Do robot lawn mowers get stolen?
- By: Ashley Saunders
- June 2022
No one wants to spend hundreds or thousands of pounds on a robotic lawn mower only to have it stolen. It’s a reason many decided against buying one. But, do robot lawn mowers get stolen? The stats say they very rarely do.
It’s easy to conclude that having an autonomous mower roaming your garden day and night is the ideal target for thieves and vandals. And while this is true, it’s not the whole story, especially when you consider the built-in security features.
But, do robot lawn mowers get stolen? And if they do, can you track and trace them?
So, do robot lawn mowers get stolen often?
Let’s start with some good news. It’s very rare for someone to steal a robot lawn mower. While this might seem counter-intuitive given that robomowers are small, lightweight and easy to spot, it’s easy to overlook how sophisticated the built-in security features are.
Thieves indeed see gardens as easy targets. They can quickly get in and out of a garden, taking with them expensive bikes, tools and equipment, all of which are easy to steal and resell, making them a quick profit.
However, it’s worth considering the onboard security features the best robotic lawn mowers typically have. These anti-theft and anti-vandalism features can make the unit useless once removed from your garden, essentially reducing the thief’s profit to zero.
Why is it pointless to steal a robotic lawn mower?
Two security features often overlooked are the charging station and the boundary wire. Without these, a robomower won’t operate. Its only use will be as an unattractive garden ornament.
The average thief knows this, and so they tend to avoid stealing robomowers. Plus, they understand how risky it is to remove the charging dock and uproot the boundary wire. The longer they are on the scene, the more likely they will be caught red-handed.
So instead of stealing a robotic mower along with the dock and wires, they’ll attempt to take bikes, power tools, external speakers and more. Again they look for easy-to-remove items with a decent resale value. They know the resale value of an orphaned robot mower is zero!
Is vandalism more likely?
On private property, the likelihood of someone jumping a fence to vandalise a robot lawn mower is extremely rare. This issue is more likely to affect professional lawn mowers working in public spaces as they’re an easy target.
Of course, if you have a disagreement with a neighbour, they could deface your mower with graffiti, stand on it, or strike it with an object. However, it would be quite obvious who the culprit was!
Thankfully manufacturers are one step ahead. The built-in security features of the mower will alert you if an unauthorised person handles the unit. Some even use specialist paint that’s harder to use spray paint on.
How about accidental damage?
Unfortunately, the most common cause of damage to robotic lawnmowers is accidental. You might be playing football with your family and unintentionally hit your robomower, or it could come into contact with drink cans or clothing already on the grass.
So, it’s important to keep your lawn free from debris and wait until it’s finished before you practice your golf strokes or start a family ball game. Another way to lessen the chance of accidental damage is proper maintenance.
By proper maintenance, we mean regularly checking the blades and the unit for obvious signs of damage. Blunt or broken blades can cause additional issues, so needs to be sorted early. You’ll also want to check if the unit and app (if it has one) is displaying any error codes.
It’s also worth adjusting the cutting height depending on the season to ensure your lawn is well cared for.
What onboard security features do robomowers have?
Even the most affordable robotic mower offers superb anti-theft and security features that keep them safe when mowing your grass. While it’d be impossible to list all, here are seven standard security features that will deter thieves.
#1 Pin code access
The most basic security feature is a simple 4-digital PIN code. You need this code to access the control panel and be able to operate your robomower. Without the unique PIN code, the robotic mower won’t work.
#2 Tamper alarms
If someone handles or picks up your robotic mower without turning it off at its red emergency stop button or entering the PIN code, it’ll sound a loud alarm. Most units offer highly programmable alarms, allowing you to fine-tune the level of security that’s right for you.
You can only stop the alarm by entering the correct PIN code. Alarms are most effective if the mower’s owner can hear it as the neighbours may ignore it.
More expensive units will have GSP (Global Positioning System) that uses satellite-based tracking to navigate their mowing cycle and report their location at all times. Many buyers look for units with GPS as the mower can operate without needing a boundary wire.
Another benefit of GPS is tracking your unit location at all times. So, if someone does try to steal your robotic lawn mower, you can easily trace their steps and retrieve it.
#4 Clever built-in sensors
All robotic lawn mowers use several sensors to navigate their environment effectively. The most common are tilt and lift sensors. They stop the mower from cutting grass if it is tilted or lifted.
With some mowers, these sensors control an alarm or will send automatic notifications via an app. When the sensor is triggered, you will be alerted.
#5 Charging station and mower pairing
Having a robomower alone is fairly useless as it relies on accessing a charging station to top up its batteries. Many high-end robotic lawn mowers use a unique wireless pairing that will stop the device working if something stops the mower and dock from communicating.
As each unit uses a unique identifier, a thief can’t hack the software and get it working with another charging dock.
#6 Powerful apps
As a smart home appliance, many robomowers can be operated using an app and a Wi-Fi connection. Using your smartphone, you can view real-time updates, progress reports and any problems encountered. You can also remotely program, activate, or turn off your unit using the app.
#7 Blacklistsing high-end mowers
Some manufacturers deal with theft by using user registrations to create a list of active products. If one of these units gets stolen, the manufacturer can record this in a database and blacklist the unit. So, it’s vital to register your unit, soon after you’ve purchased it.
What this means is should someone tries to have the stolen mower serviced, the retailer can search the database to confirm if it’s blacklisted or not. Should the unit be stolen, they can alert the authorities, who can investigate further.
Should you insure your robot lawn mower?
While most home insurance policies will cover robot lawn mowers as standard, you might have to fulfil some additional criteria to validate this part of the cover.
So, it’s worth asking your insurance provider if your robot lawn mower is insured. Otherwise, you should be able to add it as a named item to your existing insurance policy for a small fee.
Should your robomower get stolen, it might not be worth claiming on your insurance policy as it could significantly increase your premiums for the next several years, not to mention the excess you’ll have to pay upfront.
So, unless you have an uber expensive unit, it’s best to pay for the replacement cost yourself. If you have a more expensive model, the benefits of having your robot lawn mower insured will be greater.
How to prevent your robot lawn mower from being stolen
Even if your robomower isn’t at direct risk of theft, you probably have numerous other items of value in your garden that should be protected. Most people’s gardens are quite vulnerable as they aren’t as secure as their home.
Gardens tend to be easily accessible, making them attractive to thieves as they can get in and out without being spotted. Thankfully there are plenty of ways to safeguard your garden and home from thieves.
Buy an anti-theft robomower garage
These are a godsend as they only open when you schedule the robot to mow the lawn. Other models close immediately after the mower has completed its cycle and returned safely to its charging station inside the garage.
An anti-theft mower garage is a worthwhile investment. Plus, the garage also protects your robot lawn mower from the weather, which is a bonus.
Consider Marking Your Property
A robot lawn mower or other garden valuables with the owner’s name and address engraved on it has considerably less resale value on the black market and may cause a thief to think again. It doesn’t take long to mark your items but the reward could be huge.
Secure Your Boundaries
Make it hard for a thief to gain entry into your garden by keeping gates closed and locked unless in use. A locked gate could deter a thief as they don’t want to make noise when attempting to enter a garden.
Good security lighting can be a great anti-theft feature. Security lights have built-in movement sensors that react when they detect someone. Not only do they act as a deterrence, but they also help guests find the front door!
Buying and installing CCTV cameras has never been cheaper. Many Wi-Fi cameras offer monitoring via an app, that’s available for smartphones, tablets or computers. You can access the cameras from anywhere.
Statistics show that using security cameras can result in a small reduction in theft. They are ideal for preventing the theft of specific high-value items in your garden.
Don’t make it easy for thieves
Returning to our original question: Do robot lawn mowers get stolen? It’s unlike that thieves will try to steal your robotic lawn mower.
But, rest assured that if they do, your robots are one step ahead. You might be able to catch them out by using the alarm, getting a text notification or even using GPS tracking.
If you’re still concerned about crime, you can program your mower to work when you are nearby or secure your charging station behind a lockable area. Another option is to move your robomower inside at night, as this will also reduce the risk of theft by an opportunist.
That said, for peace of mind, keep your robot mower insured, either individually or as part of your home or garden insurance policy.