The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Bosch Rotak 40 electric rotary lawn mower: a review


Long grass going to seed

Photo: Long grass going to seed

I want to let you into a secret.

I left mowing the lawn until Friday May 26th this year. The grass was so long that it was actually going to seed. John Coe would not have approved and even Danny was a bit shocked.
“You’re going to have to strim before you cut.”
“Not necessarily. Just wait and see.”

I hate our old lawn mower. It’s a petrol one that John Coe bought second hand for £25 a couple of years ago. Danny has to start it for me and it’s like pushing a stubborn wildebeest through a herd of equally recalcitrant relations. It bucks and kicks and can only manage a wrenched five point turn. It loathes being exercised on the small paths in the kitchen garden. It’s heavy and smelly and that is why I let the grass grow and left the mower snoozing in the shed.

The gardening shed is small – just 6’x4’. The wildebeest mower is large. So if I needed to get things from the shelves at the back of the shed I had to mountaineer over the lawn mower. Taking down tools from their places was awkward as they would often get tangled in the mower’s sturdy handles.

Letting the grass grow long wasn’t as foolhardy as Danny imagined as I was planning to gain lawn mower independence and invest in a new compact electric one. I’d already snooped at the selection in Homebase and spotted the Bosch Rotak range. Light and easy to manoeuvre and claiming to be happy cutting long grass. Perfect. We have a fifty meter electric reel that I used when I was decorating so I knew that I could easily access all the grass in our back garden. We are trying to invest in better tools for me to use so as not to have to employ anyone to help in the garden. As shekels are low at the moment it had to be economically priced and good value.

I’d read the reviews for the mower which generally were excellent and found the cheapest place to buy a Bosch Rotak 40 is on Amazon. When it arrived I put it together and took it for a test drive. Starting off with some shorter tufts and gradually building up to the longer grass. Clearly if you are going to tackle long grass the mower needs to be given a bit more time to chomp through the dense herbiage so as not to put a strain on the motor. Danny was stunned at the Rotak’s cutting power and even I was surprised how good it was when put to the test of cutting the shaggy lawn.

I’m delighted with my new grass cutting companion. Having got used to swinging the cable out of the way, the Bosch Rotak 40 is a pleasure to use. Unlike the old wildebeest, the 50 litre grass box compacts the grass so well that I didn’t need to empty the box until I’d finished mowing. And it takes up so little space in the shed that I can actually access the shelves and all my tools with ease.

I also invested in a nifty cable winder that stores the cable neatly and out of the way on the handle.

Thumbs up to Bosch for an excellent machine.

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  1. Jo@LittleFfarm Dairy

    Hi folks – now here’s an admission….Tony hasn’t had time to mow the lawn here yet this year (& in fact it was only mowed twice, last year); it now looks like a jungle. I cannot mow it as (funny old thing) the mower was chosen by Tony & is far too big & heavy for me; it is difficult to start & has pulled me over, twice.

    So we’re getting a guy in to do a major overhaul after which he’ll come back once a fortnight to mow the lawn for us. Whilst it’s money we can’t really afford at least it frees up what precious-little time Tony has here; & is one thing less for me to worry about as we prepare to move production of our gelato on-farm & so will have lots more visitors…so of course do not want the place looking at all scruffy.

    In fact we could do with your decorating skills Fiona – we bought masses of paint today to overhaul the interior & exterior of the cottage – major changes ahoy!

    Only wish we had more time to tackle it…

    Congrats on your mower – sounds brilliant. Needless to say I’ll keep quiet though…just in case Tony has a change of heart & buys one for me!

  2. Danny

    It’s interesting to see how many people approve of the Bosch lawnmower range. That Rotak 40 model suits F perfectly, although I may be spurred on by a guilty conscience to give her a helping hand occasionally!
    Toffeeapple, you may relax. When the builders were renovating part of the cottage shortly after F bought it, she had the electrician run an armoured cable down to the pond for the pump. He quickly formed an opinion that the vaguely ditsy element he detected in F’s aura indicated that it would be prudent to install a super duper fuseboard with an inbuilt circuit breaker.
    It has paid off over the years 🙂

  3. louise

    My very fit 82 year old mother had never cut the grass until she decided to buy the cordless Bosch mower – perfect for her, lightweight, good cut and no wire to deal with. More expensive, yes, but worth it!

  4. Joanna

    I had a quiet chuckle about letting a small part of the lawn go to nature as we have quite a few acres of the stuff and wildlife we have in abundance here in Latvia, only problem is that some of the wildlife I could live without, like mosquitoes which are dreadful this year and it won’t be long before the horse flies are out and they are mean (they do pollinate flowers though so I read, but that doesn’t mean I like them any better). We will have to stick with the petrol lawnmower though as I don’t think we can run a cable that far from our third story apartment. Still gets me out of a job, too big and heavy for me :D.
    Glad you can get in your tool shed now though Fiona, I always find that is a far better option to make proper use of tools, when you don’t have to climb over something to get to them.

  5. cathy

    Wow, Fiona. I’m impressed since I spent all weekend weeding, weed-wacking with the electric wacker, and mowing the grass with the gas mower. All weekend long I kept thinking that there must be a better tool for me.

    Don’t you think it’s healthy to let grass go to seed sometimes? You’ve already written about how you airate the lawn with the poker thing now, right? Bet your grass will be lovely this year.

  6. Often wish the ocd in me would let me leave just a small part of my lawn for nature… The wildlife will thank you for leaving it so long, but watch out for the frogs! x

  7. Cookie Girl

    What a beauty ! We also have a lawnmower that I cannot start, which now means I cannot mow the lawn. It is very frustrating, I can see I am not the only one who has been in this situation. This post has excellent timing and I am definitely going to show this to Biscuit Boy! Thank you and Happy Mowing !

  8. Barbara

    Like you, I had a petrol mower that I couldn’t start myself. When it needed servicing this winter for a fairly minor problem I decided to get one I could use easily rather than spend money on servicing it. Again like you, I got a Bosch Rotak 40 because it was so light weight and relatively small. It is wonderful to be able to get it out of the shed easily, cut the grass myself, and find things in the shed!
    (And I do have a circuit breaker, Toffeeapple.)

  9. Paula

    We also have an electric lawn mower, which I think a very good thing. Come to think of it, we have an electric string trimmer, electric leaf blower, and an electric chain saw as well. Everything but the blower is battery powered, though, which may or may not be a good thing. We’re thinking about buying a second battery for the trimmer, because the charge never lasts long enough.

    I think the real answer in our case is to cover the back yard in cardboard and mulch, and dispense with a lawn back there altogether. It would work better with the whole garden aspect…

  10. Toffeeapple

    Fiona, I do hope that your new marvel comes with a fitted circuit-breaker? Please tell me it does, or that you have one at the cottage?

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