Honda HRC 649221 Hydro Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower w/ RotoStop Review

Honda has a well-deserved reputation for quality materials and engineering throughout their vast product line. This holds true with the Honda HRC 649221 Hydro Self-Propelled Lawn Mower.

To start with it has a heavy-duty steel cutting deck that is protected on the exterior by the front bumper and side guards. Underneath you will find not one single cutting blade but two “Micro Cut Twin Blades” that work in tandem to create four cutting surfaces. This is the heart of the mulching effect that then diverts the finely harvested grass clippings to the rear bagger.

The bagger itself is large, holding up to 2.5 bushels. This is the equivalent of 23.25 gallons of mulched grass clippings. Just bear in mind that since the clippings are mulched you can potentially add a lot more weight to the bag than you would with typically long cut grass. So, while the bagger is designed to come off easily, it can still be pretty heavy as it nears the maximum capacity.

This entire system is powered by Honda’s 163 cc GXV160 OVH 4-stroke gasoline engine. It drives not only the dual Micro Cut blades but also the robust self-propulsion system. It’s able to make the most out of the power it produces thanks to a no-belt drive system that instead uses hydrostatic drive to operate the self-propulsion system. The 9-inch Nexite® wheels are heavy-duty with ball bearings for smooth motion across even

This works in tandem with Honda’s Roto Stop safety system. In an instant, you can disengage the mower blades without having to stop the engine. It’s a great feature for those moments when you realize you’re about to accidentally run over a stick or you need to quickly move one of your kid’s toys out of the way.

The height of the cutting deck can be adjusted through 8 different settings from as low as .75 of an inch all the way up to 4-inches.

Key Features

  • Powered by a 163 cc GXV160 OVH 4-stroke gasoline engine
  • Self-propelled with hydrostatic drive
  • 21-inch cutting deck
  • No-Belt drive system
  • Micro Cut Twin Blades
  • Mulcher and bagger in one
  • 2.5-bushel bagger capacity
  • Roto Stop safety system


The power produced by Honda’s 163 cc GXV160 OVH 4-stroke gasoline engine is impressive. The way it drives the dual Micro Cut blades maximizes their four cutting edges to produce a true mulching effect with more than enough power to divert the bulk of the grass clippings to the bagger.

You also have to like the hydrostatic drive that serves as the beating heart of the Honda HRC’s self-propulsion system. It has the power and the heavy-duty wheels with ball bearings to move effortlessly across even rugged terrain.

Ease of Use

For a gasoline-powered lawnmower, the Honda HRC is very easy to use. The controls all feel intuitive, and it moves very easily across all types of terrain. If there’s a complaint to be found it’s that the total assembly takes a while, due to the overall complexity of the machine.

It also would have been nice had Honda installed their auto choke system. Still, the Honda HRC starts reliably and consistently with the standard choke it comes with.

Cut Quality & Options

The dual Micro Cut blade system is truly impressive it produces a very efficient mulching effect with enough power to send the minced, harvested grass clippings to the enormous 2.5-bushel bagger. The 21-inch heavy-duty steel cutting deck can be set to 8 distinct height settings.

If your grass has been growing like crazy and you’re struggling to keep up with it, you can dial the cutting deck down as low as .75 of an inch. If your turf has been parched by drought and strong sun, but you still want to keep the lawn looking tidy, you can set the cutting deck as high as 4-inches to preserve some of the soil moisture.

If there’s a complaint to be found, it’s that mulched clippings tend to be very dense. The 2.5-bushel bagger is large and designed to detach easily, but when it’s near the maximum capacity it can be tremendously heavy.


By design, the hydrostatic drive system doesn’t require any additional maintenance. You will need to perform periodic oil changes and give it good high-octane gasoline. Then it will need proper winterizing, which Honda lays out for you in the owner’s manual.

When you are done cutting the grass, you might want to take an extra minute or two to check for stuck-on grass clippings under the 21-inch cutting deck and in the bagger. The mulched grass clippings can be dense and moist, which makes them prone to sticking. If you don’t remove them it could lead to short-term problems with mold and long-term problems with rusting or corrosion.

Safety Features

At first glance, the Honda HRC has all the hand control safety features you expect in a self-propelled, walk-behind lawnmower. It also takes things a step further with the Roto Stop function that lets you quickly stop the two cutting blades without stopping the 163 ccs 4-stroke engine so you can safely empty the bag or clear sticks without needing to restart the mower.

Special Features

The Micro Cut twin blades do an impressive job of mulching the harvested grass clippings before delivering it to the 2.5-bushel rear-mounted bagger.

The no belt drive system and the hydrostatic drive of the self-propulsion system make for smooth operation.

The Roto Stop halts the motion of the two cutting blades, without turning off the engine, which spares you having to restart the mower afterward.


Sure the price tag on the Honda HRC is a little higher than some of the competitors in this field. Yet the innovation that’s infused into every square inch of it, and the reliability of Honda’s manufacturing prowess. This is great assurance that you’re going to see a long-term return on your investment.


9 Total Score
Innovative self-propelled gas-powered lawnmower with Honda's reliability

  • Honda’s reliability and reputation
  • 163 cc GXV160 OVH 4-stroke engine
  • Hydrostatic self-propulsion system
  • Micro Cut twin blades
  • Mulcher and bagger in one
  • 8 height settings
  • Roto Stop safety feature
  • 2.5-bushel bagger
  • Mower is heavy
  • Bagger can be very heavy when full
  • The price tag is a little high
  • No automatic clutch
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Honda HRC 649221 Hydro Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower w/ RotoStop Review
Honda HRC 649221 Hydro Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower w/ RotoStop Review
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