The Husqvarna Automower Made Me a Lawn Guy

The Husqvarna Automower Made Me a Lawn Guy

Husqvarna reached out earlier this year to ask if Gizmodo Australia wanted to try an automower, the 405X, a little Roomba-style gadget that just hangs out in your backyard constantly munching on your grass to keep it trimmed to the length you want.

But without a backyard at my inner-city apartment, I headed west to my parent’s place at the foot of the Blue Mountains and outsourced most of the hard work to my dad. His summary?

“I reckon they’re a great idea.”


Check out the Husqvarna Automower as the little lawn robot does its thing. #lawnmower #robot #mower

♬ original sound – Gizmodo AU

Husqvarna 405X Automower

The Husqvarna 405X Automower is a robot lawn mower that aims to keep your yard’s grass at your desired length. The 405X is one of nine models Husqvarna currently has for sale, but after sending some photos of the backyard to the company, they recommended this one to be the best fit.

It mows complicated lawns up to 600 square metres, but the 405X is generally best for smaller lawns. While my parents’ backyard isn’t small, there’s a lot of unusable space thanks to their property being in a valley.

The Husqvarna 405X Automower is best compared to a Roomba in that it is controlled by a fence and operates autonomously (and continuously, if you wish) in the area it’s programmed to hang out inside.

Husqvarna 405X Automower
Home for a charge. Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

The Husqvarna 405X Automower has an RRP of $2,679. You can also opt for a Husqvarna rep to install the automower. If you don’t get it installed, you’ll need to buy loop wire and stakes yourself. After witnessing the installation, I’d be hesitant to say you can easily do this yourself and save some cash. The installation will add a couple of hundred to the price, but that’s all dependent on what model, the size of the yard and the time it takes the experts to set it all up.

Getting started

Firstly, there’s a decent amount involved in setting up a Husqvarna Automower. The company rep arrived with a tonne of kit, including a machine that digs a narrow trench and lays the cable 2-3 cms below ground that is actually the ‘fence’ the automower uses as its boundary and how it knows to return home for a charge. You can barely see the hole as it’s so narrow and within a few weeks you wouldn’t be able to notice it’s even there.

Husqvarna 405X Automower
Stills from a video, excuse the quality. Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

There’s also GPS built in to Husqvarna 405X Automower.

Archie the Jack Russel didn’t think much of the robot lawn mower and had some choice words to bark at it. It could be a bit of fun for a dog to chase it around the backyard, but its blades are sharp so maybe program its use (more on that in a sec) for when there aren’t dogs or children around tempted by the moving automower. There are loads of sensors, such as ones on the front that guide the robot lawn mower away from something or someone and in another direction. The blade disc is mounted in the centre of the unit, so you’d have to very deliberately be getting up in there to cause some damage (don’t try and prove me wrong though, please).

As the Husqvarna 405X Automower is in the backyard, about 20 or so metres away from a power outlet, there’s also the need to run a cable down to the charging station. It’s low-voltage, so the massive storms we’ve had of late didn’t affect the mower or its peripherals, however.

Another bonus to having a Husqvarna certified installer set up the robot mower is to have the expertise on how exactly to set it up. There are so many variables, as every property is different.

How does the robot lawnmower mow?

Husqvarna 405X Automower
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Under the hood of the Husqvarna 405X Automower is an electric motor that drives what’s called a cutting disc and on the cutting disc you have three pivoting razor blades that are similar to a razor blade that you might find on a Stanley knife. They constantly rotate, spitting out the grass onto the lawn for mulch as it moves along. It only ever takes a little bit of the top of the grass off each time so as to not shock the grass.

There is an option in the app (more on that in a sec) to set a desired target height, so you might start at the maximum cutting height (level 10) and over a period your desired cutting might be more at the level 4 mark. It will slowly decrease that over a 10-day period, for example, until it gets to your desired level. Another feature is a Weather Timer.

When the mower comes out of its charging station, it will make a determination as to how long the grass actually is and whether it needs to remain out on the lawn. To do this, it will measure the electric current that’s being used from the electric motor. And if there’s not much current draw, then the mower says, ‘Well the grass can’t be very long, so, I’ll just go back and dock myself’. Smart little thing.

As it’s moving around the lawn, it may seem like it mows in a random pattern, but it’s actually plotting the latitude and longitude of each square metre of the lawn. When it returns from a charge, it’ll know where it hasn’t mowed based on this. If the mower enters an area where the grass is longer than where it has been previously, then it will automatically put itself into spiral-cutting mode. This will continue until such a time as the electric current being drawn by the motor is the same as what it was in previous samples. That’s how it knows the lawn is at the right height. As you can see in the pic below, the Husqvarna 405X Automower woke up and chose chaos.

Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

The robot mower stress test

Ideally, you’d have the Husqvarna 405X Automower running every day, doing its robot mowing thing over a few hours each day. But, for the purpose of this review, we set it up on a stress test. The lawn was super long, which you can see in the pic on the left, and in the one on the right, I took a quick snap after it quickly ran over the same area. You can see it’s making a dent.

Left: before cutting, right: after cutting – you can see where the Husqvarna 405X Automower has been. Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

We set the automower up for 6 hours of work over two days. Each day, it came back to base with 30 per cent battery left to have a break. It then quickly charged itself back up and set out again. From dead, the Husqvarna 405X Automower will take 60 minutes to charge, but this was substantially less throughout the day considering when it docked itself (yes, all by itself), it was running at 30 per cent. Over the course of six hours, the robot mower returned to get more juice four times. By the end of day two, the yard was completely mowed at my dad’s desired height.

husqvarna 405X automower
This snap was taken at the end of day one. Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Without taking a break, and draining the automower of all its juice, you’ll get 70 minutes of run time from a single charge.

Control everything via the app

You can schedule it to start or finish at any time you like, which is one of the many things controllable via the app. You can also monitor the battery life of the 405X automower, and send it back home for a rest. There are also tutorials and some blogs to read, too. Unfortunately, there’s no live cam yet, but you can always strap a GoPro to the top of the mower and watch footage of it doing its thing.

husqvarna 405X automower
Screenshot: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

While everything can be controlled via the app, there’s also a small, PIN-activated control panel on the mower.

Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

The mower may also override your settings if it senses there’s nothing for it to do (ie, the Weather Timer function kicks in and the automower can tell the lawn doesn’t need to be cut so it just goes back home to nap).

Husqvarna 405X Automower: The verdict

The only reason my dad isn’t going to go out and buy a 405X Automower from Husqvarna is because of those pesky gum tress. The amount of leaves and bark that fall on his yard daily means there’s too much prep work he’d have to do before the robot lawn mower goes out for the day. If it had an in-built mulcher, it would be a completely different story. Same goes for trimming edges. That being said, my dad is definitely going to be sad seeing his new pal, the Gizmower, pack up and go home to Husqvarna.

It’s smart, cuts grass perfectly, and requires very little intervention once it’s set up. On the flip side, you can set up an Alexa skill via an Amazon smart speaker/hub and ask the assistant to keep you updated with your lawn status. It’s as high-tech as you want it to be and will suit anyone from nerds like us to your time-poor, not-so-tech-savvy neighbour.

We’re nearing 1,500 words on this review and I feel I could go on for another 1,500. I’m impressed, so is my dad, and if you live in suburbia with a typical backyard, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without this little thing munching away at your grass like a robotic goat.

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