Product Type: Bosch Lawn Mower
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Making life easier for Mrs SWSt!
Bosch Rotak 320
Member Name: SWSt
Bosch Rotak 320
Date: 09/08/10, updated on 09/08/10 (177 review reads)
Advantages: Lightweight, but durable; easy to assemble
Disadvantages: Cable not quite long enough for our garden; slightly cheap and tacky looking
[Note: before I begin this review, I confess that I've never actually used this lawnmower myself, as my allergy to grass pollen means that Mrs SWSt mows the lawns. However, I have based this review on her opinion of the mower and by way of a thank you will use the miles from this review to buy her a bunch of flowers!]
Let's be honest, no-one likes mowing the lawns, so the easier you can make it for yourself, the better. This great little lawnmower from Bosch will certainly do the trick and if you're in the market for a new mower is well worth considering, since it offers both great performance and value for money.
The mower comes in a big box inside which, sadly, the mower comes in a variety of parts. So, if you're itching to get out there cutting the grass, you're going to have to curb your enthusiasm, as the thing needs putting together first.
Thankfully, for once, the process of putting together your new toy is pretty straightforward. The instructions (Shock! Horror!) actually make sense - there is none of this "insert widget A into slot D and twist 14.67 degrees" nonsense you get with all too many self-assembly pieces of equipment. There was even the right number of parts for the job, so you weren't left at the end wondering why you have seven bits left over and nowhere to put them, or why you don't have Screw D (x6) as outlined in the instructions. It's so easy to set up that even the most non-technical of people (i.e. me) could do it with relative ease (although once again, I have to confess that thanks to my complete incompetence at all things construction related, Mrs SWSt actually did the assembly.) Still, she managed the process with relative ease in well under half an hour and did not emerge from the process stressed to the eyeballs, which is always a good sign.
Once assembled, the various parts fit together really well. I have seen other mowers where parts wobble in an alarming fashion, giving the impression that bits are about to drop off at any moment. With this model, everything clicks together and feels like it's going to stay there until you dismantle it, which is reassuring. An auto-cut-off, meanwhile means that if anything major should ever go wrong, the power to the motor should be cut automatically, hopefully preventing you from accidentally severing your toes or electrocuting yourself.
It has to be said that the machine is not the best looking in the world. With its green plastic body and red buttons, it looks a little garish and cheap. It also a looks slightly insubstantial and our initial fear was that if we bashed it on a wall or ran over a stone, bits of plastic might come flying off. In fact, it is far more robust than it looks, and so far, despite repeated use, has lost no appendages. And let's face it, unless you are the most colour-coordinated or garden proud person in the world, the colour is not really an issue at all.
Using the mower is really easy. Our previous machine was an old flymo, which was really heavy and cumbersome to use. It weighed approximately the same amount as two elephants and required about 15 people to turn it each time it reached the end of the lawn. Thanks to its plastic build, the Rotak 320 is far lighter, weighing just under 7kg and very easy to manoeuvre around the garden. Thanks to a couple of carrying handles, it's also very easy to pick up and carry from the front to the back of the house, without having to employ one of the (now redundant) elephants to help you. The fact that it is on four wheels also helps tremendously with the manoeuvrability, as it can be wheeled along paths easily and, when mowing feels very stable, no matter how many lumps and bumps you have in your lawn. Finally, it is also fairly quiet. Obviously no mower is going to be exactly silent, but this one doesn't sound like a jumbo jet taking off, and is unlikely to be the cause of serious anger from your neighbours (unless, of course, you have really angry neighbours).
The cutting is very smooth, too and doesn't require dozens of passes with the mower to actually cut the grass to a reasonable size. Of course, this will depend to some extent on the quality of your garden to start with. Our back garden has a particularly stubborn crop of clover, and the mower never quite copes with this as well as it does with the rest of the lawn. The height of the cut can be varied between 20-60mm, depending on how short you like your grass and it produces a nice, even cut that looks good.
The grass box also does its job well, so that the bits of grass all fly very neatly into it and you don't have to go around with a brush and rake afterwards. It's also fairly large, so you don't have to stop every five minutes to empty it. Again, this is in contrast to other models I have seen where the grass box is so small and inefficient you wonder why they ever bothered in the first place.
From our perspective, a slight niggle is the size of the lead on the mower. Although it's a reasonably generous 10 metres in length, it's not actually long enough for our garden. Don't get me wrong - we don't live in a mansion, but when mowing the front lawn, the nearest power socket is right at the back of the garage and when mowing the back lawn, the cable has to be plugged in in either the kitchen or the dining room. In our case, this means that a couple of meters of the cable length have been lost before it even gets out into the garden, with the end result that we need to get a separate extension lead out to make sure the cable is long enough to reach the ends of each lawn. This, of course, means that you have more leads lying around, causing a potential trip hazard.
This is only a very minor niggle, however, and won't apply to most people. Overall, this mower is a quantum leap forward on our previous model. Lightweight, easy to assemble, easy to use and it produces a good, even cut. What more do you want from a lawnmower, for goodness sake? Tea-making facilities? Anyway, I'd recommend it to anyone. And so would Mrs SWSt; and she's better placed than me to judge.
Better still; the price seems to be coming down all the time. The original RRP was around £120, we got it for about £70 and it's now available from Amazon for around £60, which is even better value for money. This suggests that maybe it's an older model and stock is being sold off. My advice is to get one sooner, rather than later because at this price, it's a snip (sorry!)
Right. I'd better go and get the delightful Mrs SWSt those flowers now...
© Copyright SWSt 2010
Summary: Mowing Mayhem Made Merry
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