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Robomower LawnBott Cost Comparision Chart


Robomower LawnBott Cost Comparison Chart as of March 1, 2008
   Friendly Robotics LawnBott
RL850 RL1000 Professional Evolution LB3500
Price (MAP) $1,999 $2,499 $1,949 $2,749 $3,249
Battery $249.99 (lead acid) $47.57 ea.X2 (lead) $295 ea (lithium-ion)
Est. Battery Life 2-3 yrs 1.5-2 yrs 2-3 yrs 4-5 yrs 4-5 yrs
Blade $59.99 (set of 3) $49.95 (12 in.) $59.95 (14 in.)
Est. Useful Life 7-10 yrs 7-10 yrs
Est. Maintenance $143.33/yr $206.66/yr $81.67/yr $133.92/yr $177.00/yr
Est. Repair $109.75/yr $163.50/yr $50.00/yr $55.00/yr $55.00/yr
Total 10 yr. Cost $452.98/yr $620.06/yr $326.57/yr $463.82yr $556.90/yr
Cost Per Acre $1,811.92/yr $1,240.120/yr $435.42/yr $618.42/yr $556.90/yr

Chart Clarification

These estimated annual maintenance and repair costs are based over the course of a 10-year robot mower life expectancy.  Many seasons there may be no need for repair or accessories and some years it will require extra attention.
This is just a generic chart of average use by with a robot mower that is properly maintained.  Smaller coverage or just good fortune may dramatically reduce these costs and the robot mower may far exceed 10 years of useful life.
In other words, use this as a guide and not a bible.

Friendly Robotics Robomower RL850

Robomower RL850 Coverage ($1,999.99) The Robomower RL850 maximum coverage, approximately 1/4 acre (10,500 sq. ft.) is the smallest of any of the featured robot lawn mowers. 

Robomower RL850 Estimated Maintenance ($143.33/yr) The life expectancy of the Robomower battery pack ($249.99) is approximately 2-3 years in maximum coverage.  Robomower Blades ($59.99) need to be changed every 400 hours which comes to about the same time frame.  
One added maintenance cost is the Robomower perimeter switch ($199.99) that activates the signal for the Robomower RL850.  It is not waterproof, we estimate the life expectancy of the Robomower perimeter switch to be about 2-3 years as well.

Robomower RL850 Estimated Repairs ($109.75/yr) It is our experience that the gear case ($279) will need to be replaced on the Robomower RL850 every 3-4 years.  We sell a surprising number of indoor/manual chargers ($39.99) and manual controller holders ($29.99).  We'd estimate an average annual repair cost of $15 per year.
The controller, sensors, main board, and other items are fairly reliable over the life of the robot mower.  However, they may wear out or break, for that we would estimate that the average cost over the life of the Robomower RL850 to be $25 annually.  To be clear, this is averaged out over the mass of robot mowers sold so your costs could be significantly more or minimal.

Friendly Robotics Robomower RL1000

Robomower RL1000 Coverage ($2,499.99) The Robomower RL1000 stated maximum coverage is 1/2 acre (21,500 sq ft.). 
Robomower RL1000 Estimated Maintenance ($206.66/yr) It is our experience in maximum coverage,  the Robomower blades ($59.99) and Robomower battery pack ($249.99) are going to last about 1.5 years.  The Robomower RL1000 does not need a perimeter switch, so it is not included in this estimate.
Robomower RL1000 Estimated Repairs ($163.50/yr) The gear case ($279) is again the main expense for the RL1000.  Also the docking board ($99) which sends the signal through the perimeter wire and charges the batteries goes bad on a fairly reliable cycle.  The gear case, main board and docking board life expectancy in this comparison is 3 years.
Since the Robomower RL1000 can be charged on the docking station the manual controller holder and indoor/manual charger are not usually used so they have not been included.
The controller, sensors, main board, and other items are fairly reliable over the life of the robot mower.  However, they may wear out or break, for that we would estimate that the average cost over the life of the Robomower RL1000 to be $37.50 annually.  To be clear, this is averaged out over the mass of robot mowers sold so your costs could be significantly more or none at all over the life of the robot mower.

LawnBott (LB2100) Professional

LawnBott Professional Coverage ($1,949) The stated coverage of the LawnBott Professional is 35,000 sq. ft (3/4 acre).
LawnBott Professional Estimated Maintenance ($81.67) The lead acid batteries (47.57 each X 2) in the LawnBott Professional should last 2-3 years.  For this estimate, LawnBott blades ($49.95) in maximum coverage are going to need to be replaced every 1.5 years.
LawnBott Professional Estimated Repairs ($50) Repairs bills on the LawnBott Professional are good news-bad news. After the 2-year warranty, the LawnBott Professional is a fairly reliable machine. The bad news is when it breaks parts are very expensive! We do not have an actuary on the life expectancy on repairs, so we estimated it out to $50 a year over the life of the robot mower.

LawnBott (LB3210) Evolution

LawnBott Evolution Coverage ($2,749) The stated coverage of the LawnBott Evolution is 35,000sq. ft. (3/4 acre)
LawnBott Evolution Estimated Maintenance ($133.92) The LawnBott lithium ion batteries have proven to be highly reliable and continue to exceed the manufacturer's expectations.  After 4.5 years of service in the LawnBott Evolution, there is still no discernible run to replace them.  Our estimated life of the lithium ion batteries is 4-5 years.  This is probably the most conservative estimate of all the items we are reporting.  LawnBott blades can be expected to last about 2/3 of a season.
LawnBott Evolution Maintenance ($55) Similar experiences can be expected with the LawnBott Evolution as the LawnBott Professional.  However the main board and some other items are more expensive.  Thus we are estimating the LawnBott Evolution annual average repair bill to be slightly higher ($55)

LawnBott LB3500

LawnBott LB3500 Coverage ($3,249) The coverage of the LawnBott LB3500 is 43,500 sq. ft. (1 acre)
LawnBott LB3500 Estimated Maintenance ($177) The LawnBott Evolution has 2 lithium ion batteries ($295) and a slightly larger blade ($59).  On average, the blade is probably going to need to be replaced every year.  Although it may need more than that the first year until the yard is properly landscaped.
LawnBott LB3500 Estimated Repair ($55) Although the LawnBott LB3500 is covering more area than any other mower, the parts inside are of the highest (and most expensive) quality.  Since it is a new mower there is no track record.

Summary

How the Numbers Were Compiled Before I figured the annual cost and cost per acre I gathered the 2008 parts and accessory price lists.  Then I went through our repair and accessory sales records for the last 2 years.  I had expected Robomower to have a lower cost over the life of the mower.

2008 Price IncreaseRobomower in March 2008 raised the price of mowers by $800-$1,000 and accessory prices 40-60%. Meanwhile LawnBott raised the price of mowers 10% across the board and accessory prices by 25-60%, except for the lithium-ion battery which remained the same as 2006-2007 pricing.
..And the Low Cost Leader Is?
 The LawnBott LB2100 (Professional) is the lowest cost robot lawnmower on the market. So far it has proven to be the most maintenance free as well.
The LawnBott LB3500 came in a surprising 2nd. 
Robomowers are fine, time-proven robot machinces.  The sharp price increase in 2008 and short useful life of the battery/gear case really run up the cost of Robomower ownership.  Lead acid battery prices are skyrocketing so look for future dramatic Robomower accessory price increases in the future. 
Compared to traditional push and riding mowers, robot mowers are quite efficient.
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