Al Ko 520BR Premium

Al-Ko 520BR Premium Petrol Lawnmower

Al-Ko 520BR Premium Petrol Lawnmower

PRO’s: one of the best grass boxes. Collects mulches and discharges to rear or side

CON’s: lowest cutting height not as low as others

VERDICT: Heavier than average but an excellent choice for rougher lawns

OUR RATING ★★★★☆ 

The Al-Ko 520BR Premium is a fairly conventional looking self-propelled rotary petrol lawn mower with a 51 cm (20 inch) cutting width but it has one neat trick up its sleeve. Whilst many petrol mowers have the ability to rear discharge cuttings as well as collecting or mulching them, the Al-Ko 520BR Premium can also side discharge them too.

The Al-Ko 520BR Premium comes partly assembled so you’ll need to spend an hour or so to putting it together but the time spent is worth it as you’re left with a sturdy mower which feels extremely solid thanks to its steel cutting deck which carries a 5 year warranty.

We did find that the handle took a while to adjust and only offered two height settings which were pretty close together which seemed a bit pointless. And while we’re being critical why is it that all petrol lawnmower manufacturers insist of making the control handles so thin that you need to wear gloves to avoid blisters ?

But enough griping, how does it cut grass ?

Powered by a 190cc Briggs and Stratton 650 series engine fed by 1.0 l fuel tank it’s a joy to start, starting on the first pull each and every time we tried it even when cold and damp.

Thanks to the sturdy cutting height adjustment lever, adjusting the cutting height   between 25 mm and 75 mm in 7 steps was quick and simple.  The lowest cutting height was actually surprisingly high (some of it’s competitors go down as low as 16 mm) which means that this petrol mower is better suited for the more typical rough lawn as the lowest cutting height is just too high for very short turf.

We were pleased to see that it coped well with long wet grass although the chute into the grass box did occasionally block but this is not really surprising as large quantities of long wet grass cuttings do tend to stick together.

On regular length grass it left a neat finish and, because the cutting deck extends beyond the wheels, it’s able to cut right up to the edge of the lawn and even up to the base of fences which reduced the amount of strimming that we needed to do.

The downside of using a steel cutting deck compared to an aluminium one is that it adds weight to the mower. The Al-Ko 520BR Premium weighs 38 kg which is slightly heavier than some of its competitors. That said, the large rear wheels meant that it was easy to manoeuvre around flower beds and trees so the weight wasn’t really an issue unless it had to be carried up steps.

One of the main features of the Al-Ko 520BR Premium is that it has four ways of dealing with the grass cuttings. They can be collected, mulched or discharged either to the rear or the side.

To mulch the cuttings a blanking plate (included with the mower) needs to be fitted into the discharge chute to turn it into mulching mower. This only takes a matter of seconds to do and, thanks to the powerful Briggs and Stratton engine, the mower did a good job of mulching up the cuttings and spreading them evenly across the cutting width.

It can also discharge clippings to the rear and we found that it spread them evenly across the cutting width without any lines building up. However, if you do want lines of clippings so that you can sweep them up, then it can also discharge to the side and it did this well leaving extremely neat lines of cuttings ready for collection.

Now on many mowers the grass box is something of an after-thought but the large capacity plastic grassbox (no flimsy wire and fabric here) on the Al-Ko 520BR Premium is superb. It’s large at 70 litres in size and is easy to remove, refit and empty. And it even has an indicator to show when it needs emptying so there’s no more guessing.

All in all this is an excellent petrol lawn mower and one that we’d have no hesitation in recommending although it may not be available for much longer as it has now been replaced by the Al-Ko Highline 523 VS which is similar but has variable speed drive.

Todays Latest Prices for Al Ko 520BR Premium

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