Much like robotic vacuum cleaners, robot lawnmowers have come a long way in recent years.
Debuted at MWC 2019 late last month in Barcelona, the Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD shows just how far that journey has taken automation in the garden.
This mower comes packing AI, smart home connectivity and you can take charge using voice commands.
Yard automation comes with an eye-popping price tag. So, while we'll be looking at what separates the Automower from the pack, we'll also highlight three more affordable robotic garden helpers, so there's something for everyone.
Why You Might Consider a Robotic Lawnmower
As with most smart home products, one of the key draws of investing in a robotic lawnmower is the time you'll save by buying one.
The average American spends roughly 70 hours a year dealing with the lawn. That’s two regular working weeks so imagine what you could do with all that extra time.
Well, the robots are coming anyway - as we outline in our future look at the LG CLOi range – so why not consider one for the garden?
Here’s a snapshot of the benefits of a robo-mower:
- You’ll get all the physical work done for you with the mower working on autopilot then returning to the base station
- Since most of these robots are extremely quiet, you’ll be able to schedule mowing at any time without disturbing your family or the neighbors
- Robotic mowers release no emissions so make an eco-friendly approach to gardening unlike a regular gas-guzzler belching out fumes
A robo-mower is not a product most people strictly speaking need but it’s undoubtedly a labor saving device and a great talking point at your garden parties.
How about that Husqvarna we mentioned then?
The Pinnacle of Robotic Lawnmowers Priced as Steeply as The Hills It Climbs
If you’ve seen the brand Husqvarna before, you might associate it more with the fantastic sewing machines they make.
The company has also been making robot lawnmowers since the 1990s, though. These robo-mowers are relatively new to the American market, but they're extremely popular throughout Europe for some time.
One of the disincentives to investing in a robotic mower is the stinging cost but how does the new Husqvarna model measure up and does it offer good value?
In keeping with the best smart home products, the Automower 435X AWD combines striking design with innovative tech. Finished in a dark gray with the trademark Husqvarna orange accents to liven it up, this unit comes with a pair of bodies connected by a magnesium bridge. The organizations both work independently yet combine to deliver the requisite traction along with excellent maneuverability.
The first all-wheel-drive Husqvarna enables the 435X to be effortless navigate pretty steep slopes without anything by way of user input. This nimble hill-climber can deal with inclines as high as 70%. If you’ve got a more complicated layout to your landscaping, this is a small but valuable touch.
Smarts come out to play in terms of control. As long as you’ve got solid cellular coverage, you'll be able to take charge of your mower using the crisp Husqvarna Connected app and allows you to perform a broad spread of tasks remotely. From scheduling to manipulating the cutting height, there's no need to keep tinkering with the machine itself. Thanks to GPS, you'll be able to check up on what areas have already been mowed.
Possible Voice Control Integrations
For some time, voice control has been possible across much of the existing Automower range. Husqvarna has covered both main bases here with both Alexa and Google Assistant integration baked in.
If you're a tech-fiend, you'll be able to create your own IFTTT (If This, Then That) recipes. You'll also appreciate the open API allowing for further integration with your connected home.
Now, the thought of a large unattended motorized object barreling around the garden is enough to raise some concern. Husqvarna has addressed this with some nifty safety features.
Ultrasonic object detection prevents your mower mashing into any stray toys or garden tools. The power automatically cuts out when you pick the mower up or flip it over. While you wouldn’t expect to do this when it’s powered up, it’s nice to have the added security.
Headlights mean you can schedule your mower to cut the grass at night without necessarily leaving your outdoor lights on.
The battery should give you roughly 100 minutes of run-time. This should be sufficient even for the owners of "impossible gardens" who this nifty robo-mower is marketed. Unlike many rechargeable devices, you can expect a full burst of charge in as little as 30 minutes, adding another layer of convenience and smarts.
The 435X AWD is also compatible with the GARDENA smart system. This automated lawn care and watering system can help you get the very best from your outdoor space without needing to lift a finger.
Pricing has yet to be confirmed, but it's expected to come in at north of $5500. The release date is not specified but is anticipated Stateside in 2020.
If you want to see this AI-fuelled beast in action, Husqvarna produced a short video clip to tempt you. You can see it right here.
If that pricing seems a little rich for your taste and you want to automate your garden before next year, we'll briefly explore three other great robotic mowers before we round out.
Robotic Lawnmowers: The Best of the Best
If you’re looking for something specific and you’re impatient, these are the models we’ll highlight:
- Best Budget Robotic Lawnmower: Worx Landroid
- Quiet Robotic Lawnmower: McCulloch ROB 1000
- Robotic Lawnmower with Multiple Cutting Zones: Robomow RS612
Best Budget Robotic Lawnmower: Worx Landroid
If you’re hunting for a completely automated lawn mower in line with the spirit of your connected home, the Worx Landroid arrives completely pre-programmed and is excellent news if you want to smarten up your garden, but you're reluctant to be baffled by tech. You won't be.
Despite this ease of use, you'll get a competent automatic helper. Due to the cut-throat pricing, don’t expect to be barking instructions using a voice assistant. Instead, you’ll get a user-friendly interface above the oversized STOP button and is simple enough to appeal to gardeners of all ages while still offering plenty of scope for scheduling.
Unlike the hill-climbing expert Husqvarna, you'll need to peg your expectations with the Landroid. It will make its way up slopes but of no more than 20% steepness — nevertheless, the pair of brushless motors.
While the shock sensors lack the intelligence of the Automower, they’re more than fit for purpose. Your Landroid will comfortably avoid obstacles in its path meaning you won’t need to scour the garden before mowing. AI ensures that the mower can pick its way through reasonably complex garden layouts with a nimble footing.
How about if it suddenly starts raining? What about your new investment and how about the state of your lawn? Well, the Landroid will hustle back to the charging base. It will do the same if the battery needs a burst of charge, too.
You'll enjoy a cutting height of 1.6 inches through 4 inches with five height positioning stops. Total coverage area is a reasonably substantial ¼ acre. The Landroid is designed to run daily so you can keep your lawn looking fresh without needing to give it a dramatic haircut.
With winning customer service, regular software updates to keep your system up to date and secure, and a robust warranty, the Landroid is an excellent addition to any smart home.
Quiet Robotic Lawnmower: McCulloch ROb 1000
While the Landroid is pretty quiet, the McCulloch ROB 1000 runs with almost no noise whatsoever. If you keep an irregular schedule, you could even put this mower to work overnight, and you wouldn't disturb the neighbors.
Just like the Worx Landroid, you’ll be able to deal with lawns up to a ¼ acre meaning it’s adequate for most reasonable purposes. If you’ve got a larger area to deal with, you’ll need to step things up a notch price-wise.
Thinking of price, while the ROB is marginally more costly than the Landroid, it’s still not exactly expensive. If you weigh the purchase against the ongoing fee of a gardener, it suddenly seems to appear more of an investment than an expense.
The rechargeable battery kicks out none of the foul emissions gas-powered mowers are notorious for as we mentioned, you won't get that infernal racket either.
The bundle gives you the mower itself along with the charging station, 656 feet of boundary wire and 400 pegs and allows you to quickly detach the area you want the ROB to work within. You’ll also get a trio of spare blades thrown in, a thoughtful and unexpected touch in this price band.
This mower can work whatever the weather although, as we're sure you know, cutting your lawn when it's wet is inadvisable. ROB cuts the grass in a random pattern so you won't get any unsightly marks spoiling your manicured lawn. Since the mower trims the very tips of the grass blades, your yard gets a feed as well as a cut.
A PIN code prevents any unauthorized tampering with the settings. You’ll be able to program ROB to kick into gear any time it suits leaving you to lounge back in your home theater while the hard work is done for you outside.
Safety is uppermost. If ROB smashes into a hard object, the way the blade pivots allows it to continue rotating inward. The blades also stop on a dime if the mower topples over.
If you're paranoid, a loitering thief might make off with your new toy, a sharp and piercing alarm should put them off if they try. We're confident you'll have a smart home security system in place anyway.
For a whisper-quiet and adaptable entry-point to the world of robotic mowers, you’re in safe hands with McCulloch.
Robotic Lawnmower with Multiple Cutting Zones: Robomow RS612
Just like smart homes, not all gardens are the same. If you're looking for a robotic lawnmower with the ability to deal with multiple cutting zones, the RS612 is an excellent example from Robomow's range. Why might you need this, though?
Well, maybe you've got a more massive lawn, and a given area has younger grass you want to keep a little longer for now. With the RS612, you can program different settings for up to 4 separate zones so you can customize cutting a treat.
If you've got a more extensive and thicker lawn, you'll appreciate the heavy-duty twin blades finished in stainless steel. With a 22-inch cutting diameter, your mower will make light work of any grass in its path.
When it comes to slopes, the RS612 is no match for the Husqvarna but can still cope well on inclines as sharp as 35%.
Control is seamless, and you'll be able to use a sleek mobile app to take charge from afar. Smarts extend to the Robomow’s ability to sense rainfall and hustle back to the charging base to avoid a soaking.
As with any good robotic mower, you'll get the staple safety features. Along with auto-stop, there's also a child lock so you can rest easy even if you've got curious kids roaming in the garden.
Make sure a robotic mower will be more than just a fanciful gadget before committing to purchase. If you're confident it is going to streamline your yard duty and make your life simpler, this model is not cheap, but it's a lot less costly than the Husqvarna and packs a considerable punch.
If you’ve got a larger yard and you’re disinclined to spend your summers manually mowing it, maybe you’re now tempted to automate that tedious task.
Whether you’re an early adopter already hankering after the new Automower or working with a more limited budget and happy to do without some of the new features, this market continues to swell.
Come back next week as we continue to bring you latest smart home news along with the slickest products to kit out your connected home.