Honda vs Toro gas lawn mower: Which should you choose?

When it comes to lawn care, your lawn mower is an investment that you want to last. Your lawn mower must have all the right features you need to make your garden look perfect for a price that suits you. But it can be so hard to get to the facts and make that final choice — there are so many options and brands that it is difficult to find the perfect one. We selected two of the best gas lawn mower brands, Honda and Toro, to help you decide.

Honda is a Japanese car brand that has branched out into other motor tools over the years. They tend to focus on generators, lawn and gardening equipment, pumps, and snow blowers as well as other tools. Toro is an all-American brand that aims to help make groundskeepers, turf maintenance workers, and homeowners’ lives a little easier. They tend to focus on innovative and effective gardening and maintenance solutions. 

We are here to settle the Honda vs Toro lawn mower debate when it comes to two models: the Honda HRX217HZA and the Toro 21-inch Super Recycler. These two models are both rotary rather than cylindrical mowers, which plant expert Deborah Looi shared her thoughts on: ‘Rotary mowers work to cut grass on impact using a high-speed rotating blade, while cylindrical mowers have bottom plates that trap grass and have exposed blades to cut it. In general, the quality of [the] cut is better with a cylindrical mechanism, but do note that cylindrical mowers don’t cut long grass.’

But which is better? With help from plant expert Deborah Looi, we break down the battle into four categories: performance, features, price, and maintenance. Read on to discover our verdict and the find best mower for your lawn.

Honda vs Toro Mower: Performance

When it comes to lawn mowers, performance is essential. You want to be able to sweep through unruly grass and get an even trim no matter the terrain. A powerful mower with the right features can help you tame your lawn for years to come. But which performs best in the Honda vs Toro debate?

The Honda HRX217HZA has one of the most powerful engines on the market, with a discharge of 201cc for a real kick that makes moving through thick grass as smooth as butter. An electric self-charging key and auto choke system provide an easy start every time so you do not need to struggle with a gas cord as with other gas mowers. The Honda’s durable mowing deck is made of NeXite for rust-free and undentable mowing for an entire lifetime. 

The cruise control on the Honda ensures that your mowing is both simple and precise, allowing you to call the shots at any speed up to 4 mph. Dual micro-cut twin blades cut your grass into ultrafine cuttings and give you the choice to keep your grass at a consistent height. There are seven different grass-cut heights for you to choose from for convenient and exact cuts every time. You can also easily switch between cutting, mulching, bagging, and discharging with the VersaMow system. Honda’s HRX217HZA allows you to focus on getting consistent results with minimal effort. 

Toro’s Super Recycler, on the other hand, has a less powerful engine at only 163cc, but can still handle tough terrain and conditions. It also has a lower mow height variety than the Honda and has a cord start that can take a moment to respond. We love its high traction wheels and fertilization option in combination with the Personal Pace auto drive but wish it had a little more power. 

In terms of performance, we think the Honda comes out on top. The HRX217HZA is best for anyone with a half to full-acre plot of grass. If you have a smaller plot that is up to half an acre, the Toro Super Recycler would be better suited to your lawn.

Honda vs Toro Mower: Features

A motor and solid build are not the only thing that you need in a mower. You also want your mower to have convenient features that can help make finishing your lawn a breeze.

Honda’s HRX217HZA mower is packed full of features designed to make your life as easy as possible. The cruise control is designed to stay at an even pace even on hills and dips. The RotoStop feature means that you can stop the blades without stopping the engine to remove any obstacles in your way, shortening your mowing time. The ergonomic Quick Release handle has three different positions is easy to use and comfortable to hold — it even folds over for simple storage. The manual fuel shut-off valve means that storage and maintenance just got a lot easier. 

But what matters most is the mowing. We love the Honda’s four-in-one VersaMow and clip director system; it makes switching between mulching, bagging, discharging, and shredding your clippings a breeze. If you are looking to get into mulching, we have a whole article on the topic waiting for you. The large 2.5-bushel bag is one of the largest on the market, minimizing the number of emptying trips you do. If you want to discharge your clippings as you mow, the rear discharge makes it easy and convenient and the door helps you stay in control. 

The Toro Super Recycler has fewer features overall, but what it does have is certainly useful. We love the vortex air intake system that pulls air into the mower and drives your fine cuttings through the commercial-grade bagging tunnel into the super bagger. SpinStop technology ensures that you can pause the blades and remove obstacles without having to completely stop your mower. 

Personal Pace Auto-Drive uses self-propel technology to stick to your pace on uneven terrain and works with flexible suspension technology to make the ride comfortable and smooth. In terms of the build, the Super Recycler uses commercial-grade aluminum construction on the deck and sealed ball-bearing wheels to ensure comfortable and durable rides for years to come.

Overall, we would say that the Honda is best for those who care about getting the most bang for their buck. If you do not care so much about the bells and whistles, stick with the Toro.

Honda vs Toro Mower: Price

Price is a key factor when it comes to choosing your new lawn mower. While there is an upfront cost to consider, it is vital to note how much the fuel and other maintenance costs will be over time. How do these two models stack up in the Honda vs Toro mower showdown?

The cost of a lawn mower depends on what type it is, what fuel it uses, and the brand. For walk-behind mowers like these, you can expect to pay the following upfront:

Electric: $80 - $2000

Gas : $100 - $600

That does not even include gas or maintenance costs. A selection of the best electric lawn mowers tend to be cheaper than gas ones, too, but Expert Deborah Looi suggests that: ‘My rule of thumb is, if you are mowing anything more than 1/3 acre of flat land, the money is worth it!’

Deborah Looi
Deborah Looi

Deborah is the founder of Gardening Collective and is a plant enthusiast. Among her favorite plant babies are: Anthurium Clarinervium, Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, and the Hoya Bella.

You can expect to pay around $1200 for the Honda HRX217HZA itself and higher-end prices for the fuel. The Toro costs around $999 upfront and its gas costs around $10 - $20. Maintenance kits and other essentials also vary in cost depending on the type and what bundle you choose. Both Toro and Honda offer various accessories and safety gear that could be bought alongside your mower for your convenience. 

Overall, the Toro Super Recycler is more affordable both in the long term and upfront. If you have some cash to splash and a larger garden, it may be worth investing in the Honda HRX217HZA.

Honda vs Toro Mower: Care and maintenance

Regular lawn mower maintenance ensures that your lawn mower keeps trucking along every year. From sharpening the blades to changing the oil to knowing how to put gas in a lawn mower, there is a lot to learn about proper maintenance care. What matters most in terms of care when choosing a new lawn mower is how easy it is to maintain and how long the warranty is.

Ideally, mower brands should offer digital and physical product manuals as well as a range of tutorials that address individual models’ quirks. There should also be compatible maintenance kits and gear to help you with day-to-day inspections and changes. There should also be a clear warranty breakdown, including what exactly it covers and for how long. Lawnmowers tend to be covered from 2-5 years on average, with labor often only lasting a year or less and motors varying from 5-10 years. 

Both the Honda HRX217HZA and Toro Super Recycler are covered for five years with their warranties, putting them at the high end of the average against their competitors. However, Honda takes it to the next level, providing digital manuals and how-tos online. This means replacing parts yourself or changing batteries and even storage is so simple — no more head-scratching. 

Toro provides parts and model manuals on the product listing and a physical manual on delivery but keeps it minimal in terms of support. It is possible to see recommended accessories and maintenance items, but not much else. However, Toro’s Super Recycler does sync with the MyToro App, which helps you look up manuals and how-tos — it even reminds you when your lawn needs maintenance so you never forget again.

Overall, we highly recommend Honda for going to the next level in terms of customer care and maintenance. We love that they put everything in one place even before you choose to buy anything. However, if you want to get automatic reminders for maintenance and have everything on your phone, try getting the Toro Super Recycler.

Lawn mower in storage

Honda lawn mower in storage (Image credit: Alamy)

Honda vs Toro Mower: Verdict

Both the Honda HRX217HZA and the Toro Super Recycler are great models for trimming unruly grass into a lawn to be proud of. If you want power or have a large garden, we would recommend the Honda HRX217HZA mower. If you are on a tight budget or are just learning how to get into the swing of lawn mowing, we recommend considering the Toro Super Recycler mower. 

What else is important to take into account when it comes to figuring out how to choose a gas lawn mower? Deborah Looi suggests: ‘A couple of important things to look out for — choosing between rotary versus cylindrical mowers, selecting the right mower for the land size, and choosing the right power source.’

Freelance Writer
With contributions from