5 things I wish I’d known before buying a robot lawn mower

Garden gadgets can take the strain but it’s not all roses…

Things I wish I'd known before buying a robot lawn mower
(Image credit: Bosch)

I’ve grown up mowing lawns, with my parents’ house having a huge area of grass to get through and latterly, I’ve got a front and rear patch of the green stuff to tackle at my latest place. While gardens generally seem to be getting smaller, the number of gadgets we use to manage them seem to get larger by the year.

Case in point are the best robot lawnmower options, which seems to be bulking out very nicely as manufacturers bring more tech to our outdoor spaces. If you’re old school and love the thought of a conventional mower, then buying a robot number might seem bonkers. Believe me though, get yourself a decent robot mower and you’ll never look back.

However, while the robot mower is an amazing thing – depending on the model you choose as there are some duds out there too, it’s worth remembering these pointers below. I didn’t know any of this stuff before I got sent the Kress Mission Nano 600 robot mower. It doesn’t mean I’m using it any less now, but the points are worth bearing in mind as they may well be relevant to the model you’re thinking about too.

1. Cutting twice

The Kress Mission Nano 600 is an awesome little robot mower, but what I didn’t realise prior to unboxing it was that it cannot do the job alone. In fact, my face must have looked a picture as I picked through the manual and found the bit where it advises you first cut the grass with a ‘normal’ mower, before using the little robot machine. This is basically because it’s not cut out (groan) to tackle thick, long grass. Even more so if it’s the first cut of the year.

2. Set up

Rather surprisingly, it did also feel like I was doing more work not less when using the Kress Mission Nano 600 for the first time. There was the setting up, which isn’t just a case of getting everything out of the box and assembling bits and pieces, like the docking station where the mower returns to in order to recharge itself. While you can use the Kress Mission Nano 600 without the app, thanks to buttons on the chassis, you’ll probably want to download that too.

3. Perimeter wire

The next task, which I’d also overlooked, was getting the perimeter wire set up for the Kress Mission Nano 600. Generally speaking, most robot lawnmowers need a perimeter wire in order to know their limits. With this in place, usually around the cutting area, your robot mower shouldn’t go AWOL. However, it’s a very good idea to monitor its first foray around your garden to ensure it doesn’t make a run for it and head off down the street, or take out your prized Begonias in its quest for freedom.

Kress Mission Nano 600

(Image credit: Future)

4. Maintenance

While it’s possible to get away with murder if you’ve got a trusty Flymo or similar standard-fare mower, the robot mower is a little more dainty. At least in my experience of the Kress Mission Nano 600, which is a fine and dandy machine, there’s a degree of care and caution needed when it comes to the mower blades. In fact, the cutting blades in the Kress Mission Nano 600 are more like razor blades, so any hint of a bit of gravel or, worse still, a chunk of stone and your precious blades will be blunted in no time. Little wonder Kress advises replacing them every few months, though they can be rotated to save a little hassle.

5. Storage

Overall, robot mowers are a great thing I’d say, and the secret is to cut little and often, so your machine will stay the course. Give it a good clean over too and ensure that you keep it out of the wet. Which brings us on to the final thing to think about – where you’re going to store it. My old Flymo would fit down the back of the shed, behind the bikes and other gardening gear. The Kress Mission Nano 600 on the other hand, needs a nice posh flat space for the docking station and mower itself to sit on. Aside from all that though, I can never go back…

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital, he has run the Innovation channel for a few years at Microsoft, as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of Stuff, TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working, he's usually out and about on one of the numerous e-bikes in his collection.