Honda has been producing some of the leading small gasoline engines for decades. The brand's well-earned reputation for incredibly reliable equipment is founded on quality, thoughtful engineering, innovation and value. This in-depth Honda HRN216VKA review aims to break down one of the brand's top numbers to find out if it's genuinely the best self-propelled lawn mower for residential and commercial use so far.

The Honda HRN216VKA is a genuine 3-in-1 gas-powered lawnmower. The mower can be used for side discharge right out of the box, with the twin blades matching up to most standard single mulching blades. It completely mashes the grass clippings into tiny bits that easily decompose on the tuff as a mulcher. And you can also use it as a bagger, thanks to the 17.6 gallon/1.9 bushels heavy-duty cloth bagger that's impressively easy to connect and disconnect.

So, what truly makes the self-propelled Honda HRN216VKA the best?


The Honda HRN216VKA is an absolute powerhouse. According to the manufacturer, it features the following specifications:


Model - GCV170

Type - 4 strokes, overhead-valve, single-cylinder

Displacement - 166 cc

Ignition System - Transistorized Magneto

Product Specs

Deck Material: Steel, 16 gal

Mowing Height Range: 1 - 4 in

Mowing Height Adjustments: 7

Cutting Width: 21 in

Drive Control: Variable Position Smart Drive

Transmission: Variable Speed Fixed Gear Belt Clutch

Ground Speed: 0 to 4.0 mph

Starter: Recoil

Choke System: Automatic

Handle: 1 in Steel Tube

Handle Height Position: 2

Wheels: 8 in Plastic

Ball-bearing Wheels: Sintered Metal Bushing Rear Only

Standard Functions: 3 in 1 - Mulch, Bag, Discharge

Bag: Standard

Bag Capacity: 1.9 bushel

Blade: Twin Blades

Blade Control: Flywheel Brake

Side/Rear Discharge: Rear Standard

Dry Weight: 79 lb

Operating Weight: 82 lb

Residential Warranty: 3 years

Commercial Warranty: 90 days


Length: 61 in

Width: 22.6 in

Overall Height: 40.8 in

Weight: 79 lbs

Key Features

1. Smart Drive

The lawn mower comes with intuitive, variable speed control during operation. Its variable ground speed is 0-4 mph with five adjustable positions for improved user comfort.

2. 3-in-1 System with Clip DirectorR

The HRN216VKA doesn't require any attachments to switch between mulching, bagging and discharging. Instead, just slide the Clip Director.

3. MicroCutR Twin Blades System

The stacked and offset twin blade technology offers superior cut quality and tinier clippings for better mulching and bagging.

4. GCV170 Engine

Like all top-end Honda lawn mowers, the GCV170 engine offers reliable, easy starting power to handle even the toughest mowing conditions.

5. Honda Auto ChokeTM System

You don't need an engine choke: Just start the lawn mower and go.

What's in the Box?

  • Honda 3-in-1 21" Self Propelled Gas Lawn Mower w/ Auto Choke - HRN216VKA
  • User Manual


The HRN lineup is well known for its improved power. The 166 cc 4-stroke Honda gas engine on the HRN216VKA delivers robust amounts of torque thanks to the twin-blade system and also powers the self-propulsion system. Moreover, since the engine is incredibly powerful, it offers optimal performance and cut quality even in wet conditions when the grass can be quite difficult to cut.

The Smart Drive Technology features improved adjustable speed control. That includes a variable ground speed of 0 to 4 mph. The improved engineering allows you to just sit back and let the machine do the job with complete ease.

Cutting Quality & Options

This self-propelled lawn mower has it all when it comes to cutting quality, from easy-to-cut, short, thing grass to hard-to-cut tall, thick grass. The twin blades do a tremendous job of harvesting grass clippings. Additionally, the four cutting surfaces are equally effective in processing the clipping into small pieces that almost replicates the mulching efficacy of traditional single mulching blades.

When you use the HRN216VKA as a mulching mower, it's just as efficient in mincing the grass clippings. This creates tiny bits that are rich in nitrogen to help refeed the roots on your turf. The 1.9-bushel cloth bagger is pretty straightforward to use as well. It's also a great way to side-dress garden plants or add nitrogen to your compost pile. And even though the bag isn't exactly dustless, it still does a good job of preventing excess dust and pollen from breathing through the fabric's weave.

The cutting deck height adjustment is just as crucial to the cutting quality. It can be set down as low as an inch when the turf is seemingly getting away from you. You can also dial it up as high as 4 inches for extended dry times when you want longer grass to avoid baking the soil.

Ease of Use

The Honda HRN216VKA weighs roughly 79 pounds and stands at about 41 inches tall. That makes moving the lawn mower fairly easy, so you don't have to be exceptionally strong or tall to push it around the garden with ease.

The HRN216VKA cordless option is even more comfortable to use. Therefore, you can mow all over your lawn without worrying about being close to a power source. It's also an added advantage if you have trees, bushes, benches or objects in your yard where the lawn mower can get stuck.

It's also worth pointing out that the automatic choke and smooth recoil pull make for easy and reliable starting. Therefore, you only have to pull the rope and get going.


The HRN216VKA self-propelled flashlight makes it significantly easier for the user to maneuver the lawn mower. The self-propulsion system completely takes away the need for you to drive the mower around the yard. All you need to do is pull the cable to start the machine, set a few presets and let the mower do the rest of the work on its own. It also features a solid rear-wheel drive system that gives more power to the self-propulsion.

This outstanding self-propelled lawnmower comes with six different cutting options. If you experience resistance while mowing your lawn, you can adjust the height until you lock it in a suitable position to move around. The height adjustment allows you to eliminate dragging for smooth cutting.

The ball-bearing rear wheels offer a smooth ride on rough terrain so that the mower can smoothly glide on your lawn, whether you're pushing behind or in self-propulsion. In addition, the HRN216VKA comes with an ergonomic grip that offers comfortable hand and wrist support.


Like other gas-powered lawn mowers, the HRN216VKA needs regular oil changes and other routine maintenance. Nevertheless, Honda has put in serious effort and gone to great lengths to make it as easy as possible. With that, the Honda GCV170 is a well-designed 4-stroke engine with fewer carburetors and spark plug issues, unlike what we see in similarly sized two-stroke engines.

On the flip side, the double-edged blades can be difficult to sharpen by yourself. It might be easier to extract it if you have mastered a milling file. If that's not the case, you can opt to buy a replacement pair of cutting blades every year or two.

Furthermore, when you set it to mulching mode, the dual blade system's fine cut can occasionally leave wet grass clippings knotted to the underside of the cutting deck. Therefore, if you've been mowing moist or thick-bladed grass, the cutting deck underside will probably need a good wipe down once you're done.

Safety Features

The Honda HRN216VKA comes with all the safety hand controls we've come to expect in self-propelled, walk-behind gas-powered lawnmowers. One could also argue the Smart Drive's variable speed is part of the safety features since it allows the user to carefully dial into their walking speed. At the same time, it also allows the user to slow down fast to avoid running into potential obstacles.

Special Features

The Honda HRN216VKA really stands out from the rest of the crop thanks to its special features. The dual cutting blades definitely improve the general harvest rate. More so, it mimics a traditional mulching effect to ensure that you can continually nourish your yard as you mow.

The self-propulsion Smart Drive system allows you to set it at a natural walking speed. That means you can slow the mower down when you have to weave around trees, obstacles and landscaping features in your yard.


As we've mentioned before, the dual cutting blades do a tremendous job of mimicking traditional single mulching blades when the HRN216VKA is set up for side discharging. Therefore, when you make the switch to mulching, you can rest assured that you're really making green puree. This goes a great length towards cost-cutting on the need for seasonal aeration.

When talking about cost-effectiveness, it's also important to consider the price. The Honda HRN216VKA comes at a bit of a higher price than your run-of-the-mill gas-powered mower. However, what this particular self-propelled lawn mower brings to the table more than accounts for the cost.


Like most Honda power equipment, the Honda HRN216VKA comes backed up by a twofold warranty. Individuals have a 3-year factory warranty, whereas commercial users have a 90-day warranty to request replacement from the manufacturer in case of a malfunction. Additionally, the lawn mower includes a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

  • Pros
  • 2 cutting blades for peak harvest
  • 16 cc 4-stroke engine
  • 3-in-1, mulcher, bagger and side discharge
  • Variable speed self-propulsion
  • 1-4" adjustable height
  • Cons
  • Mulcher can dump debris under the cutting deck.
  • Blades can be difficult to sharpen by yourself.
  • Slightly expensive

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Honda HRN216VKA Mower -h

1. Is the push version easy to push around?

It's a self-propelled mower so the need for a manual push is virtually none. Nonetheless, the HRN216VKA can be pushed around the garden with just as much ease due to its prime weight and height.

2. Is this Honda mower suitable for mulching?

Yes, thanks to the powerful dual cutter blades that produce small cuts that offer a great mulching experience overall.

3. Can I use the HRN216VKA to cut thick grass?

Yes. This exceptional self-propelled lawn mower has sufficient power for superior cutting quality, even for grass that's thick and difficult to cut.

4. Is it better to get an electric start?

The Honda HRN216VKA features an simple and effective pull rope option for starting. If that doesn't sound appealing to you, you can opt for the electric start option that's arguably more convenient.

5. Does the mower have a clutch to stop blades?

Yes, it comes with a blade brake. More so, you can stop the blades from rotating without turning the motor off.

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