EcoFlow Blade Robotic Lawn Mower


HomeHome / Blog / EcoFlow Blade Robotic Lawn Mower

Aug 25, 2023

EcoFlow Blade Robotic Lawn Mower

If the thought of laying yard upon yard of perimeter wire has you thinking twice about investing in a robotic lawn mower, the EcoFlow Blade ($2,899) might be the solution—it does an excellent job of

If the thought of laying yard upon yard of perimeter wire has you thinking twice about investing in a robotic lawn mower, the EcoFlow Blade ($2,899) might be the solution—it does an excellent job of cutting and uses Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS technology to navigate your lawn without wires. That said, its base station and antenna must have a clear view of the sky, so you might not be able to use it if your property has lots of tall trees or lacks wide-open space. The wire-guided Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD ($3,999.99) doesn't have such strict setup requirements, but it costs substantially more. So, if your yard can support it, the EcoFlow Blade is well worth considering.

With its streamlined aluminum alloy body, omnidirectional front wheels, and knobby all-terrain tires, the Blade looks more like a Mars rover than a lawn mower. At 17.0 by 26.0 by 12.0 inches (HWD) and 35.7 pounds, it's smaller and a bit lighter than the aforementioned Husqvarna Automower 435X (11.4 by 21.7 by 36.6 inches, 38 pounds). It also has a wider cutting width (10.2 inches vs. 8.7 inches). However, the Blade's 0.75-acre coverage falls short of the Husqvarna’s 0.90-acre mark.

Two slim LED headlights are at the front of the mower, and the top has a long compartment cover for the rechargeable battery that should provide up to 240 minutes of power. The mower returns to its docking station when it runs out and takes 130 minutes to fully recharge. The headlights glow solid blue when the mower is connected and working properly, pulse green while the device is charging, and blink red when the battery level goes below 20%.

A taillight at the rear of the mower indicates the GNSS antenna status. It pulses orange when the antenna is searching for a satellite signal, flashes blue when it has a strong signal, and blinks red when there is no signal. Also on the rear are power, start, stop, and recharge buttons, along with a port for attaching the optional Lawn Sweeper Kit ($699 by itself or $3,199 in a bundle with the mower). That accessory rides along behind the mower, picking up leaves, twigs, and other debris from your lawn.

The Blade’s cutting platform offers a 0.8- to 3.0-inch height range and consists of a single disc with three rotating blades. The brushless motor that powers it has a maximum sound rating of 65dB and offers three modes of operation with different spinning disc speeds: Gentle (0.89mph), Normal (1.34mph), and Quick (1.78mph).

The IPX5-rated mower uses an all-wheel drive (AWD) power train to traverse lawns with slopes of up to 27 degrees and climb over obstacles such as small rocks and branches. An embedded RGB camera and several sensors help it avoid larger items like lawn furniture and landscaping rocks, and it even has a rain sensor. Bluetooth, cellular, GPS, and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi radios round out the connectivity features. The Bluetooth radio handles pairing and close-range communications with your phone, while the Wi-Fi radio lets you control the mower remotely from anywhere. The GPS and 4G cellular radios enable wireless navigation, allow you to monitor its working progress in real time, and help you track the mower and lock it down via the mobile app if someone steals it. EcoFlow gives you a free year of cellular connectivity (via eSIM), after which point you have to renew service in the app at an annual rate of $29.99 if you want to keep using those related features.

Most robotic mowers use a staked perimeter wire and electronic sensors for guidance. In that type of setup, the low-voltage wire prevents the mower from wandering off your property or entering any place you want it to avoid, such as a flowerbed or a driveway. The Blade is different in that it uses wireless RTK technology to navigate your lawn. In a nutshell, it takes signals from various GPS satellites that are part of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and calculates positioning information down to an accuracy level of a centimeter (0.032 feet). To put that into perspective, standard GPS has an accuracy level of between 2 and 10 meters (or 6 and 32 feet). The Blade's GNSS antenna sits atop a four-foot pole with three spikes at its base that secure it to your lawn. The antenna needs to be roughly 6 feet away from any walls, houses, or structures and must have a clear view of the sky. That last part caused an issue in testing, which I discuss later.

In the box, you get a 28-by-20-inch (HW) base station with connectors for the aforementioned GNSS antenna and the power adapter; a 28-foot antenna cable; a 28-foot power cable; spikes for securing the base station, the power cable, and the antenna cable to the ground; three spare blades; and a setup guide.

The Blade uses the same mobile app (available for Android and iOS) as other devices from EcoFlow, including the Wave Portable Air Conditioner, and gets a dedicated panel on the Devices screen. Tap that panel to see a map of your lawn with the total square footage and the current location of the mower and base station. Here, you can also see the current battery level, the mower status (charging or working), start and end buttons, a four-way joystick for manually guiding the mower, a button for creating automation rules or schedules, and a button for configuring work settings such as the cutting height and mode.

A gear icon in the upper right corner takes you to a settings screen where you can rename the mower, share access to the app with others, view work records, see any rules, and enable several features, including Rain Delay (the mower will return to the base in the event of rain) and Edge Working (after a run, the mower will work along the perimeter for a preset number of laps). Additionally, you can create and edit yard maps, update the device firmware, and pinpoint the mower's location on a map.

Rounding out the app are several Smart Enhancement settings including an Anti-Theft alarm (which disables the power and sounds an alarm when the mower goes outside its boundaries), a Low-Height obstacle detection setting (the mower will avoid obstacles that are lower than 4 inches in height), and a U-Turn mode (which increases the mower’s turning radius to prevent slippage when it turns around).

Because the Blade doesn't require laying perimeter wire, the installation process was quicker than any other robotic mower I’ve reviewed. It still wasn't without hiccups, though.

To begin, I downloaded the EcoFlow mobile app, created an account, and tapped Add a Device on the main screen. I selected the Blade mower and followed the instructions for assembling the antenna and the base station. I installed the base station in the same spot that I use for all of the robotic mowers I test, but couldn't get a usable signal when I tried to place the connected antenna nearby. As it turns out, both the base station and the antenna need an unobstructed view of the sky. As is typical in the suburbs, I have tall trees on both sides of my house and a couple of smaller ones near the front, so this presented a problem.

After a few more failed attempts at getting a signal, I relented and installed both the base and antenna along the border of my lawn, close to the street. At this location, I had to run an extension cord to the base station. The setup doesn't look ugly, but the antenna pole and base station appear enough out of place that it caused some minor grumbling from my neighbor. Moreover, I wasn't comfortable leaving everything out near the street.

With the satellite connection process out of the way, I followed the app instructions to connect the mower to my Wi-Fi network, updated the firmware, and tapped Mower Control Practice to test the app’s remote control prowess. I then selected Create a Map and used the remote control dial and the mower to construct a virtual perimeter. Essentially, I had to walk behind the mower and guide it along the borders of my lawn until I came back to the starting point. After that, I tapped Finish, set the cutting height, and sent the mower out to work.

I have no complaints about the Blade's mowing performance. It always stayed within its virtual perimeter, worked quickly and quietly, and provided an even cut. It managed to get close to the edges without tipping over onto the street and had no trouble traversing a crater left over from a tree that I removed a few years ago. The mower always stopped when it approached objects such as a tennis ball and a garden hose. It also followed my schedules flawlessly and successfully avoided a particularly heavy rainfall, while the app reliably reported its location when I picked it up and drove it to a spot on the next block. That said, I wish its alarm was louder.

The EcoFlow Blade is a smart, wire-free solution to keeping your lawn in shape that packs cutting-edge connectivity for highly accurate navigation. It's also built to handle rough terrain and conditions, and has a wide cutting width. Our main concern is that its base station and antenna require an unhindered view of the sky, which might be problematic if you have trees or large shrubbery on your property. If you fall into that category, the Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD is a better option for more varied yard types because it relies on a more traditional combination of perimeter wire and GPS navigation. It's pricier, however, so you might still want to find a way to make the EcoFlow Blade work.