For an increasing number of people the idea of owning a remote control lawnmower is becoming more and more appealing.
The term remote control lawnmower can be applied in three ways; it could be having a hand-held remote control to start an electric mower, a hand-held control to activate a robotic lawnmower or, in the fullest sense of the term, it could be a hand-held device to control the whole lawn mowing operation.
Both robotic lawnmowers and remote control lawnmowers do not require the owner to actually walk with the lawn mower whilst it is in operation.
People can have various reasons for purchasing a robotic or remote controlled lawnmower; which could be due to ill-health or incapacity, or simply not having the time inclination to ‘personally’ mow the lawn.
Of course having a robotic lawnmower would mean that you are the least involved in mowing the lawn. However, robotic lawnmowers don’t always work terribly well if the guide wires telling them where to stop and start mowing are misplaced or damaged, so you should look for a radio control robotic mower if you can afford it.
If the terrain over which it has to operate is uneven or sloped, you’ll need a gas powered mower with treads instead of wheels.
Commercial grade tread-equipped mowers are available which can cut the grass on slopes of up to 70 degrees; usually grades of 30 degrees or so are too steep for regular mowers and lawn tractors. In fact, a remote control lawnmower is only limited by the range over which the remote control will work - which unless you own a vast estate will not be a problem.
First of all, even though some of the newer models are powered by fuel-efficient hybrid internal combustion engines, these machines are probably not among the most environmentally friendly.
An old fashioned push mower emits no carbon whatsoever, is quiet, uses no fuel except elbow grease, and gives you a reasonable workout to boot.
Second, you’ll have a little bit of a learning curve piloting it. Getting the feel of the controls and joystick might take a while, so practice on a less demanding part of the lawn first, the middle. Flower bed edges and parking strips can be tricky.
Finally, the maintenance may be more involved, as in addition to the usual mechanical care, such as blade sharpening, engine oil top ups and cleaning away debris, there are the controls and electronics, which although more robust, are less straightforward and harder to repair when they do malfunction.
Types of Remote Control Lawn Mowers
Remote control lawn mowers can be bought with either electric or petrol engines. Electric remote control lawn mowers are not connected to your mains supply whilst they are in operation but have an on-board battery system to power them, which requires recharging after use.
All this usually means is using the remote control to guide the lawn mower itself to a docking station in your garage or shed, where it automatically connects to the power oulet and starts recharging.
Generally speaking, electric powered remote control lawn mowers do not have engines that are as powerful as petrol engine ones. Of course with a gas engine remote control lawn mower you’ll need to refuel it yourself and may well need to lubricate and service it more frequently.
However, more powerful petrol engine remote control lawnmowers the advantage of working better than electric ones over uneven ground or even if the lawn is on a slope.
Regardless of whether you have an electric or petrol driven mower you’ll have the option of using it with normal wheels or fitting a caterpillar track to it. Whilst using the wheels will give you the easiest degree of maneuverability - if the lawn is particularly uneven or wet, the caterpillar track might well work best.
The remote control itself for the lawnmower can be a keypad one or one with a joystick and switches; whichever one you choose is entirely down to your personal preference. However, if your remote control lawn mower needs to make a lot of intricate turns, in and out of bushes or around obstacles, you may well be advised to opt for a joystick remote control unit.
The unit itself typically relays information on direction and speed to the mower via radio waves, just like a remote control toy car transmitter. The difference is this toy is bigger and actually does something productive. So both the remote and the mower will have an antenna.
Justifying a Purchase
At a cost of anything between one and three thousand dollars a remote control lawn mower might seem an expensive purchase. However, if you’re infirm and unable to push or follow a normal lawn mower then being able to sit comfortably in your garden and direct a remote controlled lawnmower will, in the long run, save you a lot of money compared to having to pay someone else to come and mow the lawn for you.
Some people have unpleasant adverse reactions to various allergens in lawns, or have chemical sensitivities to the carbon monoxide fumes gas-powered mowers emit which prevent them from using a powered lawn mower.
Lawns in more rural areas often harbor squadrons of annoying insects that rise up against anyone mowing their home.
Alternatively, if after a hard week at work you just want to sit and relax, rather than charging around the garden mowing the lawn, then buying a remote control lawn mower will let you have that well earned rest, whilst also having the fun of remotely controlling your lawn mower.
- Trivia Fact: The remote control lawnmower was invented in 1948 by Jim Walker, one of the pioneers of r/c model airplanes.
Photo by Thunderchild tm, Creative Commons Attribution License