Robotic lawn mowers offer a number of benefits and are environmentally friendly

Robotic lawn mowers offer a number of benefits and are environmentally friendly

As fall approaches, the need to mow your lawn continues to diminish. But it won’t disappear. The need to use lawnmowers will come again next spring. But is there an easier way?

Robotic lawn mowers, similar to robotic vacuum cleaners, offer a number of benefits, the first of which is a reduction in routine work hours.

“The biggest benefit is you don’t have to go out and mow,” said Ashley Day, owner of Laurelwood Equipment on West Martintown Road in North Augusta.

Despite the obvious benefit, Day says robotic lawnmowers have not yet achieved significant sales.

“I would say the catch-up is slow. But more and more people are getting it every year,” he said.

In addition to saving time, mowers provide consistency.

“The second benefit is that with a robotic lawnmower, your lawn will never look like uncut grass,” he said. “Your grass will look like it was cut every day.”

The robot mower charges on a dock that you plug into a standard outlet. Ideally, your battery-powered mower will remain outside during the mowing season. Depending on the settings, it will cut the grass and return to the base to recharge after the mowing is complete.

The size of your lawn will determine how often you should set your robotic lawnmower to mow grass, Day said.

“The larger the yard, the more mowing hours will be allocated to it,” Day said.

Mowers are a good alternative for those with health problems or the elderly.

“A robotic mower is great for people with health issues, the elderly, and can keep you out of 100-degree weather,” Day said.

There is minimal maintenance with robotic mowers, Day said, noting that there is no need to change the oil or replace the air filter.

“There is some human interaction required,” he said. “Every now and then, the machine might get stuck on a limb that’s in the mower’s path. Most of the time you just let it do its job.”

Robotic lawn mowers come out on top when it comes to noise level compared to traditional lawn mowers.

A gas-powered lawn mower has a power rating of about 85 to 90 decibels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If using a conventional lawn mower, the CDC recommends no more than 15 to 45 minutes of use.

Laurelwood Equipment carries two brands of robotic mowers, Husqvarna and Stihl. Prices for these brands range from $2,800 to $5,000. Robot mowers range in size from 15 to 35 pounds.

The Husqvarna 415X is suitable for small to medium-sized lawns up to 0.4 acres, according to Husqvarna. The hourly zone capacity is 678 sf. The Stihl 422 is designed to cut yards up to a quarter-acre in about 17 hours per week, according to Stihl. It comes with an automatic shut-off feature if the device is flipped over or lifted.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a robotic mower is not 100% accurate, Day said.

“In some cases, there’s a little bit of trimming you have to do around the perimeter,” he said. “A robotic mower usually leaves about 4 to 6 inches of perimeter of the lawn where you may have to cut it with a line trimmer. But a robotic mower is still less labor-intensive than a traditional lawn mower that requires you to do it all yourself.”

This reporting content is supported by partnerships with numerous funders and journalism funding partners.

Erica Van Buren is climate change reporter for the Augusta Chronicle, part of the USA TODAY Network. Contact her at EVanBuren@gannett.com or on Twitter: @EricaVanBuren32.

Meet our new environment correspondent: The Chronicle welcomes a new reporter covering the environment and climate change to the Augusta area

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