Our lawn isn’t enormous, but it still requires regular mowing in the Summer, and with the usual chaos of family life it can be hard to find time to look after it properly. We’ve been guilty in the past of leaving it to grow quite long, which makes it difficult to mow and looks pretty messy.
Robomow asked us to trial one of their robotic lawnmowers this Summer, to see how it could take the strain out of looking after our lawn.
A Robomow robotic lawnmower automatically mows your lawn regularly, without you having to lift a finger. I was sold as soon as I read this! You need to operate it via the Robomow App; once you’ve got this setup, it pretty much looks after itself.
There are a range of Robomows to choose from, based on the size of your garden. Pete from Robomow arrived with our model, the RC304, which is designed for gardens up to 400 square metres.
You can install a Robomow yourself, or pay to have an installer come and set it up for you, which is what Pete did for us.
The installation process is actually quite simple. You need to choose a spot for the Robomow’s dock, and connect it to a power supply. Then you need to run the special cable provided around the edge of your lawn, and peg it down; there are rulers supplied to help you get the distance right.
The Robomow will sense the wire as it approaches and change direction, so it doesn’t fall off into a border or get stuck. The aim is to get the wire as close to the edge as possible, without causing the Robomow to fall off; doing this means there is a minimal amount of grass at the edge of the lawn which doesn’t get cut.
Pete was an expert at positioning the wire and had it done in about fifteen minutes; you could easily do it yourself, but I think it would take you a few attempts to get it in the right place. Obviously, you can adjust the pegs and wire at any point should you need to.
Once our Robomow was installed, I downloaded the Robomow App onto my phone and Pete talked me through the setup process, which is fairly simple. The app allows you to set things like mowing frequency, inactive days and times, and also manually force the Robomow to mow. We set ours so that it only mowed on weekdays during school time, to make sure the kids could always use the garden when they were home.
There’s also a cute function on the app which allows you to drive the Robomow around without it cutting; my eldest loved this, it’s like having a giant remote controlled car!
So what was the Robomow like in action? Here’s a little video (see if you can spot the curious cat):
At first, the novelty factor had us watching ‘Bobby’ (the kids named him on the first day) quite a bit, but we soon left him to get on with his job. We didn’t play around with the settings very much, because we just didn’t need to. There’s a really comprehensive manual if you fancy getting into the detail though!
The Robomow is really quiet, and does a great job of mowing while you get on with something else. Just like a standard lawnmower, you can manually adjust the blades to cut at your preferred height. It takes a lot longer to cut the lawn, but the technology manages all that for you, and it even heads back mid-mow to charge up if required. I absolutely love that there are no grass cuttings to deal with; they’re all very finely chopped and sprinkled back onto the garden. I was a bit worried that this would mean we were treading grass into the house, but this hasn’t happened at all. I think that’s because the lawn is mowed regularly, so there’s never a huge amount of clippings at any one time.
At first, the wire is quite obvious on the lawn, but it doesn’t take long for the grass to grow over and cover it up.
You do need to take care of the edges of the lawn beyond the perimeter wire. There’s an ‘edge’ mode, in which the Robomow cuts right up to the wheels and reduces the amount of grass you need to deal with. So there’s still a little bit of lawn maintenance, but it really is minimal.
The Robomow has got stuck a few times, so we’ve tweaked the perimeter wire a bit. This is all part of getting it set up correctly, as opposed to a long-term problem. I think this would happen more often on curvy rather than straight-edged lawns. When it gets stuck the app tells you there’s a problem, and you have to rescue it and send it home to it’s dock, where it sorts itself out and sets off on the next mower cycle.
I do think the app could be improved. It’s quite glitchy; sometimes it doesn’t work, and it often struggled to connect to the Robomow. We found it quite straightforward to use, but it needs to work more consistently.
We’ve had the Robomow for six weeks, and it’s really made a difference to our lawn. The grass looks healthy and the mulched clippings are no doubt contributing to that. We had quite a few bare patches from the kids ball games and our resident ants, but a lot of those have filled themselves in too.
Sadly Bobby has to leave us soon for another trial; we’ll really miss him!
The RC304 Robomow retails at around £999; you can find more info. and the full range on the Robomow website here. Do you think you could find a home for one in your garden?
We were loaned the Robomow RC304 for review purposes, all opinions and comments are honest and genuine.