4 Steps to the Best Robot Lawn Mower for 2020
What is the best robot lawn mower for you and your garden in 2020? The truth is there is only one person who can answer that, and that is you!
What we can give you is a step by step guide to evaluating robot mowers to find the one that best suits you and your garden…and help you through the jungle of jargon.
Whether you are considering Ambrogio, Husqvarna, Flymo, Honda, Robomow, Worx etc. follow the 4 steps and see how their models stack up against each other for you and your lawn.
Step 1: Evaluate your garden
The key information to gather is:
Don’t guess at this, people are normally way off. Measure your lawn using a satellite image and make sure that you take into account flower beds etc.
If you have multiple lawns which are connected, the smaller the gap/ corridor between the lawns, the less likely the robot is to get there during normal mowing. The mower will need to be setup so that it can find its way to each lawn or area.
In order for the mower to go between areas, the perimeter wire will need to be laid so that it can follow the wire to each area. The width of the area is key as the wires need to be a certain distance apart and surface is important as wires will need to be laid in/ under it and the mower will need to be able to drive over it – no shingle/ fairly level etc.
If there is no corridor (or it’s too narrow), look for a mower which can be picked up and put down in the other area – the wires still need to be laid but they can be laid together (i.e. no distance between them) and as the mower won’t be following them, the surface is immaterial.
Although most of us would like a flat, bowling green like lawn, the reality is that most lawns have bumps, holes, slopes and undulations. Some may be affected by rabbits and other animals creating holes overnight. It’s important to choose a mower that suits the condition of your lawn. Generally, the rougher the terrain, the more grip the mower needs to mow it. For rougher terrain, think about:
- The number of wheels – 4 are better than 3 if you have holes appearing overnight
- Grip – big soft wide wheels are better than small hard wheels
- Articulation – a chassis that can pivot over lumps and bumps will ensure that the wheels stay on the ground and provide more stability and more grip.
If you are likely to divide up areas, add flower beds or even add a new area, choose a mower that has the flexibility to add or change areas with the minimum of impact. If you may be adding big areas which one mower could not cope with, choose a mower where it is possible to have multiple mowers working together in the same garden.
Step 2: Evaluate how you are going to use the mower
This is not so easy as you probably haven’t had a robot lawn mower before. Here are some key items to consider:
The idea of a lawn is to enjoy it not watch it being mowed (although robot mowers can be very relaxing to watch – especially with your favourite drink in hand). Most robot mowers will aim to mow 6 or 7 days a week so make sure that there is enough time when the mower is not out for you to enjoy the lawn i.e. robot free time. There is no point having a great mower if you can never use the lawn for fear of being ‘mown’.
Don’t worry so much about the battery time/ charging time – the important thing is how long is the lawn free rather than how the mower divides up it’s time when it is mowing.
Most mowers give you 1 or more ways to setup/ control your mower. Although once they are setup they work on their own, you will find that you might want change things or be notified if something happens. Generally, the methods are:
- A screen on the mower – great but can be fiddly
- An App connecting over bluetooth – even better but you need to be close to the mower
- An App connecting over the internet – very useful especially if you are away from home lot and want to keep an eye on what your mower is up to.
How worried are you about someone walking away with you prized mower. If you are then think about what security features the mower needs. Key features are:
- Pin access – you need a pin in order to use the mower
- Tracking – the mower can be tracked anywhere in the world using GPS/ mobile phone technology
- Geofencing – if the mower goes a certain distance from it’s lawn, you should be notified.
Some mowers have an alarm if they are lifted, that’s great but as with home alarms it requires someone to hear it and to do something about it…not much use if you are away from the house.
There has been a lot in the press about mowing your lawn too early/ late and disturbing the neighbours. Most robot mowers are very quiet, about as load as normal conversation. If you are worried about the noise, brushless motors are quieter.
Step 3: Evaluate the manufacturer
You are buying a product that you want to sit outside on the lawn all season for a number of years so you want it to be well built and to be kept up to date. So look at:
How long has the manufacturer been making robot mowers.
Does the manufacturer specialise in robots or is it just another product for them to sell?
It is important that manufacturers are innovating i.e. bring new products to market and supporting/ improving the products they already have sold. If you are thinking about a mower, ask
- How often they release updates to their mower software and whether you can you install the update yourself or have to wait until your next service.
- How their software/ mowing algorithms differ from their competitors.
It’s difficult to tell from the pictures but consider the manufacturer i.e. look for the review based on build quality, the weight (i.e. not cheap light plastic) and warranty (although most are 2 years).
Step 4: Evaluate the models
You have been through the 3 steps to work out what would make the best robot lawn mower 2020 for you, so now you can start evaluating the different models against your criteria. Below you can see how the Ambrogio models stack up, download the spreadsheet so that you can record other manufacturers.
As you have seen, I haven’t mentioned price…get a comparison of the mowers first and then see if you need to compromise based on price.
You can find some useful about the manufacturers ranges in the following places:
The robot lady’s blog – very good general info.
Myrobotmower – useful but limited range coverage
Mower Magic -Amborgio comparisons – useful for build quality
Popular Mechanics – limited range coverage
Fred’s Shed – a bit out of date on some manufacturers