Robot Lawn Mowers Reviews
Robotic technology started out indoors with robotic vacuum cleaners and has since evolved to include robotic lawn mowers. After first hitting the market, they quickly gained traction and drew the attention of several high-end manufacturers like Honda, Worxs, Ego, Husqvarna, and Polaris.
These seemingly autonomous lawn care devices are sophisticated, to say the least. They are engineered to neatly maintain your manicured lawn with little to no effort from you. You simply set it up, program the robotic lawn mower to the manufacturer’s specs and make sure the charging port is easily accessible for the mower to keep it’s onboard batteries properly charged.
With new makes and models showing up every day, it can be hard to tell just what is the best robotic lawn mower for your yard? While big names like Honda, Ego, and Husqvarna certainly invoke confidence, they aren’t the only robotic lawn mowers worth of your hard-earned money.
To truly find the best robotic lawn mower for your property, it helps to look at some of the essential features and how you might use them to keep your lawn effortlessly manicured.Just Show Me The Mowers
Understanding Your Robotic Charging Options
Right off the bat, there are a couple of different ways to charge a robotic lawn mower, based on the manufacturer’s chosen engineering.
A Robotic Charging Port
This is a physical connection that the robotic lawn mower makes with its docking station. Once you program the parameters of your yard and indicate the location of the charger, the robotic lawn mower will automatically return to the docking port to make a solid physical connection. At that point, it will tap into the electric current provided by your house to gradually recharge the batteries.
For the most part, physical charging ports work great. Though there are some times when severe weather and unexpected lawn debris can get in the way of the robotic lawn mower making a firm connection with the necessary charging port.
In recent years, high-end robotic lawn mower manufacturers like Honda have developed robotic chargers that are wireless. The robotic lawn mower simply drives itself up into the sheltered charging bay and the batteries are wirelessly charged much in the same way your wireless phone charger works.
The downside to a wireless robotic lawn mower charger is that it tends to drive up the initial price tag. It’s also such a new concept that the overall lifespan of a wireless charger isn’t fully known.
How Long Does It Take To Charge A Robotic Lawn Mower?
Robotic lawn mower chargers continue to evolve with fast and smart charging features. While the charging time can vary from one manufacturer to another, most robotic lawn mowers will fully charge in 45-minutes to an hour. Since most models handle the charging process themselves, you might not even notice how long it takes for your robotic lawn mower to charge.
How Long Do Robotic Lawn Mower Batteries Last?
Almost all robotic lawn mowers use lithium-ion batteries, which continue to evolve to be more efficient and longer-lasting. While it can vary from one make and model to the next, most lithium-ion robotic lawn mower batteries will last at least three years, with some lasting as long as five to six years or more.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Robotic Lawn Mower Battery?
Here again, the cost can vary from one make and model to the next. You can expect a replacement lithium-ion battery for a robotic lawn mower to run you from $125 to $200, with the average landing around $150.
Robotic Lawn Mower Safety Features
Robotic lawn mowers are sophisticated pieces of machinery with a lot of thoughtfully designed onboard software. This includes the ability to set up the parameters of your yard via a set of special stakes or even GPS features. This lets you precisely set up where the robotic lawn mower can and can’t go. You can set it up to carefully trace your retaining walls, trees, and other landscaping features.
What Is A Robotic Lawn Mower Geofence?
Geofence technology represents the cutting edge of how GPS software can be used to precisely control the range of a robotic lawn mower. It does take a little bit longer to set up, but it is exacting and ensures that the unit never strays from the lawn. With a lot of models, the geofence parameters can also be set up to work in synergy with the safety and anti-theft features.
Do Robotic Lawn Mowers Have Good Anti-Theft Features?
The truth is, robotic lawn mowers are a major investment, with a high initial price tag. Since they operate autonomously, sometimes when no one is home, robotic lawn mowers are a prime target for theft.
Fortunately, robotic lawn mower manufacturers are keen on this risk and they build most of their units with sophisticated anti-theft features. This includes deactivating when tampered with or taken beyond their geofenced area. Some also have audible alarms and GPS tracking technology to help recover the unit if stolen.
Are Robotic Lawn Mowers Safe?
Robotic lawn mower manufacturers are always working to make their models as safe as possible. This includes an automatic shut off feature when tipped or picked up, as well as special bumpers that disengage the cutting blades when the exterior shell contacts something unexpected. Geofence and staking systems are further used to ensure that a robotic mower never strays into flower beds, driveways, or other unwanted areas.
Are Robotic Lawn Mowers Good For Your Lawn?
Robotic lawn mowers are actually very good for maintaining a healthy and nicely manicured lawn. Most are set up to mow frequently. This means the harvested blades they produce tend to be much smaller than the clippings produced by side discharge lawn mowers.
The tiny pieces are virtually mulched, which means they easily decompose back into the turf to refeed its nitrogen. These small grass pieces are also far less likely to dry out into thatch, which makes it easier for the underlying layers of your turf to absorb key water and nutrients that your grass needs to thrive.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that robotic lawn mowers are incredibly light. This means they are less likely to do things like compact the soil or create repetitive ruts. The end result is lawn turf that feels pleasantly soft under tender bare feet.
Are Robotic Lawn Mowers Easy To Program?
Software engineers have the benefit of being able to tap into the experience of robotic vacuums and similar devices to make robotic lawn mowers very easy to use. The software is intuitive with the basic features you need to have it cut your lawn the way you want. Most also have special features to do other things like neatly trim along landscaping features, or even change the cutting pattern periodically.
Most robotic lawn mowers also have some type of connectivity. This means you can monitor it’s performance or making changes remotely via your smartphone or a similar wireless device.
Are Robotic Lawn Mowers Weather & Waterproof?
Robotic lawn mower manufacturers do their best to make their models capable of operating in nearly all weather conditions. They can handle modest rain and heat. Though severe storms, high winds, heavy rain, and sub-zero temperatures do push the limitations of what most robotic lawn mowers are designed to handle. If some type of severe weather is in your immediate forecast, you should bring the model and its charger indoors for safekeeping.
Can Robotic Lawn Mowers Handle Hills And Steep Inclines?
The earliest robotic lawn mowers were sometimes criticized for not being able to tackle steep hills and inclines. Though this complaint was taken to heart by manufacturers. Today’s newest models have been engineered to better handle hills. Though different models have different capabilities. In general, most robotic lawn mowers can handle inclines of up to 25-degrees, with a few being able to do more.
How Often Do You Need To Replace Lawn Mower Blades?
Blade erosion is something that occurs with all lawn mowers, and it’s more likely to be an issue if you have small sticks in your yard that might get caught up under the robotic lawn mower’s cutting deck. Most robotic lawn mowers have two or three small plastic blades, that will need to be replaced once or twice in a growing season.
If you have trees in your yard that have a knack for raining down small pieces of debris like weeping willows or oak trees that release acorns in late summer, you might need to replace your robotic lawn mower’s blades more frequently. It helps to check the blades periodically to see if there are any dings or nicks.
Most models come with two or three sets of replacement blades, and they only take a few minutes to replace. Replacement blades are also relatively cheap, so you should try to always keep a spare set or two on hand in case you need them.
The Best Robotic Lawn Mower Brands
There are a few different manufacturers to consider. Some are long-standing stalwarts in the lawn mower industry, and a few are relative newcomers who are riding the wave of innovation in robotic home appliances.
As a long-standing leader in the lawn mower industry, Cub Cadet has a reputation for offering models to appeal to all levels. They have entry-level models as well as high-end robotic lawn mowers with spectacular build quality and warranty protection. You do pay a little bit more for the Cub Cadet name, but when you do, you can trust that you’re getting a robotic lawn mower with the value to give you a strong return on your investment.
Ego is an electric toolmaker with a reputation for quality units, that sometimes come at a premium price. Though they make sure that you are not going to feel buyer’s remorse when you invest in their products. EGO puts a lot of effort into infusing their robotic lawn mowers with superior materials, based on sound engineering principles, and a focus on energy efficiency. Since they specialize in electric appliances and battery-powered tools, their onboard batteries tend to provide superior run time and enjoy a longer lifespan. So, while you might pay a little more upfront for an EGO robotic lawn mower, the long-term cost of ownership will generally be lower.
This is one of the newcomers to the robotic lawn mower niche. Gardena has a reputation for producing models that have a friendly price tag, as well as reliable. They also have apps to help manage the robotic lawn mower which is intuitive to use. Though the trade-off with these friendly priced robotic lawn mowers is that they are relatively simple and don’t necessarily come with a lot of bells and whistles. You get a relatively straight-forward robotic lawn mower that will get the job done, at a reasonable cost of ownership.
Honda is a titan in the lawn mower industry, so you knew they were going to show up strong with their robotic lawn mower line. Here again, you see their telltale build quality, sound engineering, intuitive ease of use, and long-term reliability. Their models tend to be very easy to set up and control, with apps that let you wirelessly connect to the model for seamless control. Of course, with all this sophistication and build quality, you are also going to see a higher price point. Still, Honda robotic mowers are worth the investment, and most are backed by an industry-leading warranty protection program.
As an industry leader in innovative lawn care appliances, it’s no surprise to see Husqvarna establishing a strong presence in the robotic lawn mower industry niche. Their models tend to be a little higher in the price range, but for good reason. There’s a lot of Husqvarna’s telltale build quality and engineering, as well as strong warranty coverage. Their robotic lawn mowers also tend to have a lot of sophisticated, yet easy to use software to make them easy to set up and control.
Better known for its broad lineup of reliable outdoor power tools, McCulloch makes a strong showing in the robotic lawn mower niche. Their models have a reputation for being very easy to set up and operate, though you do need to be detail-oriented when setting up the parameters of your lawn. Another nice thing about McCulloch’s lineup of robotic lawn mowers is that they have some very well-designed entry-level models with friendly price tags. This is a great place to get your feet wet with your first robotic lawn mower.
Robomow is another relatively new manufacturer jumping on the robotic lawn mower craze. They tend to make a lot of reliable entry-level models with dual cutting blades and a durable exterior. Their controls and mowing parameters are a little on the basic side. Still, the price point is friendly for getting your feet wet in the robotic lawn mower niche, without putting a major dent in your bank account.
Stihl is arguably better known for the outdoor line of power tools like chainsaws, trimmers, and blowers. Though they’ve been evolving in recent years into other markets like robotic lawn mowers. Here again, they bring their standard dedication to build quality, strong engineering principles, and long-term durability. Their robotic lawn mowers tend to be powerful and well-designed to last. Most carry strong warranty protection included in the initial purchase price. Though as you might expect, with all this quality comes a slightly higher, but not prohibitive price tag.
Wolf Garten is an international brand that is growing quickly in the robotic lawn mower niche. Their models tend to be relatively straight forward, and they do a good job cutting the grass. Though they don’t tend to infuse their models with a lot of sophisticated features. Still, there is some wireless app integration and parameter controls like you see with the high-end models from other manufacturers. Wolf Garten also tend to be very durable. Essentially, their models are good all-around robotic lawn mowers at a price tag you can live with.
Worx is an electric tool company with a broad line of products meant to appeal to entry-level users as well as professionals who need a commercial-grade power tool. Their robotic lawn mowers tend to be thoughtfully designed and built to be very durable. Since they specialize in electric power tools, their batteries also tend to have a superior life span.
Other Great Robotic Mower Brands
Robotic lawn mowers represent the next level of convenience in lawn care. They take the strong start and experience of their indoor robotic vacuum cleaner cousins and use it to tackle the lawn. Robotic lawn mowers tend to cut the grass with greater frequency than the typical homeowner who has to sacrifice a chunk of their Saturday afternoon just to turn tall grass into the short grass.
Manufacturers like Gardena, Wolf Garten, and others make it a point to offer straight forward, nicely priced robotic lawn mowers for entry-level users who want to get their feet wet. Though there are certainly other manufacturers who offer a broad range of models including sophisticated high-end units like Honda and Husqvarna.