Best 21" Walk Behind Mulcher?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by rdonchez, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. rdonchez

    rdonchez LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    I am looking for a new mower for my home. I have a relatively thick lawn and solely mulch. My existing mower doesnt seem to have enough power to handle the mulching unless I mow very frequently and even then it still leaves grass behind. Therefore, I am looking for suggestions on the best mulcher out there today. Thanks.
  2. IS500Z

    IS500Z LawnSite Member
    Messages: 246

    If you allow you grass to become too high and are trying to cut and mulch more than a third at a time even a good mulching mower is going to clump. That said, the Toro SR4 and the Honda HRX are both excellent mulching mowers. I did notice when I was at a dealer yesterday that, at least, some of the new Toro's have a 'Toro' engine now, which is made in China. I would seek out one with a Briggs on it, or, if it was me, purchase the Honda.
  3. jod78

    jod78 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    Toro SR model 20382- homeowner model- with the Honda engine is $609. That will definitely be a great mulcher. Toro has a commercial and heavy duty line as well that will be equally as great at mulching, but with a much better build quality. To me, the "commercial" line is not really all that commercial and not worth the extra money over the homeowner models. The HD models, on the other hand, are about as good as it gets in terms of build quality. One should last you decades with homeowner use. They are in the $1100 range.
  4. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    I'd skip the 21" and go with a Toro TimeMaster 30....unless the width of the mower is an issue. I have 2 Toro SR4's and the cut quality is not there unless the height is dropped below what is ideal for cool season grass.

    What kind of fert are you using and frequency...? I'm assuming cool season grass.
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  5. BTC

    BTC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 150

    I like my Honda HRX mower. It does a good job of mulching.
  6. 1999frontier

    1999frontier LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 562

    What makes Honda mowers one of the best? Is it just the engine or the deck with the twin blade system? If just the engine, would buying another brand with a Honda engine be about the same?
  7. jod78

    jod78 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    The deck design is a big part in what makes a mulching mower a good mulching mower. So no - simply buying a different mower with a Honda engine isn't necessarily going to get you the same quality mower. You can buy a $249 Troy Bilt with a Honda engine on it, but it's probably a pretty crappy mulcher.
  8. johnu

    johnu LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Don't forget the Hydro drive on the high end the Honda is quieter then others.
  9. exmarkking

    exmarkking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    This one does really good
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  10. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    I like my Toro Super Recycler (SR4) a lot. It is an easy to use mower and it mulches quite well.
    I mowed my first season with that alone and I mulch everything except heavy spring growth.

    It's a much better mulcher than a bagger. Bagging a well-kept lawn is no issue at all, but when bagging heavy growth, the chute clogs before the bag fills.

    My first one had the Briggs and Stratton engine. I bought a second one last season on clearance for $499 so I would have a backup. The newer one has the Honda engine. I'm really not impressed with the Honda engine.
    Twice now on cold mornings it has started, but chugged along, barely running fast enough to turn the blades. I tried letting it "warm up", but no luck. I then worked the lever on the engine that controls the throttle back and forth a few times and got it to "come to life". Not sure if that's common, but I never had that happen with the B&S.

    Also, if you run across a hill with the air cleaner on the "down" side, gas will literally pour out of the air filter. (OK, maybe not "pour", but it drips out pretty fast) I KNOW you're not supposed to tilt the mower that way, but in the real world you sometimes HAVE to. The Briggs engine would show signs of this happening on the air filter when you changed it, but I NEVER had gasoline drip out of the filter and onto the deck with that one - only with the Honda engine.

    Note that the Super Recycler is NOT the same mower as the Recycler found in big box stores. I'm pretty sure the SR4 is only sold at dealers.

    I've looked at the Honda mowers, but they are more complicated to operate (Personal Pace for the win), and the deck looked harder to clean out underneath, so I just bought another Toro. I'm still curious to see how well one mulches in comparison though.


    Note that the "Toro" engines are the "red" ones and as mentioned previously - made in China.


    GRASS!!! Nom nom nom...


    ^ Obviously too tall to mulch properly, but I've found that this mower will devour some pretty overgrown lawns.

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