Welcome to our review of the Hyundai HYM480SPER, a four-stroke petrol-powered lawn beast with electric start, self propulsion and rear rollers for laying lawn stripes.
If you have a large lawn – and one preferably not too close to neighbours – a petrol lawn mower is the most efficient way to get the job done. There’s no electricity cable to drag along behind you and no batteries to run out half way through. And if you use Aspen 4, an ethanol-free alkylate fuel that contains 99% fewer harmful hydrocarbons, the act of mowing won’t affect the environment either.
The Hyundai HYM480SPER is one of the best models in our esteemed guide to the best petrol lawn mowers and here’s why.
Hyundai HYM480SPER review: design and features
In the pantheon of hunky lawn mowers, the Hyundai HYM480SPER is quite a mean looker that tells neighbours you take your lawn mowing very seriously. In fact so seriously you chose a model that comes with two drinks bottle holders. Really, there are two robust bottle holders built into the Hyundai’s handlebar system – presumably included just in case you get thirsty after your first 20 minutes on the sod.
But you haven’t alighted on this page to read about drink bottle holders. What you want to know is the kind of features this mower has and whether they’re good enough to splash out the required £600 to have it on your lawn.
We’ll go into more detail in the following chapters but, in a nutshell, this mower features electric start, six speeds of self propulsion, a 139cc OHV single-cylinder four-stroke variable-speed Hyundai engine that develops 3.5hp, a large 48cm (19 inch) cutting deck, five adjustable cutting heights – from 25mm to a 75mm – a huge 70-litre grass collector and two large rollers on the rear for producing lawn stripes. It also comes with a three-year home-use warranty which is blooming good.
At 41.5 kilos, this is one of the heaviest mowers we’ve tested – second only to the humongous Hayter Harrier – so you absolutely won’t be able to lift it up any steps without some help. Also, like most self-propelled petrol mowers that are equipped with extra drive cables, the handlebar can’t be folded. Bear this in mind if you have a small storage shed because this model is 1.53m in length from nose to the end of the handlebar.
Hyundai suggests a lawn size of approximately 2,000 square feet but I’m sure you can stretch that figure by quite a margin as long as you don’t mind walking for longer.
Let’s look at its key features in a bit more detail.
Hyundai HYM480SPER review: self propulsion
Many large petrol mowers these days are equipped with self-propulsion and that’s the case with this model. You get six propulsion speeds with this fella – from a gentle stroll to a brisk walk – and, unusually, the 139cc engine’s revs increase with each of the first three speed settings. This seemed odd at first because in first gear the revs are really low and I wondered if the blade was actually turning fast enough to cut the grass. Well it was, it turns out, but only because the grass hadn’t grown much since the last cut.
When it comes to longer cuts, you’ll need to engage second or third gear via the tactfully notchy lever on the handlebar to increase engine revs and blade speed. However, this also increases the self propulsion speed. I personally had no issue with this because speeds one to three are quite slow anyway. However, when you get to speeds four and upwards, the mower becomes more spritely but still not beyond the effort of most people. Nevertheless, if you’re elderly and your legs aren’t what they used to be, I would advise keeping it below speeds five and six. The engine and blade is still at full pelt from speed three or four onwards so the extra notches on the lever will only increase the propulsion speed and not the engine revs. If that makes any sense.
Hyundai HYM480SPER review: electric start
This is what prompted me to call the Hyundai in for a review. I’m okay with pulling on a start cable – which this mower still comes with for emergencies – but I was dead keen to try a mower with electric start. And what a difference it makes.
I followed the instructions for the first start which involved charging the removable electric-start battery and adding the provided 4-stroke oil and filling it with Aspen 4, which you can read about in the last paragraph of my guide to the best petrol lawn mowers. Aspen is a wonder fuel that is produced as a by-product of petrol manufacture. Not only is it really clean, but it contains no ethanol which attracts moisture, damaging engines in the longterm. Crucially, where forecourt unleaded fuel goes off after about two months, Aspen fuel can be stored for up to five years, even in the lawn mower’s tank! In fact, Hyundai recommends Aspen fuel for all its domestic and commercial small-engined outdoor machinery.
Anyway, back to the electric start. Having prepared it with Aspen fuel and oil, I completely forgot to engage the choke as advised and simply pushed the electric start button, expecting the brand new engine to turn over repeatedly before firing up. Well, blow me down with a feather because it started immediately within two seconds of hitting the button. That was impressive enough but even more impressive was the noise, or rather lack of it. Since I started it with the gear lever in the first position, the engine revs were so low it purred like a cordless mower. But even at full revs, this engine is quieter than most petrol mowers I’ve used, so full marks in that respect.
Hyundai HYM480SPER review: rear roller
If you like stripes and can’t afford a Hayter, the brand of choice amongst professional groundkeepers, I would suggest giving this machine a whirl. The Hyundai has a heavy 38cm roller on the rear which flattens the grass as it moves over it. Since the act of mowing involves moving sequentially up and down a lawn, the blades of grass are flattened in each direction and this gives the visual effect of the grass having stripes of different shades. In this instance, the roller is split in the centre to allow for easy turns at the end of each pass.
I should add at this juncture that lawn stripes don’t last much longer than a couple of days because the grass eventually springs back up. Hence, if you want to impress your guests with your football stadium stripes, mow the lawn just before they’re due to arrive.
Hyundai HYM480SPER review: performance
Unfortunately the recent drought prevented me from trying this mower out on really long grass but the way it handled a medium-growth lawn impressed me and I have no doubt it will easily tackle long stuff, especially with the engine in top gear.
However, I did find it wasn’t nearly as manoeuvrable as my favourite Cobra MX534SPH, especially when turning it and negotiating garden obstacles. I put this down to the extra weight of the rear rollers and their increased rolling resistance. However, I loved the control system, the slick gear changes and the extra large 70-litre grass collector that helped reduce my journeys to the compost bin.
Hyundai HYM480SPER review: verdict
If you have a large lawn of about 2,000 square feet or more and you’d like to improve its looks by adding proper sports field stripes, the Hyundai HYM480SPER is an excellent choice. Yes it’s heavy to get in and out of the shed but then again not many petrol-powered models come with effortless electric start and six-speed self propulsion.
Want a different type of lawn mower? Head over to our guide to the best cordless lawn mowers