ALL ABOUT MOWERS, RIDE-ONS, & LAWNMOWERS
Hopkins Machinery offer you the complete range and choice in lawnmowers for your garden. On this page we are going to explain all about the different choices you have available in lawn mowers generally.
WHAT TYPES OF MOWER ARE AVAILABLE?
There are four basic types of lawnmowers:
Cylinder lawnmowers come with electric engines, petrol engines or the basic hand push model. The blades are twisted around a horizontal cylinder with cuts with a scissor like action against the bottom blade as the cylinder goes round. This type of mower gives the best cut (the crisp, sharp accurate cut you get on golf courses) Cylinder mowers are suitable for level lawns where you want a really fine, short cut. These type of lawn mower comes in a variety of widths and normally have a roller fitted which leaves a “British Stipes” on the lawn at the end of cutting. Cylinder mowers often have a detachable grass collection box and the bigger models (such as those seem on stadium grounds) often have the option of trailed seats for the operator.
Rotary lawnmowers are the most popular mowers in the UK. They are extremely versatile and cope with a wide range of conditions on most types of lawn, rougher grass area’s and sloping banks (more commercial mowers are required for steeper banks). They normally have 4 wheels, or two wheels and a rear roller. Rotary mowers can be electric or petrol driven – usually with the option of being a push machine or with some form of drive (straight forward stop and go to more complex speed control / hydrostatic drives) if your lawn is fairly big area the best option is a mower with drive (self-propelled). On a rotary lawnmower the blades are one, long straight, horizontal blade. The grass is cut, goes through the deck and out through the back or side of the deck into a collection box or dropped straight onto the floor. Various options are available – collect the grass, mulch the grass and drop it on the floor, or just cut the grass and drop it on the floor.
Hover mowers have no wheels, they literally hover over the surface of the grass. They are based on the principle of rotary mowers in that they have one, horizontal blade. Hover mowers are normally, small lightweight (compared to traditional mowers) mowers for small and medium sized gardens. They are often used to mow banks with. Hover mowers are great for a quick tidy up, but they do not provide a really high quality cut (this becomes obvious as the grass grows after it has been cut).
This is the type of mower that literally cuts through everything. Flail mowers are generally bigger, contractors / commercial mowers. They are used on overgrown area’s such as forest paths that have not been cleared for a long-time and are overgrown with shrubs and brambles, or area’s behind buildings or on yards that have become overgrown and need to be hacked back to get them under control again. Flail mowing is extremely aggressive - underneath the cover of the mower is a horizontal bar with lots of heavy duty blades (flails ) hanging off it, as the bar rotates the flails swing out and cut / mulch everything they come into contact with, leaving a fairly fine scattering of cut debris on the floor. Flail mowers are the slowest method of cutting and often once the area has been cut down, they are not needed a second time (as they did such a good job the first time round).
WHAT SIZES OF LAWNMOWER ARE AVAILABLE?
Generally lawnmowers come in small, medium and large. The size equates to the width of cut. Small tends to be around 16" (41cm), medium lawnmowers tend to be around 18" (46cm) /19" (47cm) and large lawnmowers tend to be about 21" (53cm)/24" (61cm). When you go over these sizes the lawnmowers tend to become ride on mowers / lawn tractors or heavy duty pedestrian commercial mowers.
WHAT SIZE MOWER DO I NEED?
The size of your lawn is the leading factor in deciding what size lawnmower you need, and also what type drive your mower needs – petrol, electric or push. As a general rule, push, hand propelled lawnmowers are used on very small gardens, Electric mowers are used on small to medium sized gardens (not too big a garden or you will run out of cable) and the petrol mowers are used for everything else (no trailing electric cable, self-propelled drive to help you cover larger areas and carry the weight of the grass bag as it fills). The other benefit of the petrol lawnmowers is the huge variety of choice in models – different combinations of cutting width, drive type, type of speed control, grass bag size and cutting capability (cut, collect, mulch, etc.). If you have a rather large area to cut, that is when you would consider a ride on mower.
WHAT TYPE OF MOWER DO I NEED?
First of all look at what type of grass you have growing on your lawn. A lawn with really fine ornamental turf needs frequent cuts to keep the grass short and looking its best. A cylinder mower is the perfect mower to get this type of grass looking its absolute best.
But most family homes have lawns made up of a mixture of ryegrass and a generous growth of weeds and moss. This kind of lawn is better looked after with a rotary mower. More versatile than cylinder lawnmowers, rotary mowers can cope with longer grass if you miss the weekly cut. They can cope with hidden objects in the grass (children’s toys, larger branches that have fallen off tree’s etc.) without causing extensive damage to the lawnmower. Many rotary lawnmowers can cope with cutting in the damp – to a degree (the mowers ability here is dependant, on the brand and model configuration you go for). Rotary mowers are the best type of mower to use on rougher grass too – paddocks, orchards (bigger ride on mowers for larger areas are best) or a naturalised bank where you only need to cut once every few weeks. Rotary mowers, with a rear roller are recommended where you want “British Stripes” on your lawn or your garden has a lot of ornamental beds / borders – as the rear roller allows you to cut up to the edge of the bed / border without the wheel of the mower down dropping into the bed and allowing the mower to scalp the grass edge.
WHAT ENGINES DO THEY HAVE?
The majority of the walk behind mowers we sell are fitted with either Honda engines or Briggs and Stratton engines. Both of these brands manufacture wonderful, reliable, well-engineered engines. We are agents for both Honda and Briggs and Stratton, and so can offer full support for parts, servicing and technical advice. All of the engines are normally four stroke, using standard unleaded petrol (available from your local petrol station).
WHAT TYPES OF DRIVE ARE AVAILABLE?
Walk behind mowers tend to be either push (there is no drive and the mower only moves forward when you push it) or self-propelled (you pull in a handle on the handlebar to engage the drive and the mower drives it ‘self forward at a single consistent speed) or hydrostatic / Variable Drive (based on the principle of an automatic car - you pull in a handle on the handlebar to engage the drive and the mower drives it ‘self forward at whichever speed you choose).
WHAT FUNCTIONS ARE AVAILABLE ON A LAWNMOWER?
Walk behind lawnmowers offer a variety of different combinations functions depending on which model you buy.
• Rotostop - there is a double clutch on the mower, so that when you let go of the blade engagement handle, the blade stops turning - but the engine stays running. This is a great feature if you don't want to re-start your mower every time you empty the grass box.
• Roller - this is normally available on more expensive mowers. Cheaper mowers have a sectioned roll. More expensive mowers have a metal, weightier, heavy duty roller with drive incorporated into the roller. This function is what gives us the British Stripe on our lawns.
• Mulching - this function allows the lawnmower to cut the grass into smaller pieces than a standard mower. The smaller pieces of grass disappear more quickly in the weather. Mulching is a great function where you do not wish to collect the grass clippings, and it suits to cut and drop the grass.
• Pull Start - the majority of lawnmowers are pull start / recoil - to put this basically, there is a length of cord with a handle and you pull on it to turn the engine over manual and get it started.
• Electric Start - more expensive lawnmowers offer this function. There is normally a key with and ignition barrel or a push start button, located near the handle bars. Often these lawnmowers also offer the pull start / recoil function as backup if the battery for the electric start runs low.
• Auto Choke - this function takes the awkwardness out of trying to start your lawnmower. The choke adjusts itself automatically to make starting the mower as easy as possible.
• Grass bags - these come in a wide variety of styles from solid polymer boxes to wire frames with a heavy duty fabric covering. Different type’s suit different work. Contractors tend to go for the wire frames with a fabric covering as the grass bag compresses into a smaller space when it is empty. The majority of lawnmowers can be used without their grass bags, as there is normally a spring loaded panel which holds the grass bag in place, and when there is no grass bag the panel directs the cuts grass onto the floor.
WHAT MAINTENANCE WILL MY LAWNMOWER NEED?
As a rule of thumb, you normally need to get your mower serviced once a year and most people usually get it done just before they start cutting in the spring. Servicing usually means to change the filters and lubricants in the engine, check engine settings and refine them if necessary. Also, to change or sharpen the grass cutting blade. If you have any other problems with your mower - mention them when you bring it in to get it serviced and we will normally tackle them during the service. Our workshop offers a very fast turnaround on mower repairs and servicing. We are happy to work on a wide variety of different brands of mower. If you are unsure if we cover the brand of your mower please give our team a call on 01633680754.
WHAT WARRANTY COVER DOES MY NEW LAWN MOWER HAVE?
The answer to this depends on which brand you choose. The minimum warranty cover for some brands is 6 months (this often applies to commercial users) and now with some brands the warranty cover extends up to 7 years. The warranty cover normally only continues into the next year if you have mower serviced each year. Please ask to see warranty Terms & conditions before purchase as they are different with each manufacturer of our kit.
At Hopkins Machinery we have extensive knowledge about mowers available in general, and can advise you on the right mower for your requirements. We carry a wide range of stock of the smaller, walk behind mowers (new machines) , and rarely have any used walk behind mowers for sale, but in the bigger ride on mowers we offer new and used mowers – both petrol and diesel. All you need to do is call us – and we can help from there.