Mowers aren’t just adept at consuming overgrown blades of grass—they are expertly designed to eat up our precious free time for the laborious task of lawn maintenance.
Or, at least, they were. While they’ve become no less skilled in slicing shaggy terrain, the latest lawn mower technology takes a hands-free approach.
Automated smart mowers will not only give you a well-manicured lawn, they’ll also give you back your weekend.
Choose Your Mowbot
While the smart mower sector certainly has expanded over the years, there are certain features you should expect from (nearly) every automated lawn care solution.
• Establishing a perimeter. Each smart mower should supply you with boundary wire and pegs, with which you can establish the borders of your domestic domain. Your mower will understand these physical limitations and keep its cutting contained within the boundaries, with certain models even sending an alert should the mower trespass (forcibly or otherwise) its invisible prison.
• Cutting height control. Maybe you’re a 25 mm family? Maybe 40 mm is more your speed? Maybe you’d like one area of the yard to be clipped close enough to play tennis, while you’d like to luxuriously run your toes through other areas of the terrain. No problem. Each mower should give you some control to customize the clipping length.
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• App control. While the mower can be set on precise schedules or left to their own automated intuitions, owners can also control exactly when their device is deployed. Send your silicon servant out to slash grass before the afternoon’s outdoor activities, and recall it an instant before company arrives.
• Safety features. If you’re hesitant to invest in an automated mower because you’re concerned about a potential robotic uprising that will leave you helpless at the hands of a multi-bladed machine—fear not. These intelligent mowers are outfitted with all manner of sensors that allow them to avoid any objects in their path or automatically shut down should they find themselves in a compromising position, like, say, upside down. Even the smallest of garden gnomes will be spared.
• A charging station. This discreet dock, set in your yard, will serve as room and board for your robot helper, charging its batteries whenever it isn’t on duty.
So which smart mower is the right pick for your needs? It largely comes down to lifestyle and the terrain which your automated mower must tackle.
The creme de la creme of the cutting crop comes from noted robot makers, Honda. The Miimo 3000 ($3,239) is a sleek little mower that can cover an area up to 4,000 square meters (around one acre) and can be controlled completely via your smartphone and an intuitive user interface.
The Miimo can tackle terrain up to a 25-degree angle, and sports another nifty feature that is not standard to all automated mowers—it will work in the rain. Yes, Miimo doesn’t take any time off just because it’s wet out.
Like the grass of a neglected yard, Miimo’s cleverness abounds. The Honda-built bot can automatically detect seasonal and growth changes in your yard and devote more time to mowing each week.
The Miimo also promises a whisper-quiet operation, which is nice as the Miimo’s continuous cutting system—shaving your lawn multiple times a week—means that the robot will self-deploy at night. Not that you’ll notice.
For owners with larger estates and trickier terrain, Husqvarna Automower 450X ($3,499)—no slouch itself in the smart mower department—might be a better fit.
The 450X—which resembles something like a miniature sports car—can tackle a mowing area of up to 1.25 acres and manage hills that run to a 45-degree incline.
In addition to an expanded coverage area and inclination operation, the 450X offers many of the same features as the Miimo, including complete app control, weatherproofing (it was designed with the Nordic environment in mind), continuous cutting and more. Additionally, the 450X offers a “spot cutting” mode, which allows the mower to cut a limited area of taller grass—say a spot that usually contains garden furniture—by moving in tight spirals quickly before moving on to automatically complete the rest of the yard.
If you’ve got a smaller yard, simply don’t need all the bells and whistles or appreciate a smaller price point, the WORX Landroid M ($999) is the automated mower for you.
This little mower can only handle a quarter of an acre and unlike the 450X or Miimo, it won’t work in the rain—it puts itself back to bed once it detects wetness.
But it offers many of the same features as the top-of-the-line models, including blade height adjustment, quiet operation, scheduled cuttings and anti-theft protection. However, the Landroid doesn’t come with app control. All programming for the bot needs to be done on the device itself via its easy-to-understand keypad interface.
Moveover, the Landroid M is always trying to get better, as WORX engineers release software upgrades to get the mower obsolescence-free.
The New Old-Fashioned Method
For some homeowners, an automated mower will never do. The work is its own reward.
Well, at least that work can now be even more rewarding.
The Craftsman Smart Lawn Connect Kit ($47) will pair your riding mower with the Craftsman Smart Lawn app to give you live diagnostics on your lawn maintenance device.
Once paired, you’ll be able to track all your riding mower’s vital functions from battery to air filter to oil change and more. The Smart Lawn app will give you a heads up when you need a new part, as well as the option to order it directly—and best of all, video tutorials on how to do the installation and maintenance yourself.
The Smart Lawn app will also send an alert if inclement weather is on the way (and remind you when you last mowed), so you can try to squeeze in a mow before the storm hits.
So for those whose perfect Sunday means driving in circles around the meticulously maintained lawn, the Craftsman Connect Kit is sure to enhance the experience.
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