Which 21" walkbehind mower?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by vball2116, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. vball2116

    vball2116 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    Hey everyone,

    I am currently looking into buying a 21" mower. I am using an older mower and its smoking a little bit while im using it so I don't know how much longer it is going to last since the engine is at least 8 years old and it was in someone elses hands for at least 5 years and I don't know how he handled it. I've tried many different techniques and so did my uncle so I am just letting it smoke til it dies out. Im 16 and getting into the industry more and more each year buying more and more equipment so it's going to be time to get a new mower because its my main mower at the moment. The money is a little tight since I will be getting a car very soon so I dont want a push mower thats going to be like 1000 dollars. These are the the two mowers im looking into at the moment:

    Honda HRX 217HXA -the one with the BBC
    John Deere JA 62

    Im not really familar with the john deere products, but I am more familar with the Honda mower. At this time these are the only mowers i'm looking at now, but if you think that there is a good quality mower for a reasonable price I will gladly change my mind.

    Thanks for your time,
  2. grassrootsinab

    grassrootsinab LawnSite Member
    from up here
    Messages: 215

    I've used both Honda and Deere. I love the Deere for mulching. Currently using a JS 63. I really liked the Honda for bagging and I can't really comment on the mulching ability as I only ever bagged with them. The Deere is an amazing mulcher...can cut in light rain

  3. vball2116

    vball2116 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    Hey Jeff, so does it have a nice cut that john deere and how is the engine on the js 63?
  4. rlpenny

    rlpenny LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Other than the dying engine, do you like the the mower? Is it comfortable? Is the rest of the mower (wheels, drive system, etc.) in ok shape? If yes, you might price out an engine replacement. I have an Ariens 21 inch mower that I just fell in love with great ergonomics, best bagger, ok mulcher, and kick but, first rate, no competition leaf shredder attachment, that had a Briggs Quantum slowly die on me since I only changed oil once. Loved that mower so much I just did an engine swap. Still using that 12yr old mower today and plan to for a long time.

    Just an idea...
  5. txlawnking

    txlawnking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,905

    Vball, I've used quite a few different 21's over the years, but a few really have impressed me.. The Snapper ( commercial ) wasn't too bad a machine, but it was pretty heavy. I've used the commercial Honda Hydrostatic machine, and really just don't care for it at all ( REAL heavy, and at least to ME, bad ergonomics ). The John Deere JX 85 wasn't too bad, but it is no longer made. The commercial Lawnboys were great, but the EPA killed the 2 stoke engine that made them great. :cry:

    Of all that I've used, including countless homeowner models, The Toro Proline/ Exmark Metro 21"s just seems to do it all right.. I realise they are quite pricey,for a 21" mower, but to me, the benefits far out weigh the disadvantage of high initial cost..

    Advantages: Light weight, excellent at Mulching, good at bagging ( if you ever need to), Good transmission gear ratio's ( quite fast enough in 3rd ), and aluminum construction=mlong life without rust.

    I would even suggest that you find a well cared for, clean used commercial mower, rather than a new homeowner model.

    I'm not gonna say that all homeowner machines are junk, ( as some are very well made ) It's just to me, the commercial machines are so much easier to opperate on a daily basis..

    Sorry for the long post, I just hope you get what serves YOUR needs the best.
  6. grassrootsinab

    grassrootsinab LawnSite Member
    from up here
    Messages: 215

    My mowers have a 6.75 Briggs on them. They run pretty well. I have a 4 year old mower that I replaced the engine on (dusted the motor 'cause the shop gave me the wrong air filter...it was too short and wobbled inside the compartment). It's now my parts machine. I have two others (2 years old and 3 years old). They still start on the 2nd pull in the spring and just about 1st time every time while we're using them.

    The only week part I find is in the drive wheels. I've replaced a set a year on the mowers. I know that the 63 is really a homeowner model but with a steel deck and a 3spd transmission it really does handle residential properties well for a trim mower. I also have a 38" gear drive walk-behind.

    About the only neg. thing is the fact that it has a zone starting mechanism in it (once you leave the mower it shuts the engine off). That's one advantage the Honda had...it had a blade brake mech. so you could dump the bag and leave the engine running (most commercials will have this feature). Not having it puts a lot of stress on the recoil system. For the price though the Deere is a great machine (I paid $800 Canadian but I think they are about $450 in the States). I wouldn't mind moving up to an actual commercial Deere but I think I'd rather spend my money on another walk behind. Hope this helps!

  7. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 963

    Get another beater till you can afford to get a commercial Toro ($899) non - bbs. They are excellent mulchers.
  8. lawnrangeralaska

    lawnrangeralaska LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 433

    buy a toro personal pace .. fast and great cut buy it at a dealer not lowes
  9. john_incircuit

    john_incircuit LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 310

    I'm using a John Deere JS 63. It really mulches very good compared to my other mowers and bags good as well. I wish it would have a 10 HP motor, when mulching our grass here (tall fescue) it really bogs down rather quickly and you end up walking baby steps behind the mower going in first gear...

    But, as long as the grass is reasonably high, it distributes the clippings very well.

    On the downside, after using it now for one year, the drive train clutch is at the end of the adjustment. Not sure if the cable is stretched or the clutch mechanism is on the way out.

    Also, and this applies to all the little 21" mowers, why don't they make a model with larger wheels? A 12 inch wheel, combined with a strong motor, sure would allow us to move faster and would smooth out all those bumps in the yard. Those little 8 or 9 inch wheels are just too small for our not so perfectly manicured lawns.

  10. HK45Mark23

    HK45Mark23 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 200

    I use the John Deere JX 75. I added the oil filter kit. Exmark makes a 21" and a 26" machine. You can get it self propelled. I wish it was a five speed like the John Deere. It uses the same spindles as the big machines and touts blade tip speeds of 18,500. Well worth the money of you are willing to spend the extra cash. Here is the address take a look at it your self. http://www.exmark.com/metro26.htm

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