All I can say is that this is definitely the best purchase I have made in the past decade.
Fall of 2003 I moved from a townhouse where my grass was mowed for me to a single family where I needed to mow. Forward a few months and I began doing research on mowers. The Robomower showed up here on epionions and I thought it was to good to be true. I kept reading the reviews and started to think, "Maybe this could really work" - but I was still very skeptical.
Then, last April I decided to give it a try - but I made sure that the place I purchased from offered a 30 day money back guarantee - because I was sure I would be returning it after playing with it for a few weeks. I purchased a Robomower 850 and when it arrived I read the instructions and began laying out the wire. (HINT - YOU'LL need double the wire you expect. If you're buying via mail order, have them ship double the wire with a no restock return policy so that you don't get half way done and then have to wait 2 weeks to finish!)
I started in my fenced in back yard because I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of my neighbors. I figured I'd try it in the back yard and if it didn't work, I would return it and no one would realize my foolishness. So I wired around the perimeter and I wired around my sing/playset and gave it a try.
I was amazed. It really worked!
So I tried it a few more times and every time I was very very pleased with the results. By then I had worked up enough confidence to venture into the front yard where all would see- but I decided to set it up during a work day when there wouldn't be many around to watch (still a bit embarrassed). Again, wired around the perimeter and two trees and turned it on. I had a few mistakes that I needed to adjust the wire for, but then it worked flawlessly.
The neighbors came out in droves. "What in the world is that?" they would ask. All amazed. (If I wanted some extra income, I realized I could easily sell these things especially if setup was included in the price.)
After it was all set up, I wondered if I really saved any time. After all, it probably took me 15 hours or so to get the wiring all set up and working efficiently. "Well," I thought, "if nothing else, it was a fun experiment."
I proceeded to mow my yard every three or four days CORRECTION the Robomower proceeded to mow my yard. I usually sat on the deck with a lemonade with my wife as we watched it mow (dorky, I know, but the thing is mesmerizing!). Sometimes when I felt ambitious, I would trim with the weed whacker while Mirtle the Turtle (as my niece named it because it moves slow like a turtle) would mow.
Week after week, the Robomower mowed and mowed and mowed. Every time I was impressed with the finished mow while I didn't get lines, I did get a complete and even cut that looked great, didn't require bagging and best of all didn't require sweat on my part. After I set the wire up I wondered if it was worth it but once July hit and the grass was growing like crazy and the temps were in the 90's, I loved being able to push the GO button and letting Robomower do the work. "THIS IS DEFINITELY WORTH THE SETUP WORK!" I told myself.
Needless to say, I would highly recommend this mower. I will never go back.
With that said, it does take a fair amount of setup work and patience (and willingness to be embarrassed). You're supposed to replace the blades each year. I bought a new set for this year, but haven't replaced them yet supposedly you can't sharpen them, but I'm going to try to sharpen the first set once I replace them. The battery doesn't hold as strong of a charge this year as it did in year one so I wouldn't be surprised if I needed to buy a new battery next year. (BTW I have a decent sized suburban lawn and it takes two charges to mow it all. I set it out one evening and let it mow (even in the dark it's a robot after all1) and then set it out the next evening for the second half) If you lay your wire correctly, it will get as close to the edge as a regular mower (at least pretty close).
My yard is mostly flat with only a few obstacles in the middle which I simply wired around. If you have an uneven yard or a lot of trees, this may not work to well for you.
For most suburban lawns, however, this thing rocks. Set it on it's highest setting so that the grass stays green all summer who cares if it gets tall faster, all you have to do is drive the Robomower out and push the GO button!
Disclaimer: I don't work for Robomower, nor do I have any connection with them. You're welcome to contact me with setup or usage questions I can send you pictures of my lawn, etc. I hope this review helps. If it weren't for the other reviews users posted here on epinions.com I would have never tried this thing, so I am very grateful to those who took the time and hope that my doing the same will help someone else!
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