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In recent years, landscapers and commercial property managers are starting to see the benefits of robot mowers for their businesses. It took a while to start to take hold, but these mowing solutions are now serious investment options for businesses looking to gain an edge in both productivity and efficiency.
This has created a flourishing market for these commercial robot mowers, but at the same time, it can be a bit difficult to keep up with the constantly changing features and stats of each new entry.
Below, we’ll look at the popular line of robot mowers from ECHO Robotics. These large, commercial mowers can handle up to 6 acres and boast the ability to run 24/7 if needed.
So, let’s look at how these mowers operate and perform.
A Brief History Of ECHO Robotics
Many of you most likely recognize the name ECHO due to its presence in the outdoor power equipment market. Starting out over 40 years ago, they have evolved from a small importer of 2-cycle engines to offering a full line of yard and garden equipment.
ECHO Robotics is their newest addition to that lineup as they look to expand into the commercial automated mower market. The TurfMower robot itself was first designed and built in Europe where it became popular for maintaining soccer fields and other similar surfaces.
Now, it’s ready to come to America with a few refinements and features to help it cater to the market in the states.
The ECHO Robotics TurfMower lineup
Unlike some competitors such as Ambrogio, ECHO keeps a rather small lineup consisting of only two mowers in their TurfMower series. These two mowers share virtually the same technology and only differ in size and mowing capacity.
The smaller of the two models, the TM-1000 is still quite capable with a capacity of 3 acres per run.
Mowing width: 24.9 inches
Mowing height: .8 inches to 3.9 inches
Cutting: 3 floating heads with 3 blades per head
Battery: Lithium Ion – 25.6v
Top speed: 1.7 mph
The larger of the two models, the TM 2000 doubles the range of its smaller counterpart with a 6-acre total capacity.
Mowing width: 40.7 inches
Mowing height: .8 inches to 3.9 inches
Cutting: 5 floating heads with 3 blades per head
Battery: Lithium Ion – 25.6v
Top speed: 2.2 mph
TurfMower TM 2000 Installation
Both TurfMower models require a perimeter wire for guidance. They do have a sonar system combined with a bump sensor on the front to deal with obstacles.
The sonar will detect objects and then the mower will slow until the bump sensor makes contact. It will then reverse and find a path around the object.
All other guidance is done via the perimeter wire that must be installed before use. ECHO does not allow customers to install this wire and instead offers professional installation via their network of experts.
We understand why they do this as installing a perimeter wire can be tricky. This is something we’ve come across when reviewing other mowers that use a wired system. The distances between edges and objects need to be exact to get good results. Putting down the wire incorrectly can lead to costly changes needing to be made.
The downside is the cost of installation will now have to be factored into the purchase of these units. Something that will vary based on the size of the property.
However, despite the drawbacks of not being able to install the wire yourself, this also means there is no setup on your end. Once the team from ECHO sets up the installation, you can simply press the command on your phone app and these robots will begin mowing.
TurfMower TM 2000 Performance
Both models utilize the same cutting technology, so we’ll just focus on the TM 2000 in this section as it applies to both models.
Overall, the mowers do a great job at cutting. The blades are sharp and the mulching was near perfect. Whether setting them to just cut a day or so of growth or several days, the result was very clean turf that had no visible clippings upon normal inspection.
One important note is that these mowers will not leave lines or rows. The system creates a random pattern to mow within the perimeter. This may be a dealbreaker for some, while others may just adjust to this as the benefits can outweigh the negatives.
If you or your property demand rows when cutting though, then this will not work for you.
TM 2000 Obstacle Avoidance
Once set up, the TM 2000 does a good job of completely covering the entire area to be mowed. However, we were a little disappointed with the onboard guidance system compared to other recent robot mowers.
The sonar and bumper system is a bit slow and requires contact with the object. Many newer mowers have a more complex set of sensors and even cameras to detect objects and reroute on the fly.
To be fair, the TM 2000 is designed for large, open fields so there shouldn’t be many obstacles anyway. But still, we would like to see an upgrade in this area, especially at this price range.
Despite using a perimeter wire, the unit does utilize GPS technology. This is used to relay information back to the app to update the user on its progress.
ECHO Robotics has told us future updates will utilize these GPS functions for guidance assistance, such as returning to the charging station.
Controlling The ECHO Robotics TM 2000
The ECHO TurfMowers do a good job here with an abundance of control options for almost any scenario.
The unit itself has controls for all the major functions so anyone can simply access the unit and command it to do what they need right from this panel.
But there are also nice remote options that can be used from any phone, tablet, or PC. The app to control the TM 2000 worked flawlessly in our test run. The menus were very easy to navigate and you can control one or a fleet with ease.
The overall control of the TurfMowers was one of the high points of our time with these units.
Being all-electric, these require much less maintenance than a gas-powered manual mower solution. These mowers are designed to be run every day, even just to cut a day’s growth. That sort of frequency can wear out other machines pretty quickly.
The blades on both models are easily replaceable by the end user. Based on their size and feedback from ECHO, it looks like you can expect to replace these every month or two for optimum performance.
The rest of the mower only requires a seasonal check-up to make sure everything is working properly. The mowers also have a self-diagnostic system and will alert the user via the control panel and app if there is a problem that needs service.
TurfMower TM 2000 Charging
In our testing, a full charge took just under 1.5 hours. That full charge would give us about 2 hours of total run time on mostly flat turf.
As for terrain, this mower is no different than other mowers we tested and inclines will cause the battery to be drained faster. However, these units are built for mostly flat terrain but they can handle a slope of up to 30 degrees.
Overall Review Of The ECHO Robotics TM 2000
We liked the TurfMower series from ECHO Robotics and when used for their intended purpose, they are at the top of the list of robot mowers in this category.
For large, flat, open areas, they work great. We would like it if it had more technology integrated to better help with guidance and possibly even remove the need for perimeter wires in some cases when creating no-cut zones for the mower.
These units are mostly designed for property managers to help maintain their grassy areas. However, landscapers can find an opportunity in offering the management and maintenance of these systems after they have been installed by ECHO Robotics. In fact, ECHO Robotics even supports this sort of relationship between its customers and local lawn service providers.
The TurfMower series from ECHO Robotics is a great entry into the commercial robot mower space. When paired with the right turf and property, these can maintain the surface with a perfect cut and with minimal noise and effort.