Experience with robotic lawn mower

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gammaray21
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Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by gammaray21 »

Reading the lawn mowing thread and moving into a house have me thinking about how to care for my large yard (about 1 acre). I've contacted a few lawn services, and it looks like I may have to pay around $80 a cut (still getting a few more estimates), which I find to be somewhat more of an expense than I would like to pay. Researching the topic, I have come across robotic lawn mowers, and I'm not sure what to think about them. Most websites seem to be selling them rather than offering honest reviews. So, I was wondering if anyone has any experience with robotic lawn mowers, and are they a worthwhile purchase?
psteinx
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by psteinx »

Good question. And for those who have used them, how did they handle complex stuff? Our yard has lots of hard edges, corners, slopes, some big tree roots, etc.

And how are they trained about the edges of the mowable space versus unmowable, neighbors' yard(s), etc?

Even if a robotic mower could only do 90% or so of the yard, and require me to do a quick manual pass with conventional mower and string trimmer, it MIGHT have utility - hard to say...
squirm
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by squirm »

I've always thought of them for postage stamp yards. My sister has one, although I can't say if she likes it.
psteinx
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by psteinx »

Well, if you have a postage sized lawn, it's probably easier to just mow it yourself. Fussing with a robotic mower versus ~10-15 minutes of manual effort doesn't seem like a big win.
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leeks
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by leeks »

I have no experience but if I was going to try one it would be made by Stihl because I am satisfied with their electric regular (I push it) lawnmower. Also they employ a relative of mine and have always treated him really well.

But I just looked it up and was struck by the apparent slowness of the robotic ones:

https://m.stihlusa.com/products/imow/

For example, 28 hours per week to mow 0.42 acres! I feel like that would get in the way of actually using my yard.
runninginvestor
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by runninginvestor »

No personal experience, but half a dozen houses in my subdivision and the hotel next to it have a Husqvarna robo lawn mower. I'd say the average yard size is 1/3 acre, the hotel lot is much bigger. They seem to do the job but I can tell the grass looks a bit different cut with the robot.
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lthenderson
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by lthenderson »

There was a house on my daily walking route that got one and I would guess their lawn is close to a half an acre. I saw it out there for about three months before it disappeared and I haven't seen it since. Don't know what happened.

FWIW - We have a two acre lawn and pay $50 a cutting in Midwest small town.
Mr.Chlorine
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by Mr.Chlorine »

Never used, but friends' neighbors have one. Kind of fun to watch it work, but I did not think it did a good job. Ran just like my indoor robot vacuum, no real plan, just mowed till it hit a tree or edge of yard. I enjoy mowing my small yard and like how perfect it looks after, the robot never produced the same look.
prd1982
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by prd1982 »

I read an article several years ago that said robotic lawn mowers were more popular in Europe because lawn services cost more in Europe.
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anon_investor
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by anon_investor »

Mr.Chlorine wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 8:54 am Never used, but friends' neighbors have one. Kind of fun to watch it work, but I did not think it did a good job. Ran just like my indoor robot vacuum, no real plan, just mowed till it hit a tree or edge of yard. I enjoy mowing my small yard and like how perfect it looks after, the robot never produced the same look.
For some reason when I read your post, it reminded me of videos of cats riding roombas, and then I imagined some squirrels riding a robot lawn mower. LOL. :beer
sureshoe
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by sureshoe »

I have one the more expensive Roombas I bought a couple years ago and it does OK, but it gets stuck, misses pieces.

I feel like I can sweep almost as fast as the trouble the vacuum causes.

Personally, the "meh" performance of the Roomba makes me uninterested in a robot mower. I just don't believe the tech is quite there.
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anon_investor
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by anon_investor »

sureshoe wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:09 am I have one the more expensive Roombas I bought a couple years ago and it does OK, but it gets stuck, misses pieces.

I feel like I can sweep almost as fast as the trouble the vacuum causes.

Personally, the "meh" performance of the Roomba makes me uninterested in a robot mower. I just don't believe the tech is quite there.
But do animals ride your Roomba? :)
hicabob
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by hicabob »

As a mobile robotics aficionado I've read about their modus operandi. They work by the homeowner burying a sensor wire around the area to be mowed, with islands in that region possible then the mower "bounces" off the sensor wire at a random angle so eventually the wire enclosed area is mown. The average spot gets mowed many times before the job is finished.
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gammaray21
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by gammaray21 »

Thanks for all of the responses. I've decided not to get a robotic mower based on some YouTube reviews I've watched. While they seem to do a decent job cutting, they can form ruts and cause other damage by going over the same spot too many times. Also, I would probably have to clean up afterwards as well.
SnowBog
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by SnowBog »

I believe most of the current models are based on burying a "guide wire" around the perimeter to define the boundary. And I think most of them are still like the early robot vacuums that basically follow a seemingly "random" pattern hoping for adequate coverage.

Personally, I've been waiting for iRobot to launch their version in the US. My understanding is it doesn't require a guide wire, instead uses their camera technology to create its own "map". Likewise, I believe they are supposed to follow more of a "straight line" approach, like their newer vacuums.

This was originally set to launch in 2020, but was suspended due to COVID. Haven't heard any news since... https://www.pcmag.com/news/irobot-suspe ... lawn-mower

https://myrobotmower.com/irobot-terra-robot-lawn-mower/
BH_RedRan
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by BH_RedRan »

Or, for a really big lawn, this guy rolled his own. Skip ahead to 4:00 or so to see it running.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMCMdkYn7us
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ClevrChico
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by ClevrChico »

I had a neighbor with an average suburban yard with two robotic lawnmowers. That lasted one season.

I also have a neighbor with a largish yard trying to use an electric mower with pricey batteries. It seems impractical and the mower is already coming apart on the second season.

The tried and true gas mower seems to be the practical way to go. I'm on season 13+ of my basic Honda push mower. I enjoy the exercise too.
virgingorda
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by virgingorda »

Yes, we have one. It is a WORX purchased 2-3 years ago at Home Depot. I would not recommend it for an acre lot -- it would run out of charge before finishing, though perhaps you could get several as I have seen once in use at a hotel. We have a small lawn and it does OK, sometimes gets stuck. The reason we got it is not because we are too busy or lazy to mow our small lawn but because we spend time at our other house too and don't want it to get out of control.

An idea I came across yesterday is a wildflower alternative lawn. I was shopping for wildflower seeds and this was one of the mixes they had. It is supposedly lower maintenance than a traditional lawn (needs to be mowed only once a season.)
OldBallCoach
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by OldBallCoach »

I always think of the Roomba that hit the dog crap and spread it all over the carpet but thats just me....LOL...buy a cheap Zero turn mower and knock it out fast...we have 5 acres and they are here and gone in 45 minutes with a larger zero turn...we pay 150 every two weeks I think now...
prd1982
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by prd1982 »

virgingorda wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:52 am An idea I came across yesterday is a wildflower alternative lawn. I was shopping for wildflower seeds and this was one of the mixes they had. It is supposedly lower maintenance than a traditional lawn (needs to be mowed only once a season.)
I haven’t tried this, but did try a wildflower garden. Be prepared for lots of ugly weeds along with those wildflowers.
mrsmitt
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by mrsmitt »

We have Worx Landroid that I’ve got on sale for about $1k early last year. The installation was long and now I would definitely chose to pay $300 for the professional installation if available in my area.

I love the robot and results, but I think it is not for everyone. I had to troubleshoot a couple of issues and it gets stuck from time to time. If you like tech and do not mind troubleshooting this cool tech, you should get it. However, it is not a set it and forget it device yet.

FYI. Current robots in the market are still pretty dumb. Currently there are multiple projects in development that will utilize AI and better sensors to build a next gen robomowers.
gammaray21 wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 5:15 pm Reading the lawn mowing thread and moving into a house have me thinking about how to care for my large yard (about 1 acre). I've contacted a few lawn services, and it looks like I may have to pay around $80 a cut (still getting a few more estimates), which I find to be somewhat more of an expense than I would like to pay. Researching the topic, I have come across robotic lawn mowers, and I'm not sure what to think about them. Most websites seem to be selling them rather than offering honest reviews. So, I was wondering if anyone has any experience with robotic lawn mowers, and are they a worthwhile purchase?
virgingorda
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by virgingorda »

prd1982 wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:31 am
virgingorda wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:52 am An idea I came across yesterday is a wildflower alternative lawn. I was shopping for wildflower seeds and this was one of the mixes they had. It is supposedly lower maintenance than a traditional lawn (needs to be mowed only once a season.)
I haven’t tried this, but did try a wildflower garden. Be prepared for lots of ugly weeds along with those wildflowers.
This is probably veering off-topic but actually I am seeding a wildflower field at the moment. I hope we don't get ugly weeds! But how ugly can they be? We don't plan on mowing this field, at least not too often. I just hope that something grows, as the soil was churned up quite a bit due to construction.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Experience with robotic lawn mower

Post by Sandtrap »

We have a bunch of large equestrian dressage horses that help keep down pasture acreage. But, they don't get all of the growth and not evenly, so we still have to use a "brush hog" set to low and trim everything with a "zero turn mower". However, these fellows "work" for free so that's fine.

How about a small zero turn riding mower?
Saves the back. No pushing a manual mower.

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