Having owned a Flymo 1200R for a while now, I feel it offers great performance at a very reasonable price.
It’s the mower I’d recommend for lawns up to 400m². This article will outline my experiences with the Flymo 1200R, highlighting the pros and cons and will talk you through all the information you need to get your machine up and running.
I feel that the Flymo 1200R is a model which hits the sweet spot in terms of price and functionality. Since purchasing my own model, I have had minimal hassle and have enjoyed a very well cut lawn. The price varies a bit, but is normally one of the best value models available. You can check the current price of the Flymo 1200R here as well as read the reviews on amazon.
My previous mechanical lawnmower was not that much cheaper to purchase than the Flymo 1200R and there was a fair bit of maintenance involved in keeping it in working order. These add to the expense and hassle of running a traditional petrol powered lawn mower.
Advantages Of The Flymo 1200R Robotic Lawn Mower
- Great value
- Once the installation is done, requires minimal user input
- Excellent safety features
- Mulches the grass clippings, so you don’t have to deal with them
- Great to watch in action
- Good security features
- Frequent cutting means a freshly cut lawn all the time
- Your lawn will be greener and healthier
Disadvantages Of The Flymo 1200R Robotic Lawn Mower
- Initial setup can take several hours
- Only suitable for lawns up to 400 m²
- Doesn’t have any smart features
- Can’t always cut right to the edge of your lawn. You will probably have to trim the edges every so often.
- Not suitable for very steep lawns (Can manage slope angles of up to 14°
Do You Need A Robot Lawn Mower At All?
Conventional lawnmowers do an excellent job and there is a huge range of lawn mowers that will suit any size of garden and will cater to all budgets and requirements. Having gained good experience with robot lawn mowers, I feel that they are becoming an increasingly attractive proposition.
Where robot lawn mowers really shine is that they prevent you from having to cut your lawn at all and give you additional free time to do more enjoyable activities. At the same time, you’re able to enjoy a perfectly cut lawn with minimal input.
Robot lawn mowers have come a long way since they first came to the market over 20 years ago. Up until fairly recently, they have been very expensive and quite cumbersome to use. More recently, a number of models have come to the market that are much more competitively priced and as the technology has improved, they have become easier to install and use. Read this article on the benefits of robot lawn mowers to learn more.
Basic Information About The Flymo 1200R Robotic Lawn Mower
- Suitable for lawns up to 400 square meters
- Cutting height is between 20 and 50 mm
- Cuts at a rate of 30 square meters per hour
- Charge time of 50 minutes
- Cutting time on full charge of 65 minutes
- Can manage inclines of up to 14°
- Very quiet in operation, at only 58 decibels – equivalent to quiet conversation between two people.
- Low power consumption, of only 20 watts.
- Powered by an 18 v 1.6 Ah Lithium-ion Battery
- Fully autonomous cutting and charging
- Grass clippings are mulched and returned to the soil – no need to collect or dispose of clippings
- Measures 58 cm long, 46 cm wide, and is 26cm tall
- Weighs 7.4 kg.
Here is a very quick video which gives you a close up of the main parts and features of the Flymo 1200R
The Flymo 1200R needs to be set up prior to first operation and this takes approximately 1-2 hours, depending on the size of your lawn. The instruction information provided is very clear and specific, and installation is not difficult. Once it has been set up for the first time, there is minimal input needed to keep it running smoothly. I’ve also got an article about tips and tricks for using the Flymo 1200R robot lawn mower.
The Flymo 1200R can be programmed to work at any time that is convenient. You can set it to work on any number of days you wish and the hours of operation can be customised via the control panel on top of the mower.
The mower doesn’t collect the clippings, but mulches them into very fine clippings, and these are returned to the soil to act as fertiliser for the growing grass. This means there is no need to collect or dispose of clippings. The maximum electricity consumption for a mower working every day is only 4 kilowatt hours per month in a 400sqm working area. Flymo estimate that the mower uses 20 watts electricity +/- 20% while in use. This is one third of a standard 60 watt incandescent light bulb.
Robot lawn mowers all mow your lawn much more slowly than a conventional lawn mower, but as they are autonomous, this really does not matter as you can leave it to get on with the job. As they are so quiet in operation, it’s no inconvenience to have them working away while you are enjoying the garden.
When I’m relaxing on the patio with a beer, it’s quite satisfying to look over and see the robot working away, and I can’t even hear it working unless it gets within about 10 feet.
The cutting system uses three fine razor blades which are attached to a spinning disc under the motor. I was surprised by how tiny the cutting blades are, but they do the job just fine. For those people who like to have a neatly striped lawn, unfortunately, the flymo 1200R is not able to produce this effect, as it cuts the lawn in an irregular pattern, ensuring all areas of the grass are covered.
The Flymo 1200r comes with everything that you need to get started, including a reasonable number of spares. I have listed all the parts that came in the box below.
Contents Of The Box
- 1 x robotic mower
- 1 x charger station
- 3 x charging station screws
- 1 x allen key
- 1 x power supply
- 1 x low voltage cable
- 150 m of boundary wire
- 200 boundary wire pegs
- 1 x measurement guage
- 9 replacement blades
- 5 x cable connectors
- 3 x connection terminals
- 1 x alarm decal
- 1 x installation manual
- 1 x quick start manual
- 1 x installation DVD
- 1 x product registration card
After purchasing your robotic lawnmower, I’m sure you will be very keen to get it up and running. The installation process is fairly straightforward but is a little bit time consuming. The supplied instructions are very clear and comprehensive, ensuring that you should have no significant issues during the installation process. You will need a few simple tools to install your robotic lawn mower;
A hammer or mallet (to help put the pegs into the ground)
A pair of combination pliers for cutting the boundary wire and pressing the connectors together.
Polygrip (for pressing the couplers together – although I just made do with the pliers for this)
An edge cutter or straight spade if you wish to bury the boundary wire.
Placement Of The Charging Station
The first job is to identify the most appropriate place for the charging station. This must be placed fairly close to an outside wall socket to power the charging station. The Flymo 1200R comes with a 10m low voltage charging cable, so this does permit some flexibility to put the charging station in a convenient location.
Flymo recommend allowing a minimum of 3 metres of free space in front of the charging station and they also recommend that you should be able to lay a minimum of 1.5 m of boundary wire straight out to the right and left of the charging station. The charging station must also be placed on a level surface and preferably on the lower part of a working area that has a major slope.
Thankfully, I have a number of outside power points and a fairly flat lawn, so I had several options. The charging station must be placed on the grass, not on paving or patio. This meant that I had to run the power cable across a narrow section of path to connect it to the power supply.
This is not a major issue, but it does mean that I have had an unsightly cable running across my path. I have covered this with a cable tidy, to keep it flush with the ground. Ideally, it would be nice to have an external power point that was accessible without crossing a paved area.
An alternate option for me would have been to lift two paving stones and run the power cable underneath, but for now, I am happy with the set up.
The charging station is secured to the ground with three long plastic screws which are very easily inserted into the grass. Once the charging station has been secured, you can connect the low voltage power cable, which has a sturdy and waterproof connector on each end, meaning the cable can be left connected in the vast majority of weathers.
The power supply itself must not be left sitting on the ground, where there is a risk it could be submerged in water during heavy rain. The best solution it to secure it to the wall beside the power supply at a height of approximately 30 cm.
Installation Of The Boundary Wire
The boundary wire must be laid in such a way that the wire forms a loop around the working area. The boundary wire is specially designed to resist dampness from the soil, so either pegging it to the grass or burying it under the soil are equally viable options. The maximum length of the boundary wire is 400 m long, and the mower will most likely not function correctly if your garden requires a longer boundary than this.
I would recommend pegging the boundary wire to the ground first to ensure that the lawnmower functions as intended, before making a later decision to bury in the boundary wire if desired. I would strongly recommend burying being boundary wire as soon as you’re confident that the mower is functioning without issue. This will reduce the risk of the boundary wire being damaged or cut by the robot lawn mower if you set the cutting blade too low.
If you do not decide to bury the boundary wire, the grass will grow over the top of it after 2-3 months, and the wire will disappear from view and no longer be at risk of being cut by the lawn mower. Another significant advantage of burying the boundary wire is if you want to de-thatch or aerate the lawn. If you bury the boundary wire, then you need not worry about damaging the boundary wire when you carry out this maintenance.
If the working area borders on to a flower bed or a small elevation, the boundary wire should be laid approximately 20 cm inside of the working area. This prevents the lawn mower from driving into the flower bed or other obstruction, which might lead to the robotic lawnmower getting stuck. This will result in approximately 12 cm of the lawn not being mowed, but allows the lawnmower to operate smoothly. If the working area borders on a paving area where the robot lawn mower can move onto without any issue, the boundary wire should be laid 5 centimeters from the edge of the path, and this enables the entirety of the grass to be cut.
Here is a video by Flymo which outlines the process of installing the perimeter wire of the Flymo 1200R.
Read The Installation Instructions Carefully
In my own personal experience, having read the manual and the quick start guide, I decided to be slightly more aggressive with my placement of the boundary wire. As the majority of my lawn borders flower beds. I was keen to see if it was possible to place the boundary wire closer to the edge of the lawn, and ensure that a minimum amount of grass was left uncut. Unfortunately I was a little bit too optimistic with my placement of the boundary wire, and when I initially set things up, the lawnmower frequently drove into the flower beds, getting stuck and needing to be manually rescued. I very quickly realised that the instruction manual was written for a reason, so I adjusted the location of the boundary wire to the correct distance from the edge of the lawn, and I’ve had no issues with the lawnmower getting stuck since.
I found that the supplied measurement tool, which is really just a piece of cardboard with the appropriate measurements on it, was more than adequate for the job of placing the boundary wire. It really didn’t take me very long to go round and insert the pegs into the ground securing the boundary wire at the desired position around the edge of the lawn. It is important to leave a redundant loop of boundary wire at the point where the guide wire will intersect the boundary wire. This loop of wire will make it easier to connect the guide wire to the boundary wire.
Once you have fully pegged in the boundary wire you will need to connect the two ends to the charging station. This is done very simply by attaching a clamp to each end of the wire which then plugs into the back of the charging station. Once the boundary wire is installed, the next job is to install the guidewire. The same cable is used for both the boundary wire and the guide wire. The guide wire runs up the middle of your grass through any narrow sections of the lawn to the far side of your lawn, and allows the lawn mower to find the far side of the garden, ensuring all areas are cut, and also helping the mower locate the charging station when it needs to return to charge.
The Flymo 1200r manual explains very clearly where you should put the guidewire to ensure the smooth functioning of your lawn mower. Once you have installed the guide wire, finishing at the location where you left a redundant loop of perimeter wire, you can then connect it to the perimeter wire. This is done by cutting the redundant loop of the perimeter wire and connecting the two ends and the guide wire with one of the cable couplers supplied. Each of the three wires to be connected are simply inserted into each of the three holes of the coupler, and then clamped securely with a polygrip or pair of pliers. The coupler can then be buried under the grass.
First Start Up
Once you’ve completed the installation of the Flymo 1200R, you can now do the first start up and calibration process, which will only take a few minutes at most. When you first start the robot lawn mower, it will guide you through a number of settings, including language and country selection, current time, date and setting a 4 digit pin code. After doing this you should set the Flymo 1200R in the charging station, press the start button and close the hatch. The Flymo 1200R will then start it’s calibration process by leaving the charging station, following the guide wire to the point where it is connected to the boundary wire, ensuring that it can navigate around your lawn without any issues.
You should then ensure that the Flymo 1200R can find its way back to the charging station without issue. To do this, you should open the hatch of the lawnmower by pressing the stop button, place the robotic lawnmower several metres away from the guide wire, select the home mode on the control panel, then press start and close the hatch. The robot lawnmower will then detect the guide wire and follow it back to the docking station. As long as the mower correctly navigates to the charging station and docks successfully, your new mower is ready for use.
Operation Of The Flymo 1200R
Before your Flymo 1200R starts working, you should adjust a few settings in the control panel. The amount of cutting time that your lawn will need will depend on the size of the lawn and your own preference. The manual has some suggestions for how many days and how many hours per day you should set the lawnmower working for depending on the size of your lawn.
Personally I would recommend setting your lawn mower initially to cut 7 days per week and start the cutting blades at the highest setting. As the days go by you can lower the cutting blade to the desired height to ensure that you achieve the desired look of your lawn. Once you’re happy that the lawnmower is functioning as intended, you can reduce the number of cutting dies and as desired.
While the mower is an operation, it is very quiet and doesn’t distract from the peace and quiet of your garden. It moves at a slow walking pace and randomly zig zags about your garden stopping at the guidewire when it reaches the edge of your lawn, turning around and going in another direction. I would have to say that I really quite enjoy looking out the window and seeing my lawnmower in action every morning, as it reminds me that I no longer have to cut the grass, and I enjoyed seeing a perfectly cut lawn every day. It is also a source of fascination for my two small children. My 3 year old daughter has named it Ariel and likes to keep me updated with what it is up to. I think when you name your robot, you know you have a problem!
When out in the garden with my children, I am generally happy for the lawnmower to continue in operation as long as I am supervising them. I am comfortable with the safety features of the lawnmower and know that if one of the children were to upset or try to lift it, it would stop immediately. I will not of course leave the children unsupervised with the lawnmower, as children can be very ingenious and you never know what could happen.
The Flymo 1200R has considerable safety features, to ensure that risk of injury is minimised. It has lift and tilt sensors which cause the mower to stop immediately if it is lifted or reaches a tilt angle which could expose the blades. The blades are also surprisingly far underneath the body of the mower and you would have to reach considerably far under it to come in contact with them. This is reassuring as it reduces the risk of inadvertent contact with the mower causing injury.
The Flymo 1200R also has collision sensors, which mean that whenever the mower bumps into an obstruction, it will stop, back up, turn and move in a different direction. As the mower moves quite slowly, no damage will be caused to either participant in the collision.
Thankfully the Flymo 1200R has several good security settings. It has a time lock, a PIN code, and an alarm. The security settings can be adjusted in the control panel from low, medium and high security settings. All robot lawn mowers have similar security features and all will request a PIN code before the lawnmower is operable. As this is a standard feature, it Is less likely that thieves will target robotic lawn mowers. In the event that your lawnmower is stolen, it will be completely useless to the thieves.
The Flymo 1200R does not have more advanced features that some of the more premium and expensive models have, such as GPS tracking, but this is a sacrifice I can live with as it helps keep the cost down to a reasonable level.
Thankfully, there really isn’t an awful lot of maintenance required with the Flymo 1200R. The manufacturer recommends cleaning the mower every few weeks. This can be done with a brush for the undercarriage, around the wheels and cutting disc, and a damp cloth for the larger areas of plastic. The picture above shows my mower after a month without cleaning. It is important to ensure that the blades move freely as they are meant to be loose and be able to rotate on the mounting screws with ease. Sometimes grass gets caught under the blades, around the mounting screws, so it is a good idea to clean this off with a dry brush.
The treads of the wheels tend to get clogged with grass clippings and mud, particularly in wet or damp weather. This can reduce the grip that the mower has and can reduce it’s performance on steep slopes. I have found that it is difficult to clean the treads with a dry brush alone, so I normally use a garden fork to gently scrape the mud and grass from the treads. This only takes one or two minutes, but is well worth doing.
The manufacturer recommends changing the cutting blades every 4-7 weeks. I think this is much more frequently than necessary, but understand the rationale. The mower is meant to work by slicing the top off the blades of grass, rather than knocking them off, which is generally what the blades of a conventional lawn mower will do. The advantage of this is that it causes less damage to the blades of grass, which is more important with it being cut very frequently.
The blades will dull over time and after 8 weeks or so, they have dulled significantly. However, I have not noticed a major degradation in cutting performance over time with my blades. The picture above shows blades that have been cutting every day for more than 3 months. This is maybe a little too long, and I did change the blades right after this photo, but don’t plan on changing them any more frequently than every 3 months.
It is worth discussing spares at this stage. The Flymo 1200R comes with more than enough perimeter wire for all but the most tricky gardens, and also comes with 9 spare blades, 5 x cable connectors and 3 x connection terminals. Flymo recommend changing the blades every 8 weeks. I think this is much too often and unnecessary. Once or twice per season is fine. If you need to change the route of the boundary wire or if there is a break in your boundary wire, you will need to use the cable connectors to reconnect the wire. This is the same process as when connecting the perimeter wire during set up.
You will most likely need spare blades at some stage and it would probably be advisable to get some extra connectors and perimeter wire to keep at home, as there are few things more frustrating than encounter a problem with your mower and not have a spare available to repair the fault.
Official Flymo spares are very expensive and I would strongly advise you not to purchase them, as it is a total waste of money. The Flymo brand is owned by Husqvarna, one of the giants in the world of robotic lawnmowers. The same blades and connectors are used in quite a number of their robotic lawnmowers. I have purchased compatible spares from Amazon that are identical to the official Flymo spares at considerably less cost.
My advice would be to buy a pack of spare blades, connectors and spare wire and then you can rest easy if your mower encounters any problems. I have outlined the price of official spares below, along with links to suitable spares on Amazon that I use myself. The price will fluctuate a little, but they are usually considerably cheaper than the official spares.
Pack of 9 official Flymo blades = £22.01 ( £2.45 per blade)
Official Flymo connector = £2.50 each (sold individually)
Spare Perimeter Wire
Official Flymo boundary wire (150m) = £101.96 (68p per metre)
The Flymo 1200R is an excellent robot lawn mower and is great value in comparison to many other models on the market. For people with a lawn of up to 400sqm, I would struggle to recommend any of the more advanced, or more expensive models, as the Flymo 1200R does everything that is required.
The main negatives for me were the set up, which was somewhat time consuming and the fact that I still have to maintain the edges of my lawn, as the Flymo 1200R will not cut right to the edge of my flower beds.
However, I could not go back to a conventional, manual lawn mower, as the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
I really enjoy the satisfaction of not having to cut my lawn, looking out on a freshly cut lawn every day, and the entertainment of seeing my little robot working away in the garden. I hope this review and guide has provided some useful information and insight into my experience with the Flymo 1200R.