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LawnBott SpyderEVO LB1500 Lawn Mower Review

A robotic lawn mower review

In this LawnBott review, the LawnBott SpyderEvo LB1500 was put to the test in real world scenarios.  If you are in a hurry, jump down to the conclusion.

The SpyderEVO LB1500 fits between the LawnBott Spyder LB1200 and the more feature-rich LawnBott LB2150.  As you probably know, the LB1500 is a semi-automatic lawn mower that uses perimeter wire unlike the regular Spyder LB1200.  You may ask how perimeter wire is considered an “upgrade”? Simply put, perimeter wire is currently the most accurate and practical way to define a wide range of mowing areas.

An optional docking station can be purchased for your SpyderEVO LB1500. The docking / charging station allows the mower to automatically mow and recharge on its own.  See the docking station section of this review for complete details.  Last updated on September 3, 2012.

What is in the LawnBott SpyderEVO LB1500 Box
The SpyderEVO is packed very securely with:LawnBott SpyderEVO Review - Inside the Box of LawnBott Spyder LB1200

*Items are included only when you order from LawnBotts.com.

LawnBott SpyderEVO LB1500 Design and Feature Overview
LawnBott SpyderEVO Charging ProbesThe LawnBott SpyderEVO LB1500 looks just like the LawnBott Spyder LB1200 with exception of the antennae like probes on top. Like the insect, this spider does not have antennae. The probes are charging contact for the optional docking base.

The SpyderEVO is rain proof just like the other LawnBotts. However, there is no rain sensor which is discussed later.

  • LawnBott SpyderEVO dimensions: 19.2 inches wide, 19.2 inches long and 11.75 inches high
  • LawnBott SpyderEVO weight: 25 pounds
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LawnBott SpyderEVO KeypadThe LB1500 SpyderEVO only has 2 buttons. Since it does not have a LCD display, it uses beeps to give feedback.  After you have installed the perimeter wire, just put the automatic lawn mower in the yard, turn it on then press start.  It is very simple to use.

The no LCD approach worked wonderful for the Spyder LB1200.  However the SpyderEVO LB1500 is a little more advanced than the LB1200.  I think a LCD screen would have been useful for setting the timer.

Delay start  allows you to start the mower at a later time. I found this feature useful especially after taking the mower outside only to find dew was still on the ground. This feature allows you to delay the mowing session from one to twenty-four hours. When used with the docking station, the unit will automatically return to the yard, once per day at the same time then re-dock itself.  It recharges in about 3 hours; therefore, you could manually start it again if need be.

Safety Touch Handles
The handles on the SpyderEVO are touch sensitive just like the LB1200. If you touch one handle, the blade will stop.  If you touch both handles, the wheels will stop. This feature is convenient when moving the robot to different areas and for added safety.

LawnBott Spyder Wheels To manually charge the SpyderEVO, connect the included charging cables to each of the wheels. It should be fully charged in about 3 hours. The LawnBott SpyderEVO with docking station will automatically return to the dock after a mowing session.  You could turn off the self docking feature in areas not attached to the docking zone. The lithium batteries gave us an average of 3 hours and 45 minutes of run time during our test.  The advertised run time is a little over 3 hours. When mowing thick or high grass, the run times were noticeably reduced.

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Adjusting the Mowing Blade Height



In order to adjust the cutting height on the LawnBott SpyderEVO lawn mower, you will need a phillips head screw driver. The mower ships at the highest setting and can be adjusted by adding up to three spacers that are included.  Simply add a spacer or any combination of spacers to achieve the desired cutting height.  This is a clever way to adjust the height, but I would have preferred a tool-free method. Nonetheless, adjusting the blade height can be done in about 5 minutes.

A Glance inside the LawnBott SpyderEVO
LawnBott Spyder WheelsThe LawnBott SypderEVO has very few moving parts. The inside is designed as simple as the outside.

Major parts:
A - Two wheel motors
B - Main Board
C - Mowing Motor
D - 4 x 4 wheel drive system
E - Perimeter wire sensor
F - Lithium Battery


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LawnBott Installation Review


Installing the LB1500 is much like installing any perimeter wire LawnBott but without automated zones. Installing the docking station is quite different than the other LawnBott mowers. Either way, I suggest planning how to place the wire before getting started.  When you order from LawnBotts.com, we will draw an installation plan customized for your lawn plus walk you through the whole process free of charge.

You can expect installing your LawnBott SpyderEVO to take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours. Simply stake perimeter wire around the borders of your lawn using a ruler (not included) as a guide for how far to place wire from objects in your yard. The LB1500 comes with 330 feet of wire and 200 pegs which should be enough to complete installation.

Once the wire is installed, simply connect the perimeter wire to the transmitter, power supply (and optional dock) and it is ready to mow after the initial charge.

First Run
Running the LawnBott LB1500 for the first time was somewhat of a shock.  It mows very similar to the LawnBott Spyder LB1200 which is a bit slower than the other LawnBott robotic lawn mowers.  Before the robot starts mowing, it will roll back and forth a few times then start the blade. If you're using the LawnBott SpyderEVOdocking station, it'll back out and turn 90 degrees facing the yard. Sometimes the robot may suddenly change directions in the middle of the yard for seemingly no reason.

Overall the first run went off without a hitch; however, it took longer to complete the area than expected. This is not a comparison review but I could not help but notice the SpyderEVO took about three times as long to mow the same sized area as the LawnBott LB2150 or LB3210.  Slower completion times should not be a deal breaker because the LB1500 is designed for smaller lawns.  Also keep in mind that the LawnBott is mowing automatically; therefore, you are free to do something else.

However, if you are planning to use the LB1500 on a lawn larger than the recommended maximum 10,000 square feet, I would seriously reconsider that thought.

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Noise Level
Much like the other LawnBott automatic lawn mowers, the LB1500 SpyderEVO is quiet.  In fact, it is quiet enough to mow at night without disturbing your neighbors.  When the robot is cutting low grass, the blade motor slows to a speed just enough to cut the lawn.  As it detects higher grass, the blade motor will increase its speed and the lawn mower is louder.  SpyderEVO is a very basic robot lawn mower; therefore, do not expect smart spirals or bells and whistles with regards to how it reacts to your lawn.

Hills and Slopes
The LawnBott SpyderEVO LB1500 is a 4 x 4 robotic lawn mower. It is rated by the manufacturer to handle up to 27 degree slopes.  We successfully tested this LawnBott on slopes clearly beyond 27 degrees with no problems.  Depending on your lawn, you may be able to use the LB1500 in an area exceeding 27 degrees.  However, this depends on where the perimeter wire is placed in conjunction to the slope plus some other factors.  If your lawn is steeper than the suggested 27 degrees, please contact us to discuss possibilities before purchasing.

Multiple Areas
LawnBott Spyder SensorsSimply put: "Semi" automated mowing means that the LawnBott LB1500 SpyderEVO will not automatically mow multiple zones.  If your front yard, side yard or back yard is separated by grass less than 5 feet across, you would need to carry the lawn mower from area to area. If you do not carry it, eventually the LB1500 SpyderEVO may wander into those areas, but not with intent. In our test the SpyderEVO had to be recharged and placed in each section which is to be expected for this robot mower. This is why the SpyderEVO is considered a “semi-automatic” robotic lawn mower.

If you have a small yard (which you should if you are buying a SpyderEVO), relocating the mower should not be much of a problem unless you prefer not to move it.  If you prefer full automation, look at the LawnBott LB2150 and above. The higher up models can independently manage each zone separately, with intent and fully automatic without your help.

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Handling Obstacles in the Lawn
The obstacle detection in the SpyderEVO is very impressive!  It uses the same technology from the LawnBott LB1200.  Though not quite as sensitive as the floating shell on the LawnBott LB3510, the Spyder will very gently bump into an object before changing direction. It uses a combination of the inclinometer plus resistance from the wheels (and some other factors) to determine that it bumped something.  The technology in this system has greatly improved over the years.  In fact, if you have an older LB1200 Spyder that has not been updated, you would probably find it worthwhile digging out the USB upgrade cable we sent you (LawnBotts.com customers only) to upgrade your firmware for free. The Spyder with current bump software has much quicker response to objects than that with the previous versions.  In our test, rarely did object get gently “pushed” for more than one second in the yard.  The reaction time is now nearly instant!

In regard to obstacle detection; you still need to pick up small objects like most toys.  Larger objects like trash cans, trees, poles, edging and shrubs tested very well. This may translate to less objects to run perimeter wire around.

Mowing High Grass
The LawnBott LB1500 SpyderEVO is a maintenance robot.  It is designed to mow frequently to maintain a freshly cut lawn.  Therefore, by using the robotic mower, your lawn should very rarely look as if it “needs” a cut.  However, sometimes life just happens and there could be a time or two when the lawn gets high.  Therefore, we like to include these test in our reviews.

Results: The SpyderEVO does a great job on high lawns.  Our lawn was allowed to get about 6 inches high.  Some areas were little higher, others lower.  Just like the LB1200, the mower will increase the blade speed then intentionally slow down for the higher areas of the lawn. When the LawnBott encountered grass that was higher than it deemed “safe” for the mowing motor, it reversed and mowed another part of the lawn.  However on subsequent passes, it eventually covered the whole area. I must note that mowing high grass greatly shortens the battery to run down faster.  Therefore prepare to recharge and send the unit back to your lawn as needed.  This is where the 3 hour recharge time is beneficial.  The SpyderEVO completed area without help or assistance with the exception of extra mowing sessions.

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SpyderEVO Mowing Pattern - Intelligence
LawnBott Spyder SensorsThe mowing pattern of the SpyderEVO is much like that of the Spyder.  This is somewhat of a surprise considering one uses perimeter wire and the other does not.  The intelligence of the SpyderEVO seems somewhat primitive when compared to the other LawnBott models.  As a result, it takes longer to complete the area.  That said, the SpyderEVO’s mowing pattern is optimized for smaller lawns... as it does very well.

Unlike the other LawnBott perimeter wire robotic lawn mowers, the SpyderEVO lacks “follow the wire precisely” mode.  To explain, the other LawnBott models will trim in a straight line as it follows the wire - with accuracy within an inch.  If your yard borders your neighbors, this feature is great because it’ll give a perfectly clean cut edge right up against your neighbor’s unmowed (or poorly mow) lawn. The SpyderEVO comes close to achieving the same result if you allow it to run long enough, but in our test, it just did not quite give that clean edge cut like the other LawnBott robotic lawn mowers.  For many customers, this is a very minor issue but I thought it was worth mentioning.

LawnBott LB1500 SpyderEVO with Docking Station Review
The LawnBott LB1500 has an optional docking station. The docking station allows the mower to automatically recharge itself and mow on an once-a-day schedule.

The docking station uses the same transmitter that comes with the robotic lawnmower.  It fits snugly into a slot made into the wall of the base that protects it from weather elements.

Setting up the charging base for the LB1500 is not quite as simple as it is for the other LawnBott models. The V-Meter feature, which I will discuss in the next section, has to work in conjunction with perimeter wire and something called an “antenna gate”.  It took a little trial and error to get the lawn mower to dock the first time without help but once setup, it docks nicely every time.

The operation of the unit is slightly different when the charging base is used.  Please refer to the manual for details.  However, rather than the mower stopping near the wire after it has completed the mowing session, it will follow alongside the wire (V-Meter) until it reaches an antenna gate (explained later).  Once it reaches the antenna gate, it will center itself on the wire and straddle slowly until it enters the base.

The SpyderEVO will automatically mow again at the time you set it; however the catch is - there is no LCD screen. To set the timer, you would have to follow the instructions using a combo of button presses and listening to feedback beeps from the mower.  I personally thought setting up the schedule was a bit awkward without a LCD screen.

Since the unit recharges in about 3 hours, you could manually start it to mow another area if need be. The unit will still dock itself unless you are mowing an area in which the LawnBott cannot access the docking station.

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Lack of a rain sensor
My biggest complaint about the SpyderEVO with docking station is the lack of a rain sensor and the inability to add one.  Rain will not harm this lawn mower - LawnBott is completely weather proof from the top.  But some customers (including myself) prefer not to mow a wet lawn because the soil is very soft.  If this is a problem for you, I would suggest the LawnBott LB2150, LB3210 or LB3510 all of which come with rain sensors as a standard feature.

If using the automatic start feature, the LawnBott LB1500 will mow as normal (even during rain) unless you press a button to pause it.  For many, this will not be an issue.

V-Meter
The SpyderEVO employs a new “clever” way of returning to the charging base. V-Meter is a feature that enables the LawnBott to take different path each time it returns to the base. I was told this feature will eventually make its way to the LawnBott LB3510.  With V-Meter, the mower will travel alongside the perimeter at a random distance as it returns to the base.  Sometimes the SpyderEVO will center itself on the wire and straddle slowly or bounce along the wire.  When cornering, the mower will “attach” itself back to the wire then head back out after several yards.  The SpyderEVO straddles the wire in slow motion... which is very different than the other LawnBott models.  V-Meter allows the LB1500 to return to the base quicker because it moves faster when it is not straddling the wire. Also it prevents the mower from making tracks back to the base if it mows very frequently.

If you have a narrow area that the mower absolutely needs to follow the wire in order to fit, an antenna gate can be used.  If you purchase your mower from us, you probably want to take us up on the free installation plan if your lawn is complex.

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Conclusions and Final Thoughts


Pros:
  • Excellent cut quality (on par with the LawnBott LB3510)
  • Perimeter wire bypasses the yard restrictions found on the Spyder LB1200
  • Lithium battery technology
  • Small and compact, easy to move around from area to area
  • Comes with enough wire and pegs for most installs
  • Build quality is exceptional - it is built like a tank
  • Four-wheel drive
Cons:
  • No rain sensor and you cannot add one later
  • One mowing zone: Semi-automatic mowing (you would likely need to move it around from area to area)
  • Installing the dock may take a little trial and error
  • No alarm feature and no way to add one in the future

Overall the SpyderEVO is a great addition to the LawnBott robotic lawn mower line.  It fits snugly between the Spyder LB1200 and the LB2150, but much closer to the LB1200 than I would prefer.  To be honest, when compared to the LawnBott LB2150, the SpyderEVO really seems underwhelming. That said, when compared to other robotic lawn mowers on the market in this price range, the LawnBott SpyderEVO stands strongly ahead.  At a price point well below $2,000.00 USD, this mower is hard to beat - it does an excellent job on mowing the lawn.

However, if you are interested in the docking station,  I would seriously consider the LawnBott LB2150 before pulling the trigger.  Click here to see the comparison between the LawnBott SpyderEVO LB1500 and the professional LB2150.

If you do not mind moving the mower around and can live without a rain sensor, the LawnBott LB1500 may be the perfect robotic lawn mower for you.

Congratulations to Zucchetti for bringing a highly competitive, low priced self-docking robotic lawn mower to the US market.

If you have any questions, comments or would like to purchase the LawnBott Spyder robotic lawn mower, please feel free to contact us.  Why buy from us?


Clint Dawson
www.LawnBotts.com
(888) 483 0063
sales@lawnbotts.com

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