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I tested a $6,000 automower for four months. Here's why I'm fully invested

The Husqvarna EPOS automower is a wire-free robot that can mow in different patterns. A beautifully striped yard without any effort on my end? Sign me up.
Written by Elizabeth Mauder, Editor
Husqvarna Automower EPOS sitting in grass
Beth Mauder/ZDNET

When you think of chores that take an excessive amount of time, mowing is near the top of the list. Add in being a first-time mom trying to navigate a newborn, and mowing is going to take a backseat. So really, who needs an efficient automower more than me? 

Also: The best robot lawn mowers you can buy

I've been testing the Husqvarna Automower EPOS for almost four months now, giving it full range of my one-acre lot -- and I don't think my yard has ever looked better, despite having absolutely no time to deal with it. Here's why it may (or may not) be just as good of a fit for your home.

View at Husqvarna

To start, the EPOS automower has to be professionally installed, so beyond swiping your credit card to purchase the robot, it's as much of a hands-free experience as it gets. The setup process went like this: A team member arrived at my doorstep, surveyed my property, and outlined where the EPOS reference station needed to be placed. You need a clear line of sight to the sky and limited tall trees and buildings for the satellite to work properly. 

The reference station eliminates my biggest complaint with other automower options -- boundary wires. With EPOS, the only cords I have anywhere near my yard are the ones that power the reference station and the charging base. How glorious.

The Husqvarna Automower EPOS's reference station

The reference station was placed in a fence post in my backyard. It has a clear view of the sky and my entire property.

Beth Mauder/ZDNET

Once the station is set up, the installer will literally walk the automower around your property, creating maps of the areas you want mowed. Don't worry, you can also do this yourself as your property changes and evolves. 

The reference station is a satellite-based technology that delivers centimeter-level accuracy to your mowing experience. The accuracy is downright cool. When we added a shed to our yard, I needed to go in and adjust my map, so the automower knew to avoid running into it. As I was making adjustments, I could literally change my no-go zones by centimeters. That's impressive -- and again, not a single boundary wire needed to be placed or adjusted.

Also: I tested the Tesla Cybertruck of robot mowers - and it's better than I expected

I have a front, back, and side yard that I can send the automower to tackle, which is all managed through the Husqvarna Automower app. Once the setup is complete, you manage everything from the app. Initially, I would just go into the app and tell it when to mow if I noticed my front yard getting a little long. But after a while, I just set up a schedule where all three sections of my yard were mowed every three days. Today, I don't even have to think about mowing my yard, it's just done.

Much to my husband's surprise, the EPOS automower can mow in patterns. There are a few to choose from, but our yard still has that lovely striped look. This is also a welcome feature because previously the yard was mowed in a random pattern. I'd look out and not be sure how much of my yard had been tidied. With the Husqvarna EPOS automower, the stripes let me see exactly where the mower has been, and how much of my yard is left. And besides, dads (and moms) everywhere crave that striped pattern, so this was perfect.


The automower can mow in a striped pattern.

Beth Mauder/ZDNET

ZDNET's buying advice

Overall, the Husqvarna EPOS Automower has simplified my life and kept my yard looking like a fairway. It's a hefty financial investment, especially at $5,900, but it's going to free up my time for years to come. You can expect to pay at least half that for a new riding mower, but don't forget that you'll have years of added fuel, oil, and other maintenance costs to keep up with. 

The EPOS Automower only needs new blades and electricity to charge throughout its lifetime. The cost might seem steep up front, but it will pay off in the end. As someone who invests heavily in items and services that buy back my time, this automower is no exception. My husband and I both have gotten our weekends back -- another hour or two every week we can spend making memories rather than being stuck working.

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