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Cylinder mowers

Which type of mower, should ι choose? Choose the hand cylinder mower if you only have a small area, limited cash, or a burning desire to keep fit. Not all hand cylinder mowers are inexpensive — well-constructed, many-bladed ones are available at a higher price. These will give a fine finish to a lawn but can be hard work. Side-wheel versions are cheap, but the wheels can make nasty grooves on a damp lawn and you cannot mow right up to the edge of a bed.

Electric cylinder mowers are probably the most popular for the small modern garden where a source of power is readily available. They are comparatively lightweight and easy to manoeuvre. In many cases the electricity only powers the blades and you have to push the mower along, but some are self-propelled. Cheaper models have fewer blades and so the finish is not quite as good. They are readily available at DIY stores and garden centres and are very competitively priced. The disadvantage is that if the lawn is some distance from the power supply, a lot of extension cable is required. Also there is a chance that the cable could be accidentally cut during mowing. Modern electric mowers are double insulated so this should not prove serious, but for extra safety an appliance known as a residual current device (RCD) (which shuts off the electricity to the machine automatically if anything like this occurs) should always be used in connection with electrically powered garden tools, and you should never attempt any form of repair or maintenance to any part of the equipment or its cable while it is plugged into the power supply.

Petrol cylinder mowers are convenient in that providing you have sufficient petrol they can be used on a lawn anywhere. They are also more suitable for mowing large areas of lawn. They are usually heavier than the electric versions and more expensive but, depending on the model, are capable of producing a very good finish indeed. Some have a dual drive which means you can use them with just the blades being driven without the mower being automatically propelled. This gives greater manoeuvrability in awkward places. Modern petrol mowers run on unleaded petrol, but you may find that an older, second-hand one can only use four-star. Petrol and electric mowers are noisy in comparison with hand models and they should be used with the consideration of neighbours in mind!

Cylinder mowers in one form or another are mainly suitable for good-quality lawns of reasonable length and composed of fairly fine grasses and, apart from side-wheel models, can be used right up to the edges of beds and borders. They are not designed for tackling long, tough grass or overgrown lawns, which should be got back into some sort of order using a rotary mower first.

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