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hovermower.jpg

In Back to the Future II, Marty escaped Biff and the goons on a Barbie-powered hover board.  If there wasn’t one of these things in the background cutting up some lawn near the broken-down clock tower, there should have been.  The HoverMower is quite literally a hovercraft lawn mower. If your first reaction is “that can’t be right” like ours was, read on.

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The HoverMower floats effortlessly on a cushion of air; Without any wheels it mows in any direction following the contour of the land. It hovers with ease on lake banks, slopes, wet grounds, sand and retaining walls. It cuts and mulches tall, wet grass for a clean professional look. The new 4-cycle engine is light and specially designed for continuous incline operation.

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There are 3 models of HoverMower but the largest is the HM 19H4. The 194H sports a powerful 5.5 Honda 4-cycle engine matched to the largest impeller ever put on a push mower.  The underside uses what looks to be a standard 19” cutting blades attached to a spinning disc for its cutting action — much like a standard push mower.

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Perhaps it’s not the most powerful mower ever produced, but the HoverMower more than maxes out the cool factor when it comes to lawn care.  Maybe it’s worth owning one just so in casual ‘over the fence’ conversation you could say that your mower was actually a hovercraft.  That’s worth it right there.

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Pricing starts at around $540 for the smallest 2hp model and goes up to $970 for the 19H4 with 5.5hp.  Then again, no one said cool was cheap.

HM 19H4 HoverMower [Eastman Industries]
Street Pricing [Froogle]

PS: We noticed in comments that some of you’ve definitely heard of these.  If you have some experience with one, would you post a comment or drop us a line?  We’re interested.

 

14 Responses to Finds: HoverMower

  1. Copperhead says:

    I don’t know what’s so amazing about hover mowers…. We’ve had them under the Flymo brand back home (in the UK) for close to 30 years, I think. I know the slogan “it’s a lot less bovver witha hover” resonates my 80′s gland.

    http://www.flymo.co.uk/node513.aspx?cid=307

    They kick arse for shorter, even grass as they really do glide over the surface using ground effect, but with an uneven lawn or longer stems the air spills and they are just clumsy cased edgers.

    I loved our first one, just because I was able to swing it around one handed (until I swung it over the cable) as a lawn-levelling teen.

  2. Copperhead says:

    Here you go, turns out it was around even earlier than I thought!

    http://www.thesynapse.com/flymo/whyflymo.asp

  3. Yep, Flymos are cool – they’re pretty common here in Australia as well, though I think hovering _petrol_-powered mowers are pretty rare.

    They’re great for small or funny-shaped gardens, because of their zero turning circle, but to use them on much of a slope you pretty much have to stand uphill and swing the mower on the slope below you like a pendulum. This can be a problem if the grass is long; ordinary long grass you can just push the mower into and it’s no big deal, but if you’re slope-swinging the mower long grass makes it hard to get up enough momentum.

    Also, every time you let go of the handle and the mower cuts off, it settles to the ground and cuts the grass shorter – this can easily scalp spots on your lawn.

    Oh, and I’m pretty sure that hover mowers, by their very nature, blow a lot more clipping out around themselves than do wheeled versions – I had shoes full of clippings after even a small session with the Flymo.

    Overall, though, they definitely do not suck. The electric ones are well worth considering if you’ve got a small or awkward shaped lawn; a bigger gas-powered one might well work well on large lawns, too.

  4. Myself says:

    I’ve heard that the downdraft tends to push the blades down, so the shorter stiffer blades get cut, but any that’re long enough to bend in the breeze run a chance of evading the mower. Don’t they produce an uneven cut?

  5. Ivan says:

    It’s amazing how long it took for the hover to come over the Atlantic. These things have been a common sighting in Europe for decades. I guess it must be harder to hovercraft to cross the water ;-)

  6. SlowJoeCrow says:

    Consumer Reports tested a Flymo when they were first sold in the US in the late 70s or early 80s. As I recall, they were not impressed.

  7. bob says:

    One of my high school friends’ dad had one of these, and I remember it well … his was electric. This was in Clifton New Jersey in the early 1990′s. One day he was telling me about this mower he had that hovered on air, and I told him he was full of crap. So out we went to the garage and sure enough, he dragged this old looking electric mower out, only it was devoid of wheels and the deck had a bottom edge that flared out. We plugged it in and flipped it on, and it was floating! I cut his whole back yard with it … I thought it was the coolest thing. People still don’t believe me when I tell them about it! I wonder if he’s still got that thing…..I can’t recall what brand it was, but I know that the deck was orange in color, and at that time it looked at least 10 years old.

  8. Bo K says:

    The Flymo – owned by Electrolux – has been around some 50 years, and they actually do work – they cut the grass rather than push it flat to the ground.

    I’d like to share the history of how Flymo moved (mowed?) in to our family:

    A few years ago when we had recently moved from an apartment to a house, one of our new neighbours came by and offered us to borrow his lawn mower. We had been busy renovating – installing a new kitchen, new bathroom, new floors, new wallpapers, new felt roof etc – so we simply hadn’t took us the time to buy a lawn mower. Judging from the neat appearance of his garden, watching our helter-skelter front lawn must have been almost painful to him. I graciously accepted his offer and he instantly brought his lawn mower.

    It was a Flymo, and before trying one I would never have thought of buying an electric mower myself. But I quickly became in love with it – for a smaller garden, it’s perfect. You can move it in any direction, “eat” longer shrubs by lifting it and cut them from the top, it’s relatively quiet and – on top of it all – quite fun.

    A few weeks later, our neighbour happened to drive by on his way home from the hardware store with a brand new lawn mower in the back of his car. Apparently the old Flymo had broken down after long and faithful service. I realized by now I really had to buy my own Flymo, I couldn’t continue borrow his grass cutting facilities – especially not his brand new machine!

    But moments later he stands by our door, old Flymo in hand. The new machine hadn’t worked either… very strange… It turned out it was the extention cord that was broken, not the machine! The old Flymo was running just fine if plugged in via another cord!

    So, you only have use for one Flymo, and since he now had two and I had none, it became a nice present.

    Since then we’ve moved to a house with a bigger garden, but the Flymo is still keeping the grass down. I probably will get a Klippo (another Swedish quality product) next summer. But first, we’ve got some work to do inside the house: install the new kitchen, renovate the bathroom, build a wall, put up a few doors, decorate the first floor… Any neighbor with an extra Klippo is welcome to drop by! :-)

  9. Owen says:

    Another Brit here. Just on the subject of Flymos (if it was orange, it was probably a flymo) – the only real gripe I’ve ever had with them is mowing on an incline.

    We moved house in 01 and the whole culdesac is built on a slope. Where the flymo really fell down (particularly the one with the built in collector) was trying to mow the various slopes and contours our garden has.

    Really found it to be an issue with the heavier collector flymo we got.

    Obviously with it floating you can end up having a job to stop it “sideslipping”, as I believe skiers call it, down your lawn which is one thing wheeled mowers don’t do.

  10. hawkwatcher1 says:

    My dad had a Toro Hover mower in the early 60′s when we lived in Bloomington MN. We used it for years mowing blue grass and then in Houston TX. mowing the vine grass, saint augustine. It worked great for trimming around long rows of hedge bushes. I had gotten out of a lot of mowing because the neighbor kids thought it was cool. It must have done a great job, my dad the picky type when it came to his yard. It had a faint yellow fiberglass cowling with a two cycle engine. It was very easy to push and mulched the grass up pretty good.

  11. Bill says:

    I believe OSHA had some say in the slow US distribution.

  12. thanks !! very helpful post!

  13. Britt says:

    Thanks for the Honda post. Keep working!

  14. Jerry says:

    I have a Flymo with a 3.5 Briggs & Stratton Engine on it, it Orange with a Brown Engine. The Ser# is 152415, It also Says Flymo Inc, 13400 Northbup Way 27, Bellevue, Washington 98005 I wish to know the age of this Mower.
    Thanks

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