There are many reasons why people buy a robotic lawn mower. They provide better results, due to continuous mulching they produce a much healthier, stronger and thicker lawn, they are cheaper in the long run, but the most important point is that they conveniently work around your life and they do all the work with no effort from your side (once set up). So if you have already decided that purchasing a robotic mower is suitable option for you and your garden, how do you know what make and model to consider?
Picking the perfect robotic mower can be a difficult decision and because of the initial higher investment, you’ll no doubt want to get it right first time.
There are loads of things to consider so the whole process might feel a little overwhelming. That’s why I thought it would be good to give you some help.
I’ll cover the three most important aspects you need to consider – garden type, price, availability – and point out exactly what you should look for in each section. Giving you a much clearer idea in your head of which robotic mower would suit you and your lawn best. This should make the selection process much easier.
As this is the most obvious consideration, I thought it would be appropriate to start here.
Yes as you probably can imagine, all robotic mowers have been designed to suit particular gardens. Which is all well and good, especially for those that already know what they are looking for. But for those still unclear on what they want, this can still be a head scratcher.
The first thing you’ll need to consider is the size of your lawn. All robotic mowers have area limits, so it’s ideal to find one that sits above your lawn size. Meaning, it is best to find one that has a total lawn coverage just above the total size of your lawn. This will act as a little insurance, just in case something doesn’t go according to plan.
Now this isn’t exactly necessary, but it’s definitely the best course of action (in some cases robotic mowers have actually travelled above their total lawn coverage). Otherwise you could end up with a robotic mower that can’t reach every inch of your garden or with one that has is designed for a much larger perimeter, so you aren’t making use of its full potential and will probably waste money.
And a little heads up, as the size of the lawn size limit increases, it is most likely that the price will follow too. This isn’t always true, but for the majority of models this is the case. This is just something that you will have to consider and watch out for.
For help with working out the exact size of your lawn, there are many free smart phone apps that you can use to measure the perimeter of your lawn. This is achieved by simply walking around the edge of your lawn with the app running and this will provide an accurate measurement. One app that I would recommend is the WORX Landroid App that has this functionality. Don’t worry you do not have to own a WORX robotic mower to be able to use this free of charge.
Just like the distance they cover, robotic mowers are also designed to handle a maximum severity of slopes. So you’ll want to know roughly how slopped your garden is. To do this, you will need to work out the difference between the top and bottom of your slope. For example if you have a 3 metre rise by 30 metre run; 3/30 = 0.1 x 100 = 10% slope. There are a few handy sites you can use to quickly calculate your slope.
Now unlike the distance covered, slope tolerance does not necessarily impact the price. All robotic mowers can handle round the same slope (usually between 20 – 24°) so this shouldn’t cause too much of a problem. The higher end robotic mowers and in particular the 4 wheel drive mowers will manage slopes up to 70% or 35°. Naturally, if you have a sloped lawn then a 4 wheeled robotic mower would be more suitable than a 3 wheeled mower.
However, even though most models say they can cope with certain slopes it does not necessarily mean they can handle them effectively. With some (usually cheaper) models you’ll notice that it may struggle keeping a straight line and begins to veer off to one side. This is definitely something to watch out for, so make sure to read some reviews before purchasing – you can either use my robotic reviews or ones found on Amazon (although these are limited).
If your lawn is quite heavily slopped then I recommend you check out Husqvarna. Out of all the mowers I’ve read about and reviewed, their models have always done the best.
Also, if you don’t necessarily have a slopped lawn, but it is filled with little bumps and holes, then make sure to check out the new range of the WORX robotic mowers. They have this very useful design feature that allows their blade to move up and down – the Floating Deck. This means they can reach the bottom of little hollows without a problem. With another model, this would most likely be left untouched leaving you to clean it up yourself.
This is trying to understand how difficult you think it would be to mow your lawn. You need to consider things such as how many obstacles your garden has (plants, flower beds, trees etc.), its shape (i.e. is it square with a lot of straight edges or is it jagged with a lot of sharp and tight angles) and how many different areas it is split up into, if any.
This all determines how well the robotic mower will be able to cut your lawn. If you choose one not suiting of your needs, then you may be required to do a little more work trimming than you expected.
If your lawn does have quite a lot of obstacles and tight / narrow angles, then you’ll need to look for a model that is quite nimble and agile. They’ll be able to fit into these tight spaces much more effectively than the bigger and more robust models. As of 2020 robotic mowers now have the options of additional “Add-Ons” such as Anti Collision Systems (ACS), Off Limits and Radio Links. Ensuring that your robotic mower can be extended to meet your future requirements is something that should be considered prior to your purchase.
And if your garden is spilt up into different areas (i.e. front and back garden) then you’ll need a model that can travel between them comfortably. I recommend you look at the Flymo EasiLife range, Gardena as well as the WORX range of robotic mowers, if this is the case for you. Their mowers can travel over the tougher terrains and narrow passages, like your driveway and paths, and will still be able to accurately track the whereabouts of each lawn.
Probably the biggest factor you’ll need to consider is the price. As I said before, the bigger your lawn the bigger the price tag (usually). Now even though this on its own will require some thought, it is not the only thing you’ll need to consider in terms of price.
In most cases, cheaper models tend to have a few more problems and less features / functionality compared to high end models. For some, they are relatively minor, but they may require you to do a little more work than you wanted. Although, even the smallest of problems can be annoying if there are a lot of them. Most modern day robotic mowers now have the availability to be configured and monitored using a smart phone app, however on some of the cheaper mowers this is still not possible.
In addition, example some cheaper models may not be able to cope with sharp angles or difficult areas. Usually they’ll get confused or run off course, getting themselves into a right pickle. In which case you would have to go and rescue them. The whole point of a robotic mower is to let it take the strain leaving you free to enjoy your free time and garden. If it is continuously going to get stuck and need rescuing this defeats the object and therefore you may be better off investing more in your purchase.
In the event of a robotic mower getting stuck, you’ll have to take it back to its docking station, which isn’t too much to ask for, but if this is a regular occurrence then it will start to get on your nerves.
So by all means go and get a low-mid range model, they will do a great job and are great value for money. Just be aware they may have a few minor flaws that you’ll have to deal with.
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This is more to do with your lifestyle and how busy you are than anything to do with the mower. It really comes down to one thing – do you need mobile control?
If you never seem to get a minute of spare time then this feature could be a life saver (or garden saver). With the app you can make changes to its settings, you can send it out or bring it back in from a mow and you’ll receive progress reports and safety alerts on a regular basis. So it’s as if you were still there.
In times of season changes when you’ll want to alter the mowing arrangements, this can save you a whole load of bother. Instead of having to do this manually using the control pad on the mower, you can do it with the click of a button while on the go (via your phone or iPad).
This can be a really useful feature if you make full use of it. If you don’t, however, you could end up wasting quite a bit of money, although most modern robotic mowers now have smart phone app technology built in.
It’s just up to you to decide if your lifestyle really needs this feature. If you don’t think you’ll make good use out of it, then by all means downgrade. Most manufacturers have models that are almost identical, the only difference being mobile compatibility. So don’t feel the need to spend more money just because it suits your garden. There will always be others that are just as suitable.
In summary, these are the points you need to consider before choosing the ‘perfect’ robotic mower. I hope this has cleared things up a little and hopefully you’ve got a good picture in your head of the type of robotic mower you should purchase.
To see my best robotic lawn mowers with in depth reviews click the link below –