A Robot Lawn Mower: 5 Reasons Why You Should Not Buy One (Yet)

We all dream of having robots do mundane tasks for us, that’s why a robot lawn mower sounds so appealing. We would love to sip on a cold drink while Ralph The Robot cuts the grass for us. Ralph just sounds like a good name for a robotic lawn mower I guess. We already have robots in limited forms, although we don’t think of washing machines and dryers as robotic, they do manual labor that used to be done by humans.

If you are mulling over the idea of a remote control lawn mower you have come to the right place. We will have a look at some pros and cons to help you decide to take the plunge on an automatic lawn mower or stick with the old school mowers.


The Pros of a Robot Lawn Mower Are Many in Theory

You can do other tasks around the yard while “Ralph” mows your lawn automatically. Or you can even relax while the work is done. If you hate the dust of mowing then you no longer have to deal with that mess since you can be indoors while your lawn is mowed. This is a big advantage for folks with allergy issues.

Another positive for these machines is that they are mostly electrical so you don’t have to mess with gas and oil either. The main selling factor is the time savings of a remote mower. We are all very busy and any time saved is a big plus in today’s fast paced world.


Now for the 5 Cons That May Burst Your Bubble….



Set Up Time

I hate do it because I know you have visions of long naps replacing your physical efforts behind that Honda push mower. The biggest downside I have found with a robot lawn mower is installing the perimeter guide wire. This wire keeps the mower on the correct path and inside the proper area that needs mowing. Folks may think they can just buy the remote mower, come home, and flip the on switch, then they are set. Uh, no. They will have to set the perimeter wire carefully around the yard to set up the mower’s defined area. If not, the machine would just run away, never to be seen again. The wire is an invisible fence that sends an electrical signal to the robot mower to keep it on your property. Many reviews tell of six plus hours installing the wire.



Price Tag

Another major down side to a remote control lawn mower is the hefty price tag. Products that are on the cutting edge of technology and not yet mainstream take a while to become reasonably priced. If you have a big stack of cash, this is no issue. But for the average Joe or Jane, price is always a top concern.



Repair Trouble

If you have a problem with an old school mower, it isn’t hard to find someone to repair it. Have you seen many ads for robotic lawn mower specialists? Neither have I. Support from many of these fly by night manufacturers of these automatic mowers is sorely lacking also, according to many reports.



Battery Life

The battery life is not the best on many of these automatic machines either. The random patterns of mowing make them less efficient than they could be, so that means more recharging. They will head to the recharge station on their own, but there is always the possibility of an obstacle in their way. You have to always keep the yard clear of these obstacles, especially the path to the recharging station.



Safety Issues

Lastly, if you have pets or small kids, these little mowers are a tempting sight. Kids may try to play with the mowers which is dangerous of course. The same could be a problem with cats and dogs.


My Advice…

So if you are asking me if I recommend buying a robot lawn mower, I would have to vote no. They are just not ready for prime time. Are they cool? Absolutely. They have a lot of promise too. As prices drop and the technology improves, I believe these will be the mowers of the future for small patches of grass. But for now, you will have to do your own mowing or hire it out. For the average consumer, these automatic lawn mowers are too limited in their capabilities. They also have a not so easy set up that many would not want to tackle.

Do you have a robot lawn mower yourself and are you happy with the device? Or do you think your purchase was a waste of money? Feel free to share your experience and tell others leaving a comment below. Thank you!

  1. Reply
    John February 10, 2015 at 12:13 am

    Thanks for this very interesting article. It would be great to have a robot lawn mover but I agree that we should wait. It would be really hard to find someone to repair it, almost like mission impossible. It can also be problem for children and pets especially dogs. I think that cats are less risky. I will wait this such robot lawn movers will cost less and be more advanced.

    • Reply
      billmartin April 24, 2015 at 4:34 am

      Hey John, sorry for this late reply. I agree with you that we better wait a while to see how manufacturers react to the inicial setting up problems and also watch how they develop and improve their technology. I am sure that we will be able to use some asweome robot mowers in a few years from now. We have done the mowing manually for decades, so a few more years wouldn’t really matter, don’t you think? Stay tuned for any update on this topic!

  2. Reply
    dave July 25, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    seriously, install time, money and repairs?

    • Reply
      billmartin August 5, 2015 at 7:20 am

      Hi Dave, I am not sure what you are trying to say with your comment. But yeah, install time, money and repairs. Most customers are not aware that it takes quite some time to install and ajust the robotic mower before it can run on your lawn. Its price tag and repair difficulties can be an obstacle for most people. What is wrong in explaining that?

  3. Reply
    Jesse May 16, 2016 at 1:21 am

    Bill thanks for your post. It’s hard to find good reviews of these robots – most are just geeked out sites that praise the features of one model vs another. More importantly though is whether it is really worth the steep entry cost into this for those of us looking for more than just novelty. Is your stance still the same on this with some of the newer devices? My main concern as an owner of a robotic vacuum is that while it is helpful at keeping things cleaner than I would myself, I still need to bring out the handheld vacuum occasionally for deeper cleaning and for hard to reach spaces. With a good robotic mower do I still need a handheld mower too for certain spots or do these really get the job done just as well?
    Also what is the status on guidewireless systems? The only one I have seen is the Ambrogio Elite L400 which is a beautiful looking machine but sells for over $10k.
    I want a system that lets me pull up google earth, trace a perimeter from google’s spy photography and let the thing go to town. Doesn’t seem like too much to ask – the wire is a big hangup for me as a skeptic since I don’t want to have to install a complex perimeter wire and only then realize the mower doesn’t cut the mustard.

    • Reply
      Bill Martin May 20, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Hi Jesse,

      With most robotic mowers I would suggest having a weedwacker on hand for spots that may get missed. If you have to keep a backup manual mower, I don’t think the robot is earning its keep:)

      I have seen a couple wireless mowing systems. One from iRobot involves placing simple stakes in the ground to guide the mower. Not quite as easy as your Google Earth mapping idea, but it is wireless.

  4. Reply
    micky May 17, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    All comments seem to be a bit out of date – we have friend who have been using robot mowers for 5 / 7 years and more – with virtually trouble free experience. Join the world of today – sure all new technology comes with a cost/ levy but why not?

    • Reply
      Bill Martin May 20, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Hmmmm, hardly any mower is trouble free and in my experience a robotic mower can not live up to my expectations yet. However, I plan to make a TOP 5 this summer and try out a few new models. If you like me to test and review a particular model, let me know:)

  5. Reply
    virgil May 26, 2016 at 5:45 am

    has anyone come out with a reel mover yet?
    seems it would be worth cost and setup if you wanted it mowed daily…

    • Reply
      Bill Martin May 26, 2016 at 6:59 am

      Hahaha, I doubt it. No reel mower can really beat a robotic mower in time or effort. Just in price…. 🙂

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