It’s summertime – the time of barbeques, road trips, swimming, camping, county fairs and other fun in the sun activities. For many, it can be a struggle to find the time to truly enjoy activities like these due to those pesky obligations like going to work and seasonal tasks, such as summer lawn care. Who hasn’t found themselves saying, with a sigh of resignation and perhaps an expletive, “I wish I could [insert activity here] but I have to mow the lawn!” I used to say that A LOT, but not anymore thanks to my robotic lawn mower.
“Robotic lawn mower,” you say? You may think you are being punked, as this sounds like something straight out of the movie ‘Back to the Future.’ I understand your incredulous reaction because it was my own when Husqvarna asked me to test drive their Automower 315. However, I can assure you that they are available at your local Husqvarna dealer with no time traveling DeLorean required.
If you’re familiar with Roomba vacuum cleaners, the Automower is similar in concept. The Automower is cordless and charges itself at an outdoor docking station which is plugged into a GFCI outdoor electrical outlet. It can mow for a little over an hour on one charge before returning to its dock to regroup. The Automower and the charging dock can be exposed to the elements. However, if you want to afford your Automower some extra protection, Husqvarna does offer a protective housing, at an additional cost, that connects to the charging dock for certain models.
Your lawn mowing experience is completely customizable. There are two hatches that open on the top of the automower. One provides access to a knob for adjusting lawn cutting height while the other opens to a pin-code activated computer console where you can customize various settings such as daily lawn mowing schedules.
Before your lawn is ‘Automower ready,’ it requires an installation of green boundary wire around the perimeter of your property and other places in your lawn (flower beds, trees, etc.) where you do not want your Automower to bump into or venture past. This installation can be easily done yourself or by your local Husqvarna dealer for an additional charge. I had the opportunity to watch this installation unfold and observed the install team using small black plastic stakes to secure the wire to the ground. I must admit I had a silent inner protest about the idea of laying wire everywhere, thinking it would be unsightly, but the wire has visually melded into the ground as Mother Nature has grown over it.
Husqvarna currently offers three different Automowers (the 315, 430X and 450X), each designed to accommodate different sized lawns ranging from .37 acres to 1.25 acres. The higher end models (430X and 450X) are extra-sophisticated with some additional features, such as a smartphone app that allows you to program, monitor and GPS track your Automower. If you’re committed to an Automower purchase, I would highly recommend that you have your local Husqvarna professional survey your lawn and recommend an Automower model for you. This recommendation is based on my own experiences. I have experienced some hiccups with the Automower operation because I am test driving a model appropriate for the size of my lawn but not necessarily for the layout of my lawn. Not all lawns are created equal and you will want to ensure that you have the Automower that is the best match for your lawn, especially given the initial monetary investment.
With a price tag starting at $1999.95, the Automower is admittedly a big investment but is a worthwhile one when you factor in the amount of time you will regain to create great summer memories with your family and friends instead of serving dutifully behind a push mower or atop a traditional riding lawn mower. If that doesn’t have you convinced, then how about this – you will no longer be contributing to the din of obnoxious lawnmower noise in the summer amphitheater. The Automower works discreetly and quietly. Go ahead and take a nap in your backyard hammock – it will not disturb you.
At the time of this writing (June 2016), I have had the Automower 315 for about a month and can report that my entire lawn has been kept shorn to the height I programmed it to be. And, outside of the few aforementioned hiccups, the operation of the unit has been a relatively smooth one. If you have been saving your pennies for a rainy day, then this is definitely something I would consider purchasing. And, considering the Automower will actually mow on a rainy day (yes, it’s true!), this is the perfect rainy day purchase.
If you have any questions about the Automower, please leave me a comment below and I will be happy to answer. To see the Automower in action, please view the video below: