VIDEO: Reviewed: Battery pedestrian mowers

With rising demand driving development, Sally Drury reviews a selection of the latest models at Trengwainton Garden, Cornwall.

Allett Liberty 43 pedestrian mower - image: HW
Allett Liberty 43 pedestrian mower - image: HW

Reviewed

Allett Liberty 43
EGO LM2102E-SP
Makita Twin 18V LXT
Pellenc Rasion Basic and Smart
Cobra MX46S40V and RM4140V
Etesia Duocut 41 N-ERGY NACTS and 46 N-ERGY PACS
Wolf 72V Li-ion Power 40

Review Panel

Phil Griffiths, head gardener, Trengwainton Garden, Cornwall

Trengwainton Garden, a National Trust property just outside Penzance, is world-famous for its tender exotic species grown outdoors in woodland and five walled gardens, taking advantage of the mild Cornish climate. When we heard that head gardener Phil Griffiths was keen to try out battery mowers, HW turned up with 12 from seven manufacturers.

There is currently great interest in battery powered garden tools and rising demand is driving development. Such equipment has many advantages over petrol models — no need to store petrol, no mess or spills when fuelling up, no fumes, quieter operation and reduced vibration. When a visitor approaches to ask questions, stopping and restarting is as simple as pressing a button. Say bye-bye to those bothersome recoil starts.

On the downside, there is the battery life — although engines have a life too. A greater concern tends to be runtime and the need to recharge. While most brands offer a variety of tools to work off the same battery system, if you have a team of gardeners all needing to use powered kit at the same time, you need to ensure you have enough batteries and chargers, and sufficient access to mains sockets.

On the day of the review the weather was typically Cornish — warm with broken cloud, sunny intervals, threatening showers and more sun.

Makita Twin 18V LXT

That’s handy. Trengwainton already has Makita 18V power tools for carpentry. The same batteries will fit these lightweight 38cm and 43cm rotary mowers.

The smaller one is recommended for lawns up to 540sq m and has a 40-litre fabric catcher. The 43cm model is suited to lawns up to 950sq m and comes with a 50-litre fabric catcher. Both are push mowers, feature height setting from around 20mm up to 75mm and are backed by three-year warranties.

All sounds good, but these Makita units generate discussion. "They are lovely and lightweight, should be easy to lift on and off a trailer and it is nice that the wheels are inside the cutting width so you can mow right up to the edge," says Griffiths. "And it’s great that they take batteries we already have here. But the decks, compared to say the Etesias, almost seem too lightweight."

Currently much work at the property is undertaken by volunteers who as yet are not allowed to use power equipment. But with financial and time pressures, there may come a point when they will have training for tasks such as mowing.

"That’s when these mowers would be good," says Griffiths. "They are good on safety. They stop as soon as you let go of the handle and, with some of our volunteers being older, the lack of weight might be handy. It’s something to think about."

Specifications

Model LXT 38cm/LXT 43cm
Cutting width 38cm/43cm
Cutting height 20-75mm
Blade rotation 3,700rpm/3,600rpm
Battery 18V, 3Ah, 4Ah or 5Ah, Li-ion
Recharge time 22-45min (depending on battery) with quick charger
Catcher Fabric — 40/50 litres
Weight 15kg/18.3kg — plus batteries
Guaranteed noise level 81dB(A)/80dB(A)
Warranty Three-year, registered online
List price £363 + VAT/£490 + VAT — body only Tel Makita UK — 01908 211678

Pellenc Rasion Basic and Smart

Cast aluminium, steel and chrome give these mowers a distinct appearance that shouts functionality.

They have a 60cm cutting width for productivity and are IP54 rated so, matched to Pellenc’s new waterproof ULB1500 battery, they can be used in all weathers — and when it is sunny the battery can be charged with the Solerion solar recharging system.

The Rasion Basic and Smart are designed for professional users, are lightweight for one-person lifting and fold to 60x88x62cm, giving a small footprint for storage. Swivel front wheels give spot-on manoeuvrability and excellent cornering, even zero-turn ability, around trees and obstacles.

Griffiths notices. "It took a little getting used to but the ability to turn tightly round shrubs is handy for us," he says. Punchy power, combined with the synchronised dual blades, ensures dense and wet grass is cut finely and the clippings are tightly stashed in the 70-litre catcher.

Watch out though, the bag can weigh more than 10kg when full. Electronic speed setting of the blades on both models adjusts rotation from 3,000 to 5,000rpm and is achieved from a handle-mounted device. Centrally adjusted cutting height will take the cut from 75mm down through six stages to 25mm — manually on the Basic but electronically on the Smart.

Both mowers feature automatic jam clearing of the discharge chute. The Smart ups the game over the Basic. It shares most of the features but has a single-arm handlebar, making catcher removal easier. An LCD control panel on the handlebar gives on-the-go adjustment of blade speed, cutting height and forward speed from 1kph to 5kph. Then there is the grass sensor.

Sat at the front of the mower, the two optical sensors detect the height of the grass and automatically adjust blade speed to suit, optimising energy use. Griffiths reckons it is a hard decision between the two but concludes: "We prefer something that is driven, but I like the fact that the batteries can be used to power a wide range of other kit."

Specifications

Model Basic/Smart
Cutting width 24in (60cm)
Cutting height Six stages, 25-75mm — manual/electronic
Drive push TBC/1-5kph
Blade speed Variable from 3,000 to 5,000rpm — electronic/automatic
Battery 43.2V, 17.4Ah (ULiB700) or 43.2V, 23.2Ah, Li-ion (ULiB1100)
Recharge time 3hrs (ULiB700) and 4hrs (UliB1100) using quick charger
Runtime Approximately 3,600sq m using the ULiB110
Catcher Fabric, 70 litres
Weight 25kg/29kg — excluding batteries
Guaranteed noise level 86dB(A)
Warranty Commercial, three-year
Optional accessories Mulching kit
List price £1,240 + VAT/£1,679 + VAT — both excluding batteries and chargers
Tel Etesia UK — 01295 680120

Allett Liberty 43

You want stripes? Tick. You can also aerate, brush, dethatch, scarify and verticut with this cylinder mower’s quick-change cassette system. With the Liberty 43, convenience and quality have been matched to flexibility — and it all starts with the push of a button.

We like it. Backed by more than 50 years of experience, Allett Mowers specialises in the design and manufacture of cylinder mowers for the production of luxury-grade lawns, first-class sports surfaces and anywhere demanding a superior cut with stripes.

It is not surprising then to find this 17in cylinder mower packed with brilliant and convenient features that really work.

This is a self-propelled, cordless cylinder mower with a steel front roller and a double-section rear roller with geared differential to help turning. Drive is through gears, not belts, and speed control is variable through six steps, adjustable by a dial on the handlebars.

Height of cut is infinitely variable from 32mm down to a low of 6mm, again by the turn of a dial but this time down by the cylinder. With six blades, up to 70 cuts per metre can be achieved depending on speed. A 10-bladed cylinder is also available.

User comfort is assured by three-height adjustable handlebars that fold for storage. The polypropylene grass box has a generous 62-litre capacity.

What’s not to like?

Griffiths takes it for a run. "It’s good you can lower the cut with just one simple-to-use dial. It’s got nice variable speed control so you can adjust the speed to get those really fine cuts. The box has a good volume and for an electric mower it has quite a good weight. Look, there is good definition in the stripe," he says, pointing out the classic striping left after a few passes.

"But our lawns are not the best — were they slightly better we would definitely consider this one. For now, however, I think we need to look at a rotary."

Including grass catcher but excluding battery, it weighs 38.5kg. The battery is a chunky 40V 4Ah Li-ion unit. It has a charge time of around one hour 45 minutes from flat — estimated cost: about 5p.

Depending on speed and conditions, it can power the mower over an area of 500sq m before being completely discharged.

Another nice feature is the soft-start motor. Other cordless Liberty cylinder mowers with 12in and 14in cutting widths are also available from Allett.

Specifications

Cutting width 17in (43cm)
Cutting height Infinitely variable, 6-32mm
Cuts per metre Up to 70
Drive Six-speed, self-propelled
Battery 40V, 4Ah, Li-ion
Recharge time 1hr 45min
Runtime Approximately 500sq m
Catcher Polypropylene, 62 litres
Weight 38.5kg plus batteries
Guaranteed noise level 84dB(A)
Optional accessories Aerator, lawn brush, dethatcher, scarifier, verticutter and 10-bladed cylinder as interchangeable cassettes List price 

EGO LM2102E-SP

Griffiths smiles as he unpacks the EGO. "This really impresses me," he says. "It’s modern, stylish and looks robust. Can’t wait to try it."

This is a variable-speed, self-propelled mower, so you match the speed to your pace. It has automatic variable cutting speed to ensure a consistent cut.

It gives you the option of cutting or mulching and comes with headlights to let you work later in the day, if needed.

The 56V 7.5Ah battery is fully charged from flat in about an hour using the rapid charger.

Griffiths sets off across the lawn, hoping to get the 50 minutes mowing time recorded in the specification. Now it might be the density of the grass or the lie of the land, neither of which are above average at Trengwainton, but after 20 minutes the mower runs out of puff.

On the positive side, it does have a 52cm cutting width and in top speed it is quick, so what we fail to get out of the battery we probably make up for in ground covered.

"The cut and runtime don’t live up to my expectations," says Griffiths. "But again, EGO does a range of kit so once you have invested in the batteries you can interchange them with other tools."

Specifications

Cutting width 52cm
Cutting height Six stages, 28-94mm
Drive Self-propelled
Blade rotation 2,800rpm
Battery 56V, 7.5Ah, Li-ion
Recharge time 60mins using rapid charger
Run time 50mins depending on conditions
Catcher Fabric, 70 litres Weight 28.4kg
Guaranteed noise level 84.2dB(A)
Warranty Commercial, one-year
List price £729 including VAT, 7.5Ah battery and rapid charger
Tel EGO Power+ — 01494 957518

Cobra MX46S40V and RM4140V

The RM4140V takes one 40V 4Ah battery, cuts as low as 20mm, comes with a 50-litre catcher and has a roller for striping its 16in width of cut.

But it is a push mower so, overall, Griffiths prefers the 18in self-propelled without a roller, and he is surprised by its speed. "It did try to pull me along. Variable speed would be nice," he suggests.

Like the push Cobra, the MX46S40V has a robust frame and a metal deck but it takes two batteries, the drive using up extra power.

We reckon its flexibility makes it useful whatever the condition of the grass. "I like it a lot. I could easily use this one in the garden," says Griffiths.

"When we had it on mulch you couldn’t see the risings. Even on the second lowest cut height it still gave a very fine cut. When we took the mulching plug out it collected well. You can side-discharge too."

He also likes the bag. "I know there is a ‘full’ indicator, but I like fabric bags because you can check how it is filling with a quick tap of the toe."

He also likes the adjustments and controls. "You quickly alter the height of the handlebars to suit taller or shorter users and height-of-cut adjustment is easy, with plenty of choice. "There are four switch buttons around the handle, which means you can change position as you like.

The bar to engage the drive would be better if it went all the way across the handlebar, rather than just being for left-handed engagement, but I like the battery indicator. It lets you know when you have 75, 50 or 25% left and flashes when low."

I get the feeling it is going to be somewhat of a struggle to get this mower back from Griffiths. He asks: "Can I keep it a bit longer and try it on another area of the garden?"

Specifications

Model RM4140V/MX46S40V
Width of cut 16in (41cm)/18in (46cm)
Drive Push with roller/self-propelled with wheels
Cutting height Seven stages, 20-75mm/seven stages, 25-75mm
Blade rotation 3,100rpm/3,000rpm
Battery 1x/2x 40V, 4Ah, Li-ion
Recharge time 90mins/TBC
Runtime Up to 30mins/TBC
Catcher Fabric — 50/60 litres
Weight 21.4kg/29.2kg — plus batteries
Guaranteed noise level 79.9dB(A)/80.5dB(A)
Warranty Domestic, two-year List price £384.99/£489.99 — including VAT, battery and charger
Tel Henton & Chattell — 0115 986 2161

Etesia Duocut 41 N-ERGY NACTS and 46 N-ERGY PACS

Etesia is famous for giving commercial users plenty of choice so the Duocut N-ERGY family includes 16in (41cm) and 18in (46cm) mowers, both in push and self-drive options and both with grass box and mulch plug. We look at the 16in 3kph self-drive and the 18in push.

The Duocut concept provides a Xenoy deck that mulches as good as it collects, resulting in a quality finish from either function. Now available powered by a 36V 21Ah lithium polymer accumulator, the same quality can be achieved quietly and responsibly.

Like the Pellenc, there is a significant saving in petrol and maintenance costs. In all other respects these mowers are typical Etesia walk-behinds. They are robust yet lightweight and feel stable. The rigid 50-litre grass boxes made of reinforced polypropylene pack in the clippings. Switching from mulch to collect is as simple as inserting a plug into the discharge chute.

Comfort is provided by three-position handlebars, low vibration levels and centralised cutting height adjustment. The self-cleaning wheels are a nice touch, but what does Griffiths think?

"I like the Pellenc for the feeling of robustness but these Etesias are extremely simple to use and they give a good-quality cut. The self-propelled version is a comfortable walking speed, helping you to get the job done without causing fatigue."

Specifications

Models Duocut 41 E-NRGY NACTS/Duocut 46 N-ERGY PACS
Width of cut 16in (41cm)/18in (46cm)
Drive Self-propelled, 3kph/push
Cutting height 28-85mm
Battery 36V, 21Ah lithium polymer accumulator
Runtime 1hr 30mins depending on conditions
Catcher Polypropylene, 50 litres
Weight 35kg/37kg — plus battery
Guaranteed noise level 82dB(A)
Warranty Commercial, three-year
List price £790 + VAT/£790 + VAT
Tel Etesia UK — 01295 680120

Wolf 72V Li-ion Power 40

Wolf says this is a mower for small lawns up to 350sq m, but do not write it off. Yes, it would make a nice mower for the consumer, but we reckon it does enough to provide a solution for anyone looking after smaller urban properties.

"Yes, it’s a domestic mower, but it has potential for the very small properties — those with courtyard gardens," Griffiths suggests.

It will cut, collect and mulch, but if you are maintaining a small lawn close to a building, collection is likely to be the preferred option, so clippings are not walked inside. It proves to be a powerful, manoeuvrable mower, running smoothly and giving a quality cut.

"Although this is not a mower we could use here it is not to be dismissed," adds Griffiths. "I like the cut. It’s neat and it collects well. It is polypropylene but it is remarkably easy to use."

Specifications

Cutting width 40cm
Drive Push
Cutting height Six stages, 25-75mm Battery 72V, 180Wh
Recharge time 60mins
Catcher Fabric, 45 litres
Weight 18kg
Warranty Domestic, three-year
List price £399.99 including VAT, 7.5Ah battery and rapid charger
Tel EP Barrus — 01869 363636


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Products & Kit Resources

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.