“ Brand: Yardman „
Have you ever made a snap decision ? Have you ever seen something in the shops that cries out to you 'buy me, I've been waiting for you all my life'. Such was my experience with Prudence, a seductively shaped lawn mower that seemed almost tailored for a woman user.
When buying a ride on lawn mower, from experience I would say that it really does pay to check around, to see what kind of mower would be the ideal one for you, because sometimes the glaringly obvious choice isn't always the right one. Take into consideration the amount of grass that you have to cut, whether it is flat land or sloped, whether you want to pay extra for gimmicks, and if in fact those gimmicks work.
I should have checked against the competition and didn't. I just liked it and needed a mower, and was seduced by the presentation of this mower into making an expensive purchase.
What the mower offers.
This mower offers a lot of interesting options. For example, you have the choice of whether you want the grass to be collected in an internal bag, whether you want it sprayed all over your borders, or whether you want to mulch the grass clippings that then are so small that they actually feed the lawn and get you out of that horrible task of clearing up. The mulcher blade comes at a price of 39.00 GBP and I did wonder if I had made the right decision when I parted with my money. The mower also offers a Briggs and Stratton engine, and here I cannot fault the reliability, because Briggs and Stratton have been in the business a long time, and know what they are doing. The rear mounted engine is relatively quiet compared with others, and always reliable. All the levers and speed controls, pedals and indicator for the grass box collection are near to hand, and in many ways beat hands down other models that have a rear collection box, because although they have handles with which to empty them, what the makers don't tell you is that lifting a full box from the driving seat is actually practically impossible for anyone that doesn't have the muscles of a super hero. This one makes the process easier for a woman. The box on this mower holds 90 litres, which is easily adequate for the half acre garden.
The side discharge of grass for me isn't an option, because what this does is spray all the grass cuttings all over my nicely tended flower beds, unless you are extremely careful about the direction you are driving. The mower has spring loaded shock absorbers for a comfortable ride as well, although here, the ride is only as good as the ground you are riding upon. Flat grass areas are superbly comfortable, but the very design of the mower means that slopes give you that feeling of vertigo, and do not feel very safe at all. Not the mowers fault, as this is a feeling I have experienced on other mowers, though if you have a garden with lots of slope, the traditional John Deer tractor type mowers seem more stable. The wheels have ball bearings, helping them to run smoother, and making the effort of the user less. I would actually agree with the makers claims here, because my traditional mower is certainly harder work. The front axel pivots, although here if anything, I would say it made the steering a little too light.
Up close and personal.
One thing I noticed was that when I switched from a push mower to a tractor mower, I really could not get close enough to borders and trees to make a neat job. It amazed me that you can spend so much and yet finish with a job half done. Yes, of course, it's much quicker, although if you want neat edgings to borders to stay neat, it takes a bit more than just using a tractor mower. It isn't delicate enough to reach those hard to reach places.
Fill me up baby.
The tank holds a gallon and by goodness you get a lot of cutting time with this. Unleaded is recommended and the cap for the fill up is easy to undo, and easy to fill without spilling, which is very different to the traditional tractor styles, where I am perpetually spilling petrol if I try to fill the tank without a funnel.
A powerful experience.
This mower is great for small gardens of less than half an acre. What it's not great for is larger areas than this because it really doesn't have the pulling power to cope with huge gardens, and comparing this with my newer mower that has 18 hp, the 8.5hp it offers is sluggish to say the least. In my last garden, the mower coped extraordinarily well with three quarters of an acre of relatively flat land, although it most certainly could not cope with my existing garden. What I cannot fault it on is reliability, the engine starts first time every time, and the only difficulty it has with power is when I ask it to do too much, or more than it was designed to do. I sold it on to the people that bought my last house and believe me, it's still doing it's thing, years after the guarantee is finished.
Width of cut.
This mower offers a 27.5 inch cut, and what this means is that in comparison with my present mowers' 48 inch cut, I would have to drive almost twice the distance to cut the same amount of grass. It does matter, though you also have to bear in mind the space you have in your garden, since the turning circle of this machine is much smaller and much more useful in a smaller garden.
Keeping Prudence happy.
A machine is a little like a man, and needs looking after. I would suggest if you are considering an expensive purchase such as this one at 1500 GBP, then serious consideration should be given to ensuring you have space under cover to keep it in. One of the benefits of a smaller machine like this is that cleaning the underneath blade area is much simpler than its giant counterparts, because the total weight of the machine of 290 lbs makes it more manageable. I actually put mine up on ramps to clean out the underneath blade compartment yearly at the end of the season. It's worth it because it means that the machine will last longer. Wiping down the body work isn't hard either. It's a rigid plastic and simple to keep clean. Checking oil levels is important as it does use more oil than my other mower, though when you consider the amount of work expected of it, it really is a small price to pay for getting back a fully functional and reliable machine. As for engine maintenance, well I ask my local garage to give her a once over every year as I am not mechanically minded, though the cost is minimal compared with the promise of reliability. If you doubt your capability of maintaining the engine of a mower such as this, you can't go far wrong asking your dealership what a regular yearly check costs, and weighing this up at the time of purchase.
So did the seductress come up with the goods ?
For a garden of half an acre or less, yes, though with reservations. If that garden is heavily sloped, this would not be my choice. I actually used mine on three quarters of an acre with no strain. It's an easy machine to handle, suitable for a man or a woman, although I believe designed for women users. The steering wheel is light to the touch. The speeds are easy to change, and I like the fact that the makers have not assumed you are huge. The safety features are much like with other models in that if you leave your seat, the engine cuts off. That is essential as a safety feature and I have not known any maker that manufactures one without this feature.
Easy to clean and maintain, reliable engine that starts first time, this machine is worth the money I paid, although only if used in a garden that falls within its' work capacity of half an acre. I think that the designers have worked hard and come up with a winning combination of practical and stylish. I was pleased with the results, and although I could not achieve a striped lawn as I wished, it was a quick way of doing the job in hand. The mulcher is essential. It takes hours of emptying work out of the picture, and for lazy users is a good option.
For those with larger gardens, or gardens with slopes, then I would say keep looking, because at this price there are better options. Beware of those mowers with huge back boxes. They look impressive, although really are almost impossible to empty.
She is still seductive looking, still a great fun machine with a bright future, and will still tempt those looking for something innovative and modern.
The Yard-man DX70 is a ride-on the whole family can enjoy. There's no need for clumsy gear-changes - this machine has automatic drive so just put your foot down and off you go! And why spend the whole year collecting or raking grass when the DX70 lets you mulch as well! Simply swap blades, add the mulching block and say goodbye to those long summer days spent collecting the grass. And as an added benefit, the finely-cut clippings produced by mulching are returned to your sun-scorched lawn as precious nutrients!