Anybody here have a Honda's HRR216K3TDA mower?

dtay_us(6)May 3, 2006

I'm planning on buying a mower this weekend and am considering the following:

- Honda HRR216K3TDA

- Honda HRR216K3VXA

- Lawn-Boy 10697

Since Home Depot sells the first two, if I do go with the Honda, I'd likely be buying it from HD being 10% cheaper (we just moved and they sent us the movers coupon).

I know the -VXA model has that much debated variable smart drive transmission system that is a love/hate relationship. Anybody here have the -TDA? From what I can tell, it is fairly identical to the -VXA except for the following:

1. $100 cheaper

2. No "SmartDrive" system

3. No ""RotoStop" blade brake clutch

4. No single level height adjustments for rear wheels

5. No easy quick fold release handle

6. No 9" wheels

(The above are from Honda's 2006 catalog)

I also saw the Lawn-Boy 10697 but it was priced higher than the Honda -VXA. Is the price premium worth it?



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The VXA also has height adjustment for the handle bar. The TDA version has only one handle height which I thought would be perfect for someone around 5'8". That was enough reason for me (with a bad back) to consider the VXA which adjusts perfectly for a 6 foot tall person like me. Actually I ended up buying the Toro 20056 though but it was a close call.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 11:25PM
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I recently purchased a HRX217TDA but considered all models. I personally didn't think the variable drive was a bad thing. People on here assumbe that you have to use your thumbs to operate the variable speed but when I was messing with it I was also able to use the heels of my hands just as easily. Most men however should have enough strength in their thumbs to operate the drive without fatigue unless they have a very large yard with lots of long staight shots where you go full speed. If that is the case I would assume the strength would soon develope. Anyway, in my case having an infinate number of speeds wasn't important but having a tougher mower with a bigger engine was, which is why I went with the HRX. The feature ont he VXA I did like was the ability to disengage the blade without killing the engine but I found the way that system works to be a bit cumbersome. Plus Honda mowers start with such a light tug, restarting the engine isn't an issue. If deciding between the Hondas just figure out whether the extra options are worth another $100. No matter which one you choose your going to be getting an excellent mower. I have no experience with Lawn Boys but they have an excellent history and probably pioneered the mulching deck. Since the LB you are looking at has a Honda engine I think no matter which of the 3 mowers you go with you will be happy with it. Just stay away from the LBs with other brands of engines.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 1:15PM
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rod7515(SE PA)

I also just purchased the HRX217TDA and I will say it is an excellent mower. I found the Hondas to be very price competitive for the features and the quality. Not sure what the difference is between the HRX and the HRR but I do know that the HRX had a price reduction that just was anounced (according to the dealer I got mine from) from $649 to $599.
This model bags, mulches and side discharges without complicated changes. Good luck in your search.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 10:48PM
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rod7517 - I dropped by Home Depot yesterday and here are the prices on the four models they carry:

HRR216TDA - $399
HRR216VXA - $499
HRX217TDA - $599
HRX217HXA - $699

What is involved switching between mulching and bagging? From what I can tell, on the HRR series, you have to remove the bag, and insert a "mulch plug" in order to put it on the mulching mode? Is it the same with your HRX217TDA?

What a conundrum this is: As much as I'd love to have the top-of-the-line HRX, it's also $700!! So right now I'm torn between the HRR216TDA, HRX216VXA and if I stretch it, the HRX217TDA. The HRX216VXA has the blade brake clutch which is useful but it also has that variable "SmartDrive" where you regulate the speed with your thumb and some of the user reports on Consumer Reports have noted finger fatique with the use of it.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 9:59AM
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ttugrad95 - Thanks for the feedback.

For a lot size of 0.26 acre, would the HRX series be overkill or will the HRR suffice?


    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 10:04AM
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My mother just purchased the hra216pda (No sp, my brother does her mowing, Flat lot.) $369. I was the first to mow with it and it started on the first pull, ran quiet, and mulched very well. It is a great basic mower, no extra stuff to fail.

I thought of the lawn boy at HD, $300 sp(not pp/sensaspeed)
but for the extra $70, I wanted her to have SERVICE, from our excellent honda dealer, NOT the orange store! Also I just did not want her buying in to a product that does not have strong LOCAL support.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 11:47AM
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Rod, sounds like your dealer was working a little scam on you. His price reduction to $599 is what I paid for mine at Home Depot, its their every day price. Thats one of the problems with locally owned small dealers. They drop their price to what the big guys charge every day and make you think they are doing you a favor, or its a limited time special buy now.

David, your yard is about the size of mine. The HRX may be overkill, but its just made a little better and hopefully will last a little longer. As I said, with Honda your not going to go wrong regardless if you buy the bottom or top of the line, IMO. Thats a choice you need to make based on what you want vs. what you have to spend. I'm thinking my HRX mower will last longer than I will remain in my current house and who knows what kind of yard the next house will have. Could be small, could be much bigger.

To answer your question on switching between mulching and bagging on the HRX line, it can't be more simple. Your right, to switch between mulching and bagging on the HRR line you have to remove the bag and insert the "mulching plug". The HRX line has the versamow system. There is a lever that has 10 setting from 100% bag, to 100% mulch with 8 levels in between where you can partially bag. I found this most useful in my lawn by getting rid of some leaf accumulation I had. Chop them up into smaller pieces for a little mulch and bag the excess in one pass. I don't do this but if you had a compost pile and wanted to mulch as well it would be great. I'm not sure if I have the patience for composting.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 1:22PM
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I went with the HRX217HXA from Speedway it was $20 less ($679)than HD but the big thing was no tax free ship overall I saved about $85.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 10:05PM
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rod7515(SE PA)

ttugrad95 - There was scam involved. I was in the place about 2 weeks earlier and they were $649. I saw them at HD for $599 but I wont buy anything like that from them because I hate box stores with no service. When the dealer then reduced their price (and it wasnt just for me but it went on sale) and it matched the box store price I bought from them. I prefer service over price. I am very happy and the mower is outstanding. And I can get repairs if ever needed from where I bought it instead of having to listen to repair shops say take it back to where you bought it! Great mower, great price.
dtay_us -in order to change from bagging to mulching you have to lean forward and move a 10 position lever. Even my wife can do this! And you can split the bagging and mulching at the same time depending on what your pleasure is!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 10:09PM
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"Just stay away from the LBs with other brands of engines."

The 'other brand of engine" is the more powerful, easy-starting and ultra-dependable Tecumseh LV195. I believe the Lawn-Boy 10684 is a better buy than the low-end Honda. I haven't found anything about mine that bothers me. Mulches/bags great and is quick to change modes.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 8:20AM
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Thanks for all the feedback/comments guys! I think I'm going to go for the HRX217TDA over the HRR216K3TDA model for the fact that the HRX version has the Xenoy deck with longer warranty, higher wheels, better engine, etc. It's hard enough to justify $599 but at least they have a gift card offer right now for lawn mowers and I can get an additional 10% off for having recently moved.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 1:48PM
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rod7515(SE PA)

Let us know how you make out. I think that is a great mower.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2006 at 8:53AM
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the discussion is so far enlightening however, has anybody disassembled the hrr216tda? because i did after i bent the crankshaft. i received a new shaft from plano, tx and am ready to reassemble, however, i cant find the timing index so i dont know how to time the cam and crankshaft. pls help...thanks

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 5:43PM
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The Honda mower is a good mower, but be aware maintenance parts are more expensive - filters, plugs, blades, etc.

A very smooth, quiet motor that mulches very well. None of your choices were bad.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 10:08PM
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