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rans6andrew
22nd Apr 2018, 20:55
I was on the lookout for a new mower for my Ma, her last one died due to neglect.

The helpful chappie in the mower shop has recommended we opt for a battery powered machine. The thinking behind this is that there is no pull starter to struggle with (she has been getting a neighbour to help her to get it going), no need to fetch petrol (she doesn't have a car, there is no garage in her village), there is no need to keep the oil level up (the neglect referred to above), the overall weight of the electric machine is less. The pull starting issue is made worse now that all petrol mowers are required to stop the engine if the operator lets go of the handle, something you do when you empty the grass box.

I have been put off electric start petrol mowers just by listening to our neighbour struggling with hers. Fresh off the charger with a cold engine it turns over like a sewing machine and bursts into life as expected. However, after emptying the grassbox (engine stops!) the mower is reluctant to restart. She usually gets it going a couple of times but each start takes a bit more out of the battery and it sounds more tired at each attempt. Eventually it doesn't turn over and she puts it back on charge, returning to finish cutting the gtass the following day. The mower is only a couple of years old ........... I have seen the local mower service man's van outside but the problems persist. It just doesn't want to play the game when the engine is warm.

The battery electric mower brochure suggests that one of the range is good for up to 600 sq metres but the chappie couldn't say how long the grass could be and it still manage the 600 sq metres. The pictures in the brochure show a happy bloke with his mower on a lawn with about as much grass length as the nap on a pool table. My Ma's lawns amount to about 600 sq metres.

Have any of you helpful folk got any experience with battery powered mowers?

The old mower has a 2.6kW petrol engine, the battery electric mower has only 500W motor and a 400Watt hour battery, can they really be equivalent? They are both 21 inch diameter rotary cut machines.

Help!

Rans6.............................................

rogerg
22nd Apr 2018, 21:10
My electric mower, Sovering from homebase is the best thing I ever bought. Smallish lawn and replacing a cable one. 4 years now and still going strong.

VP959
22nd Apr 2018, 21:14
We only have a small lawn, so a couple of years ago I decided to switch to a battery mower. As I already had a lot of Makita 18V lithium power tools, I had a couple of chargers and half a dozen battery packs, so I bought a "bare bones" Makita mower (sold without batteries or charger).

It takes two 18V battery packs, so runs at 36V. In general it's very quick and easy to use, with plenty of battery life - my guess is that it will easily run for 30 to 40 mins under a light load. On the positive side it's very light, very easy to use and the battery packs are easy to remove, recharge and replace.

On the downside, it hasn't got the power to deal with tall or very thick grass, so you need to stay on top of things, but cutting the grass regularly. On the highest setting it will tackle a bit of overgrowth, so when I've left the grass a bit too long I've gone over the lawn two, or even three, times, lowering the setting for each pass, which works OK, and for us it manages this easily on a single charge.

The biggest downside for this model is the cost. If it wasn't for the fact that I already had a lot of Makita battery packs and a couple of chargers, I'd not have considered it, just on price alone.

These battery mowers do sacrifice sheer power for convenience, but the more powerful models are around the same power as a mains powered electric mower, and not much heavier now that they have reliable and long-lived lithium batteries.

So the simple answer is that if used regularly they are fine, let the grass get too long and thick and they will struggle.

chevvron
22nd Apr 2018, 21:28
Got a Ryobi 18v from Homebase which came with a 4.6 A/hr battery (and a 'strimmer') but it's not quite enough for my lawn (about 20ft x 50ft) without a re-charge so had to buy an extra battery.

ShyTorque
22nd Apr 2018, 22:12
The pull starting issue is made worse now that all petrol mowers are required to stop the engine if the operator lets go of the handle.But that's nothing a looped tie wrap "helping hand" can't fix....

But my wife persuaded me to buy "her" a second hand electric start ride-on mower last year. So far she's used it once :rolleyes: . But at least it takes me a lot less time to do our three lawns; before it took me a couple of hours and about a dozen walks to the compost heap to empty the grass box.

tdracer
22nd Apr 2018, 23:02
Not sure which of these might be available on your side of the pond, but here are some helpful reviews:
https://www.consumerreports.org/lawn-mowers-and-tractors/electric-lawn-mowers-finally-make-the-cut/

https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/tools/reviews/g122/we-test-the-best-battery-powered-lawnmowers/

Both Popular Mechanics and Consumer Reports are reasonably unbiased and trustworthy.
BTW, at least on this side of the pond, you can get gas mowers with a blade brake clutch - when you let go the blade stops but the engine keeps running - adds about $100 to the price of the mower (it's what I have).
That being said, if my current Honda gas mower gives up, I'd give serious consideration to battery power - especially now that they have self propelled models.

Gertrude the Wombat
22nd Apr 2018, 23:44
One possible answer is to get involved in politics. As the elections are (almost) always the first Thursday in May, there's no way I'm going to be the slightest bit interested in taking time to mow the lawns before then. Which means that someone else always gets to deal with it first

At ease
23rd Apr 2018, 01:50
I was on the lookout for a new mower for my Ma, her last one died due to neglect.
<SNIP>


What about robotic mowers?

They are, of course, much more expensive than a petrol or electric push mower, but their prices are coming down.

Some are now well under $A2000 for the less capable versions which should adequately look after 600 sq.m.

My lawn is complicated in layout and terrain difficult, but I look forward to the time when I can get a robot to take over at least some of the arduous task I face and complement the contractor with a ride on that I employ to do the really big and largely steep part of my yard.

Hopefully, within a few years the guidance systems on offer will improve enough to make them easier to do the initial setup and ongoing tasking on a complicated yard such as mine(lots of obstacles), and the prices will come down further to make a moderate duty version a practical possibility.

Has anyone got any feedback on robotic mowers?

handsfree
23rd Apr 2018, 07:19
I bought a robotic mower and have been using it for a week now. Very
pleased with it. It's a at the cheaper end of what's available (£500) but
since having the dialysis catheter inserted into my abdomen I found that pull
starting the petrol mower wasn't pleasant. It's a Flymo 1200R.
Takes a bit of effort getting the boundary and guide wires set up but after
that it just gets on with life all by itself.

The Flymo is designed to deal with lawns up to 400m2 and can handle
slopes of up to 25%.

UniFoxOs
23rd Apr 2018, 07:28
I dug up my lawn and concreted over, now I don't need a mower or the time to do it. If I had to have a lawn mower then battery would be the first choice - I got SWMBO a battery vacuum a year ago or so - does everything as well as the Dyson or the central vac, and much lighter to use as you get older.

G-CPTN
23rd Apr 2018, 07:42
Guineapigs are the solution - just confine them using a moveable 'cage' made from chicken wire to prevent them eating flowers and plants.

tartare
23rd Apr 2018, 10:55
I can see this going the same way as the Weber thread.
The electricalists versus the petrolists.
I myself am firmly a petrolist.
Have run over too many cords and put up with shite batteries to be otherwise.
Now I am unrestrained by cables in accessing the far reaches of Tartare Towers' archery lawns.
Thank you, Victor 4 stroke 140ccs of grass cutting perfection.
The waft of petrol and shimmer of gasoline vapour as one fills the beast up.
The loverly smell of fresh clippings.
And - I contribute to the `strayan sound of suburban summer - the distant roar of the rotary mower, carried on the warm breeze.
Can't get that with ya Ryobi multi-function battery nonsense...

Tech Guy
23rd Apr 2018, 12:35
How about a pygmy goat. Rather cute and fun little animals. They will happily eat all the grass and weeds. In 5 years time, they will make a lovely curry. :)

Andrewgr2
23rd Apr 2018, 14:59
I'd recommend a cable electric mower. I've used one for over 30 years and have never managed to cut the wire. Just keep cutting away from the cable. Cheaper, and probably lighter than a battery mower, with no worries about running out of power half way through the job.

I'm guessing that the most distant part of the 600m2 of lawn isn't more than about 50m from power which is fine for a longish extension cable. My first one was a cylinder mower which was a bit of a pain to keep sharp and adjusted - the replacement is a rotary mower. Very light, easy to maintain and I don't usually bother to collect the clippings because they are cut up pretty finely and soon disappear.

I used to be annoyed by a neighbour who insisted on using a petrol mower to cut a relatively small lawn. Annoying and totally unnecessary noise - as well as the greatly increased maintenance problems compared with electric.

Of course, if money is no object, the OP could go for a robot lawnmower. Set them up and forget them. And impress the neighbours!

Andrewgr2
23rd Apr 2018, 15:02
Just notices that At Ease has commented on robotic mowers. I idly inquired on how well they were, or were not, selling at a garden centre near Henley on Thames. Apparently not selling too well because they don't 'do stripes'!

oldchina
23rd Apr 2018, 15:14
So many posts without finding the obvious answer:
Don't have a lawn. You won't die without it.

meadowrun
23rd Apr 2018, 15:19
I sympathise with home owners.
It's usually their closest regular contact with nature. (gardens not just squares of grass)
Just a tiny scrap of it. But, a good thing nevertheless.

4mastacker
23rd Apr 2018, 15:30
Guineapigs are the solution - just confine them using a moveable 'cage' made from chicken wire to prevent them eating flowers and plants.

Plus they don't go into tunnelling mode unlike our late bunny.

Krystal n chips
23rd Apr 2018, 16:10
Just notices that At Ease has commented on robotic mowers. I idly inquired on how well they were, or were not, selling at a garden centre near Henley on Thames. Apparently not selling too well because they don't 'do stripes'!

Therein may lieth a clue regarding the pretentions of the denizens of this over hyped and overpriced idyll nestling at the end of a branch line which, quite remarkably, wasn't actually closed many years ago...in contrast to the rest of the UK

Back to why a quick visit to B n Q and parting with £50 ( they were reduced ) works as intended. Plug in, press handle, away you go.

ethicalconundrum
23rd Apr 2018, 16:23
I have a lot of rentals with a lot of grass. 600^2M is quite a decent size for a residential mower. Doubt that any of the battery ones(including robotic) will handle that with one charge. Of course, if the job is let go in spring and summer I'm sure none of them will make the grade. Further, as the battery ages, it will do less and less each time.

I have three AC electric mowers for tenants with similar yards, and a 150ft(46M) cord with a reel. I explain to them once that one starts mowing at the garage, and proceeds outward from the power outlet. It's almost criminal if there is a situation where they would run over the cable, but if they do, they get to either buy a new 150' cable, or have the one spliced and repaired. So far only one tenant in the past 6 years has managed to mow over the cable, and they had it fixed promptly.

I would opine if Ma has the wherewithal to mow with the gas version, she could easily be adapted to an AC mower. No need for oil of course.

I'd likely look at the FlyMo 360 model. 36cm width.

rans6andrew
23rd Apr 2018, 16:26
There's a coincidence, Andrewgr2! I was in a garden centre near to Henley on Thames when I was talking to the helpful chappie. I have put the options to my Ma, she thought it would be worth soliciting the views of the lady from across her road, who not only runs a garden maintenance business but also is now employed to cut my Ma's grass. She is happy to fetch petrol and work a pull start mower and said whatever mower we buy needs to be able to cope with a good length of grass as it won't be getting cut until it looks like it needs it. In addition, a fair proportion of the lawn is moss rather than grass which slows mowers down unless they have plenty of oomph.

It looks like a 53cm rotary, self propelled, 4 wheel petrol machine is the answer. This will be an outlay of about half of the battery electric machine which looks like the other choice. On asking it turns out that my Ma's front grass area is over 600 sq metres (my Pa had laid out an oval of model railway (ride on size) track 84 feet wide and a little bit longer than that on there), there is further grass areas to the side and rear of the property. This would suggest the battery mower for up to 1000 sq metres which comes in at about 900UKP.

rans6andrew
23rd Apr 2018, 16:27
ps thanks for every one's input, all noted and considered. Rans6.....

DType
23rd Apr 2018, 16:31
Bought a cheapo mains electric mower from Dobbins, worked until something broke, tried to order spares, "You cannot be serious!"
Same with a cheapo cordless vac.
I think maybe I have learned a lesson?

ShyTorque
23rd Apr 2018, 19:26
Guineapigs are the solution - just confine them using a moveable 'cage' made from chicken wire to prevent them eating flowers and plants.

My garden would need hundreds of the little bu&&ers and our Jack Russell Terrorist would literally have a field day...
We have recently discussed hiring a few goats to deal with the rest of the undergrowth here.

Pontius Navigator
23rd Apr 2018, 21:28
I don't think it was mentioned, but we had a battery start powered petrol mower. Doesn't get round the petrol supply issue but does get you a powerful mower.

On cutting really long grass I tip the mower back and clip the top few inches and then repeat with a normal long cut.

RINKER
23rd Apr 2018, 21:40
Slight thread drift, but I have experience of robotic mowers in that I used to be an agent for one of the main brands. Husqvarna.
Very good if installed correctly and if you have a Dealer who specialises in them.
I use one myself having just got my second one.
My lawn is 5,000 sq Mtrs and the large machine does a great job. My first one did about 30,000 hours over the last 9 years and had in that time, two sets of batteries, one set of drive wheels, and three sets of front wheel bearings. Plus numerous sets of blades about four sets per season.
The latest one is controlled from an app on my phone from anywhere in the world and alerts me if it has problems or is stolen, where it can be gps tracked.
Every customer I sold one to loved them, but we always vetted them to make sure their garden was suitable.
The grass always looks great, never long or too short.
R

timm127
24th Apr 2018, 11:21
Slight thread drift, but I have experience of robotic mowers in that I used to be an agent for one of the main brands. Husqvarna.
Very good if installed correctly and if you have a Dealer who specialises in them.
I use one myself having just got my second one.
My lawn is 5,000 sq Mtrs and the large machine does a great job. My first one did about 30,000 hours over the last 9 years and had in that time, two sets of batteries, one set of drive wheels, and three sets of front wheel bearings. Plus numerous sets of blades about four sets per season.
The latest one is controlled from an app on my phone from anywhere in the world and alerts me if it has problems or is stolen, where it can be gps tracked.
Every customer I sold one to loved them, but we always vetted them to make sure their garden was suitable.
The grass always looks great, never long or too short.
R

Agree completely with this. Our garden has about 4000 sq mtrs of lawn and is sloping. A sit on would be potentially lethal in the wet, whereas the robot mower (Husqvarna 450x) just gets on with it come rain or shine. The best bit is that there no visible clippings, so no issues having to get rid of mounds of cut grass. It does attract a fair bit of attention from passing tourists though!

Highly recommended

Pontius Navigator
24th Apr 2018, 13:33
Rinker, I see you mention 4 blades per season, are these very different from a conventional powered mower? In 30 years and 3 machines, I have never replaced my blades, sharpened occasionally but infrequently.

Pontius Navigator
24th Apr 2018, 13:44
On reflection I don't think a robotic machine would suit our garden. We do not have hard borders between flowers and lawn. From January we have snow drops, daffodils, blue bells, muscari, orchids, and other wild flowers in parts of the lawn and mow around each as applicable.

RINKER
24th Apr 2018, 21:34
Hi Pontious.
The blades are tiny disposable tips. Usually three per machine fitted to a plastic disc with a non driven metal skid plate below.
As for snowdrops etc. For these situations we created zoned off areas which could be switched on and off when required.
Tim yes I now have the 450x also. Previously had the 560 which was not too common which I got the first one off the production line serial number 0001. It helps when your a dealer. !
Passed it onto a friend and itís still working.
R

Pontius Navigator
24th Apr 2018, 21:50
Rinker, thank you, that would work.

4mastacker
24th Apr 2018, 22:41
Bought a cheapo mains electric mower from Dobbins, worked until something broke, tried to order spares, "You cannot be serious!"
Same with a cheapo cordless vac.
I think maybe I have learned a lesson?

Try these folks.

Solent Tools (https://www.solenttools.co.uk/index.php)

I bought a lawn raker from a major DIY store - it was their house brand - and when the tines needed replacement, the store said "You can't order the spares, but we can sell you a new machine". This company listed the correct tines and I had them within a couple of days.

Brian W May
24th Apr 2018, 23:01
I can see this going the same way as the Weber thread.
The electricalists versus the petrolists.
I myself am firmly a petrolist.
Have run over too many cords and put up with shite batteries to be otherwise.
Now I am unrestrained by cables in accessing the far reaches of Tartare Towers' archery lawns.
Thank you, Victor 4 stroke 140ccs of grass cutting perfection.
The waft of petrol and shimmer of gasoline vapour as one fills the beast up.
The loverly smell of fresh clippings.
And - I contribute to the `strayan sound of suburban summer - the distant roar of the rotary mower, carried on the warm breeze.
Can't get that with ya Ryobi multi-function battery nonsense...

Ah . . . yes, totally agree . . . mine is just a little smaller (THE MOWER!!!)

Snyggapa
25th Apr 2018, 13:47
1967 Suffolk super punch, 20 quid from ebay. Starts first pull, cuts the lawn like a dream, probably good for another 50 years as long as it gets minor maintenance (oil change and greased nipples. ooo errr)

Pontius Navigator
25th Apr 2018, 19:06
How about a pygmy goat. Rather cute and fun little animals. They will happily eat all the grass and weeds. In 5 years time, they will make a lovely curry. :)
By coincidence, today's Torygraph had a story of goats coming into Llandudno as there is a shortage of food on St Ormes Head.

RINKER
25th Apr 2018, 20:13
Hi Snyggapa

A nice old machine for sure. Have overhauled dozens of them.
Yours has the good cast iron engine, the later alloy ones were a bit soft
The Wipac ignition in yours can be temperamental and the idle jet in the
Zenith carb can block quite easily. They can also suffer from worn
cutter cylinder bearings so watch out for play in these.
Worth popping the cylinder head off and decoking it to prevent cylider
scoring. Enjoy though, they really donít make them like that anymore.
Meetens in London is a good source for parts.
R

treadigraph
25th Apr 2018, 21:38
My aunt has a, ageing and slightly rusty Suffolk Punch in her garage - we were going to leave it at the end of the drive for scrap but if it has any value...?

Pontius Navigator
26th Apr 2018, 07:24
Treadigraph, there is a well known auction site and somewhere in the World is someone that wants exactly what you don't.

I sold a bricked mobile phone for half the price of its replacement. In house clearing put loads of 'crap' on. If it didn't sell a quick trip to the charity shop. Got a letter from the latter with a gift aid tax return for £154. If you have time, turn everything into cash rather than landfill.

Snyggapa
26th Apr 2018, 08:24
My aunt has a, ageing and slightly rusty Suffolk Punch in her garage - we were going to leave it at the end of the drive for scrap but if it has any value...?

Yep, either auction it or stick it on Gumtree or pre-loved. You might only get a few quid better than landfill, but better models, ideally running you can get lucky with.

Or if you know what you are doing, break it down and sell it for parts. I'll have the cap from the fuel tank as a start!

-Steve

treadigraph
26th Apr 2018, 09:54
Thanks guys - I don't really want to go the auction route or have any strangers come to visit her unless I can be there.

There is an incredible selection of tools - including surely the world's foremost collection of files, rasps and chisels - which I am going to offer to one of the charities that refurbishes and then ships to third world countries. Not sure they'd want the mower, but I guess it's worth asking! It may actually work, it's bloody heavy so may have been quietly retired in favour of the lightweight electric mowers - of which there are two!

This is a coalescence of my late uncle's tools, plus his brother's and father's who lived in adjacent houses and where my aunt now lives on her own having sold her own house - they all were very handy and bought whatever they needed for the house, car, whatever... and didn't throw anything away. I've taken about twenty or thirty car-loads of scrap metal, wood and other stuff for recycling already, plus filled two skips; uncle's brother fitted electrical appliances and seemed to have half of Seeboard's spares stock in his garage and loft - for cookers and fires that must surely have been consigned to history throughout the land now... Also, old clutch plates, brake pads, alternators, radiators, etc, etc...

My aunt, lovely woman, doesn't want the mess left to be cleared up when she goes...

Pontius Navigator
26th Apr 2018, 10:16
For that lot a car boot sale is an option. Took a load of stuff from my aunt's house when she passed on. Bacalite fetched a premium as did vintage tools. One item was a 5 amp to 13 amp adaptor- snapped up. Claw hammer with ball bearing in the claw. Chap didn't know what it was for but had to have it!

treadigraph
26th Apr 2018, 10:56
A friend of hers has taken a lot of electrical bits and pieces, including old 5amp round pin stuff - now I know why! :}

Rossian
26th Apr 2018, 18:32
For treadigraph
Have a scout around in your area for a "Men's Shed" they can always do a bit of refurbishing for their own use or pass them on to other sheds. Well worth supporting and they always do cupe of tea and biccies.

The Ancient Mariner