For those smaller, perhaps less taxing areas, this 18in Masport may be just the job. It is a push mower, so you are totally in control. The cutting width may only be 18in, but this mower has features to delight.
It has got a Briggs & Stratton 190cc Ready Start engine, so turning it over and firing it into life is easy. Like its bigger 22in brother, it has a non-rusting aluminium deck and simple single-lever cutting-height adjustment as well as the same upturned handle with soft grip.
There are other shared features. The 500AL has zone start, Quick Cut blades and a wash port to help cleaning the deck. It also has the same swing tip blade system for confidence in rougher vegetation.
What enthuses us about this mower though is the ingenious Smart Chute device. In just a couple of seconds, a hinged portion of the rear flap can be opened up to give side discharge. There is no need to purchase the chute as an accessory - it is already there, ready for use, open or closed.
In dry conditions, the flap can be closed to aid mulching. It is a huge bonus and gives a true three-in-one mowing machine. "It means the mower can handle anything," Baldwin concludes.
Engine: Briggs & Stratton XVS 650 Series
Capacity: 190cc with Ready Start
Cutting width: 46cm (18in)
Cutting height: 10-70mm (single lever)
Cutting type: Cut, collect, mulch
Grass catcher box: Plastic, 46 litres
Warranty: One-year commercial use, two-year domestic
List price: £357.50 + VAT
Tel: FGM Claymore - 01789 490177
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.