Honda Commercial Lawn Mowers Go All Out in Lawn Mower Shootout
We consider lawn mowers to be one of the crown jewels of the OPE world, so we've brought together 24 different models to see which ones can handle their business best. We looked at gas-powered lawn mowers, battery-powered lawn mowers, residential lawn mowers, commercial lawn mowers, and variations of each of these categories. On the gas-powered and commercial side of the equation, the HRC216HXA Honda Commercial Lawn Mower stands out from its short-range competitors as a top priority.
- rock solid construction
- 86 dB(A) ultra-quiet
- Roto-Stop: Engine runs even when mower and self-propelled bale are disengaged
- double blade
- near unstoppable force
- incredible fuel efficiency
- Mandatory hand position during self-propelled
- Pricey at $1269
We use various tests to draw conclusions and feel free to express our opinion. However, you are welcome to hold us accountable and check out the details in our self propelled lawn mower review article.
The faster the blade's edge moves, the better the cut. We measure blade tip speeds under light loads and heavy loads to simulate your normal operating conditions. We wanted to see how these mowers handle maintenance mowing as well as those thicker grasses you inevitably come across throughout your day.
Under light load, the Honda Commercial Mower achieved a tip speed of 194.8 MPH, the fastest of any commercial mower we've tested (interestingly, almost all residential models are faster).
However, when we ran a heavy-duty simulation on a Honda commercial lawn mower, we noticed a drop in tip speed of only 2.2 MPH. The Honda model still maintains a tip speed of 192.6 MPH. This consistency of power means you can expect a smooth, even cut even when hiking through thicker grass.
As I said, that's a simulation. So we decided to see how well it handles cutting grass in a worst-case scenario.
Obviously your lawn mower engine has a lot to do with how thicker grass affects blade tip speed, we tested a Honda commercial lawn mower with a 163cc GXV160 engine and MicroCut dual blades. We ran Overgrown for two weeks with some other top contenders. We set the cutting height to 2.5 inches, the walk speed to 2.5 mph, and mowed until the mower stalled.
The Honda commercial mower dominated every other mower we put through these particular paces. Of course, grass consistency will always be an inconsistent factor, so we didn't use this test in our final scoring calculations. But the Honda's performance is definitely worth mentioning, as we traveled 113.5 feet before bogging down. Interestingly, the next closest competitor is EGO's Peak Power Dual Battery model. Every other lawn mower pales in comparison.
One of the benefits of gas power over electric is that if you run out of fuel, it takes a lot less time to grab a gas can and fill it up than to wait for the battery to recharge. However, it still takes time and effort. So, the fewer times you stop for gas, the better.
Your blade size, fuel capacity, walking speed, and various other factors will affect the area you can cover with a can of gas. For example, a Honda HRC216HXA mower with a 21-inch blade and a 60-ounce fuel tank can mow 1.21 acres on the tank at 2.5 mph.
This type of cutting area ability shouldn't be underestimated, but it's worth noting that it's the second-best in our list of commercial lawn mowers. It was bested by the eXmark Commercial X-Series mowers, which topped out at just over 1-3/4 acres on the tank thanks to their massive 120-ounce tank size.
Having said that, we need to talk about fuel efficiency. While it is true that the eXmark models mow a much larger area than the Honda commercial lawn mowers, the Honda models are more fuel efficient.
When both engines were running with 4 ounces of TruFuel, the Honda Commercial Mower ran for 9.1 minutes and the eXmark's 6.8 minutes. Combing this fact to its logical conclusion, what can we expect from the Honda's fuel efficiency?
That gives it an overall fuel efficiency of 2.57 mpg. The tank doesn't hold a full gallon, but it gave us a measure. Snapper came in second at 2.12 acres per gallon and eXmark was third at 1.88 acres per gallon.
This fuel efficiency puts the Honda HRC216HXA a big step up from other commercial lawn mowers in its class.
Self-propelled drive and Roto-Stop blade brake
Self-propelled drives are nothing new to the world of walk-behind lawn mowers, especially in the commercial sector. But this is no ordinary self-driving car. Honda commercial lawn mowers feature a hydrostatic transmission that allows you to adjust speed seamlessly without the jumps and jolts of a belt drive system.
It also features a Roto-Stop blade braking system that allows you to stop the blades from spinning without stopping the engine. It's nice to be able to stop to move something out of your path or empty your bag without having to stop and restart the motor.
MicroCut Dual Blade
Our shootout introduced us to some unorthodox blade designs, and the Honda's blade design is one of the more unique. Instead of using a single blade like the modern Philistine, the Honda HRC216HXA lawn mower opts for two blades stacked high like pancakes. The idea here is that you get super fine clippings from the four cutting surfaces; it helps with better coverage and bagging applications.
Typically, gas mowers use steel decks, and the Honda Commercial doesn't stray far from tradition here. This suits us perfectly: steel is more durable than composites or plastics, and since the drive system does the heavy lifting, the added weight doesn't bother the user. It also includes deck guards and a front bumper to protect the deck, as well as another tie-down point.
The one-point cutting height adjustment is easier than the 4-point adjustment that the Honda model opts for, but putting all the weight of a commercial gas mower on one lift point is a bit of overkill. Because of this, most commercial lawn mowers avoid single-point adjustments. It can also introduce additional resilience into the system.
Adjusting the height of all four wheels individually can be annoying, but we can't deny its sturdiness.
Pro tip: When bagging, set the front wheel height one notch higher than the rear wheel. It will help the mower bag clippings more effectively.
This Honda lawn mower has 8 height levels ranging from 0.875 inches to 4.125 inches. That's a wide enough range that you should be able to properly mow almost any grass species you're likely to find in the United States. Plus, you can adjust the handle to 2 different positions, giving you multiple height options.
Like nearly every mower we tested before or during this shootout, the Honda Commercial Lawn Mower allows you to mulch, bag, or discharge grass clippings off the side of the deck.
Honda's 9-inch wheels are strong, lightweight, and easy to replace when you need them. They also include precision sealed ball bearings in all four wheels for smooth, effortless movement.
- Deck washing via hose connection
We don't usually put a lot of stock into the noise level of an air mower. If you use gasoline, you need ear protection. But the Honda HRC216HXA runs at 86 dB(A), the quietest gas mower we've tested. It even rivals some of the battery-powered lawn mowers we've looked at.
When mowing, you still need some protection. Our testing tells us how much noise the engine itself makes, and it gets louder when you're cutting.
There's no two ways around it: A Honda commercial lawn mower isn't going to be as cheap as $1,269. Even for a high-end commercial model, this mower is expensive. It comes with a 2-year commercial warranty on the engine and a 1-year warranty on the rest.
Ultimately, this is the category that separates budget-conscious shoppers from those willing to pay more for higher quality. No matter which side of that statement you're on, this isn't a knock on you. Just realize that if you want the best, it's going to be very expensive.
the bottom line
The HRC2163HXA Honda Commercial Lawn Mower is the pinnacle of professional walk-behind mowing technology. It's solid, surprisingly quiet, and packs enough power that it's actually hard to get bogged down in. We also like the Roto-Stop blade brake and the MicroCut dual blades. It has some quirks, and the price makes budget shoppers shudder, but if you want one of the best lawn mowers money can buy, this is your ticket.
Honda Commercial Lawn Mower Manufacturer Specifications
- Model: Honda HRC216HXA
- Engine: Honda GXV160
- Deck Material: Steel – 16 ga
- Cutting Width: 21″
- Mowing height range: 3/4″ – 4″
- Mowing Height Adjustments: 8
- Transmission: Cruise Control (Hydrostatic)
- Ground Speed: 2.1 to 4.0 mph
- Starter: Recoil
- Wind blocking system: manual
- Throttle Control: Manual
- transmission shaft
- Handle: 1" steel pipe
- Steel Deck Guards: Standard
- Wheels: 9″ Nexite
- Ball Bearing Wheels: All
- Standard Features: Mulch, bags, side discharge
- Bag Capacity: 2.5 bushels
- Blade: double blade (micro cutting system)
- Blade Control: Blade Stop System (Roto-Stop)
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 0.37 Gallons
- Operating Weight: 127 lbs
- Residential Warranty: 2 Years
- Commercial Warranty: 2 years engine, 1 year all other components
- Price: $1269
For more information on the Honda HRC216HXA, click here to view the product page.