While the world is still far from seeing the technology available in sci-fi movies, the home robotics marketplace is becoming more sophisticated every day. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the area of automowers. Quiet, intelligent, and hassle-free, automowers leave you with a lush, even lawn without the effort, noise, and gasoline of traditional lawnmowers.
If you’re looking into purchasing an automower, here’s a guide to help you choose. First, we cover the general basics of choosing an automower to suit your circumstances, then we’ll talk about brand-specific differences between Stihl and Husqvarna automower options.
What Kind of Automower Do You Need?
What’s the size of your lawn? Cutting capacity is one of the main differences between different models of automowers, both within and across brands. The less lawn you have, the less capacity is needed. Both Stihl and Husqvarna have automowers with maximum working areas ranging from ¼ acre (1000m2) to a full acre or more.
Keep in mind that this is the area you want mowed, not the area of your lot. To get a good estimate of your mowing needs, take your lot size and subtract the footprint of your house, driveway, flower beds, patios, or gardens that you don’t want mowed. Perfect precision is less important than being fairly close.
How complex is your yard? If your lawn is flat and square, then size is your main determining factor. But what if you’ve got water features, narrow passageways of grass between beds, and steep grades that need to be mowed? You’ll want to make sure whatever model you’re buying is prepared to work around any challenges that your yard may present.
What’s going to make you happy? If the idea of being able to call your automower to you with the click of an app button thrills you … make that a priority. This is the same with any extra feature, whether you “need” it or not. How often are you able to honestly say that your lawn care tools make you genuinely excited?
Husqvarna vs. Stihl Automowers
About the Brand Husqvarna
Husqvarna is a brand that started out as a rifle manufacturer in the 1600s. From there they went on to make sewing machines, then kitchen equipment, bicycles, and several other products until they began manufacturing lawnmowers in 1919.
Their first test of a lawnmower with an engine was done in 1949, and their first robotic lawnmower was launched in 1995, although sales were not popular. Today they continue to sell a variety of equipment such as lawnmowers, chainsaws, and snowblowers, and are hoping to expand into robotics that tackle other outdoor tasks.
About the Brand Stihl
Stihl (pronounced like steel) is a German brand founded in 1926 by Andreas Stihl, an early pioneer in chainsaw production. Today, Stihl is still best known for producing high quality chainsaws, but they broke into the automower field in 2017 with the STIHL iMow, which has proven popular among many.
Husqvarna: Seven different options are available, ranging from the Automower 310, which can take on lawns up to ¼ of an acre to the Automower 450X, which can handle 1.25 acres.
Stihl: Two options are available, the RMI 422 P, which is smaller and faster and useful for lawns up to ¼ acre, and the RMI 632 P, which offers higher performance and works for up to 1 acre.
Both Husqvarna and Stihl automowers are similar in this regard, handling lawns with a maximum angle of 22-24 degrees (40%). If there are significant holes in your lawn as well as hills, you will probably want to consider filling them before buying a robotic mower.
Both the Husqvarna and Stihl robotic mowers use lithium-ion batteries and are recharged when the mower connects with the docking station.
Stihl: Has a removable control panel that can be used to change your settings without squatting down.
Husqvarna: Uses an app to operate and change settings from your mobile device. You can also use the control panel on the automower itself.
Randomness vs Regularity in Path
Stihl: Uses an algorithm for randomness while mowing, then follows the perimeter wire to get back to the charging station. It can be programmed to follow the perimeter wire slightly to one side or the other at times in order to prevent the development of tracks along the route from repeated mowing.
Husqvarna: Also uses an algorithm to help with randomness while mowing, but also makes use of additional guide wires (and in some models, GPS signal) to help provide multiple routes to the docking station. This is intended to decrease the time it takes the unit to return home to charge, especially in yards with a long or complex perimeter.
Husqvarna: Uses 3 pivoting razor blades with a cutting width that stay relatively similar in size from model to model, ranging from 22 to 24 cm from the very smallest to the largest units.
Stihl: Uses a standard 2-sided mower blade with a cutting width of 20 cm for the smaller model and 28cm for the larger one.
Stihl: Both iMow models can be programmed to cut grass anywhere between 2 and 5.7 cm.
Husqvarna: All Automower models can be programmed to cut grass anywhere between 2 and 6 cm.
Stihl: iMow models have a PIN that cannot be changed, even if the battery is removed or the unit is reset. You can adjust your settings so that the PIN must be entered before entering the control menu, reducing the risk of theft.
Husqvarna: Their automowers have a unique PIN that must be entered in order to make the unit operational. They also come with an anti-theft alarm. Models that come with GPS tracking can also be located easily from your smartphone.
Stihl and Husqvarna automowers must be purchased from a local dealer. Luckily, Timberland Supply carries both, and can help you make the right decision in person. Stop by today to pick out the robot mower to help you create the lawn of your dreams.