Toro or Honda...again.

murrayguyApril 2, 2010

I know this comes on here every once in awhile. I am debating between the Honda HRX217HXA and the Toro 20092. My local Power Center has the Honda on sale for $649 and the Toro is $500. I know you guys know the differences between these two, so I'll skip that stuff. I mow one half acre, always mulch, and it's all pretty flat. I do not have a lot of straightaways.

I know these mowers pretty well, but have no idea how each of them handles. Here are my thoughts/questions:

1) The Honda is heavier but does that really matter with the drive system? (from a maneuverability standpoint)

2) Some on here have complained about the longer handle on the Honda. Thoughts...experience with that?

3) People have preferences for Personal Pace or Hydrostatic. For me, the hydrostatic seems like it would be easier to control when turning, because you can let the ... is it the clutch? out a bit to slow it down. Of course, I guess the same would happen with the personal pace when you slow your walk.

4) Overall , both have five year warranties. The Toro seems like a great value and the Honda has some features that I would probably use (BBC) but they also add weight.

5) Need a tank big enough to finish the yard without refilling.

6) Quality of cut is most important and from what I've read this seems a horse a piece.

Thanks for any of your comments.

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A couple thoughts:

* IMO a well-maintained Toro with a well-maintained Briggs engine will last just as long and perform just as well as a Honda mower. If you take care of your stuff (e.g. use Sta-Bil at the end of the season) and can do your own basic maintenance (i.e. oil, filter, spark plug changes), save your money and go with Briggs.

* Weight DOES count for maneuverability purposes, and for wear and tear on the operator. I sometimes use a Toro 22188 -- a commercial, self-propelled walk-behind mower that weighs around 115 lbs (even with an aluminum deck) -- and I do notice that I'm more tired when I'm done (relative to using a Super Recycler like the one you're contemplating or when using a Home Depot caliber steel deck Toro Recycler), especially if there are a lot of turns or obstacles.

* A longer handle can actually be a plus -- more mechanical advantage when pressing down to lift the front wheels in a 180 degree turn.

* I think Personal Pace will adapt to the operator's preferred walking pace just as well as any other drive system. I think Personal Pace is wonderful.

* BBC is nice, but IMO the primary benefit is saving wear-and-tear on the starter mechanism and on the operator from fewer pulls of the cord. For someone who mostly mulches, it's not really all that necessary or advantageous.

* I'm sure both mowers will give a great cut so long as the blades are kept sharp. I don't know what Honda's recycling technology is, but Toro's Atomic Blade system is amazing so long as you understand what it's designed for (i.e. an Atomic Blade is not at its best when trying to bag or suck up leaves).

* Don't be afraid to stop at somebody's house where a Toro or Honda is being used to cut the lawn and ask the operator a couple questions. With any luck, the person will let you take a couple laps!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 5:09PM
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I've had steel, aluminum and Xenoy decks, and aluminum is my favorite. That said, the Xenoy deck has a lot of advantages. It will be more flexible, but I found this works a little like a vehicle suspension to reduce shock to the operator. I think the HRX/HXA is probably the ultimate Xenoy-decked mower. Everything about it is more advanced than the Toro - 9" ball-bearing wheels, corrosion-free deck, 190cc OHC engine, Quadracut blades, hydrostatic drive and of course the variable bag/mulch switch. For $150 more? Heck yes.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 10:37AM
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