Welcome to our review of the Kärcher LMO 18-33 Cordless Lawn Mower, a lawn master that we are so enamoured of it’s been hogging the top spot in our indispensable guide to the best cordless lawn mowers for the past two years. It is, to all intents and purposes, the Abba ‘Gold’ of lawn mowers.
Kärcher is a reputable German brand that’s justly famous for its wide range of pressure washers. In fact, their pressure washers are so good that they occupy the top three positions in our popular guide to, er, the best pressure washers.
The Kärcher LMO 18-33 is one of the company’s first lawn mowers and they got pretty much every element of this mower spot on first time out.
Want to know what’s so great about? Better continue reading.
Kärcher LMO 18-33 Cordless Lawn Mower review: design & features
Although it’s the least important facet, when it comes to browsing a range lawn mower sat the local DIY or garden centre, most of us can’t help being drawn towards the coolest looking machines with the most high-tech handlebar systems and fancy controls. This is quite normal because lawn mowers are like cars for the garden. Yes, we’ll consider a mower’s specs, how long it runs on a fully battery charge and whether the handlebar can fold in half. But if the best-specced mower looks like a Trabant, we’ll happily pass it by and opt for the model that looks like a Lamborghini instead, even if it’s generally not as good. At least I would.
The trouble with most small lawnmowers is that, like small city cars, manufacturers generally don’t equip them with high-end components and bodies. They’ll happily indulge in equipping their larger top-of-the-line models with every conceivable gizmo and design them to look like a race-ready Aston Martin but when it comes to the smaller end of the scale they’ll cut every corner they can and bung on a load of cheap tat. In other words, small always seems to equate to cheap and it shouldn’t be that way. By all means make cheap mowers in all sizes but make premium models in all sizes, too.
The Kärcher LMO 18-33 Cordless Lawn Mower is a good example of a small lawn mower that’s at least had some time put into its design. Consequently, the body shape is a bit more pleasing to look at than some other designs on the market. No it’s not a patch on the white Gtech CLM50, our winner in this year's T3 Awards, or indeed most large mowers with cutting decks of 40cm and higher, but at least it doesn’t make you blench when you see it in the flesh. It also comes with a few extra features that other manufacturers rarely include, like a brilliant battery, a mulching plug and a good-sized lever to adjust the cutting height.
The Kärcher LMO 18-33 features a 33cm cutting deck which is designed for your typical city-sized lawn area of around 12 metres in length and 7 metres in width (roughly 85 square metres) – taking patios and flower borders into account. And because it’s so light (11.3kgs) and comes with a built-in handle, it’s easy to carry up garden steps and even easier to store.
Yes, the handlebar system isn’t as robust as this mower’s larger stablemate, the LMO 18-36, but I’ve seen worse – to fold it in half, simply loosen the large wing nuts, fold the top half over and push it to its place of work using the lower half of the handlebar. You can also adjust the height of the handlebar in two ways: three positions at the base of the unit where the main struts slot into the chassis; and three more on the handlebar itself. For comfort, this model’s handlebar is equipped with a soft foam grip and two power handles that are nicely contoured for both righties and lefties.
Unlike the vast majority of small mowers, the LMO 18-33 also comes with a mulching plug which means you can close off the rear chute so that all those lovely nitrogen-rich grass cuttings are fed back into the lawn. Nevertheless, if you’d rather have the grass collected, it also comes with a decent-sized 35-litre grass box which is super easy to attach.
The LMO 18-33 has three cutting heights (from 35mm to 65mm) that are accessed via a plastic lever that’s fiddly to engage. It’s a better height adjustment system than some other small mowers – especially those nasty models that require axle adjustment – but it’s not a patch on the much more robust lever that’s fitted to the larger LMO 18-36 model.
However, there is one particular area where this model excels over any other small-bodied mower on the market – the battery. In fact the battery is so good I shall devote an entire new section to it, so read on.
Kärcher LMO 18-33 Cordless Lawn Mower review: the battery
The LMO 18-33 ships with an 18v battery than can be hot-swapped with other cordless Kärcher gear. Nothing new there. But where other batteries have a simplistic row of inaccurate LEDs that supposedly tell you how much battery power you have left, this one comes with a proper LCD screen that displays the remaining battery juice as a percentage. It means that you can tell exactly how much power is left and whether the mower will manage another full cutting session or run out of steam mid-way through. When it comes time to charge it up again (it takes about 90 minutes), the display provides a countdown in minutes so you know how long it’s going to take to reach full charge. You can expect about 40 minutes of cutting time with this amazing battery.
One word of warning though. When plugging the battery into the mower, be sure to push it in firmly, all the way until you hear a click or the mower simply won’t work. Many users have been caught out by this and some buyers have even returned their machines thinking they had bought a duffer.
Kärcher LMO 18-33 Cordless Lawn Mower review: performance
I’ve found that the majority of the mowers I’ve tested have all cut grass very well, which is ultimately what they were designed for. Yes, some leave a better finish and are a bit better at doing the edges while others are easier to manoeuvre. The Kärcher LMO 18-33 does all three disciplines – cutting, edging and manoeuvring – exceedingly well, at least for a small-bodied mower. The fact it also comes with a mulching plug and the best battery in the business is further reason to snap one up.
Kärcher LMO 18-33 Cordless Lawn Mower review: verdict
If you have a small lawn and are in the market for a better-than-average small-bodied mower that’s light and manoeuvrable, and equipped with an excellent battery system that provides up to 40 minutes of sward swallowing with very little effort, step right this way.
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