Small Problems With Robotic Lawn Mowers

8 Small Problems With Robotic Lawn Mowers

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How To Pick The Perfect Robotic Lawn MowerIf you have spent time reading some of my robotic reviews, then you may have seen that there are many advantages of owning a robotic mower, however there are some minor problems that you should be aware of prior to purchasing one. The majority of robotic mowers are affected by these small issues, and even though many manufacturers have tried to resolve them, most have not done so successfully.

Now I may have made this sound as if it is a disaster. That it is going to be a big burden on your shoulders, putting you off robotic mowers for life and that your garden will never be the same again! (OK I might have gone over the top there).

But have no worries this really isn’t a big problem and doesn’t take away from the convenience and time saving benefits of a robotic mower. In fact, it is small and will only take little time to remedy. So don’t feel the need to get all worked up about this, it really isn’t worth the time or energy.

Small Problems With Robotic Mowers

So, what are these issues? I’m glad you asked. As you may know by now, all robotic mowers require you to lay out a perimeter wire around your garden. This tells them exactly where they can and cannot go. Which sounds all good, but leads us to our first problem.

1. Cutting To The Edge

Cutting To The Edge

For all models, you will be given exact measurements for where you should be laying the wire. This is because the robotic mower needs space to turn round once it reaches the boundary wire. So, in areas along the side of your house, for example, the mower won’t be able to reach every single piece of grass

So no matter what retailers tell you, there will always be just a tiny bit of grass left uncut. Now to be fair, if your lawn is surrounded by a patio or something else on a level surface, this won’t be a problem. You can carry on without a worry.

But for the rest of us, we need to get the trimmers out from time to time.

Having said that as of 2020 WORX have released a range of robotic mowers that claim to cut right to the edge. They have achieved this by offsetting the rotating blade to one side of the mower. Whilst this has helped significantly in reducing the amount of grass left to be cut around the edge, it is still not 100% perfect.

In a lot of cases, there is a safety distance between the outer part of the mower and the deck. This means that it’s going to be difficult for manufacturers to ever get it spot on although I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with to fully solve this problem.

If you want to avoid having to get the trimmer out as much as possible then I’d suggest going for one of the WORX models that I mentioned earlier. Otherwise, you’ll probably just have to admit defeat and do some of the work yourself.

2. Setting Up Your Robotic Mower

Setting Up Your Robotic Mower

With all robotic mowers there will be some installation and setting up required regardless of the make and model you purchase. Naturally you can have your robotic mower installed professionally by a company, however it is not difficult to do successfully yourself. The added advantage of setting up the mower yourself puts you in a better position to resolve any configuration issues you may have later down the line. Most manufacturers will provide videos to help with the installation and even provide measurement rulers to assist in making the process as easy as possible

Many people are put off purchasing a robotic mower, because they believe that the installation process is too complicated. Trust me, this is not the case and should not be a reason to prevent you from purchasing one. If you have even the most basic DIY skills, you will be able to install and configure a robotic mower.

Even the configuration can now be done via an intuitive smartphone app, so you are not fumbling around trying to configure the robotic mower on a small panel.

3. You Will Become A Robotic Mower Geek

This might not be a negative with the robotic mower itself, but more with the way you start behaving with your new pride and joy. Once you have your robotic mower up and running, you will no doubt want to tell the world how wonderful it is and going on about its benefits, performance and why you haven’t purchased one years before. Don’t worry the whole family will no doubt join in and your robotic mower and your beautify cut and healthy lawn will be the talk of the neighbourhood.

You may even go as far as designing and building a garage for your robotic mower. A true robotic mower geek.

4. Sloped Lawns

Robotic Mower Blade Maintenance

A key feature to look out for when purchasing a robotic mower is the gradient of slope that the robotic mower is able to navigate. Of course this slope ability has to be equal to or more than what you have in your garden. Remember that all robotic models have varying degrees of ability to deal with slopes, some are even 4 wheeled drive for larger slopes.

If your lawn is flat then you do not need to take this into consideration.

Another problem with using a robot mower on sloped lawns is that the machine can actually do more harm than good. The same can be said when you allow the robotic lawn mower to work on wet grass.

Now, I have to point out that mowing on wet grass is never a good idea and also that many robot mowers have rain sensors. This means that, as soon as they sense a change in the weather, they’ll tootle off back to their charging station and wait for things to settle before mowing again. Pretty cleaver, right?

But for robotic mowers without these sensors and for anyone that wishes to use them on a slope lawn, just beware. The main issue is that the mower may lose traction in these situations and that can cause the wheels to spin out of control. This will cause damage to your lawn and if you’ve spent a lot of time getting it perfect, that’s not something you want!

Moreover, if the robot mower is quite heavy, this can leave indentations in a damp lawn. If your robot doesn’t have rain sensors, then I’d highly suggest going and manually removing it while the sky is grey.

5. Multi-Zones

Whilst most modern robotic mowers have the ability to deal with multiple zones, you need to remember that your robotic mower needs to travel from one zone to the other. If there are obstacles such as steps, fences, gates, uneven passages, then your robotic mower will not be able to make its own way from one zone to another. If the passage between zones cannot be made accessible and level, then you will need to close the passage loop and manually lift the robotic mower from one zone to the other i.e. from the rear to the front lawn. Bear in mind that only one zone will have the charging station, and therefore the mower will need to be manually returned to the zone with the base to recharge.

6. Robotic Mower Blade Maintenance

There are two types of blades fitted to modern robotic mowers. A single steel blade or multiple rotating razor blades. The latter option is very efficient, gives a precise and sharp cut, but has a small issue that you need to be aware of. These razor blades are very sharp, and therefore very thin and can become blunt relatively quickly, therefore will need to be replaced on a regular basis. When I say quickly, I am talking about every 3 to 4 months. The good news is that these blades can be replaced very quickly and easily at a minimal cost i.e. a couple of pounds.

7. Debris On The Lawn

I love a robot lawn mower as much as the next person but if you’ve got things like pine trees, fruit trees or anything else that’s going to deposit debris on your lawn, you might need to think twice.

For some robot lawn mowers these things won’t be an issue, but others would struggle passing over even something as seemingly innocent as a pile of leaves. This is why it’s really important to choose your robot lawn mower wisely. There’s no point in going for a model that can’t handle debris if your lawn is constantly littered with it. Of course, you could go out there and rake it all up every day but isn’t the point of getting a robot to decrease the amount of work you have to do?

8. Now For A Slightly More Serious Problem

Robotic Mower Slightly More Serious Problem

When I say serious, I’m not talking ‘you won’t be able to use your robot mower’ serious, but rather a problem that’s more of a pain in the backside than anything else. I’m talking about breaks in the boundary wires. This is a relatively common problem and is often caused by rodents and other critters having a good chew on them. That said, there are bite proof wires out there if you’re having a significant problem.

But it isn’t just our furry friends that are to blame for this, improper handling can also be responsible. That’s why it’s important to follow these steps to make sure you limit the number of issues with your boundary wire.

 

  • When you first start using your robot lawn mower, make sure that you set it to an appropriate cutting height that won’t accidentally nick the wire. You won’t need to worry about this once the wire is properly embedded but for now, it’s essential.
  • Moreover, when you are installing the boundary wire, take your time and make sure that there are no bits protruding that the robot mower could cut as it works.
  • When you’re tightening the cable clamps, it is possible for you to hammer into the insulation around the wire. If this happens then moisture will be able to get in and this will eventually cause problems.
  • After you have installed the wire, make sure that you make a note of its exact location. While it will embed, you don’t want to risk damaging it when you’re doing things like scarifying and having a diagram of where the wire is will help to prevent this.

Top Tip: When installing the boundary wire, be sure to leave several loops of wire on each side of the lawn. This will allow you to pull through a little extra wire if it get damaged or broken to re-join the two ends using the supplied connectors.

Are These Robotic Mower Problems Really That Big a Deal

Are These Robotic Mower Problems Really That Big a Deal

Even though these small problems somewhat defeat the purpose of a robotic mower (you know being all independent and that), they shouldn’t put you off. If you consider all the mowing time you’re replacing with activities you enjoy, overcoming these minor problems shouldn’t be such a big deal

I most definitely don’t think so. Before I had to drag out the push mower from the shed, plug it in, push it back and forth for what seemed like ages. And to make matters worse, I always had to do this in summer when it’s hot and sunny. I’d much rather be relaxing instead of working up a good sweat – OK maybe not a good sweat but still it wasn’t enjoyable.

That’s not fun and I bet you think so too!

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Last update on 2022-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If like me, you can let these slip then make sure to head over to my Best Robotic Mowers Review page. Here you’ll find all the info you need to find the perfect robotic mower.

If you need any help or have any questions, then please leave a comment below. I am always here to help!

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