Another four-wheeled rotary, this Lawnflite features the only Subaru engine in the test. It does not disappoint in terms of power and is fairly quiet, but what we like about this 19in (48cm) mower is the two-speed gearbox. This allows you to slow down over uneven ground or where you need to manoeuvre round corners but put your foot down on a straight run when conditions allow.
The drive to the rear wheels is shaft rather than belt and gives a good positive engagement. The deck is alloy and the handles fold with the convenience of a wing nut. Height adjustment is also simple - single lever from 15mm up to 77mm.
We find starting is easy, though of course this a new mower just out of the box, but there must be some sort of assistance because not a lot of effort is required to pull the engine over. The 75-litre grass catcher fills well and is easy to remove from the mower thanks to the rear grab.
"It's a good all-round mower, nice and sturdy," Ekin sums up. "It copes particularly well with the rough yet leaves a neat finish on lawns. Vibration is low (factory recorded at 2.2m/s2). It should appeal to professional gardeners and those with a maintenance round."
Cutter deck: Alloy
Engine: Subaru, delivering 3.3kW nominal power
Cutting width: 19in (48cm)
Power drive: Shaft-driven, two speeds
Collection box: 75 litres
Cutting height adjustment: Single lever, 15-77mm
Cutting system: Cut and collect
Price: £899 including VAT
Tel: EP Barrus - 01869 363636
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.