The best automatic mowers cost at least twice as much as even a top self-propelled gas mower, but it is usually less expensive than paying someone else to mow your lawn, with a payback period of a year or two.
The electricity needed to keep them charged costs about $5 to $10 per season, and of course there are no gasoline fumes or dangers to worry about.
Robotic mowers do require some pretty extensive initial setup, laying wire around the area to be mowed, which can take several hours or up to a full day.
Mowing and recharging times range from one to six hours, depending on the type and number of batteries onboard, and the average mower covers about 1,500 square feet in an hour. They can navigate inclines as steep as 27 degrees and can be set to mow at heights up to 3.25 inches.
Robotic mowers mulch the grass clippings, cutting them into fine bits that help fertilize the lawn.
These mowers are typically designed for light trimming, some may not be able to handle twigs and leaves or steep slopes.
Most mowers have security systems that sound an alarm or disable the mower if it is lifted off the ground.
Each of the currently sold on the market robo-mowers has three components: the mower, the charging station and the perimeter wire.
Are they safe? What should you do if a robot with three razor sharp blades spinning at 5,800 rpm starts racing toward you? Do nothing. It will just bounce off you and go another direction. Over 72,000 emergency room visits involved lawn mowers in 2005. ZERO involved robotic lawn mowers.