Gadget Spot: Husqvarna Automower

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Some gadgets just don't mix.

While I was at the Central Ohio Home & Garden Show last weekend (the show continues through Sunday at the Ohio Expo Center), I saw a pretty appealing gadget - the Husqvarna Automower. You can find models starting at $1,300 at In The Yard in Lewis Center, or click to

What's not to like about a robotic lawnmower?

I can imagine the conversation now - the female side of the Gadget Guy family asks, "Phil, didn't you say you were going to cut the grass?"

"Absolutely," I reply from my La-Z-Boy recliner. "The backyard is being mowed as we speak."

The Automower is the world's first fully robotic lawnmower. You simply lay a low-voltage guide wire under the ground to define the area you want cut, and this gadget does the rest on its own.

Should the mower hit a tree or another object blocking its path, it'll turn or back up and find an unimpeded route. As for safety, if the gadget is lifted off the ground or tips over, the blades automatically shut off.

Three razor blades cut the grass. As a robotic mower, it can cut the grass more often and produce shorter clippings that make for better fertilizer. The Automower wanders aimlessly around the lawn, but eventually tends all the grass within its boundaries. It can mow for 90 minutes before smartly finding its way back to its charging base, as needed.

There's no oil or gas to mess with. It works on hilly areas with grades of up to 35 percent. There's even a solar hybrid model, costing $3,000, that can cut for longer than 90 minutes aided by "sun power."

However, as I continued to roam the Home & Garden Show, I started to have second thoughts about the wisdom of my ever owning a robotic lawnmower.

After I came across the third booth showcasing those invisible fences that keep your dog in a defined area, like the ones we use for Chip the Gadget Dog, I couldn't help but continue to play out that conversation between me and Mrs. Gadget Guy.

"OK," she says, "if the Automower is cutting the grass out back, where'd you put the dog?"

At that point I awoke from my reverie, knowing this was one of those moments gadgets don't mix.

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