Okay, so they are decidedly domestic. You are not going to want to bounce these in and out of the van day in, day out. Neither are they going to provide the muscle to cut down a jungle or mow acres of grass.
The Makita, for instance, is ideally matched to small lawns of up to 540sq m. However, if you have new grass or have volunteers assisting in your garden or park, do not shrug off these mowers. They could offer advantages in certain situations.
The first thing we notice is the lack of weight. These are so light they could be just the job for the first mowing of a freshly germinated lawn. They could also be perfect for use by volunteers, who are often retired. Then, because of their weight and complete simplicity of operation, perhaps they would make a good work-experience machine for less able persons.
There is nothing complicated about any of these mowers. To run, simply grasp the lever to the handle. All have soft start and all feature single-lever height adjustment.
The Makita is the smallest machine at just 15in wide (38cm) and is 36V - either a dedicated 36V battery or two 18V batteries, which you may already have for other Makita kit. Both Cobras take 40V batteries. Model MX4140V is a push mower with a 16in (41cm) width of cut and carrying one battery. The 18in MX46S40V is self-propelled and requires two 40V batteries. While all three have cut and collect, the Cobras will mulch and the latter also has a pull-out side-discharge chute.
Cutting width: 38cm
Battery: One 36V or two 18V
No-load speed: 3,700rpm
Height adjustment: Single lever, six settings, 25-75mm
Collection box: 40 litres
List price: £354 + VAT (body only)
Tel: Makita UK - 01908 211678
Model: Cobra MX4140V/MX46S40V
Cutting width: 16in (41cm)/18in (46cm)
Battery: One 40V/Two 40V
Height adjustment: Single lever, 25-75mm in seven stages
Collection box: 50 litres/60 litres
List price: £299.99/£499.99 inc 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.