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To say that I hate gardening is an understatement! For five years I had a love hate relationship with my temperamental petrol driven lawn mower. The main issues I had with the petrol mower was that it was heavy, wouldn't always start, the grass was always clogging up in the cutters and needed an expensive pampering session every year (servicing). Last Spring I couldn't face the battle with the 'beast' any longer so I craftily waited for the Bank Holiday sale at B&Q and bought myself a Flymo Multimo 340XC for £79.99. It was light enough for me to carry to the car even though it came in a huge box. After plugging in my new 'friend' I realised what I had been missing out on for the last five years. It started without coaxing (electric!), cut the grass in half the time because the collecting box is a good size and the cut was the shortest cut I have ever managed to get with my old mower. The emptying box is easy to use and the cutting blades wipe clean. I also cheekily tried to cut the lawn when the grass was still slightly wet. Although it did clog up a little it performed really well compared to my old mower that would have refused to cut anything unless it was bone dry. It doesn't wizz off like my old petrol mower did (when it felt like performing) but it is light and easily manoeuvrable. The cable had to be used with an adapter (I had to use one for outdoors that cuts out) because of the length of the lawn rather than a short cable. It is easily stored in the garage.
I bought this lawn mower around a year and a half ago, it cost £99 (or thereabouts) and came with a free strimmer, which I didn't think was such a bad price. I have sometimes gone for cheaper models but they haven't always lasted too long and they weren't too much cheaper (if you factor in the strimmer, anyway!), so I figured that this was a pretty good buy. Being Flymo, I was confident that this would work well, and last a decent amount of time.
It comes in a huge box, and in various pieces. I remember that I found the manual a little difficult to understand, luckily a friend turned up and offered to give me a hand! We worked it out and began putting the pieces together. The parts were quite stiff and you really have to push them to go on, i felt quite uncomfortable using such force as I didn't want to risk snapping the plastic. Luckily all went well, and after twenty or so minutes my lawn mower was complete and ready to go!
The lawn mower is quite small, and at 13.5 KG isn't too heavy; it could be lighter, but as it is, it isn't uncomfortable to carry. There is a large, chunky handle on top of the machine which makes it easy to carry from lawn to lawn. The handles also fold down which makes storage easy, the grass box is of a standard size, it is a similar size to the lawn mower, and easily attaches to (and detatches from) the lawn mower. The mower has a 12m cable, which is a decent length, and is luckily just long enough for all of my gardens.
The mower has a 1500W motor, I'm not sure if that is good or not, but I find that it is powerful enough to mow my lawn with ease. The mower glides over the lawn easily; my back and side gardens are quite bumpy in places, but the Multimo easily glides over the bumps.
I can be lazy sometimes with mowing my lawn (I really, really hate doing it!), so sometimes the grass is 3-4 inches long by the time I get around to it. Even with grass this length, the mower glides over easily and cuts the grass evenly.
My front lawn has a large steep slope that can be quite difficult to mow; it is not possible to mow across it so it has to be mowed up/down it; this is difficult to do with this mower. I stand at the top of the slope and push down as it isn't possible to do it uphill; I find that the grass box continually falls off when I get to the bottom of the slope. The weight of the mower also gives me backache by the time I have finished; although I have had a bit of a dodgy back since the birth of my son, so this may not be a problem for other people. Had I considered this when buying, I would probably have gone for a hover mower, which would have made the job a lot easier.
Other than this, I am pretty happy with my lawn mower. It cuts well, is reasonably small and compact, is easy to transport and store, and is powerful enough to cut even the bumpiest of lawns. I wouldn't recommend the lawn mower for anyone with a large slope such as mine, although for 'normal' lawns, this mower is a good option!
Two years ago I bought a JCB lawn mower. It was one of those that 'hover' over the grass and supposedly require very little persuasion to move. It was a nightmare from the moment I bought it though. It was too heavy too push and would choke up after running over about a metre of ground. The grass compartment was too heavy and awkward to lift and it wouldn't reconnect easily. Well, when the sun came out this summer I decided I'd had enough of gardening day tortures and ditched the JCB model for a different machine. I opted for the Flymo Multimo 340XC because it was a mid-priced machine in the store.
The machine comes in a large box but it's not heavy to lift and I could manage it on my own. The machine does require some self assembly and this will need more than one person. Three people would be ideal as there is one tricky part where the handle bars need to be pushed into springs on the main body and I found that a lot of strength is actually needed to hold it all together. Apart from this there is very little to do except to fit pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle. All other joints have easy fit plastic handles which you can use as a tightener of the screw and/or washer ring then push down to secure.
The lawnmower is very light and easy to handle. The height of the machine is just right and the on/off controls are built into the top of the handle bar. You simply squeeze the soft plastic handles under the main bar and the machine starts up. The machine's wheels make this particularly easy to manage and I don't know how I ever put up with the hovering JCB I had before! It's surprisingly light even after collecting a lot of grass. It's easy to twist around the edges of the lawn and this machine actually has a special rear roller which makes cutting around the edge easier. The rear roller also can give a striped effect over the lawn if you want a precision cut.
There are five different height settings for cutting grass so you have a lot of choice about which way to cut the lawn or whatever is easiest. The minimum height is 20mm and the maximum 65mm. With my previous lawn mower I had a problem with the machine's blades cutting into the earth sometimes on uneven ground but this Flymo does not do that, giving a nice even cut every time.
The grass box capacity is 40 litres. My lawn is about 25 by 15 yards long and I only have to empty the grass box twice or three times, never four. The grass box has a transparent top so you can see when it is full. It is very simple to unclip from the main motor and I find it easy to lift and handle. I put my grass cuttings into my compost bin and it's easy to lift the grass container up to above waist height to empty it. The grass is quite compacted inside but I don't find it clogs inside the box but falls out in neat lumps. The machine also comes with a mulch plug which deposits the grass cuttings back onto the lawn as a kind of feeder system.
The cable length is twelve metres and the mower is described as being suitable for medium to large gardens. I require an extension cable. There is a safe cable winder fitted on top of the machine which keeps the cable wrapped up in a coil. It's easy to pull the spool and release the cable. To stop the cable getting in the way there is a central clip under the top handle bar. This ensures the wire does not get tangled in your hands or around the top of the machine.
The machine has a powerful 1500 watt motor but the mower is surprisingly quiet and if you are indoors you can't hear it running in the garden. It's great if you have twitchy neighbours who don't like noise!
The machine can be folded up a little bit for storage with the main handle bending into two parts. You can also remove the grass container as the machine is quite long in the body.
I'd reccommend this mower as it makes a job that I don't particularly like actually quite pleasurable. It's light weight and roller wheels allow for a quick and easy cut. It's light enough to push and turn and it's very easy to manage the grass container. It's gentle buzz is also much less annoying than a stadium of vuvuzelas!
You can find the mower at some DIY stores and also at Argos.