Don’t let the CityMower 18’s toy-like appearance put you off, this compact machine powers over lawns up to 300 square metres with ease. It folds down seriously small and is light enough to carry one-handed, making it perfect for stashing away in space-starved urban gardens.
Good battery life
Some parts feel cheap
Small grass box
Not every garden requires a souped-up beast of a mower with a million volts of power and blades that could propel a helicopter. In a small home, with a small lawn, a simple mower that does the job quickly, without fuss, is just the ticket. Low tech and lightweight, the Bosch CityMower 18 is exactly what you need if your lawn coverage falls under 300 sq m in fact.
For this review I tested the Bosch CityMower 18 on our bigger (approximately 1,200 square metres) lawn in the country but, to play fair, I measured out and mowed a 300 square metre area. In fact, the first time I used this mower was the first cut of the season and the grass was very long, bordering on wild, and more than a little damp. Just to be thorough, I did a further two full cuts of the same area, each a week apart.
Bosch CityMower 18 lawn mower product specifications
- Battery: 18 V Lithium-ion battery and charger (included)
- Drive type: Hand propelled
- Cutting width: 32cm
- Cutting height: 30-60mm
- Grass bag capacity: 31 litres
- Charge time: 95mins
- Weight: 9.9kg
- Warranty: 3 years
Bosch CityMower 18 lawn mower: first impressions
'Wow, that’s small' was the first thing I thought when the box was delivered. 'Handy', was my second thought, as I tucked it under the stairs to wait until the grass was dry(ish).
Upon opening, I was relieved to note only a few parts required assembling but wasn’t terribly impressed by the feel of the components. There’s an overall thin plastic vibe, especially the battery lid, which is very flimsy and the wheels are far from robust.
On the plus side, this contributes to weightlessness – I can easily lift and carry the CityMower18 with one hand. If you live in an apartment with garden access but no shed, this mower would be perfect for carrying upstairs and through doorways.
Bosch CityMower 18 lawn mower: getting started
The instructions were short and sweet, and construction (popping the handle on and making the grass box) demonstrated using pictures, in a familiar Ikea self-assembly style (but without any missing parts!).
I didn’t manage to get a couple screws in the whole way when fitting the handles, but it felt secure enough. Clipping the grass box together would definitely have been easier if I’d had a helper. The battery is supplied partially charged, and only took about 30 minutes to reach full charge so I recommend getting the charger powered up first.
What it's like to use the Bosch CityMower 18 lawn mower?
Once I worked out to press the central button on the handle and then the handgrip button (not vice-versa as the instructions dictate), the Bosch CityMower 18 powered to life with a promising roar.
This is no hairdryer of a mower; it sounds properly meaty and powered through our lawn’s first cut of the year with surprising ease. No mean feat at the end of February when the skies were blue but the ground still incredibly wet, and the grass was bordering on wild.
Bosch CityMower 18 lawn mower: ease of use
I had it on the middle blade height setting – there are three to select – and it powered through with no problems at all. In the 300 square metre area, I emptied the grass box six times, which felt a little excessive, however that did reduce to three times on the following second and third cuts.
The battery lasted exactly 28 minutes from full charge and was sufficient to get the job done, just. Invest in a second battery if you have a bigger area to cover. The handle was easy to grip and comfortable.
I started by following each line using the wheel imprints of the line before it but soon noticed thin strips of grass were getting missed so started overlapped a little. Given how short the 32cm blade is already, this didn’t help the number of passes required to complete the lawn. However, I was able to move fairly briskly without the engine straining or faltering, which helped speed up the job.
Edging was especially impressive, and I was able to get close enough to the path and fence to avoid getting the strimmer out – always a bonus. The grass box was very easy to mount and dismount and also to empty, thanks to a handle grip on the top and bottom.
One thing I did miss was any kind of indicator that the grass box is full. I just guessed based on the time I had been cutting and got it wrong a couple of times, resulting in stopping the mower unnecessarily. Not a big deal, but timewasting all the same.
Additional features on the Bosch CityMower 18 lawn mower
The Power For All battery is interchangeable with other Bosch tools, including drilling, cleaning and other garden tools, which is a nice touch as it means fewer batteries and charging docks to store. The handle is height adjustable for personalized comfort and folds down with quick-release clips for snug storage.
How does the Bosch CityMower 18 lawn mower rate?
Online owner reviews of the CityMower 18 are pretty favourable and mostly on or above the 90% or 4 Star mark (I checked Argos, Amazon and Ao.com). Most reviewers like that it is lightweight, making it a good buy for older generations, and that it’s pretty quiet so ideal for Sunday morning mowers.
There are a few grumblings that the grass isn’t cut short enough, so if you like to scalp your lawn perhaps give the CityMower 18 a miss. And someone warns the Power For All battery doesn’t fit with Bosch’s professional grade tools, so do check battery specifics before you buy if that’s one of the benefits that appeals.
Overall, I concur with a 4 Star rating. The CityMower 18 exceeded my expectations in terms of performance and easy use, which are surely the priorities if you’re only mowing for half an hour or less? I deducted a star because I didn’t like that there’s no battery power level indicator during use, so you can’t see how long you have left, and the lack of fullness indicator on the grass box was also a tad frustrating.
However, although it doesn’t look man enough for the job, the CityMower 18 gamely conquered our seriously wild, overgrown winter lawn with the ability of a model with twice the power. Once the first cut was complete, subsequent cuts were a breeze.
The 30-minute battery life did worry me but would only really be a problem if you’re cutting a lawn bigger than the recommended size. If you are hellbent on flouting the lawn size guidance rules, you can always recharge the battery – in just 1.5 hours – or, potentially, pinch the battery from your Bosch cordless drill. Don’t forget to recharge it afterwards though, or you’ll be cursing when you want to put up a shelf!
About our review – and reviewer
Linda Clayton has been an interiors journalist for 20 years. Since graduating from Cardiff’s School for Journalism, she's happily writing about the latest trends, product reviews and giving her expert design advice for the likes of Gardeningetc, Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Ideal Home and Real Homes ever since.
She currently lives in Devon with her husband and two children, and recently renovated and extended the house. The property was previously a commercial nursery and boasts a half-acre plot, giving her plenty of space to road test the latest lawn mowers, hot tubs and garden tools.
Linda fell for the interiors world soon after graduating Cardiff’s School for Journalism and has been happily writing for the likes of Gardeningetc, Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Ideal Home and Real Homes for two decades.
Her current home in Devon was previously a commercial nursery – they grew the plants that garden centres buy. When she arrived in 2016, the half-acre plot boasted three massive polytunnels and a glass greenhouse to rival those at Kew Gardens. They sold the lot, levelled the ground, chucked down some grass seed, then focused on making the inside of the house habitable. This year the garden is back on her radar and she has grand plans to pave and plant out the front garden and around the house (currently resembling a builder’s yard), and possibly 'do something' about the barren field that is her lawn! @lindaclaytonwrites
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