Top critical review
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Total nightmare to put together, but it does mow the lawn
on 6 June 2011
After our Flymo unceremoniously blew up after 2.5 years of basically shredding rather than cutting the grass (thanks Which? that was the worst purchase ever), I did a bit of research (ignoring Which?), and settled on the Bosch.
By this time, I was in danger of losing my smallest child in the grass so I was eager to get the mower out of the box and get to work - I had an hour spare and decided to start with the grass box, which some had said was tricky to get right. 5 minutes in, the grass box was done, and I was feeling rather pleased with myself. "Just the handles to do, and then I'm ready", I thought smugly. The concept of the handle is very simple - slot the bottom part in, line up the hole on the handle with the hole on the outside of the mower, insert the provided screw and tighten. Sounds simple doesn't it? Half an hour later I was a sweaty mess with dangerously high blood pressure - the bl**dy screw was miles too big for the hole (or if you prefer, the hole was too small for the screw). I resorted to calling the Bosch customer helpline, to be told that I definitely had the correct screws, but they are "self-threading" and I needed to "put in a bit of effort" to get them to screw in, or "perhaps get your husband to do it" (just what I needed - unhelpful AND patronising on so many levels). As it turns out, my (well-built) husband HAD tried, with a battery powered drill screwdriver, with no luck at all. Despite my protestations that it was clear that the screw was NEVER going to fit into the hole, that was the extent of the advice offered by Bosch. Brilliant. Here's an idea Bosch - why not just give us normal screws that fit? In the end, following a fruitless trip to the local hardware store with half the handle to look for a screw that would fit, my husband had to use a drill to make the holes ever so slightly bigger, and we managed to get the job finished (and have a huge row), but it took about an hour.
So, on to the mowing - I have to say it is very easy to use, much lighter than my old flymo which involved a lot of pushing to get it up the slightest incline, this takes hardly any effort even on my very uneven back lawn. The double handled switch means that you can take one hand off to pick stuff up, move the wire or repel annoying children, without the mower stopping. The combs at the side really do cut almost right up to the edges, and it leaves a very neat finish - if my grass was half decent the stripes would no doubt look more impressive. The grass box is plenty big enough, though it does take a bit of shaking to completely empty it, and there are plenty of nooks and crannies for cut grass to collect in, which tends to result in a load of grass falling out of the mower when you remove the box. The height adjustment is very easy to set - just push or pull the adjuster towards the centre of the mower and push or pull the body of the mower to lower or raise it. I used the number 3 setting on my front lawn, and 3.5 on the back and it was a pretty short cut, so suspect that any lower would only be useful for those lucky gardeners with perfectly flat ornamental lawns.
I've only used it 3 times so far on dry grass, so will reserve further judgement until I've tested it a bit more. First impressions then get 3 stars from me - mainly due to the initial construction experience, and the fact is is just a lawnmower - it mows lawns well, but I'm not blown away by it. If you can put it together without having a nervous breakdown or getting divorced, you could do worse than buy one of these.