Pros:Quiet, with good power and run time
Cons:Inferior cut. Sensitive deadman switch. Unsophisticated charger.
The Bottom Line: The Neuton is a nice alternative to gas if you're willing to accept a substandard cut.
Generally the mower is satisfactory. It's very quiet, has more than enough power and run time to mow our lawn. I was a little concerned about the narrow cut width but in practice it doesn't take much longer to mow the lawn than with our dearly departed 20" Snapper.
It doesn't produce as nice a cut as the gas mower. I think that's mostly due to low blade speed and its low lift design. The gas mower's blade was bent sharply up at the trailing edge and generated enough lift to actually pick up small rocks. A high lift blade pulls up the grass and holds it in tension so it can be cut evenly. The Neuton blade has a minimal lift and grass that's laying down tends to stay down resulting in an uneven cut. The designers were apparently aware of this and put a series of angled tabs on the bottom of the deck ahead of the front axle to bend grass into the blade. This isn't very successful. I'm guessing that the low lift blade was a compromise to increase run time. On the plus side, the Neuton doesn't pick up bark dust when mowing grass along the beds.
In spite of Country Home's claims, sealed lead acid batteries are almost ancient technology. Their advantage is relative low cost per amp hour and reasonable life-span "IF" handled properly, the "IF" being their disadvantage. Lead acids don't like to be left discharged or overcharged. Leave them discharged after use and their life will be drastically reduced. I'm skeptical of Country Homes claim that the battery can be left connected to the charger for 6 months. Given the unsophisticated nature of the charger supplied, I would definitely disconnect it after the recommended recharge time and top it off every month or so through the winter as detailed in the manual. Another option might be to connect the charger to a 24 hour household timer with the trippers set for minimum ON time (usually 15 or 20 minutes I think). When done mowing, connect the charger to the battery, set the timer dial 16 hours ahead of the trippers and manually set the timer's switch ON. It will charge for 16 hours and switch off, then charge 15/20 minutes each day thereafter. That should be about right to keep the battery topped off but not overcharged.
On my mower, the deadman switch is overly sensitive. Relax your grip on the handle even slightly and the mower quits. Not a big problem once you get used to it.
I see Neuton has released a 2006 model which purports to address the poor cut with a higher lift blade, a faster more powerful motor and an improved deck design. Apparently the 2005 end of season special was intended, at least in part, to dump inventory in preparation for the release of an improved model. Just wish they would have advised me of that since the mower was purchased based on the special offer, not immediate need. I would have gladly waited for the new model had I known. To add insult to injury, the new model with the same free incentives as the one I bought in the fall is actually cheaper ... shipped and on the doorstep.
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