Robotic Yard Equipment Aims to Silence Gas-Powered Machines

April 13, 2021

Spring is in full swing with seasonal showers leading to blooming flowers and growing lawns across the country. But with these idyllic scenes come unpleasant sounds as roaring leaf blowers and rumbling lawnmowers tear through American neighborhoods. Along with raising an almighty racket, these gas-powered machines also emit more pollutants than most cars and trucks. According to California’s Air Resource Board, a commercial leaf blower operating for one hour emits as many contaminants as a Toyota Camery driving for 1,100 miles.

Change could be on the way soon, however, as lithium battery-operated machines and even robotic lawn equipment becomes more widely available to consumers. These greener options could alleviate the issue of emissions while also providing new revenue streams for companies in the $16 billion lawn equipment industry. Sales of battery-powered mowers in the U.S. have grown by as much as 8 percent in the last four years as robotic mowers have become increasingly popular with European consumers. One automated model produced by a Swedish company measures about two by two and a half feet and can cover 1.25 acres in one charge.

With price-tags ranging from $1,000 to $2,500, though, robotic mowers are an expensive way to maintain a flawless lawn. On the other hand, studies show that battery-powered options ultimately save money in the long run by eliminating fuel costs. The environmental impact of these machines is significant as well, leading some communities to offer rebates for neighbors who turn in their gas-guzzling mowers and leaf blowers.


  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of battery-powered and robotic lawn mowers compared to yard equipment that runs on gasoline?
  2. Do you think people will start buying more battery-powered or robotic lawn mowers rather than gas-powered models? Why or why not?

Source: Ellen Rosen, “The Robots Are Coming … to Mow Your Lawn,” The New York Times, April 6, 2021.