Honda mowers: the Honda HRX217 K3 HYA self-propelled lawn mower


in Lawn Mowers, Reviews

Have you ever consider Honda mowers in your search for the perfect lawn mower?

I can tell you, based on years of experience of owning a Honda mower, that Honda mowers in general are pretty heard to beat.

So, if you are looking for the best self-propelled walk behind mower available, you can probably begin and end your search by taking a look at the
Honda HRX217K3HYA self propelled mower.

This mower is certainly more expensive than most of its competitors, but the features and capabilities included in the price are worth the extra money.

This mower is able to cut, mulch and bag grass, plus it has the capability to shred leaves thanks to its proprietary twin blade cutting system.

Virtually every feature that a person could want is included on this mower, making it the standard by which most other self-propelled walk behind lawn mowers are judged.

Key features at a glance

  • Self-propelled drive
  • 21 inch cutting width
  • Seven position height adjustment
  • Four-in-one Versamow system
  • 190cc Honda GCV engine
  • Hydrostatic transmission
  • MicroCut twin blade system
  • Impact and corrosion-resistant deck.

What can the Honda HRX217K3HYA be used for?

This mower is ideal for most yards that don’t need the benefit of riding mower.

Its 21 inch cutting width is large enough to handle most mowing projects in a minimum of passes.

Since this mower is self-propelled with a hydrostatic drive system, user fatigue is minimal, which means that you can mow for longer periods of time with this Honda than with many other mowers.

This cutting machine is also great if you need a mower with maximum versatility. It can be used in four different ways.

First of all, it can be used as a rear discharge mower. Secondly, it can be converted into a mulching mower. Its third function is as a bagging mower. Its fourth and final function is as a grass and leaf shredder.

If you need a mower that can handle hard work and a fair amount of being pushed to its limit, this Honda is an excellent choice, thanks to its solid build and quality materials, such as the exclusive Nexite cutting deck.

This Honda mower’s engine

This machine comes with Honda’s 190cc GCV engine. Its approximate horsepower rating is 5.1 HP, which means that this machine has plenty of power to get its jobs done.

Honda mowers:  HRX217 GVC190 lawn mower engine

The GVC190 Honda lawn mower engine

Honda engines are known for their power, durability and reliability, and this GCV is no exception. It is able to handle all four of the machine’s cutting functions, plus it powers the hydrostatic drive with ease.

Additionally, the engine runs efficiently, plus it is very easy to start whether you prefer to use the electric or recoil starting options.

If you are concerned about carbon emissions, you will be pleased to know that this GCV is certified to meet air quality compliance standards in all fifty U.S. states.

Handling and operating this Honda mower

Although the HRX217K3HYA has a shipping weight of 125 pounds, it is much easier to maneuver than its weight might suggest.

Since it is heavy and solidly-built, you will notice how sturdy the machine feels while in operation. To offset the heavy weight of the machine, the hydrostatic transmission runs smoothly and effortlessly.

Speeds can be changed infinitely within a range of zero to four miles per hour while in operation to suit terrain and grass thickness. Also, all four of the machine’s big, nine inch wheels are seated on ball bearings, so there is a minimum of friction and therefore efficient operation.

One feature that many users will love is the ability to stop the blades independently of the engine.

If you have ever wished that you could keep your mower’s engine running while you step away to move a branch, you will love this Honda.

One aspect of maneuverability that may cause some trouble is turning. This machine is not equipped with swivel wheels, so it may be difficult for some users to turn, especially in tight spaces.

Cutting features

The Honda HRX217K3HYA blows the competition away when it comes to cutting features.

Honda mowers: twin blade cutting system

The Honda twin blade cutting system

Firstly, you can switch between the four different cutting functions without using tools or attaching accessories.

Secondly, Honda’s unique Versamow clip director control allows you to regulate exactly how much grass is mulched or bagged. This gives you almost unlimited versatility.

Thirdly, getting the proper cutting height is also very easy thanks to the deck’s seven easily adjustable height settings.

The blades

The MicroCut twin blade system ensures that grass is cut finely for perfect mulching and the avoidance of clumps.

This is an impressive cutting system – blades of grass are cut first by the upper blade and then by the lower blade. The two blades then continue to chop the clippings up into smaller pieces as they are driven into and around the cutting deck.

Honda mowers: HRX Nexite mower deck

Honda mowers: the HRX Nexite mower deck

Because the grass is cut with more precision and the clippings are cut more finely you get a superior finish to your lawn and a better mulching action without clumping – plus quicker decomposition of the small sized mulched clippings.

If you are bagging, the smaller size of clippings means your your bag will hold more clippings at any one time, so there are less stops and the job can be completed more quickly.

The cutting deck

Housing the blades is the 21 inch deck made from a specialized material (“Nexite’) that is resistant to dents and corrosion. The deck is so durable that it comes with a lifetime warranty.

This is what Honda says about the HRX217HYA’s deck:

“Exclusive to Honda’s HRX mowers, NeXite was developed to resist dents, rust and corrosion. NeXite has similar strength and impact resistance to polymer materials commonly found in football helmets and car bumpers, where it’s critical to have a strong, yet lightweight material.

Our NeXite decks offer both a superior material and a superior design. The shape of the deck is extremely important to the mower’s performance. Honda engineered the deck on our HRX mowers to ensure it will provide optimal performance in a variety of conditions.

  • Better vacuum lift and volume to keep grass circulating longer
  • Precision clearance between the deck and the blades to improve circulation
  • Unique design diverts clippings back into the blades to reduce clipping size further.”

Additional features

Another terrific feature included with the HRX217K3HYA is the Honda Auto Choke System.

Many mowers require you to choke the engine prior to attempting a start. Honda has eliminated this step, which means that you will spend less time getting your mower started and more time cutting and mulching grass.


Assembly and set up of this Honda mower is quick and simple. The machine comes in a cardboard box, which can be cut open and removed from around the handlebar assembly. Then, the handlebar is flipped into position and tightened in place.

The grass bag also requires some simple assembly.

It should be noted that this machine is shipped without oil in the engine, so you will be required to add the proper amount of oil. A complimentary bottle should be included in the box with the mower. The entire contents of the bottle should be poured into the oil filler opening.


Here are the dimensions of this self-propelled mower:

  • Shipping weight – 112 pounds
  • Operating weight – 99 pounds
  • Cutting width – 21 inches
  • Mower deck width – 23 inches
  • Overall length – 71.9 inches
  • Overall height – 43.9 inches
  • Wheelbase – 26.7 inches.


Like all outdoor power equipment, the Honda HRX217K3HYA requires maintenance from time to time.

The engine oil should be drained and replaced at least once per cutting season (or after 50 hours of use). The air cleaner will need to be replaced every 150 hours (more frequently in dusty areas). Also, the carburetor should be cleaned before each season.

In addition, the blades will require sharpening on a regular basis. For most users, sharpening the blades prior to the season will be sufficient, but users with larger lawns or those who take advantage of the mulching and leaf shredding functions should sharpen the blades more often.

Occasional adjustments might also be required for any cables or belts.


This Honda comes with everything you will need to cut your grass, mulch it or bag it. You will not require any additional parts or accessories to accomplish these tasks. However, if you want to protect your machine when it is not in use, you can purchase the available lawn mower cover at a reasonable price from your Honda dealer.

Pros and cons

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Honda mowers pros


Since this mower is so highly rated, it has a lot of positive attributes. Here are some of the many favorable aspects of the Honda HRX217K3HYA:

  • Unmatched versatility
  • Easy to operate hydrostatic drive
  • High levels of durability and toughness
  • Four cutting options
  • Seven height adjustment options
  • Powerful engine
  • Ability to stop blade rotation while keeping the engine running
  • Grass bag included
  • Ball bearings in all four wheels.


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Honda mowers cons

Even the most highly rated machines have some things which could be improved. Here are some of the negative aspects of the Honda HRX217K3HYA:

  • May be too heavy for some users
  • Price could be prohibitive for some consumers
  • Wheels made from plastic
  • No deck wash port
  • Unique handle takes some time to get used to.

Consumer ratings

Since this Honda mower is such a high-end machine, there are very few customer reviews available online at this time.

However, there are 5 two star reviews of the machine at the Northern Tool and Equipment website.

Honda mowers HRX handle and blade stop control

Honda mowers: the HRX handle and blade stop control

One reviewer says:

“This is the absolute best lawn mower you can buy. It starts on the first pull every time, period!! … The transmission is smooth and can be adjusted on the fly. The blade stop keeps the engine running while changing the bag. This is my 6th Honda product and none has let me down.”

For a less independent view, check out comprehensive Honda’s promo video below:

Consumer ratings

The Honda HRX217K3HYA is not a cheap lawn mower. Indeed, its price is may be too much for the average homeowner, but when you consider the features and build of this machine, you will quickly see that the cost is worth the benefits provided by this mower.

If you are looking for the best self-propelled mower you can buy, this Honda should be at the top of your list.

Cheaper Honda mower models

Honda’s HRR Series is a steps down from the HRX series, but even so, you can count on Honda quality and reliability.

The Honda HRR2167VXA self-propelled mower features a 160cc engine and a 21 inch cutting deck, plus:

  • 3-in-1 mulch, bag and discharge deck options,
  • variable-speed Smart Drive
  • QuadraCut™ twin blade system
  • Multi-position wheel height adjustment
  • 6-position mowing height adjustment between 1 1/8in. and 4in.
  • Large rear ball bearing wheels
  • Roto-Stop® Blade Brake Clutch
  • 2-position folding handles

UK Readers

For UK readers, the most comprehensive range of Honda Lawn Mowers, including models similar to the HRX series, can be found at Mow Direct.

Just beginning your lawn mower research? Start with our definitive guide on how to buy the best lawn mower.


About the Author

Martin Cole is editor and publisher of, as well as a couple of other related websites. At heart he is a gardener, but appreciates the value of using the best power equipment.

Contact the author

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Christian Tangard April 18, 2012

I Bought an HRX217 mower from Home depot in November 2010.
It was a floor model at a good price.
It is a great machine! Very nice cut and very easy to use!
I did not get an owner’s manual (being a display unit).
I need to Change the oil.
How much oil does it hold?
What weight of oil ?

Thank you! Chris
I own 2 Honda cars and one Honda mower.
Very happy with all of them!


Martin April 26, 2012

Hi Christian,
I’m not surprised you like your Honda mower. They are great machines.

The manual for the particular model featured here says that SAE 10W-30 engine oil is recommended for general use, although other viscosities may be used depending on the average temperature in your area. It goes on “The SAE oil viscosity and service classification are in the API label on the oil container. Honda recommends that you use API service category SJ or later oil.”

Refill amount is 12.0 – 13.5 oz (0.35 – 0.40 litre).

Hope this helps.


Christian Tangard April 26, 2012

Thank You for your reply!
I Have the correct oil. -One more question.
I dont see any oil drain ( I am mechanicaly inclined ) Do I simply tun the machine on its side and drain the oil out of the oil fill? (Using up the fuel first of course)
Thank you in advance.
Christian Tangard


Martin May 2, 2012

Yes it looks like tilting and draining is the way to do it Christian. I’ll send you the manual if I can.


keno June 16, 2012

Just picked up the Honda HRX2173HYA at the nearby Home Depot. After unboxing and filling the oil and gas then a quick read of the instructions – from that point on I can think of nothing but superlatives to describe that initial experience. Astounded, Fantastic, Amazed. I’ve never in my life experienced a mower like this. In researching before buying, the popularmechanics mower rating team described the HRx series as the luxury machine of mowers – and they were’nt kidding. Seriously. This mower will breeze over the thick Zoija grass without wearing me out. Talk about some serious power! I mistakenly had the mow lever all the way down when I first engaged – Whoaaa! The machine flat peeled out like it was ready to drag me along. It’s quiet as far as lawn mowers go – I was impressed – velvety smooth and quiet. Well, I’ve only had this mower for not even two hours yet, but I can see already that mowing with this machine will literally be like a walk in the park. Effortless, lazy man mowing!


Martin June 26, 2012

Hi Keno
I think that you are what is called a satisfied customer :). It is hard to beat Hondas, there is no doubt. If you can stretch to the extra dollars, you do get a class mower. Power and solid build is at the heart of it.

I recently picked up a John Deere JS36. It’s an okay mower, but not a patch on the Honda that I was used to using – even though that Honda was 6 years old and a much smaller machine.


Craig Post March 15, 2014

Martin: I haven’t see any reviewing information on Neuton cordless electric mowers. Have you heard or know anything about them ? Thank you.


Martin May 14, 2014

Sorry, don’t know too much about Neuton mowers, but they’re getting some good press over at Amazon


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