This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Love the feel and look of a perfectly manicured lawn but can’t face the weekly maintenance? Robot mowers have come a long way in recent years and could prove to be the answer to your gardening prayers.
From more affordable gadgets geared towards city gardens and small spaces, to premium models designed to tackle whole acres of challenging terrain, there’s plenty of tech out there waiting to do the hard work for you.
Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the best machines on the market right now.
Asides from the obvious perk of not having to spend your hard earned weekend mowing the grass, there are a number of other benefits to splashing out on an automated mower that some gardeners don’t realise. Here are just a few of the main ones.
Cutting grass a little bit and regularly is deemed a healthier approach to lawn-care than carrying out deep cuts every few weeks. What’s more, most automated mowers are designed to deposit small grass shavings around the lawn as they travel across it.
These small cuttings provide a brilliant mulch for your lawn, not only helping to restrict weed growth, but also retaining moisture and returning nutrients to the soil. This also means you don’t have to worry about picking up and disposing of clippings.
Modern robot mowers are designed with a whole host of safety features built-in, from plastic bumpers that stop the mechanism as soon as they hit something, to video sensors that help the mower detect and circumnavigate any unfamiliar objects.
Robot mowers are also designed to be left to their own device at any time of the day or night. Their electric motors are frequently far less noisy than their petrol cousins, meaning a more peaceful garden space for you and your neighbours.
Robot mowers run off rechargeable batteries. Whilst electricity still has to be generated somehow, it’s generally accepted that electric machines are far more eco-friendly (and cost-effective) than motors that rely on fossil fuels.
Before we dive in and take a look at some of the frontrunners of the robot mower market, let’s take a moment to think about some of the features you might want to keep an eye out for. The type of mower you want to invest in will likely depend on the type of garden you own, as well as the sort of features you want your robotic gardener to come installed with.
Part of a robot mower’s specification will be the size of lawn it’s designed to service. It’s worth taking a rough measurement of the space you’re looking to cover, so that you don’t vastly over- or under-estimate the type of model you need.
Similarly, different robot mowers are designed to deal with varying gradients and types of terrain. More basic models are likely to struggle on anything more challenging than slightly long, flat grass. There are, however, other models out there boasting the ability to climb more than 30 degree inclines, as well as navigate bumpy or uneven ground.
If you’re looking for something to tackle more than a very forgiving lawn, look for a model with all-wheel drive and additional suspension.
Many models on the market require you to install a perimeter wire which the robot will then operate inside. There are, however, also robots that navigate via video sensor, identifying grassy areas as well as spaces which do not require cutting.
Many modern robot mowers come with accompanying apps that you can use on your device to control and programme your machine. The extent to which you can instruct your robot digitally can range from setting up a basic daily schedule to establishing a detailed GPS route that takes in all the twists and turns of your garden. The more control you want over it, the higher the price tag.
Finally, some robot mowers can be controlled via bluetooth, cellular, or wi-fi. The former will mean you need to be in range in order for your app to function properly, something to consider if you have a large property and want to be able to control your bot without having to go in search of it.
Safety is often a core consideration of robot mower manufacturers and there are a range of features that can help to ensure your mower is as safe as, if not safer, than your traditional petrol mower.
Depending on whether you have children or pets walking through your garden space could determine how much attention you want to pay to additional safety features. Opting for a model that will automatically stop when someone or something draws near could be a good idea. Many mowers also come with a feature that prevents the blades from operating when the machine has been picked up.
For those concerned that their new robot friend might be a tempting target for thieves, some models come with GPS tracking features and automatic locking once they leave your premises.
It’s becoming a crowded market out there when it comes to robot mowers. Don’t panic – we’ve rounded up five of the best models available today, offering a range of features and tailored to a range of budgets.
Mammotion’s kickstarter funded Luba models have been tipped as rivals to some of the bigger players and premium models already out there on the market.
The Luba mowers don’t require perimeter wire the same as many competitors, relying instead on GPS zone management and ultrasonic sensors. You can also walk around with your Luba model when you first set it up in order to mark out the space you want it to cover.
Luba have models capable of servicing up to 5000m2 and are advertised as being well suited to uneven terrain and steep gradients. All wheel drive, suspension arms, and in-wheel motors make them a tough and versatile option for relatively rugged ground.
Like most premium mowers, the Luba is waterproof and also rain sensing, allowing it to return to its charging base when the grass is too wet to trim effectively.
It also comes with a range of safety and anti-theft features, including automatic locking and an automatic braking system when it detects obstacles. Its finely tuned sensors are said to be able to detect objects on your lawn as little as 2 inches tall.
Mammotion also offer a competitive price for a product offering this many features. The 1000m2 model is marked up at £1,999, with the largest UK model stretching to £2,899.
The Landroid Vision from this trusted brand is Worx’s latest in robot mower technology. Like the Luba, it also functions without the need for perimeter wire being installed. It doesn’t even require lawn mapping, operating instead through its camera systems which can effectively identify patches of grass. Magnetic strips can be installed to prevent it from cutting into grassy areas that you want to leave untouched.
Worx have also installed intelligent obstacle avoidance features to help prevent unwanted collisions. Their automated mowers are also designed to cut as close to the edge of your grass as possible, reducing the need for you to carry out additional manual cutting after its done.
The accompanying Landroid app can be used to programme and adjust your model, which ranges in price from £1799.99 up to £2399.99 for something designed to cover up to 1600m2. Larger models are available to order in the US, but not yet widely advertised to UK customers.
For those looking to keep a smaller patch of grass neatly tended, this affordable and highly functional model from Gardena could prove the ideal helper.
Designed to cut lawns up to around 250m2, this is also one of the quietest machines on the market, making it ideal for city dwellers with near neighbours.
It’s also been crafted to deal with irregularly shaped patches of grass. Its guide wire, something that you install through the centre of the garden to help guide the model to the spots you want it to focus on, also means it can navigate through narrow corridors.
Protective strips on the outer wheels and a front bumper sensor are just some of the safety features, as well as helping prevent it from accidentally trimming any overhanging flowerbeds.
The Gardena Sileno City also comes with a frost sensor. A simple hose down, over and under the robot, should prove enough to keep it clean and ready for future use. Prices range between £650 and £720.
The 450XH is a behemoth of the automatic mowing market, designed for those who want a premium machine and are willing to pay a premium price. It’s one of the largest models out there, designed to tackle big lawns and tough, graded ground.
Detailed GPS mapping as well as a pivoting function allow you to programme and guide it through complex lawn patterns and potential obstacles. Its triple guide wire feature, whilst requiring more initial installation, also mean it is far quicker at returning to base, making it relatively efficient and swift.
It also comes with a host of high-tech features, including electrically operated blade adjustment and weather timers, adjusting automatically to cut grass more severely when it needs it.
Husqvarna can offer professional installation of the perimeter wire, charging station, and guide wires at no extra cost, which may come as a welcome surprise given that the price tag for the model starts at upwards of £4,500.
Finally, here’s an option for those unwilling or unable to dig quite so deep in the pockets! Whilst not the cheapest mower out there, the Indego S+ 500 offers an effective and durable solution at a relatively competitive price.
One of its distinguishing features is its strip pattern of mowing, termed LogiCut by the company. This has the Indego cutting grass in neat parallel lines rather than random order, speeding up its mowing time and rendering it more efficient.
It is also designed to deal with awkward spaces such as beneath trampolines or under swing sets, with bumper sensors and programming capacity for smaller spots. You can even control it via Alexa, if voice command is something you’re keen on.
Prices begin at around £700.