Are Robotic Lawn Mowers Any Good?

Are Robotic Lawn Mowers Any Good

If you are like me and dread the idea of mowing your lawn, well worry no more, there is a way to get your lawn mowed without having to do any of the work.

More and more people are buying robotic lawn mowers to do the job for them. It saves time, provides convenience and they look cool, but, are robotic lawn mowers any good?

Well, you have come to the right place. In this post, I’ll address all of this and more to help you decide if a robot lawn mower is right for you.

What is a robot lawn mower?

A robotic lawn mower is a machine that cuts the grass on your lawn without you having to do it. You’ll need an electric power supply and some sort of boundary wire or fence in order for the robot lawnmower to work properly, but once these are set up, it will take care of all your yardwork needs.

Are robotic lawn mowers any good?

A robotic lawn mower is a great invention that allows you to keep your lawn well-groomed without having to spend time manually cutting the grass. Whether it’s for health reasons, allergies, or just because you don’t like doing garden work, a robotic lawn mower can be an excellent purchase. However, they’re not perfect and there are some things about them that may not make them worth the investment for your situation.

How do robot lawn mowers work?

Once set up, robot lawn mowers are programmed to cut the grass in a random pattern constantly at an exact height. This can be quite a change for most people who are used to cutting the grass as a periodical chore. You won’t get the pleasing parallel lines that you can achieve with a conventional mower, but once bedded in it will give your entire lawn that professionally manicured look without having to take time out of your day for maintenance.

Robotic lawn mowers work all hours of the day, and night, coming back to its’ docking station for recharging then heading out again to continue their work.

If you want to know more detail about this, be sure to read our post on how a robot lawn mower works.

Are robot lawn mowers expensive?

They are admittedly expensive technology when considering the upfront cost compared to conventional mowers, however, when looking at the total cost of ownership for a robotic mower, they are not overpriced.

A decent robot mower for small lawns can be found with a price tag of around $1000. You can buy cheaper, but they may offer a lackluster performance when compared to models from top brands such as WORX or Husqvarna Automower. For large gardens of more than 1 acre, you’re looking at mowers exceeding $2000.

However, in the long term,  robotic lawnmowers can be of better value. If you consider a ride on mower can cost a minimum of $2000, require gas and a lot of maintenance, robotic lawn mowers could end up being cheaper.

You can read our other post if you are interested in knowing more about how much a robot lawn mower is.

A robotic lawn mower in action

Are robot lawn mowers safe?

The answer is yes-however, it is best for youngsters to err on the side of caution and to avoid letting them play around or tamper with the robot.

A parent’s worst nightmare is harm coming to their child, and too many stories involving kids and lawnmowers have been heard over the years.

However, robot mowers are quite safe. These robots have a number of safety features. They will move if they detect an object in front of them, and their cutting blades stop in under 1 second if they are picked up or otherwise interrupted by a collision or the tilt sensors.

That being said, it’s best to use caution and advise the kids to stay away from the robot lawnmower while it is moving around. The blades are sharp, and a curious kid might lift it while it’s off to see what’s underneath. This leaves them open to a possible cut.

You may also like to read: Robomow RX20 Review

A close up of the wheels of a robotic lawn mower

What are the downsides of a robot lawn mower?

You need to install a perimeter wire

If you want to use a robotic lawn mower, you’ll need to install the perimeter wire that runs around your property line. This will allow the robot to detect where its boundaries are and keep from crossing over into other people’s properties or gardens.

While installation is not a hard job, it can take a fair amount of time. Personally, I would factor the cost of the setup into your budget and hire a professional to do it.

Robot lawn mowers won’t trim the edges of your lawn perfectly

A robotic lawn mower will not always trim the edges perfectly, so if you want a perfect manicured edge on your grass then you’ll need to keep your strimmer handy.

What is the cost of a robotic lawn mower?

The upfront cost is often higher

As we have mentioned a bit further up in this post, robotic lawn mowers are often more cost-prohibitive than a push mower due to the upfront price tag. However, as they don’t use gas and have low operating costs, they could save you money in the long term.

You still have to do maintenance

To keep your robot working at its best will require routine maintenance. From time to time you’ll need to empty the debris bag, change its blades or replace the battery.

Replacement on brand cutting blades tends to be around $50 – $60 but you can get compatible blades from generic manufacturers for around $10-$15.

You will also need to clean the underside of the mower from time to time.  This can be done by simply pulling the blade away from the body and using a small brush or vacuum to remove any debris that’s been collected.

It is also important to regularly check for loose screws, parts, or other damage so you don’t end up with your robotic lawn mower breaking down in mid-mow!

Many models will struggle on slopes

Before you buy, be sure you know the limitations of your mower. While some are good for large gardens and steep slopes, most models will struggle to cut slopes.

You will easily find this information in the robot mowers specs, so be sure to check it will suit your garden.

Most robotic lawn mowers will have an anti-theft pin system in place

FAQs

Is the setup difficult?

No! All robotic lawnmowers are designed to be easy to set up, with generally only a few parts and minimal assembly needed. The instructions should tell you if there is any special steps required when setting your new mower up for the first time. The biggest thing is the time it tasks to install the wire perimeter, especially in large gardens.
If you are not tech-savvy, then the initial setup, after installation, may be a challenge. You’ll need to connect it to wi fi, set the mowing schedule, and, depending on the model, set the security detail with the onboard control panel, but just some basic tech knowledge will suffice.

Can a robot mower be easily stolen?

Robotic lawnmowers are designed to be theft-resistant, with many of them being GPS enabled. Even if the robotic mower does not have GPS technology, it’s difficult for someone to steal as they would need knowledge on how to dismantle and operate it as well as the pin code. Some robotic models have an anti theft system that can sound an alarm and send you an alert or email in case your robot lawnmower ends up somewhere unexpected.

How do you keep a robotic mower from wandering off?

While it’s fun to imagine your robot mower roaming free in the neighborhood, searching for a patch of lawn to trim, sadly it’s not going to happen. Well, as long as you do a good job with the installation. Almost all robotic mowers are packaged with what we call an “invisible fence,” which is actually a special type of wire you install to keep your lawn robot within the correct boundaries. You can set this wire up by hanging it above ground, or by burying it up to 18 inches below the surface.
Plus, if you have a garden that is fenced in due to having kids or owning dogs, you’re already in luck. The robot will stay right in thanks to the fence.

What if I have a lot of flower beds?

Many gardeners out there worry about their flowers getting cut up by the robotic lawnmower, but the use of the wire will keep your bot from going into a zone they are not allowed into. These robots will also avoid objects they can see. Given that many gardeners like to put wire or even bricks or decorative stones around their flower beds or vegetable gardens, the robot should be safe to use around them. We still recommend the use of wire to make absolutely certain the robot will not ruin your flowers or crops.

What if the mower hits a tree?

Most robotic mowers either have obstacle detection or bumpers, much like a Roomba. If they see or bump into a tree they will just pivot away and keep on going. If you do have trees, however, it’s worth looking out for large roots protruding as there is a chance a mower could get stuck on one.

Will a robotic mower completely replace my gas mower and push mowers?

Yes, robot mowers generally replace the need for petrol mowers. However, as they are not too good on edges, it would be wise to keep your string trimmer handy for the finishing touches.

Can I use a robotic mower on a hilly or uneven lawn?

Maybe. One disadvantage of robot mowers is that they struggle on slopes or uneven surfaces such as hills. Be sure to confirm in the mower specks the angle of the slope it can handle before purchasing.

Do I still need to rake the lawn after it’s been mowed?

The cutting they do is neat in the tidy sense of the word. There is no need for the owners of the robot to rake up the mulch and stuff it into bags-often; these robots cut it down to a level that just composts back into the yard. It will not sit on top, turn gold in the sun, and make your yard look less than desirable.

Are robotic mowers loud?

No, robotic lawn mowers are usually quieter than a gas engine-powered one. This is due to the fact that it has no need for an internal combustion engine, so there’s less noise and pollution from the smoke exiting out of the tailpipe. You can happily run them day and night and not worry about waking up your family or the neighbors.

Will a robot mower work in the rain?

They are usable in the rain. Some models will have a rain sensor and return to their charging station to park themselves until it clears up. However, some robot lawn mowers will soldier on even when it’s coming down outside.

Conclusion

Should I buy a robot lawn mower?

So, are robot lawn mowers any good? Yes, they are. They do a great job of keeping grass neat and avoiding places they should not go and are a huge time saver. It’s a comfort to know they shut off when picked up or tilted, too. I’m pretty confident it won’t take long for your robotic mower to quickly become one of your favorite gardening tools.

They will be especially useful for those that suffer from back pain or maybe older people who need a helping hand with their lawn care.

That being said, they are a significant investment on the homeowner’s part and require some serious evaluation before buying. Our advice? Tally up the cost of what you’re spending now and compare it to your desired mower.

Could you save some money in the long run?

If you want to see some of the best robot lawn mowers currently available, check out more information and lawn mower reviews in our recommendations and full buyers guide.

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About the Author: matt