The Honda HRX217VKA is at or near the top of all of the expert best lawn mower lists including Popular Mechanics Top Ten Reviews and Lawn Mower Review. The testers at Consumer Reports gave this model top ratings for handling bagging and mulching and “very good” ratings for ease of use and side discharging. Additionally the reviewer estimated the breakage rate by the fourth year of ownership to be 16% which is well below any of the other mowers they tested.
Some lawn mowers such as the Craftsman 37705 have a washout feature. It is essentially a garden hose fitting on top of the circular blade cover. This allows you to pump water into the blade assembly while running the engine. That action is designed to flush dirt and grass debris right out.
Consumer Reports recommends the Toro Recycler 20333 because of its very good ratings in ease of use handling side discharging and bagging and excellent mulching. The reviewer specifically liked the washout port for cleaning buildup under the sizable deck. The Wirecutter used to list the 20333 as the runner-up pick but supplanted it with the 20340 because of the newer models upright storage. However the reviewer still recommends the 20333 if the blade brake clutch is more important to you than compact storage.