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Robot mowers are just what they sound like. They’re automated machines that mow your lawn by themselves. You set them up initially – basically tell them where and where not to mow, how often to mow, and a few other things – and then they take it from there. They mow your lawn by themselves, thus removing what many people consider to be a hassle, lawn mowing, from their life. So why wouldn’t you get a robot mower and free up your time to do other things? Well, the cost of the mowers, basically. They are still newer technology and tend to be a bit on the pricey side. But to some people, the extra expense is worth it, considering how much time they spend mowing every summer. The job of this article is to help you determine if the extra expense of a robot is worth it for you.
This is not going to be one of those yes or no answers. Each person will have to decide if the extra expense associated with buying a robot mower is worth it to them. In the end this analysis will come down to you deciding how much your time is worth. So let’s figure out how much time you spend mowing each summer…
The hourly rate calculation is the key takeaway here. It tells you how much your time is worth if you DON’T buy a robot mower. As you will quickly see by playing with a few of the calculator inputs, the more time you spend mowing, the more a robot mower is worth the expense. It’s also more worth buying one as their cost gets lower and lower (several models are already under $1000).
For me the answer is clear – YES robot mowers are worth it! This is probably the case for most people regardless of lawn size. Large lawn robots cost more, but they save you more time. And small yard robots save you less time but cost less.
More to Consider
It’s also worth noting that this analysis does not take into account the time (and money) spent maintaining your mower, if it’s gas powered. This calculator assumes that robot batteries will last 5 years. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I’m sure there’s lots of factors that determine battery life – type of battery, amount of use, temperature, etc.
Most people associate summertime with the smells of barbeque, sunscreen, and freshly mown grass. And while some of these smells may trigger nostalgia, others can trigger dread. Whether it’s allergies, labor, or heat, mowing the lawn can sometimes be miserable.
However, technology may have the answer. With robot vacuums becoming commonplace in America’s homes, it’s not too far of a leap to robot mowers. Robot mowers might sound like science fiction, but the truth is they’ve been widely used in Europe for about 20 years now.
How Do Robot Mowers Work?
Robot mowers are battery-powered. While this feature is fiscally and environmentally friendly, the greatest benefit of a battery-powered mower might just be how quiet they are. Some models are so quiet they can even run at night. The majority of models self-charge. When battery power is low, the robot mower returns to its base to charge. Depending on the size of the battery, charging takes anywhere from .5 to 2 hours.
Most robot mowers allow you to schedule when you’d like your grass trimmed. Depending on the model, you can set the trim time on the robot mower itself or via an app. That said, robot mowers are most effective when used a few times a week, trimming a small amount (around 1 inch) with each pass. This frequency also helps to feed your grass, as robot mowers are mulching mowers. The clippings return to your yard and provide nutrients to your growing grass. If you want more control of your lawn’s cut, some models even offer a “digital joystick,” allowing you to mow via an app on your phone.
Most models do well when cutting wet or long grass. Of course, it’s best to schedule trims when it isn’t wet and more often to mulch the clippings, but most are capable of handling the demand if the need arises. You can even adjust the height of your robot mower to account for the length of your untrimmed grass or rainy weather. To maintain your robot mower, you’ll want to make certain to clear any built-up clippings before your robot mower makes its next sweep of the yard.
While most models are recommended for lawns around .5 acre, models that can handle up to 1.25 acres are also available. Most robot mower models can handle a 20 degree slope. You’ll pay a bit more for a model to handle up to 30 degree slopes. The majority of models are resistant to the elements. Some models can even sense moisture and return to their base to charge and wait out the inclement weather.
Most importantly, almost all robot mowers have built-in safety features, using sensors to detect and avoid unexpected obstacles in your yard, whether it’s your daughter’s bike or your son’s soccer ball.
Many are protected from theft with different safety features available, including being individually matched to a charging station, PIN codes, alarm systems, geofence mechanisms, or GPS tracking data.
Three Major Brands to Consider
If research and development is important, a Husqvarna mower may be the robot mower for you. Additionally, Husqvarna offers nine different models to suit the needs of different yards and budgets. Husqvarna robot mowers almost always receive the best reviews, but you will have to pay for quality.
Robomow is probably Husqvarna’s largest competitor, as this brand also has a long history of research and development and quality products. Robomow reviews rival Husqvarna reviews, but again, you’ll have to pay for a quality product.
If you’re looking to try out a robot mower, a Worx mower may be the best choice. Worx mowers tend to receive good reviews at reasonable prices.
How Much Do Robot Mowers Cost?
Basic models begin at $600. Depending on the specific features, robot mowers can cost well under $1000. However, you can purchase a well-reviewed robot mower with many of the bells and whistles you may need for about $1,600.
Is a Robot Mower Worth the Expense?
The answer to this question certainly depends on your needs. Do you need a new mower? Do you need more time to work or spend with family? Are you often out of town? Then, yes, a robot mower is worth the cost. Robot mowers may be particularly helpful for households with physical disabilities, from aging parents to individuals recovering from surgery.