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Honda vs Snapper,Cub Cadet,Toro

15 years ago

I've been trying to do my homework for buying a new lawn mower - reading reviews etc.

Consumer Reports lists Honda at first and second followed by toro for self propelled. Snapper is not listed under those reviewed and cub cadet is only listed for gas power.

My husband is leaning towards Cub Cadet, but from what I am reading here - most people prefer the Snapper or Honda.

My lawn is large, very hilly and mulching is a plus. I include Toro, because that is my husbands second choice.

Anyone have experience and/or advice on these particular models? Best Bang for the Buck? The Honda ....HXA is $700.00 which would be stretching the budget.

Comments (23)

  • mattv21
    15 years ago

    Honda, Snapper Hi-Vacs, and Toro Super Recyclers are in a different league than the Cub Cadet you see at Lowes. Note that Snapper and Toro make cheaper mowers, too. For around $500 you can look into Snapper Hi-Vacs and Toro Super Recyclers (not the cheaper Recycler), which are both very good. Their drive systems are very different, so I suggest going to a real mower dealer who can show you the differences and maybe even let you try each one to decide which you prefer. The Toro is considered the best overall mulcher, and the Snapper is considered the best bagger. Each does well at both, though. Hondas are good, but I find them to be pricey compared to the other two.

    If you are looking at Cub Cadet walk-behinds, then you should seriously consider the Toro Recycler or Lawnboy Insight series. Each is in the $300-$380 range, and both are probably the best non-premium mowers out there.

  • jopopsy
    15 years ago

    I'm in the same boat. Trying to differentiate between the brands. I was just going to go Honda at first, but so many folks make the Toro/Snapper argument that I just can't get myself squared up.

  • yellowfever
    15 years ago

    Just picked up an HRX217HXA Honda. Had a chance to use it yesterday...very nice mower. Solid, tracks dead on, and has lots of power. They ain't cheap though....!

  • cheri_in_maine
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Thanks for you input. It looks like I've got to swindle the husband away from cub cadet. Not an easy task. He works on a golf course so he is not going to heed my advise well:)

  • mattv21
    15 years ago

    Cheri, the key is to get him to realize that the Cub Cadet push mower at the big box store is in name only. It has nothing to do with the design and quality of the pro equipment he will find at the golf course. To top it off, it has some sort of weird generic Chinese engine that nobody can identify or find parts for. At least int he first year it came out it had the awesome Kawasaki FJ180V engine, but no more. Your husband just needs to understand that this isn't the Cub Cadet he knows and loves - it's a super-cheap import trading on the good name that Cub established over the years.

    Snapper, Toro, and John Deere have their cheapo lines, too (Snapper has only taken the low road recently), so Cub is by no means alone in this. They are all trying to make a buck and get their name out there so they can sell more big-ticket equipment to the pros. I can't hate on them for trying to survive in a Walmart world, but I can't help but think they are taking the wrong approach for their best long-term interest.

  • roadbike
    15 years ago

    I'm not sure which specific models you are looking at. The Toro Super Recycler models are among the best for mulching and perform very well in other areas.

  • shaggnasty
    15 years ago

    here's another vote for the Honda HRX.

  • jimbosc
    15 years ago

    If you choose Ariens, Lawn Boy, Toro, Snapper or Honda you will have a good mower. John Deere also has some good choices but they can tend to be pricey.

    The Personal Pace drive system is unique to Toro and Lawn Boy - and probably less well suited to really large yards and hilly terrain. The reason is the drive systems on Snapper (for example) tend to pull you along a bit more. The advice to closely check out the actual mower is valid.

    If you husband likes Cub - tell him to move to China....just kidding. Briggs and Stratton own Snapper now - so maybe that would help sell it to him.

    That all being said I have Toro Super Recycler with a Briggs Intek engine and it is one damm fine mower for mulching and bagging. My reason for purchase - it had all the features I wanted at a lower price point than Snapper plus the deck was aluminum vs steel on Snapper. I have not priced them out lately but I would be surprised if it has changes significantly. If you plan to do some of the mowing the Lawn Boy models might be a better choice, as they incorporate more adjustments on the handles for ease of use (so both a male and female can use the same mower comfortably).


  • exmark_wrench
    15 years ago

    My choice would be the Toro as others have said. Lawnboy is fine too but it is really not much different then a Toro since Toro owns Lawnboy. (I work for a Toro/Lawnboy/Snapper dealer)

    Here is a link that might be useful: Toro SR4 info

  • jammer1
    14 years ago

    I'd go with toro also..........mine is 20 yrs. old,and still kickin' .....VERY high quality,higher than honda for sure.........and besides ,a lot of poster's said the honda didn't do as well as the toro for bagging.................I know my neighbor has to go over things twice,were my toro would do the first time.........that alone would clinch it for me.......

  • stinkytiger
    14 years ago

    Hi Cheri,

    I have a HONDA Commercial HRC 216 HRA. This is 21-inch mower which has a variable hydrostatic drive (aka Personal Pace). It is now my third year with it. There are only two downsides to this mower price $US 1,200 and weight 125 lbs. This mower is only sold through Honda mower dealers and not at Home Depot or Lowes.

    I have a steeply sloping lawn area. Although the mower is heavy, it is very easy to control. Reliability has been great. I use Stabil fuel stabilizer and the mower always starts first time. The only thing I have needed to replace so far is the rubber flap at the rear of the mower. That cost $US 15 and took about 30 mins to do.

    If you are looking for a Rolls Royce of mowers this is it I think. Nice features include a steel deck, real steel bearings on all wheels. Better GXV 160 engine, when compared with the GCV 160. Steel shaft drive instead of belts for the rear wheel drive. Extra large 1/2 gallon fuel tank, and a larger bag. I never use the bag, I only mulch.

    My wife complains that I am glued to this mower for 3 1/2 hours all summer long evyer Saturday. I have a 1/2 acre grass lot I think, but somehow I totally miss calculated the amount of time I would need to mow the lawn. Hence I spend alot of time out there with this mower. Actually it is not all that bad because the mower is so easy to control, and the hydro-drive moves it along with little effort from me.

    If you are looking for something that will really make your life easier I recommend this mower. Maybe you can hire one just to try out. I think you will be convinced pretty quickly.

    All the best, Mike.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Rolls Royce of mowers .... maybe

  • rosemallow
    14 years ago

    Honda HRX is what I purchased and I am pleased. BTW the mulch feature has been improved.
    This % of mulching works fine. This unit leaves no doody balls like the others do. The engine does not bog down either.
    I take pride in my lawn and Honda has made it easier for me.

  • jbflys
    14 years ago

    I have owned Honda Snapper and a few Toro machines. Just replaced a HRM 215 and it was the best cutting machine I ever used. Replaced with a Toro, why? The Honda had the drive go out and carb go bad. Yes it was old but I think the Toro is a great machine and the two that I have owned they just wore out after 18 or so years and wanted a new one. New 20056 is quiet and smooth blade makes more noise than the engine! Both work very well. I just wanted a good mower Toro has been so in the past. Honda is nice too just a bit underpowered at times both the OHV and the OHC engines could use more power. Local dealer gave me another $30 off since I was looking for the 08 model. Honda's have had problems with the drives and they are about $200 IN THE BOX I installed mine myself not an easy job nor horrible either. Friend of mine replaced his Honda with a Toro SR4 says lots more power when the grass gets long. Good luck with your choice.

  • hippy
    14 years ago

    Word of warning.
    Avoid the Cub Cadet's sold at Home Depot at all cost.

    They have a Chinese cloned Honda engine and are being advertised as a "Cub Cadet engine". Local dealer got a load of them by mistake that were suppose to went to Home Depot.

  • capasaki
    14 years ago

    I recently purchased the Snapper HiVac commercial mower with a Ninja blade(for mulching) for a total cost of $850(tax included). I have to say that this mower has to be among the most elite. The Kawaski fj180v is a beast. I found out quickly that you only have to operate this mower at about half the maximum engine speed. I had the engine at full engine speed and gave it full throttle and the mower popped a wheelie and tried to leave me.(lol) I have a bank in my back yard that is roughly at a 45 degree slope and the mower powered up it without slowing down. As far as cut/mulching quality goes, I don't see how there could be a mower any better. The cut is nice and even, and the Ninja blade turns the clippings into dust. I would have to say the downside to this mower is that it mulches so effectively that my shoes get covered by a dark brown film when I mow. I quess that's a great problem to have, just make sure to wear old shoes when mowing if you purchase this mower.

  • ericmvest
    13 years ago

    Honda may have good engines, but the plastic decks on their more expensive consumer line would be a deal breaker for me. I would much rather buy an aluminum deck Toro or Lawnboy or a steel deck Snapper.

    I use to work for Honda as an internal auditor and audited Honda Power Equipments plant in Swepsonville, North Carolina. The plant management told me Honda made the switch from aluminum to plastic to cut costs. I got a Honda Harmony mower for my brother at a company discount. Even though he only uses this mower sparingly as a trim mower and is careful with his equipment, the deck cracked. To top it off Honda delivered this mower without an air filter element and my brother did not catch their mistake until he was doing preventative maintenance, approximately one year after taking delivery.

    A neighbor bought a plastic deck Honda Harmony a few years ago and did not like its maneuverability and lack of mulching power and gave it to his mother. He bought a much cheaper Troy Built and likes it much better.

    The Lawnboy Insight Platinum, the Toro Super Recycler, or the Snapper HI-VAC would be better choices than the plastic deck Honda mowers and the Toro and Lawnboy are significantly less expensive. I would choose the Toro if you primarily mulch and the Lawnboy or Snapper if you primarily bag.

  • whirlwind1974
    13 years ago

    As of November 2006 Honda plastic (NeXite) decks have a "Lifetime" warranty.
    No air filter, that should have been caught by the dealer that prepped the mower for delivery. By the way doesnÂt Honda make engines and lawnmowers at Swepsonville, North Carolina, you may want to have a talk with your plant management friends there about this.

  • ericmvest
    13 years ago

    In response to whirlwind:

    You are right, the Honda Power Equipment dealer should have caught the missing air filter, but they did not. I not only talked with Honda Power Equipment management and executives, but I also spent considerable time at the Swepsonville plant. When I was at Swepsonville plant management discussed changing decking material from aluminum to plastic in regards to a high pressure die cast machine that was under utilized. To utilize this machine they started supplying aluminum transmission cases to Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. which is HondaÂs car manufacturing subsidiary in the United States. They also said switching to plastic was a cost down for the Harmony compared to the aluminum deck on the now discontinued Masters. So the switch to plastic was not to improve quality, but to lower costs.

  • ericmvest
    13 years ago

    When I audited Honda Power EquipmentÂs Swepsonville Plant in the early 1990Âs it was producing lawnmowers. The following comes from WikipediaÂs entry for Swepsonville, North Carolina which states Honda still does produce walk-behind lawn mowers:

    The Honda Motor Company manufactures general purpose engines, walk-behind lawn mowers, snow blowers, string trimmers, water pumps, and tillers in Swepsonville.

    Honda's plastic deck was introduced shortly before I audited Swepsonville, therefore the plant executives/management were very familiar with the reasons why Honda switched from aluminum to plastic. It was to reduce costs, not improve quality.

  • tarheelman
    13 years ago

    I'm not trying to argue, I just wanted to point something out: Even an aluminum deck will crack under certain conditions, such as (for example) the blade slinging a rock into the deck.

    Regardless of Honda's motives for using a plastic deck on the Harmony (now HRX) mowers, the fact is that they've been doing so for at least a dozen years now and, AFAIK, there haven't been widespread complaints about these decks cracking.

  • milo2000
    13 years ago

    Quite a few aluminum decks out there that are over 30 years old including mine. The plastic has yet to stand the test of time. Cost savings usually mean lower quality but higher profits.

  • archangel2003
    13 years ago

    Did you mention the size of your yard?
    I got tired of walking behind a mower all last year and broke down and got a rider!

  • Tom Compton
    last year

    My dealer says Honda is not shipping push mowers. Anybody know why?