The Honda HRX217VKA is part of the Lawn mower & tractor
test program at Consumer Reports. In our lab tests, Lawn mower & tractor
models like the HRX217VKA are rated on multiple criteria, such as those listed below.
Side discharging: How far and evenly clippings were dispersed from the discharge chute.
Mulching: Reflects how fine the clippings are and how completely the mower distributed its clippings over the lawn's surface.
Bagging: Denotes how much clippings the bag held before it filled or the chute clogged.
Blade brake clutch
Blade brake clutchThis safety feature automatically stops the blade when you release the handle, without shutting off the engine, so you don't have to restart the mower every time you clear debris or empty a grass bag.
Deck height adjustment
Deck height adjustmentMost convenient is a single lever that moves the entire deck up and down. Some models have one lever for the front axle and another for the rear. Least convenient is a lever at each wheel.
Washout portAccepts a hose for cleaning the underside of the deck more easily than from above. Be sure to allow the underside to air-dry before stowing the machine.
Swing-up handle bar
Swing-up handle barAbility to easily fold the handle bar forward to aid in storage.
Upright storageAllows the user to store the lawnmower vertically reducing the storage footprint.
High wheelsLarge rear wheels marketed to handle bumpy terrain better than standard size wheels.
Optional discharge chute
Optional discharge chuteThe rear-mounted side-discharge chute does not come standard with the product and must be obtained separately if you want the side-discharge cutting mode. Some will be provided free when you return the product's warranty card, while others range in price from $15 to $30.
Deck sizeMost models have a deck size, or cutting swath, of 20 to 22 inches. There is no significant advantage from one size to another. A larger deck can cut more grass in a single pass, but in this size range the difference is negligible.
Engine manufacturerStated manufacturer of a gasoline engine. For some mowers the engine manufacturer is not documented and is listed as "self branded."
Engine sizeEngine size in cubic centimeters (cc) provides a rough indication of the engine's power.
Drive wheelsLocation of powered wheels for self-propelled mowers
Mower warrantyThe length of time in years the lawn mower is covered by its manufacturer for defects or repairs.
Can mulchIndicates whether the mower can cut in the mulching mode. In this mode, the discharge port is closed off, and the mower re-cuts clippings until they're small enough to settle and decompose in the lawn. Cutting in this mode reduces the need to fertilize the lawn because some of the nutrients from the clippings are returned to the soil. It is also more convenient because there is no need to empty a catcher or dispose of any clippings. Certain conditions are required for successful mulching, and if these conditions are not met, many visible clippings can be left behind on the lawn. For successful mulching, one should avoid cutting more than one third of the grass's length, cutting wet grass, or cutting at too fast a pace.
Can side discharge
Can side dischargeIndicates whether the mower can cut in the side-discharge mode. In this mode, the mower simply discharges the clippings off to the side of the mower. Depending on the length of the grass cut, this method tends to leave many visible clippings behind. This mode is preferable when cutting tall grass because the mower is less likely to clog, since the clippings are quickly removed from the deck.
Can bagIndicates whether the mower can cut in the bagging mode. In this mode, the clippings are gathered in a removable catcher. Lawns tend to have the best appearance after cutting in this mode because the mower essentially vacuums the lawn clean and leaves very little debris behind. This advantage is offset by the need to periodically empty the catcher and dispose of the grass clippings.