The Pros and Cons of Robotic Lawn Mowers – Is it Worth it?

Robotic lawn mowers are fully automatic, hands-free alternatives to traditional push mowers. They’re an excellent alternative if you’d rather do anything else than cut grass but still get the job done correctly.

If you’re on the fence about getting one, the pros and cons of robot lawn mowers can help you decide.

Are robotic lawn mowers worth it, and should you invest in one?

A robotic lawn mower can free you from pushing around a noisy, bulky lawnmower every weekend. Robotic lawn mowers are fully autonomous, have zero emissions, are easy to use, and can cut your grass better than traditional lawn mowers.

Robotic mowers are excellent options if you find mowing a chore, have mobility issues, or are away from home for extended periods. However, they can be costly, and you must consider robotic lawn mower advantages and disadvantages to ensure they’re a good fit for your lawn.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of robotic lawn mowers to help you make an informed decision.

Key Takeaways – Should I get a Robotic Lawn Mower?

Here’s why you should get a robotic lawn mower:

  • It’s super convenient, and you only need to set it up and turn it on.
  • It’s environmentally friendly with zero emissions.
  • It’s safer, easy to use, and store.
  • It’s one of the quietest lawn mowers on the market.
  • You can control the mower through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
  • They produce a healthier, better-looking lawn.

What are the Pros of Robotic Lawn Mowers?

The Ultimate Mowing Convenience

A robotic mower does all the work for you, and you’ll never have to cut your grass again once it’s familiar with your yard. You only need to set it up, turn it on, or use its flexible scheduling capabilities.

And that’s not all.

For added convenience, robotic lawnmowers can connect to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. You can control it using an app on your phone and set up a schedule to mow your lawn even when you’re not at home.

Robotic lawn mowers are autonomous and can leave the base station and start cutting the grass independently. Some models require boundary wires so they don’t leave your lawn, while others use satellite links to navigate your yard.

If the battery runs low or it finishes mowing, the robotic mower automatically returns to the docking station, connects, and starts recharging. Check out this article to learn more about how robotic lawnmowers work.

white husqvarna robotic lawnmower

Quiet Operation

The robotic lawn mower is among the quietest lawn mowers on the market, only beaten by the manually powered reel-style mower. It’s super quiet, and you can run it any time of the day without worrying about disturbing the neighbors.

But how loud are robotic lawnmowers?

Although they’re very quiet, they’re not entirely silent. Most models produce around 50 to 70 decibels, around a refrigerator’s sound level.

Even the loudest models are nowhere near as noisy as gas-powered lawnmowers, which can reach approximately 80 to 85 decibels and damage your ears with prolonged exposure.

Safety

Robotic lawn mowers are safer than traditional lawn mowers, which can be a huge factor if you have children or pets running around. Although manufacturers of conventional mowers try to make their products safe, it doesn’t reach the same level as robotic mowers.

Here’s the deal.

A robotic lawn mower moves slowly so children, pets, and others can see it coming and move out of the way. It automatically shuts off when lifted and stops the blades from moving. Collision sensors help to slow and redirect it when it nears an obstacle, and it features recessed blades mounted away from the edges, reducing the chances of cutting feet or hands that get too close.

Environmentally Friendly

One advantage the robotic lawnmower shares with electric mowers is that it doesn’t produce exhaust fumes in your yard. Robotic mowers are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, making them a more environmentally-friendly solution for caring for your yard.

Why does this matter?

With zero emissions, a robotic mower ensures you and your family are not exposed to toxic, harmful fumes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), gas-powered mowers produce a lot of emissions and pollutants that damage the environment and cause adverse health effects.

Robotic mowers are cleaner and greener, helping protect the environment and your health.

A Healthier Lawn

Robotic mowers produce a healthier, thicker, more robust, and better-looking lawn than traditional push mowers. The cutting action of a robotic mower involves shaving the grass down rather than cutting it.

Most robot mowers use multiple fold-away steel blades that remove minimal amounts of grass over numerous passes. This involves mulching the grass down as it goes.

How does this benefit you?

The robotic mower cuts fine grass tips that can’t mat on the lawn. With other mowers, you must remove the cut grass as it can cause thatching, start to rot, and impair the ventilation of growing grass.

The robotic mower’s cutting style ensures you don’t worry about disposing of lawn clippings. They remain on the lawn and quickly decompose, returning nutrients to the soil and continually fertilizing the grass for a greener, healthier and lusher lawn.

robot lawn mower on green lawn

Easy to Use and Store

Imagine controlling a mower from the comfort of your armchair through an app on your phone. That’s what you get with robotic lawnmowers. They’re autonomous enough to start mowing by themselves according to the set schedule and return to the docking base to charge when required before continuing with the job.

And that’s not all.

Anyone can use robotic mowers without much hassle, and they’re a brilliant option for people with mobility issues. They’re relatively easy to set up, lightweight, and highly compact, which can help you save plenty of storage space. They’re smaller and lightweight than most push mowers, meaning you don’t need to worry about storage or damaging your lawn surface.

Lower Operating Costs over Time

Cost savings are a vital factor when choosing a mower. While the initial investment for robotic mowers can be higher than traditional mowers, it pays off in the long term. You’ll experience significant savings over time, especially if you previously used other types of lawnmowers.

How do robotic mowers lower your costs?

You only require electricity to recharge the mower, meaning you don’t have to visit the petrol station frequently to buy and store fuel. You don’t have to deal with rising fuel costs and constant repairs or replacements for spark plugs and filters, which is familiar with other mowers.

Smart Technology

Besides Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, most robotic lawn mowers are compatible with personal digital assistants for flexible scheduling capabilities and customizability. These include voice control, GPS control, off-limits and anti-collision systems.

Why does this matter?

It improves your mowing experience and ensures you get years of trouble-free service. You can program specific paths on your lawn using GPS, and the mower will alert you when servicing is required.

robotic lawnmower on green lawn

What are the Cons of Robotic Lawn Mowers?

High Initial Costs

Robot mowers are relatively expensive compared to traditional mowers. Even the most basic models start at around $800 in the lower range and can exceed $10,000 on the higher side.

Factors influencing the mower’s price include the size, quality, equipment, and present features.

Increased Maintenance

Robotic mowers must mow more frequently and regularly than traditional mowers, requiring more maintenance. You’ll have to clean it more often because it’s constantly in use, and the blades will wear out faster than other mowers.

You must replace the blades and blade disks of robotic mowers every one to three months to ensure they remain effective. Blunt blades can produce higher noises and influence the cutting pattern, and the time it takes for your mower to cut an area.

If anything goes wrong, it may be challenging to repair the mower yourself. Unlike traditional mowers, which only require a bit of mechanical knowledge, you may need to consult a professional or return the robotic mower to the manufacturer.

Programming and Mowing Take Time

Robotic mowers must be programmed to help them figure out your yard and mow effectively and efficiently. This takes time, and you may also need to set up guidewires to ensure the mower doesn’t wander out of your yard. Skipping this step or getting it wrong can present more problems with robotic lawnmowers.

Even after programming it, the robotic mower will take its time mowing your lawn. They’re usually slow and can take three to four hours to cut an area you can deal with in an hour with a traditional mower. Robotic mowers remove small amounts of grass over more extended periods with multiple passes.

Robotic Mowers Struggle with Steep or Hilly Lawns

Robotic mowers are unsuitable for lawns with steep terrains as the gradients make them work extra hard. If your yard is hilly, you’ll find that the mower fails to make it up a slope, slips off, or the wheels start spinning, which translates to a damaged lawn surface.

It gets worse if the grass is wet and slippery, the ground is soft, or there are leaves on your lawn. You may need to spend more money to help the robotic mower handle steep gradients with accessory kits for grip or lawn guards to prevent damage.

Mowing a hilly yard can be a daunting and real chore without the right equipment. Check out this article for some of the best mowers for hills or steep lawns.

Easy to Steal

Robotic mowers are an attractive opportunity for thieves. They’re more expensive than regular mowers and will likely fetch a reasonable resell price. They also spend a lot of time outside on the lawn, making them freely accessible to anyone who can enter your yard.

It’s usually lightweight and compact, making it easy for an opportunist to grab it and dash. Although they’re equipped with anti-theft features like alarms when lifted from the ground or GPS tracking, it’s unlikely to deter a determined thief.

The only way to ensure your robotic mower is 100% safe is to ensure unauthorized persons cannot access your lawn, monitor it while it’s working, and safely lock it away when you’re not around.

robot lawn mower working

Things to Consider when Choosing the Best Robotic Lawn Mower

In addition to the above pros and cons of robotic lawn mowers, you also need to consider the following factors when making your purchase:

Lawn Size

Robot mowers are more suitable for small, simple yards with relatively flat and smooth surfaces. Small robot mowers are best for areas of up to a quarter of an acre. Midsize robot mowers can cut up to half of an acre, while large robot mowers can handle up to one acre or more.

Measure your lawn’s square footage when choosing and exclude square footage taken up by the house, driveway, landscape beds, and other areas that are not grass.

Terrain Handling

Lawn terrain and conditions like slopes, obstacles, irregular lawn shapes, grass type, thickness, and growth rate can all inhibit a robotic mower’s efficiency and capability.

Most robot mowers can handle flat lawns and slopes of up to 15%. If your property has boulders, flower beds, pathways, steeper slopes, or other obstacles, you must look for a robotic mower that’s more capable.

Consider features like onboard collision detection systems, GPS, all-wheel drive, or multi-zone programming capability to navigate complex yards.

Mowing Height

Different lawn grasses require different mowing heights to remain aesthetically pleasing and healthy. Factors like weather conditions, grass type, and terrain can influence the optimal mowing height for your lawn.

Look for a robotic mower that allows as much mowing height flexibility as possible to ensure it can cut within the recommended range of your lawn type.

Controls

Some robotic mowers require a perimeter wire installed, while others don’t. The perimeter wire controls where the mower will cut and leads back to a charging station dock.

The guide wires are installed below the grass, at the edge of the lawn, and around obstacles like buildings, trees, or paved areas.

Robot mowers that don’t use wire guides have sensors that help recognize the limits of the lawn. Such mowers require little to no installation effort. Simply set it up and switch it on.

Battery Life and Power Source

Most robotic mowers automatically charge at the home base station or dock. The station serves as the boundary wire hub and charging port and a single power cord plugged into a nearby power outlet provides the electricity.

They use rechargeable batteries, but you may also find some with lead-acid batteries and other types.

Depending on the mowing conditions and model, you can get around 1 to 2.5 hours of mowing from a single charge. Batteries usually take around 30 to 60 minutes to recharge, and the battery can last about three years before you need to replace it.

black robotic lawn mower on green lawn

Should I get a Robotic Lawn Mower?

A robotic lawn mower is a worthwhile investment with various unique benefits. It’s an excellent choice if:

  • You have a small, relatively flat, and smooth lawn.
  • You have a busy schedule and prefer outsourcing mowing to an autonomous machine.
  • You’re away from home frequently.
  • You want a quiet mower that doesn’t bother you or your neighbors.
  • You’re tech-savvy and prefer a modernized mowing experience.
  • You want to reduce carbon emissions.

FAQ

Do robot lawnmowers work well?

Yes, as long as the mower is matched to the terrain. Buying a basic, entry-level mower is no use if your garden is split into multiple zones with slopes and islands. The overall size of the area to be mowed is also a factor.

How long do robot mowers last?

The average lifespan is about ten years, but since everything on a robot mower is replaceable, it can last almost indefinitely. It’s a good idea to buy a well-represented model in the marketplace. In 2022, the popular makes of robot mowers are Worx, Husqvarna, Gardena, Flymo, Honda, and John Deere.

Do robot mowers work in the rain?

Yes. Robot mowers have rain sensors, and some models use rain to clean the blades and the cutting disc.

Do robot mowers get stolen?

Yes. This is why it’s a good idea to get yours insured.

How often does a robot mower mow?

That depends on the season and how much rain is falling. Although robot mowers come loaded with presets that cover almost every situation, robot mowers are fully programmable, and once paired with your cell phone, the settings can be changed remotely.

Can robot mowers cope with leaves?

Not only can they cope, but they also turn leaves into mulch that fertilizes your lawn.

Can robot mowers cut around trees?

It takes longer than it does to mow an uninterrupted stretch of the lawn, but robot mowers can cut around anything.

Do robot mowers work on uneven lawns?

Yes. They can even mow lawns on a 40-degree slope.

Can robot mowers cross gravel or driveway?

Robot mowers can cross anything that’s not too slippery or too soft. Bigger mowers can cope with even that.

The Verdict

Whether you want a perfect lawn or you’re just trying to cope with the size of the one you’ve got, a robot mower is a wise choice. Just make sure that the make and model has the right features and the kind of after-sales support that suits your needs.

As always, your comments, feedback, remarks, and criticism are roundly welcomed and greatly appreciated! If you have anything to add that you feel we left out, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Andy Gibson

My name's Gibson. Andy Gibson. I like to think of myself as the Bond of the backyard, that is if yard work ever became sexy. I write about everything about indoor and outdoor gardening and the dread-it-but-still-need-to-do-it chores around the yard, like cleaning out the gutter guards.

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