Need a new mower

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We had a garage sale today and while I wasn't planning on selling my lawn mower a guy made me a deal I couldn't refuse. I hated that POS so it really kind of made my day. Anyways,now I need a new mower. I checked out the local Honda dealer and found a couple models I like,but before I plunk down my money I want to make sure I see everything worthwhile. I want a GOOD mower. I want something that'll bag grass even if its damp. I want self propelled. In the range of under $700 what should I look at?
 
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Toro was rated highly in a recent Consumer Reports article on mowers. I purchased the one they recommended (about $400 @ Home Depot if I recall) and am very pleased with it's performance. It can be setup to bag, side-discharge or mulch. I use it exclusively in the mulching mode and it does a fine job. It is self-propelled as well.
 
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Have always had a Honda. My last one, a HR214PXA had a Xenoy deck and lasted 12 years. Actually it is still going strong, I gave it to my father in law last year. All it needed in those 12 years was a new set of wheels ($52), 3 blades ($11 each), 2 sparkplugs ($2 each), 2 air filters ($9 each) and a new grassbag ($23). Started on the first or (rarily needed) second pull, and mowed anything it could roll over including heavy, wet grass. Never bogged or stalled. Great mower. Bought a new HRX self-propelled and love it. Everything the older one was and then some. The Xenoy deck is positively bomb-proof and well worth the small premium for it. I got the Hydrostatic tranny because I like the blade-clutch feature. I don't think you can get this on the 3-speed. If you can live without it, you'll save $100. 3 forward speeds is fine.
 
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This is so funny. I think of how many garage sales I've been to where the sale ends midway into the garage. There'll be a shelf with oil on it or something and it's not for sale. I have a $99 walmart mower I've "built up" with ball bearing wheels, killswitch delete. Put on an old spark plug wire boot on it that keeps it from shorting out when I push it under shrubs. Drilled out the deck holes for the handle to take 1/2" bolts, I need to "wheelie" a lot and the flexing killed the original design. With your budget you could get an OHC honda, I hear they're super motors.
 

Stewart Fan

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I ended up with the Honda HRX. I don't remember the exact model but its got 3 forward speeds with the Xenoy deck. I tried it this afternoon and its everything the Honda dealer said it was. Its the best $549 I've ever spent on a mower.
 

Stewart Fan

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Quote:
This is so funny. I think of how many garage sales I've been to where the sale ends midway into the garage. There'll be a shelf with oil on it or something and it's not for sale.
I ended up having to shut the garage doors as every guy that stopped by wanted to buy something that wasn't for sale. I did end up selling $200 worth of ________ I didn't think I wanted to sell.
 
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I can vouch for the Honda HRX. The hyrdostatic drive lets you find just the right speed. The twin blades are good mulchers and the "clip director" lets you mulch/bag in any combination... excellent on wet grass or long grass. It also has the Xenoy deck but the mower is still 93 lbs and expensive at $700. Also, the manual calls for 18.5 oz of oil for oil change but mine only takes 15 oz to read full on the dipstick (see manual on reading the dipstick if you buy it). My neighbor has a Toro Super Recycler and it seems to mulch just as well. I tried his mower before I bought mine but the Personal Pace system wasn't my cup of tea.
 
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