Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle Whitley
Lawns are great places to relax after work. They also make great places to play with your children. But lawn care takes a lot of time and effort. And most of us don’t have the time to do it ourselves. Should I buy a robot lawn mower?
We’ll cover everything from how much a robotic lawn mower cost to whether or not you should get a self-propelled robotic lawn mower.
Table of Contents
- 1 How does a robot lawn mower work?
- 2 Are robot lawnmowers expensive?
- 3 Can a Robot Lawn mower handle my lawn?
- 4 Will my robot lawn mower wander off?
- 5 Can a Robot Mower Avoid Flower Beds and Landscaping?
- 6 My Robot Mower Just Hit a Tree
- 7 Will a Robot Lawnmower Work on Hilly Terrain?
- 8 How Do I Choose A Robot Mower?
- 9 What if it’s raining?
- 10 How hard is it to Maintain a Robot Lawnmower?
- 11 Are robot lawnmowers worth it?
- 13 What to Consider when Buying
- 14 Summing it Up: Should I Buy A Robot Lawn Mower?
How does a robot lawn mower work?
Robot lawn mowers are compact, easy to store, and great for those who don’t want to push one around. But how do they work? Here’s what you need to know about robotic lawn mowing machines.
Robot lawnmowers run off of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The mower cuts your entire lawn and automatically returns to its base station when the job is done or if it needs a quick recharge.
After a full scan of your property, the mower stores the saved map to your machine and its companion app (If the mower has one), allowing you to see where it has been and what areas still need attention. You’ll never have to worry about how to operate a lawn mower again.
Most mowers will require you to lay a boundary wire around the area you want the robot to mow. This boundary wire will keep the mower from driving into your neighbor’s yard or the landscaping surrounding your home. Robot mowers can have several types of cutting blades. Some have single blades, others have multiple small blades, and some even have cutting discs instead of blades altogether.
Robot mowers don’t have a side or rear discharge shoot like riding or push mowers. They are exclusively mulching mowers. The blades or grass are cut multiple times within the mower deck and are deposited back onto the grass and soil. These mulched clippings help feed the grass like a natural fertilizer.
Are robot lawnmowers expensive?
Robot lawn mowers are much more expensive than regular garden mowers. But it could pay off in the long run.
They are still very new technologies, and many questions about their safety and reliability exist. Also, several different types of robotic lawnmowers are available today, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
Robot lawn mowers are becoming increasingly popular because they’re easy to use, affordable, and offer many benefits over traditional lawn mowing methods. However, there are some things you’ll need to consider before buying one.
The most important thing to consider is what size property you have. If it’s small, you might be able to fit it into a smaller model. Larger models usually require larger batteries, which could cost upwards of $1,500.
It will be hard to find a robotic lawn mower for less than $1000. With some models rocking $5000 price points, the initial costs may be enough to sway some folks away from purchasing a robotic lawnmower.
If you’re not cutting grass the size of fully-grown cornstalks, your robotic mower won’t require manual cuts to trim the grass. If you live in the typical suburban neighborhood where your cutting size is less than 3/4 to 1/2 an acre, then a robot lawnmower could be perfect for your yard.
Higher-priced robots are generally equipped with bigger batteries, allowing them to work longer hours without recharge. Otherwise, your bot will run out of juice far too often, prolonging the time it takes to complete a single cut.
Can a Robot Lawn mower handle my lawn?
The good news is that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get a quality machine. We found several models under $1,500. But, even though budget isn’t everything, there are still things you should consider when buying a new mower. For example, you might want to look into what type of terrain you live on and how much maintenance you plan on putting into the machine.
While most robots come with three wheels, there are some four-wheeled units. If you’re looking for something that can cover rough terrain, we recommend checking out the four-wheeled model.
On the flip side, the three-wheeled version tends to be easier to maneuver around tight areas. However, if you have a lot of areas to cover, the extra weight could make it harder to pull off some maneuvers. So, if you’re looking for a machine that can take on a wide variety of terrains, the three-wheeled option might be best for you.
Regardless of whether you choose the three or four-wheeled model, you’ll find that most units come equipped with several features. Some offer mulching capabilities, others allow you to program the height of the cutting blades, and others include GPS technology. These features help keep your grass looking healthy and lush, making it worth investing in a high-quality robot.
Will my robot lawn mower wander off?
Robotic mowers are becoming increasingly popular among homeowners because they provide a convenient way to cut grass without having to cut grass. To keep the robot mowers mowing in the correct area, you have to lay some boundary wire to let the mower know where and where not to go.
The low voltage boundary wire is laid around the perimeter of the lawn you want the robotic mower to cut. It creates an invisible fence that the robot knows not to cross.
Some mowers can handle multiple zones, while others can take just one zone simultaneously. Laying the perimeter wire isn’t labor intensive, but you will need to bury the wire in the ground, requiring a shallow trench to be dug. Schedule half a day or more to lay your perimeter boundary wire.
Can a Robot Mower Avoid Flower Beds and Landscaping?
Gardeners who want to protect plants from the mower can use the boundary wire to prevent the machine from getting into the area. A robot can easily navigate through obstacles such as trees and shrubs.
This goes for any area you don’t want the mower to enter, including flower beds, sheds, pathways, sidewalks, decks, and patios.
My Robot Mower Just Hit a Tree
If you are familiar with robotic vacuum cleaners like the ones from iRobot or Shark, you know that when they come in contact with a piece of furniture or object like a wall, they simply change directions.
The same goes for robotic mowers. If they encounter a hard object like a tree or playset, they will simply change direction and start cutting in a different area. Some mowers even come with radar or motion sensing to avoid objects altogether.
Over time, most of these mowers will map the cutting area, so they avoid objects they come into contact with often.
Will a Robot Lawnmower Work on Hilly Terrain?
The extremely hilly terrain is the Achilles heel, so to speak, for robot mowers. Most mowers can not handle slopes greater than 15 to 20 degrees. The hilly terrain poses several risks, mainly rollovers or getting stuck on a slope.
Also, hills could cause issues with runtime. Over the last few years, there have been advancements where manufacturers are addressing the ability to handle more hilly terrain by providing more mowers with 4 wheels and multiple driving wheels.
How Do I Choose A Robot Mower?
When purchasing a robot lawnmower, you need to consider the lawn size you are trying to maintain. Will a single mower even handle the size of the yard you want to cut? You might need a mower for the front yard and another for the backyard.
Larger mowers will have a larger cutting width and make quick work of larger areas. If the area you are cutting is smaller, for instance, around a pool, you might want to consider a smaller mower.
Battery capacity is also a big consideration. For larger lawns, you will want longer runtimes to avoid constant recharging. Since most of these mowers run 24hrs a day unless you tell them not to, you will need to consider how long the mower can run on a single charge.
What if it’s raining?
Robotic lawn mowers are becoming increasingly popular, especially since most units have a battery life indicator that lets you know how long you’ll have to wait until the next charge. But what happens when it rains? If you’re like us, you probably don’t want to get out there, manually turn off the machine, and get soaked.
Thankfully, some manufacturers have figured out ways around this problem. For example, the Husqvarna and Worx have a built-in rain sensor that allows the robot to automatically shut itself down once the precipitation reaches a certain level.
Other models are designed to rain or shine, like models for Greenworks.
That said, most folks won’t want their mower cutting in a rain storm or even wet grass because you will need to clean the mower up after it rains. If you ever had to clean wet grass from a mower deck, you know what a pain that is.
How hard is it to Maintain a Robot Lawnmower?
So you might be wondering if the robotic mowers are easy to maintain, and yes, for the most part, they are.
Blades must be replaced yearly, depending on how much cutting you do. You will want to make sure the underside of the cutting deck if clean and free of grass buildup, but this is usually a monthly or yearly type of task, depending on the amount of cutting you do.
You will also need to clean off the mower itself to keep it looking good. The base or charging stations will also need to be maintained to ensure the mower is recharged when it returns to its base.
If you compare that to a traditional gas mower, there is no maintenance. No oil changes, fuel maintenance, or air or oil filter changes.
It makes keeping a neatly manicured lawn that much easier.
Are robot lawnmowers worth it?
Are robot mowers worth the cost of admission? It depends on what you want to do with your time and if your lawn fits the capabilities of a robotic mower.
I like cutting grass. I enjoy the time outside and enjoy making my yard look clean. I also have a busy personal schedule outside of my 9 to 5, and sometimes getting the time to cut the yard makes me shuffle some things around.
A robot mower is worth it if you are super busy or don’t enjoy cutting grass. The mower will maintain your desired cutting height 24/7, rain or shine. The lawn will always look perfectly manicured after the mower has had time to run over the yard a few times.
Now one thing to keep in mind is the size of the yard. You can’t cut the back forty with a robot mower, at least not the ones currently on the market. You can’t even cut the back 4 acres, but if you have a smaller yard or a yard less than 2 acres that is relatively flat or with rolling hills, then a robot mower could make your cutting grass days a thing of the past.
What to Consider when Buying
The lawnmower industry is booming. It grew 7% last year alone. So why do we keep buying the same old mowers repeatedly? Here are some factors to consider when you buy a robotic lawn mower.
Robot lawnmowers are not inexpensive, so you will need to way the cost of buying them various the cost of the time you “waste” when cutting your grass manually. It depends on what is more valuable, your time or your bottom line finances.
2. Size of your Yard or Lawn
Robot mowers are not intended yet for more extensive lawns over 2 -4 acres. These mowers excel in smaller lawns of less than 1 acre.
Another thing to consider is if your lawn has multiple zones like a front and backyard, which the robot lawn mower will need to navigate. If so, you will need a mower with multi-zone capability.
3. The Type of Grass
Some mowers work well with lower grass varieties like Bermuda or Zysoia, which thrive with shorter cutting heights. Some robotic mowers can’t cut high enough to handle cooler season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass or warmer season grasses like St. Augustine that like higher cutting heights.
Keep your cutting height requirements in mind when looking for a robotic mower.
4. Your Climate
While most of these mowers can handle the occasional rain shower, if you live in an excessively wet part of the world, you will need to ensure that the mower you choose can withstand being in rainstorms often. That means in the US at least it is IPX5 waterproof, which means it can be washed off with a water hose, and a rain shower will not cause it to shut down.
Summing it Up: Should I Buy A Robot Lawn Mower?
I guess that depends on your circumstances. I have thought about getting one for a specific piece of my yard that requires me to use a push mower. There is fencing, and cutting inside that area costs me some time to complete my yard. It is a smaller area that would be perfect for a robot mower.
If you have a smaller lawn of fewer than 2 acres, have more money than time, and don’t want to or can’t cut your grass, then yes, go out and get yourself a robot mower. It will miss the grass day or night, and you won’t have to lift a finger unless you change your mowers app settings, but you will get a constantly manicured lawn that your lawn and your neighbors will thank you for.