Honda HRX217K5VKA Review – Everything You Need To Know Before You Buy

This is a premium high-end mower that is designed to appeal to everyone.

Usually, we can recommend a particular model for a certain type of yard. This mower, however, has so many thoughtful features incorporated into its design that just about everyone will find one that makes them stop and consider making this their next mower.

We want you to choose a push mower that you will be happy with, not just for a few weeks or a season, but for years. So we looked at this model's performance in all key areas, from maintenance to cut quality. We scrutinized its features to make sure they are useful and not just shiny bells and noisy whistles that add to the cost of the unit.

Maybe you have a large yard and need a mower that can pull itself up long slopes and steep hills.

Maybe you can't mow as often as you wish, but you don't want to have to mow twice to get down to the height you need.

Or maybe you have a small yard but just want to treat yourself to an impressive mower.

If any of the above apply to you and you have about $600 to spend, take a good look at our review and let us help you decide if this Honda suits your fancy.

Ratings

Ease of Maintenance

Engine Power

Cut Quality

Ease of Operation

Durability

Noise

Highlights

Quick Specs

  • Engine size: 190 cc
  • Cutting width: 21"
  • Height adjustment: 7 increments from 3/4" to 4"
  • Discharge options: Bag, rear discharge, mulch and leaf shred
  • Fixed throttle
  • Weight: 90 pounds fully fueled
  • 5-year warranty for motor.
  • Lifetime warranty on deck

The combination of a powerful engine and unique cutting and discharge systems make this a fine mower for thick and long grass. And if used correctly, it won't leave clumps of clippings behind when you use the mulching function.

The operator has total control over the speed of the mower. You can creep along through tall or wet grass, or you can zip through a well-kept lawn at a fast walk.

If you use fresh gas and keep up with regular maintenance, you shouldn't have any problems starting the engine. There is no priming bulb to pump or choke to set. You simply pull the cord once or twice and get to mowing.

One thing that really impresses us about this mower is the deck. It isn't made of steel, which can dent and rust. It is made of a very strong, light and rustproof material. As far as we can tell, Honda is the only manufacturer that uses it. We'll talk more about this later.

PROS

  • Easy start when well-maintained
  • Powerful engine
  • Superior cut with tall, thick or wet grass
  • Can be used to pick up and mulch leaves
  • Easy-to-adjust and intuitive forward speed control
  • Huge wheels for easy turning

CONS

  • Intolerant of lax maintenance
  • Must use fresh ethanol-free or treated gas

Cut Quality

Several factors contribute to the quality of a mower's cut quality.

You need a sharp blade that spins fast. There has to be a powerful motor that gives plenty of torque to the blade so it cuts through thick grass instead of shredding it. The mower needs a good range of cutting height with several increments so you can mow to the proper length regardless of the type of grass you have. These are the main considerations that we weigh when we judge cut quality.

Honda delivers with this model in every respect, then goes further.

This mower features a double-blade cutting system that gives it four cutting surfaces, two on each blade, instead of the two that single-blade mowers have.

Not only does this allow you to cut longer and thicker grass in one pass, but it offers a cleaner cut. Instead of one blade struggling through, you have two spinning smoothly. It's as if you are using two mowers at once or cutting in narrower passes. If you set the forward motion to a slow speed, you can cut grass to any height in a single pass even if you haven't mowed in a month.

But when you mow tall grass in one cut, you have to use the bagging option or let the clippings be blown out onto your lawn, right? Most other mowers leave you only these two options. You can't mulch tall grass at all. But Honda has found a revolutionary solution for this problem. You simply turn a dial to direct some.of the clippings into the bag and some through the mulching cycle. You can choose any ratio you want.

Overall, this mower offers a superior and professional cut on any lawn. Just remember to keep the blades sharp.

Ease Of Operation

This is likely the easiest-to-start mower on the market today, as long as it is well-maintained. You simply set the cutting height and forward speed, then start mowing. Adjusting the speed of the infinitely variable Select Drive while in operation is done with one hand, so you can slow down for tough patches and speed up through thinner spots without having to stop.

Choosing what to do with the clippings is pretty easy. The dial.we mentioned earlier allows anywhere from all to none of the clippings to be mulched. Whatever isn't munched is collected in the 2.5 bushel bag. If you would rather your clippings be discharged onto your lawn without being mulched, simply remove the bag. The clippings will be directed out the back and to the ground. This rear-discharge feature allows for better flow so you don't run into the clogging issues common to side-discharge mowers.

Turning is a breeze thanks to the 9" wheels and rear-wheel drive propulsion system. You just push down a bit on the handle to put the mower's weight on the rear wheels and steer.

We are rather surprised that it doesn't have single-lever height adjustment. Each wheel has its own lever with seven settings. There have been a few complaints about these levers bending, but this is likely due to failure to follow instructions. Always push or pull the levers directly forward or back and never to the side.

Although this is not a light mower, the self-propulsion system is strong and the wheels get a good grip on even wet grass.

Maintenance

As long as you follow Honda's routine maintenance schedule, this mower should last for years.

Sharpening the blades, which should be done once per season, is just as simple as it is on single-blade mowers. Keep in mind that you have two smaller blades to think about. You can do it yourself or have it done professionally for a small fee. If you can use a wrench and a file, you can save about $30 by doing it yourself.

The oil should be changed once per season. This is also a good time to lubricate the bearings with a high-quality 3-in-1 oil.

Many people change their spark plugs when they notice a decrease in performance. With this mower, you should change the plug yearly. This is a high-performance engine and it needs a good spark to work its best.

Keep in mind that this mower has fine carburetor jets. Gas that is older than a few weeks can gum the jets up. If keeping your fuel supply this fresh is too much hassle, you can add some fuel stabilizer to your jug to keep the gas fresh for several months. Invest in some ethanol treatment if ethanol-free gas is not available in your area. Ethanol is bad for small engines, and there is no need to take any risks with an expensive mower like this one.

Engine Power And Performance

This is a strong engine that supplies a good amount of spin and torque to the blades. It has plenty of power to give a fantastic cut without stealing any power from the propulsion system.

The emissions rating is impressive. It is the cleanest engine of its size and certified in all states including California.

Special Features

There are a couple features that we'd like to emphasize bere.

The double-blade system allows the mower to handle tough patches of lawn that would bog lesser mowers down. This is great for people who can't mow as often as they need to. It also gives a better cut.

The mulch-ratio feature will also appeal to those who have to occasionally skimp on their mowing. You can still mulch for your lawn's health witbout leaving huge clumps of clippings behind.

The deck is made of a very strong polymer that should last forever. It will never rust and is highly resistant to denting. Honda is so sure of the decks strength that they cover it with a lifetime warranty.

Who Should Buy This Mower?

This mower truly has something for everyone and is great for all types of lawns.

If you want a high-end mower with plenty of power that gives professional results, you should seriously consider this one. The price is a bit high, but the mower is a great value.

If you have a large or frequently neglected lawn, you will like that you can power through the tallest grass without having to slow down.

If your yard is smaller, you may love the features that make it so easy and enjoyable to use.

Ed Kirkland
 

Hi, I'm Ed, and I've been doing lawn work since my mid teen years, picking up jobs here and there mowing and helping with basic landscaping projects. I worked at a couple different lawn care / landscaping companies throughout my college years, and now thanks to the internet I'm able to make a share my knowledge and advice with people about lawn care and landscaping.