If you have ever wondered how to get away from mowing your lawn yourself, without having to pay for a company or someone to mow your grass? We take a dive into these products, so you can decide if robotic lawn mowers are worth it.
I value my time, looking to always invest my time into meaningful or rewarding activities, rather than wasting time on things that don’t serve me well.
Using a robotic lawn mower allows me to have the time I would normally spend maintaining a lawn mower, and then to still be mowing the grass too. And not too mention carrying the clippings away.
Despite any negative information related to this kind of product in other articles or videos, please keep in mind that the smart mower is evolving.
I’ve looked at quite a few resources and seen that the issues mentioned were already improved, or had a new feature to take care of the problem.
With that being said, I will try and keep my article updated the best I can. A short-coming with a robotic lawn mower can be non-existent in under a year, sometimes even sooner.
The good and the bad
Here are some pros and cons of an automatic lawn mower. Hopefully, this will lay it all out for you to see the good, and the bad.
- Cutting Pattern: It won’t cut nice patterns into your grass as you can manually do. I have no doubt that it’s just a matter of a little time before a feature is brought into new models to be able to accomplish this.
- Predefined Edges: Presently, smart lawn mowers can only mow within a fixed boundary, which means it cannot
- Boundary Line: A line has to be installed to allocate a fixed boundary line for the mower.
- Clippings Disposal: No more piling up of your grass clippings and having to put them all into bags.
- Low Maintenance: Low maintenance and service costs.
- No Weather constraints: You never have to plan your cuts around the weather. Especially if you only have time on weekends to mow your grass.
- Always Tidy: Your grass will always be an optimum length. No more letting grass get overgrown when missing a cut.
- Quiet: They are so quiet that it can even mow your grass at night. It makes about the same level of noise as a heat pump.
- Control: You can control or program your mower using your mobile device. Furthermore, Alexa can control the unit at any time, using voice commands.
One thing I was surprised by, is the ability of them to traverse hills. It doesn’t seem to have any problems making its way up or across slopes.
How do automatic lawn mowers work?
The major components are:
- Body/chassis and cover: This is the housing for all the components. The chassis provides a solid base for everything to be attached to it strongly and safely. The cover keeps the outdoor elements from affecting the machine.
- Electric Motors: One of the motors receives power from the battery and rotates the blade assembly. The others also use battery power, but instead, drives the wheels for motion and direction.
- Battery: The battery powers the electronics and motor.
- Electronics: This is everything that operated the motor and is the ‘brains’ of the mower.
- Wheels: This is what’s used to drive the mower from the drive motors, and to steer it.
- Blade Assembly: This is what actually cuts the grass. It’s rotated by the main motor. On most of these mowers, the blades actually pivot, getting swung out when the motor rotates the blade assembly. This way, if the blades hit anything, they can fold away, reducing the impact on the object and reducing the amount of damage on the blades. Some manufacturers still use fixed metal blades, which I’m sure still work quite well, but probably won’t last as long.
Technically they are categorized as a mulcher or a grasscycle product. They cut small lengths of grass each time, and don’t catch any of the clippings.
The clippings simply fall back into the grass, decay and form a type of fertilizer for your lawn. These machines have been known to get lawns looking healthier this way.
Used in conjunction with a smart sprinkler system, will go a long way to help you get a better, healthier lawn.
Do they work in large areas?
In a word, yes. If you want one for a larger lawn, the initial cost goes up for a bigger model.
At the largest end of the spectrum, it could do around 1.25 acres or around 54,450 square feet. That’s a fairly large area for one automated unit.
What happens if it rains?
Automated mowers are usually weather resistant. So it can mow just fine in the rain. At the very least, it may just dock itself until the rain subsides.
Some manufacturers claim to have a zero influence from rain, they can cut just fine in the torrential rain.
Are they safe?
It’s extremely safe. If it bumps into something, it will change direction.
If you pick it up, it will sound an alarm and shut off instantly. It’s definitely safer than a traditional lawn mower.
Can someone steal it?
While it is possible, it would be a fool’s errand, and here’s why.
A pin code is required in order to change any setting on the device.
The moment the unit gets picked up, it shuts off and an alarm sounds.
If the owner knows it’s stolen, it can immediately be red-listed. Some models also have a geofencing feature, if it exceeds a certain radius away from home, the alarm will go off and a tracking feature will allow tracking to its location.
Essentially it will be a rock. Its original base is required because it’s paired very specifically to it. So no charging can occur without its native base.
How short does it keep the grass?
You can set the height of the robotic lawn mower to a height you want.
Ideally, you should set it higher for the first few weeks, then set it to your desired height after that. This will ensure that your grass gets healthier before getting your grass cut to your ideal length.
How long does it take to mow my whole lawn?
This obviously depends on the size of your lawn.
For a medium-sized lawn (usually around 20,000 square feet), usually, it takes around 2-3 days to fully have everything uniformly cut.
If your grass is very long, you’ll need to cut it with a conventional mower first, so your automated lawn mower can take over from that point onward.
How much does it cost?
Here is a price range based on three main categories of lawn size:
- Small Lawns (up to 16,000 square feet): $2,000 – $3,000
- Medium Lawns (16,000 – 35,000 square feet): $3000 – $4000
- Large Lawns (35,000 – 54,000): $4000 – $5000
Please bear in mind that these prices are just a rough estimate, to give you a ballpark figure.
There is one point I’d like to make as a word of caution. Going for a cheap product won’t give you the full experience that a quality grade unit can deliver.
So it might be an easy task to waste money on something cheap, and walk away thinking that the whole smart lawn mower industry is a scam.
A final recommendation I would like to add is the installation. It is relatively straightforward, and most people can do it.
I’m going to rather recommend that you get the company that is selling it to you, to do the installation.
The reason for this is simply the boundary cable and the machinery they use to install it.
They can install it a few inches under the ground, which I think anybody would prefer. It’s out of sight and reduces the risk of it being snagged by something.
They are clearly worth it for the kinds of people that like to save time. Yes, you do save money over time, but it takes time to get your money back.
After you have though, it will be a good saving and definitely a good investment.
Consider the time, effort and financial savings, coupled with the fun of operating a machine to do your lawn on a permanent basis.
So, are smart lawn mowers worth it? In my opinion, it is. But, everyone’s situation is different. But to fully answer that, after learning about them in this article, is going to be down to you.
Are you willing to make an investment and wait for it to pay off?
If you are still unsure, ring up a local dealer and ask them to do a demonstration for you on your lawn.
For the price they cost, they should be willing to do this with no hesitation. If not, try someone else.
I’m sure that your mind would be made up after that, don’t you think?
Marlo is currently working full time as a professional computer programmer, electronics engineer and computer technician. Besides having a great passion for computers, he is fascinated by smart homes of the future.