Robotic lawn mowers are no longer just about saving time and eliminating a dreaded, recurring, labor-intensive chore. Automated lawn mowers have evolved to provide healthier and more attractive lawn care than you might be able to perform on your own. This infusion of technology to address a long standing drudgery is a trending source of neighbor envy.
Robotic lawn mowers can provide the following benefits to homeowners:
- Time Savings
- Better Lawn Aesthetics
- Healthier Lawns
- Moss and Weed Prevention
- Peace & Quiet
- Reduced Reliance on Hired Labor
- Long-Term Cost Savings
- Adaptable Weather Sensing
- Remote Access and Control
- Storage Savings
- Increased Safety
Even professional landscapers have become endorsers of smart mowers, as they can attest that they improve the health and appearance of lawns, while enabling them to save on time and labor costs.
“The biggest benefit by far is just how healthy the lawns look all the time. Our customers that have automowers on their properties will never go back to regular maintenance. They won’t.”
– Pam Dooley, Owner, Plants Creative Landscapes, Atlanta
How to Select a Robotic Lawn Mower
The criteria to choose a residential robotic lawn mower are: budget; lawn size; lawn complexity & slope; grass height; connectivity & control type; and specific features for your location & lifestyle.
Though models are plentiful with wide-ranging prices, the selection process becomes easier once you specify the key traits of your lawn and prioritize your most important needs.
An important requirement to be aware of is that most robotic lawn mowers require an underground perimeter wire to be installed. This can be a challenging task for some homeowners, so always inquire about installation support and costs before you purchase.
Conversely, models that do not require a perimeter wire rely on GPS, which is a costlier feature. Some in the landscaping industry feel that the perimeter wire has been an impediment to market adoption among homeowners. Regardless, do not let this discourage you, as professionals can provide installation for you, thereby alleviating any concerns.
Robotic Lawn Mower Criteria:
- Lawn Size
- Lawn Complexity & Slope
- Grass Height
- Connectivity & Control Type
- Key Features for Your Location & Lifestyle
Robotic Lawn Mower Features to Consider for Residential Usage
|Price||$600 to $5,000+|
|Lawn Area to Mow||Between 0.20 and 1.25 acres|
|Lawn Complexity||Amount of narrow spaces and obstacles|
|Max Incline of Lawn||22 to 35 Degrees|
|Height of Grass Cut||Low (0.8” to 2.4”) or High (2.4” to 3.6”)|
|Cutting Width||7 inches for small lawns to 22 inches for large|
|Connectivity & Control Type||Mobile App, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, Alexa/Google Home|
|Cutting Time/Battery Life||30 minutes to over 4 hours|
|Charging Time||30 to 90 minutes|
|Safety||Auto-shutoff when lifted, Kids- & Pet-Friendly sensing, bumper|
|Sound/Noise Level||Most models are quiet enough to run at night|
|Rain Sensor||Can detect weather conditions and return to base|
|Seasonal Weather||Can adapt frequency to seasonal weather patterns|
|Anti-Theft||Theft Alarm, GPS Tracking, Pin Code|
|Scheduling & Zones||Allows specific sections of a lawn to be scheduled differently|
|Perimeter Wire||Most models require a perimeter wire, GPS is necessary otherwise|
|Night Cutting||Low noise & headlights|
Determining Your Budget
When deciding on the price range for a robotic lawn mower, calculate the rate of return on the cost of the mower versus your cost savings from no longer paying your gardener. HomeAdvisor states that the national average for a mowed lawn is $131, with a typical range of $49 to $219 per visit. Additionally, Lawn Story gives an annual running costs estimate of $50 for a robotic lawn mower, with an average lifespan of 10 years for the mower.
A simple cost-analysis scenario would be:
Model Price: $2,000
Average Weekly Cost of Mowing: $50
Weeks to Save Price of Lawn Mower: 40 = ($2,000 / $50)
If you do not currently use a lawn mowing service, we recommend assigning an even higher cost premium to represent your time savings. Freeing up weekend hours will likely be invaluable for homeowners with busy families or many outside interests or commitments. Ask yourself: “What would I rather be doing than mowing the lawn?”
Leading Robotic Lawn Mower Brands
Husqvarna is the pioneer and market leader, within the robotic lawn mower industry, in terms of years established, breadth of offerings, global reach and continual innovation. Regardless if a Husqvarna model is within your budget, we recommend using their selection tool to better understand your needs and to use their recommended model as a comparison with other brands and models under consideration.
- John Deere Tango E5
- Gardena SILENO
- Honda Miimo
- Husqvarna Automower
- Worx Landroid
- STIHL iMOW
Husqvarna Overview Video
Husqvarna Automower® 315X
The Automower® 315X is ideal for small yards up to 0.39 acres, with challenging spaces and obstacles. It can handle slopes of 40% and can even work in the rain. It is equipped with a weather timer, which means that the mower will automatically adjust its mowing time to be in synch with seasonal weather conditions (e.g. high growth periods, slow growth periods). Additional features include: GPS navigation and theft tracking, LED headlights, and rubber front bumper. The current retail price is $1,999.95
Husqvarna Automower® 450X
The Automower® 450X model has top of the line features and is ideally suited for medium to large-sized yards (.5 to 1.25 acres) with challenging spaces and obstacles. It can handle slopes of 45% and can also work in the rain. Additional features include: Weather Timer, GPS navigation and theft tracking, LED headlights, and rubber front bumper. Keep in mind that capabilities of this kind come with the highest price in the market in the $4,600 range.
WORX Landroid L 20V with GPS (L = .5 acre, M = .25 acre)
WORX’s Landroid line of robotic mowers is very popular, known as a good value for small to medium sized lawns, with challenging layouts. The Landroid L 20V model with GPS comes with a “Find My Landroid” feature, at no extra cost. It’s well suited to work within lawns with narrow spaces, as well as hills and slopes. This mower includes a 3-blade cutting and mulching system for closer edge cutting. When the mower senses rain, it will automatically return to the charger station. The L model can be used for lawns up to .5 acres, while the less costly M model is suited for lawns up to .25 acres. WORX’s customer service does an excellent job promptly answering pre-sale questions on any given model. An appealing feature of all Landroids is that they use the same battery as other WORX 20V and 40V tools. Base pricing for Landroid models currently from $999.96 to $1,499.97.
Founded in 1995, Robomow is another popular brand that caters to smaller, urban lawns, by offering simplicity and intuitive safety features. The Robomow RX model is suited for very small lawns of up to 1/20 of an acre (.05 acres). This model is Robomow’s quietest, lightest and most compact model. The RX comes with a child lock and is equipped with a lift sensor that automatically turns off the blade when the mower is lifted. The current retail price is $899.
If you are unsure about the initial capital expense of a robotic lawn mower, we also recommend researching your local market to find an innovative landscaping service that includes a robotic lawn mower as part of their service plans. If so, they will likely allow you to purchase the mower, when desired.
One such firm is Plants Creative Landscapes, out of Atlanta, who has been providing Husqvarna Automowers for the past two years, with great customer satisfaction.
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