Is a Robot Lawn Mower Right for You?
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Tired of pushing that old gas-powered mower around your yard? Maybe it’s time for something quieter and smarter. Here’s why you should consider a robot lawn mower.
Mowing the lawn is to yard work what sunshine is to summer. It’s quintessential! But if you’re sick of pushing or driving, you may be considering other options, like a robot lawn mower. But is the switch worth the squeeze?
What are Robot Mowers?
If you’re tired of spending hours mowing your lawn, you may be enticed by a robot lawn mower. We love their efficiency. Available for lawns of varying shapes and sizes, they’re pretty smart. They don’t require an astrophysics degree to set up and program. And since they’re powered by rechargeable battery packs, they’re much quieter than traditional mowers.
Much like robotic vacuums, they begin their first cycle by mapping out the space — in this case, your yard. It works via perimeter wire. One end is attached to a terminal at the base station. The other goes around the perimeter of your lawn using stakes, and then wraps back to the second terminal at the base station. This ensures the mower stays on the lawn, and only the lawn. After it’s done mapping, the robot lawn mower returns to its AC-powered base station and awaits its first real job.
How Do They Work?
Using the app on your phone or the manual power button, you prompt your automatic lawn mower to move around your lawn, cutting the grass and using its sensors (guided by the charged perimeter wire) to remain on the mapped path and avoid obstacles.
Many robot lawn mowers use a floating deck design that allows the user to adjust the cutting height. Some models have a single blade, some multiple blades, and others a spinning disc configured with razor blades. As the blades cut the grass, they chop it up super-finely so it seeps into the soil when you water the lawn or it rains. Depending on the size of your mower, you can expect a cutting width from seven inches to around two feet.
How Much is a Robot Lawn Mower?
Prices vary, and with good reason. Entry level models typically lack the battery power of the higher end models. With a big lawn, that’s a problem, since a lower end model might only run for 30 minutes. The pricier versions can go for four hours or more without a charge. Other factors include how many zones it can mow, how much area it can cover, and whether you can program it with a mowing schedule. Oh, and some robot lawn mowers even come with headlights for nighttime mowing! Expect to pay around $800 to $1,900.
What is the Right Mower?
If you’re going to purchase a product that reduces your yard work, get something that’s right for your specific lawn. With a small lawn, a pricier version isn’t necessary. Small to medium-size lawns require a mower that can handle between one-quarter and one-third of an acre. Also consider the topography of your yard. If it’s hilly, seek a robot lawn mower designed to climb with ease. Whether it’s big or small, hilly or flat, battery life matters! The longer the battery life, the more likely it is a well-built lawn mower.
Factors to Consider when Buying
If your lawn has areas are not connected, you’ll need a robotic mower with multi-zone capability. Most can handle between two and four zones. If you want a super-smart mower, then you might consider one you can program to run on certain days and times. In rainy regions, you probably want one with technology that senses when it’s too wet to mow the lawn.
Best Products Out There
Husqvarna reigns supreme in the robotic lawn mower world. The Automower 430X Robotic Lawn Mower is great for rough terrain and slopes with an incline of up to 45 percent. We also like the Automower 450X (shown here) for its roughly 1-1/3-acre capacity.