Do robo mowers make the cut? Here’s the pros and cons

Jarrod Brown
By Jarrod Brown
7 Min Read

Can robotic mowers replace your old-school Victa to become the ultimate backyard Roomba or are they another failed tech fad? 

Mowing the lawn has become a national pastime over the last 50 years, with millions of Aussies starting their Saturday morning in the suburbs to the synchronised hum of diesel-powered dads locked in a fierce battle to create the perfectly clipped yard. 

But this household right of passage is shaping up to become a thing of the past with the rise of robot lawnmowers. Relatively new to the market, these automated arborists have the potential to completely change the game when it comes to your outdoor weekend chores. 

However, while many of us have welcomed robots into our homes to replace the classic vacuum cleaner, how does the tech fair when you take it outside?

The good

Take the weekend off

Say goodbye to arguing over whose turn it is to mow and throw out that weekend chore list – the robo mower has it covered. These little lawn helpers are designed to be ‘set and forget’ so your grass stays the perfect length all year round without you lifting a finger. 

The ‘setting’ part of that equation does require a bit of finessing over the first week to get the bumps and dips of your lawn calibrated into the system.  But once they have a lay of the land, robotic mowers will automatically get to work whenever and wherever you need without a single press of a button. 

The robo mowers are also fairly low maintenance, only asking that you keep them clean, replace certain components like blades and batteries when they break and give them a service every now and again (roughly every six months).


That aforementioned hum might be synonymous with mowing the lawn, but the diesel-powered drone of a manual model does make for a rude awakening on a sleepy Sunday morning. 

Thankfully, these electric-powered robotic versions make considerably less noise, performing their job at the same volume as a loud conversation in the background while you sit and watch the cricket. 

Control them with your phone 

Most of the newer robot lawnmower models come complete with smartphone apps that allow you to control and schedule your mowing from the palm of your hand.

From here, you can set automated jobs for specific zones on your lawn and specify when and how to mow – perfect if you need different lengths of grass around a backyard pool or BBQ area. 

Some apps are better than others though, so check our reviews before you commit to a certain model to find out how easy the associated app is to use.

Five-star safety

If the thought of letting a mindless bladed robot loose in your lawn is a bit concerning, never fear – robot lawnmowers come complete with a number of in-built safety features.

Virtually all average-price models include blades that stop automatically when the mower is lifted off the ground (protecting your fingers from any nasty cuts) and are quick to stop in front of any human-shaped obstacles that might get in their path. 

The bad

Convenience comes at a cost

Like any new tech, robot lawnmowers do command a hefty price tag. Most starting models will see homeowners forking out at least $1200, with some of the higher-end machines ranging all the way up to tens of thousands of dollars – a far cry from your $300 AG. 

The price of the mower is usually determined by the size of the area it can cover, so be sure to measure up your yard make sure you’re not overpaying. 

Thieves love them

The sky-high price tag and expensive lithium-ion batteries hidden under the hood also make robot lawnmowers an easy target for local thieves. 

Because they’re fairly light and usually sat outside unattended, thieves can easily make off with the machine in the hopes of flipping it for a quick buck or even using them in their own yards. 

With this in mind, some models do come complete with several anti-theft security features, such as requiring a password to operate, anti-theft alarms and GPS tracking so you always know where they are.

The ugly

You’ll still have to pick up a rake

Robot lawnmowers might help with a lot of yard work, but they can’t do it all. For the machine to work effectively, homeowners will still have to rake up any heavy leaf cover or sticks or run the risk of blocking up the robot’s blades. 

These mowers also don’t have catchment bags attached on the back like conventional models, so homeowners will have to clean up any cut-off grass left in their wake.

Verdict: Are robo mowers a must-buy?

While robot lawnmowers can be a great, convenient option for homeowners with the cash to splash on ditching the yard work (and don’t mind a bit of set up), the steep price of even the starting models means that most Aussies better off with a manual model – for now. 

For those who are tossing up the purchase, be sure to measure your lawn first to ensure you don’t buy a pricier model than you need!

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.