Why You Should Trust Us
I’ve been writing about and testing lawn mowers, and robot mowers in particular, since 2019. The robot mower test ground in Virginia allows us to test robots on a variety of different terrains. I’ve worked closely with several robot mower brands over the last few years: Ambrogio, Husqvarna, Mammotion, and Segway.
How We Tested
A few years ago the majority of robot mowers required a boundary wire to be installed to define the area for the mower to work in. But in 2023 numerous wire-free models were released which navigate with the help of GPS or other technologies. I tested models from Mammotion, Segway, and Worx this summer.
Testing was done at the North Garden Test Site near Charlottesville, Virginia. The site is 2 acres and includes hills, flat land, numerous trees and bushes, vegetable gardens, a chicken coop, four apple trees, six maples, soccer goals, Adirondack chairs, and a fire pit. Mowing this lawn with a riding mower takes roughly two hours. We tested the robot mowers on various sections to see how they performed on slopes, avoided obstacles, and to see how well they maintained their GPS connection underneath large trees. We also were curious to see the quality of the finished work. Would the grass look nice after being cut with a robot?
Who This Review Is For
Plenty of people want their lawn to be kept trimmed, healthy, and neat, but maintaining perfect grass can involve a lot of manual work. With the rapid expansion of the robot mower market, customers have never had so much choice when it comes to buying a machine that automates the whole cutting process for you.
But plenty of choice can also mean plenty of confusion. With so many different manufacturers now designing and promoting automated, robotic lawncare assistants internationally, how do you know which robot is going to be a help rather than a hindrance to you and your family?
Today, we’re going to be doing a round-up of the best robot mowers available for 2024. We’ll be looking at budget models all the way through to high-end tech, rugged terrain traversers to small backyard operators designed to work silently through the night.
We’ll also be doing a recap of some of the main reasons so many garden lovers are turning to robotic mowers as a way of keeping their lawn healthily maintained.
What are the advantages of an automated mower?
Automated mower technology has developed a great deal over the past decade, but the core features that continue to attract customers have tended to remain the same.
Robot mowers save you a great deal of time
There’s no doubt that even a budget automated mower has the potential to save you hundreds of hours of yard work. For those who don’t particularly enjoy the process of manually mowing a lawn, automated mowers really are an ideal solution.
Once you have installed the necessary boundary wire or established a ‘virtual perimeter’, you can then set a mowing schedule, sit back, and let the mower do the rest of the hard work. Most worthwhile models on the market are water resistant and can easily be hosed down when you feel they need cleaning, which means maintaining these machines is also remarkably simple.
Robotic lawn mowers are designed to return automatically to their charging docks once the battery is running low, using physical guide-lines or virtual positioning to find their way back ‘home’. Once they’ve been recharged, they’ll return to the job at hand, saving you from ever having to reach for the gas mower again.
Robot mowers can help keep your lawn healthy
Robot mowers operate by cutting your grass a small amount regularly, rather than leaving it to get out of hand. Practically all models on the market simply allow these fine grass cuttings to drop back into the lawn, helping to feed the health of the soil with new organic matter.
Not only does this regular reintegration of grass cuttings into the lawn act as a sort of organic fertilizer, but the grass itself is encouraged to grow more vigorously simply through being cut regularly.
Many owners of automated mowers comment on how their grass appears healthier and more luscious than when they used to cut it themselves less frequently.
Robot mowers are designed to be safe
Robo-tech designers know that safety is a prime consideration for many families or pet owners. For this reason, all reputable automated mowers come with a range of safety features to minimize the risk of accidents happening.
Safety features usually consist of a mixture of automatic kill switches when the mower is picked up or tilted, emergency stop buttons, ultrasonic or motion-based sensors, and external bumpers that halt the mowing blades as soon as the machine bumps up against something unexpected.
In fact, the number of injuries relating to automated mowers in the U.S. is markedly lower than the number of hospital visits relating to traditional gas or manual machines, even when you take into account the proportionate difference in ownership. The wide array of safety features built in to modern automated mowers means they are often seen as a safer alternative altogether.
Robot mowers are an eco-friendly option
Last but not least, all robot mowers run off electricity, unlike some of their fossil-fuel guzzling cousins. As well as carrying a lower carbon footprint, they are also significantly quieter, resulting in lower levels of noise pollution.
Best Robot Mower for Your Situation
The majority of robot mowers on the market still rely on physical boundary wires to know where they should and should not operate. Though installing a physical perimeter is something you should only need to do once, it can prove laborious for some people. It can also make it far more difficult to adjust mowing areas as your garden evolves or changes over time.
This is where the Segway Navimow series stands out from much of the competition. Their models rely on a ‘virtual perimeter’ that you can set and readjust with the help of the accompanying smartphone app, leading your robot mower around your lawn space when you first bring it home so that it can map the area it needs to mow.
You can then set custom ‘off-limit’ areas in the app, helping to guide your mower around regular obstacles, patio space, or flower beds. If your garden layout changes over the years, it’s easy to change the mower’s map with a few touches of the smartphone screen.
Segway is already a household name when it comes to robotics and consumer tech, having built a solid reputation in the stand-up, electric scooter market. They bring the same focus on high-functioning, modern design to their automated mower series.
Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) positioning helps improve the positioning accuracy of each mower. They’re also designed to alter their mowing path after each mowing session, helping you avoid track marks and other wear-and-tear caused by frequently repeated routes.
Segway also sell additional accessories such as the VisionFence attachment which can markedly improve your mower’s ability to recognize and avoid unfamiliar objects in real time. That being said, their base models come loaded with a range of safety features already, including automatic blade-stops and bumper sensors.
Segway’s line of automated mowers also have some of the quietest advertised noise levels available, with 54db beating much of the competition.
Their largest model in the series claims to be able to handle up to a 3/4 acre lawn, which puts it in the same range as some of the larger-scale, higher-end products on this list.
Read full review.
Robot technology has now advanced to the point where home robots capable of taking on significant physical challenges are, for the first time ever, within financial reach of many homeowners.
The Mammotion Luba prides itself on being able to manage tricky terrain, relatively steep inclines, and anything else the great outdoors throws at it.
It comes with an all wheel drive mechanism, helping it retain traction and power on slippery ground and on uneven surfaces. It’s advertised as being able to handle 37 degree inclines, making it one of the best in the business for handling slopes. It also comes fitted with suspension arms and in-wheel motors, giving it even more grip and control.
Like the Segway series, the Mammotion Luba also comes without the need for a physical boundary wire. Simply walk the perimeter of your lawn space with the Luba when you first bring it home and the software will map out a route for operation.
Once the Mammotion Luba sets to work, it cuts in a range of organized but varied patterns, rather than being driven by random directional algorithms. Though the latter are most commonly used to avoid marking your lawn, they can also result in a slightly uneven finish which some detail-oriented lawnkeepers might wish to avoid.
The Mammotion Luba still avoids damaging the lawn by varying its cutting patterns, but each one follows a logical, step-by-step progression, the sort that you would likely adopt should you mow the lawn manually. What’s more, the dual-cutting blade design gives it a wider cutting width than many competitors. This means the Luba will not only cut your lawn in an orderly fashion, but will cover it quicker than many smaller models.
Multi-zone management via the app also means you can use this model to service different parts of your garden, or even different properties.
As you might expect from a machine designed specifically with outdoor resilience in mind, the Luba is built to withstand rain and frost. It also comes with a raft of safety features, including four ultrasonic sensors that detect obstacles and stop the mower before it reaches them.
There’s no doubt, however, that such quality and broad functionality comes at a price. The AWD 5000 model, designed for lawns up to 1.25 acres, comes in at more than $3,000.
Read full review.
For those who don’t mind setting down a perimeter wire, Greenworks offer an all-round performance mower suited to moderate budgets.
Their Optimow series also come with additional guide wires for optional installation. These can help your automated mower navigate back to its charging dock more efficiently and are particularly helpful if you’re dealing with complex lawn shapes. They can be pegged or buried underground if you’d rather not see them.
In addition to the Optimow mowers being able to return to their charging docks swiftly via guideline, the battery life of this series is also extremely impressive. At roughly two and a half hours of mowing operation per charge, these models offer some of the best running times and battery efficiency available right now. This could be ideal for lawn owners who would rather have their robot working during a compressed set of hours, but without having to break these hours up with regular returns to the charging point.
The Optimow series are designed to mow in a random pattern, helping avoid lawn blemishes from repeated routes. They also, like many of the mid to premium-range mowers available right now, have basic functions that can be controlled via the app, including on/off, scheduling, and the ‘return to base’ command.
The Greenworks Pro Optimow 50H model, designed for lawns up to half an acre in size, is priced at around $1,600.
Read full review.
Husqvarna has marketed themselves as being high-tech titans of the robot mowing scene. They design and produce robotic solutions for people willing to invest more for greater functionality.
Their 450 XH is one of their largest, most expensive, and most impressive products to date, often standing out in robot mower lineups for its breadth of function, adaptability, and durability.
The 450 XH comes with a range of exclusive, patented features. These include GPS assisted navigation and more precise mapping. It’s also equipped with live, remote object detection, with some of the most responsive sensors on the market capable of picking up moving as well as static objects.
Its sleek, futuristic design is matched by its connectivity, with options to connect via bluetooth, wi-fi, digital home assistants such as Alexa, and more.
The accompanying app allows you to create different profiles for different areas, each with different settings, helping you to use the 450 XH across various lawn spaces simultaneously. It can even travel between separate lawn spaces via pre-programmed corridors.
Triple guide wires are included as an optional extra, to help guide this machine back through complex garden shapes towards its charging point. You can also have up to five remote start points, helping the 450XH to vary its cutting pattern regularly.
The model’s software is also capable of determining how much grass needs to be cut depending on the season and other environmental factors, suggesting adjustments to the mowing schedule accordingly. Husqvarna also look set to introduce a range of AI-enabled features over the coming years.
As with many of the larger scale models, the Husqvarna 450XH has been designed to withstand slopes, rugged terrain, and uneven land. Its two-step gearbox, another patented feature, helps propel the robot effortlessly over more tricky patches of ground, without resulting in elevated noise levels.
For those willing to invest in one of the best, most reliable, and most high-tech automated mowers on the market right now, Husqvarna have served up a tempting offering with their flagship 450XH model. Prices sit at around $3299.99 currently, making this one of the most expensive automated mowers designed for the residential market.
For those on a slightly more modest budget, or for those who simply don’t need the range and ruggedness of the Mammotion Luba, Gardena offers a more affordable set of robot mowers perfectly suited to smaller lawns and city yards.
Their Sileno range frequently top review and consumer lists as being some of the most reliable but also most affordable automated mowers being manufactured today. They don’t necessarily come with the same extensive functionality and detail-oriented tech of the more expensive brands, but they are equipped with all the essential features needed to help make lawn care a breeze.
Sileno’s mowers are great at navigating smaller spaces and narrow gaps. They also boast some of the lowest noise levels in the industry, with operating levels at around 57 db. This makes them particularly well suited to crowded urban neighborhoods and for homeowners who don’t want to disturb the people living next door. You can also keep the Sileno range running overnight without fear of keeping either you or your neighbors awake.
Despite their reasonable price-mark, the Sileno mowers still come with a range of features, including rain and frost sensors, and automatic blade shut-offs when the mower senses that it’s been lifted.
They also come with a spot cutting or spiral cut feature. This allows you to position the automated mower beneath trampolines or garden furniture and still ensure it covers all desired areas of ground.
The Sileno range includes models designed for very compact lawns of 250 meters squared, up to models designed to service lawns six times that size. Though the larger models can still cost upwards of $2,000, the smaller end of the range consists of the most affordable robots on our list today. The 250 models can be had for less than $700.
Read full review.
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These Are The Best Robot Mowers Available Right Now
The market for robot mowers is becoming an increasingly crowded one. This is great for customer choice, but can also cause confusion for the uninitiated.
The model of mower that’s going to be best suited to you will depend on a range of factors, including price, the features you want to prioritize, and the size of your lawn. We’ve rounded up five of the best, with each product we’ve chosen catering to slightly different customer needs.
The one question we get asked more than any other is are robot mowers are worth the cost? The answer to this question depends on factors unique to each individual. But hopefully this review was able to help you decide.
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