Consumer Reports: Robotic lawn mowers

Consumer Reports: Robotic lawn mowers

Sick and tired of mowing your lawn? Robotic mowers are supposed to do the job for you. Consumer Reports has been testing four to see whether you should sit back and turn your lawn over to a robot.

The tests include the Worx WG794 for $1,000, two from Robomow, model RC306
for $1,200 and model RS622 for $1,800, and the Husqvarna Automower 220 AC
for $2,400.

With robotic mowers, you lay wire along the perimeter, stake it into position, and install a charging base. The mowers are programmed to go out frequently, and they wander about, cutting as they go.

With their random pattern, the robots leave a surface that looks rough in contrast to the smooth, parallel lines you get from a regular mower. And the mowers don’t cut the grass as cleanly. In Consumer Reports’ tests, some of the ends were frayed and turned brown later, which stresses the grass and makes it prone to disease.

So far, Consumer Reports is most impressed with the Worx WG794. It’s particularly easy to set up and program. But at $1,000, it costs far more than the $400 self-propelled Honda HRR2169VKA, which actually did a better job.

In addition, Consumer Reports recommends the Toro 20353, also $400. Both are multispeed mowers. A single-speed mower costs even less. Consumer Reports named the Toro 20370 a Best Buy at $280.