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Honda HRU196

My go to

Used daily and its my go to every time. Best lawnmower Ive had and would buy it again and again. Great on all terrain, dry and wet, and never let me down so far. Good on fuel. Catcher could be a little bigger but not a big enough issue to bother me.

Purchased in March 2017 for $800.00.

Build Quality
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Wet / Damp Grass Performance
Fuel Efficiency
Product is used: Daily

Long lasting and easy start, as expected from Honda Mowers

Our Mower is used weekly and has had minimal maintenance and even so, has been very reliable and my wife can start it easily first or second pull every time. Only issues we have had is when the air filter becomes blocked with dust and the chock butterfly was sticky, causing low power and the spark plug to fowl up. Once I discovered that the choke was always on and fixed that, it has been great again. The blades ware quite quickly, especially when mower where there is not good grass cover (sand) and unless the catcher blades are not new, it will not fill the catcher. the loop to hold the pull start cord hangs out the side and has been broken off from being hooked on fences over the years. when in dust the air cleaner blocks up quickly, but the newer models have the snorkel that will improve this.
While this is not used as a commercial mower, I have estimated that it has travelled in excess of 6000km, likely closer to 10,000km and still going, although last week the height adjusted has worn out and needs replacing. It has just simply worn the catch out and broken off. Hopefully I can buy a new one and not be stuck using cable ties to hold it in place.

Date PurchasedJul 2008

Mower is good, catcher is crap.

The catcher is bad enough to put you into a fit of rage. Won't throw all the way to the back, only ever half fills, even after cleaning the screen.
Love the mower, hate the catcher. My advice would be to spend the extra for the next model, or look at another brand.

Date PurchasedMay 2017

Runs like a dream.

This was a replacement for my 32 year old Suzuki Two Stroke. Another legendary mower but the Honda starts first time everytime. I use the mulching plug so that I dont need the catcher. Its so good that I almost enjoy mowing which I never did with the old mower. A fantastic product

Date PurchasedNov 2016

Love this mower

I have had this mower 4 years, its been good to use. It starts fast time its never let me down and its always been easy to start. Its never run out of fuel because it takes a lot of fuel I can mow a big lawn with it easy.

Date PurchasedFeb 2015

Bought mine 10 years ago. No problems !!

The Honda 196P Push Petrol Lawn Mower is one of the best heavy duty lawn mowers in the market. Built to mow in the toughest of conditions, features the 4 stroke OHV GXV160 engine and guarantees to start the first time. Ideal for medium and large lawns as well as for serious contractors.

Weighing in at 34 kg, this Honda Lawn Mower offers a 19-inch cutting width and 163cc.

Date PurchasedJan 2008

Bad mower. Doesn't cut. Doesn't catch.

Worst decision in a long time. Thought I'd buy a premium mower at more than $1100. Only thing good is that it starts easy. I upgraded to 4 blades from 2 and still does not pick up the grass, just blocks the tiny shut for anything more than the smallest cut..... even in the dry! Very heavy for a push mower. I am so frustrated with the mower that I now mow/mulch and then hand rake up the grass!!!! I was told the motor is commercial grade, maybe it will last, however, it is not powerful and when the grass is thick the safety blade brake starts to slip!!! Once it has started to slip it generates heat from the friction and slips even more!

Date PurchasedFeb 2016

It's a good mower

Good mower to be honest.
Mines been back under warranty a few times for the governor shaft leaking oil out around the shaft. Know out of warranty and it's still leaking and they don't want to know about it. Disappointed to be honest.
Other than that hasn't let me down..

Date PurchasedJan 2014

Great mower

Upgraded from an old Rover, this thing is amazing, starts so easy, makes light work of my tough buffalo, only con is the arm folding feature, very difficult to Fold for storage. I highly recommend this product, great safety features too. I like the simplicity, no choke, no primer, just pull the chord and away you go, well done Honda!

Date PurchasedFeb 2018

As a professional, there is only one choice. Honda

I've used a lot of mowers in my time. From the trusty HRU194, the HRU195 and now for the last 18 months, the ever brilliant HRU196M1 with the handy as heck blade brake.

There are two types of folks in this world. Folks who use and love Honda mowers and folks who don't know how to use one.

So many people I've seen complain about these mowers have either left the mulch plug in before mowing, not adjusted the height of the mower relative to the grass height, mowed when soaking wet or simply not taken care of the mower appropriately. There's a fuel tap for a reason, yo!

Make no mistake, potential buyer, this mower, when used, maintained and treated correctly will give you YEARS of reliable and trouble free service. Know your product and know your job and you'll have a lawn that will be the envy of your street.

Date PurchasedJul 2016

Solid mower - should give a long life based on experience with the original still going strong

The mower cuts well - handles wet grass ok. I use this commercially, and bought as I still own the original version since 1986 ( which I also used commercially and now continues to do home duty-still starts 1st time).
The original is still going, and still cuts the grass at home, the new one I use commercially in paddocks and out in the bush around public infrastructure when growth is too heavy for a brushcutter (35cc 4 stroke honda - which can really smash!).
Pros - Reliable robust frame material clears the chute ok - same frame as the original (can choke on wet heavy tussock grasses eg avena) starts always compact for its power - and has the power Cons - weight 44kg (hence robust) (I use a board as a ramp to roll up into a twincab ute) do not like the engine brake on the new model (has to be held to keep mower running - has to be released to stop engine - double side velcro strap solves) - price can be an issue but to me still value for $

Date PurchasedNov 2016


This Honda mower is the best mower I have ever owned, heaps of power and so quite, the mower cuts very clean and fills the catcher full as a googe even wet grass packs in tight, the Honda is so easy to clean by putting the hose in the deck hole, starts first time every time, well done Honda.

Date PurchasedAug 2010


"Honda HRU196 Buffalo Classic" with GXV160 Easy Start engine, PURCHASED 13 May 2004. The lawnmower as worked as a grasscutting contractors lawnmower in Darwin N.T. in extremely hot and dusty & tough conditions. It as NEVER let me down, it as a "STRONG cast iron bore engine" which as always started 1st time every time. With a change of oil and changing the air filter, the HRU 196 as gone on and on. I have just sold the mower today, as in the heat here in Darwin, it is myself that as been retired rather than the Honda HRU 196 lawnmower. PLEASE NOTE this model was BEFORE Honda started developing a half shute which continually blocked on later models and before Honda put a blade break on the machine, WHY I do not know, possibly due to users whom do not have enough intelligence to not put there hand under the mower when the blades are still turning? O.H.and safety too much!, which affixing the blade brake as apparently caused other issues, fortunately my machine was before they brought in such a stupid fixture, the model I speak of was simple strong and reliable. Today when it was SOLD, it still started 1st time and the purchaser walked away happy with there purchase!

Date PurchasedMay 2004

Like the old but better

The 19 inch special edition heritage is a very good mower, I've reviewed my five year old previous modal with the fabric catcher and half shute in product review. This newer modal that I've had a year has the old style plastic catcher, full shute width, engine braking, you can mow the lawn a notch shorter with the same ease and its lighter, same reliability, it makes a difference in effort required compared to the other honda, you'll be lucky to find the heritage as it's a special edition, but it's a good improvement.

Date PurchasedJul 2016

I regret my purchase decision

This is my third Honda lawnmower.
Every mower has got progressively worse.
Current one won't start and has always been difficult to start. If you are lucky, you may be able to find a Honda HRU150 in good condition. This is the one that Honda established its reputation on and has not been able to produce one as user friendly or reliable since.

Date PurchasedMar 2014

High Quality Engine. Superb finish to lawn, when it works.

After owning Victa and Rover mowers, I bought this Honda mower brand new from a Honda Dealer about a year ago, and had used it quite a lot since then. This is a very heavy lawnmower (far heavier than a normal Victa or Rover push mower), and will give you an aerobic 'workout' when pushing it around the yard. It mulches the grass exceptionally well. It has a very powerful engine, and sounds great when you start it (a deep rumbling engine sound). Overall I have been happy with its performance. However, it does not cut long grass well, nor does it work when the grass is wet (as it gets clogged up). The body shakes a LOT when using it, and after about 45 mins mowing, my hands feel like they are a bit numb from the vibration. It feels unbalanced when using. I am disappointed with its performance when cutting grass over 10cm in height, as the blade gets choked very easily and often stop cutting altogether. My old Victa (that cost half the price) performed much better in these conditions. However, the Honda cuts the grass much more evenly than my Victa or Rover did. The filters cost about $40 each. It uses the exact same oil in it as my Honda brushcutter and Honda generator. One of the best things about it - is that it starts very easily (second pull on the cord every time). Although I am happy with the Honda, I think it is overpriced compared to the other brands that I could have bought a year ago.

Date PurchasedJul 2016

First time I have purchased a Honda Lawn mower and I am very disappointed.

Same as other reviews, the shoot continually blocks and doesn't pick up the grass clippings. I mow my lawn every 2 weeks when its is dry, and it is still a burden. It also seems to be under powered and I have returned mower to dealer in Bunbury W.A. regularly complaining of low throttle speed, as I thought that this was the reason for grass blockage, nothing has improved. Also my clothes continually get caught on the protruding throttle cable guide. Very disappointed. It is no longer a pleasure to mow my lawn.

Date PurchasedSep 2015

Great mower

Very, very happy with this mower. It cuts well, feels solidly built and is easy to use.

The downside: there was a small production run of engines which had faulty throttles. Mine was unfortunately one of those, and it took a couple of trips back to the retailer (Haughton Honda, in Adelaide) to get it fixed. But since then it's been flawless and is a pleasure to use.

Date PurchasedApr 2014

Terrible product - with narrow Shute !

I purchased a new Honda mower about 18 months ago , thinking it would be a great product - which is often used by professional tradesmen. Boy was I wrong ! It turned out to be the worst mower I have ever owned. With the narrow Shute it was constantly getting blocked , then not picking up the grass. I agree I let my lawns grow a little long at times and some times the lawn is damp - but this is no excuse for the mower getting blocked at the rear chute every 2 minutes.

I was so sick of this problem , I recently traded it after only 18 months of ownership, taking a $500+ loss. The dealers all seem to know about this problem and many many customers are complaining about the same problem . I really think Honda should have corrected this problem at no charge to owners.

Be warned about this dodgy product!

I have now bought a new Honda with same engine , with the old fashioned fully open rear design (Herritage ). The way it used to be ). Fingers crossed this is also not a lemon!

Date PurchasedJun 2015

Check your blades

We were about to sell our supposed great Honda top of the range mower cause it wouldn't pick up grass. Even dry grass. But I got new NON MULCH BLADES & yeah it now catches grass & even filled the catcher. Never has this happen before. Even from brand new. The dealer fitted new blades but they were mulching blades. Now fitted with low & high throw blades it works a treat. Finally a nice looking lawn

Date PurchasedApr 2015

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Questions & Answers

Bought this mower from a friend about 3 years ago; he couldn't remember how long he'd had it. Anyone know how old it's likely to be? Mower needed a service when I took it home: Blocked air filter, worn blades, black oil, spark plug only finger tight, dirty carb. Has been going well and I've only had to service the recoil starter since the initial intensive care. Recoil interior was dirty, but easy enough to clean. I think that I might need a new cord and spring some day. Parts available or should I buy a complete recoil assembly? -Bob
No answers

I have recently purchased a HRU196M1 (blade brake)mulch & cut mower it has the standard 2 blades and blade plate with multiple holes in it ,i would like to put 4 blades on it .Do i have to replace the plate & blades(4 set) or just the blades & will the motor handle it in its standard tune.?thanks in advance.
1 answer
Mine has 4 blades. Am quite confident that you will be able to simply add another 2 blades to the existing holes in the plate that is currently on there. Cheers.

My HRU196M1 sometime doesn't stop when I push the throttle lever all the way to the top STOP position. When this happens, I have to force the lever to the right whilst pushing up the lever. Can you let me know what is the problem and how can I fix this myself? Paul
2 answers
Mine did the same, adjust your throttle cable or might just need a spray with some lube.Throttle cables stretch a little with use over time. To alleviate this problem you need to adjust the throttle cable to remove the slack. WD40 may also be useful to allow the cable to move better inside the sheath containing it, but just a little, not much is needed!


Buffalo Classic HRU196M1 (L/R, Blade Brake)Buffalo Classic HRU196K1Buffalo Classic HRU196D
Price (RRP)1159999929
Power SourcePetrolPetrolPetrol
Cutting Width482482482
Maximum Cutting Height767676
Minimum Cutting Height161616
Mulching CapabilityYesNoYes
Release dateSep 2010

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