Well worth the money, but don't expect miracles

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  • Value For Money

oxfordpeeps's review of McAllister MRS1800 Raker/Scarifier

★★★★☆

“Well worth the money, but don't expect miracles”

Written on: 19/03/2017 by oxfordpeeps (1 review written)

I bought this in March 2017 from B&Q Swindon to help deal with our 250sq.m. lawn, which hasn't had as much TLC as it should, and is now very heavily clogged with moss. My overall verdict: does the job far easier than manual raking, but has a number of drawbacks. Definitely a consumer rather than professional grade product, but quite well designed and certainly worth the money (£87).

Let's get the not-so-good stuff out of the way first.

- The 10 metre power cord (as advertised, can't complain about that) is absurdly short for all but the tinest garden - expect to need extension cables.

- The debris collection hopper is small, and fills up after a few seconds of use. Having a wheelbarrow handy made life much easier.

- I was disappointed with the safety on/off switch. Like all garden machines these days it needs 2-hand operation to start it - a side release button, and the blue grab handle. However, two worrying things happen when you release the grab handle: the return spring isn't very strong and the handle is quite reluctant to return to the "off" position, and the drum continues to rotate for quite a long time - certainly longer than it takes to bend down, open the hopper and stick your hand in. That's a significant negative point. The drum has scary whirly sharp spiky metal things and you wouldn't want your, or your children's, body parts anywhere near while it was running. I would have preferred a rapid-stop mechanism so that the drum stops immediately on releasing the handle.

- The cutting height adjustment seems a little strange. I needed it on the very highest setting (0) to avoid digging up great clods of earth. Now, to be fair, my grass is in pretty poor shape and it may be that the higher-numbered settings (lower, more aggressive cut) will start to be useful when the worst of the moss has gone. Let's wait and see.

- The mouth of the debris hopper is quite shallow, making it just a little awkward to empty.

- It's noisy. The rating label indicates 100dBA, which is like standing on the hard shoulder of the M25 in the rush hour. In reality it doesn't sound quite that bad, but it's louder than many lawn mowers. - Even with (very!) frequent emptying of the hopper, it leaves considerable quantities of debris on the ground that needs to be raked up manually later. I'm not too worried about that - it's very easy to rake up.

OK, that was the bad stuff. Now for some good points.

- Easy to assemble out of the box by following the instructions. No tools required. Took me about 10 minutes.

- The quick-release toggle clamps that hold the handlebar sections together make it very easy to collapse the handlebar in three sections, saving a lot of space in storage.

- Helpful and convenient lifting handle on top of the machine.

- Big, obvious, easy-to-use height adjustment control.

- Very well engineered mechanism for easily swapping the interchangeable rake and scarifier drums.

- The rake drum pulls up moss and thatch really effectively. The scarifier drum, which has solid blades rather than the rake's springy wires, leaves little slots in the ground, which is presumably ideal for preparation before re-seeding - I haven't tried that in earnest yet.

- It's light and easy to push along. The rotating rake/scarifier actually helps to pull the machine forward, so it's very light to use.

- Three height adjustment settings for the handlebars. I'm 5ft8in tall and the middle setting is right for me, so it's probably OK for most people.

  • Value For Money

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