Frequency of cut is the all-important question when choosing a new cylinder mower. The answer will go a long way to determining the size of unit needed in terms of power. The longer and thicker the grass, the greater power required to cut it. Frequency of cut will also indicate the number of blades and most suitable cylinder diameter. Larger diameter cylinders with a few blades are most suited to sites where grass is left to grow between cuts. Golf and bowling greens, on the other hand, need more blades to maintain the quality of cut required.
Walk-behind mowers should be comfortable to use. Look for models that have low vibration figures and low noise levels. Check that the handlebars adjust quickly and simply to suit different operators. Anyone facing long hours of mowing will benefit from soft-grip handles.
Controls should be instantly recognisable and easy to use. Choose a mower that proves itself to be highly manoeuvrable for those operations that involve following the curved edges of beds and borders. Study the distance between the end of the blades and the edge of the mower — a shorter measurement can be useful if you have to mow along edges and around obstacles. Mowers with little distance between the front and rear rollers are less likely to scalp on undulating ground.
Safety cannot be emphasised enough, especially where turning blades are involved. Investigate the safety features of each model on your shortlist. By law, there has to be an operator presence control, but check for yourself just how fast the cylinder comes to a halt. Make sure all cables are clipped neatly out of the way so they are not snagged when mowing around trees and shrubs.
Setting cutting height needs to be an easy task. Many models have a wind-up, wind-down adjustment using a hand-nut rather than tools.
Don’t forget to ask about the warranty and dealer back-up for servicing and spare parts. And think about how the mower is to be moved between sites.
What Kit? cannot choose a new machine for you, but we can simplify the first stage of gathering manufacturers’ information for comparison. Our tables will answer many questions up to the essential “how much does it cost?”, but remember these prices are only a guide and will vary from dealer to dealer. Companies and models included in the tables are in response to a questionnaire. Omission of any company or model does not imply criticism.
It is important to remember that the best buying decisions are taken after you have tried the machine for yourself. Wherever possible, try to get a demonstration or a trial in similar conditions to those you expect to use the item in.
Have you registered with us yet?
Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletinsSign up now