I once wrote a vacuum cleaner review, and, honestly, I did it for one reason — so that I could try a Roomba. You know, the little robot floor cleaner that sucks up all the dog hair and dirt while you relax with your feet up. They’ve been around for years, and I’ve got to admit the Roomba actually does a decent job of keeping the floor clean. So you’ll understand why I couldn’t help but read a story this week I saw about the LawnBott, a lawn mowing robot.

credit: LawnBott SpyderEVO

Like the Roomba, the LawnBott comes with a hefty price tag ($1,800!), which is why they’re more of a novelty than something all the neighbors will soon buy. While I fantasized about trying one out (I’m sure there’s a magazine out there that would pay me to review lawn mowers!), I got to thinking about how whether such a purchase would be better or worse than using a gas-powered mower — or an electric one, for that matter? Is using the LawnBott akin to driving a Toyota Prius? And, while I know it’s cooler, as in more hip, than my plug-in mower, is it really as “cool” as in just as environmental?

A “cool” and environmental choice

Ultimately, I wondered: Is there an environmental mower choice outside of the obvious reel mower option? I’ve tried those unsuccessfully on my tenacious Colorado lawn.

Plugging in means you use electricity that comes from a power plant, dirty coal-power in my case. Gas, electric and robot mowers all require batteries, which all end up at the landfill.

A little research showed that indeed, the LawnBott (and actually, your plug-in mower, too) are far superior environmental choices.

According to Grist.org, “a traditional mower running for 45 minutes consumes about 50,000 BTUs of energy in the form of gasoline. An electric mower doing the same job requires just 2,500 BTUs in form of kilowatts. Some estimates put the electric mowers at 90 percent less polluting than gas models and the cost savings per season is ample. About $5 of electricity will run your electric mower for the whole season on a third-acre lawn that would otherwise require about $40 to $50 in gas and oil.”

Now if only I could justify the $1,800 investment … .