The future of robotic lawn care has arrived as the robot lawn mower has finally reached the level of advancement that they are now both amazing at what they do and offered at a realistic price for domestic use.
If you’re anything like us. mowing the lawn is one of those tasks that we often try to avoid, yet it still needs to be done. There are so many excuses, you can blame the heat saying it’s too hot outside or that simply that you don’t have enough time to maintain the yard lawn. The bigger the yard, the more excuses we end up giving.
However, worry no more as there is a smarter approach to this mundane chore – automatic lawn mowers.
Cheatsheet – Top Picks
Coming up …
- Husqvarna Automower 430X – Best Overall
- Robomow RX12 – Best Budget Robot Lawn Mower
- WORX Landroid – Best Mid-Price
- Husqvarna Automower 450X – Best For Large Gardens
- Gardena 4069 R80LI
- Husqvarna Automower 310
- Redback Power USA
- What makes a good robotic mower?
- Features to look out for
- Key points for consideration before buying
- Tips for installing your robot lawn mower
- Pros and cons
- Are robot lawn mowers and good?
- How difficult is it to set up a robotic lawn mower?
- Can robot mowers handle steep slopes?
- Do I need a mower with GPS?
- How does a robot lawn mower deal with obstacles?
- Can robotic lawn mowers deal with dog poop?
How Do Robotic Lawn Mowers Work?
While there are a few variations of robotic lawn mowers, most of them function in the same way. Here we’ll help you to understand how these little yard helpers work.
In general, autonomous mowers are getting more sophisticated and require less and less human interaction as newer models come out. They often include rain detectors and can self-dock into their charging stations. They’ve also become quieter allowing them to work through the night.
Most robotic lawn mowers use a border wire, many models use this method, even though specific units now feature a GPS. The border wire determines the outline of the lawn to be cut. By using this feature, the mower will not cross the cutting border.
Various models of autonomous mowers connect to a smartphone or computer using wi-fi and an installed app or website. The lawn cutters often include a how-to for this option. And once enabled, you’ll be able to track progress and control the mower.
The method of finding the charging stations used by models vary, some units use a radio frequency or border wire, but others can also use a single guide wire to direct the path of the mower.
Guide or border wires or borders also enable the machine to cut through narrow spaces and keep right to the edges. Though there are models with built-in sensors as well, that will help the mower when directing itself.
Mowers also have shock sensors that alert them when they’ve bumped into any obstacles, and they soon move in another direction. This feature is essential as most mowers move around on their own random paths. They do this since it’s the fastest and most efficient method to get your robotic mower working fast. It also provides a tremendously even cut that doesn’t leave patterned streaks across the grass.
Before we get to the buying guide, with all the information you need to know before you make your purchase, let’s whet your appetite and take a look at some of the best robotic lawn mowers currently available.
Best Overall – Husqvarna Automower 430X
Topping our list is the Automower by Husqvarna, a company that combines high performance with usability and safety to get the job done efficiently and reliably. They offer a wide range of products, but this is one of their best on the market.
Before we begin, you need to forget everything you know about lawn care, as you’re about to discover something far superior to what you knew. The Automower cuts the grass as it grows, allowing the cutoff to become natural fertilizer, letting it grow more lushly than it ever has before. Traditional mowers cut off centimeters at a time, that doesn’t decompose and needs to be collected and thrown out.
The smart mower can be programmed and have settings adjusted from the intuitive menu on a large, and user-friendly display found on the machine or from the free companion app. It also uses smart technology to monitor the growth rate of your lawn and adapts your cutting volume to ensure complete care for the yard.
Check out our full Husqvarna Automower 430X review with more in-depth information and plenty of FAQs
We’re also impressed that this model boasts a 9.4-inch cutting width, meaning that this unit has less roaming to do while trying to cut all of the lawn. The mower runs on an unpredictable and random path that creates no stripes or streaks on your grass, just a smooth and lush green.
We love the quick charge time of the Automower 430X, only 65 minutes, meaning that after each time it heads in for a charge it’ll be ready to get back to work in no time at all. And for when you need to clean out the blade housing, the mower contains lift and tilt sensors that’ll stop the blades from spinning, preventing any accidental injuries.
The Automower 430X by Husqvarna is state of the art and also uses a GPS navigation unit to map out your yard as it tracks which areas have and have not been cut. However, it’s worth noting that the GPS works in collaboration with the perimeter wire, it does not replace the need to have one.
It can mow up to 0.75 acres and handle an angle of 24 degrees. The mower uses a pin code to prevent theft and tampering. It can work through rain or even at night time thanks to its efficient and quiet motor.
- Just turn it on and forget about it
- GPS offer great results and also great for tracking if stolen
- Safe around kids
- Has Alexa or Google smart home integration
- Not cheap
- Reported to sometimes struggle to find it’s base
- Can get stuck in small potholes
- Supplied manual is a bit brief
Best Budget Robot Lawn Mower – Robomow RX12
The Robomow RX12 claims to be the cutest and most affordable robot by Friendly Robotics. And while this may be an introductory model that doesn’t have all the shiny features as the top of the line models, it is best suited to small gardens thanks to its astounding extra features.
Capable of mowing up to 2,200 feet, we love this mower’s ability to handle small yards. The mower can also handle gentle inclines of up to 8.5 degrees on any terrain.
The Robomow moves in a random pattern within the border you set up, as most mowers do. It also runs for 90 to 120 minutes on a single charge before needing to charge for 16 to 20 hours. The Robomow will also return to its docking station when it’s lead-acid battery runs low.
We’re also pleased with the low maintenance design of this model, requiring blade replacements only once per year and a new battery every 2 to 3 years. The most you’ll have to do is ensure that there isn’t grass build up underneath the unit and keep the wheels clean. The model doesn’t require any oil, gas, or tune-ups.
In summary, this motor isn’t as fancy as others on the market. But, you’re getting a lot for a budget price if you purchase this machine. This machine cuts by following an irregular pattern, can cover 2,200 feet and handle an incline of up to 8.5 degrees.
- Easy to use
- Great for small gardens
- East maintenance
- Not many features
- Long charge times
- Cannot hamdle slopes
Best Mid-Price – WORX Landroid
The Worx Landroid has a user-friendly control panel to program the fully automatic mowing system, allowing you to choose which times you want this grass eater to do its job.
The Landroid comes fully pre-programmed and is ready to go once the necessary boundary wires are installed. If you’d like to change the set programming, it’s easy to use interface makes setting times and other features a simple task.
You’ll be able to cut multiple types of grass with the Landroid and at various heights, which we love since we enjoy tall grass that’s soft and cushiony for bare feet. The Landroid can also handle uneven terrain and gentle slopes thanks to its ability to factor in drift and other parameters, allowing it to cut any lawn.
Complete with a built-in rain sensor, it will know to stop cutting the lawn until the grass is no longer wet. During the time that it’s raining the unit heads back to its charging station so that it’ll be ready to get back to work as soon as the weather clears. You’ll have plenty of spare time after the quick set up and installation of the Landroid.
The Worx unit takes only 2 to 4 hours to install fully and setup, meaning that you’ll be able to enjoy peaceful afternoons with one less chore on the list. A marvelous trade-off of a few hours for never needing to cut your lawn again.
The Landroid by Worx is a beautiful addition to any medium or small sized yard. It has many features similar to motors that care for larger areas. Some highlights include anti-intervention pin code requirement, easy installation, and tilt and lift safety sensors. It is suitable for many different terrains and can return itself to the charging station when it rains. Quiet and with easy to follow setup instructions, this is a great choice.
- Great value
- Plenty of safety features
- Good instructions and set up guide
- Includes rain sensor
- Prone to getting stuck
- Struggles on slopes
- Reports of sloppy customer service
Best Robot Mower For Large Gardens – Husqvarna Automower 450X
We’ve got another addition to our favorites list from Husqvarna, with their Automower 450x. This smart mower is our top pick for anyone with a large garden as the unit can handle up to 1.25 acres of lawn.
This model uses a Li-ion battery and only needs 75 minutes of charging, meaning that it roams and cuts your yard with efficiency and spends less time waiting for more power. You’ll never need to mow again once this unit is up and running.
We’re pleased to say that with a sound level of 58 decibels this mower is relatively quiet and you’ll receive no complaints if it does its work through the night. This unit is also capable of working through almost any weather, and nothing will prevent this grass cutter from creating a beautiful, perfectly cut lawn every time.
With easy setup of the boundary wire, you’ll have the dedicated cutting area assigned. The mower will follow a simple, irregular path as it cuts your lawn leaving no odd streaks, just a smooth, even green. To ensure the mower gets an adequate charge, make sure you lay down a guide wire from the charger across the most substantial length of your yard.
But, before you can get the grass cut, you’ll need to find an ideal spot and set up the charging station there, this is after all where your mower will be returning to the most. Once this is set up, the Automower will require a full charge of around 80 to 100 minutes.
Then, once you’re ready to get the mower to work, you’ll need to select a four-digit pin code and select the cutting height you prefer.
Thanks to the unit being lightweight, there’ll be no tire streaks as it cuts the grass. It’s also small enough to traverse narrow areas, and it can detect which sections of the lawn require a trimming.
Husqvarna Automowers require no bags to hold clippings as the mowers only cut a few millimeters off the grass, letting the clippings fall to the ground and decay naturally. Thus the offcuts become fertilizer that helps your lawn grow greener than it’s ever been before. It also makes your job easier as there is no grass container that you’ll need to empty every time your lawn is cut.
This mower is also packing a few safety and anti-theft features that everyone will find handy. The unit’s blades will stop should it be tilted or lifted to prevent any injury from occurring. The model also features a spacious area between the bumper and the cutting blades as an extra precaution.
The anti-theft features include the pin-code as mentioned earlier to prevent anyone from tampering with the unit. An alarm will sound should the mower be stopped or lifted without the code being put in. Husqvarna also red lists every stolen motor with all servicing providers.
To wrap up, The Husqvarna Automower 450X is a lightweight lawn mower that drives itself in an irregular pattern, and it cuts yards up to 1.25 acres. The model features safety measures like stopping the blades when being lifted or tilted and an anti-theft/anti-intervention method of requiring a pin-code or else an alarm will sound. The mower also charges faster than others on the market — a tremendous robotic lawn mower for large lawns.
- Amazing looking product
- Gives great results over large areas
- Blades are cheap to replace
- Lack of customer support in the US
- If the wire breaks the mower will stop and it is hard to find the break
More of the best robotic lawn mowers
The Gardena is the ideal lawn mower for keeping grass stalks to a low, even level. A choice that will let you enjoy your free time as you run, jump and picnic on your new, freshly cut lawn.
Thanks to the built-in SensorCut System, this unit will not create any streaks in the grass as it works. And to ensure it’s out of your way, the Gardena is capable of having mowing times programmed, giving you access to the lawn when you need it most.
The Gardena can run through the night as well thanks to its low volume output, and will automatically return to its charging station. The sound level output is a quiet 60 decibels, which is quite soft.
An ideal choice for medium sized lawns, the Gardena can also work through any weather, whether it be rain, sunshine or partly cloudy. It’s designed to work full time consistently, and random weather patterns won’t change that.
The unit is emission-free and energy saving, letting you leave a lighter carbon footprint. Your yard will also benefit due to the grass off cuts aiding the growth of the lawn.
This oval cutter has a cutting width of 6.7 inches, a remarkable diameter that ensures your lawn gets cut fast as the mower moves along on an irregular path. And, when it’s done creating a smooth, short garden, it will travel back to it’s charging station. When at the station it loads in an impressive 50 minutes.
Like the other models featured so far, this mower too contains anti-theft precautions. The unit features an alarm function and insulation lock. It also requires a pin code should you wish to adjust the settings.
So the Gardena is excellent for medium sized yards and can roam those yards freely. Emission-free and energy saving it can recharge in only 50 minutes. It also has a wider oval cutter than some other models. Nice and quiet, with only 60 decibels of noise output, it also features various anti-theft measures and can work through any weather.
- quiet enough to run at any time of night
- Quick charging time
- Large cutting diameter
- Works through the rain
- Rather slow
- No remote or app control
- Has no rain sensor so will continue in any weather which is not always desirable
Redback Power USA
The brushless motor technology of the Redback Power maximizes this unit’s motor life, run time, and battery life by using only the necessary amount of power required.
When it rains, or the battery runs to 20% charge or less, the unit will return itself to its charging station utilizing guide wires. Should it hit an obstacle, the versatile bumpers will absorb the shock and redirect the unit along a new path. Should the yards incline reach over 30 degrees, the blades will automatically stop spinning after 3 seconds.
The blades also stop should the mower be lifted or tilted to prevent any injury from occurring. And if the mower falls into a hole or senses rain, the blades will stop as well. The compact design allows you to have any tight area cut with ease.
The unit reduces carbon emissions by the use of an eco-friendly battery technology that uses renewable energy even if the sun’s not out, and it isn’t windy. The battery also features a 1-year warranty should it fail.
The mower measures an output of 65 decibels, which is not too loud to disturb a sleeping neighbor and his dog. You’ll be able to sleep with ease knowing that you’ll wake up to a smooth, freshly cut lawn that’s soft under your feet.
We’re pleased that the machine has a cutting height of 1 to 3 inches, so you’ll have short grass that’s perfect for sports or a lush, thick lawn that you can picnic on. The choice is yours. To adjust the height of the blades simply open the back panel and twist the dial.
The mower is capable of cutting 0.25 acres of area, making this ideal for small to medium yards. And it only requires a quick charge of 1 to 2 hours, letting this unit get back to work speedily and efficiently.
The mower comes with four security keys. One key is always required to stop and start the mower or edit its settings. Should the mower be stolen, it will be inoperable without these keys.
The Redback Power USA is an ideal mower that’s suited for small to medium yards up to a fourth of an acre in size. It features the use of a security key that’s required for all operating procedures of the mower, including starting and stopping it. The mower automatically stops the blades when it rains, get’s tilted or lifted and when it falls into a hole. This smart mower will also stop if the incline exceeds 30 degrees, meaning it’s great for uneven and sloped yards. The battery comes with a one year warranty.
- Great on slopes
- Good value
- Returns to home when it senses rain
- Hard to find replacement parts
- Louder than other modals (but still not very loud)
- Not too much information currently available
Husqvarna Automower 310
This Husqvarna Automower 310 smart mower is fully automatic and requires no intervention or assistance once set up. It works within a designated area thanks to the boundary wire. It will also return itself to the charging station when its batteries are low.
The Automower mows in an irregular pattern that’s better for the health of your lawn. The low weight of the unit won’t leave any streaks. The machine is capable of navigating narrow passages and also detects which areas of your yard have grown longer and will prioritize that area.
Adverse weather will not stand in the Automower’s way. You’ll get the same high-quality operation regardless of time, weather, or even your neighbor’s opinions, thanks to the low noise level the motor produces.
Angled yards are also acceptable terrains as the mower can handle an incline of up to 0.25 acres.
Safety measures included in this unit are the stopping of the blades if the unit is lifted or tilted to prevent any injuries. There is also a considerable distance between the blade and bumper to prevent accidental cuts. However, it’s highly recommended to park the machine if anyone’s playing on the lawn.
Protect against theft with ease, making this an excellent option for open yards. To intervene with any of the mower’s processes, you need to have a pin code. If the pin is ignored, or the mower stopped or lifted, an alarm will sound.
The mower is also useless when stolen as it cannot be matched into another charging station. Husqvarna also has a worldwide service system list which the unit can be red listed on.
To recap, the Automower travels along on an irregular pattern that creates a smooth lawn surface and can return to its charger by itself. This grass eater is an ideal entry-level unit that can handle up to 0.25 acres and slopes up to 24 degrees. Despite any weather, this unit cuts a few millimeters off your lawn and identifies which areas are longer than the rest. By cutting only a few millimeters, the offcuts fertilize your garden and help it grow. The unit also features several anti-theft systems such as it’s a requirement for a personal pin-code and that it sounds an alarm when lifted.
This is the best all-rounder autonomous mower available, thanks to its features and low noise output.
- Fantastic on slopes
- Convenient app
- Great build quality
- Once settles in you won’t even notice your grass grow
- Takes a month or so to first get your lawn under control
- Can get stuck in small holes
- Has been know to lose it’s base and require rescuing
Your Robot Lawn Mower Buyers Guide
So, with all the models listed, it can be a bit hard to choose which one you should buy. There are so many options, and we’d like to help you narrow down the list. Here’s our buyer’s guide.
What makes a good robotic mower?
The first thing to look for is how automated the robot is. Naturally, you will need to do some setup before the mower can start, but afterward, you are not going to need to help it along.
An excellent robotic mower is quiet enough not to bother the neighbors or any sleeping child or dog; after all, this is an item of utmost convenience. Mowers should also be able to mow by themselves, meaning that they should be fully capable of leaving their charging station and returning to it without needing to be controlled or carried.
Battery life and charge time is also something that a functional unit should have; the quality of the battery will reflect the quality of the overall machine. The battery determines how long the device will be working for.
Features to look out for
Smart lawn mowers are often jam-packed with many impressive features, but some are more important than the rest. One of the most import requirements is the anti-theft capabilities. Crime can strike at any-time, or sometimes it’s just kids who don’t care about people’s property. That’s why these anti-tampering measures are essential.
The safety precautions are also a must to consider unless you want your grass littered with toe or tails. Safety measures should include a lift and tilt sensor to stop the blade if necessary. Other handy precautions are shock-absorbing bumpers.
For best use, these mowers should also be quiet. The motors on our list all have decibel levels low enough to allow usage during the night without worrying about being a disturbance to your neighbors.
Being battery powered is also a must-have feature as it reduces your carbon footprint and means there are no emissions from the cutter. This is also what helps it to stay quiet.
Lastly, the best feature it should have is being able to work without assistance. This means the mower should be able to be left well alone and will continuously work by returning to its charger and leaving it again at its own accord.
Key points for consideration before buying
Firstly, you need to look at your yard and figure out approximately how big the area of your lawn is. Smart mowers are all recommended to different sized gardens as they use the boundary wire to return to their charging station. Too big a yard and the unit will run flat.
Measure the perimeter of your lawn. You’ll need to set up boundary wire on the edges, and while the robotic mowers do come with some boundary wire, they may not include enough for your personal needs. Thus if needed you can simply add a reel to the cart before you complete your purchase.
You should check if your yard has any uneven or sloped areas as each different mower has its own capability for handling slopes. If the hill is too high, the tilt sensors will activate, or the unit may simply not have enough power to maneuver through your lawn.
When you check the perimeter, you should also check to see if there are any narrow areas or tight spots that may be hard to get to. Lawn complexity should also be considered as most models are designed for lawns with a basic shape.
Tips for installing your robot lawn mower
While installing any model of a robotic lawn mower is essentially the same task, there are a few tips that can help you do this.
The first thing you’ll need to set up is the boundary wire which should be included with the mower you’ve just bought. Lay it along the edge of your lawn, tracing its outline. Every few feet, around 3, you should place down a peg or staple (depending on what’s included) to prevent the wire being moved or picked up in the blade of the motor. Should you encounter obstacles such as rocks or plants, string a straight line around those obstacles.
If a reel of boundary wire finishes, you’ll have to splice that line into the next reel to continue the circuit.
When you’ve finished the boundary wire, laying a guide wire across the middle of your grass is essential to allow the unit to return to its charging dock. Without this, the mower will be unable to find its charger, and the battery will die.
Select an optimal spot that’s shady and sheltered if possible for your charging dock as this will protect both the charging unit and the mower from sun and weather damage.
After that, attach all the wires and let the mower charge if necessary.
Pros and cons
We’ve made a small list summarising the good and the bad of smart lawn mowers.
- Fertilizes lawn with off-cut grass
- Easy to pack away
- Sensitive to some weather conditions
- Some slopes may be too high
- You should keep your lawn clear of obstacles
- Can be time consuming to install
Robot Lawn Mower Faqs
Lastly, we’ll handle a few common concerns most people have before they buy a robotic lawnmower. Be sure to check out our individual product reviews for more in-depth FAQs relating to specific modals.
Are robot lawn mowers and good?
Yes, at first it may seem that they may be slower than doing it yourself, but once they are bedded in, it will seem like your grass never even grows! The mowers move consistently in an irregular pattern continuously when not on a charge. This means that they trim only a small amount, and these offcuts become natural fertilizer for your lawn, helping it to be greener and lusher. They also don’t create any discolored striped patterns often seen after manually mowing your yard.
The mowers are battery operated, which means that they’re far more eco-friendly than their gas and diesel counterparts. They’re considerably quieter and can mow around the clock to suit your schedule.
How difficult is it to set up a robotic lawn mower?
Setting up a robotic mower is relatively simple. You could opt to have a professional install the System, but most retailer websites offer a video guide to the installation and setup of the boundary wires and every other required step. The only downside of doing the setup yourself is the amount of time it will require, especially if you have a large yard. However, this is a one-off task.
Can robot mowers handle steep slopes?
Each modal is different and some perform better than others, make sure you know what degree any slopes are in your garden and check before pulling the trigger.
The average slope that machines are capable of handling is around 25 degrees. After that, the tilt sensors deactivate the blades, or the unit will lose most of its grip on the slope and slide down. For these yards, manual mowing is required.
Do I need a mower with GPS?
No, while this is a fantastic feature, it is not a necessity. But, a GPS feature on smart mowers allows the unit to track where it’s mowed and will enable it to mow your lawn more efficiently by not going over the same area multiple times.
Without it in the mower, the model could take longer to mow your lawn completely and may repeatedly head to the same corner a couple of times in a row.
How does a robot lawn mower deal with obstacles?
Most often, when a mower encounters an obstacle, it will bump into it. These machines usually have some form of bumper or shock absorber for when they run into something. The robot registers this impact and soon turns around and takes another path.
Specific machines have a safety feature of stopping the blades on an impact to prevent any accidental injury from occurring to you or your family.
The best way to prevent impacts with obstacles on your lawn is to use boundary wire to surround them and prevent any minor scrapes to the unit.
Can robotic lawn mowers deal with dog poop?
Robotic mowers can handle grass, running into obstacles and maneuvering around your yard with ease, even returning swiftly to the charging station without hassle. The blades trim the grass little by little allowing any offcut residue to fall into the dirt and decompose naturally, becoming fertilizer that makes your lawn lush and green.
However, the unit is not capable of handling a dog’s mess. Thus you will have to pick it up regularly. An ideal situation would be programming the mower to start up every morning after you’ve cleaned the mess. Or simply invest in a model that has sensors in the front of the unit, preventing a mess being mowed over.
But, if the mower does encounter this problem, you’ll need to clean the machine’s motor and blade. Cleaning it isn’t a hard job, just make sure to turn it off before you start.
Well, we’ve reached the end of our list and all the extras. There are so many things to consider, and we hope we’ve helped by answering your most common questions and providing you with our favorite makes and models.
No doubt by now you’ve picked out the best robotic lawn mower that suits your needs and preferences. These mowers are a marvel of technology, giving you free time from one of the most tedious chores so that you can enjoy more free time.