Hailed by this year's panel of judges as "simply brilliant", "a true year-round machine" and giving "a very professional finish", the WhatKit? Mower of the Year Award winners have been named as ATT's INFiNiSystem 30, John Deere's 1500 Series and Wessex International's ProLine CRX Series MultiCut.
Celebrating the very best in professional machinery, the WhatKit? Mower of the Year Awards 2015 are split into three separate categories - WhatKit? Pedestrian Mower of the Year, WhatKit? Ride-On Mower of the Year and WhatKit? Tractor-Mounted/Towed Mower of the year.
Deciding which models should make it onto this year's shortlists proved to be an incredibly tough exercise for the panel of judges. But many more hours were spent considering the innovative features, build quality, performance and price of each of the machines before the winners could be finalised in each of the three categories.
Full details of all the mowers that made it onto the award shortlists, the overall winners and a selection of comments from the panel of judges follow below.
WhatKit? Pedestrian Mower of the Year winner 2015
PEDESTRIAN MOWER OF THE YEAR -Shortlist
- EGO 56V lithium ion 49cm mower from EGO Power
- Etesia PHCT and PHCS PRO 46 Evolution from Etesia UK
- ATT 30in INFiNiSystem from Advanced Turf Technology (ATT)
- Bosch GRA 48 and GRA 53 from Bosch Professional
- Viking MB 756 YC from Stihl GB
- Pellenc Rasion from Etesia UK
- Billy Goat BC2600HHEU brushcutter mower from Henton & Chattell
- Cobra Subaru RM 48 SPS from Henton & ChattellWinner
ATT INFiNiSystem 30in from Advanced Turf Technology (ATT)
Comprising a dedicated traction system, the visually striking INFiNiSystem has dual power sources of lithium battery or hybrid engine generator power module that can be switched in seconds while out on the turf. Traction unit power delivery is via a chain drive to a differential.
The unit has a floating head mechanism with a "dynamic return" feature that constantly spreads the weight of the reel or tool evenly - even when mowing on slopes - and the mower is lightweight with a triple-roller system.
A grass-catcher box is mounted onto the traction unit frame to limit the weight transfer to the cassette, so a more consistent height of cut can be achieved regardless of the volume of clippings in the box.
Clip rate is variable through forward speed adjustment and three speeds allow other tasks to be carried out by application of the TMSystem SMART cassette range, giving a fully integrated turf maintenance system from light verti-cutting through vibration rolling to heavy scarification.
"This machine is really well built and has the advantages of low vibration, low noise and no emissions when the battery is used. The way the head floats independently of the traction unit is brilliant. This is precision engineering giving precision mowing. But it is also more than a mower - it's a complete system and very well thought out."
"Yes, it is a concept that has been around for three or four years, with a 22in and then a 26in model, but building it in a bigger size is not as simple as just stretching the machine. It means new calculations and fresh engineering. ATT has done well to present a 30in unit that is ideal for pitches and large areas of grass."
"It costs a fair bit but it is worth it. I love the way it is so quick and easy to swap the battery for the engine. If you came into work and found the previous user had not put it on charge, two minutes and you would be up and running with the engine. That dual power concept could get you out of a few scrapes."
"It's lightweight and very well balanced, has adjustable handlebars, the catcher is easy to fit and there is very little maintenance involved - they have thought of everything and yet it shouts simplicity."
Viking MB 756 YC from Stihl GB
A 54cm rotary mower with hydrostatic variable speed and blade brake clutch, this latest addition to the Viking 7 Series features housing with a replaceable polymer liner and metallic outer chassis made of magnesium. It weighs just 59kg and is powered by a 3.9hp Kawasaki four-stroke engine.
"It's an animal. There's loads of power. The cut, when set down low, is beautiful - the uniformity is phenomenal yet it copes with the rough and enjoys the smooth."
John Deere 1500 Series TerrainCut: cruise control, comfortable seat and twin pedals
RIDE-ON MOWER OF THE YEAR - Shortlist
- Cub Cadet Tank SZ60, EP Barrus
- Buffalo BPHP2 two-wheel drive and BPHPX2 four-wheel drive, Etesia UK
- Hydro 100 III, Etesia UK
- Turbo Z Mower, Gianni Ferrari
- 1500 Series TerrainCut, John Deere
- X590 Multi-Terrain lawn tractor, John Deere
- ZTrak Z997R, John Deere
- Ransomes MP495/MP655 five-unit cylinder mowersWinner
John Deere 1500 Series TerrainCut
Introduced at Saltex last year, the 1500s are equipped with powerful high-torque three-cylinder diesel engines, four-wheel drive, high-capacity rotary mower decks and optional collectors. They boast smooth drive and the ability to cut and collect thick grass at high speed while still producing a quality cut. The decks are John Deere's 7-Iron PRO units. There is a choice of engines - 24hp, 29.5hp and 36hp. Two-speed hydrostatic transmission gives fast mowing and transport speeds up to 15.5mph (25kph).
For long hours of mowing, the machines have cruise control, a comfortable seat, twin Touch pedals for the transmission and an electro-hydraulic deck-drive clutch. Excellent visibility is maintained when fitted with the John Deere cab for the ultimate in comfort - the air-conditioning and heating system offer a pleasant work environment whatever the time of year.
Extending use beyond the busier grass-cutting periods, the 1500 Series can additionally be matched to a range of accessories including front-mounted dozer blade, snow thrower and broom.
"This has been the hardest category to judge. There are several worthy winners and we have met on three occasions to try to decide the winner.
In the end it was the versatility of this mower that clinched it for me."
"Out-front rotaries are a first choice for many contractors carrying out council work and are a favourite with operators. This one offers an exceptionally comfortable work station with a commanding view of the work ahead and well laid-out controls."
Ransomes M495/655 five-unit cylinder mowers
Following on from the launch of the MP Series wide-area rotary mowers last autumn, the MP495 and MP655 range provides more options from a single design platform and replace the Ransomes Commander, the stalwart of municipal wide-area cylinder mowers that is now more than 20 years old.
Cub Cadet Tank SZ60
With steering wheel control rather than levers, this mower offers professional-grade comfort and is capable of working on 20 degs inclines. It has a 1.52m cutting width, four-wheel steering and is powered by a 16.7kW Kawasaki FX series engine.
Wessex ProLine CRX Series MultiCut: concept is ideal for those needing versatility
TRACTOR MOUNTED MOWER OF THE YEAR-Shortlist
- MultiCut from Wessex International
- RMX-500 Tri-Deck from Wessex International
- Maschio Bufalo Flail Mower from Opico
- ZHE-2500 flail mower from Wessex International
Wessex ProLine CRX Series MultiCut from Wessex International
The CRX MultiCut concept offers a roller mower with full-width rollers front and rear, a finishing mower with four fully castoring wheels or a combination of the two - all in one machine. It can be frontor rear-mounted, with sideor rear-discharge, and has the option of a mulching mode.
As a roller mower the CRX offers similar characteristics to the Wessex RMX roller mowers, but in a scaled-down version suitable for tractors from 20hp upwards, and the high blade tip speed provides a fine finish.
Where a high degree of manoeuvrability is required, the castoring wheels get the mower into awkward areas when the CRX is front-mounted to a compact tractor. The rear roller produces a striped effect.
Sideor rear-discharge is achieved by altering the baffles beneath the deck and the side-discharge option allows operation in conjunction with a side-collection hose. Height adjustment is simple.
The CRX is available in 1.5m, 1.8m and 2.4m widths with the options of frontor rear-mounting and sideor rear-discharge. Overlapping rotors give 100 per cent blade coverage and Tornado Vents are fitted as standard, creating superior airflow in all modes of operation.
"The quality of cut is high. I am surprised how evenly the clippings are distributed across the mowing width. Combined with the high blade-tip speed, it results in a well manicured appearance and a very professional finish."
"The concept is ideal for contractors, local authorities, turf professionals and amenity managers who need versatility and have to regularly cut large areas of grass, perhaps for differing functions, to a high standard."
"There are one or two places where I would have preferred to see thicker material used but these are early days in what is a new concept and there is no denying the quality of cut."
"It's a versatile package and nicely priced. But I am most impressed with the finish and the stripping is the icing on the cake for me."