Robot lawn mowers have a reputation for being very expensive and out of the price range of most people. Whilst this was certainly true in the past, as the years go by and the market for robot lawn mowers increases, the prices have been on a steady downward trend.
Whilst robot lawn mowers cannot be described as cheap, and are still more expensive than many conventional lawn mowers, there are a number of ways that you can ensure that you get the best value from a robot lawn mower purchase.
Pick A Robot Lawn Mower That Is Appropriate For Your Lawn Size
There are a lot of different robot lawn mowers available to buy today from a range of manufacturers. Most companies have models that are suitable for gardens of any size.
Whilst those that are designed to cut large lawns can be very expensive, those designed for lawns of under 600 m² can be surprisingly affordable. I’ve written a really helpful guide to help you choose the right robotic lawn mower for you.
By choosing a model at the more affordable end of the spectrum, you may be pleasantly surprised when you compare this to the cost of a comparable conventional lawn mower.
Personally, my lawn is approximately 400 m² and I was able to purchase the Flymo 1200R for only £510. Prior to purchasing a robot lawn mower, I had a conventional rotary mower, the Hayter R53S which actually cost £600 new. Therefore, buying a robot lawn mower was actually a cheap option for me compared to the last lawn mower I owned.
You Don’t Need Smart Features Or GPS To Get A Great Robot Lawn Mower
If you want to get a cheap robot lawn mower, you need to think about what features are essential and what features are optional. You need to make sure that the robot lawn mower that you choose will cut your lawn well and make your grass look good.
Thankfully, the vast majority of robot lawn mowers these days will do a great job of cutting your lawn. I was actually really surprised to find that my lawn looks better being cut by a robot lawn mower compared to when I used to cut it manually with a conventional lawn mower.
This is due to the fact that robot lawn mowers cut your grass a little bit on a much more regular basis so that your lawn always looks freshly cut. It also mulches the clippings and returns them to the grass and this provides additional nutrients for the growing grass, making it greener and more healthy.
With robot lawn mowers doing a really good job of the core functionality of a lawn mower, why do you really need smart features or integrated GPS or Bluetooth?
The marketing of more premium robot lawn mowers emphasizes the smart features, which allow you to control the settings of a robot lawn mower from a smartphone or tablet.
Some also emphasize their GPS features, which allow you to navigate the robot lawn mower remotely to target areas of your lawn that you are keen for extra attention to be paid to.
If you want to get a cheap robot lawn mower, you really need to forego these non-essential extra features. I’ll admit, if you have a large budget to get a robot lawn mower, it would be nice to be able to control it remotely and adjust the settings without having to do this manually on the model.
I would also imagine that your friends would be impressed if you were able to pull out your phone and show them how you’re able to control your lawn mower.
However, the main reason that I wanted to get a robot lawn mower was so that I wouldn’t have to cut my lawn anymore. I wanted to spend the time that I previously spent cutting my lawn doing more enjoyable things, such as spending time with my family.
If you would like to consider a robot lawn mower, but you have a budget to stick to, you should consider a model that does the core functionality well, but lacks the non-essential features like smartphone integration and GPS.
I would definitely recommend the model that I have, the Flymo 1200R. However, it is only suitable for lawns up to 400 square metres. If you have a lawn that is up to 1000 square meters, the McCulloch Rob R1000 is very similar to the Flymo 1200r but is able to cover a greater lawn area.
Consider The Lifetime Cost Of The Mower, Not Just The Upfront Cost
When you’re thinking about whether a robot lawn mower is a cheap option, it’s very easy just to focus on the upfront cost of the purchase. When you compare the purchase cost of a robot lawn mower compared to conventional lawn mower, more often than not the robot lawn mower will be more expensive.
However, robot lawn mowers are very simple machines and have low maintenance and repair costs. They do not need to be professionally serviced every year, unlike conventional lawn mowers, where there is greater need to have it professionally serviced, unless you have the technical know how to do it yourself.
The fuel for conventional lawn mowers, whether they are electric or petrol, is almost always more expensive than than running costs of a robot lawn mower. When you compare the cost of petrol used in a conventional lawn mower, to the cost of electricity used by a robot lawn mower, the electricity will be cheaper.
Even when you compare a manual electric lawn mower to a robot lawn mower, you will find that the electricity costs will be higher with an electric lawn mower. This is due to the fact that a manual electric lawn mower uses cutting technology which requires far more power than the cutting mechanism of robot lawn mowers.
A manual electric lawn mower has to cut the entire lawn quickly and most people only cut their lawns once every 1 to 2 weeks. As a result, the lawn mower must have sufficient power to cut through dense, long grass to get the job done effectively. Robot lawn mowers can take their time and can use much lower powered cutting systems to have much greater power efficiency.
My robot lawn mower, for example, uses only 20 watts of electricity in operation and will use an average of only 4 kilowatts of electricity per month.
The running costs of a conventional petrol lawn mower also extend to oil changes and spare parts and blades. Conventional petrol lawn mowers are much more mechanically complex than an electric robot lawn mower. There are many more parts that need to be maintained and could potentially fail and need to be replaced.
All of this will add to the cost of using a conventional lawn mower. If you add it all up, you may find that a robot lawn mower could be as cheap or even cheaper than using a conventional lawn mower.
You Will Use Less Fertiliser, Weed Killer And Lawn Seed
Since getting a robot lawn mower, I have used substantially less fertilizer, weed killer and lawn seed. In terms of fertilizer, I tend to use EverGreen Complete 4 in 1. The price of this is currently about £18 for a bag that will cover 360 m².
I used to have to use much more of these products when I had a conventional lawn mower compared to a robot lawn mower, which added significantly to my annual lawn maintenance costs.
When I had a conventional lawn mower, I used to collect and dispose of the cuttings. Whenever I
This was quite simply because the grass was taking up the fertilizer into the plant, causing it to grow quickly and become very healthy. I was then coming along and cutting the grass, removing all these nutrients that were within the cuttings.
Every time I cut the grass, I removed more and more of the nutrients that the grass was using to grow. I didn’t really have the option to use a mower that would leave the cuttings on my lawn, as I wasn’t cutting my grass frequently enough. I tried this before, but due to the quantity of grass clippings, this left a mess of clumps of cut grass all over my lawn, making my lawn look bad.
In contrast, this is possible with robot lawn mowers, as they are designed to cut your grass really frequently, so the volume of clippings isn’t an issue.
My current robot lawn mower is set cut my grass 5 days per week. Therefore, whenever it cuts the grass, there are only very small amounts of clippings which fall into the lawn and are not visible when you look at it.
However, because all of the clippings are returned to the grass, where the nutrients are released back into the soil, the grass plants that are still growing in the ground can use these nutrients to help them to grow and remain healthy. Due to the fact that no nutrients are being removed from the ground, your grass will just continue to recycle nutrients and remain green and healthy.
Prior to having a robot lawn mower, I would generally have to apply evergreen complete 4 in 1 approximately 4 times per year to keep my lawn looking green and vibrant. If I didn’t apply it every 8 weeks or so, I would notice the grass becoming unacceptably patchy and yellow.
Since getting a robot lawn mower, I only apply fertilizer once per year at the start of the season. As a result, I save the cost of 3 extra bags of fertilizer per year.
The other issue to consider is weeds. Grass can thrive despite being cut very often, but weeds cannot. I set my robot lawn mower to a cutting height of 2cm, and this ensures that any weeds that try to grow are immediately cut, and just cannot establish themselves. As I walk around my lawn today I can see no weeds whatsoever. It is June currently and I have not applied any weed killer to my lawn since March. It is debatable whether or not I need to apply any weed killer at all.
The other lawn care expense that I used to pay every year was for grass seed to repair bald spots in my lawn. Sometimes, if I was really keen to get the bald spots covered as quickly as possible, I would buy Miracle-Gro patch magic. This contains a mix of grass seed, fertilizer, and coir (used to keep the area around the new seed moist).
Since getting a robot lawn mower and keeping my lawn relatively short, weeds cannot infiltrate it, and the healthy grass is only too willing to spread to fill in any gaps. Although I bought a small packet of Miracle-Gro patch magic this year, I haven’t had to use it at all.
Overall, I probably save about £80 per year in lawn maintenance products that are no longer needed since I have got a robot lawn mower.
The price of robot lawn mowers depends on quite a number of factors. There can be significant variation in the price of the same model from one shop to the next and between physical shops and online stores. The other complication is that the naming convention of the individual models from a lot of manufacturers is very confusing.
Even being an expert in robot lawn mowers, I still struggle to keep all the robot lawn mower models in my head. Sometimes, I don’t think there is much logic in the naming system of the robot lawn mower models from certain manufacturers.
Occasionally, I have wondered whether the model names are deliberately confusing to make it more difficult for the consumer to compare like with like. Maybe that is just me being cynical. In the case of my current robot lawn mower model, I have noticed variation in the price of up to £170. So if you want to get a cheap robot lawn mower, it pays to shop around, or keep an eye on the price over time, and buy when you see a bargain.
Make Use Of Discounts Or Sales
Following on from my advice to shop around, there is also the option to wait for a discount or sale before making your purchase. My father also has a Flymo 1200R, and being over 60, he qualifies for a 10% discount from a DIY chain which has a branch near where he lives.
Whilst the regular price of this robot lawn mower model matched the cheapest available from other retailers, because he was able to use his senior citizen discount, he managed to save over £50 on the purchase price.
Equally, there are likely to be times of the year when buying a robot lawn mower might be better value. At the end of the summer, there are likely to be fewer people wanting to buy a robot lawn mower and some stores may be trying to destock in preparation for bringing in different product lines for the winter. This may be the time to look for an end of season sale and get a bargain.
Wait Until Prices Fall
The price of robot lawn mowers has steadily fallen over the years at a fairly consistent rate. I remember first reading about robot lawn mowers in the late 90s. At this time, the prices were extortionate and out of the range of the vast majority of people. I really wanted a robot lawn mower but knew that it was way out of my reach.
However, I never lost hope that I would eventually be able to afford a robot lawn mower. While now saddled with a mortgage and significant child care expenses, I have less disposable income now than at almost any time in my adult life.
However, due to the fact that the price of robot lawn mowers has fallen over the years, the models that are capable of cutting a small lawn are now quite reasonable. As a result, I was able to buy a robot lawn mower a few years ago and I’m very glad that I did.
Sales volumes of robot lawn mowers are forecast to grow at about 20% per year over the next few years. This increase in sales and the maturation of the technology that robot lawn mowers will use will lead to prices continuing to fall steadily for the next few years.
Trade In Your Conventional Lawn Mower
This last way to make a robot lawn mower cheap isn’t strictly doing anything to reduce the price of these machines. However, it is worth mentioning as it may be something that you haven’t considered.
If you would really keen to purchase a robot lawn mower, but are on a tight budget, you should investigate whether your existing conventional lawn mower is worth selling. You could sell it and make some money that you could later put towards a robot lawn mower. This may well bring the cost of a robot lawn mower down to a level that you would be happy to pay.
Many thanks for reading this article about how a robot lawn mower could be a cheap option compared to conventional lawn mowers. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or comments.