John Deere Tango E5 robot lawnmower August 2012
Robot lawnmowers - more time to relax?
John Deere claims its new robotic mower gives a great cut on your lawn while you put your feet up. It mows the grass to a programmable schedule and takes itself back to its charging station when it’s finished. But for the luxury price tag of £2,050, does it really justify the expense?
You’ll never have to mow your lawn again with this fully automated mower. After the initial programming, it will cut your grass according to your requirements. It’s a compact machine, which John Deere claims can cut up to two large tennis courts of grass on a single charge. At £2,050 this is a luxury machine; you could pay someone to cut your grass for you for a few years for this sort of money.
Would you be tempted to splash out on it, for a truly effort-free lawn? We tried it in a family garden to see how it did.
For more information about other lawnmowers Which? has tested read our full reviews.
Tango E5 mows your lawn with no fuss
We tested the mower on a normal family lawn, with lumps and bumps and lots of weeds and moss. We really liked it. Once it was programmed, it didn’t need any other input from us. It can be set to mow up to twice a day (not that this is at all necessary), and at any time of the day. It will only mow within a boundary wire that is run around the edge of your lawn, just under the surface. It can cut up to lawn edges, but just like a normal mower, it leaves longer grass against a vertical edge, such as a wall, so you’ll still need to use your grass trimmer occasionally.
The Tango E5 is a mulching mower so it leaves the grass clippings on your lawn but it also means that it can’t deal with more than a patch or two of longer grass. It also mows in a random pattern, which prevents wheel marks forming on your lawn, but means you can’t get a striped effect. The finish was ok, but not as good as the finish from one of our Best Buy rotary lawnmowers. We expect the cut would be much neater on a better quality lawn.
Tango E5 is quiet and safe
It's much quieter than an electric mower so if it's mowing while you're at home, you'll hardly hear it. It moves quite slowly so it shouldn't alarm any pets; the robin that lives in our family's garden wasn't worried and followed the mower around, picking up the disturbed insects. If any objects like children's toys are left on the lawn, the mower will push them out of the way. If it bumps into anything more solid, it will reverse and mow in a different direction. It has a sensor that tells it if it has been tipped over so if it's picked up, the mowing blades stop immediately. It can be set up in the garden or you can install a 'mower flap' (to be used by the mower as a cat uses a cat flap) and hide it away in your garden shed.
Which? first look verdict
We loved this mower as it's so quiet and really does mow the lawn without any attention from anybody. It can cope with most lawn shapes and sizes and gives an acceptable cut, even on a mossy lawn. The programming is relatively easy to understand and set, but you can't programme it to stop mowing when it rains. The big downside is the £2,050 price tag, although we estimate that it will pay for itself in a few years if you normally pay someone to mow your lawn.
Pros: After the initial programming, the mower does its job and you don't have to worry about it at all
Cons: It can't get around steps, and it will mow even in heavy rain unless you interrupt the programme. However,these are minor niggles compared with the downside of the hefty price tag