review - Honda HRX 217 mower

golfnbrian(4)August 20, 2010

Just bought a HOnda HRX two weeks ago, have used it twice. It was between this and the Toro Super Recyler, in hindsight, I should've considered the new Snapper NXT as well.

For reference, I'm coming from an 11 year old Toro recycler that conked out. It was a solid mower, but didn't mulch as well as i wanted, and had some minor repair issues.

Impressions after using the new HRX three times now:

1. I wanted it for the dual blades and mulching doesn't disapoint. Very strong mulcher..I really need a good mulcher for my heavily treed lot, so we'll see in another 8 weeks after the leaves fall. (i'll post another review of leaf mulching capabilty). My first mow 3 weeks ago involved some thick 5 inch bluegrass, the HRX handled it with ease in mulching mode...with just a small residue of mulched grass left behind. The rest of the lawn was in the 4 inch range and there was no visible clipping residue.

2. Power and quality. The HRX just seems solid and powerful. I don't have any worry's or concerns in this area. Honda has consistently been near the top of the quality ratings for cars for 25 years...they make mowers the same way.

3. The thumb self propel mechanism works qualms there. Speed is sufficient and appropriate at top speed...any faster and cut quality would diminish.

4. Cut quality...same as my old Toro. Only thing i'm dissapointed in is the cut's the same as the 11 year old toro i had. still good, but i thought with two blades and time and technology, the cut would get didn't...still a few straglers left behind after mowing.

5 Paid $540 after 10% discount from HD. You can buy a 10% discount online at ebay...saved me $60 on the $600 price tag.

6. Very easy to set up and get going out of the box...took 10 minute to get out of box and briefly review the manual.

7. I've read the nexite deck is pretty indestructable...seems solid upon inspection...we'll see, but i dont' doubt Honda, they've proven to be a company that stands behind their products.

8. Versamow...just ok...I set to mulch, and after mowing my whole lawn (1/3 acre, and it was about 4 inches long and thick) the bag was actually 3/4 full when i finished from clippings that had slipped through the versamow sliding blocking mechanism and ended up in the bag. So, i'm not impressed with that, although the second and third time i mowed i just left the bag off and things seemed fine.

9. I can't help but inject my opinion...if you're looking to buy a quality long mower for the long not hesitate to spend an extra $100 to $ mowers will last you 7-10 years and not do that good of a job...high end mowers will do a great job and last an extra 5 to 10 years, as a general rule of thumb.

BOTTOM the mower, and do believe that it will last me a solid 15 to 20 years w/ Honda name, I can't help but think that the Toro REcycler or snappr NXT would have done as a good a job. If you're looking to buy a new mower, check out the new snapper nxt website...looks like a great mower for $500 free shipping.

i'm banking on the honda brand name long term quality ratings, but good luck in your decision, and i hope this helps someone looking for a new mower.

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jtyrie(Z7+ DFW)

I'm glad that you are happy with your purchase.

I have a ten year old Honda. My experience: The engine is indestructable. After 10 years, the carb has gotten gummed up and my choke sticks. Not unreasonable. Simple solution was to quit using the choke. It still starts first pull most of the time even without choking it. I will get around to cleaning the carb one of these days.

No complaints about the deck. My deck is steel and shows no rust and very little wear.

I have the double blade mulch setup and it does a good job mowing. I mulch most of the time and it only leaves cut grass on top of the lawn if I let it get too long before cutting.


I have a slight incline in my yard. Slight. I've had to replace the wheels once because they wore smooth and slid on the incline. I'm getting ready to replace them again because the second set it almost smooth. BTW, my lawn is about 1/3 acre, a corner lot in a subdivision.

Cables. I have to replace the cable to the self propelled clutch about every other year. There doesn't seem to be anything that is stressing it, it just breaks after a while. I've replaced the safety/blade clutch cable a couple of times as well. The self propelled cable also needs adjusted yearly. The clamp holding it doesn't seem to be as secure as it should be and it slips, causing the self propelled mechanism to be hit or miss.

The bagger frame. It fell apart. Three welds just gave up and it fell to pieces. New ones are quite costly and the replacement seems to be constructed exactly the same as the old one. The fabric bag actually lasted longer than the frame!

The handle. The paint came off of it after a couple of years where I hold it while mowing. This isn't my first go around with a mower and I've never had this happen with far cheaper models. I had to cover it with electrical tape to keep it from rusting. Also, the plastic bracket on the right holding the two drive levers crumbled after a couple of years.

These are all niggling problems to me because I do the repairs myself. I've always managed to figure a way to mow even when it is broken. On the other hand, if I had to take it in for repair every time, I would probably be pretty unahppy. I'm sure I've spent enough to buy a new one and my wife mentions that every time it breaks. I just hate to get rid of it when the engine and deck are working so well.

I'll probably consider Toro and Snapper whenever I break down and decide to replace it.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 11:39AM
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How well does this mower work on a lawn that has it's share of small twigs and branches. I know you should always clear the lawn before cutting but do you have to be extra careful as I have read in other reviews that the crankshaft can be easily damaged or bent from cutting through these small obstacles. Thanks for your time.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 10:36AM
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I've got a Honda that I use for commercial purposes and it a solid, albeit slow mower. Nothing beats it for shear quality of cut and leaf shredding. I would not hesitate to purchase another one solely for the purposes stated above. It goes through wheels and it is not as ergo friendly as Toro.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 12:02PM
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This mower is 190cc instead of 160cc like the other Hondas. How useful or important is that in everyday use, say for longer 4"+ grass?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 10:17PM
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While I'm thinking of it, this is supposed to be a 4-in-one mower that mulches leaves. What is it about the mower that makes mulching possible, and how well does it work?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 10:52PM
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While I'm thinking of it, this is supposed to be a 4-in-one mower that mulches leaves. What is it about the mower that makes leaf mulching possible, and how well does it work?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 10:54PM
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I'm looking at the Honda HRX217K4HYA with the hydrostatic tranny. Is that yours? The only thing that concerns me is something you mentioned about yours. I currently have a 2009 commercial Honda mower that in my opinion leaves far too many stragglers (random single blades of grass) behind. It too has the twin blade system. I thought maybe it was the deck design or possibly a defect underneath, but you're saying the nexite deck does it too. Mine is the stamped steel high dome deck that looks much like the nexite one. I've tried an Oregon brand gator type blade. Also, I've used an adapter provided to me by Honda in place of the upper blade - still using the Honda hi-lift blade on the bottom, but it still does the same thing. Many of the uncut grass blades show up the next day. Its as if they are being blown down, because many of them appear to be bent. Honda denies any problems or issues. It just seems a $1200 mower should leave behind a lawn that looks like carpet.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 11:47PM
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