Electric Mowers Tested and reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed
Updated 17th May 2013
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Best Electric Mower For Small lawns
The Bosch Rotak 320 has been designed to be powerful enough for rough lawns, but light enough to be carried in and out of your house or shed.
It is ideal for smaller lawns that are not cut too frequently or enthusiastically. (Your average small house utility lawn)
It is simple, light, strong and reliable. This mower will not burn out a week out of warranty like some cheaper models.
Only weights 6.8kg
Variable cutting heights
Simple, cheap blade, can be easily re- sharpened or replaced.
The Bosch Rotak 320 is being replaced by the Bosch Rotak 32
Bosch Rotak 32 and Rotak 32R
Just to confuse people Bosch make 2 very similar mowers, with very similar names.
The Rotak 32 has a slightly larger box than the Rotak 320 , larger motor, (1100w) and has the side fins.
The Rotak 32R is the same but with a rear roller, its costs more and is mostly sold in B&Q
Surprisingly all the Bosch and Lawnmowers featured on this page are manufactured in the UK in Stowmarket, Suffolk.
Bosch also owned the Atco and Qualcast brands but sold them in 2011.
Atco is now known as Allett and makes the mowers in the UK.
Qualcast mowers are now made in China and sold in Homebase - (say no more)
Flymo mowers are also made in the UK, in Newton Aycliffe.
At Fredshed I like to support the factories and workers in my country and take the time and effort to research the provenance of every product I test and review
YOU can help Fredshed continue this work by wherever possible using the links on my website when you purchase any of these products. It will cost you nothing extra and your effort will support my site, my work and UK workers manufacturing products in our country. I will. where possible and when appropriate support the manufacturing of products in the UK in preference to the far east. Fred
Flymo Pac A Mow & Chevron Mowers -32-24" cut
Flymo Chevron 34 (on my lawn)
The Flymo Pac A Mow is similar size, (1 inch wider) is heavier and a bit more expensive, but compacts to fit a smaller space in your shed.
It has been around a few years now and is well liked and has no known significant faults. I would rather buy a Bosch but if this one suits your needs then please use the links below. All mass market domestic electrical goods are subject to spec changes and I am not always immediately made aware of this.
Bosch Rotak 34
From my research the Bosch Rotak 34 is a powerful, quality mower at a reasonable price. It has all the necessary features and no gimmicks. You can get similar looking mowers for less money but this one will last and is easy to use. It has a 340mm cut and wide, well made wheels, UK manufactured, and the required roller for our beloved stripes. Any foreign manufacturer who supplies mowers without a roller should be aware that Brits love stripy lawns and a mower without a roller to us is like a car without wheels. (or tea without milk)
The Rotak 34 has a roller for stripes, single lever height adjustment and the handles fold for better storage. The reviews and feedback from my readers are mostly very good.
From 2011 the new Rotak's have the Ergoflex handles which are a bit nicer to use.
BEST SMALL ELECTRIC Rotary MOWER
Golden Shed Award Winner
(Bosch Rotak 32 is same machine)
FOR BEST PRICE USE LINK BELOW
The Rotak 320 is being replaced by the Rotak 32 which has a larger motor and box!
The Rotak 32 and the Rotak 32 R are different
Only the 32R has a roller
It is still super- lightweight.
If you want a wider cut, or a few more features, the Rotak 34 is the one.
It was improved in 2011 with new handles and controls.
The Rotak 34 and all larger models have a rear roller as standard.
(The accessory on the right converts the mower to a mulcher)
New Ergoflex model with better handles
Optional mulching panel can save time and help feed your lawn
Best Electric Rotary Mower For Larger lawns
The best feature of these Bosch mowers are the Powerdrive motors which are the most robust available. Although it is mentioned on a couple of internet reviews I have not heard of one failure of these motors from my readers and I get thousands of e-mails every year.
Electric mowers can suffer from overheating so make sure you keep the vents to your motor clear of dust and dead grass.
I vacuum the vents on my electric mowers regularly to help the motors stay cool.
The advantage with this type of motor is that it delivers the power instantly so that it is not so easily strained when started up on long grass.
The Bosch Rotak range includes 5 machines with up to a 43mm cut and 1700W motor.
If you don't want to collect the cuttings there is an accessory that keeps the clippings rotating in the blades longer so they are mulched and can then be uses to return nutrients back to the lawn.
New Ergoflex model with better handles out 2011!
This link will take you to my partner site where you will usually find the best prices on Bosch mowers.
(And free delivery)
Top of the Range Electric Mowers - Hayter
The Hayter Envoy 36cm is at the top end of the price bracket for electric mowers. It is heavier than the Bosch equivalent but this weight and the substantial rear roller create great stripes on your lawn. The 1400w motor is quiet and the thick blade and vented box give a very nice cut. The other advantage with this premium mower is the 17m long cable, Bosch and Flymo have 12m ones. The other area where the Hayter is by far ahead is its one lever, easy cutting height adjustment. This is by far the best height adjustment mechanism I have seen.
Hayter mowers are based in Hertfordshire but only their petrol mowers are made in the UK. However their electric mowers are designed specifically for UK lawns where we like short cut , stripes and a fine finish. The USA and other hot countries mostly have broad leaved coarse grass which is kept long.
The best height adjuster I have seen so far.
BOSCH ROTAK RANGE
WITH GRASS COMBS, CUTS RIGHT TO THE EDGE
BEST ALL ROUND ELECTRIC MOWER
The features I like about the Bosch Rotak range are
Powerful but quiet motors,
Solid, easy to empty grass box with minimal blow back of dust
One lever height adjustment - with cut height written in mm
Cut right up to the edge with the grass combs and inset front wheels
Sturdy wheels with small rear roller to help produce the stripes we love to see.
Hayter Envoy 36 (also on my lawn)
Full width roller for best stripes
Superb motor and long cable
Other good quality mower?
How to Change or Sharpen a blade on a Rotary Mower
Tools required to sharpen a blade on my Bosch Rotak 37Li
medium size screwdriver with round shaft
17mm spanner, sharpening file (as shown above)
(use a ring spanner if you can as it is less likely to slip)
The same procedure and tools will work for most Bosch mowers
unplug or remove battery, Tip mower on side as shown
Turn blade to 11 O'clock, insert screwdriver in hole to block blade movement
place spanner at approx 11o'clock to match blade
push spanner down, or tap with mallet or bit of wood if stuck
Place blade in a vice or clamp,
file at an angle across blade
When blade is shiny again file the back side flat to make a sharp edge
Refitting the blade is simply the reverse of removal.
You may wish to wear gloves , have a tidier bench than me
and also spray a bit of lubricant on the bolt before putting it back
my favourite lube shown below is lavender scented and UK made!
Best Selling Small Electric Cylinder Mower
The Qualcast Concorde has been around for many years and was so well designed that it has not needed to change. Millions have been sold and it is the ideal mower for small well kept lawns. Don't buy it if you let your grass get long or want to cut it when it is wet.
GOT A SMALL LAWN?
Modern push mowers are surprisingly easy to use and will reduce your carbon footprint and waistline
NEW PRODUCT FOR 2011
FISKARS MOMENTUM PUSH MOWER
This new mower invented by my tools design Guru Marcus in Finland is the most advanced push mower yet.
It has a wider cut than previous push (or reel mowers) and unlike all of those that have gone before it can cut right to the edge.
The best feature of the Fiskars momentum is how easy it is too push and also that it can cut long grass!
Another good feature is that the handles are height adjustable and also can be quickly removed for easy storage.
I am currently testing the Fiskars Momentum and so far am very impressed.
The only downside I can see is that there is no grass box!, but there will be one available in 2012
The mower is quite expensive but is superb quality and will save you a fortune at the Gym!
UK COMPANY BUYS ATCO BRAND FROM BOSCH!
The Best Petrol and Electric Cylinder Mowers
If you are a real lawn enthusiast and want the best lawnmower that can give you that bowling green finish then you will be wanting a powered cylinder mower with a heavy metal grass roller like the famous ATCO brand mowers.
ATCO mowers have been made in Britain since 1921 and many of these vintage mowers are still in use. For some years the brand was owned by Bosch but in 2012 it was bought back to British ownership by entrepreneur Austin Jarrett who makes Allett professional mowers in Staffordshire.
The classic ATCO mowers will now be branded Allett and are made in Hixon Staffordshire, where a workface of 30 will carefully make each machine to the highest standards for precision cutting.
This is great news for lawn enthusiasts - so for ATCO , petrol and electric cylinder mowers look up ALLETT MOWERS
Go Green with a push mower!
If you cut your lawn regularly a push mower is an easy tool to use and has many advantages
1 It will help keep you fit
2 It uses no fuel (burns your fat)
3 It makes less noise
4 It is mechanically simple and is unlikely to go wrong
5 It is cheap to buy and run
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Solar Garden Lights
The Pros and Cons of the Hover Lawnmower
This is the Flymo vision, one of Britain's best selling lawnmowers. The idea is that it floats effortlessly on a cushion of air, and the plastic window allows you to see when the grassbox is full. Great.. However...
Whilst cutting it may float on air but you might give yourself a hernia carrying it from the shed.
As you start it and before it floats, the strain on the motor hitting the grass can be substantial and Flymo recommend that you tip it on its side.
If your lawn is bumpy the machine will not float as well but may scalp your lawn leaving ugly patches.
I am a big fan of my original petrol Flymo. It was ideal on rough grass and did not collect the cuttings. I think electric grass collecting hover mowers are relatively inefficient machines but take my hat off to Electrolux for superb marketing and innovation.
The new vision compact also has a superb cable rewind facility that I would like to see on other mowers.
A surprising fact about Flymo is that most of the mowers are actually made in the UK! so spares are easy to get hold of as long as your machine is not too old. To be realistic expect budget price electric mowers to last about 4-5 years, anymore that that is a bonus.
Originally Flymos never had grassboxes and I think these are still the best as the grass box adds weight when full and causes the mower not to float as well.
The cheap and light microlite has plastic blades so dont use this on lawns that might have stones. It is fine for small well kept lawns where you are not fussy about the finish.
The Flymo vision is a well made machine and will cut most lawns reasonably well. If you like the style get one, otherwise I would recommend a rotary mower with wheels, which is likely to last much longer as there will be less strain on the motor.
Flymo also make wheeled rotary mowers, including a clever compact folding model to save on storage space.
click links below to buy spare blades for Flymo Lawnmowers
compare prices of Flymo spares with the suppliers below
Top mower tip from Fred
You can make any mower last longer by cleaning the underside, keeping the blade sharp and mowing the lawn more often and not stressing the machine by cutting long grass.
Best Cordless Mower ?
Breakthrough in battery technology!
Bosch launch smaller model for 2009
Worx 24v quiet mulcher launched in 2010
The Bosch Rotak Li was new in 2007 and is the best battery powered mower I have ever seen. I have used my one for 5 seasons on the same battery and absolutely love it.
Over the years I have tested many cordless mowers and although I love the concept of "no cable -no petrol" none of the mowers are machines I would want as my main machine.
The Bosch Rotak Li is the exception due to its lightweight but very powerful 36v Lithium Ion rechargeable battery.
The new Worx mowers use "old tec" 24v lead acid batteries but have a longer duration.
See my page on cordless mowers for the latest info.
Robot Lawnmowers Tested and compared
There are 2 sorts of Robot Lawnmower.
Fully Robotic Lawmowers - Charge themselves and can be programmed to come out and cut the lawn whenever you like and on their own.
Automatic Lawnmowers - work alone - but need help re-charging and must be activated for each cut.
Both types have their advantages
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CLICK HERE FOR LAWN ROLLERS
Electric lawn rakers and scaryfiers tested
Small size and Electric Lawn rakers
To keep your lawn well drained and cleared of "thatch" build up I recommend using a powered lawnraker. (also known as an electric scarifier).
Raking a lawn by hand is for the super-fit, super-skint or totally insane!
Sadly, like grass trimmers there are a lot of poorly designed and made models available.
The Black and Decker GD200GB had been around for a long time and is a cheap and cheerful workhorse for lawnraking. It has been replaced by the GD300 with a 600w motor. Bosch made a similar and slightly better built model called the AMR32F lawn raker. It has now been replaced by two 900watt models. One has tines the other has metal blades and will rip your lawn apart.
If you have a large lawn you will need a more powerful lawn aerator. The budget price 400w electric ones are not up to the job and will take ages to cover the distance, or burn out under the strain. There are better and more expensive machines for larger lawns but at £70 these cheapie lawmakers I tested were adequate for use once a year on small lawns
TOP TIP - don't set blades too deep or use on hard dry lawns - this may burn out your motor!
Another option is the Qualcast Classic range of Cylinder mowers that come in petrol or electric versions and have the innovative QX scarifier cassette system. I have used the system and although it is a bit of a pain to fit it does work well.
I am currently testing the new Draper 1300W raker/scarifier which comes with 2 interchangeable cylinders, one with wire blades for raking and the other with fixed metal blades for deeper aerating. I am also testing the Bosch ALR 900 electric lawnraker and have used the Flymo model.
All of the above machines have their pros and cons, all could and should be improved.
Other good makes of heavier duty lawn rakers are
AL-KO and Wolf Garten
Please use my links or mail me if you need help choosing a lawnraker.
A good thing to look for is the availability of spares,
Tines may bend or break after a lot of use, especially if your lawn is too dry!
Wacky Races Wheelchair Lawnmower
What on Earth is This ?
Before I had a robot to cut my lawn I used this contraption. A petrol Flymo driven by an electric wheelchair.
It may look crazy but it really worked and was basically a ride on mower designed for my special needs.
If you need advice buying tools because your disabled in anyway, e mail email@example.com for expert advice.
For the following lawn care tools
Lightweight Lawn shears
Telescopic Lawn Shears
Long Handled Lawn Shears
Lawn Edging Shears
Lawn Edging knife
Quality Lawnmowers are cheaper in the long run
This one is an old Wolf Cub mower that I rescued from a skip!
Although it is about 16 years old all I had to do was to scrape some concrete off it, replace the cord, (£3.50) and hey presto! a quality mower rides again.
The moral of the story is to buy a good mower that lasts - but don't throw it in a skip! This excellent mower from Wolf of Germany may well outlive the cheaper mowers being sold today at large DIY outlets.
The 2010 equivalent of this machine is the Wolf 2.32E which costs about £109 whilst the more advanced 34 compact plus has the superb mulch and mow option that lets you leave "dust fine" clippings on your lawn to help replenish nutrients.
Great Tip To Save Time!
Use your mower to collect the leavers on the lawn in winter.
Even if the lawn does not need cutting the mower will collect the leaves, beats raking any day!
personal advice - on
buying mowers, (on and off-line) mail me at
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