Pros: Easy to use, reliable, can bag and mulch
Cons: Heavy, somewhat hard to maneuver
I have only used a total of 3 mowers in my life an old, horrendous green Lawnboy back in the early 90s, a Toro in the mid 90s, and for the last couple months a new Honda HRX217TDA mower. I used the first 2 mowers when I was growing up and mowing my parents lawn, but I recently purchased a house and thus needed a new lawnmower of my own. The Honda was given to me as a wedding gift, and Ive used it a dozen times or so now. I have a lawn of approximately 5000 sq. ft. with a quite a lot of landscaping, trees, shrubs and hedges. I am by no means an experienced or extremely knowledgeable mower or landscaper, and I have no intention of becoming one. My goal with this mower was to get a reliable, easy-to-use machine with the ability to both mulch and bag.
Setup of the mower
Setup and preparing the mower for use was extremely easy, especially since they assembled it at Home Depot for me. After flipping through the owners manual to get general info about starting and using the mower, I filled the oil tank with the included bottle of oil, filled the gas tank with a separately purchased bottle of gas, flipped the fuel line switch to On, pulled the starter rope and it started right up. It is easy to start when compared to the previous mowers Ive used, although I would guess that just about all new mowers are now easier to start.
Using the mower and Advantages
As I mentioned, Ive used the mower about a dozen times thus far. I have had to refill the gas tank twice, which seems reasonable to me considering the size of the gas tank and the size of my yard. After some trial-and-error, Ive found the ideal height setting for my grass and have left the height at the same settings ever since. Ive used it with the Bag setting at 100%, with the Mulch setting at 100%, and with a 50/50 combo. The blades have cut the grass into a fine mulch, regardless of whether I am bagging or mulching. All settings have worked great and provided the correct level of mulching / bagging, so I would say that the Versamow System works as advertised. Ive had no trouble with grass entering the bag when the Mulch setting is at 100%, as other user reviews have suggested. The twin cut blades do a very good job at cutting the grass clippings into very fine pieces, and I have not had any trouble with thatch. The grass bag is not extremely large, but because the blades cut the grass into such small pieces, the bag seems to hold a large amount of grass. This helps save time when bagging the grass.
The 3-speed, self-propelled transmission is absolutely awesome. This is the first self-propelled mower I have owned, and I must say that having a self-propelled mower makes the task of mowing the lawn so much easier. I usually leave it in 2nd gear with the speed setting on Fast, and the resulting cut of the grass is clean. The effort and time it takes to get the lawn completely mowed is quite reasonable with this mower.
So far, there are only a couple drawbacks Ive experienced:
- Weight --- this is a heavy mower, no doubt about it (83 lbs., not including gas, oil or grass). But the sturdiness and reliability you get with the Xenoy deck is worth a little extra weight.
- Maneuverability --- this mower is longer and wider than what Ive used, and it is somewhat difficult to maneuver around trees, shrubs and hedges. It is about 70 long and 27 wide from wheel-to-wheel.
- Height setting adjustment --- it takes adjustments to all 4 wheels to change the height at which the grass is cut. This is cumbersome and would be easier if there was only one setting you had to change.
Overall, I am completely satisfied with the Honda HRX217TDA so far. It is easy to use, has reliably started every time, has no nicks or dents in the base or handlebars and has produced a clean, even cut every time. I have not had to perform any maintenance on it yet, however, so I will update the review with my experiences once I have.