From robots to cordless, impress your neighbours with a thoroughly modern machine, says Jean Vernon.
Never before has the lawnmower market been more green, eclectic and colourful. Green in terms of the machines’ eco credentials, offering quieter running, improved efficiency and hi-tech recyclable components. Eclectic with the wide range of power choices, the huge variety of options for user comfort and performance and optional extras linking seamlessly with today’s hi-tech interconnectivity. Colourful thanks to the rainbow spectrum of liveries available as well as the intriguing option to customise your mower with patterned graphics and more.
For advice and demonstrations, visit your local garden machinery specialist and discuss the right mower for your needs.
This season’s crop of new mowers is awash with quiet, cordless garden robots, the fastest growing category in the UK lawnmower market. These dawdling, tortoise-like pods, once the choice for small, suburban plots and hi-tech fans, now include both affordable, entry-level bots and state-of-the-art grass cutters that cope with up to an acre of lawn or more. Most have a charging house to retire to that needs a power supply. Many check the weather before venturing out and can be programmed via smartphones and even Google’s Alexa. All cut just the grass tips regularly, in effect mulching as they mow.
The Ambrogio Robot L60 Deluxe, £999, is the only robot lawnmower for domestic use that doesn’t use a perimeter wire. Instead, it is fitted with sensors that detect where the lawn stops, sunken flower beds, fences, walls and obstacles on the grass. Put it on the lawn, press go and it mows for two hours, cutting about a tennis court before it needs recharging. You can use it on multiple lawns (ambrogio.co.uk; 01522 283028).
One smart machine
The Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD, £4,400 (main photo), is an AI-enabled, robotic mower with LED headlights, all-wheel drive and smart home connectivity. This fully autonomous robotic lawnmower is designed to manage rough terrain and slopes with an incline of up to 70 per cent, over areas of 37,370 sq ft for up to 100 minutes before recharging. It works with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT, and provides an open API for smart home integration (husqvarna.com).
For fumeless, effortless convenience the next generation of cordless lawnmowers offer more power and more tech options for your money.
Electric cars are becoming mainstream, running off hi-tech rechargeable batteries with a range of up to 300 miles. So it is no surprise that all-electric ride-on lawnmowers are coming to a garden near you soon. Battery powered mowers (including the robots) are the inevitable future for most UK consumers.
The Stihl RMA 2 RT, £479.99, is robust, with an eco mode setting for longer battery life; use on full power for tougher grass. Fitted with flow-optimised mulching blades, it can run on one STIHL PRO battery, or double up for longer cutting time. Cuts up to 5,380 sq ft with an AP 300 battery that fits other Stihl tools (stihl.co.uk; 01276 417678).
Echo Tools has launched its first cordless lawnmower. The LM-58V4AH, £570, is designed to pack a similar punch to a petrol equivalent, cutting at 21in (53cm) width for up to 40 minutes while offering great green credentials: low noise, no emissions in use and the convenience of not having a pullstart. The 58V interchangeable battery fits other Echo tools (echo-tools.co.uk; 0800 597 7777).
Seeing is believing
There was a time when a battery-powered cylinder mower was a kind of holy grail. It’s reality now with the Liberty Cordless Li-Ion cylinder mower from Allett, from £589. With one walk-behind (12in/30cm cut) and two self-propelled models (14in/35cm and 17in/43cm cut), you can keep the tradition of bowling green stripes (allett.co.uk; 01889 271503).
Light up your life
For smaller lawns (up to 4,305 sq ft) with the convenience of batteries that fit other Ego products consider the EGO Power Plus LM1700E, £479. It offers three-in-one options for clippings: bag them, mulch or side discharge. Plus LED headlights and new technology to prevent battery overheating (egopowerplus.co.uk; 0115 964 5916).
Lawnmowers with built-in batteries are often the more cost effective, basic range. Those with removable batteries offer more flexibility – often the battery fits other tools within the same range (multi-tools).
At the top or professional end comes smart, interchangeable technology, for more efficient longer-life motors with longer run time.
Petrol mowers still fulfil a need in large gardens where longer run times are required. Tougher grass, varied topography and larger lawns require the torque that these petrol machines offer. Today’s models now provide even better efficiency and cleaner engines thanks to Euro 5/Stage V Emissions legislation.
Packs a punch
The Honda HRX 476 QX, £1,079, self-propelled, with a rear roller, is fitted with the new GCVx engine, to meet emissions legislation. It features easy start, with improved torque, plus Roto-Stop so you can stop the blades and move the mower without switching off the engine. A new exhaust design reduces noise; 19in (47cm) cutting width (honda.co.uk; 0345 200 8000).
The AL-KO T13-93.8 HD-A Black Edition, £2,299, is a petrol tractor offering comfort mowing for large areas. Many features are more commonly seen on premium tractor models, such as hydrostatic drive and a powerful 5.8kW, low vibration engine. It has a 37in (93cm) cut and large 220-litre catcher box that can be easily emptied from the driver’s seat. Make it fit your needs with the extensive range of lawn tractor accessories; mulching kit, tow hitch, garden roller, trailer and more (al-ko.com/shop; 01963 828055).
Close to the edge
The Hayter Harrier 48 Auto-Drive, £1,059, has variable speed and a blade brake clutch that stops the cutting blade while the Briggs & Stratton engine is still running, so you can move between grassed areas. The cutting deck is cast aluminium for corrosion resistance, durability and longevity. You can cut right up to the edge of the lawn with the mower trim feature and the split rear roller creates stripes. For medium to large lawns with 19in (48cm) cutting width (hayter.co.uk; 01279 723444).
New emissions legislation
Petrol lawnmowers now need to adhere to the Euro 5 (also known as Stage V) legislation that requires that all new spark ignition engines generating less than 19kW of power have highly efficient particle control technology, so that they meet lower limits on emissions.