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What 21" mower to get, and other newbie questions

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by ZachThurston, Sep 8, 2007.

  1. ZachThurston

    ZachThurston LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Hey, I'm ending my first year cutting lawn and I'm thinking of buying a new mower. I mow 13 lawns a week and plan to add about 20 more next year.

    First off: What is the real difference between a HRX and HRC mower, I mean yeah the HRC is the commerical version, but I've used both and they seem similar to me. (ones I'm looking at HRX217HXA, HRC216HXA) There's about $400 difference between the two at the Honda dealer.

    Second: What is the verdict on Snappers? My neighbor and the guy who refers lawns to me both love them, but I've read on here that they're not the best for mulching and thats what I prefer to do. On Snapper engines, is the Kawi or the Honda better? Why does the most expensive pro model not have their wonderful disc drive?

    Third: What is the best mulching mower? I used to think Toro's were the best, but my JA62 with High Lift Blades and the mulch plug on it will mulch much better. I like the Honda Microcut system because by its nature it seems to be a great mulching system.

    Fourth: Does anyone use JX75's? Thats the mower at the top of my list since my JA62 works great, only complaint is that it only goes 3MPH which is why I'd get the 75 as its top speed is 4MPH.

    Fifth: Are Kawi engines good? My JA62 runs a BS Intek @ 6.75HP, but the JX75's Kawi only pulls 6? Is full pressure lube that big of a deal, the Honda engines don't seem to have it?

    Sixth: Deck material: Aluminum or Steel? I know aluminum won't rust, but my Toro's deck is steel and its older than the JA62 with no rust. From what I can tell, when you mow commerical, you kill other parts of the mower long before the deck can rust, and the HRC mowers have steel decks.

    So amidst all my questions, the mowers I'm looking at are:
    Honda: HRX217HXA, HRC216HXA
    Snapper: Any of the 21'' Pro series http://snapperpro.com/commercial_trim_mowers.php
    Deere: JX75

    Thanks for any help, it is greatly appreciated!
  2. SongBird LawnCare

    SongBird LawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    why not get a walk behind?

    that is SO much faster...
  3. ZachThurston

    ZachThurston LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Because a 32 inch lawn mower wouldn't fit through the gates on 6 of my lawns.
    AND I don't have alot of money.
  4. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    When you consider durability, serviceability, reliability and quality of cut I would suggest you go with Toro Proline. Toro is the most widely used 21" commercial mower on the market for a reason, they will go through hell and back and keep on going.
  5. IHusky

    IHusky LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 478

    If you go Snapper, do not get the high-vac model. It will bag like theres no tommorow, but won't mulch for sh_t. The mulcher model with Nija Blades mulches okay. The transmission on the Snappers are great and gives u infinate speed. I would take a Kaw any day over a brigss 6.75.

    Its too bad that you don't have enough money for a 32 wb. Once you go wb, you'll never want to mow with 21 again. If customer has too big of back yard and I can't get my wb in, then bye, bye, but thats just me.

    If you're doing 13 yard a week, that Royobi stuff is not going to last. You better start putting money away for commerical blower and trimmer too.

    Good luck.
  6. RedWingsDet

    RedWingsDet LawnSite Gold Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 3,556

    Im a huge fan of the Lawnboy 2 cycle with the side bagger. The cut is unbelieveable, and its not self propelled, which I like because I really only use it for steep hills anyway and the self propelled wants to pull you down. I have both a lawnboy 2 cycle non-self propelled side bagger and a lawnboy 4 cycle self propelled with a rear bagger, I prefer the 2 cycle ALOT MORE.
  7. ZachThurston

    ZachThurston LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    @ lawnpro 724: Thats weird, all I see around here are HRC216's I don't think I've seen a Toro Proline before, but I know that the local dealer sells them. They just try to shove their Honda's down your throat everytime you go in there. :angry: My dad has an 1988 Toro recycler that runs great even though he hasn't changed the oil in it for 5 years (its pitch black...) I just hate the drive system on it because you have to reengage the BBC everytime you turn. My Toro PP runs good other than the stupid drive system (which is why its my backup mower...) the control panel on the 88 Toro looks an awful lot like the proline...I guess they just stick with what works. So Ill look more into those.

    @ Ihusky: Thanks for the info on the Snappers. I really always try to mulch unless it looks unsightly or the customer "thinks" that bagging is better. :rolleyes: I would love to use one of the 32's but the majority of my lawns wouldn't be able to fit them through their gates so its really not an option even if I had the money, but a friend of mine who I've worked for off and on uses HRC's on two people crews and mows about 35 lawns a week without too much trouble. Yeah I know the Ryobi stuff won't last, but I got it in April, it was all I could afford at the time (1st year) and its still running pretty good. Once they die I'm planning on going with the Stihl Kombisystem from a real equipment dealer (not Home Cheepo lol)

    @RetWingsDet: Yeah I really need to have a self propelled seeing as it would be my main mower, but I've really never even know they put 2stroke motors on mowers! haha I will hand it to you, those front discharge ones are about the wierdest looking mowers I've ever seen :laugh: Doesn't Toro make lawnboy? I think I saw something about SensaSpeed in a manual I used the last time the stupid drive on my Toro broke...

    Thanks for all your contributions and I look forward to reading more.
  8. Grass Happens

    Grass Happens LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    HRC has the sweet gx series motor, while the HRX has the over head cam consumer engine. Thats pretty much the only difference. You do know that john deeres new 21" are the snapper easy line mowers, right? but like the ez line, they have gear boxes, NOT the sweet disc drive. Same deck however. I used to have a snapper with the intek. I liked how the ninja blade mulched. I however hate the intek, because it doesn't like to restart when hot. So it you were bagging, and needed to change the bag, time for a heart attack. Oh,. and snappers are so damn heavy...
  9. ZachThurston

    ZachThurston LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    So what you're saying is that its really not worth 400 bucks more for a slightly different engine? The two mowers look almost identical... Whats the same with the JD mowers? They don't look alike to me...That stinks you have the problem with the Intek, I haven't had that problem with mine. Sometimes it takes more than one pull to start it backup however. I like the airfilter on it. I almost had a heart attack today with mine, I was mowing a lawn that had a bunch of fist shaped rocks around the edge, but this lawn hadn't been mowed for like 3 weeks (she only has me do it like that...grrr) and the 'lawn' grows like a foot past those rocks into her "garden" so stupid me followed the line that went off into the garden and my blade took a whack at one of those rocks. The engine stopped, and the blade was really badly damaged (had to replace it...oh well) but it didn't blow out the engine thank goodness. The Snapper I'd buy would be the Kawi one anyways so yeah. Which of the pro series do you think is best? I personally don't like their whole Z Bag or whatever its called. How bout where the drive handle is? I like my JD cuz the drive handle stays in finger reach when its enaged. What I don't like about the HRX/C is you have to take your hand off the handle to reengage the drive. What I did like about those mowers is they are FAAAAAAAAST! Bogged down alot when mulching, but other than that...
  10. Grass Happens

    Grass Happens LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    I like the roto-stop on the Honda's, AKA blade brake. Your right, the JS series of john Deere mowers are the SPV/Easy Line of snappers, the JX may be John Deere through and through. Yea My intek started cold fine, but as soon as it warmed up, it took like 10 pulls. Valves were fine, carb was clean, compression was OK? Briggs doesn't publish compression numbers. I've herd mixed reviews on the little Kawasaki's. Don't let your customers tell you three weeks, Especially something like this, you bend the crank, thats alot of money your out.

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