The best ways to make sure your lawn stays a cut above the rest
An immaculately manicured lawn is a point of pride for many homeowners, but the days of working up a sweat behind the trusty old two-stroke mower look to be numbered. From autonomous mowers to 3D-printed creations, there has never been such a wide range of ways to make sure your lawn is the envy of the neighborhood. Let's look at some of the best options out there.
Husqvarna Automower 450X
If you want a totally hands-off approach to mowing, autonomous mowers are what you're after. Husqvarna's Auto-Mower was one of the first to hit the market back in 2004, not that the modern Automower 450X bears much resemblance to the little green blob that kickstarted things back in 2004.
Able to cover up to 1.25 acres (0.5 ha), the modern unit uses GPS to help it plot the best possible course through gnarly stretches of lawn, narrow gaps or wide-open fields. Owners are able to keep track of its progress and start or stop the mower using the Husqvarna Connect app, but particularly lazy owners can simply let the mower run and automatically return to base when the battery gets low.
It also won't disturb the neighbors, emitting just 58 dB on the move. Once the Automower is hooked up to its base station, it takes just 75 minutes to charge. The only real drawback to choosing an autonomous mower is the price – Husqvarna's range-topper costs US$3,500.
With a range of 0.75 acres (0.3 ha ), Miimo isn't able to cover as much ground as the Husqvarna Automower. It doesn't use GPS either, and won't hook up to your smartphone, but there a couple of neat tricks hiding under the mower's sleek skin.
If you're worried about keeping your lawn absolutely carpet-smooth, there's a little fan sitting above the rotating blades to pull the grass up to a uniform level before it's cut. Owners are able to choose between two different patterns, and if you plonk the unit in really thick grass it will default to a spiral pattern.
Because the mower might be running while there are children or pets around, Miimo is also fitted with "safe blades" and bump sensors, making sure it doesn't keep driving into the same obstacle or chop off curious fingers in the yard.
John Deere MowerPlus app
If you're not quite ready to make the jump to a fully robotized mower, there are plenty of ways to make your existing mowing habits smarter. John Deere's application will let you track how fast you're mowing, how much area has been covered and what pattern you're taking across the grass.
Because it's important to change your seeding and feeding based on the time of year, MowerPlus will give you tips based on the seasons. And don't think you'll be able to skip a week of lawn maintenance, because the app keeps a log of all your mowing, seeding and aerating for a full record of how your turf got so lush.
Having accurately logged all this lawn information, you're also able to create a maintenance schedule for your equipment to make sure you're never using blunt blades or tired motors to trim the lawn.
Just like the aforementioned Husqvarna Automower, Robomow will let you take control of your little robot mower remotely and drive it from lawn-to-lawn. You're also able to stop it turning on in the rain, manually bring it back to base and toggle a child lock so curious fingers can't accidentally start the mower while you're away.
Depending on the kind of lawn you've got, you're able to set the unit to edge the lawn, and everything is laid out on in a logical, colorful display so it's not a chore to set your mower up.
Ryobi 40 V Cordless Mower
If you're not quite ready to go fully autonomous but still like the idea of a clean, quiet way of trimming your lawn, there are a few battery powered options out there.
Ryobi's 40 V mower draws on a 4 A/h battery pack for power, and doesn't involve any priming, poking or prodding to start, which puts it one up on your gas mower already.
Yes, you will have to get up off your rear end and actually push the thing yourself, but you can do it without disturbing the neighbors and belching fumes into the suburban air.
For the type of person who would rather use pedal power than electricity or gas, MowCycle lets you get some exercise while trimming the grass.
Built on a heavy-duty recumbent tricycle frame, the MowCycle has an internally-geared five-speed rear hub and coaster brake, designed to stop lawn clippings clogging up proceedings. To deal with the actual lawn-mowing side of things, there's a reel mower attached to the bottom.
The tricycle was created by bike-builder Ted Wojcik and his son Cody, when a client came to them with "the world's greatest talent for blowing up gasoline-powered lawn mowers." Although they had been using a regular reel mower towed behind an old mountain bike, the client decided it was time to upgrade to a more comfortable solution.
Honda Mean Mower
Honda's Mean Mower holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest lawn mower, clocking an average speed of 187.6 km/h (116.6 mph) in the hands of Top Gear Magazine journalist Piers Ward. Although that's 21.4 km/h (13.3 mph) less than the mower's claimed top speed, it's also 177.6 km/h (110.4 mph) faster than more traditional mowers like the Kubota GR2120-48 can manage.
It is worth bearing in mind, the mower will only cut grass at speeds up to 24 km/h (15 mph), which means you'll have to find a racetrack or autobahn to fully stretch its legs.
To make sure all that power doesn't crumple the Mower's frame like a tin-can there's a custom chromoly-tubed chassis, while the grass catcher bag out the back is actually there to hide the petrol tank, oil cooler and a secondary radiator.
There are a few drawbacks to the Mean Mower's impressive power. We're sure it sounds mean when you're on the move, but you neighbors aren't likely to be happy with the 130 dB racket from the Scorpion exhaust. Honda also hasn't actually put this up for sale yet, so you're unlikely to see one flash past you in the right lane of the autobahn.
How do you mow your lawn? Are you a traditionalist, or have you subscribed to the robot revolution? Let us know in the comments.