When it comes to lawn mowers, few companies have longer histories or offer better products than Toro and Honda. Both have been in business for over half a century, and both offer a wide range of outdoor power equipment, including mowers of all sorts. But how do these two legendary brands stack up to each other?
Below, we discuss everything that you need to know in order to decide which brand better suits you and your lawn. From company history, signature features of the brand, and our top picks for the very best Toro mowers currently available, we cover it all.
Toro Pros and Cons
Honda Pros and Cons
Toro is an American company founded back in the early 1910s, with a primary focus on the lawn and garden niche. Originally, they built tractor motors, but in the 1940s they acquired Whirlpool Corp, along with their lawn mower manufacturing facility. Toro continued perfecting lawn mowers, and eventually, in the 1970s, they began rapidly expanding their product lines including producing snow blowers. Today, they are one of the most well-known mower manufacturers in the world, making everything from reliable push and self-propelled mowers to high-end robotic mowers and some of the best small riding mowers.
On their way to the top, Toro has purchased or created several other less famous but otherwise still well-known brands including:
- Boss Snowplow
- Irritrol Systems
- Lawn Genie
- Unique Lighting
Below, let’s break down what makes up a Toro mower.
Engine and Frame
Toro lawn mowers come with engines from one of three manufacturers depending on the model; Briggs & Stratton, Honda, or Loncin. Self-propelled Toro mowers with personal pace are equipped with Briggs & Stratton engines, while the Recycler series machines are equipped with 160cc Honda mowers, or larger. The best Toro mowers are typically built with Loncin motors. Loncin is a premier Chinese motorcycle manufacturer. They produce 87cc, 99cc, 163cc, 212cc, 265cc, and 302cc engines for the Toro Company.
Frames for Toro mowers are typically heavy-duty and consist of rust-resistant steel. They are long-lasting and will be around long after the rest of the mower has reached the end of the road. For this reason, it is altogether feasible to replace components as they break down and double or triple the life of the mower.
Most Toro mowers, including the Recycler and Super Recycler models, come with standard high-lift 2-in-1 blades. The blades produce the cleanest and crispest cuts possible. Using other brand-name blades, regardless of how well they are rated, is highly discouraged due to the extra wear and tear they can cause on your mower.
As far as pricing goes, Toro beats Honda all around. Their most affordable mower is the 21-inch High Wheeled Push Mower, with a price tag of approximately $270. Their most expensive models are Zero-Turn riders that cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. They also sell high-end robotic mowers, the iMow series, starting at $1,300 and ranging upwards of $2,000.
As far as maintenance goes, Toro mowers may require as much attention as any other brand. Most of their machines need basic care such as an oil change from time to time. Air filters and oil filters also need to be replaced eventually. The good thing is that all of the required maintenance can be completed in an hour.
Toro mowers are rated for an eight to ten-year lifespan. That said, a well-maintained Toro mower can last several years longer. If you care for your Toro properly and replace a part or two over the years, you can even expect 15 to 20 years out of your machine. Likewise, if your mower is poorly cared for, it may not last for more than five or six years.
This famous manufacturer was founded in Japan back in the late 1940s. But it didn’t begin morphing into the massive corporation that it is today until the late 1960s when it joined the international market with its motorcycles. In the 1980s, the company launched its luxury car brand, Acura, in North America. Since then, Honda has grown into one of the largest automotive companies in the world. The first walk-behind lawn mower produced by the industry giant came out in 1978, and the rest is history.
Let’s take a peek at the specifications of Honda mowers below:
Engine and Frame
Honda mowers feature engines that they themselves produce. In fact, the company pumps out approximately 7 million engines every year from factories in the USA, Japan, and Thailand. Even more, the company provides engines to such high-profile competitors as Craftsman, and yes, even to Toro. That said, most Honda walk-behind mowers are equipped with 140cc to 200cc engines.
As with Toro, Honda frames are also produced from top-quality steel and are extremely versatile and durable. They will last a literal lifetime, and with a few parts swapped out for new ones every now and then, these mowers will last much longer than their rated lifespan of 20 years. I’ve seen a 40-year-old Honda push mower still working like a charm.
Standard Honda mowers come with 2-in-1 high-lift blades made specifically with cutting and bagging in mind. HRR and HRX models, however, feature Honda’s signature 3-in-1 MicroCut Twin Blades. These blades are built for more easily bagging, mulching, and discharging clippings.
A bit pricey, relatively speaking, Honda mowers start at just over $400 and range into the thousands. Their cheapest model is the 21-inch Push Mower, which begins at $409. The most expensive walk-behind they produce is the $1,300 21-inch Commercial Hydrostatic Self-Propelled unit. Honda also produces a high-end robotic mower that retails at $2,500 to $3,000.
Honda mowers are well known for requiring little to no maintenance, especially compared to units from other brands. This partially accounts for the higher price. Aside from changing a spark plug from time to time, and possibly an oil change every now and then, there is very little tinkering necessary to keep a Honda running well into, or even past, its rated lifespan.
The best Honda mowers are rated for a lifespan of 20 years. However, in many people’s experiences, including my own, these mowers are known to last much longer. Like, as in decades longer. For that reason, Honda mowers are well worth the extra money they cost compared to Toro and other brands.
A Final Word About the Toro vs. Honda Mowers Debate
Comparing Toro and Honda lawn mowers is somewhat like comparing apples and oranges. They are both fruit, both round, and both grow from trees. Likewise, Toro and Honda are both famous manufacturers of lawn mowers, they both got their start decades ago, and they both produce top-of-the-line equipment that far outlasts the competition. But they each serve a different taste or audience.
So which one is right for you? Only you can be the judge.