While some of us may say a cordless lawn mower is a cordless lawn mower, and all they do is cut lawns, there will be others who will know that this isn't exactly true! So many needs, demands and circumstances have arisen that the death knell for the "one size fits all" approach to gardening which dominated the gardening industry for so long has been sounded, and very loudly too, which means there now has to be some differences in perfomance and specs among Bosch Rotak cordless lawnmowers to satisfy so many of these demands. The Bosch mowers we'll be looking at in this review are:
● Rotak 430Li
● Rotak 370Li
● Rotak 550
● Rotak 34R
So let's get started!
This light weight heavy duty cordless mower from Bosch's stable of thoroughbred lawnmowers belies the fact it has the power to cut through even the longest, coarsest grass (up to 30cms in height!) found in any property. With its two lithium ion batteries, powerful motor and its high tech cutting blade having a cutting width of 43 cms, this monster of a mower weighs in at just 13.9kg.
The bosch Rotak 430Li is quite capable of cutting a 150 sq metre (the area of a tennis court) lawn just on the charge of one 4ah battery, and in half the time it would take using a more traditional corded machine, according to many customers. With cables out of the way, this cordless mower has the power to make easy work of cutting your lawn in a shorter time than was previously possible.
The grass box size is a good 50 litres, reducing your trips to the compost heap, leaving you more time to relax in, and enjoy your garden. The Bosch Rotak 430Li comes complete with two lithium ion batteries and charger, so the saying "batteries not included" is now a thing of the past. So, how easy is this mower to use?
Well, to put it bluntly: very easy to use, is the answer. With its 6 cutting level settings controlled from Bosch's Ergoflex handles this mower need not make cutting the lawn such a hard task as prolonged vibration to your hands, wrists and forearms is greatly reduced and the settings switch is quite litrally at your finger tips.
One little feature which will please many is the two grass combs fitted on either side allowing you cut edges and borders. Bosch give a 2 year warranty on the machine itself and one year on the battery, giving you peace of mind at no extra cost. A very welcome bonus
Even though Bosch has done well to produce a mower that is a cut above most of its competitors, it falls very slightly short in a couple of areas. The fact that each battery needs to be installed into the mower can be really frustrating, especially when some reviews claim it can take well over an hour and a half to fully charge each battery.
However what many of these studies failed to point out to their audiences is that there are in fact two types of battery offered for this machine, one battery is rated at 2ah and the other rated at 4ah. Both types offer 37V but the 4ah battery will last longer than the 2ah alternative. You have to decide which battery option is best for you, and a couple of factors to include in your choice are terrain type and frequency of use. Please do take the time to consider your battery choice before you actually buy your mower.
It is a high ticket purchase and just a little bit of research before you buy will avoid disappointment in the long run. The batteries also heat up, and will need to cool down before removal from the mower for charging. This is currently a fact of life and will be the case with whichever brand or type battery you have.
Product assembly was also found to be at times fiddley, but considering this is a little one time task, it's really not a problem in the big scheme of things. Given these little points, in the world of electric lawn mowers this particular Bosch Rotak mower will cut your lawn beautifully and is a market leader in its class.
☆Very powerful. Able to cut extremely long grass.
☆ Extremely light weight. Weighs only 13.9kg.
☆ Huge grassbox size of 50 litres.
☆ Choice of 2 battery types.
☆ Fitted wih "Ergoflex" handles for reduced vibration to hands and forearms.
☆ 2 year guarantee on mower, and 1 year on batteries
☆ Fitted with grass combs, ideal for edge and border cutting.
☆ Cordless, no need to use extension cables.
☆ Battery power may last for a shorter while in certain conditions.
☆ Initial assembly can be very fiddley and frustrating.
The Bosch Rotak 370Li is one of a range of exclusive lawnmowers at b q as well as Amazon, but for all intents and purposes, the Rotak 370Li and the Rotak 37Li are essentially the same product.
With the Bosch hardened steel blade, advanced airflow technology and a 1400 watt motor this cordless lawnmower has the power to cut your grass quickly, and with the 6 cutting settings, to the length you need, to make your lawn show your garden off.
With a weight of only 13.1kg and a cutting width of 37cms the Rotak 370Li is so easy to use that you can quite literally galavant around with it! The Bosch Rotak 370Li's huge 40 litre grass box means less emptying time, and as the mower is cordless, many customers spoke of "freedom from the cord" in their reviews and it certainly is very true. Like its big brother the 430Li, the 370Li comes with grasscombs, a real godsend. The relatively small size of the machine means storing it away is easy.
As with all Bosch Rotak cordless mowers, battery power is provided by two Lithium ion batteries which are included with the charger. Like every model in the Bosch Rotak cordless lawnmower range there is a choice of battery, which will please many a customer, but be sure to choose the right one for you. Just like its big brother the Rotak 370Li has Bosch Ergoflex handles for a comfortable, vibration free "ride".
So, with all these good points, what are the bad points? Well, there are some tiny little niggles, but as you're just about to see, none of them are something you could really write home about. The most common question that people have about this mower is which battery size should I use?
There are some battery recommendations and guidelines from Bosch which will please new Rotak mower owners but it really is up to the buyer to make that choice. Each battery type (2ah and 4ah) has different charge capacities, and choosing the wrong type may result in more work breaks. So it's worth taking a little bit of extra time to look into the battery specifications to avoid any future disappointment or frustration.
In other reviews the most common thread with all cordless lawn mowers is that they seem not to be that easy to assemble in the first place, almost in the same league as flatpack furniture as some have said. Again the good thing is, that although putting the mower together may be likened to one of the labours of Hercules by some (but not by all), it is just a one time chore that once done, will have no ill effect on your garden in the long run.
Although the little dilemma of battery option for the new customer remains the same as before, and can be easily resolved, there is no other real criticism that can be raised. Last but not least, the one huge bonus is the Bosch 2 year guarantee on the mower and 1 year on the battery. The Bosch 370Li is in short, a very good product indeed! In summary:
☆ Very light. Weighs only 13.1kg, makes the 370Li highly manoeuvrable. Ideal for those with bad backs.
☆ Large 40 litre grassbox.
☆ Fitted with grasscombs, allowing edge and border cuttting.
☆ Fitted with "Ergoflex" handles, reducing vibration to hands and forearms.
☆ 2 year guarantee on mower, and 1 year on batteries.
☆ Cordless, no need for extension cables.
☆ Assembly can be fiddley and frustrating.
☆ Battery life may vary under certain operating conditions.
The Bosch Rotak 550 Universal is not a cordless mower, it has no lithium ion battery or charger, but this product is a part of the Bosch Rotak "home and garden" range and cutting it out of reviews because of that single reason is not a good one. So let's have a closer look at this highly regarded mower.
As with all of its cordless lawn mowers cousins, the Bosch Rotak 550 uses Bosch's hardened steel blade and airflow technology, and with a cutting width of 37cms this rotary mower will cut your grass to a very high standard. The Rotak 550 also has the power to cut through thick grass making easy work of a wilderness garden.
Also, cutting height settings (cutting height from 25mm to 70mm) can be set at the push of a button situated on the ergonomic handles. The grass box is not so much a box but a bag, allowing it to be folded flat when not in use, thereby reducing the overall size of the mower, making its storage easy.
A noteable feature of the Bosch Rotak 550 is its ability to pick up debris off your lawn, cutting them up making for better composting. It goes without saying that as with all new Bosch Rotak mowers, this mower carries the Bosch 2 year guarantee.
The drawbacks with all corded mowers is the limitation of a cord. Unlike their cordless battery powered counterparts, corded mowers will almost always need you to use an extension cable, unless you have a very small garden, that is!
This Rotak mower is no exception, with Bosch only providing a 10m cord . The cord was felt to be just too short, hopefully Bosch will have realised their mistake and will rectify this glitch soon. This will really add to cutting time, and that's something that will not please a lot of people! Although the grass box is collapseable this also has its problems when it comes to emptying, with grass getting stuck in nooks and crannies making it a little messy to use.
The fastenings on this mower may be just a bit too flimsy for life in the garden and may not be really up to the usual Bosch quality we have come to expect, but that really is up to how the owner looks after his / her machine.
In spite of all these shortcomings, all being somewhat minor, the Bosch Rotak 550 will cut your grass just the way you want it to, while pick ing up fallen leaves and other debris along the way making your lawn sparkle as it should. Overall this lawn mower performed well and when taking its ease of use into consideration, it turned out to be a rock solid performer. To put it briefly
☆ Powerful motor allows very long or tough grass to be cut.
☆ Very manoeuvrable.
☆ "Leaf collect" cutters allowing leaves and light debris to be cut and collected off the lawn.
☆ Large 50 litre grass box/bag, allowing flat storage
☆ 2 year guarantee
☆ comparatively short 10m cord. To have full lawn coverage an extension cable is an absolute must.
☆Grassbox/bag emptying can be awkward due to cuttings getting stuck in nooks and crannies.
☆Fastenings for the grassbox seem to be very flimsy.
Again, without a battery or charger in sight, the Bosch Rotak 34R is an unrepentant corded rotary mower with a couple of innovative features to boot. Weighing in at just 11kg this mower is ideal for the small to medium size garden. Its 1300w motor, cutting width of 34cm and rear roller will not only cut your grass but will give your lawn that striped effect.
Like all Rotak mowers, you can adjust the cutting height from 20 to 70mm with the minimum of fuss. The really impressive feature that is also present in the larger models is the grass combs fitted on either side, just behind the front wheels. These little goodies allow you to cut the grass near or overhanging borders, which let's face it, is a very good idea!
The grass box is a huge 50 litres allowing very little down time while you go and empty the box. Not forgetting that the blade is easily removeable so that it can be sharpened periodically, usually once per year. Assembly has also been made simpler with snap together components, you are up and running in just a few minutes.
Storage while not in use. has also been well thought through with the handles being able to fold up, making it easy to stow away in the garden shed. For its size and weight this little mower out performs other mowers in the same class and is also cheaper. It goes without saying that the Bosch Rotak 34 mower is covered by the Bosch 2 year guarantee.
There are however, just a couple drawbacks that have cost this product some points in this review. The most obvious, and probably the most serious flaw is the 6 yard cord; without an extension cable this machine will not be able to cut your lawn! FACT.
The grass box, despite its size, may be just a touch too flimsy to cope with the rough handling by a small minority of owners, with the weakest part being the handle. The cut height lever is also very weak and is prone to breakage, so common is this fault that a fair few garden centres will replace your broken lever for you for a small fee.
Each of these faults and short comings are wide spread. So wide spread in fact, that Bosch must realise this and start to make good on these design flaws. In so doing Bosch would be producing something that is streets ahead of its competitors. Please don't be discouraged by this list of weaknesses, this mower will still cut your lawn beautifully, and will still out perform other mowers in its class.
This mower has many good points but was badly let down by just a couple of weaknesses which will need to be addressed. However, having said that, it is still ahead of rival mowers in so many ways. To sum up:
☆ Extemely powerful 1300W motor
☆ Very light. Weighs 11kg, easily portable
☆ Large 50 litre grassbox capacity
☆ Fitted with rear roller, able to put stripes on your lawn.
☆ Fitted with grass combs, allowing cutting of borders and edges
☆ Compact design, easily stored in small spaces.
☆ straight forward assembly.
☆ 2 year guarantee.
☆ Corded. Very short 6 yard cord meaning an extension cable is vital to mow even the smallest garden.
☆ Grassbox is extremely flimsy and can be prone to breaking.
☆ Cutting height lever very flimsy and prone to breaking.
So how do these mowers rank?
■ Bosch Rotak 430Li. Its power to weight ratio and cutting width along with the ability to cut extremely long grass put this at the top of the list.
■ Bosch Rotak 370Li. Even though power to weight ratio was impressive, its grass box size of only 40 litres was less than any other machine in the review.
■ Bosch 550 Universal. A powerful mower certainly, with its leaf collect feature and folding grassbag /box. Its cord was really too short and its flimsy box fasteners put it into third place.
■ Bosch Rotak 34R. Although a compact lightweight machine with many features and a huge 50 litre grassbox, the weakness of its cutting height lever and flimsiness of its grassbox coupled with its absurdly short cord put this mower in fourth place.
Over the past decade or so, battery technology like every other technology, has advanced at breakneck speed.
How long a battery needs to be on charge, how long will a battery hold its charge, even the charger itself have all increased in their capabilities.
battery that could power a 1400w electric motor for up to an hour was just not possible not that long ago, but now it's very possible and these fine machines are the products of technological advances made over the last decade.
All you have to do is look back at the heavy, cumbersome, dirty petrol powered mowers of yesteryear, with their deafening noise and narrow width of cut to suddenly realise just how far we have come. While this review may have been somewhat harsh in its analysis of the Bosch "home and gardening" range, it still remains a fact that the machines under review are high quality and at the forefront of their various market segments.
One final thing though, If as a result of you reading this review, you decide to purchase one of these gardening machines, please register it with Bosch within 28 days. By doing just that, Bosch will automatically extend their 2 year guarantee to 3 years at no extra charge.