The Best Honda Lawn Mowers of 2022

Honda manufactures a full line of lawn mowers. Which model is best suited to your grass-cutting needs?

By Glenda Taylor | Published Jun 20, 2022 12:13 PM

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The Best Honda Lawn Mowers Option

Photo: maxtool.com

Nothing says summer like the sound of lawn mowers powering up. The long-standing ritual of keeping lawns neatly trimmed and manicured is easier with a quality mower, and the ability to impart a sharp, clean cut on the grass is the secret to a lawn’s overall health. To that end, Honda lawn mowers top the wish lists of many home landscapers.

Honda Power Equipment manufactures a variety of top-notch walk-behind lawn mowers—all designed to minimize mowing time and leave the lawn looking great. Ahead, learn what to keep in mind when shopping for the best Honda lawn mower and find out why the following models are well suited for various turf-trimming needs.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Honda 21 in. NeXite Variable Speed 4-in-1 Walk Behind
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Honda 21-in. 3-in-1 Variable Speed Gas Walk Behind
  3. MOST CONVENIENT: Honda Variable Speed Gas Walk Behind with Auto Choke
  4. BEST WITH CRUISE CONTROL: Honda 21-in. NeXite Deck Hydrostatic Cruise Control
  5. BEST ELECTRIC START: Honda HRX217VLA 21-in 4-in-1 Versamow Self-Propelled
  6. ALSO CONSIDER: Honda Power HRC216PDA Lawn Mower
The Best Honda Lawn Mowers Option

Photo: homedepot.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Honda Lawn Mower

Among today’s more popular mower brands, Honda lawn mowers can be found in many home improvement stores, DIY centers, and garden or landscaping supply outlets. Honda’s walk-behind mowers are built to last, and while all its models are relatively straightforward machines, users do have a few factors to consider.

Push vs. Self-Propelled

Most but not all of Honda’s lawn mowers are self-propelled, meaning their rear wheels turn in a forward direction, which helps push the mower along. This feature is a boon for mowing on inclines and through deep or thick grass—situations that are truly challenging with models that are not self-propelled. But don’t mistake Honda push mowers with the old-fashioned push models that featured reel-type blades and were 100 percent powered by the user. All Honda mowers have engines that power the blades.

The self-propulsion feature on Honda mowers primarily engages in two different ways: via a thin metal bar the user pulls and then holds alongside the mower’s handle or by pushing a lever located in the center of the handle. The latter method is found on Honda mowers that come with Smart Drive capability, and the nice thing about Smart Drive is that users can easily adjust the propulsion speed to match their needs.

The best Honda push mower still has its place, however. A good deal of engine power goes toward propelling rear wheels; push-only mowers can use all the energy to power the cutting blades. Plus, some users prefer a push-only mower because there are fewer mechanical parts that might have issues.

Gas vs. Battery

Although some modern mowers are battery operated, Honda currently makes gas-powered lawn mowers only. As lithium-ion batteries become more powerful, that could change, but as of now, those who want the oomph of a Honda model must put up with smelly gas fumes as well as the need to store gasoline in a garage or shed.

Speaking of gas-powered engines, it’s worth noting that while all Honda mowers feature Honda engines, other brands sometimes use Honda gas engines in their mowers as well. Shoppers in the market for a true Honda lawn mower should carefully research the machine’s details. Other manufacturers may include the name “Honda” in their mower’s title, yet the only Honda part on the model may be its gas engine.

Cutting Height and Width 

Honda makes walk-behind lawn mowers that cut 21-inch swaths through a lawn. Some manufacturers offer broader cuts and some offer narrower ones, but Honda sticks to that single cut width of 21 inches. This is about average for a walk-behind mower, and it’s suitable for most residential lawns. While a wider cut removes more grass in a single pass, it also takes more engine power and—if it’s not a self-propelled mower—more physical strength.

Like other walk-behind mowers, Honda models allow users to adjust the cutting height to suit the grass type. Users can choose to cut the lawn as low as 0.75 inches or as high as 4 inches. Most cool-season grasses, such as tall fescue or bluegrass, are maintained at 2.5 to 4 inches high. Warm-season grasses, including Bermuda and zoysia grass, do well when maintained at 1 to 3 inches high. If there’s any doubt, a quick call to a local county extension office will usually resolve the best height for different grass types and regions.

Mulching, Bagging, and Side Discharge 

Honda makes mowers that discharge clippings to either the side or the back, and some models also come with a mulching feature. The different options can impact the way users mow and the health of the lawn.

  • Side discharge: With this option, grass clippings are expelled out of the side of the mower deck onto the lawn. The side chute can be blocked with a fold-down guard if rear discharge or mulching functions are used.
  • Rear discharge: This function is meant to be used in conjunction with a rear-collection bag. When the bag is in place, it holds the rear chute open, which allows the clippings to blow into the bag. When the bag is removed, the chute closes, and the grass either ejects out the side chute or drops beneath the mower.
  • Mulching: The mulching feature on Honda mowers directs the clippings downward onto the lawn. This is an eco-friendly option because the clippings biodegrade and act as a mild fertilizer. Honda mowers incorporate a twin-blade cutting system (called Microcut) that cuts the clippings into tiny bits so they decompose quickly.

Honda Series

Honda makes an assortment of mowers in four categories:HRS, HRN, HRX, and HRC. Not all models are sold in all locations, but they can be purchased at a Honda dealer.

  • HRS: The Honda HRS Series features side-discharge lawn mowers with 21-inch cuts and large 8-inch wheels for maneuverability. Buyers may choose from either push-type or self-propelled models.
  • HRN: This series features some of Honda’s most popular residential lawn mowers, and they come with powerful Honda engines, easy-start recoil cords, and Honda’s twin-blade MicroCut system that produces finer grass clippings. Available in push or self-propelled models.
  • HRX: This is Honda’s top-of-the-line residential mower series. Mowers in the HRX Series are among the best Honda mower options—and the priciest. The models in this series are self-propelled and have options such as a leaf-shredding mode, variable speed control, and, on some, cruise control.
  • HRC: Mowers in the HRC Series are designed for heavy-duty or frequent use by commercial landscaping professionals, but homeowners that mow frequently may want to consider these beefed-up models. These are commercial-grade machines with stainless steel decks and reinforced guards and bumpers. Buyers may choose from push or self-propelled models.

In addition to the Honda series letters, if the model number ends in PDA or PKA, it signifies that the mower is a push model, not self-propelled.

Additional Features 

High-quality Honda mowers are designed for durability and to provide an optimal grass-cutting experience. A few additional features can be found within the four series of models.

  • Electric start: No need to pull a recoil cord when electric start is available. However, most Honda models do not come with electric start. Currently, only a few models in the HRX series feature electric start capability, which involves using a key (just as in a car) to start the mower’s engine.
  • Adjustable handle position: The handles on many Honda mowers are adjustable in length to suit individual user needs.
  • Quick-blade stop: Called Roto-Stop on Honda mowers, this feature allows users to disengage the blades without shutting the mower off. This convenience lets users stop and dump clippings without restarting the machine.
  • Hydrostatic transmission: This signifies a fluid-filled transmission that’s generally quieter to operate and results in less friction damage to moving parts. Only a few self-propelled Honda models in the HRX series currently feature a hydrostatic transmission.
  • NeXite deck: Who hasn’t had to tip a mower over and chip away at hardened, stuck-on grass clippings? With Honda’s NeXite-coated underdeck, grass doesn’t stick, and NeXite decks are also designed to resist rusting and corrosion.

Our Top Picks

Honda mowers are among the best options in the walk-behind lawn mower industry, and the following models feature a range of options that are well suited to various mowing needs. Chosen for high performance and the ability to reduce mowing time, any of the picks in this lineup are tops in their categories.

Best Overall

The Best Honda Lawn Mowers Option: Honda 21 in. NeXite Variable Speed 4-in-1 Walk Behind
Photo: homedepot.com

Folks may actually look forward to lawn care with the Honda HRX217VKA Lawn Mower. Our Best Overall pick comes from Honda’s top line of HRX Series mowers and is designed to make cutting the grass quick and efficient.

Like all Honda walk-behind mowers, the HRX217VKA features a 21-inch cut width. This model also boasts a treated NeXite underdeck that keeps grass clippings from sticking, so there’s no need to tip the mower over and chip away at hardened deposits.

The self-propelled mower comes with Honda’s GCV200 gas engine (5.6 hp) that powers through even dense, tall grass. It features an easy-start recoil cord, adjustable cutting height, and both bagging and mulching options. It also has a leaf-shredding option that turns dry autumn leaves into tiny shreds suitable for mulching as an alternative to raking fallen foliage.

Product Specs 

  • Engine: 5.6 hp GCV200 gas engine
  • Cutting height: 0.75 to 4 inches
  • Push or self-propelled: Self-propelled

Pros

  • No pushing necessary
  • Easy-start engine
  • Large 9-inch wheels for maneuverability
  • Twin blades for fine clippings

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey

Get the Honda HRX217VKA lawn mower at The Home Depot or from your local Honda dealer.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Honda Lawn Mowers Option: Honda 21-in. 3-in-1 Variable Speed Gas Walk Behind
Photo: homedepot.com

Honda mowers are high-quality machines, so dirt-cheap models aren’t available—but folks can still own a Honda mower without breaking the bank. The Honda HRN216VKA lawn mower comes with Honda’s GCV170 engine (4.8 hp) that’s powerful enough to propel the mower while cutting, so all users do is steer.

Grass cutting height can be adjusted from 1 to 4 inches to suit most types of turf, and the mower comes with an easy-to-pull recoil cord. This model also allows users to regulate the propulsion speed. Honda’s MicroCut twin blades cut grass into fine clippings that are well suited to either bagging or mulching. All this can be had for a fairly attractive price point.

Product Specs 

Pros

  • Mower propels itself
  • Less expensive than other Honda models
  • Adjustable cutting height
  • Adjustable propulsion speed

Cons

  • Less powerful engine than some models

Get the Honda HRN216VKA lawn mower at The Home Depot or from your local Honda dealer.

Most Convenient

The Best Honda Lawn Mowers Option: Honda Variable Speed Gas Walk Behind with Auto Choke
Photo: homedepot.com

The Honda HRN216VYA lawn mower is similar in operation to our Best Bang for the Buck pick. One of the primary differences is its Roto-Stop blade system, which allows the user to disengage the blades while leaving the engine running. This makes it handy to dump clippings or move something out from the mower’s path without needing to turn the machine off and start it again.

This upgraded model comes with Honda’s GCV170 engine (4.8 hp), and users can adjust the cutting height to 7 positions, ranging from a minimum of 1.8 inches to a maximum of 4 inches. The HRN216VYA also features twin blades that produce tiny grass clippings that are well suited to either bagging or mulching.

Product Specs 

  • Engine:4.8 hp GCV170 gas engine
  • Cutting height: 1.8 to 4 inches
  • Push or self-propelled: Self-propelled

Pros

  • Ability to disengage blades without turning mower off
  • Easy-to-start engine
  • Produces fine grass clippings

Cons

  • Engine less powerful than some Honda models

Get the Honda HRN216VYA lawn mower at The Home Depot or from your local Honda dealer.

Best With Cruise Control

The Best Honda Lawn Mowers Option: Honda 21-in. NeXite Deck Hydrostatic Cruise Control
Photo: homedepot.com

From the manufacturer’s top-of-the-line HRX Series comes the Honda HRX217HYA walk-behind mower, a model designed for the ultimate performance and user-friendly experience. It features Honda’s powerful GCV200 gas engine (5.6 hp) to provide ample power for mowing through even dense grass without a hitch. This model includes an easy-pull recoil cord starter and a NeXite underdeck to resist rust and keep grass clippings from sticking.

The HRX217HYA boasts cruise control, so users can select the exact propulsion speed that suits them best. (Other Honda mowers have preset speeds, which may be a little too fast or too slow for a user’s liking.) Additional benefits include Roto-Stop blades that can be disengaged without turning the mower off and grass-cutting height adjustability from 0.75 to 4 inches. Users can bag clippings or use the mulching feature. There’s a leaf-shredding option to boot.

Product Specs 

  • Engine: 5.6 hp GCV200 gas engine
  • Cutting height: 0.75 to 4 inches
  • Push or self-propelled: Self-propelled

Pros

  • Cruise control to lock in speed preference
  • Large 9-inch wheels for maneuverability
  • Leaf-shredding function
  • Easy-start recoil cord

Cons

  • Pricey

Get the Honda HRX217HYA lawn mower at The Home Depot or from your local Honda dealer.

Best Electric Start

The Best Honda Lawn Mowers Option: Honda HRX217VLA 21-in 4-in-1 Versamow Self-Propelled
Photo: maxtool.com

Those looking for a walk-behind mower that really goes the extra mile to simplify yard work might want to check out the Honda HRX217VLA lawn mower. It comes with a powerful 5.6-hp GCV200 engine, self-propulsion, the ability to bag or mulch grass clippings, and a NeXite underdeck to prevent grass buildup. An added selling point of this Honda model is its keyed electric start, which eliminates the need to pull a recoil cord (a backup recoil cord is included should the key get lost).

Except for the bonus of electric start, this model is similar to other Honda mowers in the HRX Series: Users can adjust the cutting height from 0.75 to 4 inches, choose from various speed levels, and employ the leaf-shredding function if desired. Oddly, this well-loaded HRX model doesn’t have Roto-Stop blades. Honda, hello?!

Product Specs 

  • Engine: 5.6 hp GCV200 gas engine
  • Cutting height: 0.75 to 4 inches
  • Push or self-propelled: Self-propelled

Pros

  • Electric start
  • Adjustable cutting height
  • Adjustable handle
  • Twin blades for finer grass clippings

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Can’t disengage blades without turning mower off

Get the Honda HRX217VLA lawn mower on MaxTool or from your local Honda dealer.

Also Consider

The Best Honda Lawn Mowers Option: Honda Power HRC216PDA Lawn Mower
Photo: brotherspowersports.com

The only push-type mower in our lineup, the Honda HRC216PDA takes some physical strength to operate because it’s not self-propelled. Still, its rugged deck and body construction will withstand the frequent use of professional landscapers. It comes with a Honda GCV160 (4.4 hp) gas engine that supplies ample power to get through tall and dense grass. Keep in mind that while this engine is less powerful than some models, no power is expended in propelling the mower, so all the energy goes into cutting grass.

The HRC216PDA features adjustable cutting heights between 0.75 inches and 4 inches to suit most types of turf grass. It has a basic recoil cord starter, but virtually all else is beefed up on this mower, including a heavy-duty steel deck and a front steel bumper. Even the handle comes with a larger diameter for more comfortable grasping. And it’s got Honda’s standard mow, mulch, or bag options, as well as twin blades for finer clippings.

Product Specs 

  • Engine: 4.4 hp GCV160 gas engine
  • Cutting height: 0.75 to 4 inches
  • Push or self-propelled: Push

Pros

  • Reinforced steel deck
  • Front bumper
  • Twin blades for finer clippings

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Not self-propelled

Get the Honda HRC216PDA lawn mower at Brothers Powersports or from your local Honda dealer.

Our Verdict

Honda lawn mowers are built to last, and any of the picks in this lineup are top options for cutting grass. However, our Best Overall selection, the Honda NeXite Variable Speed 4-in-1 Gas Walk Behind, ticks all the boxes: it’s self-propelled, comes with an adjustable height deck, and features a nonstick deck underside. Our best bang for the buck pick, the Honda 21-in. 3-in-1 Variable Speed Gas Walk Behind, has many standard Honda features at an attractive price point.

How We Chose the Best Honda Lawn Mowers

Buying a lawn mower is an investment in the care and maintenance of your lawn, so it’s worthwhile to take some time and consider which mower best suits your needs.

Honda mowers are among the top options on the market today—with good reason. They have powerful engines and feature a range of user-friendly features. In choosing the models in this lineup, we focused on featuring a variety of models from different Honda mower series. We chose only one push-type model since many folks appreciate the self-propulsion function on a mower. Still, professional landscapers may prefer the simplicity of a push-type model, believing that these basic workhorses are less likely to have functional frailties.

We ended up with more models from the HRZ series since they offer more user-friendly options. Still, Honda employs the same care and reliable engine in all its models, so users should choose based on their individual needs.

FAQs

Buying a new lawn mower is an investment. A few questions are likely for those looking for the best Honda self-propelled mower or even a push-type model.

Q. Are Honda lawn mowers good?

Yes, we consider them to be good-quality mowers—and we’re not alone. In a Consumer Report’s head-to-head test between Honda and Toro, Honda took the top spot.

Q. How long do Honda lawn mowers last?

It all depends on how often they’re used and how well they’re maintained. A Honda mower that’s regularly serviced (check the owner’s manual for instructions) and properly stored can last 10 to 20 years or longer.

Q. Can a Honda lawn mower mulch grass cuttings?

Most Honda mowers come with a mulching feature, meaning the clippings can be left on the lawn to biodegrade.

Q. What’s the difference between a Honda push and self-propelled lawn mower?

A push mower must be physically pushed by hand. The rear wheels on a self-propelled mower turn to propel the mower forward.

Q. How do I stop a walk-behind mower?

To stop most Honda lawn mowers, simply release the secondary handlebar that you hold against the primary handle when mowing, and the mower will shut off.

Q. Does it matter in which direction I mow?

For the best-looking lawn and the most uniform results, try alternating directions each time you mow.