With a history spanning over 130 years, it’s not hard to see why Bosch is now a leader in the engineering and electronics market. Back in November 1886, Robert Bosch started the business with a low-voltage magneto designed for gas engines. From humble beginnings in his own backyard, the company is now an international brand with revenues reaching £70 billion in 2017 alone.
In just one department of the global brand, Bosch has now earned a certain reputation for lawn mowers and we want to assess the Rotak 32 LI here today. Just because a brand is recognised all over the world, this doesn’t necessarily mean that every product they make will suit your needs. With this in mind, let’s dig a little deeper into the product!
- Three different cutting heights; 30mm, 45mm, and 60mm
- 31-litre grass box
- 36V/2.6Ah lithium-ion battery and charger
- Free two-year warranty
- 32cm steel cutting blade
- Perfect for gardens up to 250/300 square metres
- Innovative Bosch grass combs
- 30-minute running time with a charge time of 90 minutes
How do these features compare with other products in the market? Will they be good enough for your own garden? Luckily, we’re going to break down all the different areas to answer these two questions (and many others!).
Power and Battery
First and foremost, we always like to look at the power and battery system a manufacturer uses for a particular product. Why? Because this is the foundation of any good lawn mower and it’s a feature that could make or break your decision. While bad blades can be replaced and we can empty the grass box twice per cut, something we shouldn't have to put up with is insufficient power.
With the Rotak 32 LI, it utilises a 36V lithium-ion battery as well as an electrical motor that takes around 90 minutes to charge. Starting with the battery, Bosch has a history of performing above most others when it comes to lithium-ion battery technology so this will be one of the benefits of choosing this model. While Bosch has stated that the mower can cut a minimum size of 150 square metres per charge, many consumers have stated that it can easily outperform this target and perhaps even double it to 300 square metres.
If we compare this to the Flymo Mighti-Mo 300, the charge time is faster and it can cut a larger space so Bosch has done well so far. While on the theme of charge time, there’s an added benefit to the Rotak 32 LI because it can charge up to 80% within the first 45 minutes. While we don’t recommend only charging to 80% every time, this is a great asset to have in case there are last-minute plans to host friends or family.
Cutting Features and Customisation
When it comes to cutting the lawn, it’s never the same job twice since the grass will grow at different rates throughout the year and the time between cuts will vary (unless you have a strict cutting schedule!). Therefore, you need to be able to adjust the cutting height and this is an option Bosch provides with three different heights; 30mm, 45mm, and 60mm.
As we’ve noted previously in lawn mower reviews, we always advise starting on one of the high settings if you’re cutting after long periods of growth. From here, you can then reduce the height as the different areas of grass catch up to each other. Without this little tip, your lawn can look a little patchy.
As well as the three different heights, you’ll also benefit from a built-in comb which allows a cut right up close to fencing, decking, or any other obstacles. With some mowers, this option is omitted and it means further investment is required in a trimmer. However, the Bosch comb is present and should also prevent scalping for those uneven patches.
Next, we have the cutting diameter and this number tells us the width of each length as we walk up and down the garden. At 32cm, this is somewhere in the middle of the market because you’re likely to find both larger and smaller diameters. For example, the Mighti-Mo 300 only offers 30cm while some of the biggest products in the industry will stretch this to 43cm. While this could be seen as a disadvantage for some people, the smaller diameter will actually be useful for those with narrow gardens or awkward patches of lawn.
Lawn Mower Blade
If you’ve read a lawn mower review from us before, you’ll know that we value a good metal blade and this is for two main reasons. Firstly, it’s generally easier to get a clean cut with a metal blade because it’s the stronger material compared to plastic. After cutting your lawn for 30 minutes, the last thing you want is to look back and see lots of patches where the blade failed and this isn't likely to happen with metal.
After this, they can also be sharpened and they don’t wear as easily as plastic blades. With a plastic blade, you’ll need to buy replacements constantly whereas metal is more durable; as you can see, metal is just the sensible option.
Compared to other models using a metal blade, this doesn’t put Bosch ahead but it does mean they’ve made a good decision and it’s one less thing to worry about when researching the market.
Safety, Storage, and Other Features
In other reviews, we feel as though safety is something that’s disregarded; for us, it’s important for parents or those with pets because accidents can happen. Just like the Mighti-Mo 300, the Rotak 32 LI offers a removable safety key which prevents accidental starting. As far as cordless mowers go, this isn't something that’s widely available across the industry. For those without children, this can still prevent injuries and damage to your lawn so it’s worth considering.
As far as storage goes, it’s common these days for mowers to fold down into the size of a postage stamp (perhaps a slight exaggeration!). Bosch has considered this with their own models and the central handle on the Rotak 32 LI means that it’s incredibly easy to carry the mower to and from the garage/shed. Once you also consider that the unit as a whole is fairly lightweight, it shouldn't cause any issues with manoeuvrability or storage.
While on the topic of manoeuvrability, the mower has clearly been designed with the end user in mind. In terms of the handle, this can be adjusted to promote healthy body posture and should bring a reduction to muscle strain. In years gone by, mowing the lawn was a chore because the mower itself was heavy, bulky, and uncomfortable to use…these days are over. This adjustable handle has even been given the name of ‘Ergoflex System’, and it should prove to be very useful indeed.
What about the grass box? Well, the Rotak 32 LI has a capacity of 31 litres. Similar to the cutting diameter, you’re likely to find grass boxes that are both larger and smaller than this. However, on the whole, 31 litres could be considered normal for a small, lightweight product like this one. This amount of storage is actually larger than many think and they’re surprised once they start cutting that it doesn’t need emptying every few seconds. Instead, it should allow you to focus on getting the best cut from your lawn.
Additionally, Bosch has excelled once again with design and this time it’s because the grass box is simple to access, remove, and replace. If you saw our Mighti-Mo 300 review, you would have seen that the lack of fill level indicator was a little disappointing…but this Bosch model makes us happier in this regard. Rather than having to disrupt your flow just to check the box, the fill level indicator shows exactly when the box needs to be emptied.
So far, we’ve covered the biggest features you need when cutting your lawn but Bosch takes it one step further and provides a number of smaller features that really improve the experience. For example, Bosch claim the grass box can collect 99% of all clippings thanks to their clever design; this is a percentage even the most experienced lawn mower developers struggle to achieve.
Elsewhere, those who like to leave a pattern behind on their lawn will be able to with the Integrated Rear Roller. With not much effort at all, even the average gardener with a small space can leave a beautiful striped lawn.
Finally, we should also mention the Efficient Energy Management system Bosch has introduced for the battery. According to the manufacturers, this small feature can add 15% to the operation time. Essentially, the amount of power reaching the rotary blade will vary depending on how much is required for the job at hand. Rather than wasting energy, the power will reduce slightly and this extends operating time (a nifty feature, we think!).
- Perfect for anybody with a space up to 300 square metres
- Superb extra features that make the experience more enjoyable
- 80% battery life after just 45 minutes’ worth of charging
- Fill level indicator for grass box
- Reliable manufacturer and big brand name
- Lightweight design and quiet when in use
- May not be ideal for anybody with a space larger than 300 square metres
- Cutting diameter and grass box capacity won’t meet the needs of everybody with large gardens
Should I Buy the Rotak 32 LI?
As always, the first thing we would say to answer this question is to think of your own needs. Often, people choose products and services based on what their friends and family members recommend. While the recommendations are certainly useful, you still need to think about your own lawn. For example, this product perhaps isn't for you if your garden covers a space of 600 square metres.
For the average garden, and the average gardener in the UK, the Bosch Rotak 32 LI will do a fantastic job. All things considered, it can be compared to the Mighti-Mo 300 quite easily because they’re operating within the same market and offer many of the same features. However, we think Bosch excels when it comes to the additional extras. After all the basics have been considered, including the quiet operation and the fact it’s cordless (two things we’ve taken for granted so far), the efficient battery management, fill level indicator, and Integrated Rear Roller take this model past many of the competitors!
Bosch Rotak 32 LI
Last update on 2019-01-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API