* Prices may differ from that shown
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My partner purchased this Flymo Hover 350 Mower for around £60 from Argos. We wanted to buy a mower that was lightweight and powerful, and also one that would last us a good few years; and the Flymo 350 seemed to be the right choice at the time as £60 was quite good for mower.
It is hard find prices online as Argos, Amazon, Homebase etc no longer sell this specific model anymore. However it is worth a look on auction sites such as eBay etc as you should be able to find used and refurbished ones for quite a cheap price.
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*35cm cutting width.
*4 cutting heights (10 - 30mm).
*Grassbox capacity 22 litres.
*Comes fully assembled with fold down handle for storage.
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The Mower body is made from hard glossy plastic and metal, it has an orange, grey & black colour scheme which is like most lawn mowers. As it is compact in size the body is fairly small and has bump like shape which holds the grass collection container and has a 22 litre capacity. The blades are made from metal and are of course positioned underneath the mower and measure approx 35 cm wide. The handle can be folded in length to allow easy storage, and has 4 cutting heights to enable (10 - 30mm) cutting of long and short length grass.
The main reason for purchasing this particular Flymo Mower was that it appeared compact in size and lightweight. This is ideal as we only have a small garage, and find that we can easily squeeze this mower in without it taking up too much room. The other positive factor is the weight, only weighing approx 7.6kg meant it was fairly easy for me to lift up and carry out into the garden without having to bother my partner to do it for me, in fact when it is empty I can easily lift it up with one hand!.
I remember our older bulker lawn mower and how much of a pain it was to store and to lift and carry into the garden, even my strong male partner found it difficult to do, so there was no chance a weakling like me could do it. This makes this Flymo 350 mover so much easier to use and a lot more practical, once plugged in into the mains which is situated just near our kitchen window, it's very easy to operate and get using as it comes fully assembled.
Power cable length
The 12 meter long power lead is a very good length in my opinion, I find it provides more than enough lead for me to comfortable stretch to the end of my medium sized garden. I would say that even a larger garden would find the 12 meter cable ideal, so if we do move into a house with larger sized garden we wouldn't have to worry about the length of the lead. Of course extension plugs are available if the mains are some distance away from your garden and if you do have a considerably large sized garden.
Put to the Test
Once switched on and ready to use, I found it fairly easy and less tiresome to glide the mower over my grassy lawn due to it being lightweight, however I did found that being so lightweight meant that I occasionally found it harder to control. I found that it worked great on short to medium length grass, but did find I had to hover over the longer lengths of grass a couple of times before it evenly cut through them. The 1500W power enabled medium lengths to be cut nice and fast but surprisingly didn't seem to work as well on bumpy areas or on larger clumps of grass. This could be a result of the blades sharpness, as sometimes when a small stone gets in the way it would make a horrible noise and made me worry a few times about its durability. The blades can be adjusted to mow closer to the lawn, however I never used this function and just keep it on the normal settings during use.
The Grass Collecting Container
The 22 litre capacity container has enough room to enable me to finish my lawn without having to constantly empty the container. If you do have a large garden however I would imagine it would need emptying at least once while mowing the lawn. This is great for us, as it means we can get the job done quicker, as I don't particularly enjoy mowing the lawn. The container is easy to empty and even has a handy hinged lid to enable quick and simple removable of the cover and emptying.
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Overall I would recommend this lawn mower as I do believe it does the job fairly well for the cheap price. It has a good length power cord, lightweight, compact, easy to store and does a reasonably good job in mowing our medium sized lawn. The only issue really is that it does seem to have a little trouble with larger sized grass, and bumpy surfaces, so therefore I would definitely recommend this one more for smaller to medium lawns, as I can imagine it being a little annoying to use on a larger sized garden. It is for this reason why I have knocked off a star and give this a rating of 4/5.
Have had 3 flymos prior to this one and they have all been very easy to use. Bought this last year and it has served well during the summer months. It glides effortlessly over the grass and cuts to the level that you want. This can be adjusted by adding small plastic discs that raise or lower the blade.
Picks up the clippings as it goes and stores them in the top box which has a clear plastic sight on the top so that you can see when its full. Although the machine does get heavier as it gets fuller so after a while you dont need to check.
Easy to manover over the grass and you dont have to stick to straight lines. Easy to open and get rid of the clippings which are in their own basket inside. The hadle folds in two for easy storage and you can then wrap the lead around the handles.
Like all lawnmowers you need to clean it after use or it will get blocked up. All in all value for money and a good mower for the lawn.
For around 10 years our old Black and Decker GR20 mower has never broken down and has always remained reliable and faithful. Well, with all the sun that we have been having, it was only a matter of time when our dear old rotary mower broke down. So by the time it was sent to the local blacksmith and lawn mower repairer in town, I was not prepared to wait the month waiting time whilst our lawn grew back again. ** This is a long review! **
** Nar's Quick Skip Spec **
* 35cm metal blade.
* 1500 watt motor
* 4 cutting heights (12mm to 32mm)
* 30 litre perforated PVC grass box
* 12m detachable power cord
* Handle folds down for storage.
* Normal retail price £90 to £120.
* EBay reconditioned price (& 6 months plus P&P) £71-00 **
I've been aware of Flymo's Vision Compact mower for some time now , not just because our local electrical engineer next door has had the same model for three years, but it seems that everyone these days (when it comes to electric based, certainly) has a hover mower because of the natural easiness of moving on lawns. I watched my new neighbour on the other side of our house however struggle with her latest Flymo hover though which has a single handle (like an upright vacuum cleaner) as opposed to the more traditional double hand bar on most Flymo hovers these days but she did confess that parts are very easy to pick up (whereas in Black and Decker's case, parts are hard to find).
** EBay Reconditioned Price **
Onto EBay then where I discovered an electrical supplier who sold me a reconditioned "Vision Compact" mower. No matter how many features it has, I find £100 to £120 a bit steep for the same hover brand new - and this was the price that B&Q and Homebase were selling the 350 Compact model at before shortly reducing it to £90 for the newer model. So on EBay with a 6 month guarantee thrown in plus postage and packaging, the total price came to £71-00.
** Setting It Up / User Manual **
The Vision Compact mower is an all in one unit, comprising of a perforated PVC grass box which sits inside the main flap on the mower itself. Two parts to the handle allow the mower to adjust slightly for the owner and an inner bar allows the Vision Compact to be carried or wheeled back to the shed when not in use. The only reason that it carries the "Vision" name is purely because it has a window at the top of the box to show when it needs emptying. The fact that it starts to get heavy in use should tell you before though!! It does not mirror a traditional Flymo mower design though, as the sides of the mower are high and built up to accommodate the grass box at the front as opposed to older mowers with boxes at the back.
The manual supplied with the Flymo is very difficult to read using pictorial diagrams and small paragraphs of sentences, even though it is the same manual that is supplied brand new. I had to visit a local Flymo supplier in town to find out if it was the same manual and lo and behold it was exactly the same. What does this mean to you? Well, springs and handle fixings were the main cause of complaint in the sense of what goes where exactly even if for the most technically minded, it should be plain sailing. Flymo need to improve on the content of their user manuals so that owners can put it together in a matter of minutes, not a matter of days worrying if I'll break a part that should go elsewhere than intended. For example, there are two ringlet coils which have to be put into the corresponding holes for the main handle which incorporates the main power unit before the fly-plug can be attached to it. Whilst it seemed easy at the time, I did notice that the points for the plastic lugs which attach the main hood to the handle frame are rather weak and don't give as much when attaching the lid to the main mower unit. Once I figured out how the coils are put into place to give the mower more give on the handle as well as locking it in, all was resolved but it took longer than anticipated when constructing the mower to use just taken out of the box.
** Flymo's Vision in Detail **
One of the aspects of choosing this mower wasn't just because it comes with a grass box, or for the fact that it looks compact but also for the fact that it has a roller bar fitted at the top of the mower which allows owners to get the striped look on lawns. Tie in the fact that it is reasonably lightweight anyway and it is, in theory easy to get a striped effect but like rotary mowers you revert the way that you travel up and down the lawn in straight opposite lines just like a traditional rotary mower.
The Vision comes with a 12 metre power cord which I find is more than sufficient even when it is fixed to an additional trailing cord. Like most hovers these days this is a simple wet protected orange cable which mimics the orange ness of Flymo's trademark colour since the 1980's which the Vision is awash with anyway; even the handle is orange. It fits separately through to a "pig tail" clasped connecter which locks the cord to the handle and power bar. Flymo's latest Compact model now features an "Easi-Reel" permanently attached cable which is supposed to fit with the mower and reduce hand fatigue. Just like Numatic's Henry vacuum cleaner though, I find manually rewinding the cable difficult than actually just whipping off the cord, winding it around my arm and putting it away safely - this was done when I went to see the new mower in a B&Q warehouse and put it to the test in terms of checking to see if it was worthy of considering instead of EBay's best efforts with the old model.
** In Use **
In use it is a very lightweight proposition! The Vision Compact excels on short and medium length grass. Pushing it is easy with its hover activation; the floating aspect is easy to feel when it rises off the ground suddenly and can be pulled and pushed using just one hand as opposed to traditionally applying two hands. In use it is a revelation to what I'm used to!
And it is easy to hear that these latest mowers are beginning to get quieter as time goes by. Although I couldn't hear someone talking to me as if they were next to me, the sound of the 1500 watt motor is never obtrusive and knocks the Black and Decker in this respect for sound absorption.
On longer grass, around 5 to 7 inches in height off the ground, the Vision Compact doesn't mulch unless the grass is very wet but in use cut grass from the sides of the mower fly out uncontrollably when they are supposed to be contained in the bin. Even with one cog fitted to lift the blade away from the ground, I found that the Flymo was still persistent to give a fine cut. One upside is that in general cutting grass with this type of hover is faster. Usually it takes me an hour and a half to cut my parents' lawn with our rotary mower but the Vision Compact did it in half an hour! The finish of the cut looks very good though and again it is comparable to our Black and Decker rotary push mower.
A large down flow scoop at the back of the mower means that this is where the actual vacuum suction of grass collected occurs but you need to move the mower backwards and forwards for any remaining cut grass left to get sucked up at the back of the mower. Frankly I find that frustrating given that the mower is supposed to have a suction facility built in; our Black and Decker has a gentle vacuum action and it doesn't leave out as much grass even though it is not a hover in design. This hole is also engineered in the grass box although when emptying cut grass hardly falls out which is neat.
Another aspect which I'm surprised about is the fact that I find the Vision Compact difficult to move from side to side, in the way that a Flymo hover should. Even with the rollers removed (you can pick them out) the Vision Compact can't be swung easily like other Flymo hovers I have tried in the past; the machine will swing but it needs brute strength with two hands as opposed to its floatiness up and down, straight and backwards.
I encountered problems with corners too which is another surprise but it is down to the fact that the Vision Compact's design has very high walls and when the cushioned effect of air starts up, it struggles to fully cut corners without having to take out the strimmer. Other Flymo's I have used in the past have a very slim line mass cutting area on the top which allows corner cutting but not here. On lawns which have no edging however the Flymo excels at corner cutting but I found the mower had to be moved into the middle of the corners after the grass and into flower beds before corners were actually cut.
One other aspect which does deserve mentioning is cutting the weeds on flat paving stones. I had forgotten about the fact that most hovers can do this, and in this respect the 350 is no different. Pushing the mower onto flat paving stones for example cuts out all the weeds which lie over the straight lines on stones and the beauty of the duct at the back ensures all the cut waste gets sucked up the back.
** Emptying It **
The grass box is really easy to take out. The lid flips up all the way to the secondary inner carry handle where the sides of the box literally have soft parts which defy hand position logic. Luckily the top lid is very lightweight so for people looking for an easy empty action, Flymo have done well here.
Once the box is out, grass is generally compacted well and I found despite the 30 litre capacity and general size that the box fits into the rim of an open black bag easily. A slight tap to the sides of the box ensures that it eventually all falls out even if moss has a tendency to stick to the perforated sides. Once emptied, the box just literally falls back into place and the lid can be re-fitted over it.
** Storing It / Time to Put Away **
One aspect I love about the plastic bin capacity is that it can actually hold the power cord and any other cord I have used at the time. Tipped upwards so that the wheels hit the concrete surface after use, the Vision Compact is easier to drag behind you rather than try to push it like an upright vacuum cleaner. Unfortunately because of my height (6ft) I have to stoop to lift the Flymo as I found I was scraping the plastic before the wheels at the front if I had stood up properly to wheel it back to the shed.
Undoing the two orange screw connectors in the middle of the main handle means that the handle can be swung over and onto the main lid of the Flymo. For compactness in this respect, the Flymo is extremely easy to put away and store. Lifting it can also be done by the same inner handle and the weight of the mower is lighter than our rotary mower although it is heavy at first to lift than it is actually drag it behind you. I'd say generally that the total weight of the mower when it comes to dragging it back to the shed is around 5 to 7kg which is nothing compared to mowers of old.
** Any other Downsides **
Height settings however were shocking for me when I'm used to a rotary mower design which has a side height adjuster. On our Black and Decker you simply adjust the height of the wheels which in turn sets the height of the blade on grass via a knob set on the back of the wheels. Because the Flymo is a hover you have to put the Flymo on its side (always make sure it is switched off), take off the blade via a spanner and add 1, 2 or 3 spacer cogs which push the blade outwards or inwards depending on the height of the grass. What a nonsense to have to take the blade off just to increase the height - this is the joys of having a cushion of air for a mower.
** Conclusion **
As a make shift mower where the main one is being repaired, I am delighted to at last own my very own Vision Compact mower. I wish it had a lower cutting area where it can actually cut corners though. If you have a level lawn which doesn't have areas on a hill going up or down, this mower makes a fine choice but over our Rotary mower, despite the cut in time it takes to cut a lawn, I still prefer our old Black and Decker; the rotary action ensures a better, finer cut and a proper height adjustable lever which puts the owner into control as opposed to the other way around. But in all other respects the Flymo cuts grass cutting time generally against a rotary push mower. For most consumers, that may be the key to its overall recommendation. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.
Hover Lawnmower / Power: electric / Power output: 1550W / Collection capacity: 30L / Cable length: 15m.