Buying a Lawn Mower

Ever since my riding lawn mower gave up the ghost last fall, I’ve known that I needed to get something to replace it. I mean, the lawn ain’t just gonna mow itself, and we have enough field mice out there as it is without giving them that much more territory to plan frontal assaults on my house. This is a war, friends. And to win a war like this, we need superior firepower.

So I donned my librarian hat and delved into the interwebs to come up with the answer to the question: “What is the best lawn mower for Bryce?”

That’s actually a pretty complex question, when you get down to it. The best lawn mower for a specific person depends on a number of variables. I needed something that would cut a lot of grass. Grass the grows quick and thick, with some areas that are perpetually damp. Clogging could be a serious issue. Ideally, I’d like to mulch, but I knew from experience that wouldn’t always be an option. Sometimes it rains too much, you can’t mow for a long period of time, and then you’re stuck with long grass that needs to be bagged.

Money was definitely a limiting factor. This comes at the tail end of a bunch of things breaking in my house, and I have four tickets to buy to Utah in the next week or two–and those ticket prices just ain’t coming down. ($524! Really?) So another riding mower was likely out of the question.

But even limiting to push or self-propelled mowers, there are a slew of choices. First up: brand. After checking reviews online and on Consumer Reports and, it seemed clear that I wanted a Honda. They’re long lasting, they’re reliable, and while they’re more expensive than some, I was already saving a ton by not going with a riding mower. I have a lot of lawn. I can’t afford to be too cheap.

So a Honda. But there are so many options and price points there. I kept searching and clicking and surfing, and I finally found this super chart. It sums up the current Honda mowers in a way that I could easily tell what would work best for me. Couple it with some info on Honda’s site, and I knew all I needed to know. (A trick to good research is knowing where to go. I could have checked out Amazon or Home Depot or other online retailers, but those weren’t giving me what I needed to know. Check out Honda, the manufacturer, and suddenly everything was right there. I should have gone there first, but I was too focused on trying to buy, not just research.

Anyway. After all of that, I settled on the HRX217VKA. Why? A number of reasons. At $600, it ain’t cheap. It doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles the absolute top of the line models have (electric start? cruise control? Please!), but it has the ability to bag and mulch at the same time. I love the idea, and from the user reviews I checked out, it actually works. That way, when the lawn gets too thick, I can still mulch what I can and not be forced to keep making trips to dump the clippings. It’s durable. has a range of speeds, and has a lot of versatility.

Was I done?

Not quite. I had to buy the thing. So that meant research to find the best seller I could. After some work, I settled on Home Depot. Free shipping, and the lowest price I could find. So now was I done? Still not yet. I always finish off a search by checking to see if there are any coupons or discounts available at the seller. In this case, I found out Home Depot is offering $10 a purchase of $100 or more. It typically excludes Honda, but because sales tax was high, I still saved the full amount. Yes, it was only $10, but it took me all of five minutes’ worth of work to earn that $10.

Not too shabby.

So the lawn mower is on its way. Field mice and blades of grass be warned. And I can check another item off my to do list. Thank goodness–there’s way too much on there as-is.

All in a day’s work for a trained librarian. 🙂

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