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."
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
Allett Liberty 43
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
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.