Nextech | How to choose a robotic lawnmower

Mowing the lawn is relaxing for most of us, but in the garden, at the cottage or in the family house, many other jobs await us and you definitely want to relax in another way with your family or friends. However, the lawn needs to be mowed regularly and a robotic lawnmower can be a very useful helper.

Their popularity is constantly growing and there are many models on offer in various price ranges. The robotic lawnmower is not suitable for every plot and terrain, so we deal in more detail with the possibilities of these devices in the article.

Lawn maintenance with a robotic lawnmower has its own specifics. In the first place, the lawn or the part you will mow with the robotic lawnmower should be as flat as possible, without any obstacles, it should not be divided by sidewalks or other landscaping. It is important to choose a model that can handle any uneven terrain on your land. Conventional mowers can handle a slope of up to 20%, stronger (and more expensive) mowers can handle a slope of 40 – 45%. To give you a better idea, a 20% climb means an elevation gain of 2 m over a length of 10 m, which is an angle of about 11 degrees.

The first criterion when choosing a suitable model is the area of ​​the lawn that the robotic lawnmower will maintain. The cheapest models are designed for areas up to 150 m². More powerful models in the middle price class can take care of areas of 600 – 1000 m2. Top models with a price of several thousand euros can also handle lawns with an area of ​​5,000 m², for example with dimensions of 100 × 50 m.

The width of the belt that the mower cuts at once depends on the size of the mower. The smallest models have a width of 15 – 17 cm, middle-class models around 22 cm and the most powerful robotic lawnmowers, designed for larger gardens, can have a width of 25 – 30 or more centimeters. The cutting height can usually be set in the range of 2 – 6 cm. The robotic lawnmower, unlike the classic lawnmower, does not allow you to collect the cut grass in a basket, but mulches it. So the grass is not thrown next to the mower, but the air flow caused by the rotation of the blades swirls it and the blades cut it into small pieces. These then fall to the roots, where they rot relatively quickly due to moisture and function as a natural fertilizer.

The robotic lawnmower has its limits in terms of the height of the lawn, which it can still handle, so if the grass is higher than 10 cm, the lawnmower must first be mowed with a classic lawnmower before its first use. You also have to reckon with the situation when you return after a two-week vacation and the lawn has so far “grown”. Even in this case, you have to mow it classically. We recommend mowing the lawn, either completely or at least around the perimeter, even if the height of the grass is less than 10 cm, so that you can easily lay the boundary wire.

The mower has sensors, so if it detects an obstacle in front of it, it backs up a bit and changes direction. Sidewalks with a solid surface, whether concrete or paved, that do not protrude above the lawn are not a problem for the robotic lawnmower and can pass through them. However, on gravel sidewalks, the mower’s wheels can get stuck, so they must be avoided. The perimeter of the area to be maintained must be marked with a boundary wire, which you attach to the lawn using pins. You don’t have to worry about it being disturbing, it will overgrow the grass very quickly. The boundary wire must form a loop around the lawn area. It is an invisible electronic fence that delimits the mower’s scope so that it does not get where it does not have, for example on flower beds or vegetables. Since the sensors are at the bottom, the mower does not stop in front of the boundary wire, but partially passes through it, so the cable is not laid close to the edge of the lawn, but at a certain distance so that the mower does not hit fences, curbs or other obstacles. You will usually find a ruler or other aid in the mower’s packaging to keep this distance from the edge when laying the cable. In order for the cable to closely copy the terrain and not create loops that could catch the mower blades, the typical recommended spacing of the fixing pins of the boundary wire is 70 cm. If the cable hangs in the air due to uneven terrain, you must use another pin. If the terrain is very uneven, or you want to hide the boundary wire or guide cable, it is recommended to make a groove a few centimeters deep and lay the cable under the surface. After the first mowing, you may find that in some places where strips of uncut grass remain, the mower could get closer to the fence, curb or other obstacle, so you can correct the position of the cable. You can also use a cable to create so-called boundary islands around flower beds, trees or shrubs inside the lawn. You run the cable from the edge of the lawn to the area you want to demarcate inside the lawn, and you run it back to the edge along the same route. If the cable is routed close to each other back and forth, their signal will be canceled and the mower will pass over such a pair of cables.

The boundary wire is included in some mowers or is sold as a separate accessory. The package of the set consists of cables, staples, connectors and connectors in various numbers and lengths corresponding to the size of your garden. For example, a set for medium-sized gardens, suitable for small-area lawns up to 2000 m² or complex areas up to 1000 m², contains 250 m of cable, 400 pieces of mounting brackets, three connectors and five connecting connectors. The great advantage of the robotic lawnmower is also that it moves pseudo-randomly, so the lawn will be mowed evenly and there will be no visible bands on it, as when mowing with a conventional lawnmower.

The charging station should be placed on a level surface approximately in the middle of the area to be maintained by the mower. Ideal is to place under the roof in the shade and, of course, near an electrical outlet. From the power supply plugged in, a low voltage cable leads to the mower, so if someone (such as children) manipulates the charging station, there is no danger to them. The mowing time per charge depends on the power and capacity of the battery, typically 30-200 minutes, and charging takes about the same amount of time.

The mower’s navigation to the charging station uses a radio signal. The rugged garden area with narrow passages can sometimes be a problem if the mower needs to return to the charging station. Therefore, some models use a guide wire that has one end at the charging station and the other end at the end of the garden or problem area so that the mower can easily find it. When the mower gets over this cable, it navigates to the charging station. The guide wire is also used if you want to guide the mower to a part of the garden where only a narrow passage leads.

Noise is also an important criterion. You work with a classic petrol or electric mower for several tens of minutes, for larger areas an hour or a maximum of two, so the noise associated with mowing does not last long. On the other hand, the robotic lawnmower works systematically, ie for a long time, so its noise level should not exceed 60-65 decibels.

More expensive models of robotic lawnmowers use GPS navigation and communication with a smartphone via bluetooth. They can create a map of the garden and move around it more efficiently, because they know which parts of the garden have already been mowed. The rain sensor detects heavy rain and the mower returns to the charging station. Such mowers are protected against theft by a PIN code, they will not run without their knowledge. An audible alarm will sound if the mower is lifted or carried away.

INTRODUCTORY PHOTO SOURCE: shutterstock.com

Solo by AL-KO Robolinho 450W robotic lawnmower

The compact robotic lawnmower made in Austria can handle areas up to 450 m² and climbs of up to 35% and is not without problems or narrow passages with sharp turns. The cutting height can be infinitely adjusted from 25 mm to 55 mm. The mowing technology guarantees a perfect cut and the grass clippings are cut in the mower deck and fed back to the lawn as biological fertilizer. You can control the mower via Wi-Fi using the mobile application or commands via Amazon Alexa. It is compatible with the Smart Garden system.

Price: 839 EUR
More information: www.alko-garden.sk

SPIDER CROSS LINER

The remote-controlled mower is powered by a 7.6 kW Honda petrol engine and a hydrostatic transmission, so it can also handle tall and dense grass. It has a working width of 65 cm and a productivity of 2500 m2/ ha slope accessibility 55 ° / 143%. The mower is equipped with a platform for copying the terrain, an integrated stabilizing winch and control via shear rotation. The hydraulic winch significantly increases safety and productivity when mowing on slopes. The mower is low, so it can also mow under photovoltaic panels or other obstacles. The compact dimensions allow transport even in the trunk of a station wagon.

More information: www.spidermower.sk

TECHline TECH L6 (7.5)

The mower is designed for mowing areas up to 400 m2. The robot has a powerful brushless motor and its rubber wheels with four-wheel drive can handle even on uneven surfaces, including mowing slopes with a slope of up to 50%. Using its own application, the robot can be easily controlled and updated via a smartphone or tablet.

Parameters and specifications

Weight: 8.3 kg
Width: 250 mm
Lawn area: 400 m2
Operating time: 120 min
Charging time: 180 min

Price: 1 219 EUR

INTRODUCTORY PHOTO SOURCE: shutterstock.com

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Source: Nextech by www.nextech.sk.

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