Mowing the yard is stressful, especially if you have a sizable property. Fortunately, technological advancements have gifted us with robotic lawn mowers that can take care of your lawn while you kick back and relax. But are robotic lawn mowers worth it?
Robot lawn mowers are worth it for homeowners with large yards, as they help to save time and energy. While not suitable for yards with steep slopes, most robot mowers are great for general purpose needs. Overall, while the price tag on these can be a little high, they’re a good investment.
In this article, I’ll be discussing everything about robotic lawn mowers: what they do, what they can’t, and how to decide if they’re suitable for you or not. Whether you want one or just find the idea of robots cutting our grass fascinating, I’ve got you covered.
If you haven’t heard of robot lawn mowers before now, you’ve probably at least heard of Roombas and automatic vacuums. Robot lawn mowers are very similar to robot vacuums, except that they have blades and cut your grass. They wander around the yard in random motion as they cut the grass.
Robot lawn mowers are becoming more popular as their technology is getting better. However, there is still plenty of room for improvement with these machines, and you may still be on the fence about whether a robot lawn mower is worth investing in or not. The following considerations should help you decide.
A robot lawn mower is for you if:
- You hate mowing the grass and just want to forget about it.
- You enjoy smart devices and machines in and around your home.
- You aren’t particular about how your lawn is cut.
- You have a large yard and dislike cutting it.
- You want minimal maintenance.
A robot lawn mower is not for you if:
- You enjoy cutting the grass.
- You have a perfectly functional lawn mower and don’t see the point in a new one.
- You want your yard done at one time, all at once.
- You are very specific about how your grass is cut.
- You have a lot of steep hills or slopes.
Here’s a list of the pros that make robotic lawn mowers a positive addition to your life. If any of these benefits sound good to you, then investing in a robot lawn mower could be worth it.
This is the primary selling point of most automated systems. Robot lawn mowers, in particular, remove a previously labor-intensive chore and make it a ‘set it and forget it’ task. This significantly can’t be overstated for people who loathe cutting the grass – for those people, robot lawn mowers are the future.
If you have a big yard, you probably have a riding mower, or you just hate mowing it with a push mower. Robot mowers keep your yard looking fantastic, and all you have to do is change out the blades once in a while and make sure it charges.
How long does it take to mow your grass with a traditional mower? Longer than you’ll spend fiddling with a robotic lawn mower, I guarantee. Robot lawn mowers are part of a new wave of automation whose primary goal is to remove a time-consuming task – in this case, your grass – and give you that valuable time back.
You can’t make more time in life, but you can maximize how much you spend on menial tasks like maintaining your lawn. Use those hours you’d spend mowing the grass on something more practical, productive, or fun – this is how robot lawn mowers pay for themselves.
It’s only natural to be concerned about an automatic machine that wanders around your yard with blades. Still, you don’t need to worry – robotic lawn mowers have a host of safety features. The blades will retract if the mower bumps into anything, and they shut off if you try to lift them – this prevents anyone from getting cut on the blades.
When thinking about making major purchases, security features are often a significant consideration. After all, you don’t want some thief to just run off with your stuff! The good news with robotic lawn mowers is that the GPS present in most models is enough to deter most thieves. Why bother stealing your robotic lawn mower if it’s easily found via a smartphone app?
Other than GPS, a standard feature of robot lawn mowers is a PIN required to operate the machine. You need a specific PIN to pick the mower up or move it outside its assigned area. Otherwise, the mower will send an SMS alert to your phone or even emit a loud alarm.
These security features have made robotic lawn mowers extremely unattractive targets for thieves, but they’re great for your peace of mind!
Traditional lawn mowers and especially riding lawn mowers take a ton of space, sometimes even small buildings just for them. By contrast, robotic lawn mowers are much smaller and can usually be stored in their charging docks. If you have a shed, that’s handy, but you would only need a corner of it at most. No more giant machines cluttering up your yard!
While you may be most familiar with mowing grass in parallel lines, the random zigzagging patternless method robotic lawn mowers employ is better. Mowing a yard in lines will show a pattern no matter what if you know what to look for, but robotic lawn mowers leave no pattern to be discerned – the yard just looks trimmed.
Running the unit over the area multiple times will usually cut the grass into very fine grass clippings. The finely cut grass fertilizes the ground around your lawn, improving the health of the vegetation overall.
If cutting very long grass, however, it may be necessary to clean up after a robot lawn mower is done.
While the first robot lawn mowers could only cut flat yards, modern versions are more than capable of handling mild slopes and hills. For example, this model by Husqvarna can handle 70-degree hills!
While robot lawn mowers have many useful features, they’re like any machine in that they aren’t perfect and have their own set of drawbacks. Here are some cons about robot lawn mowers to consider before purchasing.
As with any life-changing innovation, the price tag on robotic lawn mowers is a little high for many people. It’s hard to justify spending so much money on a robotic mower when you may have a perfectly good one already, or if you don’t mind cutting the grass yourself.
As with a regular mower, there are those edges robotic mowers just can’t get to, which will call for some edging. In addition, if you have weeds or other dense foliage, that’s another issue a robotic mower can’t solve. While they are great for open areas, robot mowers aren’t known for their intelligence.
Robotic lawn mowers will eventually get your entire yard cut, but it takes time. These little machines make multiple passes of the yard, cutting a few centimeters at a time. This can lead to your yard not looking much different after even an hour or two, even though it will eventually get it all done.
If you prefer instant results, it may be better to do it yourself or hire professionals, so the yard gets done how you like it.
This is primarily a concern if you have a large yard because many robotic lawn mowers won’t completely finish cutting the grass before the battery dies, and it needs to return to its dock for charging. This can leave your yard looking uneven and choppy until the mower recharges and goes back out to cut again.
If you aren’t okay with these periods of downtime, a robot mower may not be for you.
It’s also worth considering that batteries don’t last forever. If you heavily use your mower, a battery may only last a year or two and then will need replacing.
While robot lawn mowers promise to automate a previously time-consuming activity, people naturally have many questions and even concerns about an expensive machine and whether it’s really up to the task. The following sections will cover nearly every question you could ever have about robot lawn mowers.
Robot lawn mowers are smart devices you control from an app on your smartphone. This is possible because they can connect to WiFi and they have built-in GPS functionality. The exact features of the apps offered vary by brand and model.
Typically, the ability to see the location of your lawn mower at any point is standard. Some features of one app, Robomow, can be found here as an example.
Another standard feature of robot lawn mower apps is the ability to direct your lawn mower from one area of the yard to another – this can help if your yard grows unevenly for some reason. Scheduling is a handy feature that automates the process even further so that you can just set a day, time and forget about the robot lawn mower altogether.
If a robot lawn mower runs into a tree, it would simply turn around and reposition itself. However, robot lawn mowers usually come with a boundary wire that tracks the perimeter of your yard and tells the mower where to go or not go.
The boundary wire is placed around the boundary of your yard and is usually secured by posts put into the ground. For example, if you have a flower bed, garden, pool, or other outdoor areas you want to exclude from the mower’s assigned area, place boundary wire around the perimeter of that area.
However, while robot lawn mowers run into and reposition themselves when encountering objects bigger than themselves, smaller objects in the grass such as tiny toys can and will get shredded.
It may be necessary to walk around your yard and pick up objects that could get caught in the mower – this includes fruit, stones, and large sticks.
Robot lawn mowers are not loud. In contrast, they are quiet because they run on electric power instead of gasoline. You can run robot lawn mowers at any time of day or night with little concern of complaints from even your most sensitive neighbors.
Most robot lawn mowers are sealed and will work in the rain with functions continuing normally. Still, a common feature of many robot mowers is to recognize inclement weather and automatically return to its recharge station until it has passed.
Robot lawn mowers running even in the rain is a pro for areas that get lots of extended periods of rain. Still, they’re not impervious to the elements – it’s best to keep them docked when it’s storming, flooding, or experiencing other severe weather.
Robotic lawn mowers are entirely electric. That makes them more efficient than traditional lawn mowers, which often experience problems. Robot lawn mowers require less maintenance than regular lawn mowers, only needing you to change out the blades from time to time.
Robotic lawn mowers may cost as little as $500 for some models but fancier options can cost thousands of dollars. The brand name and how many built-in features are included are the main determining factors of the cost.
Robot lawn mowers are life-changing for people with large yards or even multiple properties, and especially if you dislike cutting the grass yourself. While not everyone needs one, they are marvels of modern automation.