When I say what lawn mower you should buy, I really mean that you have 2 main choices. The majority of people will traditionally make a decision between an electric, cordless battery, push or petrol lawn mower. But stop! There is another option to consider before you make your mind up and purchase your next mower.
So to help you understand how a robotic mower compares to a traditional mower mentioned above, I have listed below the benefits of robotic lawn mowers. My aim is to make the facts as clear to you as possible, so you can make an informed decision as to what robotic lawn mower you should buy and why you should buy one.
Ease of Use
The majority of robotic lawn mowers only require a little help from the user during installation. All you have to do is setup the perimeter wire around your lawn and do some simple programming. This shouldn’t take too long, but will depend on the size and shape of your garden. Most robotic lawn mowers today allow you to configure and monitor them from your mobile phone using the manufacturer’s App, making the setup process even more quick and simple.
The robotic mower will then calculate the most efficient route coverage using multiple sensors, and then get straight to work. At this point you can put your feet up and watch it hard at work.
As mentioned above, most robotic mowers can also be connected and controlled via an App on your mobile phone. The App allows you to change the cutting height, mowing schedule, mowing route and various other things, all from the palm of your hand. Keeping effort to an absolute minimum.
This feature will be extremely useful for those with a busy lifestyle or even when away from home. Making cutting your grass as convenient and effortless as possible.
As we all know, with a petrol mower you have to get it out of the shed and push it around every square inch of your grass. This can be a really strenuous and time consuming task. Clearly the robotic mower is much easier to use and far less physically stressful.
As mentioned before, during the installation process some simple programming is required. This set up takes a little time but only has to be done once (provided you have done it correctly). Or instead you can contact the retailer of the robotic mower and get installation included in the price of the mower.
The cost of installation and set up is not going to be cheap and to be honest the modern day robotic mowers are very easy to set up and configure. Some robotic mowers such as the new range of WORX mowers need no set up at all, simply press the start button and away they will go (this is of course after the perimeter wire has been run around your lawn and charging station connected). Now it is true that some cheaper brands of robotic mowers have instruction manuals that leave a lot to be desired, however this should not be a problem as there are so many YouTube videos explaining how to set up and configure your robotic mower.
Once you have had the satisfaction of installing the robotic mower yourself, you can then set which days and times you want the robotic mower to operate. So, even when you’re not at home, it will get to work mowing your lawn. It also has a built-in memory and guidance system which remembers the most efficient route for your garden. Therefore, there is no need to continually reset it.
This could give you an extra 1 maybe even 2 hours free time per week to spend doing whatever you want.
In comparison, with a petrol mower more of your free time will be taken up with mowing and maintenance. However, the robotic mower will take a longer time to cut your lawn. With robotic mowers they are continually cutting your lawn (depending on your schedule – could of course be set to night time only), so your lawn will be cut to the required height at all times.
So in terms of time saving and physical effort, the robotic mower is the winner for me in this category. Yes you will have to invest some time initially, getting the robotic mower set up and configured, but from then on there is little or no effort required on your part.
Also, this slow and steady approach will actually benefit your garden as well. By cutting the lawn a little and often, and by only taking small little clippings from the grass, the robotic mower will actually improve the look, condition and health of your lawn. Over time you will notice the grass beginning to get more even, a little greener and much healthier, this is due to the continuous mulching process acting as natural fertiliser.
This is just one of the many reasons why you should buy a robotic lawn mower.
As they are so light and powered by electric motors, robotic mowers are extremely energy efficient. They use very little power for each mow and some even have an ‘Eco Mode’ which reduces power usage even further. Meaning they will spend less time charging and more time cutting your grass.
Instead of you having to remove the batteries and charge them separately as is the case with cordless lawn mowers or keep topping up your petrol mower with oil and fuel, robotic mowers recharge themselves whenever needed by returning to their base station.
With each robotic mower you’ll get a charging station, which you’ll connect to an outdoor power supply and to the mower’s boundary wire. So whenever the robotic mower is running low on charge (either while out on a mow or in-between mows) it will automatically return to base and recharge without you having to move an inch.
As we all know petrol prices seem to be continually fluctuating these days. So the running cost of a petrol mower will rise with the price of fuel. After several months the total cost of fuel and maintenance may actually add up to the initial cost of your robotic mower.
So again, the robotic mower betters the petrol mower in this category too.
Let’s just cut to the chase here, there’s no way a petrol mower can compete with a robotic mower in this respect. All robotic mowers are powered by electric motors and batteries. This means they will not pollute the atmosphere with harmful emissions as petrol mowers do. Electrical power systems are also very quiet, meaning no noise pollution either.
It’s an environmental win, win.
The added bonus of almost silent operation means they can work at any point during the day or even at night, without disturbing you or your neighbours. Whereas you might be getting a few complaints the next morning if you try to do this with a petrol mower. And I assume you value sleep a little more than garden maintenance, so using a petrol mower during the night would just be impractical.
Grass Cut Quality
Keeping your garden in great condition takes quite a lot of time, effort and self-discipline. Trying to fit a weekly grass cut into your summer lawn care schedule can be difficult and the last thing you want is your grass growing too long making it look untidy and unloved. That’s where robotic mowers come in to their own.
They follow your every command no matter the weather or how busy you are. They will mow your lawn as often as it takes to keep it looking its best. Some models even automatically adapt their grass cutting schedule so that it only cuts when needed. Conserving power and cutting your charging costs. If you’re unsatisfied with the results you can easily re-set the mower to something more suitable according to your requirements.
Most robotic models also sense when it begins to rain, and retreat back to their charging station, preventing damage to your grass and the mower as the mulching cutting process does not work well on wet grass.
Now, the petrol mower is definitely capable of producing a beautifully cut quality lawn, but is entirely dependent on you and your available time. That’s not to say that you’re bad at cutting your own lawn, it’s just that you are going to have some bad days. Maybe you had a lot to do at work, maybe you’re unwell, maybe you’ve something on your mind or maybe it’s just one of those days. Whatever the reason there will be times when your lawn is left to grow a little too long as you do not have any interest in cutting your grass.
The blades on robotic mowers are like razor blades and therefore provide not only a very clean cut but also assist in a mulching process providing excellent grass quality. Mulching helps to ensure your grass is well fertilised organically and healthy. Just remember that because these blades are so fine and sharp they do become blunt relatively quickly compared to traditional lawn mowers. It is therefore important to ensure that you change the blades on a regular basis to keep the cut clean and precise. Blades are cheap and easy to replace for anyone with basic DIY skills.
In terms of cut quality and convenience a robotic mower is a saviour and again scores another point in this category.
Compatibility with Sloping Gardens
It has to be said that there are some areas where the petrol mower outperforms the robotic. For example, most robotic mowers cannot cope very well with steep slopes – unless you decide to purchase a high-end model. Manufacturers publish the maximum incline their robotic mower can navigate, so be sure to check this before purchasing along with some other things you need to remember before buying a robotic mower.
So if you’ve got a steep slope in your garden then a robotic mower may not be the the best option for you. Your self-propelled petrol mower will, of course, take steep slopes in its stride. It will just take a little more effort on your part to push it up and down the hill.
Definitely a point to the petrol mower in this category.
Having said that there are now 4WD (4 wheel drive) robotic mowers available that can handle steep slopes, if you have a good budget as these do not come cheap.
Some older robotic mowers may miss some areas of your garden. Now I don’t mean in the centre of your garden for everyone to see but around the edges near the fence and bushes. This is actually one of the main problems recurrent in all robotic mowers and no manufacturers as yet have solved it. Many newer 2020 models claim to cut to the edge, as their blades are off set. Whilst this is a big improvement in terms of cutting close to the edge, they are still not 100% perfect. This is just one of the small problems with robotic mowers that you need to be aware of.
With your petrol mower you can ensure that each individual area is cut just how you like it. Another point to the petrol mower.
Even though the petrol mower can save you a little trimming work and can mow large slopes, the robotic mower is much more practical, convenient providing consistent and better cut / finish.
Although you will have to invest some time initially to install and set the robotic mower up, once this is done it takes much less effort to use, it works continuously no matter how you’re feeling and frees up your spare time to do whatever you enjoy doing. And an added bonus, as mentioned above, you will have a healthier, greener and thicker lawn due to the benefits of mulching and organic fertiliser it produces. The latest robotic mower technology ensures longer mow time, shorter charge time, more intelligent navigation, ability to expand and extend the current features using a variety of add-ons, making robotic mowers a real contender when comparing to a traditional lawn mower.
This is just my opinion. Before you decide to purchase your robotic mower you need to take into consideration all of the factors, features and limitations of the model you are interested in. After all, you don’t want to invest in something that doesn’t give you everything you are looking for.
To find the perfect robotic mower for you, read my helpful guide on How To Pick The Perfect Robotic Lawn Mower. It covers what to look out for in terms of size, slope, complexity, price, and general tips associated with robotic mowers. You can also read my Best Robotic Lawn Mowers Reviews, where I made recommendations at the end of each review to help you figure out if that particular model suits you best.
Make sure you read more than one review before purchasing. You want to get as much information as possible before making this decision.
Good luck and I hope you enjoy my reviews.