Product Type: Flymo Lawn Mower
Newest Review: ... to pay a little more for my next mower, and so eventually decided on the Flymo Compact 350 priced at around £80 at my local Argos. ... more
An adequate mowing machine
Flymo Compact 350
Member Name: dee778
Flymo Compact 350
Date: 24/06/10, updated on 25/06/10 (218 review reads)
Advantages: Compact in shape and easy to store
Disadvantages: Small grass box which makes the mower heavy when full
After using a Flymo Turbo Lite very successfully for many years, I decided that I was fed up of raking up grass every time that I mowed the lawn and needed to upgrade to a mower with an integral grass collecting box. At 6.5kg, the Turbo Lite had been light to manoevre, extremely easy to use, and extremely effective - so I was looking for a replacement hover of good quality. The Compact 350 was £10 cheaper and also collected the grass. It was advertised as being suitable for medium to large sized gardens, which suited me very well.
I paid £59.99 at Homebase for my mower.
The motor size is 1500, which is more powerful than many small mowers. The 35cm cutting blade seems fairly standard, and I was confident that the 350 Compact would tackle my lawn more than adequately. The mower has a small viewing window which indicates when the grass box needs emptying.
The mower arrived fully assembled in a large cardboard box. I was surprised that the handle was ready attached, but it fitted into the box nicely because the design enables the handle to fold forward over the mower, creating a satisfyingly square and box-like shape. Looks-wise, the mower is still traditionally orange, shiny and snail-like in shape, but is far less cumbersome than the troubled Flymo 330 model, which received so many consumer reports of motor failure.
The 350 weighs 7.6kg and is very light and easy to move around the garden when empty, cutting the grass effectively and fairly neatly. The suction system that collects the grass works well, and the grass arrives in the collection box where it is nicely compacted. The large hinged lid on top of the grass collection box is easy to lift up, and the box itself has a large side handle to lift it out and empty it with.
The aforementioned fold down square handle makes the mower very neat and easy to store (there are no sticking out bits to catch on other shed equipment).
As with all Flymo mowers, a large orange safety button in the middle of the handle must be depressed before the the two side handles that operate the mower will work. This safety feature is very easy to operate, and reassuring if there are young children in the garden. The curved operation handles are ergonomically designed, and easy to keep depressed as you mow the lawn. The fact that there is one on the right and one on the left makes it easy to change hands if you get cramp, and also suits both right and left handed people. Once the handles are released, the motor turns off, and the orange safety button must once again be depressed before the handles become operational again.
The 12 meter cable length is just about adequate, but as my garden is on the small side, I was surprised that a mower that was targeted at medium to large gardens did not have a longer cable. In addition, there was no self-retraction mechanism on the mower and no hooks to wind the cable around ready for storage. The only way to store the cable is to drape the cable loosely around the handle, which is not ideal.
The little window to indicate a full grass box is an excellent idea, and an advantage. Unfortunately it only worked for the first two times that I used the mower. I believe that the only problem is that the small orange ball has become clogged up with grass clippings, but I do not have the time nor the patience to try to sort the problem out.
By far the most annoying aspect of this mower is the way that it changes the way it hovers when the grass box is half full. The grass box capacity is 22 litres, which is smaller than many models and has to be emptied several times even on my small lawn. When the box gets just over half full, the mower becomes very heavy and starts to drag rather than hover. As it happens fairly often, it adds to the physical expenditure quite considerably.
The mower has four cutting heights, from 10cm to 30cm. The blade can be adjusted with the small orange plastic spanner which comes with the mower. Unfortunately changing the blade height is quite a fiddly operation, and thus my mower has remained at one height for the entire year that I have owned it. Needless to say, the orange spanner is lost somewhere in the recesses of the cupboard under the stairs.
As I look at my cons list, I must conclude that I should have bought a different mower.
For £10 more I could have bought the Flymo Vision Compact, a hover mower which has the benefit of an easireel device to retract and store the cable. This model also has a larger 30 litre grass box and the same motor size, and thus seems to be much better value.
My Flymo 350 compact can only be described as adequate, and I cannot really recommend it to anybody when there are much better mowers on the market.
Summary: Not a great mower for the price