After several months with the Automower it’s time to look back and take stock. But first here are a couple of things we’ve not covered yet.
Running Costs & Battery Replacement
The manual quotes the Husqvarna 430X Automower power consumption at 30 W during cutting and also quotes a ‘mean energy consumption at maximum use’ of 20 kWh/month in a 3,200 m2 working area.
To check this I measuring the power used while the mower was charging and got 97 Watts – lets call it 100. Worst case scenario running 24/7 the mower will be charging 8 hours a day. So 0.8 kWh per day or around 25 kWh per month. A little higher than the manual says, but not far away. The Base Station also produces a voltage for the boundary and guide wires so lets say the worst case scenario might be around 30 kWh per month.
In an 8 month cutting season (March to October) the electricity for the Automower should cost (30 x £0.1343) x 8 – Approx £32.00 per year. If you have a house with a Solar PV array then the daylight cutting should essentially be free.
By comparison we used 2 to 3 fills of our 5 gallon petrol can each cutting season with the ride-on, which would currently cost around £50 to £75.
We asked Husqvarna how long the battery should last and how much it costs to replace the special 18 V/5.2 Ah Li-ion cells and they told us…
The average battery life in years is 3, with the replacement cost for a 430X being £178
While there’s this costs plus the replacement blades to consider in the calculations, it’s probably more than offset by the servicing and other consumables you’ll need for your fossil powered mower and all its ICE inefficiencies.
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Will I Sell the Ride-on?
Even though I’ve hardly used it all summer I’ll probably hang on to my ride-on for now, but I’d say I could absolutely sell it. I’d still need a small walk-behind mower to do the roadside verge and a couple of other spots once a month or so though.
Things I’ve learnt
The only 2 issues I have with the Automower remain the risk of theft and the fact that I feel app control should be included as standard across the range.
Also while most of these models are aimed at taking care of large lawns, I recon lots more people with regular sized gardens would love to take advantage of Husqvarna’s tech. Busy single parents that have no time, the disabled and the elderly etc could all benefit.
If you are considering buying an automower you can get a useful approximation of your gardens area using the ruler tool to draw a box around your lawn on Google My Maps.
If we were building again I’d definitely be planning our garden a little better with the Automower in mind, making sure there were routes that the machine could easily follow to all areas. If you are a self-builder I’d highly recommend you do this, even if you don’t actually seed your lawn or buy the mower for a few years.
I would also strongly recommend you use your local dealer to install the machine. The advantages of their knowledge and experience will be well worth it.
Having bought two of their ride-ons already Husqvarna was a brand I trusted before this whole experiment started. However the only other robots I’ve owned up to now were a couple of vacuum cleaners that were less than impressive, so I honestly wondered if this machine could live up to its promise. So often these days technology can be a let down, the real experience rarely lives up to the marketing hype and buyers remorse quickly sets in.
But the Automower does not fall into that category.
I can’t comment on any other make of robot mower, but the Husqvarna is a genuinely extraordinary machine which gives you that one thing you cannot buy – time.
Even more impressive is that fact that the robot actually does a better job than you can. Our garden has never looked better and what was once a moss-riden grassy area is now a lush looking neatly cropped lawn.
The Automower is like having a Tesla for you garden. And it’s not just one of those dumb electric mowers you’ve got to walk behind and steer, it’s got Autopilot. While the North Irish summer has been a bit of a let down again this year, it’s truly been a summer of love with our Automower.
All this means the Husqvarna Automower deservedly becomes just the 6th product to receive the Automated Home Top Tech Award in our 20 years on the web.
A huge thank you to Husqvarna for the opportunity to take part in the Automower Challenge and to our dealer Moore Horticulture for all their help and expertise. Here’s our final video…
Make sure to check out all 8 parts in this video review series…
Part 1 – The Robots are Coming
Part 2 – The 1st Cut is the Deepest
Part 3 – Perfect Timing
Part 4 – Connect Control
Part 5 – Rain or Shine
Part 6 – Stolen?
Part 7 – I Messed Up
Part 8 – A Tesla for your Garden