Robotic lawn mowers are slowly but surely becoming more popular and competing with conventional push lawn mowers, this isn’t new information and I am sure quite a lot of home owners are aware of it (and if they are not, they sure will be in the next few years).
To be honest, I do not know why more people here in the UK are not switching over to robotic mowers as they have so many advantages over conventional lawn mowers.
The Scandinavian countries have already cottoned on to the benefits of robotic lawn mowers, and are are now widely used complementing their home automation.
In this article I will be comparing robotic lawn mowers to conventional manual mowers, and highlighting the benefits you should take into consideration prior to your purchase.
Robotic vs Manual Lawn Mower
Of course there are many differences between these types of lawn mowers that include: convenience, cost, cutting system, quality of the cut and finish (stripes) and practicalities. Once you have an understanding how both types of mowers provide pros and cons under these categories, you will have all the information you need to make an informed decision which one is best for you and your garden.
Whilst some people enjoy mowing their lawn at the weekend, others will just want to relax and enjoy their gardens. If you are the latter, then a robotic lawn mower will be a good choice, as it can be scheduled to cut your lawn on a continuous basis. You can also exclude certain periods of time when you want to use your garden, for that all important BBQ or birthday party.
Most modern day robotic mowers can be controlled from an app on your phone, so you can update/change your mower’s cutting schedule even when you are not home. You can also monitor its performance, coverage and any issues. Remember, robotic mowers can work in any weather, and some are fitted with rain sensors, meaning that they will return to their charging station until the rain has stopped. Never again will you look out of your window and see a lawn that needs cutting.
Another convenient fact about robotic mowers is their ability to mulch the grass cuttings. As they are continually working, they only cut tiny pieces of the grass length, and as a result these cuttings fall deep into the soil, breaking down very quickly to provide essential nutrients to your lawn. Yes it is true that many manual mowers now are supplied with the ability to mulch, but if they don’t have this functionality, you will have to dispose of the collected grass cuttings.
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Robotic lawn mowers are generally going to cost considerably more initially and this is more apparent when compared to a standard electric powered lawn mower. However, in terms of the time you will need to spend on regular cutting of your lawn, over time, then you may consider this as a saving – time is money.
Also, robotic mowers are considerably more power efficient than any of their electric, battery and petrol counterparts. The reason they compare favourably to other battery powered lawn mowers is the fact that they are never struggling to cut thick, dense and neglected grass, which will drain the battery more quickly and will require several re-charges.
Remember, your robotic mower is constantly working on your lawn, so it never has to work too hard.
Most robotic mowers now come with more efficient lithium-ion batteries, which are providing longer run times, not only for robotic mowers but also for cordless / battery mowers.
3. Cutting System
There is only one big difference between robotic lawn mowers when it comes down to the blade system that is used. This slices the majority of the market into half – the size of the blade. For the most part you will see mowers with small rotating razor blades underneath their base, it is a very effective system so it is no wonder why they are so common.
The only thing is they don’t last too long and are quite fragile, so will need to be replaced after a couple of months before they go blunt.
On the other side of the market, mowers from Robomow and Ambrogio, for example, make use of a large, singular blade seen on the majority of regular mowers. Because of their size and build they can withstand consistent mowing for up to at least an entire season, which means they will be easier to maintain and possible cheaper over the long term.
This is all well and good, but they do come with their own set of problems (all of which are shown in the video below).
Most domestic robotic mowers sold today, will come with the small rotating razor blade system, like the WORX range of robotic mowers.
4. Quality of the Cut and Finish
The main disadvantage of a robotic mower is the fact that it will not achieve a nice striped lawn appearance. This can only be achieved with a heavy mower that has a rear roller.
What a robotic mower will do is provide an even and consistent cut of your lawn, with no effort from your side (once the mower has been set up).
These robotic mowers are cleaver machines and are programmed to know where they have cut, and where they still need to cut, providing an even finish across the whole lawn area. Remember a robotic mower is relatively lightweight and will mow in a random pattern to ensure that there are no wheel marks or tracks left on the lawn. As mentioned earlier, robotic mowers by their very nature mulch the grass cuttings. Mulching also helps to ensure a healthy and well fertilised lawn (this can also be achieved with a standard mulching mower). If you would like to see the benefits of mulching please see my “The Benefits of Mulching” article here.
So what is more practical? A robotic mower OR a conventional push mower? Well, what a robotic mower has got going for it is the fact that once it has been set up, there is pretty much nothing else for the operator to do to achieve a perfectly cut lawn at all times. I do hear people saying, that there is no way they can set up a robotic mower and that it is too complicated to get it programmed. This may have been the case several years ago, but believe me robotic mowers have come on leaps and bounds in terms of setting up simplicity.
As mentioned earlier most robotic mowers can be configured and updated from an app on your mobile phone. Running the perimeter wire and installing the charging station is straight forward and can be done by anybody with basic DIY skills.
Another great practicality of robotic mowers is the fact that they can be enhanced through a series of optional add-ons to future proof your robotic mower investment. For example, looking at the WORX range of robotic mowers, you can purchase an “Out of bounds” module that will allow you to restrict areas that you do not want your robotic mower to go to.
There is also noise and pollution to consider. When you compare a robotic mower to a petrol mower, for example, the robotic mower is by far the quietest and least polluting. A robotic mower can be working silently in your garden, very early on a Sunday morning ensuring your lawn is in a pristine condition for the day ahead without disturbing you and your neighbours.
Also if you are short of space in your garage or shed, then your robotic mower has you covered.
Last but not least, in terms of safety a robotic mower has a wealth of safety features that ensure it is safer than an electric or petrol lawn mower.
If you want to learn more about the differences of lawn mowers then check out my post What Lawn Mower Should You Buy.
As you can probably tell from this article, I really am a big fan of robotic mowers and would love to see them more widely used here in the UK. However, robotic mowers are not for everyone. There are many different robotic mowers on the market and the difficulty is choosing the right one for your circumstances. If you get it wrong, you may as well have stuck to a traditional lawn mower, as the robotic mower will not meet your needs.
To ensure you are choosing the right robotic lawn mower for the size, shape and configuration of your lawn, you have 2 choices. You can either invite a robotic mower specialist to survey your lawn and advice you OR you can see my best robotic mower reviews by clicking on the link below.
Robotic Mower Reviews
Remember, that the size of your lawn area needs to match the mower’s specifications. You will also need to consider if you have multiple zones, obstacles or steep inclines. Again, ensure that the robotic mower can meet your lawn’s requirements.
After reading this article and watching the video above, I am sure that you now understand why a robotic lawn mower should be a consideration when purchasing a new lawn mower. You should now be able to understand the differences between different types of lawn mowers to ensure you choose the most suitable model for your garden.
If you have decided that a robotic mower is the way to go, then why not take a look at my best robotic mower reviews.
They are all sorted according to lawn coverage – to narrow down the list of suitable mowers for your garden and to make the entire deciding process easier for you. Each mower has its own in depth review, along with pros and cons, features and details who the mower is best suited to.
I hope you found this article useful, if you have any questions then just leave them in the comments section below. I will be happy to respond.