Which robot lawn mower cuts grass the best?
Keeping a lawn healthy and perfectly manicured requires several hours of maintenance every week — usually on the weekend. That’s time you could spend pursuing more enjoyable activities. But with a robot lawn mower, you can sit back and relax, enjoying the look and smell of freshly cut grass while your self-propelled mowing machine does the work for you.
Robot mowers are designed for lawns of all shapes and sizes, and they offer a variety of features.
How robot lawn mowers work
An autonomous mower uses a battery-operated motor with cutting blades and a simple mapping system that guides it over a lawn. Sensors and a low-voltage wire placed around the edge of the mowing area create a boundary it won’t cross. This keeps the mower from entering flower beds, garden paths or your neighbor’s lawn, as well as keeping it from wandering into the street. After it has finished, it automatically returns to the charging dock.
Robotic lawn mowers move around on the grass in a random pattern, and while the height is adjustable on some, most work best when they operate more than once a week and cut a small portion of grass — approximately 0.08-0.12 inches, or 2-3 millimeters — per pass.
Most mowers feature an onboard control panel where you can schedule cutting times, configure edges, create zones, troubleshoot and see cutting history. The best robot mowers operate with apps for remote management, offering support for GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
All robotic mowers are much quieter than their gas-powered mowing counterparts. Some operate in the 55-60 decibel range, while a typical gas-powered lawn mower generates 80-90 decibels.
What to look for in a robot lawn mower
Right-size it: Select a robot lawn mower designed for the size of your lawn. Larger mowers such as the Husqvarna Automower 430X cut a wider path and cover more ground in less time. An undersized mower with less battery power may not finish the job on one charge.
Check the slope: Measure or estimate the gradient of your lawn. Most mowers work well on flat surfaces, but inclines can reduce performance and consume battery charge. Check the manufacturer’s rated gradient. Some claim up to a slope of 40 percent.
Deal with uneven land: If your lawn contains holes, divots or depressions, chose a mower designed to handle those impediments. Filling the depressions or routing the boundary wire around them may be an alternative.
Keep it sharp: Robot mowers require minimal maintenance (no oil, gas or spark plugs to change) but the cutting blades should be changed every three to 12 months, depending on your use.
Best robot lawn mowers
Best robot lawn mower for mid-sized lawns
What you need to know: The Automower 315X works well for lawns up to a third of an acre, handles inclines of about 40% and at 20.1 inches wide can navigate narrow passages.
What you’ll love: The mower lasts about 70 minutes on a charge, automatically returning to its charging station when the battery is low. It’s safe for children and pets, with a feature that stops the blades automatically if the mower is lifted or knocked over. It provides theft detection with a PIN code and an alarm.
What you should consider: Some owners say the online manual doesn’t describe controls and functions with sufficient detail. No rain sensor is included, and it’s expensive compared to other robot mowers with similar features.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Best robot lawn mower for the money
What you need to know: Designed for lawns of up to 2,700 square feet, it lacks some features found on competitors’ mowers, but offers good cutting performance at an affordable price.
What you’ll love: A rechargeable lithium-ion battery powers it and lasts up to 65 minutes between charges. Sensors in the front bumper send a signal to stop the mower if it encounters any objects. The blades cut a 6.3-inch-wide path, adjustable to a height of between 0.8 and 2 inches, and the mower handles lawns with a slope up to 35%.
What you should consider: The mower lacks GPS and Wi-Fi, but connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth, meaning you must be within 30 feet or so to control it with a mobile app.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Best robot lawn mower for lawns with complicated shapes
What you need to know: A smart navigation system and 7-inch cutting width allow this mower to travel down narrow routes and avoid tree stumps and other obstacles, making it ideal for small to medium-sized lawns with complex shapes.
What you’ll love: Designed for lawns up to 2,180 square feet and slopes up to 8.5 degrees, it’s remarkably quiet, and includes anti-theft detection, a safety system and a built-in rain sensor. It’s Alexa-enabled, allowing programming by voice command, and a smartphone app gives you control over it from any place, at any time.
What you should consider: Some buyers say the kit doesn’t include enough wire or stakes for a standard-sized yard. Others suggest the mower does not handle dips and ruts well.
Best robot lawn mower for hilly yards
What you need to know: This is a quiet smart mower that handles steep slopes better than many robotic mowers.
What you’ll love: The blades automatically stop if the mower is lifted or hits an object. A protective shield covers the three razor-sharp blades, making it safe for use around kids or pets. The mower has about two hours of battery life, which is enough time to mow most lawns.
What you should consider: While it’s ideal for hilly yards, it struggles with lawns with random holes, such as places where dogs like to dig.
Best robot lawn mower with sonar
What you need to know: If you have a lawn full of obstacles such as a swimming pool, furniture or lawn ornaments, Worx offers a sonar accessory for this mower that diverts it so it won’t hit any objects.
What you’ll love: Its high-efficiency brushless motor is more powerful and runs longer than comparable mowers with brushed motors. A wide 8-inch cutting width helps mow up to a quarter acre. A floating blade disc automatically raises the blades to prevent getting stuck or trapped when the mower encounters uneven terrain.
What you should consider: It takes some time to set up and requires adjustments to the boundary wire for optimum performance.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jeff Harper writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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