Forget Robot Vacuums, Meet The Robot Designed to Cut your Grass - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Forget Robot Vacuums, Meet The Robot Designed to Cut your Grass

Yep, we're talking about a robot lawn mower.

There is something very satisfying about a cold beer after you’ve finished cutting the lawns. It’s a moment where you can admire your backyard after a job well done. Recently, I’ve been having my beer while the lawns are being mowed. It’s the future of mowing and it’s robotic.

A well known brand of gardening machinery is Husqvarna. They have a range of automowers which can now handle up to 5000sqm, that land size is normally reserved for ride-on mowers. Slightly resembling what you see today in robot vacuum cleaners we had to put one to the test to assess whether they can truly do the work normally reserved for Saturday mornings. 

The model we tested was the Automower 315X. This was determined by a quick online assessment tool on their website. We received a large box and thought we’d be ready to mow in minutes but there is some prep work to do first. This prep work is the most important part of setting up your Automower to be successful. Perhaps counterintuitively you actually need to mow your lawns with an old school mower before getting started. This is to get your lawns to a length you hope to keep them at. This is also known as the last stand of your existing push mower. 

Unlike a robot vacuum which can freely roam your house and bump into walls, you don’t want your mower getting into your garden beds or mowing the neighbours lawn. To solve this, you need to lay a boundary wire around your grassed area and around any garden beds. The boundary wire starts from the Automower’s charging station and eventually loops back. Each 70cm or so you need to peg the boundary wire so it doesn’t rise and risk being cut by the mower. The boundary wire is designed to be run over slightly so it should be around 30cm from the fence to avoid bumps. Doing this on a 35 degree day was a bad idea and it had us regularly glancing back at the Automower with a “you better work” look. 

Once the wiring is complete and the mower is fully charged you can download an app to programme and control the Automower. Most of this can also be done on the mower itself but doing it on your phone, in the shade, with a cold one was better. In the app you can set schedules, connect it to your voice assistant, programme weather controls and when you’re ready, set it off for it’s first mow. 

The Automower is GPS assisted so it will look like a ball in a pinball machine bouncing everywhere, but in time it will cover your entire block. Every hour or so it will return to recharge itself before continuing on. What we learned quickly with the Automower is the way we think about mowing needs to change. This is no longer a once a week chore, it is a five days a week for multiple hours job for the robot. The Automower operates best when it is cutting a few millimeters of grass at a time rather than trying to lop centimeters each week. The smaller blades slice finely and don’t leave any visible cuttings behind, essentially feeding the lawns. When you allow the Automower to operate continuously and often you will notice a more carpet look to your lawns that appear to be frozen in time. 

The Automower has PIN security and GPS to ensure that no one easily steals the mower but would ultimately be stealing a paperweight. We also liked being able to easily locate the mower in the app or send it back to its charger whenever we needed. Our backyard has minor inclines which were handled fine by the 315X however a 4WD version is available for more challenging terrain. 

The Automower itself operates almost in complete silence, it has decorative headlights on the front to make it easy to see at night but this is the real benefit. If the kids are enjoying the yard during the day, you can allow the Automower to cut from sunset until sunrise each day, the neighbours won’t know it’s even happening. 

Over the course of two months living with the Automower we have learned the importance of accurately laying the boundary wire and embracing the busy schedule of the Automower. Ours is running for 12 hours, five days a week to cater for the warm and wet weather conditions that drive our grass to the sky very quickly. We’ve also become a little conservative with our boundary wire to avoid bumps or wheels getting stuck in garden edges, and this has meant a regular whipper snip to keep our boundaries neat. Our weekends are no longer busy mowing the backyard and our lawns look immaculate every day of the week. While the price is currently much higher than a traditional push mower, this is the future of lawn maintenance. The biggest question is what you’ll do with your spare time?

Geoff Quattromani is the host of “Technology Uncorked” and contributor to Men’s Health Australia. Continue the conversation with Geoff on Twitter at @GQuattromani.

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