Entering the market only last year, EGO Power+ is already making inroads into the professional gardener market with a range of kit that includes a hedge trimmer, blower, string trimmers and a chainsaw along with this 49cm four-wheeled rotary mower. Of modern appearance, it immediately attracts the attention of the students. "It's smart looking - pity it hasn't got an engine though," one comments.
Powered by a 56V lithium-ion battery, it is among the most powerful cordless lawnmowers available. The advantages are clear - no petrol to spill, little noise, hardly any vibrations and no fumes. It is a no-fuss mower. But what will our testers and the students make of it? "It's going through the same rough stuff as the Lawnflite did," says Baldwin, clearly surprised.
A true three-in-one performer, this versatile mower will let you bag, mulch or discharge to the side. It starts on the press of a button, bringing the blades quickly into action, and gives a very reasonable cut. A high-torque magnetic motor means it copes with wet grass as well as dry. There are only five cutting positions - 25, 35, 50, 65 and 80mm - and these are simple to engage via the spring-loaded deck-height adjustment lever.
For anyone short on storage space or needing to transport the mower in a small van or car boot, the mower folds quickly and easily into a neat, compact package. Weighing just 26.2kg without the battery, it is not impossible to lift the machine into a vehicle or onto a workbench. Batteries weigh between 1.3kg and 2.9kg depending on capacity.
We do not know the exact capacity of the fabric grass catcher, but it is comparable to others. Removing and fitting the bag is made easier by the handles, which pivot away from the bag. Spills of clippings are less likely with this one.
But what is making the students laugh? "It's got a headlight," one explains. "I bet that scares the cats away." The headlight is designed to help if you have an early-morning start or a late-evening finish. It may also draw attention to the mower, which could be significant when there is very little operational noise. But it takes power to keep it lit.
A gauge monitors the power and gives an instant indication of how much is left. It is a good feature but everyone wants to know how long the charge lasts. It depends on which battery is used, the condition of the grass and the operator's technique, but it is possible to get 65 minutes of mowing out of the 6.0Ah battery. Recharging times are 45 minutes with the rapid charger or 115 minutes with the standard. Clearly, you will want the rapid charger.
Other batteries are available. The 4.0Ah gives a runtime of up to 45 minutes and takes 30 or 80 minutes to charge. The 2.0Ah only gives 20 minutes of operation.
Cutting width: 49cm
Collection box: Supplied as standard
Cutting height adjustment: Single lever, eight positions, 25-80mm
Cutting system: Cut and collect, side discharge and mulch
Weight: 26.6kg excluding battery
Battery: 56V lithium-ion
Battery size: 2.0Ah/4.0A/6.0Ah
Charging times: Using Rapid Charger 25mins/30mins/45mins
Battery weights: 1.3kg/2.1kg/2.9kg
Price: £499 including VAT
Tel: Henton & Chattell - 0115 986 6646
Tested This Issue
- Weibang Virtue 53 Pro
- Weibang Legacy 48 Pro BBC
- Weibang Virtue 53 SV
- Lawnflite 448S JW
- Makita and Cobra cordless models
- EGO Power+ cordless lawnmower
Mike Baldwin, director of horticulture, Broomfield Campus, Derby College
Mark Ekin, lecturer, Broomfield Campus, Derby College
Walk-behind rotary mowers are used by contractors, groundsmen and professional gardeners. The huge variety makes them indispensable. Most are wheeled, but there are models with rear rollers. Most provide rear collection, but there are ones that give side discharge or will mulch. With models available that can handle the rough, present stripes on a lawn, nip in and out of obstacles or clip off young growth on an establishing sward, this is one of the most versatile mowers.
We wanted to look at a broad range. Rochford Garden Machinery, Henton & Chattell, EP Barrus, Toro, Hayter and Makita provided us with 14 mowers. In this, the first of two reports looking at pedestrian mowers, we test the Weibang, Lawnflite, Cobra, EGO and Makita brands, covering a range of styles including roller, three-in-one and even battery models.
The testers were joined by horticulture students charged with an assignment looking at mower specifications for different tasks. Test conditions were less than perfect. Heavy rain on day one was followed by more rain on days two and three. A brief lull provided difficult conditions on day four so it was necessary to look at some mowers several weeks later in drier but much colder conditions.