How does a robot lawn mower work
To use a robot mower, you first need to set up a boundary wire and docking station.
The boundary wire is simple to install, it carries a low voltage signal that tells the robot mower where it can and cannot go.
The boundary wire is normally pegged to the ground with pegs provided.
The boundary wire connects to the docking station, which is connected to the mains power via a waterproof power supply. The docking station is where your robot recharges and it produces the signal for the robot.
Most robot lawn mowers should connect to the home WIFI like the MoeBot.
Once the mower is fully charged you will adjust the cutting height, set a schedule and away you go.
What are the key things to look for when purchasing a robot mower
Maximum working area
Every robot lawn mower will have a maximum working area calculated in sqm. Manufacturers base this on a square. So, if your lawn is 30m x 30m (length x width) you would have 900 sqm of area. But this is just one calculation the other you need to know is the perimeter wire required for installation and also the maximum length that can be used with one docking station.
A square has 4 sides, using our previous example, if all 4 sides were 30m, that would be 120m of perimeter wire required.
Before you get out the measuring wheel or tape measure, the easiest way to measure is using Google Earth. There is a ruler icon LHS and it will allow you to measure area and perimeter.
As mentioned before, each manufacturer will have a maximum length of wire that can be used with one docking station. Be sure to know, most robot lawn mowers will be around 180m of perimeter wire before there is potential signal loss.
Motor cutting speed
The faster the motor cutting speed, the more grass it will cut per pass. Speed is measured in RPM (rotations per minute). A petrol mower travels at 3500rpm many Robot Mower brands travel at 2200rpm, except the MoeBot S series which travels between 3200 and 3500 rpm.
What does the warranty cover and what is in the fine print? Some brands offer a perception of a longer warranty, but you must bring back your robot lawn mower for costly and unnecessary servicing which can cost you thousands over the life of your robot lawn mower. Brands like MoeBot offer 2 year warranty and also allow self-repairs which many brands do not
What are the cost of parts and availability?
One day when your robot mower will be out of warranty and it may need a replacement part, like a wheel motor or cutting motor. Some European robot lawn mower brands charge $600 for wheel motor plus installation, making it nearly cheaper to buy a new robot.
Brand like MoeBot can help support you to install a new motor or have it done at one of their service centres. The good news, things like a wheel motor cost around $60.
All robot lawn mowers will require some basic maintenance.
- Grass brushed off from underneath the robot occasionally, do not hose with a high pressure hose underneath
- Ensure the blades remain sharp, less resistance on the motor and a better looking lawn. Change the blades every 6 weeks or when blunt (approx. $2 per blade)
- The cutting plate may wear down over time, a replacement cutting plate is approx. $25
- Eventually the battery will need to be replaced. A MoeBot battery can be changed by the customer by removing 6 screws. MoeBot batteries normally need to be replaced after 2 years and start at just $99
What size lawns will a robot mower mow?
Robot lawn mowers can work on properties up to 4000sqm depending on the brand and specifications.
The MoeBot S series has 3 different sizes
- MoeBot S5 up to 600sqm
- MoeBot S10 up to 1400sqm
- MoeBot S20 up to 2500sqm
Do you need a professional to install a robot mower?
Some brands claim that professional installation is best, this is far from the truth and a revenue stream for some businesses.
Robot mowers are easy to install and do not require a professional to install them.
All you need is:
- Hammer/ Mallet to install pegs
- Scissors or wire cutters to cut the boundary wire
To install a auto lawn mower it will take approx. 45 minutes per 200 sqm. Most brands like the MoeBot even include a cardboard measure, to make it easy to measure the correct distances from objects like retaining walls.
The boundary wire will need to be taut on the surface and pegs should be placed approx. 1m apart. Don’t worry, after 6-8 weeks the grass will grow over the wire and it will naturally sink beneath the surface level, so not visible.
If you want to save time or are not able bodied, you can pay a professional to install, but it is certainly not necessary.
What length grass will it cut?
Every brand differs, most will cut between 2.5cm and 5.5cm, like the MoeBot
How much does it cost to operate a robot lawn mower per month?
What type of grass will a robot mower cut?
A electric lawn mower will cut all types of grass, remember it is using double sided blades that are razor sharp, unlike a traditional petrol mower that uses a blunt blade.