In recent years, we’ve seen technological advancements across a wealth of industries and the lawn mower market hasn’t escaped this forward thinking. Not only has it led to more efficient features on our mowers, and even the addition of the cordless mower, it has also allowed for robotic lawn mowers. As the name suggests, these types of machines will operate without our intervention and mean we can cook the Sunday roast without having to push the mower around the garden.
For many years, Flymo has been a leader for all things mower-related so today’s review will look at their robotic offering to the public. Called the 1200r, will it suit your needs?
- Perfect for lawns of up to 400 square metres
- Mows without human interaction
- Ability to mulch grass
- Plenty of safety and security features
- 75 minutes of mowing time per one-hour charge
- 58dB noise level
- 7.4kg in weight
With an opportunity to cut anything up to 400 square metres, this is much larger than many top cordless mowers we’ve reviewed in the past. However, do all the other features live up to expectation? Below, we’ve broken down the mower into different sections so you can see which features excel…and whether any features, well, don’t.
Power and Battery
With an 18V lithium-ion battery and electric motor, this is comparable with many other mowers and should work well for any lawn. In terms of charging, this is actually very impressive since the battery lasts for 75 minutes. Of course, the robotic nature of the model means it won’t move as fast as one we would push but this battery life still covers a large amount of ground. What’s more, it only takes an hour to charge. If we compare this with the Husqvarna 105, it takes ten minutes longer to charge but offers a longer battery life.
Thanks to the electric motor, you don’t have to worry about polluting the environment and it produces very little noise. Rather than disrupting the neighbours and having to wear ear plugs (perhaps a slight exaggeration), the unit will work quietly away in the background while you relax.
Cutting Features and Customisation
With a simple knob on top of the mower, users can adjust the cutting height between 20 and 50mm which is ideal for the first cut of the year and managing the lawn through the changing seasons. If you start with a higher cutting height and then gradually work your way down, you’ll avoid brown spots and keep the grass looking healthy.
As mentioned previously, the mower also has mulching capabilities which many will find useful. As the grass is cut finely, clippings can find the soil before then decomposing and acting as a fertiliser. From here, the soil will receive important nutrients while also retaining moisture. In the long-term, this should mean a healthier lawn without using chemicals and various other products. If your lawn is overgrown, however, we recommend first cutting with another mower since it won’t handle long grass too well.
Normally, we’ll provide the safety features alongside various other useful additions but we feel it deserves a section of its own here because it’s a common concern. Often, people avoid robotic mowers because they worry about safety and security. Luckily, Flymo has considered this problem carefully and provided a number of safety features.
Firstly, the blade will automatically stop spinning as soon as the model is lifted from the floor thanks to ‘lift and tilt sensors’. Even if the unit tilts at an angle that exposes the blades too much, it will shut down and this gives peace of mind for those with children and/or pets. With the design itself, there’s a healthy gap between the blade and the edge of the underside just in case fingers or toes find themselves sneaking underneath the mower. If ever you’re concerned or just want to shut the mower down, the large stop button on top will work instantly.
In addition to this, the built-in collision sensors should prevent the mower from crashing into fences, people, other devices, decking, etc. In our experience with the unit, it can be a little clumsy and tends to react later than expected. For example, it will gently trundle into a fence before then stopping, reversing, and continuing on a new path. As long as it has been installed correctly and the parameters have been set, this shouldn’t be a major issue.
While on this note, we should say that the mower can have trouble picking up objects that are shallow to the ground. For example, small children’s toys that are flat to the floor can be hard to identify but problems can be easily prevented by checking the garden quickly before letting the mower do its thing.
Continuing on the list of safety features, we come across the PIN and alarm system. If your kids come across the mower in the shed, they won’t be able to press an ‘On’ button and let the mower loose on the lawn. Instead, operation requires a PIN code; entering this every time you wish to change the programming can be a little frustrating but it has good intentions and could prevent a serious accident. If anybody tries to use or steal the mower, the alarm will sound and the guilty party will quickly be scared off.
With robotic mowers, another common question is how it all works, how it knows where to go, and how the lawn can receive an even cut when there’s no person in control of where it travels. With the Flymo 1200r, users will be provided with loop wire and the bot uses its own built-in sensors to decide in which direction to go. With unique movement, there are no tyre marks and therefore no mowing patterns unlike the more conventional mowers.
Over time, the mower will calculate the most efficient route to take while conserving energy wherever possible. With this in mind, you aren’t going to be left with a lawn that’s half cut and half uncut. As long as the loop wire is in place, and connected to the ‘base station’, the mower will stay within the perimeter of the garden while planning a route that offers positive results.
We’ve covered all the main features of the Flymo 1200r, but what about additional features that make the experience more enjoyable? Well, firstly, the docking port should be plugged into the mains and this allows the mower to travel back to the docking station when it needs charging. Rather than chasing the mower around the garden and constantly checking the battery levels, it will start making its way back when the battery runs low.
When the mower arrives, it doesn’t require assembly and it’s easy to get started. Once fully charged, all you need to do is set the cutting height and use the control panel to send it on its way. Luckily, the interface is easy to use and this allows you to set mowing times. Using the LCD screen, you can set a time where the mower wakes up and gets to work (without any intervention from yourself). In theory, this means it can wake up and start mowing on a Sunday morning while you’re still in bed.
As you may have noticed, we haven’t mentioned a grass box and this is because there isn’t one. While traditional mowers are designed for collecting, this robotic mower is designed for mulching when the grass is short. The grass is cut into small pieces, and it goes back into the soil.
With all the features we’ve mentioned, does it mean you can buy the product and let it work away for many years without intervention? Although this would be perfect, it isn’t quite the case because there’s a strip of grass between the boundary and the loop wire. Every so often, you’ll need to clean up this stretch of grass to keep a uniform appearance across the whole garden.
In this review, we’ve discussed many fantastic features and this could leave you hovering over the ‘Order’ button online. However, before you go any further, we should discuss potential drawbacks. What problems might you encounter with the Flymo 1200r?
- Some users have had issues with the bot going off course or taking too long to recalculate a new route after clumsily hitting objects. If you buy this model, you might need to keep an eye on it for the first few weeks to see if there are common problems the model encounters in your garden. It may also need rescuing every so often.
- Although this is commonly due to negligence by the owner, the model doesn’t always pick up on small objects and this can lead to them being run over. Not only will this cause damage to the object, it can also damage the blade.
- Unfortunately, we aren’t yet at the stage where robotic mowers will handle long grass and this means you’ll need to do a ‘pre-mow’ of the lawn before letting the bot loose. If the grass is too long, the bot will keep getting stuck and it’s likely to leave you frustrated.
- For those with a bumpy lawn, the lift and tilt safety feature may keep turning the device off when the blade is exposed. Flymo believe the model will keep operating on slopes of up to 14 degrees; any more than this, the safety feature will cut in.
- Finally, there are also common issues with the loop wire; firstly, the fact it’s required in the first place means you’ll need to head out with a trimmer regularly. Secondly, customers have also commented on a loss of signal in larger gardens. If the display shows a message of ‘no signal loop’, users will need to bring the model back to the charging station and then disconnect the station from the power source.
While the model has some issues, it does normally do a very good job of mowing the lawn and it comes in at one of the lowest price points. Despite the small issues, the power, battery, efficiency, and safety features are all positives. Furthermore, it offers a cut on all gardens up to 400 square metres in size.
When deciding, we recommend considering your budget, and comparing the 1200r with other products in the market. For those who want an entry-level model, have a garden with few slopes and bumps, and don’t mind trimming the edges, this would make for a great investment!
Last update on 2019-02-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API