Some people prefer push mowers. On flat ground they have the advantage of being totally in the control of the operator. If you don't push, it don't go - and, of course, there is a price advantage.
With a 140cc Briggs & Stratton engine and 18in cut, the PLM4626 is recommended for lawns of up to 1,200sq m. It has cutting heights of 30mm to 75mm in eight steps from a central control. You cannot miss the height control. It is a mammoth ring-type lever, easy to use, that encourages operators to set a suitable cutting height for the site.
Like its brother, it has a steel deck and comes with mulching kit and 60-litre collection box. Baldwin has always been a fan of push mowers, in the right place, and he is particularly impressed with this one. "It's got the large wheels at the back and they seem to help with manoeuvrability."
He adds: "It feels robust, gives a good quality of cut and is relatively easy to service. The air filter is accessible and I love the handle at the front to help lift it from the transport vehicle. It's ideal for the one-man business." The unit weighs in at 28kg.
Engine: Briggs & Stratton four-stroke
Cutting width: 46cm (18in)
Cutting height: 30-75mm (centralised, in seven steps)
Cutting type: Cut, collect, mulch
Grass catcher box: 60 litres
Warranty: One-year commercial, one-year domestic
List price: £309 + VAT
Tel: Makita - 01908 211678
Tested This Issue
Viking MB 756 YC
Cub Cadet CC53SPBE-V
The Reviewer - Mike Baldwin, director of learning, Broomfield Campus, Derby College
The walk-behind wheeled rotary mower is the backbone of many machinery fleets and often a first choice for anyone with small or awkward areas of amenity grass. Lightweight and easy to pop into a van, these mowers are loved by garden contractors and in municipal spheres they are used for trimming up after the ride-ons have flown past.
With plenty of options, such as collect, side or rear discharge or mulch, wheeled rotaries find work in locations as different as cemeteries, highway roundabouts, newly germinating sports pitches and back lawns. At the Broomfield Campus of Derby College, where we held our test, walk-behind rotary mowers are used around beds and borders, along verges and in between trees.
We look at new models from four firms. Viking, the mowing side of Stihl, is an increasingly recognised name in professional grounds care circles as well as providing a wide range of domestic lawnmowers. We test the company's latest premium mower for commercial use. It is the most powerful and most expensive of the bunch, but what will our tester make of it?
We also look at a self-propelled and push mowers from Makita. Joining us for the first time we have Masport and Cub Cadet. While all three brands submit what appear very normal lawnmowers, we find each has something to set it apart from the others.
In the test, we were assisted by horticulture students undertaking an assessment of machinery for ease-of-use and health and safety considerations. Conditions on the day were cloudy but dry.