Robot lawnmowers (The Robomow R630)

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When we moved to our house, we were excited about our big yard. The last house we lived in had a yard that was so small that it took me maybe 15-20 minutes to mow it. This new yard was large enough that it took me an hour to an hour and a half to finish if I cut it with a walk-behind mower. Quite a difference, and a not insignificant amount of time that I’d have to spend cutting the grass. I didn’t want to buy a riding mower, which would cut down on time but would require maintenance and more storage space.

Hiring someone to cut the grass for us would be very expensive. The expense of hiring someone to cut our grass at the house with the tiny yard was so expensive that I just started cutting the grass myself. Honestly, I didn’t even check into how expensive it would have been at this house. So I decided to look into other options, and ended up with a Robomow R630 robotic lawnmower.

The Robomow was very well engineered and very modular, which made it very easy to do repairs/maintenance. In the time that I’ve owned it, it’s reliably cut the grass the entire time. I’ve replaced the blades a couple of times, and the wheel motors once (after the yard flooded a bit and it ended up half-submerged for a few hours.

I also had to repair the perimeter wire a time or two. Similar to an invisible dog fence, the Robomow requires a boundary wire to be laid out around the yard so that it knows where it’s safe to cut. Once, I cut through the wire myself while fighting a snake with a shovel, and the other time my dog got very excited about digging into a mole tunnel.

Other than that, it’s been great. Every so often, it leaves its charging base, cuts the grass, and returns to its base. The yard is always just cut.

Recently, after a little more than 4 years, we had a deep freeze that basically killed the Robomow. It didn’t even power on for about a week, and now it’s slowly come back to life, but I can’t control it from my phone anymore. I looked into replacing the main board of the unit, but it’s been discontinued, so parts are increasingly expensive and I’m not sure that it would fix the issue. So I decided to buy another robot lawnmower. Lasting for 4 years meant that it cost me about $31/month. Not bad for getting housrs of my life back!

For awhile, I’ve had my eye on the Segway Navimow, which isn’t yet available here in the states. The benefit there is that it uses GPS for navigation, so you can just draw a boundary line around your yard on a map instead of relying on a perimeter wire.

Since I can’t even check one of those out yet, I bought the latest Robomow. I went with the RK4000. It seems very much like the R630, just more refined. I’m mostly looking forward to the better tires and better blade system that will hopefully be easier to change. We’ll see how that goes! I’ll report back.

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