Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP Review

Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP

11110.5
(Rated: 4.3 / 5) Review by Frank Lowery
Noise1110.50
Ease of Assembly11110.5
Maneuverability11110
Balance And Handling11111
Cut Quality11110.5

When you are a homeowner who has a fairly big yard with a lot of grass to cut, you want to find a lawn mower that can get the job done reliably and efficiently and leave your lawn looking professionally manicured and feeling healthy. For many of us, that means a solid gas powered lawn mower with a sufficiently wide cutting deck. Gas powered engines deliver the kind of performance you need under your lawn mower’s hood when you have a lawn that is more than a quarter of an acre big. And they have the kind of cutting decks that are wide enough to get the job done in fewer passes and less time. And as we all know, the sooner you can finish up your lawn chores and get back to relaxing, gardening, and grilling, the more enjoyable your weekend is going to be.

The Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP has a powerful 160 cubic centimeter Honda engine that provides the kind of power you want in a mower. The engine supports a 21 inch wide cutting deck, which makes this one of the wider walk behind gas lawn mowers out there today. And the engine also supplies enough power for a self-propelled rear wheel drive system. The fact that the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP drives itself takes a lot of the work out of cutting the grass, which is welcome news to anyone who has a particularly big yard. It will also help if you happen to have a lawn that is on sloping ground, since you will not have to worry about lugging a heavy machine up and down it.

Review Summary

review summaryHonda is a very respected manufacturer of engines for everything from lawn mowers on up to high performance sports cars, so it should come as no surprise that the Honda 160 cubic centimeter engine in the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP provides reliable power for the long term. Even though this engine is not particularly huge, it purrs like a kitten and provides enough power to drive the 21 inch cutting deck at high enough tip speeds to give your grass a professional looking cut. Not only that, but it also powers a rear wheel drive system that propels the lawn mower at variable speeds that are easily controlled with a throttle on the mower’s handle.

One of the main advantages to owning a lawn mower with a combustion engine is the ease of operation and the fact that you know it is going to provide quality performance reliably. These lawn mowers also have big ranges, so unlike an electric lawn mower, you can use the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP on bigger jobs. And the engine is strong enough that the cutting deck can easily slice through tougher varieties of grass like St. Augustine or Bermuda grass. And it will not lose performance quality in denser patches of grass or have any trouble cutting right through big, ugly weeds.

Not only is the cutting deck on the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP powerful, it’s also pretty wide. At 21 inches, the cutting deck is on the higher side for walk behind lawn mowers. That is good news to anyone with a big lawn. A wider cutting deck lets you get big jobs done in fewer passes, which means you will be finished cutting the grass and back to enjoying the weekend with your family that much sooner.

There are a few minor issues that you may encounter with the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP. Some of these are endemic to gas powered lawn mowers, and others are particular to this model. I will cover both these issues as well as a few areas where this lawn mower really shines in the Pros & Cons section. I’ll also provide a detailed product specifications comparison table so that you can get a good picture of how the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP stacks up to similar models in its class.

Specifications

review specificationsThe Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP is a gas powered walk behind lawn mower with a 160 cubic centimeter Honda engine. The mower has a gas tank that can hold 0.4 gallons, which is more than enough to power the mower long enough to cut even large suburban lawns several times over without needing a fill-up. It has overall dimensions of 36.1 x 21.4 x 24.2 inches, which is about average for lawn mowers in its class. It has a 21 inch wide cutting deck, which for walk behind gas mowers is on the higher side, and is a width that simply blows away even the biggest electric lawn mowers. It is started by priming the engine and then pulling a recoil starter cord while squeezing the throttle, and it starts up reliably every time. The Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP has a self-propelled motorized rear wheel drive system that makes maneuvering it around your yard a breeze, even if your lawn is on a sloping hillside.

Dimensions 36.1 x 21.4 x 24.2 inches
Power Gas
Engine Manufacturer Honda
Engine Specs 160-cc Engine
Gas Tank 0.4 Galons
Starter Recoil
Deck Size
(cutting swath)
21-inch
Mulch/Bag/Discharge Mulch, bag, and discharge
Drive System Self-Propelled Motor
Height Adjustment Single point (5 positions)
Height Settings 1-1/4- to 3-1/2-inch
Wheel Size 8-inch front / 8-inch rear
Weight 95 pounds
Warranty 2 years

The Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP is designed with convenience as well as power in mind. That is why it comes with three grass clippings management options included in the initial purchase price. You can use the standard side discharge, or engage a mulching plug to chop grass clippings up into tiny pieces, or collect clippings in a rear bag for later disposal. The lawn mower has five height adjustment options that range from 1 1/4 to 3 1/2 inches. The height adjustment is controlled conveniently using a single touch lever at the rear of the lawn mower. Its wheels are eight inches tall in both the front at the rear. The mower weighs 95 pounds, which is admittedly heavy for a walk behind lawn mower, but the fact that the rear wheel drive propels it takes almost all of the work associated with pushing it out of the equation. The Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP comes with a 2 year limited consumer warranty.

Description

review descriptionThe Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP is a gas powered walk behind lawn mower with a 160 cubic centimeter engine that is manufactured by Honda, a trusted leader in engine design and manufacturing. The engine is designed efficiently so that it packs enough power to provide reliable performance over the long term. The lawn mower has a gas tank that can hold up to 0.4 gallons, which will be more than enough fuel to keep it running smoothly for nearly an hour, which is more than enough to cut even bigger suburban lawns several times over without needing to be refilled. And unlike electric lawn mowers, which are limited in their range by either the length of your extension cord or the life of the battery, if the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP does run out of gas while you are cutting your lawn it’s a simple matter to top of the tank.

The engine on the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP provides enough power to drive the mower’s 21 inch wide cutting deck at very high tip speeds. This is important because higher tip speeds mean the mower will be able to slice through even tougher varieties of grass like St. Augustine or Bermuda grass on the first pass, instead of chewing through them and leaving them looking raggedy. Instead, you get a clean cut that keeps you grass feeling healthy and looking like it has been professionally cut.

The 21 inch cutting deck places the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP on the bigger end of the spectrum for walk behind mowers. This is important because the wider a cutting deck is, the fewer passes you need to get the job done. And fewer passes mean you will be able to finish cutting the lawn in less time and get back to relaxing and enjoying your weekend or day off with your friends and family.

Not only does the engine provide enough power to run the wide cutting deck at high speeds over the long term, it also powers a motorized rear wheel drive system. That’s right: the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP I a self propelled lawn mower. Because of that, much of the work that is associated with cutting the grass – namely, pushing a heavy lawn mower in the hot summer sun – is taken right out of the equation. Instead of pushing the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP around your yard, you control its forward speed with an easy to use hand operated throttle on the handle. All you have to do is steer.

The Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP is designed to provide convenience as well as cutting and driving power, and for that reason it is equipped with three grass management options that are included in the initial purchase price. All too often, lawn mower manufacturers will cut corners on accessories in order to save money, and grass clippings management options are usually the first thing to go. But on the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP, you have the option of using the standard side discharge, which will leave grass clippings in neat rows on your lawn along with two others.

You can engage the mulching plug so that the lawn mower chops grass clippings up into tiny pieces, which will break down into your lawn more quickly, releasing their nitrogen and other important nutrients. Many people like to do this, as it lets you naturally fertilize the lawn while you are mowing it. And there is also a rear bag attachment that you can use to collect grass clippings for later disposal or composting. The rear bag is not especially large, which could be a problem on bigger lawns; I will talk more about this in the Cons section below.

In addition to three grass management options, the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP comes with five height options that range from 1 1/4 to 3 1/2 inches. Having multiple height options over a range of a few inches is important because you should try to avoid cutting your grass shorter than 1/3 of its original height. Otherwise, you can leave it vulnerable to a number of problems: it will be less likely to recover from drought or heat waves and more susceptible to disease and incursions by weeds and crab grass. And since your grass grows at variable speeds depending on weather, fertilizer levels, how often you water it and how often you cut it, it will not always be the same height when you are ready to mow it. The height options are conveniently controlled using a single level located at the rear of the cutting deck.

Pros

review prosThe Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP has a lot of excellent features, so it was not all that easy to pare down the list to the best five. There are a lot of advantages a gas mower like this one offers over electric lawn mowers, especially to homeowners who have fairly large lawns to manage. Not only does a gas mower like this one have a much larger range than the average electric lawn mower, it has a significantly higher level of power. That means it can support a wider cutting deck and convenient features like motorized rear wheel drive. And the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP has a cutting deck that has the kind of high tip speed that lets it slice right through any variety of grass. That includes even the toughest ones like St. Augustine or Bermuda grass that less powerful lawn mowers just can’t handle. Let’s take a look at the five top features on the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP.

  1. It has a powerful 160 cubic centimeter Honda engine : Honda is a trusted leader in the engine manufacturing industry, and there is a simple reason why: they consistently produce some of the longest lasting and highest performance engines of anyone out there. At 160 cubic centimeters, the Honda engine on the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP is a beast in lawn mower terms. This is one of the largest engines you can find on a walk behind lawn mower. And it will provide the kind of reliable performance and superior power you need to keep the lawn mower delivering high quality, precision cuts to your lawn for many years. The engine provides the kind of power you need to keep its cutting deck tip speeds high enough to slice grass blades cleanly on the first pass so that your lawn stays healthy and beautiful.
  2. The cutting deck is a full 21 inches wide : 21 inches is almost as wide as it gets on a walk behind mower, and that width even approaches some of the deck sizes on even some riding mowers. A lawn mower that has a wider cutting deck will be able to help you finish the job in fewer passes, which means you will have to spend less time on lawn care chores and more time to relaxing and enjoying your weekend with your family or friends. And the cutting deck is supplied with the kind of power you want to keep it operating at high tip speeds so that it can slice through tougher varieties of grass like St. Augustine or Bermuda grass, denser patches on your lawn, or even thick weeds without losing anything in terms of performance.
  3. There are three grass management options included : All too often in my experience, lawn mower manufacturers will cut corners on accessories and perks in order to save on the cost of providing them to the consumer. And almost every time, extra grass management options are the first thing to go. At best, many manufacturers provide extra grass management options only at an additional price, which effectively functions as a hidden cost. The Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP provides three grass management options right out of the box: you can use the standard side discharge to leave neat rows of grass clippings on your lawn. Or you can engage the mulching plug so that the cutting deck slices grass clippings into tiny pieces. Finally, you can attach the rear bag accessory to collect grass clippings for later composting or disposal.
  4. It has a self propelled rear wheel drive : Quite frankly, the motorized rear wheel drive is one of my favorite features on the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP. Most walk behind gas lawn mowers make the user to push them all over their yard in the hot summer sun, and I think that this is for the dodos, especially if you have a very big lawn. The self propelled rear wheel drive takes the vast majority of the work out of cutting the grass on a wide area. All you have to do is start the lawn mower up, engage the throttle, and then gently steer it around the yard. That means you will not wind up exhausted after you are finished cutting the lawn. And if your yard is on an incline, a motorized rear wheel drive is simply a must have.
  5. It’s easy to maneuver the mower and adjust its speed : The fact that the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP has a self propelled rear wheel drive plays a major role in making this lawn mower so easy to maneuver, but it isn’t the only reason for this. The handle on the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP is designed to be comfortable and easy to use, and the lawn mower is very easy to steer once you have found your desired speed. The speed is variable, and it is controlled by how tightly you bring in the throttle. The throttle is an extra handle that you simply squeeze to increase the lawn mower’s speed. It really could not be any easier to steer. And if you are a fast walker, you will find that the top speed on the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP is fast enough to get even a big lawn cut in record time.

Any one of these features would put this lawn mower head and shoulders above a lot of what is available out there. The Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP has a high quality engine that will provide the kind of power you need for reliable performance. It has a cutting deck that is on the larger side for walk behind gas powered lawn mowers. The three grass management options only add to the convenience of the accessories on this lawn mower. And the self propelled rear wheel drive is nothing to scoff at. A lawn mower that can propel itself will take a lot of the work out of mowing the lawn, which is part of the reason this machine is so easy to maneuver and convenient to use.

Cons

review consThere are a few areas where the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP does not offer quite the perfect features. Some of these issues are simply related to the fact that this is a gas lawn mower: gas lawn mowers are all going to produce at least some emissions, and many of them will not be CARB compliant. All of them will need periodic maintenance on their engine or fuel lines to keep them running smoothly. While the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP is rather heavy, this is not unusually for self-propelled lawn mowers with rear wheel drives, since they need to have bigger engines and heavy gears. The other issues I see are fairly minor. For example, the front and rear wheels on this model are not very large, which some owners may have issues with. And the rear bag is not very large, so users with bigger lawns may have a problem with that.

  1. The mower produces emissions and is non CARB compliant : Like any other gas powered lawn mower with a combustion engine, the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP does produce some emissions. In this day and age of hybrid cars, energy efficient appliances, and increased environmental awareness, many consumers look at electric lawn mowers to do their part for the planet. But this is only feasible if you have a small lawn that is not planted with particularly tough grasses. Otherwise, you will still need a gas powered lawn mower to get the job done. Unfortunately, if you live in some states, you will not be able to legally use this lawn mower, since it is not compliant with standards set by the California Air Resources Board for combustion engines.
  2. The engine requires some maintenance, oil changes, and cleaning : Just as with the first con in this list, engine maintenance is endemic to gas powered lawn mowers, so you should be prepared that you will not be able to just let it sit in your garage and have it start right up every time. The engine will require spark plug changes occasionally, and you will have to periodically clean filters and even fuel lines from time to time. This lawn mower has a two-cycle engine, so you will also have to change the oil after a few months of use. If you have a mechanical bent, you already know that none of these tasks is particularly hard to get used to, though. And these days you can find instructions on how to do any of these tasks on the internet as well.
  3. At 95 pounds, the mower is rather heavy : Most powered walk behind lawn mowers these days – even gas powered ones with combustion engines – tend to weigh between forty and sixty pounds. This is a manageable weight for most of us to maneuver around the yard. At 95 pounds, the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP is considerably heavier than most other lawn mowers. Of course, this is due at least in part to the fact that it has a bigger engine and gears that are designed to power the motorized rear wheel drive. And the rear wheel drive will do most of the work of propelling this lawn mower once you get it started up. But at the same time, you can’t exactly start the lawn mower while it is still in the garage, so some people may find it a bit difficult to get out and over to the lawn.
  4. The wheels on the mower are somewhat short : The wheels on the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP are only eight inches tall, both in the front and the rear. This is on the smaller side when you compare it to many other walk behind power mowers, which often have a bigger rear wheel at the very least. As a result, you may find that the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP does not handle uneven or rough ground quite as easily as other lawn mowers with larger wheels can. If your lawn is nice and flat, then this should not be a problem that you will encounter. However if you do have a lawn that is rather uneven, you may have trouble maneuvering the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP around it, unless of course you have it graded first, which can be a very big job. The rear wheel drive system does help somewhat with this problem, though.
  5. The mower’s rear bag is not very big : As I have already discussed at length, the fact that the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP has additional grass management options included in the initial purchase price is a definite plus in my book. At the same time, the rear bag attachment is not very big, which may cause minor problems for some users who have very big lawns. The main issue is that it tends to fill up kind of quickly, so if you are cutting a wide area, you may have to empty it before you are finished with the job. Other users may have to empty it every time between jobs, which is not terribly convenient either. At the same time, this is not the kind of big problem that would make me want to recommend against buying the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP.

While no one likes to produce too many carbon emissions, the simple fact is if you want the kind of power and quality performance that can help you tackle a large lawn, you are going to need a gas powered lawn mower, and gas powered lawn mowers produce emissions. There are no two ways around it, but it is not a huge price to pay if you want to keep your lawn looking beautiful. And engine maintenance is also part of the game if you own a lawn mower with a combustion engine. Fortunately the engine maintenance is not terribly difficult. The other issues associated with the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP are fairly minor in my option, and none of them raise the kind of red flags that would draw a negative product review.

Product Comparison

review comparisonI always recommend to my readers that they do some serious comparison shopping before they make a decision regarding a new lawn care appliance. These machines are not cheap, so it is a significant investment of your home and garden budget to buy one. You not only want a lawn mower that will deliver solid performance and reliable quality over the long run. You also want a machine that is designed to deliver the best results for your lawn in particular. As a result, it can be very useful to compare the product specifications of a few similar lawn mowers. This gives you a better view of the big picture in terms of what is out there, as well as a more focused idea of how a particular unit stacks up to its competition. To help you do this quickly and easily, here is a product specifications comparison table that looks at the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP as well as two other models in its class: the Yard-Man 12AVD39Q701 and the Husqvarna 5521P. Let’s take a look.

  Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDPPoulan Pro
PR160Y21RDP
Yard-Man 12AVD39Q701Yard-Man
12AVD39Q701
Husqvarna 5521PHusqvarna
5521P
Dimensions 36.1 x 21.4 x 24.2 inches 37.8 x 24.5 x 17.9 inches 36.2 x 20.8 x 25.2 inches
Power Gas Gas Gas
Engine Manufacturer Honda Honda Briggs & Stratton
Engine Specs 160-cc Engine GVC160 ARCS
160-cc Engine
5-1/2-Torque
140-cc Engine
Gas Tank 0.4 Galons 0.25 Galons 0.24 Galons
Starter Recoil Recoil Recoil
Deck Size (cutting swath) 21-inch 21-inch 21-inch
Mulch/Bag/Discharge Mulch, bag, and discharge Mulch, bag, and discharge Mulch, bag, and discharge
Drive System Self-Propelled Motor Self-Propelled Motor Manual Push
Height Adjustment Single point (5 positions) Dual lever (5 positions) Individual (5 positions)
Height Settings 1-1/4- to 3-1/2-inch 1-1/4- to 3-3/4-inch 1-1/4- to 3-1/2-inch
Wheel Size 8-inch front / 8-inch rear 8-inch front / 11-inch rear 8-inch front / 12-inch rear
Weight 95 pounds 92 pounds 60 pounds
Warranty 2 years 2 years 2 years

As you can see, all three mowers are gas powered and all three have engines that are comparable to one another, although the Poulan Pro’s and the Yard-Mans are about fifteen percent bigger than the Husqvarna’s. All three have 21 inch cutting decks as well. The Poulan Pro and the Yard-Man both have motorized drive systems, while the Husqvarna has to be pushed. While all three lawn mowers have five height adjustment options, the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP is the only one that has its height options controlled by a single point lever, which is considerably more convenient and easier to use. The Poulan Pro has the largest gas tank of the three lawn mowers, which means you will be able to cover a wider range before it needs to be topped off. This can be advantageous if you have a rather large lawn, since you will not have to make a trip back to the garage from the other side of your lawn to get the gas can. The Poulan Pro has the smallest wheels of the three, and it weighs the most.

Conclusion

review conclusionWhen you are a homeowner who is fortunate to have a nice, big, wide lawn on their property, you can get a lot of enjoyment out of your summer, but you will need a lawn mower that has the kind of power and quality of performance to mow it. Because of that, many consumers are sticking with gas powered lawn mowers. That is because these are the only walk behind lawn mowers that can support the kind of wide cutting decks and powerful cutting speed to get the job done quickly and efficiently and leave the lawn looking like it was professionally cut and feeling very healthy. The Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP has all of the advantages other walk behind gas powered lawn mowers offer, as well as a few extra features designed to make your lawn mowing experience as pleasant as possible. Let’s take another quick look at the pros and cons of this lawn mower before we wrap up the review.

Conclusion Pros

  1. It has a powerful 160 cubic centimeter Honda engine.
  2. The cutting deck is a full 21 inches wide.
  3. There are three grass management options included.
  4. It has a self-propelled rear wheel drive.
  5. It’s easy to maneuver the mower and adjust its speed.

It is easy to see why the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP is such a great gas lawn mower. It has an engine that is manufactured by one of the leaders in the industry: you know that a Honda machine will provide consistent power and reliable performance over the long term. It has a cutting deck that is almost one of the widest available on a walk behind mower, which means you will be able to cut your lawn in fewer passes and less time. Poulan does not skimp on the accessories, and this model has three grass management options included right out of the box for added convenience. The mower has a motorized rear wheel drive, which takes most of the work associated with cutting the grass right out of the equation. In part because it is self propelled, and in part because the throttle is so easy to control, the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP is very easy to guide around your yard.

Conclusion Cons

  1. The mower produces emissions and is non CARB compliant.
  2. The engine requires some maintenance, oil changes, and cleaning.
  3. At 95 pounds, the mower is rather heavy.
  4. The wheels on the mower are somewhat short.
  5. The mower’s rear bag is not very big.

The fact that the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP produces carbon emissions is endemic to all gas powered lawn mowers, so if you are willing to have a larger carbon footprint in order to get the kind of consistent quality performance that only a gas lawn mower can provide, it is something that simply comes with the territory. And like all other gas lawn mowers, you will have to do some work on the engine occasionally. The lawn mower is a bit heavy, although this con is alleviated somewhat by the fact that the lawn mower is self propelled. The short wheels may have trouble with uneven terrain, so be forewarned of this if your yard is particularly bumpy. And the rear bag will not be able to hold a ton of grass.

Final Word

A big yard with a wide lawn is every potential homeowner’s dream. This is where America spends its summers – playing sports and games, cooking out and grilling with friends, or just relaxing with your family. But a big lawn needs a big, powerful lawn mower to keep it looking great. And that is where gas powered lawn mowers like the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP come into the picture. These machines are designed to provide the kind of reliable performance over the long term that you need to keep your lawn looking and feeling its best.

The Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP has a powerful 160 cubic centimeter engine manufactured by Honda, a leader in the industry that you can rely on for quality performance and reliability. It has a 21 inch wide cutting deck so that you can finish the job in fewer passes and in less time, leaving the rest of the weekend free from lawn care duties. It has three grass management options included and five height settings, both of which help make it one of the more convenient walk behind lawn mowers. And it has a motorized rear wheel drive system that will provide the forward propulsion you want so that cutting the grass is less of a difficult chore. Overall this is a good gas lawn mower for a homeowner with a big lawn.

Best Price

review pricesThe Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP is on the more expensive side for a walk behind gas powered lawn mower of its size. But while you could save a lot of money opting for a slightly smaller gas powered lawn mower, you do get what you pay for. More inexpensive gas lawn mowers will not have the convenience of the motorized rear wheel drive system, which means you will have to work a lot harder to cut your lawn with them. And a cheaper lawn mower will also not have as many convenient features as the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP, such as the three grass management options included right out of the box, the high performance Honda engine, or a wide, powerful cutting deck. So while the Poulan Pro PR160Y21RDP will certainly cost you a bit more money than a lot of other gas powered lawn mowers, ultimately it may be able to provide a much more enjoyable and convenient lawn care experience for the price.

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