Mowing your lawn is a chore that we all procrastinate on or make someone else do because, truth be told, it is a fair bit of work.
Homeowners with large lawns have it even more difficult, and if their lawn has decorations and other design features, the meticulousness required to work around it would be infuriating to some.
Most would call in a professional lawn mowing service or make one of the kids in the neighborhood do it for them.
Of course, like with almost every aspect of life today, some robots can mow your lawn for you.
They don’t care how large your lawn is; they don’t complain and get the job done quickly and effectively.
By the end of this article, you’ll see how a robot lawnmower works and if it is worth picking one up for yourself.
Robot lawnmowers are the evolution of your regular lawnmowers and run on batteries, find their way around on their own and more efficient at keeping your lawn looking pristine.
Find out if they are worth the asking price and why using a robot lawnmower is better in the long run than a conventional lawnmower.
What is a Robotic Lawn Mower?
Robotic lawnmowers are usually the size of a traditional lawnmower but don’t have the handle that you use to push it around.
Unlike regular lawnmowers that usually use gasoline, they run off of a battery, which means that they are silent runners.
As the years go by, new features like smartphone control, scheduling, and self-docking are added to newer models of these robots.
Some of these robots need a wire that goes along the perimeter of the lawn to understand where the lawn ends.
They move around the lawn in random directions and turn back whenever they hit the perimeter wire.
A few higher-end models have rain sensors that automatically stop the robot from mowing the lawn and wait until it stops raining.
Functionally, these robots are similar to a robot vacuum cleaner that would clean your home, making the whole process of mowing your lawn as easy as sitting back and pressing a few buttons.
The Technology behind Robotic Lawn Mowers
Besides the technology that we would see from a robot vacuum like smartphone controls and charging base stations, all-wheel drive and GPS are additional technology you would see in a robotic lawnmower.
Some robots find their charging stations with radio frequency transmissions, while others use guide wires or the perimeter wire you’ve set up.
These robots are intelligent enough to stop mowing when they reach critical battery levels and automatically move to their charging stations.
Different robots can tackle different types of terrain where the grades can vary, and high-end ones can work on lawns with even 70% grade.
They can do this thanks to a set of wheels and motors that were specifically designed to handle terrain like this.
The future of robotic lawnmowers lies in computer vision and machine learning which will help the robot navigate without GPS the need for and be more thorough with the mowing process.
How Does a Robot Lawn Mower Work?
Robot lawnmowers work just like robot vacuums and find their way around your lawn like your Roomba does in your house.
But instead of cleaning equipment, these robots have cutting blades and several motors to power the blades and run the robot.
Some have a wire you must use to set the perimeter so that the robot knows where the lawn ends.
This wire is connected to the base station to receive power to help the robot find its way around using its sensors.
The robots automatically return to their base station once they are finished with your lawn or if they are low on battery.
The batteries these robots use are usually lithium-ion or nickel-metal hydride, which are rechargeable.
Depending on how long you use the robot and the type of battery, you can get usage from 30 minutes up to 3-4 hours.
Charging times also vary accordingly, with higher capacity batteries taking longer to charge when compared to lower capacity ones.
Is a Robot Lawn Mower Powerful Enough for my Lawn?
Robot lawnmowers are good for any lawn, and when run frequently, they can get rid of weeds as well.
You can also run a robotic mower on any lawn a regular lawnmower can work on since it is almost the same as a regular mower, but it does the mowing by itself.
The lawn capacities that most of these robots can work on can start from 0.25 acres and go up to 1.25 acres for the more expensive models.
Robots that can cut larger lawns have more powerful batteries that let them be out on the lawn cutting for longer periods.
The cutting blades underneath the lawnmower robot also matter; the types of lawns and other surfaces you can use the robot on depend on this.
Ultimately, what determines the power of a robot depends on where you use the robot to mow the lawn.
Advantages of Robot Lawn Mowers
One of the several advantages of getting a robot lawnmower is that you can keep your lawn pristine and attractive without you needing to think much about it or physically work for it.
They save time and money involved in getting someone to mow the lawn or when doing it yourself.
The grass these robots cut is reduced into the consistency of sawdust, so the grass automatically fertilizes the freshly mowed lawn.
This lets you avoid using fertilizer and remove weeds in your lawn to keep it neat.
With the scheduling features that some robot lawnmowers have, you can mow your lawn every day if you are inclined to.
Manual lawnmowers are dangerous to use because they can launch small rocks and other debris out of the mower if the blade catches them, which can cause injury to anyone nearby.
Lawnmower accidents are pretty common, especially when trying to clear blockages in the blades, so using a robot is safer for yourself as well as the people in your home, including your children.
Disadvantages of Robot Lawn Mowers
The first downside of a robot lawnmower is the price because it is a pretty early piece of technology.
The maintenance costs and acquiring spare parts like blades and batteries can also be expensive.
Installing the perimeter guidewire is a bit time-consuming, and if you change how your lawn is set up, you’ll have to readjust the guide wires again.
The battery life is another downside, especially when the lawn is really big for the robot.
If you run the robot quite frequently, battery life can also take a hit there.
Robot Lawn Mower vs. Traditional Lawn Mower
Robot lawnmowers are more uniform when mowing grass because their sensors maintain how long the grass should be uniformly and throughout the space you run the robot on.
Grass that grows unevenly can cause it to get scalped the next time you run a regular mower through it, and keeping the lengths uniform can help you make your lawn look pristine throughout the year.
Regular mowers can sometimes damage the lawn permanently if someone was careless with running the machine, but you won’t have that issue with a robot lawnmower.
The robot can maintain the height of the grass even on gradients and dips, which the regular lawnmower might not be able to do as well.
Real mowers, while being inexpensive, aren’t really great at keeping your lawn healthy-looking unless you’re willing to put a lot of time and effort into doing so.
A robot vacuum is perfect for someone who doesn’t have that kind of patience or time and wants the best-looking lawn possible.
How Much Does a Robot Lawn Mower Cost?
Robot lawnmowers don’t come cheap, and the most barebones model retail for about $600, which can go up to $4000-5000 for the best models on the market.
Some may even require professional installation, which can add to the upfront costs that these robots ask for.
Maintenance is also a hassle because procuring parts is also pretty difficult.
Get a mower that can handle your lawn, and don’t splurge on features that look good but you’ll never end up using.
Are Robot Lawn Mowers Easier to Steal?
Robot lawnmowers look easy to steal because you could pick them up and walk away, but it isn’t that easy.
Every robot is paired with a single base station, which means that the robot is useless for any thief to use on their own.
You can also get your robot manufacturer to blacklist your model number, preventing it from being registered again to another base station.
If the stolen robot is ever brought to a service center, they’ll know if it is stolen and report it to the authorities.
Models equipped with GPS tracking can be used to know where your robot is if it was stolen, and you can take advantage of geofencing features to alert you if the mower is taken outside of the set area.
If you’re still having second thoughts on security, you could always ensure the robot; contact your home insurance provider to know if your lawnmower robot is covered as well.
How Smart Are Robot Lawn Mowers?
All robot lawnmowers are smart in their own ways, but most require guide wires to let them know where the lawn ends.
These wires can be buried if you wish to, but fixing them on stakes is the standard procedure.
The robots are smart enough to navigate almost all sorts of oddly-shaped lawns, including ones that have gradients.
Scheduling lets you have control of how your lawn looks, so you can set it to mow the lawn every night when everyone is asleep or every week or month, depending on how you need your lawn to look.
Some even have support for voice commands from Amazon Alexa that let your stop and start mowing whenever you want.
Robot Lawn Mowers and Safety
Robot lawnmowers are designed to keep safety first since it is a robot that goes around with many spinning blades underneath.
These lawnmowers use different blades and cutting techniques compared to regular lawnmowers that are designed to minimize the risk of injury from something being launched from the robot during its working.
Sensors on the blade system let it know instantly when to stop if the blade was interrupted by something.
This minimizes the risk of someone accidentally touching the moving blades.
Some robots detect themselves when lifted, which immediately stops the blades from spinning.
Regardless of whether the robot tipped over or someone picked it up by accident, it shuts itself off to prevent injury.
Most robots have blades mounted on a spinning disc to cut the grass easily but are forced back into the disc if it hits something heavier, which reduces the chances of objects being launched from the robot.
With a little presence of mind and adopting safety protocols when mowing your lawn, you can keep yourself, your children, and your pets when a robot lawnmower is working.
Contemporary Robot Lawn Mower Companies
Now that we’ve seen how good robot lawnmowers are and are pretty safe to boot, its time we look at a few companies that have their lawnmowers on the market now.
Redback makes more affordable robot mowers, but they don’t compromise on features either.
Worx is also a well-known brand that makes conventional lawnmowers, and their line of robot lawnmowers is worth checking out.
Bosch is a well-known power tools brand that has been around for more than a century, and they make great high-end robot mowers.
Husqvarna is another reputed power tool brand with its own line of robot lawnmowers.
They usually make high-end heavy-duty mowers, so if you have enough to splurge, a Husqvarna robot mower would be perfect for you.
A Roomba for your Lawn
Doing a chore like mowing your lawn is made a whole lot easier and more convenient than taking out your loud conventional mower and sweating buckets working in the summer sun.
As the robots begin to adopt the cutting edge in AI and machine learning, we could see them going completely autonomous in a few decades.
Robot lawnmowers would potentially start learning the growth patterns of your lawn and make decisions on when it should go out and mow the lawn according to your preferences.
We might also see these robots looking up the latest weather information and scheduling their mowing times around patches of rain.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How long do robotic lawnmowers last?
The blades and the batteries are usually the only things that need replacement in a robotic lawnmower.
The batteries might need to be replaced every few years depending on how often you use the robot, and the blades may need to be replaced within a few months, depending on how large your lawn is.
Do robotic lawnmowers collect the grass?
Robot lawnmowers do not collect the grass because they are mulching mowers.
The cut grass comes out as mulch which the robot returns to your lawn to fertilize.
Do robot lawn mowers get stolen?
Theft and vandalism of robot lawnmowers are reported to be pretty low, but these robots do have a lot of security features that prevent them from being stolen.
Some have GPS tracking features, while others cannot be used with other bases stations.
Do robot mowers work on uneven lawns?
Even though most robot mowers work best on surface surfaces, they can mow on up to 35 percent gradients.
Newer models can also work on steeper gradients, so check the product specifications before choosing one.
Can robot mowers go over paths?
Most robot lawnmowers can go over paths and driveways and not damage their blades or other parts.
But not all of them can, so check in with your robot manufacturer to make sure.