If you follow the fast-moving robot lawn mower industry, you’ve likely noticed that countless manufacturers are trying to find the perfect combination of effortless setup and consistent mowing performance.
A buried perimeter wire gives you the most consistent mowing performance, but the setup is time-consuming and a turn-off for some users.
A vision-based mower or GPS/RTK mower allows for the easiest setup, but mowing consistency can be poor in certain situations unless conditions are perfect.
But that problem is exactly what robot lawn mower manufacturers are currently trying to tackle.
One of those manufacturers is the well-known brand Toro.
Toro has teased a complete smart home ecosystem they have dubbed Haven. Within that ecosystem is their new Haven robot mower.
So how does the Haven mower push the boundaries of robot lawnmowers?
Keep reading our review to find out the details on the Toro Haven mower and what it can do.
What Is Haven?
Haven is what Toro calls a complete lawn care ecosystem. What that means is that Haven combines three smart home technologies into one seamless and integrated system.
Everything works together and is controlled by a central unit and app. There is no Wifi, no GPS, or any other outside signals to worry about.
Every component of Haven works on a proprietary internal wireless technology. This means there are no coverage issues or concerns about loss of signal. The base unit creates its own signal and the components of Haven all communicate on that local signal.
The Haven Mower is the centerpiece of the Haven ecosystem. It’s a robotic mower that uses no outside signals like GPS or RTK. It also requires no perimeter wire of any kind.
It uses 100% vision-based navigation along with an industry-first setup technology that will be discussed later in the review.
Haven Illuminate Controller
The Haven lighting system allows you to connect your current landscape lighting or a new system to the Haven controller. You can then schedule and control your lights from the centralized Haven app.
Haven Irrigation Controller
The final piece of the Haven ecosystem is the irrigation controller. This works in conjunction with the mower to ensure there is never any crossover between the mowing schedule and the watering schedule.
The irrigation system also uses proprietary smart technology to ensure that it gets the most coverage from the least amount of water.
Toro Haven Mower Review
The most exciting aspect of the Haven ecosystem is the mower. The Haven mower has several new technologies that Toro claims will set it apart from any other mowers on the market.
Toro Haven Installation
This is where Toro claims they have the competition beat. Installation of the Haven is one of the fastest on the market and so far, it appears to be living up to that claim.
After unboxing, you essentially push the Haven around your lawn like a traditional push-mower. That may sound a bit low-tech, but we found it easier than most vision mowers that require you to drive the mower around the perimeter using the app.
On other mowers that use an app like a remote control to pilot the mower, it’s a bit tedious. You have to stay within Bluetooth range of the mower and the movement is slow. For larger lawns, this method can take a while.
The Haven allows you to push it at pretty much walking speed. As you push it, the vision system takes in the environment and creates an internal 3D point map using its 4 onboard vision cameras.
Once you’ve completed your trip around the lawn, you then use the app to add any finishing touches or create zones.
On the surface, it’s not much different from previous mowers that have you pilot them around your lawn using the app. However, the Haven setup method was both faster and felt like a more precise task. By manually pushing the mower, you can really set the perimeter how you want it.
We wouldn’t be surprised if this method is copied by most other mowers coming out, assuming Toro doesn’t hold a patent on the method.
Toro Haven Mower Navigation System
The Haven mower from Toro is completely vision-based. It uses no GPS, no RTK, no base stations, and no perimeter wire.
While vision-based mowers aren’t completely new, Toro does promise this is “next generation” technology compared to existing mowers.
Toro wouldn’t tell us exactly what technology they are using. However, from observing the unit and watching it perform, we could see it uses 4 vision-based cameras. In the app, you can select and save different maps for different zones.
The mower creates a 3D map for each zone you create and calls that map up as it moves about your lawn.
We wanted to test it at night, so we scheduled it to mow after the sun went down. The vision system had no issue working in this dark environment and there was no additional light needed to keep it on track.
Toro also tells us the lenses have a special hydrophobic coating to repel water and debris. We did give the lenses a spray from a hose and the water did bead off them almost instantly. It was similar to pouring water on a freshly waxed car.
We aren’t sure how long the coating will hold up, but it does seem to perform well when new. However, a wipe here or there may be needed as the mower gets older.
Haven Mower Specs
The Haven mower comes in two varieties. Both have the same essential features and the big difference is in the total range.
- Range: .75 acres
- Range: 1.25 acres
Both units come in the familiar red and black color scheme that Toro is known for.
The Haven uses the standard disc-type floating cutting head we see on most mowers these days, so no big surprise there.
The Haven can handle slopes up to 25 degrees and the charge time was just over 2 hours for the RM1 and about 3 hours for the RM1S.
One important note is when it comes to firmware updates. If you own a vision mower, you know firmware updates can involve connecting your mower to a laptop. It’s not a great system and can be awkward.
Both the RM1 and RM1S have wireless firmware updates through the included central hub. This was a great upgrade and one that ensures your mower is always up to date without having to manually connect it to a computer.
Final Haven Review
From what we’ve experienced, Toro has created a mower that has several features that set it apart from other vision-based mowers.
The biggest factor is the setup and installation. The Haven was the easiest mower we’ve tested when it comes to setup. There were no base stations or perimeter wires to worry about.
While other mowers offer this, the ability to push the Haven around the lawn saved us over an hour compared to other vision mowers during the setup.
The version of the app we saw was also one of the best. It’s miles ahead of some of the Kickstarter and Indiegogo mower apps we’ve been seeing lately. It was a breeze to use and without the need for Wifi, the setup was fast.
We would like to learn more about the specific vision technology Toro is using, but they have been tight-lipped about that. It’s possible the final version isn’t even ready yet.
The Toro Haven was due to launch in the spring of 2024, but it appears that may be delayed. What we saw appeared to be a production model, so the delay may be due to chip shortages or other supply issues, and not any sort of last-minute design changes.
Overall, we are excited to see the Haven reach the market and look forward to testing the complete ecosystem when it hits store shelves later this year.