Back in July, Stihl more than made up for the fact that I hadn’t bought my husband a birthday gift the previous month by offering to send me the RMA 448 TC cordless lawn mower to review. While I help out occasionally with the mowing, it’s mainly Paul’s job. But with quite a sizeable patch of grass to keep on top of, and the majority of it on a slight incline, it’s no mean feat.
Having read all of the reviews online, he was sure that Stihl’s battery-powered mower would be the answer to the hours he spends meandering up and down the garden keeping on top of the grass cutting. Or maybe he was hoping that it wouldn't be as that would free up more time for him to tackle the long list of other jobs I have for him around the house and garden.
I’m not going to leave our (or Paul’s) conclusion until the end of this post. The Stihl RMA 448 TC cordless lawn mower is simply amazing. More expensive than your average lawn mower - it’s £704, including the AP300 battery and AL101 charger; but worth every penny. It’s a high-quality, well-designed machine that no large garden should be without.
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Here are the five things that really stood out to us.
1. The battery
First up, we have to talk about the battery as initially, we were apprehensive about a battery mower. Not because we don’t believe in battery power (we have an e-Golf) but because of the sheer size of the lawn. We were worried about having to continuously stop, start, change batteries, charge batteries, etc., so wondered how convenient it would be compared to our petrol mower.
We’ve been using the AP300 battery, and yes, there is a little bit of stopping and starting required. It takes three charges to complete our lawn so we tend to do it in sections and have a break when the battery is depleted. A faster charger and a second battery (there’s a handy slot on the RMA 448 for a spare battery) will completely fix this issue, though - it just means a little more investment. Don’t get me wrong, the RMA 448 will cut approximately 450m2 of lawn so for most gardens, one charged battery would be more than ample.
The eco mode is something else to talk about. It’s a nifty little feature whereby the lawn mower adapts the speed of the blade to the conditions, for example, spinning faster when cutting longer or perhaps wetter grass and then slowing down on ares that simply need a quick trim. So intuitive. And it means that you make the most of your battery life. No point going full pelt at all times if it’s not needed, right?
So no petrol, no oil, minimal faffing, it’s safe to say we’re all for a battery-powered lawn mower. And a second battery is going to be my Christmas present for Paul. That will teach him to be so hard to buy for.
2. The ease of use
Secondly, the ease of use of the Stihl RMA 448 TC cordless lawn mower really stood out to us. Push-button start (no cord, hooray!), self-propelling and the one-speed drive makes tackling sloped sections effortless. See, Paul’s still looking cool in his Stihl cap even when pushing the mower uphill.
Considering it’s such a substantial mower, it’s actually quite light and easy to handle, especially compared to a petrol mower. It makes mowing the lawn more a of a joy than a full body workout (I see that as a plus point, others may not if they use lawn mowing as an alternative to gym-going). There are carry-handles on the front and top of the mower, so if your garage or shed is a walk away from your lawn, the mower is easy to pick up and move about, too.
3. The lack of noise
This really shouldn't have surprised us, after all, we own an electric car so we’re used to how quiet battery powered machines are. But the Stihl RMA 448 TC cordless lawn mower is so quiet compared to other lawn mowers we’ve owned, particularly petrol ones. It makes such a difference. We can even chat while mowing rather than screaming at each other over the noise. It really does make for a more peaceful gardening experience.
4. The cut and the grass box
Obviously, we can sing the praises of the battery, the ease of use and the lack of noise, but what about the cut? Well, it cuts really nicely - although the lack of a roller means that you don’t get those lovely Wimbledon stripes. But we can learn to live without them.
In terms of cutting the grass, it’s super easy to adjust the cutting height of the mower. With a simple squeeze of the lever, you can lift or drop the mower to achieve one of six different levels between 25mm and 75mm. The metal high-lift blade is shaped in such a way that it deftly cuts the grass and then moves the clippings straight in to the grass box without any mess. One of my bugbears is being covered in clippings whilst mowing. This doesn't happen with the Stihl RMA 448 TC cordless lawn mower.
The grass box has a generous 55 litre capacity and there is an indicator to show when the box is full - no unnecessary stopping and checking! The top of the grass box is on hinges so opens right up meaning that you’re not trying to shake or scrape grass out; the opening is wide enough that you can simply drop the clippings in to your brown bin or on to your compost heap. Again, limiting mess and clippings going everywhere.
5. The look and feel
Finally, we love the look and feel of the Stihl RMA 448 TC cordless lawn mower. Obviously, there’s only so much you can do to make a lawn mower look good, but Stihl have managed it. And it’s not style over substance, it’s a substantial, well-made piece of kit. Having used the mower for nearly two months now, we don’t have a single niggle with it’s performance (pushing the lack of stripes to the back of my mind). It’s a strong and sturdy machine. Yes, it’s an investment mower but well worth it if your lawn is large. We would definitely recommend it.
Check out the full range of Stihl lawn mowers.
We’ve also been putting the MSA 200 cordless chainsaw to the test which I’ll tell you about in another post. PPE required!
The Stihl RMA 448 TC cordless lawn mower was gifted to us for the purpose of this review.