It’s summer, it’s hot, and, trust us, nobody wants to mow the lawn. Which is why it makes complete sense for lawn mowers to go the way of the Roomba, or completely automatic. New models like Husqvarna’s Automower, along with the Robomow, steer themselves around your yard, clipping your grass with no human pushing/steering/sweating/input of any kind required. Sounds heavenly, right?
Um, no. The idea of robotic lawn mowers sounds like an alarm-blaring, blood-spattered accident waiting to happen. Let’s review the many ways in which robotic lawn mowers are a terrible idea, shall we?
Reason No. 1: Nothing with sharp blades should ever be automated
Gadgets are pretty smart these days and, to be fair, I’m a huge fan of the Roomba vacuum. But as the recent (and first) fatal crash of a self-driving car makes painfully clear, self-steering technology still has a ways to go before it’s safe. So why would you want to automate a machine with razor-sharp, fast-moving blades smack on the front yard, which could make mincemeat out of someone’s foot, cute chipmunks, or even your dog? Because let’s face it…
Reason No. 2: Your dog will antagonize a robotic mower and suffer the consequences
Some dogs enjoy the dangerous pastime of chasing cars. Imagine their excitement when they spot a robotic mower! After all, at first glance it looks like a much fairer fight; robotic mowers are smaller and slower than cars. That’s right before Fido loses his snout to those whirring blades.
Reason No. 3: Robotic mowers are still ridiculously expensive
The Robomow costs $2,099; the Automower, $3,500. Do you know how much humanlawn care that could buy? A whole lot. Since lawn mowing is estimated to cost as little as $35 a pop, the cash you cough up for the Automower would amount to 100 lawn care visits. Plus humans have the added benefit of being able to trim your bushes, weed your garden, and steer clear of your pets.
Reason No. 4: A robotic mower won’t save you much time
Prepare to see your lawn maintenance time replaced with hair-wrenching maintenance instead—say, when your robotic mower can’t find its way back to home base or runs in circles (as my Roomba used to do), or when the battery goes dead. The list of glitches you’ll have to deal with goes on and on. Plus, even if your robotic lawn mower works like a charm, odds are you won’t head off on some summer adventure because you’d rather stand around and watch it work. That, at least, is what we did with our Roomba (and I know I’m not alone here).
Reason No. 5: You will start filming your robotic mower doing cute things
Hundreds if not thousands of homeowners fell prey to not only watching their Roombas roam around their homes, but also to posting YouTube videos of these vacuums doing adorable things—like, say, letting the cat hitch a ride on top. What will the robotic lawn mower video equivalent be? I shudder to think. So please, guys, just don’t head down this path.