The best 21 inch commercial/heavy-duty mower that will mulch perfectly???

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Zack1978, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Zack1978

    Zack1978 LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Messages: 31

    Hi everyone,
    I am gearing up for the spring season, and I want to buy a new 21 inch self propelled, BBC, commercial/heavy-duty mower.
    I had narrowed my search down to the Toro 22198 ( or an Exmark X-Series 21 (
    When I went to the Toro dealer he said that it is really more of a bagger mower, and the mulching will not be great. I have a Toro Recycler from 1991, and if the conditions are good it will mulch good. The Toro dealer said that my 1991 mower most likely will mulch better than the new mower. I want the ability to bag and mulch, and the majority of the time I mulch.
    I did not stop in at the Exmark dealer as of yet.....

    So the bottom line is that I want a very high end 21 that will mulch very well. I want this mower to last at least as long as my Toro from 1991.

  2. W&Wlawncare

    W&Wlawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    HRX 217 is second to none when mulching. It's got the microcut, with twin blades. Clippings come out really finely mulched. Not a commercial mower, but at $500 dollars less expensive, who cares how long they'll last, because you could nearly get 2 for the price of one of the commercial units.
    Oh and the bagging is great too, the deck was especially designed for this and has a great amount of vacuum to it, pretty large capacity bag as well. Best 21" on the market if you ask me. The 6.5 hp this thing packs is great, rarely ever bogs down.
    If you take care of this thing it will last just as long as your other mower. Honda makes a great product. Plastic deck never rusts!
  3. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    Ah man this is a hard one. Both are very decent from the reviews I've read on them.

    My business only uses small mowers and right now I have the Toro 22" personal pace mower and only had one time it didn't want to start when it was super cold (below freezing) but after the temperature warmed up it started fine.

    I plan on using the new toro timemaster 30 as my main unit but if I had to pick between the two you choose I honestly can't. Both are great units.

    Also take a look at ybravo mowers.

    ALEX'S LANDSCAPING LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 675

    This is a very hard decision because Toro/eXmark is the same company so basically they are both the exact same mower.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  5. retrodog

    retrodog LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,429

    Check out ybravo, they are very good mulchers and parts are lower than toro and exmark...
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. K&L Landscaping

    K&L Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 657

    I have one eXmark Metro 21" and two Toro Proline 21" mowers and they cut/mulch great. I've been very satisfied with the cut, durability and overall build quality. For me, I wouldn't consider any other 21" mower.
  7. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    If you can find one the older Toro proline 2 cycle mowers are the best you can get honestly. But good luck with that haha.

    ALEX'S LANDSCAPING LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 675

    Now those were built like a TANK
    suzuki 2 cycles!!!

    too bad they don't make them anymore :(
  9. metro36

    metro36 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,417

    I have one of the toros with the kawi engine and BBC. It mulches pretty well as long as the grass isnt really tall and wet. Even when it is tall, I just double cut and it looks fine. It does bag really well though. They suck up leaves better than any other mower I have tried.
  10. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,940

    The two mowers referenced above are not the same mower. The Toro is the same design of many years. The Exmark is a new design of a couple of years ago.

    For me, the Exmark is not even a consideration in the mix. The single speed transmission is a bummer. I would never consider this machine for this reason -- speed control by slipping the drive belt. I know some have spoken highly of this machine on LS, but I am doubting they are working on slopping terrain, and around obstacles on those sloping surfaces.

    The Toro has a gear driven, 3 speed transmission that is firm, easy to control with the bail.

    The older 2 cycle Sizuki powered Toro has been mentioned, and the Honda HRX217. I have both. You can do a search on my name with HRX217, and read my comments, reviews, and repairs. In general, it is the best hand mower I have used. It mulches the best, has a good bagger, and the hydro transmission works well. I know it has a GCV engine - overhead cam, not the best Honda engine (or even the GSV). But, my machine has well over 1500 hours, and the engine and transmission remain sound.

    The 2 cycle Toro has much the same deck as the new ones, I believe. It is a horrible bagger when the grass is damp or wet. The small bagging chute is a problem. I've used a high-lift blade that has helped some, and a cord to pull the door open a little further than usual. Also, it is a marginal mulching mower. It works better than the old LawnBoy, but not as well as the Honda. The best mulching blade I've found is the Gator, with teeth. It is better than the OEM standard, and much better than the Atomic blade (nearly useless - not enough lift, just skips over the grass).

    I use them both for leaf mulching in the Fall. The Honda works best, but the Toro does a pretty good job too. The 6hp Honda engine has more power for this work, so is preferred.

    For my comparison, the Honda HRX217 is the best, over the Toro Proline, or the older LawnBoy mowers.

    You are dreaming to find the perfect mulching mower. Conditions vary so widely, from moisture, height and thickness of grass, kind of grass, etc. We mulch "when we can," and "bag when we must." This rule is most relevant from April 15 to June 30 in my area, then again perhaps in mid-September. I have two extra bags for the Honda, so they can be dumped together. Using extra bags is a big time saver. I have a set up for dumping to my trailer, so that bagging takes very little extra time at the job site over mulching. If there is any doubt the mulching will leave streaks or clumps, the bags come out. The Honda switch from bag to mulch and visa-versa (Versa-Mow) is an "on the go" change. This too has been a big time saver -- bag some parts of a yard, mulch other parts. Just switch where necessary. Forget the "partial" settings -- either fully one way, or the other.

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