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Honda HRX 217VKA Review

Honda has a reputation for quality engines, and its lawn mower line is no exception. The Honda HRX217VKA, benefits from a powerful engine, responsive self-propulsion and a large-capacity discharge bag to make it the best gas lawn mower on the market.

Our Verdict

This Honda mower is powerful, and it cuts and mulches extremely well. The self-propulsion takes time to get used to, but the mower runs smoothly and quickly, enabling you to mow your lawn fast.


  • This Honda’s variable drive is strong.


  • You must adjust each wheel separately.
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Honda has a reputation for quality engines, and its lawn mower line is no exception. The Honda HRX217VKA, benefits from a powerful engine, responsive self-propulsion and a large-capacity discharge bag to make it the best gas lawn mower on the market.

The Honda HRX performs well, giving your grass a smooth, even cut. This is largely thanks to the special MicroCut blade. This specialty blade has four cutting surfaces, rather than the standard two, so it cuts your grass clippings into finer pieces. This is what gives the HRX its mulching and cutting power, making it easier for you with less clumping and cleanup.

Having smaller clippings also makes it possible to hold more in the generously sized 2.5-bushel, 3.1-cubic-foot, discharge bag. Most discharge bags have a 2-bushel capacity, but the Honda HRX bag is angled perfectly, allowing you to fill it up to the brim without choking the blade to a halt. The downside to having such a large bag and being able to fill it completely is that it can be quite heavy when you need to remove and empty it.

The cutting path of this walk-behind mower is a standard 21 inches, and the wheels don't push the grass down too much, so there is less to overlap on your passes. Gas mower engines have a sound rating that falls between 90 and 100 dB, and the HRX is a bit on the loud side, running at 98 dB during our test. This is due to its large engine, but with hearing protection like earplugs, you should be able to mow for extended periods without any ill effects.

This mower has seven cutting levels. The lowest cutting height is 3/4 of an inch, with a maximum of 4 inches. These heights are the lowest and highest levels available on any of the mowers in our lineup and allow you to mow almost any type of grass to the height you want. Unfortunately, you have to adjust the wheel height for each wheel.

One of the best features of this Honda lawn mower is the rear-wheel self-propulsion system. Unlike most standard self-propelled mowers, the HRX has a variable drive system that you control with a thumb lever rather than a bar. These thumb controls are located in the middle of the handlebar, and you can adjust them to a variety of angles to suit your hand size and pushing preference.

The controls are pressure-sensitive, allowing you to select the amount of propulsion you need. These controls may take a while to get used to, and you will often find yourself pulled along by the mower at first. The angled handle is covered with a thin foam that reduces vibrations and hand fatigue. The mower engine runs smoothly, so vibration is not a huge problem for this gas mower.

Mulching is one of the HRX's greatest strengths. Taking the mulching process one step further, Honda designed a lever that allows you to control the amount of grass that goes through the rear discharge. This allows you to control the amount of clippings you leave behind on the lawn, rather than an all-or-nothing option. You can also use the HRX in the fall to chop up leaves without a special attachment, giving you some relief from raking.

This is one of the loudest gas lawn mowers we reviewed, producing almost 100 decibels worth of noise. If you need a quieter mower, consider the Craftsman 37744, which only produces 85 decibels of noise.

The HRX217VKA is a large mower, weighing in at 96 pounds, and its 190cc engine provides plenty of power to efficiently mow and mulch every type of grass. One of the features that make this mower unique is the molded skirting around the cutting deck that helps keep grass from spitting out the sides. While the skirting makes the mower look wider than it actually is, it does not protrude past the wheels.

The handle stands at 41 inches, tall enough for people over 6 feet tall to grasp it comfortably. The handle connects and folds down easily, thanks to a quick-release connection at the base of the handle. You can adjust the handle to three different positions, giving you an opportunity to set it at the height you need.

Unfortunately, there is no side discharge option with this Honda lawn mower, but the excellent mulching and bagging features help capture grass clippings so you don't have to rake after you finish mowing. The large engine on this Honda mower meets all EPA and CARB emission standards in all 50 states, so you don't have to worry about your mower not being up to regulation. Additionally, the 190cc engine has an automatic choke system, eliminating the need for the complex starting process required by many smaller or older gas mowers.

Honda provides a limited five-year warranty on the HRX for defective workmanship and parts. This is well above the average of three years that we found with other lawn mower brands in our product lineup. If you ever have problems with this mower, you can contact Honda by phone or email to get answers to your questions or order official Honda parts.

The Honda mower website has a locator tool that searches your area for the nearest authorized Honda repair shops or parts dealers. This reduces the time you'd spend driving around town or searching phone directories, allowing you to get assistance quickly. If you ever lose your owner manual, you can access a downloadable PDF version on the product webpage.

The Honda HRX217VKA is the best gas mower you can use on your lawn. While it is larger than most mowers, this comfortable and power-driven mower is perfect for medium and large yards. The quick response of the self-propulsion and large capacity of the discharge bag reduces the time you'll have to spend mowing. This walk-behind lawn mower is an excellent choice for homeowners who need an efficient, capable mower that will last for years with proper care.

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