Editor’s Note: Curious how this lawn mower is performing in its third year? You can! After reading the rest of this article simply select this link to read Solaris Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review Three Years Later.
After reviewing the features on our new 2009 Solaris electric self-propelled lawn mower, we gave it a quick test drive.
Now, to be honest I was so excited to use my new toy that I forgot to adjust the the mower height. After a few seconds of realizing my mistake (yes, it does say that one of the first things one has to do before starting the mower is to adjust the height), I turned off the mower and did just that. I also decided to turn the mower on it’s side and this is what I found.
If you look closely you will see that the blade might look a little different than on the 2008 Solaris, Epic and Utopia models. That is because it is different.
One of the changes with the 2009 models is that there is now only one blade, not one for clippings and one for mulching as with the 2008 models. Additionally, if you look closely you can see the front-wheeled self-propelled component up on the front axle towards the top wheel as well as the pulley that spins the blade.
So, how did the test drive go?
First, the self propelled feature is no longer one speed; it is a variable speed depending on how much you pull on the green bar at the top of the handle. The maximum self-propelled speed is a little faster this year which yes will draw more ‘juice’ but will get the mow completed a little faster if that is your preference.
Next, I was disappointed that (again, compared to the 2008 model) the front wheels would spin when I started to engage the self-propelled feature, which rarely if ever occurred with the 2008 model. Likely, this is due to three factors in my opinion:
- The change in the battery placement (being in the rear on the 2008 model to centered above the motor in the 2009 version) and with the self-propelled feature driving the front wheels.
- The front wheels are about 1/2 the size of the rear wheels on the 2008 model. The surface of a smaller wheel will turn faster than that of larger wheel.
- The width of the wheels to me are more narrow that in last year’s model, giving less surface to grip the lawn.
While the wheel tread is rubber this year vs plastic last year, I don’t think that had any impact on the gripping of the front wheel on the lawn.
Now, a gentle nudge of the mower did see the mower start to move and the front wheels gain traction.
This could also have been user error, as they say with software; perhaps I just need to get used to pulling back more slowly on the self-propelled handle. I did seem to get better at it, but time will tell.
What about cornering? I found the mower easier to maneuver around corners (sorry for making this sound like a review of an automobile ). This to me (while I am no engineer or scientist) is again because of the placement for the batteries being in the middle of the mower assembly rather than at the back for more even weight distribution. With the type of garden we have at the front of our home which bends and curves this was very nice.
How did the blade perform? Well, I have to be honest. I believe that this blade cut the grass a little more evenly. Below is a picture of our front lawn after running the test. With the mulching blade in the 2008 model there seemed to be a very minor tough produced in the grass at times. The depressions you see in the picture below are from the wheels. However, it could be just my excitement in using the new mower.
Did the batteries last sufficiently for the full lawn? Yes. In fact, based on the battery life gauge on the handle I still had about 1/2 the charge left. However, I have mowed the lawn in the past when the grass has been higher so I won’t say that the battery charge lasted longer or shorter than last year’s model.
One interesting aspect; look at the picture below, focusing on the silver cable coming out of the starter switch assembly going up to the green starter handle.
The end of the silver cable came out from the green handle. It was not hard to put back in place. However, the starter assembly in last year’s model was encased within the black plastic guard, preventing this from occurring. Not a biggie; I just thought it was worth mentioning as it happened to me.
So, do I think the 2009 Solaris electric lawn mower on it’s own can be recommended for purchase? Yes, no question.
Is the 2009 model an improvement to the 2008 model? That is where we pick up this discussion in tomorrow’s article.
To continue to the next article in this series, simply select this link to Part 6.
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