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Topic # 139212 31-Jan-2014 13:12 Send private message

I have moved into a house with a very small lawn (about 40 square metres) and I need to get a lawn mower for it.

I bought a very cheap hand mower from The Warehouse, but it's so light that it pretty much just bounces over the lawn and I have to go over each part of the lawn a dozen times or more just to cut anything!  It's mostly plastic and aluminium.

When I was young I used to use an old hand mower and it did a good job, but it was iron and heavy and didn't have a catcher.

I visited a garden shop and the shop assistant tried to put me off hand mowers ("you have to get the blades professionally sharpened and that costs a lot") and on to an electric mower ("only a bit more expensive than a hand mower and you get a catcher and you can sharpen the blades yourself with a file").

The model I was looking at is a Wolf Garten Campus 320E, which they wanted $349 for.  I'd never heard of the "Wolf Garten" brand before, and I can't find any reviews for this model.

I like the idea of electric, no having to worry about petrol.  Looking at the Bunnings and Mitre 10 websites they have other brands of electric mowers, some as low as $169.  They have different wattages, ranging from 900W for the Wolf Garten up to 1500W for a Flymo (although I don't really want the traditional Flymo, the one without a catcher, but Flymo also make one with wheels and a catcher).

Does anyone have any experience with electric mowers?  Do they do as good a job as a petrol mower?

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Reply # 978062 31-Jan-2014 13:20 Send private message

only experience was my uncle had one about 15 years ago and small lawn.   Did a good job easy to use.   Only problem when he did it himself he would cut the cord.  Personally I would get a cordless now days for a small lawn.  Battery will last long enough to cut whole lawn and dont have to worry about chopping the cord.   BUT you have to make sure battery charged in advance when you want to mow the lawn so have to plan ahead




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  Reply # 978064 31-Jan-2014 13:22 Send private message

You get what you pay for. The cheapies struggle with long grass- in fact this will burn them out. Generally they have inserts to change their heights (the cheapest ones). A *good* electric one will cost you $500+

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  Reply # 978071 31-Jan-2014 13:30 Send private message

I mowed the lawns of an elderly neighbour for a couple of years as a teenager using her electric Flymo (model with no wheels) and it worked just fine.

Heaps of options here:  http://www.trademe.co.nz/home-living/outdoor-garden-conservatory/lawnmowers/electric 

I have a philosophical allergy to catching grass clippings on our 1/4 acre.  (My mother-in-law rakes her lawn clippings up...  madness... the only thing I want after mowing the lawns is a cold beer).  If I had a tiny lawn I'd get an electric mower and mow every week to avoid having to catch.




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  Reply # 978075 31-Jan-2014 13:39 Send private message

I've owned two electric lawnmowers over the past eight years, and use neither of them now! The first was cheapish one from Bunnings; this pretty much got destroyed by running over stones when mowing the shared grass strip down our driveway in our previous house - be warned, the body on an electric mower is inevitably plastic, and is prone to chip, crack and generally get damaged easily!

When the first one died, I bought a more expensive, more powerful model from Mitre 10 - a Morrison (think it's still current). This, like the previous one, was STILL underpowered. While it can mow neatly enough (though see later), it has a real tendency to get block easily (again, the same happened with the previous one). The grass in the catcher, even when only partly full, falls foward, meaning the strain on the motor means it won't re-start. This requires either a big wiggle of it to try to get it dislodged, or most time turning it on its side to remove the block (just a small lump of grass!).

Another problem common to both models I've owned is poor design in the controls - both used a hand switch, and in both cases this was very uncomfortable to hold AND gave up working properly (in the first case, seeing small flames coming out of the hand control was a giveaway that not everything was quite right. It went to the dump straight after that.).

The mowing process is ok, though it's annoying to keep the cable always free of the mower. I also recall having to often mow the lawn more than once to get an acceptable result; this, combined with the constant stopping to clear blockages and empty an only half-full catcher, meant mowing our lawns took forever.

I've given up with electric mowers, now; the hassles as detailed above are just overwhelm the benefits for me. I broke my promise to myself not to get a petrol mower (one I had made for environmental reasons) and picked up a decent one s/h off TM - best decision I've made re outdoor tools. Now I can mow all our lawns in about 25 minutes, compared to the 2sh hours it would often take previously.

So, I understand the reasons why you'd want one, especially for a small lawn, but do think carefully about it. If you do get one, I'd recommend getting a powerful model and also mowing your lawn regularly - this should help minimise the blockage problem. The best thing would be to try one out, if that's possible, to see how you find it.


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  Reply # 978078 31-Jan-2014 13:51 Send private message

I've got a Flymo handmower which has worked well for almost 10 years.

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  Reply # 978079 31-Jan-2014 13:53 Send private message

We were in a similar situation, had a hand mower (morrison) but after a year, the clutch wore out and it started slipping (the clutch was made of a nylon type plastic).  Was going to go electric, but the price along with having to deal with a cable put me off.    Ended up buying a petrol one from the warehouse on special for $199,  runs ok, does an average job, but for the price and a 12 month warranty can't really complain. 

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  Reply # 978080 31-Jan-2014 13:54 Send private message

If a good electric mower costs $500, I'd suggest a standard basic petrol mower. Quicker and less hassle, and if its small lawn the mower willl last a looong time. It will be a long term asset instead of possibly a frustration and re purchases down the track

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  Reply # 978081 31-Jan-2014 13:57 Send private message

tdgeek: If a good electric mower costs $500, I'd suggest a standard basic petrol mower. Quicker and less hassle, and if its small lawn and the mower willl last a long time.


Also, you may get better value second-hand - eg I bought a decent Masport with alloy deck for less than a Warehouse jobby; sure, no warranty but it's going to do a better job, won't rust, and chances are it'll last longer.

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  Reply # 978082 31-Jan-2014 13:59 Send private message

I've had a Victa Lawnkeeper ESP360 for six years. It was recommended by Consumer magazine back then. It's been a great tool for me, it's still working fine, in that time I've replaced the blade once as it's not much more expensive than sharpening it. Mine's a bit banged up, but that's because it's so light I used to use it as a hedge trimmer. In that time I've run over one cord, but I was pretty hung over at the time. Get an RCD to keep yourself safe, but I mow my lawn in light rain if I need to.

So long as your lawn isn't like a field it should be fine. Once the grass gets over say 10-15cm high it takes a bit longer but still works. Note that the catcher isn't huge so you empty it more than with an electric model. It's nice and quiet too, which is the primary reason I bought it. Buying now for my 160 sq m lawn I'd probably try to get a bigger one, but I like the Victa so I may buy another of those.

For sale here. I got mine from an independent store somewhere in Lower Hutt.




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  Reply # 978084 31-Jan-2014 14:01 Send private message

I've never had an electric mower but have had an electric lawn edger and line trimmer.

At our last place I could reach the whole property with one extension cord and the electric line trimmer was a very good choice, no trees or obstructions (see below).  When we shifted I needed an edger so bought an electric one to avoid having to mix two stroke fuel.

While both units did a good job I could no longer reach the whole section with one cord. As I was trailing the extension cord I had a lot a backtracking as I had to re trace my steps back around trees and obstructions.  Also there were many spots where the cord kept having to be moved away from the cutting area.  The electric trimmer and edger were costing a lot of time and effort.

I bit the bullet and bought a petrol (2 stroke) Shindiawa multi head trimmer and edger.  It has cut the time in half that I was spending on that part of the lawn mowing.

In short a good quality electric mower might be the perfect answer for you but I would probably not buy another electric lawn care product.

So far as the push mower goes.  I used one as a kid, they did a good job, I don't remember them ever needing a lot of maintenance especially so far as sharpening went. They certainly needed to be sharpened but not that often, their very design tended to hone the cutting edges anyway.  I've looked at a few of the modern ones and wondered how good they were as they didn't look to be heavy enough for the wheels to provide enough traction to drive the blades.  If you could find an old one then I'd say you'd be OK with one of these.






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  Reply # 978090 31-Jan-2014 14:06 Send private message

Has the OP considered adding some weight to the push mower? A secondhand diving weight belt or similar may be enough to satisfy the requirements as long as looks are not important.




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

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  Reply # 978101 31-Jan-2014 14:17 Send private message

Technofreak: I've looked at a few of the modern ones and wondered how good they were as they didn't look to be heavy enough for the wheels to provide enough traction to drive the blades.  If you could find an old one then I'd say you'd be OK with one of these.


Totally agree re quality of new versus old push mowers. I'm the first to break the trend of push mowers in my family - my 81-year-old father and nearly 80-year-old mother still mow their decent-sized lawns on their 1/4 acre section with a push mower! All in the family have "old" mowers; these are cheap to buy, and apparently it's worth having them occasionally set and sharpened by a pro; regular setting is easy enough to do oneself.  The quality of the results of old versus new mowers is obvious, with the former being greatly superior. I wonder if the sheer heft of the old ones helps?

Sounds a sensible plan - if you're not swayed by a petrol mower, why not go old-school with a quality serviced push mower?

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  Reply # 978102 31-Jan-2014 14:17 Send private message

Dynamic has made a good suggestion.

I just went and look at your link.  It's only 900 Watts.  That's not that grunty, my electric line trimmer was 1100 watts.

Your average Masport is about 2600 watts (3.5hp)




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  Reply # 978106 31-Jan-2014 14:21 Send private message

Thanks for all the advice everyone!

I've pretty much decided not to get the electric mower the guy in the shop tried to sell me, basically because it's the most expensive electric mower in the ones I've looked at and has the lowest wattage (meaning less power I guess).

I've just finished reading lots of review of the Flymo's that Bunnings are selling for $299 (mainly UK reviews because they sell them there too) and most of the reviews give it 4 or 5 stars (out of 5) with only a handful giving it 1 star (I'll put this down to being unlucky and getting a dud or the owner just being stupid).

I think I'll pop along to Bunnings and check the build quality and warranty (they don't seem to mention it on their website).

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  Reply # 978107 31-Jan-2014 14:22 Send private message

I have an Ozito (bunnings $169) which is going on three years old now, and generally it is pretty good, if you were using a push mower an electric mower will make it a breeze, plenty of power and does a good job, sure it you are going to be mowing lots of stones you may break the plastic after a while, but I have hit a few in my time and its been pretty good, only comment is if your lawn is quite long you have to empty the catcher lots as it fills fairly quickly. if you are going to spend $500+ for an electric mower you are better off with a petrol mower. Our one came with a 2 year replacement warranty but have not needed to use it.

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