Lawn Mower Reviews- Not Helpful

I have spent a few maddening hours trying to find a good mower, with the assistance of Choice magazine and the many owner reviews available online. The owner reviews are useless because they are so erratic and contradictory. I have never seen so many 5 star and 1 star ratings for the same thing.

I will give you one example: the Honda HRR216. I bet you've heard a lot of good things about Honda mowers. I sure have. Choice rates the two HRR216's they tested highly- Honda HRR216K9VYUA and HRR216K9VKUA. Over at Product Reviews, however, it gets a 2.5 star rating from 46 reviews, and very helpful information like:

-piece of crap
-great mower
-I enjoy doing my lawn now
-Best decision ever
-Love it
-Bad choice
-Honda was a poor choice
-Don't buy not worth the over priced price tag
-Very poorly made mower

Yes, very helpful, if you suffer from multiple personality disorder. And that's the pattern for every highly regarded mower, by some, I've looked at.

The only explanation I can come up with is that a lot of people must not know how to use and maintain a lawn mower and they are blaming the mower for it.


  • +3 votes

    I can tell you, honda mowers are great, first time every time! is for frustrated users to show their frustration.


    Choice is a good resource AFAIK but what you have to understand about any publically editable website such as Amazon or review sites will be spammed with fake reviews.

    Many websites claiming to offer reviews are also fake while appearing professional and are simply advertising dressed up convincingly.


    I have used honda mowers and had no trouble at all mostly in a commercial situation highly recommended!!!

  • +2 votes

    Product reviews are always subjective as different people have different expectations.


      Companies also game the system lodging good reviews of their own products and negative reviews of competitors, I don't really trust online reviews.


        1 star reviews are from idiots.
        5 star reviews are from the company.

        Ignore all of those.

        4 star reviews where the comment says "OMG this is the best thing eva!!! Would be 5 stars except…" where the except is something trivial and/or unrelated to the product, eg "…the user manual has a typo 'looose/lose' on page 43".

        They're from the company as well. 5 star reviews are obviously fake, so…


          It's weird how 5 star has really changed. In my opinion 5 stars should mean they did something exceptional, but so often you get an email asking for a 5 star review for average or good service. If every thing was ok then 3 or 4 stars is appropriate.

  • +1 vote

    I usually look at how many reviews the reviewer has made…. e.g. i figure someone with say 5 reviews would generally be more trustworthy than someone with a single review (which could just be angry/crazy/false review)


    I suppose VICTA have always had a good name, off the top of my head can't remember the mower I have but it wasn't very expensive and it still runs like a charm.


      The main thing is being able to service your machine yourself, I have no idea about most things but the local mower shop doesn't charge me a arm and a leg for service. Have more issues with the whipper snipper

  • +3 votes

    If you look on Gumtree there will be somebody local to you selling second hand lawn mowers and will have 10 or 20 listed.
    Take $100 (maybe $150) in cash, go round and chat to them about what you want.
    Try starting the mowers that interest you. It will go first time probably.
    Pocket the savings and thank the guy very much, and promise to bring it back if it ever needs a service.

    • +1 vote

      I did this and got a circa 10-15 year old Victa. The guy selling it had serviced it and put new blades on it. He had about 10 or so for sale. Works totally fine… the old Victas seem to be indestructible. Cost me $130 about 3 years ago. I have never serviced it since and it works fine and is easy to start.

  • +1 vote

    It could also be that the mower manufacturers have been bought and sold over the years making the same model to a differing quality. Victa had a good name in the past but was sold off years ago. Honda commercial is a completely different beast to the cheaper Honda models as another instance.


    With all customer feedback you have to read between the lines. Such is life..
    Regardless of your disappointment with comments on Product Review… what do you want from a mower?
    How much area do you have to mow? Is it rough terrain or carpet type lawns?
    I cant see the value in Honda unless you are a brand image person. For me Masport gives the best bang for the buck and also has a lifetime catcher warranty. I have had mine for over 15 yrs, only had one oil change and nothing else but petrol in the tank and it still runs like new. Used on a 700 sqmr block.
    I did crack a catcher once and it was replaced by the local mower shop with no fuss, only had to show the purchase receipt.


      Top of my requirements is mulching- must have a 100% Choice mulching score. None of the Masports tested have 100% and 3 of the 4 have a poor mulching rating.

      There are relatively cheap mowers with 100% for mulching.

      Since I can't get a test drive on my lawn of a mower and the owner reviews are so screwy I have to rely largely on Choice. The trouble with that is manufacturers are changing their model numbers all the time, meaning the models tested are not all available and I can't trust that because the old model was good the new model will be good. You would think that it's a safe assumption that a new model will be an improvement on an old model, or at least equally as good, but sadly, no. And not just with mowers either.

  • +1 vote

    What sort of mowing are you doing, how much? A cheapie might do the job fine.

    Have you considered electric or battery powered? They will be more reliable than petrol. A smaller yard, or easy going will suit battery and they require virtually no mitenance. Electric can be annoying with the power cord, but are quiet almost 100% reliable and fairly cheap.


      quarter acre block- pretty flat but some parts of the lawn are thatched I think- very spongy and hard to get through. I will have to rip the whole damn thing up one of these days. Definitely need self propulsion.

      I've considered everything, at length. Decided against battery because:

      I'm already a slave to all the battery powered stuff that I own that needs recharging

      The battery powered one I would get is the Victa 82v and that's $800 anyway

      The replacement batteries are so expensive

      It's not much trouble getting petrol once a month or two and changing the oil once a year.


        Fair enough. Iā€™d be leaning toward petroleum for a big block too. My lawn is pretty good, ie not too thick, and the ryobi 36v 5ah battery will do around 300m2 of lawn comfortably. If I let it get a hot overgrown it does struggle though.


    I am tempted to throw all my careful research out the window and go low. How about this one? Briggs and Stratton + self propelled + claimed mulching capability for $319 delivered. What could possibly go wrong, ha ha.


      Firstly, I get that you find it frustrating that feedback/reviews are contradictory but thats very much the norm for many products especially those lodged by end consumers who are often ill equipped to comment or even use the actual items.

      Secondly, it's a known consumer behaviour fact that folks who go to to effort of lodging feedback/reviews will tend to be more negative than positive i.e folks who hate the item will be far more likely to share their thoughts than those who loved it. Pretty common sense as folks love to have a moan/gripe.

      Thirdly, lawnmowers are very subjective and hard to 'review'/rate in a egalitarian type way - as whats great for one yard/user is going to be horrible for another - so it's one of many products that CHOICE reviews really aren't that handy on.

      Really if you want good info on such an area you really have to put in some hard yards and learn about the products themselves i.e what features you'll need in a good mulching mower or for your grass type etc. To me it's obvious regardless of your claimed research you're not strong in this area as you've suggested an absolute P.O.S mower that 'Certa'….$320 flushed down the drain within the next 2yrs. It's absolute junk and a terrible suggestion/idea.

      Mulching is your #1 criteria? Ok well go and buy the twin bladed Honda:

      Good engine, bar blades are superior to swingbacks for mulching. Just don't use when your grass is wet nor let it get too long between cuts. You pay a premium for the Honda brand but it's a solid mower that will mulch as good as anything.

      Failing this buy the Subaru engined Ryobi:
      Very strong engine, good value for price, does everything pretty well and has many good user reviews on forums.


    Just don't buy the hasqvana lc18 with a brigs and straton motor. It barely cuts the grass, a good mate and my brother have the same issue as they have the same mower. It was marketed by the small local mower shop as so much better than the Victor with same motor. I wish i had of done more research.


      It wouldn't have helped. Choice rate the LC 18 highly but not highest for grass cutting with a catcher and equal highest for grass cutting- mulching.


    Regardless of brand, remember that about 90% of petrol mowers on the market will have a Briggs & Stratton motor (Victa, Rover, Masport, John Deere, Makita, Toro all use B&S - and that's not all of them).

    The rest is mainly packaging


    I bought this Honda 5-6 years ago
    I've got to say overall the negative comments were spot on, the engine brake is annoying, no choke, if the grass is damp at all then the chute to the catcher clogs up, it's a horrible mower to fold up and transport.

    Now in saying that this mower hasn't missed a beat, it still starts first start, runs just as well as the day I bought it, so mechanically it's lived up to Honda's reputation.

    I guess my point is if the negative reviewers are saying the same thing (not just the odd DOA) then I would consider how much that negative means to you and what you want to do with the mower, if that will impact you or not. If I could have my time again I'm not sure if I would purchase that mower again, I can live with all the negatives apart from the wet grass not catching, that is really annoying for 6 months of the year that my grass is wet.


      I tie a sock around my engine brake lever, that is if the lever that turns the engine off when released is an engine brake. I always call it a kill switch. I'm probably the only one who calls it that. Whatever it's called, it's useless.


    "Which lawn mower brand do Aussies rate highest? In 2018, Victa has topped our customer ratings, with five-star reviews across all research categories for the second year in a row. The five brands included in our review were rated in the following order for overall satisfaction:

    1st Victa
    2nd Masport
    3rd Ryobi
    4th Ozito
    5th Honda

    Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased an electric or fuel lawn mower in the last two years ā€“ in this case, 432 people.

    Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ā€˜N/Aā€™ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria."

    That seems weird to me because, among other reasons, everybody seems to agree that Ozito mowers are sh*t.


      Hmm I can see why you're 'confused' as you're reading absolute nonsense it's one thing to say that CHOICE wasn't handy but to even bother with Canstar Blue as a handy reference is beyond the pale.

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