How Do Robot Lawn Mowers Know Where to Cut?

More and more people are choosing to invest in a robot lawn mower. They offer a convenient, virtually labour-free way of keeping your lawn looking its best. However, one question that many would-be buyers have is - ‘how do robot lawn mowers know where to cut?’. Discover the answer in this guide from the team at Hughie Willett Machinery…

How do robot lawn mowers work? 

The prospect of having an autonomous robot that can keep your lawn freshly cut is certainly an attractive one. 

But, one of the common worries of would-be owners is that a robot mower may veer off course, cutting areas of the lawn that you don’t want cut.

However, the reality is that robot lawn mowers have a number of rather ingenious ways of staying within pre-defined boundaries; preventing them from cutting where they shouldn’t!

Below, we’ve set out the different ways that robot mowers know where to cut.

Perimeter wire robot lawn mowers

The most common types of robot lawn mower use a perimeter wire to ‘mark out’ an area within which they will cut. 

This boundary wire usually takes the form of a copper cable that is sheathed in a protective insulating material such as plastic. For most models of robot mower this boundary wire will either need to be buried just below the surface of the lawn, or can be ‘tacked’ to the lawn’s surface where it will be covered by grass over time. 

How do robot lawn mowers navigate?

When the robot lawn mower is in operation, the boundary wire is detected by the mower via an electromagnetic signal. When the mower detects the wire, it will automatically veer away from it, returning to cut within the specified boundary. 

Think of this boundary wire as being like an invisible fence around your lawn, that’ll prevent your mower from wandering where it shouldn’t.

When it comes to the way in which a perimeter-wire based mower cuts, there are two main ways in which a mower will cut the defined lawn area: 

  • Random - where the mower effectively ‘wanders around’ your lawn mowing until it reaches the boundary wire. It’ll then turn around and continue mowing in a different direction. This method of grass cutting is very popular and effective, ensuring that there are never any tracks created on the lawn.

  • Systematic - other types of robot mowers will mow within the boundary based on a predefined plan. They will typically use a systematic grid-based pattern, mowing in a series of straight lines. The aim is to mow the lawn in a more orderly, efficient fashion. These types of mowers are sometimes described as using a ‘grid-mow’ system. In some cases, they will use either scanners and/or GPS to map out the lawn prior to mowing. This is also a very popular method of mowing, and is seen to be equally effective.

As perimeter-based robot mowers have advanced in recent years, they have incorporated further features. These include 360-degree radar or laser sensors which are designed to detect any obstacles within the defined mowing area. For example, many modern robot lawn mowers are able to detect obstacles such as dropped toys or large stones on a lawn and navigate around them.

Wireless robot lawn mowers

Since the inception of robot lawn mowers, manufacturers have been continually innovating. And, arguably the most significant innovation in recent years, has been the development of wireless-based robot lawn mowers. 

This new generation of robot mower is able to mow a defined area without the use of a perimeter wire. 

These wireless-based lawn mowers use an onboard GPS system to create a map of your garden and set out virtual boundaries, within which the mower will remain. 

Perhaps the leading example of wireless-based robot lawn mowers is Husqvarna’s EPOS system. Standing for Exact Positioning Operation System, EPOS is a satellite-based system that allows the mower to cut within only a few millimetres of a predefined virtual boundary.

Setting up the system is easy and simply involves buying one of Husqvarna’s compatible NERA mowers, an EPOS pod and downloading the Automower® Connect app. With this app, you are able to set which areas of your garden you want to be mowed. You can also explicitly define ‘stay out zones’, for added reassurance. 

How do robot lawn mowers work?

Some models of wireless robot lawn mower can mow using either method; systematic or random. This gives the user the best of both worlds. This considerably speeds up the mowing process, meaning you’ll have a neater lawn much quicker than if you were to use a perimeter-based random mower.

In fact, with wireless robot mowers such as those from Husqvarna, you are able to implement very granular levels of cutting. For example, you can set the mower to cut at different heights on different parts of the lawn. You can even set the mower to operate on certain schedules. 

As you can see, a wireless-based mower such as one of Husqvarna’s NERA mowers has many advantages over perimeter-wire based mowers. Arguably, the biggest advantage is the fact that you don’t need to engage in the laborious task of installing a perimeter wire around your garden. 

Like their perimeter counterparts, many wireless-based mowers feature advanced radar or laser sensors which allow them to automatically detect, and avoid, obstacles within their mowing area. 

Note - it is important not to be confused by what are sometimes called GPS-robot mowers. In many instances, these mowers still require the use of a perimeter wire; they use GPS to both improve their mowing accuracy and to act as an anti-theft deterrent. If you’re in doubt as to what kind of mower you are looking at, please contact the team at Hughie Willett Machinery, and they will be happy to help.

Perimeter-wire robot mower vs wireless robot mower: which is best for you? 

At this point, you may be wondering which type of robot lawn mower is best for you and your garden. 

Below, we’ve highlighted some of the pros and cons of each type to help you make an informed decision. 

Perimeter-wire robot mower pros and cons

Check out the main pros and cons of perimeter-wire based robot mowers below: 

Perimeter-wire robot mower pros

  • Cost - robot mowers that use perimeter wires tend to be the more affordable type of robot lawn mower. 
  • Simplicity - perimeter-wire robot mowers are generally simple to operate. Once the wire is installed, they’ll happily mow your lawn with little-to-no human supervision.

Perimeter-wire robot mower cons

  • Installation - by their very nature, perimeter-wire robot mowers require the installation of a wire around the edge of your garden. This can be a time-consuming and laborious task, especially if you have a large garden.  But is the only option currently if you have a large amount of tree cover.

Wireless robot mower pros and cons

How about a wireless robot mower? Could that be the perfect choice for your garden? Take a look at their pros and cons below. 

Wireless robot mower pros

  • Ease of installation - with no need to install a perimeter wire, you can avoid a laborious installation job with a wireless robot mower. 
  • Clean cutting and finish - with the ability to mow in a systematic or random fashion, a wireless robot lawn mower will provide a clean and tidy finish to your lawn.

Wireless robot mower cons

  • Cost - as wireless robot mowers are a relatively new type of mower, they tend to be more expensive than perimeter robo mowers. Also an EPOS Pod is needed for them to function. Instead of the cost of wire, there is the cost of the EPOS pod to factor in.
  • Theft - wireless robot mowers are highly desirable devices, which means they are targets for thieves. Luckily, wireless mowers tend to be fitted with multiple, effective anti-theft features. 

The best robot lawn mowers UK

Okay, at this point you should have a clear understanding of the ways in which robot lawn mowers know where to cut. You will generally have two choices open to you; a perimeter-wire robot mower, or a wireless robot mower. 

Whichever type of robot mower you decide is best for you, you’re bound to find a perfect option for you here at Hughie Willett Machinery. 

Below, we’ve outlined some of our best robot lawn mowers (including both perimeter wire and wireless models).

Husqvarna Automower® 310 Mark II

Husqvarna Automower 310 Mark II

Husqvarna Automower® 310 Mark II

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If you’re looking for a perimeter wire robot mower that exudes quality and is packed with features, then you’ll love the 310 Mark II from Husqvarna. 

Husqvarna - which fired the starting gun on the robot mower revolution - has created in the 310 Mark II a robotic lawn mower that can cover large amounts of lawn (1000 m²), manage slopes with a 40% incline and even guide itself down narrow passageways. 

The 310 Mark II also has a handy ‘triple-search function’ which allows the mower to find the quickest way back to its charging station. 

Add in the fact that it includes a frost guard, weather timer, and smartphone control, and you’ve got the perfect all-round robot lawn mower!

Husqvarna Automower® 415X

Husqvarna Automower 415X

Husqvarna Automower® 415X

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Looking for a robot lawn mower with a bit more oomph? Then you’ll want to explore the 415X from Husqvarna. 

Able to mow complex lawns up to 1500 m² in area, the 415X is the ideal choice for homes with mid-size lawns. 

Able to operate on inclines of up to 40% and with systematic passage mowing, the 415X is a match for even the most challenging of lawns. 

As a member of Husqvarna’s premium X-Line range, it’s no surprise to find that the 415X is absolutely packed with features and the latest tech. These include; GPS-assisted navigation, Automower® Connect, GPS theft tracking, LED headlights, and FOTA (automatic firmware updates over the air). Other features include ‘zone control’ - which enables the mower to conduct different types of cuts on different parts of the lawn - and smart home integration (so you can control it with Alexa or Google Home). 

When we said the 415X is packed with features, we weren’t lying! Other features that truly make the 415X stand out include: 

  • Rewilding mode - whereby the mower automatically keeps 10% of your lawn unmown to boost biodiversity. 
  • Electrically-operated cutting height adjustment. 
  • GeoFence - receive automatic notifications if your mower is moved outside a defined area.
  • Balance control - to maintain a stable and consistent cut across the entirety of your lawn.

To top it all off, the 415X is easy-to-clean and can be safely hosed down and features a frost guard, meaning the mower will be able to detect frost, cease mowing and thus keep your lawn in top condition. 

In short, if you’re looking for a premium robot lawn mower that’ll be the envy of all your neighbours, the Husqvarna Automower® 415X is the mower for you.

Husqvarna Automower® 450X NERA with Husqvarna EPOS™ Plug-in Kit

Husqvarna Automower 450X NERA with Husqvarna EPOS Plug-in Kit

Pushing the boundaries of robotic mowing technology, the Automower 450X NERA is one of the first truly wireless robo mowers to hit the UK market. 

Able to cut 24/7 on complex lawns of up to 5,000 m² in area, the 450X NERA is arguably one of the highest performance robot lawn mowers available to domestic users. When teamed with the EPOS Plug-in Kit, the 450X NERA is able to cut to very precise boundaries - without the aid of a perimeter wire. 

Plus, in combination with the Automower® Connect app, you can define multiple work areas for the mower, including temporary stay-out zones, automatic passage handling, target height for consistent cut quality and more. 

Other features that’ll you find on the 450X NERA, include:

  • Electrically-operated cutting height adjustment.
  • Spiral cutting - to even out grass height differences. 
  • Spot cutting - to allow for the quick cutting of a limited area of longer grass.
  • Weather timer - modulating how often the mower operates based on the growing season. 
  • GeoFence - providing an automatic alert if the mower is moved out of the predefined area. 
  • Rewilding mode - whereby the mower keeps 10% of your lawn’s area unmowed to boost biodiversity. 
  • EPOS™ guidance - a feature that automatically calculates the most efficient route to and from the charging station for the mower. 

Those are just some of the highlights of this feature-packed robot mower. So, if you’re looking for the ultimate wireless mower, it has to be the Husqvarna Automower® 450X NERA with Husqvarna EPOS™ Plug-in Kit. 

Hughie Willett Machinery: the home of robot lawn mowers online

If you’re looking for the very best deals on robot lawn mowers, you’ll find them here at Hughie Willett Machinery. 

As a main dealer for Husqvarna, we are able to supply the complete range of Husqvarna Automowers, in addition to a wide range of official accessories and spare parts. 

Shop robot lawn mowers at Hughie Willett Machinery now

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