extra time. Hate it.
  7. Kevin R

    Kevin R LawnSite Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 40

    I have had the Toro commercial with the Kawi on it now going on 5 years, it works fantastic both cut quality and mulching.

  8. coopmaster

    coopmaster LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    I have the 20192 Toro with the Honda 160 engine. This past May was a challenge with all the wet grass. I did try out the Honda Honda HRX217VKA (my brother's mower) and I must say that the Honda did bag a little better than the Toro. The Toro's bag is easier on/off.
  9. joed

    joed LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,193


    Which Ariens mower do you have?

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