Matts Cylinder Mower with rear roller copy

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How to choose Your Cylinder Mower – Are they good?

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For years, I thought a cylinder mowers was just for older people who hadn’t moved with the times. That was until I realised how much of a better cut they give compared to your everyday (and probably the most popular), rotary mowers.

These days, though cylinder mowers come in sooo many difference shapes, sizes and even massive price differences. So, what’s the true difference between each of these and if you want one, which one is best for you?

So, in this article I’m touching on the pros and cons of using a cylinder mower, why you should or shouldn’t use one and at the end, I’ll share my experience with a couple I’ve used myself.

That said, if you’re reading this article, you’re probably interested in keeping your grass looking neat for most of the year. Otherwise, you may as well just stick to a rotary.

So, let’s start with the pros and cons.

No 1. Pro: Superb stripes and neat finish

The best part about a cylinder is how well it cuts. It’s like a hot knife through butter when it goes through the lawn. Meaning it can create a superb finish. Not only that, nearly all of them will come with a rear roller and most with a front roller too.

This helps to create the perfect striped lawn. Whether you want double, single or even a random pattern of stripes, it best achieved with a cylinder blade and front + rear roller.

No 1. Con: You need to keep the grass short, really short

I usually suggest having a rotary mower as well. Unless you can mow your grass every few days during the height of the growing season, you’ll need the rotary to take the top off when it gets longer. Of course, these days

Battery vs Petrol vs Corded vs Manual

These are the four main types. Each has it’s pros and cons in terms of benefits and they all can come at very different price points.

Starting with the cheapest, is the manual push along type. You can pick one of these up for around £100. In fact I use the Webb 30cm Push one and it’s just right for what I need – a neat finish on a 60-70m2 lawn. Any bigger than that and it wouldn’t be great. I’m also often sweating in the height of the Summer when it comes to pushing it along. Maybe one day I’ll upgrade to a battery one. Doubt I’ll go for a corded one now though after transitioning to battery setup.

Next in line are the corded ones. These can also be picked up fairly cheaply.

If I’m honest though, after getting my cordless rotary mower I wouldn’t go back to corded. Especially when they are around the same price. As of this writing too, I haven’t found a corded one with great reviews.

Cheap, Cheerful & Manual

One of the cheapest on the market is the one I have. Though it’s not the only type I have. You could go even cheaper and get one for say closer to £60-£70 but it will literally be a cylinder with wheels on the side and a bag collector. There won’t be a roller so unless you have a super small lawn and aren’t bothered about stripes, I’d ask – ‘what’s the point?’

Professional, Crazy Expensive but Unbelievable performance

On the other end of the spectrum comes the Allett Mowers. A Great British company. They’re constantly innovating and moving with the times. Hence their (fairly) swift move into battery cylinder mowers. It’s true, they mainly supply professionals and groundsmen but do have a domestic version.

Though that one will still set you back a good £1,500 as a minimum. Ooooof!

Somewhere in the middle – or second hand

Of course, there are lots of similar mowers that don’t cost the earth but still give you. a bit of a propelled assistance when it comes to pushing them.

To be honest though, when you do a quick search it’s quite hard to find anything high-quality that costs less than £900. Probably because they are mainly aimed at the professionals who can justify spending this type of cash.

What I would say, is to check what the highest cut it when you make your decision and make sure you can keep it at that length or whether you’ll need to do it with a rotary one first, then just finish it with your cylinder.

Try second-hand

What’s more, there are also lots of second-hand models available (usually on eBay) if you want the feel of an expensive mower but don’t want to pay the brand new price tag. Two brands I see a lot of are Qualcast and Suffolk Punch. Two makes renowned for making high-performing petrol mowers.

On that note, if you’re looking for a battery one, you might find it difficult right now to find it on the second-hand market.

The difficulties with cylinder mowers

One of the biggest things to be cautious of is how low they go. Most of the time, you’re not going to want o go as low because it means you need to keep it at that height pretty much all the time. What’s more, low-cut grass takes very different and much more intense caring programmes than slightly longer grass.

Sharpening the blades

With a rotary mower, you have a single blade that can either be sharpened or changed for a reasonably cheap price. However, a cylinder isn’t as easy to sharpen and is more expensive to change because of it’s complex nature.

Cleaning and maintaining a cylinder mower

The tasks needed here will depend very much on the type you have. For example, a petrol version will need more maintenance than an electric one.

Cleaning it is another question. With a rotary mower, you can simply move the blade out of your way to give it a good clean underneath. However moving a cylinder blade out of the way requires some tools and a bit more extra time.

As a bit of a tip, I use. my leaf blower to get any residual grass out from behind the blade every time I use it so that I don’t have to get my screwdriver out to take it off all the time. This works a treat. Then approximately every 3 months I’ll give it a good clean and put.

In the manual, it’s also recommended to have it checked by an approved service dealer. This is even more important if you want to qualify for the 2nd year warranty. To be honest though, on a £100 piece of equipment I’m not that fussed about the warranty.

Other cleaning recommendations include checking the drive train

  • Before each use, check all nuts & bolts to be sure they are sufficiently tightened.
  • We recommend only manufacturer original parts are used when maintaining this machine.
  • Failure to do so could invalidate your manufacturer’s warranty.
  • The cutting cylinder blades should be sharpened every two years, or sooner when damaged by
    foreign objects to maintain performance
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  1. Michael Hardman

    I have a qualcast petrol 43 mower, and for years have had difficulty presenting a nice lawn, the dog doesn’t help. This year I have got your lawn care package and even though we are only at the Spring & Summer Lawn Feed stage 1 I am very impressed with the results so far. I also bought some lawn seed and that is working very well also. I used to mow the grass as low as possible but this year so far I have only cut it at number 4 which leaves it quite long. And being honest it looks far more welcoming at this length. Can I ask what a good length is for a loan to be cut at ? Thank you in advance.

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