My garden is in an awkward position in relation to my back door and windows making it tricky to plug a mower in. We bought a temperamental petrol mower which is a pain to control so a couple of years ago I had a good idea. I bought the Qualcast Panther hand mower from Argos, it cost me about 40 quid at the time.
The mower has a 30cm width blade width,
4 bladed cylinder,
variable cutting height from 12mm to 40mm,
easy to push high geared side wheels,
rear roller for lawn stripes,
grass collection box.
The mower is painted green metal with large plastic wheels on the sides, metal handle which is a comfortable height and 20 litre grass collection box.
The mower's handle is held on by bolts, which need tightening from time to time. The grass box just clips on but I don't tend to use it as it doesn't hold enough clippings and misses it somewhat, I just rake the worst of it after I'm done which is easier than emptying the box every 5 minutes. The lawn cutting height adjustment is easy enough by way of undoing bolts and moving them to the required length. I leave it at middle to high because the ground is uneven. It's obviously not as loud as a powered one but it does make a whirring sound.
It's hard work, it does cut the grass- surprisingly so- but it is hard work. I haven't got the best lawn it's thick grass so I have to push the mower in a backwards and forwards motion, I can't just walk along with it. The blades whizz round at speed cutting and flinging the grass. They do jam quite a bit though, grass as long as a couple of inches wraps around the edge of the blades and needs to be unwound. Twigs will stick in the blades and stop me dead but they pull out quick. I can cut the bank with it, I stand at the bottom and push the mower up and down. The rollers don't give my lawn stripes, but like I mention I've got an uneven thick lawn- it just cuts it with nothing fancy.
I bought the mower a couple of years ago and have used it regularly, the blades are still sharp and I've never sharpened them.
I do like it, it's easy to store, cuts the grass- especially the weeds, has never been sharpened but is still sharp, is economical because it needs no power, is light to push and carry and is cheap enough to buy.
The only negatives are that it's hard work, and I feel a bit embarrassed using it........
4 Stars from me
Beware what you wish for! For the past two months I have been wishing for the spring to arrive. I want sunshine and warmth. I want flowers in the garden and blossom on the trees. Well yesterday I saw a pair of bullfinches nibbling the buds on my neighbour's fruit trees. I saw the fresh green shoots emerging from my shallot sets. I felt brave enough to plant out my sunflower seedlings....AND THEN....then I saw the grass. In places it had begun to tower menacingly over my border edgings. For the first time this year it was beginning to take on that lush, thick, resistant look that I knew so well and dreaded so much.
Spring has sprung alright, but with it has come a shed load of gardening jobs, not the least of which is mowing the lawn. My lawn is not very big, but after extended spells of summer rain it can grow to the size of a small jungle. Pets and small people have been known to disappear into its interior for days.
However, this year I am prepared for it. The lawn might have Mother Nature on its side with all that tricky scientific stuff like photosynthesis; but I have the Qualcast Panther 30 Cylinder Hand Mower - and I am not afraid to use it!
~ Why a Hand Mower? ~
I had always used electric, having been traumatised at an early age by my father's hand mower that technologically hadn't moved on much from the scythe and that was slightly more efficient than trying to cut the lawn with a knife and fork. However, my lawn is not so very large and I have been looking at all sorts of ways to be more energy efficient, plus the problem with the electric one was that I had the added chore of unwinding and winding the cable and having it trailing around after me, with the risk that one day I might mow through it. So when someone gave me some shopping vouchers, I decided to put them towards a new hand mower.
~ Cost ~
Just short of £50 and I have just seen them online for £46.94. It is true that you can pick up a small electric one for less, but bear in mind that a) you will be using electricity and b) there are more things that can go wrong with an electric one
~ Assembly -
There are just a few things that need to be put together. For packaging purposes, the handle comes detached, and it will probably be in several parts that just need to be put together with a few nuts and bolts, which are supplied. The same is true for the brackets that hold on the grass box. It is pretty straightforward, but do make sure that you regularly check those nuts and bolts to see that they are not coming loose again or else you might lose them in the grass.
~ Use ~
It is a sturdy enough little machine, but it is also light, and of course there is no bother with cables, so you just rear mount the 20 litre plastic grass box on its brackets and away you go. The 30 cm cutting width means that you can cut in areas where bigger machines would struggle. The wheels are high geared, which makes it very easy to push, and also thin, so that you can get close up to the edges. The blade height is adjustable between 12 mm and 40 mm. That involves a spot of nut loosening and tightening, but it is not a big job. You can also adjust the roller brackets to suit your kind of lawn i.e. whether it is flat or bumpy. You should only need to do that once, however, unless you develop a problem with moles or something
At the rear of the mower is a roller that will give you a nice stripe. Remember, start at the edge, mow forwards, turn at right angles and then come back down, slightly overlapping the previous cut.
The grass collector is large so it will hold plenty, but empty it fairly regularly, otherwise it will start spilling out, interfere with operation and defeat the object of having one. It is easily detached and re-fitted.
~ Care ~
Although the mower is sturdy, you do not want to get anything caught up in the blades, so always check the lawn before you mow for stones, clothes pegs, children's toys, pets - that sort of thing.
When carrying it, mind the blades, because they are of course sharp.
The little instruction leaflet that comes with it advises us "not to run". As if!
After use, clean it down with a soft cloth and or a brush. Do not use water or solvents. Just try to leave it clean and dry. Check that stuff like long grass is not getting wound around the cylinder action and that the blades have not been damaged. If you need to get stubborn grass and dirt off the blades, use a wooden or a plastic implement to do it. Check that those nuts and bolts are tight too. A little bit of care after each use and sensible storage should ensure that you have the use of this year after year. So each time you look out of the window and see that spring has sprung and the grass has ris, your heart won't sink at the thought of mowing the lawn and you probably won't care too much where the "boidies is".
I got this little thing (well little compared to most lawnmowers!) about a year ago now. So let me set the scene.
We live in a new build mid-terraced 2 bedroom house with no front garden and a small long, but box style garden. We don't have much storage so needed something that is pretty small and as we still don't have a shed yet something we can keep in the hall and not risk falling over and breaking a bone or two... oh and did I mention it has to be easy to cover the blades to keep little hands away?
Sounds like a lot of specifics doesn't it? Well this beauty fits the bill perfectly and best of all? There are no wires!! Which means no constant faffing trying to make sure we don't run over the wire cutting the grass....by we I mean me...My partner hates anything to do with gardening!
How well does it work?
I must admit, when I was looking at lawnmowers I was dubious at getting a push mower and I was worried it wouldn't work aswell as an electric one, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The blades are 30cm and pretty sharp. The actual lawnmower is cylinder shaped and has sidewheels and good suspension. the grass collector is fairly large and has 2 holes that hook onto the hook on the lawnmower that stands out slightly and are easily noticeable. For the first few cuts of the year I have to cut my grass twice a week, and then once a week sometimes even once every two weeks until autumn. It does the job well the only annoyance I have with it is that I can't get the grass close to the fence because of the sidewheels, but this is easily remedied by grass clippers. The great thing for me with this though is nothing to do with how well it cuts the grass! It gives me a good workout!! And it means I can cut the grass with my son on my back if I wish when he's having a clingy phase as I don't need to worry about stones flicking upwards as the blades don't move too quickly like they do on an electric or petrol mower.
How easy is it to use?
It is really simple and lightweight. We store it in our hall in it's box at the front of our house, and it's simple enough to carry through to the back. I'm pretty small and can carry it through no problem. The tricky part for me comes if I try and do it with my son is playing....cue trying to avoid tripping up or letting him get under my feet! I usually wait until he's in bed or bribe him with a snack to sit still for a few!
How easy is it to store? Is it durable?
As previously stated this is currently stored in our hallway in it's box. It's pretty small and doesn't take up much space and to avoid little hands getting hurt the grass collector slots over it nicely to cover up the blades. We have also recently found the grass collector doubles up as a drum! Kid's imaginations are amazing things! It is also very durable, the number of times I've knocked it on the bin/fence/patio, and it's still standing, not even dented. Unlike most electric mowers it is made from metal, not plastic which I think helps it's durability massively.
How do you maintain it?
It is very easy to maintain, you can just brush the grass of usually. sometimes it can be abit trickier on longer grass as sometimes the grass can get trapped in the springs for the suspension, but this doesn't happen very often and can easily be rectified with a screwdriver, or some scissors to cut the grass and make it easier to just pull off. If you want to dirt off, you can either wait for it to dry and brush it off, or give it a quick once over with a cloth and water, just make sure you dry it off so it doesn't rust up.
Is it safe?
I would say so, we've had it about a year now and my son hasn't had any accidents thus far (though he does listen pretty well most of the time) with it and neither have me or my partner.
Are there any 'quirks' we should know about?
The most frustrating thing I find with this, and I probably wouldn't experience with an electric mower is.... STALLING. It sometimes and very randomly just stops dead, not sure why and it can take abit to get it moving again. I don't know if it's to do with the suspension, or I'm doing something wrong but there you have it. The only way I had found to resolve it is to keep wheeling it in reverse until it finally goes forward and starts cutting the grass again.
What's the manual like?
I actually lost the manual, so couldn't check up on it for this review, however I found the manual online (and have uploaded the english section pics. It's also available in German, French, Spanish, Portugese, Italian, Netherlands, Danish, Swedish, Norweigan, Finnish and a few other languages too.. I couldn't translate all of them..!) so that is what I'll comment on.
How easy are the instructions to find online?
Very. You go to www.qualcast.co.uk click on 'owners area' then 'instruction manuals'. This will then give a small pop up window the the models available and you need to click 'Panther 30' and then all you have to do is wait for the PDF manual to load up.
Putting it together: On the first page online there is a set of picture instructions, showing you not only how to put it together but also how it recommends to cut your lawn. The first page of written instructions has a checklist of everything that should have come with your lawnmower, a set of safety notes, what it's intended use is and how to assemble it, along with how much it roughly weighs (7.8Kg - 9.3Kg)
What else is there?
On the second page it tells you how to adjust the mower height, how to maintain your lawnmower, how to adjust the blade, what direction to mow your lawn and how to do it, and how to clean it. On the third page is a copy of their guarantee which lasts for 1 year and tells you under what circumstances your lawn mower will not be viable for repair etc.
Is it noisy?
Yes and no. If you compare it to an electric or petrol mower then no it's not too noisy, however it does create alot of noise, but in a different way. When you push the mower you can hear the parts moving and the wheels can be abit noisy when turning but on the whole it isn't that bad.
Worth the money?
I got it for £55, however I have seen it elsewhere since for almost £20 less. But I would say it is worth the money. It's a one time payment until it conks out and in the meantime it's saving me alot of money in the summer on electricity! A win/win I think!
I would say yes, if you have a small garden, however if you have a bigger garden you're probably better off looking at a bigger push mower (if you can find one) or investing in an electric or petrol mower.
~Posted on ciao under the same name~
We only have a small lawn in our back garden, and an even tinier front lawn, so when our electric mower shuffled off it's mortal coil a few years ago, we decided to get a push along mower instead, is this would be a lot more practical in our circumstances. We always used to hate having to plug the old one in, trailing the wire through the gap in the door, letting all manner of creepy crawlies in the house, just to mow a small scrap of lawn!
A push mower is a lot more practical for us, as we can just grab it out of the shed, whizz over the lawn, put it back and the job is done! Or even better, con one of the kids into thinking it is a toy, and get them to mow the grass for us!
When you buy the mower, you have to set the blades to the correct cutting length. You can vary this between 12 and 40mm. This was a bit fiddly for me, as I am completely useless with things like this, but my hubby managed to do it OK. It is really important to set the blades right, otherwise you will catch every pebble and bump as you mow, or on the opposite extreme, not cut the grass very well at all due to the blades being too high.
The mower is incredibly easy to use, and as I have said, easy enough for older kids to push around without too much effort. It makes a nice "cutting noise", as you mow, which you don't get with noisy electric mowers. It definitely makes cutting the grass more therapeutic.
Another advantage of the mower is that it doesn't take up much space. It will fit easily into even a small shed, and the fact it doesn't have loads of cable to consider is a huge bonus. The mower comes with a grassbox to collect the cuttings, but our lawn is so small that we removed the grass box and just rake up the few clippings later on and compost them.
The mower is cheap to run and easier to maintain than an electric mower, as it has very simple components. The only problems you get are the blades clogging up or stones getting caught in the blades, and these problems are easy to remedy and don't put you at risk of being electrocuted! It is definitely enviromentally friendly. As I have mentioned, we have had ours for a couple of years, and it is in really good working order.
My mother in law wanted a new mower recently and we recommended this model without hesitation. She has been using hers for a couple of months and loves it because it is easy to store away and light to push over the lawn, even for elderly people. The mower also has a rear roller to enable you to create a striped effect on your lawn.
The mower comes with a 2 year parts and labour guarantee, but we never had to use this as the mower has served us well. I would heartily recommend push along mowers to anyone with a small garden, or people who currently use unreliable strimmers, as these mowers are really practical and low maintainance. Once you have set the blades to your requirements you won't need to adjust it again, and it cuts the grass to a really high standard.
The grass is always greener. I spent a couple of years living in a fabulous city apartment and wasted many a summer afternoon bemoaning my lack of garden. Now living in quasi-suburbia (3 miles up the road), and having acquired a house with gardens, plural, and lawns, plural, all I can think is that I didn't appreciate the good old days when lawn mowing never featured on my weekend To Do list. I bought this lawn mower the week after I moved into my house in 2007, based on a complex calculation of which one to get whereby I picked the cheapest one in Argos, at about £35, and I'm pleased to say it has lasted reasonably well.
This is a push-mower, which, in a fit of green-minded madness, I decided was the kind I needed so as not to waste electricity when simple, chocolate-fuelled brute force would do the trick. It is a decision I am still living with, but despite the hassle involved, I'm not really regretting my purchase. That's not to say I don't covet those ride-on tractor style mowers, and wouldn't ditch all my green principles for a go on one of those, but really, in south Manchester it would just look rather silly for the few hours that would pass before someone came along and nicked it. They've already taken my wheelie bin, and that's nowhere near as cool to ride on.
The lawn mower comes ready to be assembled. You have to fix the two parts of the handle together, and attach the bucket to catch the grass. None of this is too tricky, nor do you need special tools unless you yourself are a bit special. As for me, I once assembled an entire living room's full of furniture single handedly despite the Ikea instructions that the work required 2 men (I'd make a women vs. men joke if it weren't so obvious). I wasn't going to let a measly little lawn mower phase me.
Once it was all put together, I went out to mow the month's worth of growth on my lawns, the former owners clearly having stopped taking any care of how things looked the second we exchanged contracts. Here's a little fact for you: push mowers like short grass, and the longer the grass, the more you have to, well, push. By the time I was done with my 3 (count 'em) lawns, I had some idea of what childbirth must be like. It was based on this initial trial of the mower that I vowed to stay on top of things and make some attempt to mow the lawns every week, since I really didn't want to have to go through all that again. While there have been times when circumstances (like being abroad, or it raining too much) have meant it's been a fortnight or more since I last cut the grass, every time this happens I go through the same grunt and grate routine, and it spurs me back into my weekly maintenance routine . You'd think it might, but it never gets easier.
And yet, for standard day-to-day (or week-to-week) lawn mowing, this is not a bad mower. It is incredibly easy to use because you just get it out of the shed, drop it down on the nearest bit of grass and push until you get to the end, turn round and repeat. You don't have to worry about keeping the wire out of the way, or being too far from a plug or extension cord, nor is the price of electricity an issue. The curved handle is comfortable, and you can choose how to hold it, either at the sides, or on top with your hands over or under the thin bar. Some may find it a bit thin - even my freakishly tiny hands wrap all the way round - but it's fine for me, and if your fingers do overlap too much, you can just push it with flat palms instead.
The mower has two length settings, a feature beyond what I would have expected for a budget buy. I tend to keep it on the one that cuts the grass very short which is both a good thing and a bad one. Good, because it means if it is 10 days or so between cuttings, the regrowth is still easily attacked, bad because it tends to leave a pattern on your lawn if you're not careful. If you wanted to, you could use this to your advantage and mow in some fancy-ass Wimbledon style stripes. I really have no desire to do this. But, because I also have no desire to spend longer huffing and puffing than I need to, and because my weekend attention to detail ends the second I put down my Blackberry (after sending the essential 'look at me, working at 7am on a Saturday morning' email), I often inadvertently end up with stripes. Not nice, even, attractive stripes, but 'a mad man got loose and attacked the lawn with his teeth' style stripes. Sorry, dooyoo team, but I will not be 'making my neighbours envious this season by having the best lawn on the block'. Though I may be making them furious because...
Another issue is the noise this thing makes. I often hear other mowers on the street, but none ever seem quite as bad as this one, though it may simply be my proximity to it. I am always mindful of this early on a weekend morning, when I'm convinced the racket will awaken said neighbours. It is a proper 'clatter clatter' noise as the blade chops, and gets worse when it hits the patio bit at one end of my garden. I have been known to 'mow' the patio, in an attempt to skip the weeding my tiles require, so it is entirely my fault, but still. When I'm moving from the front to the back garden or vice versa, I tend to lift the machine up rather than drag it along, as the noise is quite unbearable. Luckily it is an extremely lightweight mower, and I can carry it fairly easily with one hand, while unlocking the back gate etc. It is a tiny bit too tall, but then I am a tiny bit too short, and I still manage. Normal sized people should have no trouble.
As mentioned earlier, the mower takes a little more effort when the grass is longer, but also if the grass is wet. Sometimes you have to mow slightly-damp grass in Manchester, as the alternative is waiting a week and it being that extra bit too long, so it's a catch 22 situation. When it does require more umpf, you can just lean into it to get it going again. I may not weigh enough to be able to give blood (my random fact of the week last week) but I'm still heavy enough to kick this back into gear. My only niggle in this area is that sometimes to get it going you have to get right behind it and tilt the handle at an angle, and my garden has grass right up to various walls and sheds. The result is that I end up with the middle bit mowed shorter than the sides as I always have to start it a little way in, which is added to by the fact that although the mower cuts 30cm strips at a time, the blade stops a little inside the wheels, so you can't go up to the edges anyway. Of course I could use a strimmer to finish off the edges but, please, I have better things to do with my weekends.
The blade deals with most things ok (leaves, berries, the odd kamikaze snail), but I have one tree in my garden whose long, reedy bits upset it, and then it will just stop and not go any further until you stick your fingers in and pull out the offending item in one swift motion, like in those clever adverts for detergent where they whip the table cloth out from under a table laid with a whole lot of breakable porcelain filled with potentially messy treats. This weekend it got upset by a manky, soggy tissue which I hadn't removed from the lawn precisely because it was too gross for me to want to touch it. Of course, it got stuck and I had to, but I would still run the risk in future of leaving stuff like this there and hoping the blade would just slice through it. The mower has been used over 50 times now, and the blade shows no sign of becoming blunt or less effective, but is also not so nastily sharp you lose the tips of your fingers any time you have to prise something out of its jaws.
The mower came with a plastic bucket, which I dutifully attached, and for the first lawn mowing season, this worked well. The grass flew out at just the right angle to be caught, it held a decent amount, and when I needed to empty it into my green bin, I could detach it easily and then re-attach it to carry on. However, one day, the bucket came a bit loose on one side. I noticed one of the screws was missing, but couldn't find it anywhere, and had no suitable replacement in my snazzy tool box so I just balanced the bucket back on carefully and continued. This worked for a few more weeks, until one day the bucket just fell off the hinge and would not stay on again. This is perhaps a downside of buying a cheaper mower, but still not a major headache for me. Since the mower can be used in two ways, with or without the bucket, I decided to go for the second option. This doesn't affect the quality of the cut in any way, but does leave you with freshly chopped grass all over your lawn. Some people say you're supposed to then rake this up. These people clearly do not live in Manchester - I am lucky if I can mow all 3 lawns in between the drizzle, let alone scoop up the grass afterwards, but every rain cloud has a silver lining, and up here it's really not long before a wind picks up and helpfully blows the cuttings towards my neighbours' houses and beyond. Good stuff.
My mower lives in my shed which has walls and a roof, but also a window missing glass, and just a too-small piece of material covering the gap. It sits there for at least 8 months of the year without being moved, and also goes back in after every outing, but has yet to show signs of rust or neglect. I am perhaps a little rough with it as I'll fling it in without much care, but there is nothing really to break on it, as the blade is quite sturdy and the bucket hinge having already given up the ghost, and of course there's no electric circuitry to upset.
This is the first push mower I have ever used, so I don't have much scope for comparison, but from my experience I would certainly recommend it. The price has since fallen to just below the £30 mark which is a true bargain in my eyes, and I just cannot see the point in bothering to pay more for a relatively boring piece of household kit. It's basic, but it works, is quite sturdy and hard-wearing, has no maintenance or fuel costs, is super simple to use and it won't break the bank.
Cut Widths, 30cm, Cutting Height 12-40mm,