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The robot mower market is getting new entries from well-known brands and new companies alike. Husqvarna just announced their updated line not too long ago along with several other big brands.
But now, a new mower has emerged from a brand that hasn’t had much experience in lawn equipment but does have robotics experience dating back two decades.
We’re talking about ECOVACS, which started as a home appliance robotics company and is now releasing its much-anticipated robot mower.
Their mower uses some unique technology to solve some of the navigation issues that most robot mowers deal with from time to time, especially those without a buried perimeter wire.
Below, we’ll go over the new ECOVACS GOAT G1 robot mower and explain how its features stack up against other models in its price range.
Who Is ECOVACS?
ECOVACS may not be a big name when it comes to lawn and garden equipment, but they’ve been building robotic home appliances since 1998. Based in Suzhou, China, ECOVACS has been making high-end robotic vacuum cleaners and at one point held over 60% of the market share in China.
What’s interesting is that they are using much of the technology from their in-house vacuum cleaners with their first robot mower, the GOAT G1.
Opening The Box
To be fair, this is one of the largest and heaviest robot mower boxes we’ve experienced while doing these sorts of tests. At first, we weren’t sure if the mower was just that heavy or what was in the box.
However, it turns out that ECOVACS includes a lot with the GOAT G1, which was actually a nice surprise. In addition to the mower and charging station, which make up the bulk of the packaging, it also includes the following.
- 9 spare mower blades (3 sets of 3)
- Two orientation transmitter towers
- All cables necessary for installation
- All batteries for towers and navigation posts
- Ground anchor system for the charging station
It’s pretty impressive that they include plenty of spare blades, but we did find some issues with the blade material on the G1, which we’ll talk about later.
But overall, you get a lot in the package and everything you need to get going in less than an hour for most typical lawn sizes.
The GOAT G1 Mower
At first glance, the mower appears to be well-built. Nothing on it felt cheap or flimsy. The whole unit felt sturdy and nothing rattled or appeared to be low quality.
There was one exception though and that was when we flipped the unit over. The blades appeared to be made of lower-quality material than most other blades we’ve seen from brands like Husqvarna or Worx. ECOVACS claims 80 hours of life per set of blades, and you get 3 sets (9 total). We weren’t able to test it for a full 80 hours so they may last as long as claimed.
But we would have liked to have seen nicer blades as these felt like they detracted from the rest of the unit.
But other than that, the mower looks sharp and everything is up to the standards you would expect from similar mowers in this class.
The white color may not be for everyone and although the exterior can be wiped clean easily, we’re not sure how nice that white exterior will look after a season or two of mowing. It may be a good idea to keep it clean and not let clippings stay on the exterior for too long as they could stain over time.
The unit is IPX6 water-resistant, so you can hose it down using regular water pressure, but not a high-pressure washer.
ECOVACS GOAT G1 Specs:
- Range: 1600 m2 (0.4 acres)
- Cutting Width: 220mm
- Cutting Height: 3-6 cm
- Max Slope: 45 degrees
- Weight: 13.4 kilos (29.5 lb)
- Price: $1745
The GOAT G1 doesn’t use a perimeter wire, so those looking for an easy setup will be happy. Instead, it uses transmission towers along with onboard cameras and sensors. The unit comes with enough transmission towers to fit most lawn sizes, but additional ones can be purchased separately for larger lawns or complex lawn shapes.
The navigation system is called the TrueMapping Multi-Fusion Location System. It’s a rather fancy name but it ultimately means the towers work along with an initial drive around the perimeter of your lawn to create the mowing zone. The device triangulates its position using the towers to within a centimeter.
In addition, there are two onboard cameras, a fisheye camera and a separate panoramic camera that takes in images and processes them at 25 frames per second to detect any obstacles or animals that may be in the path of the mower.
Overall, it’s a good system and one that doesn’t use the typical 4G/RTK technology that most other mowers are using when trying to ditch the perimeter wire. So if your home or lawn has reception issues when it comes to 4G, this may be a good alternative.
Similar to most other mowers, the GOAT G1 connects to your home’s wifi so you can control it via the included app. For those with larger lawns or weak wifi outside, ECOVACS does sell a repeater-like device to extend your wifi to the mower.
Setting Up The ECOVACS GOAT G1
Setting up the G1 was pretty easy and for most situations will take less than an hour assuming you have a typical yard.
Just like many other mowers, almost all of the step-by-step instructions come from the app. In this case, the app worked well and had clear animations instructing us how to do everything.
Once the transmission towers are placed, you drive the mower along the perimeter of your lawn. Other mowers use this same technique so it’s become somewhat of a standard for mowers that don’t use a perimeter wire.
After driving it around your lawn’s perimeter, it’s basically ready to go. One interesting note is that the app told us that if our lawn is over 10 centimeters or about 3.9 inches, then we should cut it manually before letting the G1 go on its first run.
We were surprised as that was somewhat short, although most robot mowers have a max cutting height of between 3 and 3.5 inches.
ECOVACS GOAT G1 Performance
Despite our concerns about the G1’s blades, it cut our test lawn perfectly. The cut was very clean and after inspecting the grass, the tips looked cleanly cut and had no jagged edges.
We did appreciate the larger wheels on the G1. A few newer entrants into the robot mower market have had undersized wheels, at least in our opinion, which causes issues with thicker grass or tree roots. So the bigger wheels were a welcome addition.
Our first run did leave some large areas around the perimeter that had to be cleaned up manually. We tried tweaking the boundaries in the app but had no success. We suspect we might have had to reposition the transmission towers to get better accuracy. So while not a deal-breaker, it did not do quite as well as other mowers that have better edge detection right from the start.
We think this is something that can be easily fixed with an app or firmware update.
Obstacle detection was very good, with even low-profile items being instantly detected and the mower would smoothly plot a new course around them.
Interestingly, the cameras onboard can also be used as a sort of security system. You can view the camera feed from the app, although the video quality wasn’t as high as a traditional security camera. The charging station does have brushes to automatically clean the camera lens, so that helped keep the image as sharp as possible.
Overall ECOVACS GOAT G1 Review
This is a great first effort from ECOVACS. The mower itself was well-built and the setup was very easy. The lack of 4G/RTK is welcome for those who have reception issues on their property and need an alternative.
With many new companies entering the robot mower market, we sometimes worry about spare parts or warranty claims. However, ECOVACS is an established company in home robotics, so that shouldn’t be an issue here.
The G1 is currently ready to ship in several European markets. No U.S. date has been confirmed yet but we expect it to arrive here on American shores relatively soon.