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Guide to buying a robotic mower
Want to free up some of your time? Are you conscious of the environment? Robotic lawn mowers are the answer! Since they run on batteries, there is no petrol, oil or pollution. This guide helps you find the right robotic mower for you. Before purchasing it is important to consider several points:
How do they work?
Robotic lawn mowers tend to work their way around your lawn in a random fashion, which helps prevent any wheel marks from forming. Usually the charging stations can be hidden out of sight and there is a perimeter wire that has to be pegged into place as part of the installation process. This perimeter wire tells the mower where the edges of your lawn are. All robotic lawn mowers are mulching mowers, which means they do not collect the grass but instead cut it into fine clippings and scatter them to decompose so the nutrients go back into the soil.
The Bosch Indego Range is a little different to the norm, as they have the ability to map out your lawn to find the most efficient route to take. This means that the mower can work in straight lines rather than mowing in random patterns. This method ensures that no grass will be missed in the process. See Which?’s review on this product here.
The good news is that robotic mowers do not require you to have a small, perfectly rectangular lawn in order to get good results. Most modern robotic lawn mowers have been designed to mow different grass types and also lawns that are oddly shaped. These days robotic mowers have the ability to manoeuvre around obstacles such as flower beds, poles, swimming pools and also children’s play frames. Robotic lawnmowers can be used on a variety of different sized lawns. Some models can even mow different zones or areas of your lawn.
If you have a small lawn which is less than 150m2 then you will need one of the smaller, less expensive robotic mowers like the new Robomow® RX12. For a larger domestic lawn, up to 800m2 the new Robomow® RC308 Pro X is an ideal choice.
A robotic mower can also cope with extremely large lawns where normally you would be using a ride on mower. A good example of a robotic lawn mower for lawns of up to 3600m2, that’s nearly an acre, is the Robomow® RS635 Pro SX. It’s fully automatic smart scheduling means that you can sit back and relax whilst your lawn is kept in pristine condition all through the growing season.
Another important factor to consider with regards to your lawn, is whether or not the device can handle slopes. You can purchase robotic lawnmowers that are generally built for relatively flat lawns whilst others can handle steep hills. The Robomow® RC308 Pro X has extra wide power wheels and is suitable for slopes up to 36% (20o). The new McCulloch R1000, affectionately known as ROB, cuts lawns up to 1000m2 and can handle slopes with an incline of 25%.
It is also important to consider how long it takes the robotic mower to charge and how much grass it will cut on one full charge. Many robotic mowers use the new lithium-ion battery technology which means that they can be charged in under an hour and there are nno adverse memory effects. Most high-end robotic lawnmowers can automate mowing by working to a set schedule. The robot will leave its charging station, of its own accord, and begin mowing, then travel back to its dock when it needs to be recharged.
Some lower end models might require you to physically bring it indoors to dock and charge.
When purchasing your robotic lawn mower there are several other features that you might also want to consider. It is important to know how durable the lawn mower is in different weathers. For example the Robomow® RC312 Pro SX has a weather proof shelter and a rain sensor and will re-schedule mowing your lawn if it rains.
If you have young children around the house, and would like to leave the robotic mower unattended, it is important to ensure that the mower has a child guard that can prevent children from operating the machinery. Some models, for example the new McCulloch R1000, have user controlled theft protection, which can include a disabling system which uses a personal passcode and is supported by an alarm system.
Most robotic mowers might require you to trim the edges of the lawn, however all the Robomow® range cut right up to the edge of your lawn for clean and tidy borders.
Getting your Garden Ready
In preparation for your robotic lawn mower make sure objects under 4 inches high are removed from the lawn. Watch out for items such as small toys, strings, hose pipes and lightweight objects. Also make sure you fill in any big holes in the lawn with either some topsoil or sand.
Maintaining your Robotic Lawn Mower
The robotic mowers do not require a lot of maintenance, as they do not need emptying and grass clippings do not need to be cleaned up. Most manufacturers however, do tend to recommend replacing the blades once a year to ensure that you are getting the best out of your robotic mower. Robotic mowers are electric mowers which means no oil, petrol or spark plugs need to be replaced.