Keep an eye on your
lawn while you relax....
by Ross Safford
Some of the early models of lawn robots sounded like a great idea but for the most part just didn't work as advertised.
We look at today's robotic mowers, which have improved greatly compared to their predecessors. These mowers provide better coverage with fewer incidents where the mower gets 'stuck'.
While not completely hands off, if you choose the correct robotic mower for your situation and a put in some time upfront for proper setup, you can significantly reduce the time you spend worrying about your lawn.
That's where we come in to help you decide....
Our choice for
Best Robot Lawn Mower
Worx WR153 Landroid
Reasons to Buy:
- Simple Design.
- offset blade to mow close to edges
- Height adjusts from 1.5 to 4 inches
- Anti-theft GPS Tracking
- Good awareness of where it is in the mowing pattern.
Reasons to Avoid:
- Has some difficulty with complex yard designs.
Best Robotic Lawn Mowers on the Market
Husqvarna 315X Lawn Robot
Robotic Lawn Mower
Ambrogio 4.0 Elite Lawn Robot
Gardena 4069 R80LI
Review of Best Robotic Mowers
1. Worx WR153 Landroid
Our pick for simple design and general use
- 9 inch cutting disc with razors
- Find my landroid GPS
- AIA technology for narrow pathways
- Up to .5 acres mowing coverage
- Anti Collision technology
- 1.5 to 4" adjustable cutting height
- Battery can be used in other Worx products and they are readily available in most garden departments.
- Can be set to run on various schedules.
- shifted blade placement to cut closer to edges.
- Sometimes goes outside the boundary and gets stuck
- Programming can take some time to iron out
Do remember the first time you saw a Roomba in action and went wow! This is a similar out of body experience only for your yard. The WR153 Landroid is great option for small half acre yards.
One really nice feature of this robot mower is that it has a battery which is multi-purpose and can be used with other equipment you many have around the house that are made by Worx and use the 20V battery.
The Worx Landroid seemed to do a better job of knowing where it was in the pattern than other droids we tested. This provides a benefit in that there are less tracks and it doesn't waste battery life mowing the same sections back an forth. This product is rated for a .5 acre yard but ideally you will get better results with a .4 or less yard based on our tests.
For these reasons we feel this is one of the best robot lawn mowers on the market.
Be sure and take the time to setup your Landroid properly. A little extra time up front will go a long ways in making the use of this lawn mower/droid a success. Couple of things to do to improve your success:
- Make sure the perimeter wire is low enough to not interfere with the mower.
- Use the software to walk your perimeter so that it give the bot extra data to keep it on track.
- Make sure the return wire doesn't lead the lawn mower through thick patches of grass.
All in all this product is a joy to use and will pay for itself over time especially if you are paying someone to mow your yard today.
2. Husqvarna Automower 315X
- Alexa and Google Home compatable
- Mows up to .4 acres
- GPS Tracking
- Phone app
- Connecting to Alexa or Google Home allows you to easily monitor the robots activities.
- Can handle up to 22 degree inclines
- Dealer installation is included in the purchase
- Anti-Theft Tracking
- Return guide wire doesn't work as well if you have two sperated sections of size.
- Mow time is shorter than many models we tested.
- The 2" max height adjustment is too short for areas that need to keep the grass taller.
If you don't want to deal with installing the border wire Husqvarna Automower is a great choice. You schedule an appointment with your local Husqvarna dealer and they will come out and install the wire its as simple as that! The other benefit of this is that you establish a relationship with your local dealer and you can work with them on any issues that may come up over time.
We did like this mower a lot, but it did have two features/behaviors that had us place this just under the Worx model in our ratings.
- The 2" height adjustment is too low. In some areas where things can get a little dry you need to keep your grass at a longer length. That simply isn't an option with this model when you compare that to the Worx model which maxes out at 4" its no contest if you have the need to keep your grass taller than 2". For us its just nice to have option even if it isn't needed.
- This mower does a good job of mowing but we did notice that it didn't seem to be as aware of its place in the pattern it was covering the yard with. The meant the mower spend a lot of energy going back and forth over the same area in some cases. We feel this also contributed to the shorter mowing cycle.
The ability to use the app coupled with the ability to connect the device to your Alexa or Google home is a nice convenience feature.
One of the other features with this robotic mower we liked was it didn't seemed to get lost as much as our top choice. After all if you have to go check on you're mower frequently is it really freeing up your time?
We rate Husqvarna Automower high because its easy to get parts for, its reliable, and the included installation of the boundary wire is a nice touch.
3. RoboMow RS630
- Twin Mowing Blades
- Rain Sensor
- GPS Theft Device
- Works with Alexa
- The cutting blades are actually blades and last longer than razors
- Smartphone capabilities
- Robomow returns to the base station in rainy weather
- Reduced Noise Level
- 22" inch cutting width
- If it runs over small objects the blades will cut them up. Mowers with razors will retract back rather the cut up larger objects.
- GPS only used for theft, not for yard coverage
As you can see the triangular blades provide a broad 22" cutting path and are close enough to the edges to provide a nice cut for soft edges. However against fences, walls and houses you will need to come back with an edger.
The blades should last you 2 years (barring any damage done hitting rocks, concrete, etc. ) and after once season you just rotate the blades to cut on the opposite sides. The Robomow comes with the tool to remove the blades. The only drawback to these blades is they are more expensive than the razor blades most mowers use. All in all the cost is very similar over time.
The max cutting height on this robot mower is about 3" which pretty good, but still an inch less than the "4 on the Worx model.
Its hard not to like this robot mower. The blades are the feature we like most, this combined with the Alexa integration and the phone app make a solid case for this lawn robot.
The one thing we would like to see changed is to have the GPS involved with the coverage of the lawn. In the grand scheme of this this doesn't take away from how well this lawn mower works.
4. Ambrogio 4.0 Elite
- GPS Assist
- 6 cutting blades
- .8" to 2.5" adjustable cutting height
- 2 year warranty
- Robot is significantly sturdier than other brands reviewed
- Wide rubber wheels provide excellent traction
- Flex Deck for uneven surfaces
- GPS assist helps the robot 'remember objects it has hit before'
- Rain holes in the deck to keep water from collection on the top of the robot
- Can support a 35% slope
- Can be a little pricey and parts not as readily available.
The ambrogio 4.0 elite definately wins the cool factor category!
This is a redesign by Abrogio that looks a little different and has some added features. Here are a couple of the features they've added:
- Flex deck that can move with the surface giving it an even cut.
- GPS assisted mapping helps the droid remember issues it ran into on prior runs.
- A soft bumper on the front that cushions the blow as it contacts objects that it needs to go around
- Rain holes in the deck that allow rain water to run through the deck and keep the deck clean
- Over-sized wheels with rubberized surface giving it excellent traction.
- NextGen technology that allows for upgrades to features at the next level.
- Adjust the height of the cutting blade via the touch panel display.
This was the most fun of the models we tested, and if the price tag doesn't scare you away this should consider this as your first choice. The quality of materials used in the Ambrogio 4.o Elite mower is significantly better all of the other models we tested.
You will still run into some of the learning curve challenges but after you get the perimeter wire installed and you've got the software up and running you will find this to be a rewarding robotic mower to keep your yard manicured.
5. Gardena 4069 R80L
Simple and Easy design
- Works during rain
- rotary knob to set cutting height
- Anti-Theft Protection
- 3 pivoting razor blades
- Operated in the rain
- can handle up 20% slope in yard
- Each charge lasts about 1hr 20 min
- cutting pattern was erratic shortening the actual time spent mowing
The Gardena 4069 robotic lawn mower just barely made the cut.
It does meet our criteria of parts and supplies being generally available and it does do the job. The Gardena R80L had the least efficient mowing patterns and if you didn't schedule it to run enough you would end up with patches that didn't get mowed.
All that being said, overall the mower cut the grass as expected, its safe for use around pets and children and relatively easy to setup. While not first on our list it is adequate for someone looking for a basic robotic lawn mower.
** It should be noted that this model will be replaced by a new model we will update when we get the opportunity to test a newer model **
Worx WR153 Landroid
The Worx WR153 Landroid while not the flashiest of all the models seemed to be the one Robotic Lawn Mower that fit what most people would need for a typical suburban yard.
The key features of the Worx WR153 that made it our top pick are:
- The software to help ensure your landroid stayed within the perimeter and didn't get stuck.
- The offset blade getting it closer to the edge than the other models.
- The way the robot was able to navigate narrow paths.
- The added bonus of being able to use the battery on other Worx tools.
If however you have an incline of over 20% you may want to consider some of the other models we selected the Ambrogio model we reviewed supports a 35% incline.
Robotic Lawn Mower Buying Guide
What to look for when buying a lawn robot
We love robots and the lawn is the perfect place to put one to use. More popular in other countries, the United States is now starting to take interest. As stated earlier the earlier models were somewhat unreliable but the models that are out to day are much more reliable. While we still need to do edging with a trimmer and find the occasional lost droid its still much better than having to mow the lawn 2 or 3 times a week in areas where grass grows quickly.
Here is our run down on things to consider when selecting your lawn robot.
Razor blades vs more traditional blades
Most lawn robots use a disc with swivel razor type blades that swing out when the disc turns. The number of blades that are on the disc range from 3 to 6 the more the better in our tests but 3 is sufficient. The other option is to go with a fixed blade or blades. These are more like a traditional mower blade and they last longer but cost more. In comparing the two:
Frequency to replace
Every 1-2 months
Once a year
Re-action to Foreign objects in yard
Will pivot when hitting a foreign object causing little damage (other than dulling the blade)
Will tend to dull the blade and shatter foreign objects when contact is made.
Neatly trims yard, usually has a smaller cut path
Neatly trims yard, usually has a wider cut path reducing number of passes needed
Use with Alexa or Google Home
These features are a must, but having the ability to link your lawn robot to Alexa or Google Home is a convenience in the smart home that allows your bot to reach out to you when it gets stuck. Most have smart phone apps for this but the added flexibility of Alexa and Google Home capability is a nice feature if you have the devices and use them.
All Robots need this and they are all pretty much the same. This is probably the single most deterrant for people to take the plunge. It seems daunting to have to go out and put down a wire around your yard, flower beds, sidewalks etc. We can just as its not as difficult as you think and if you really don't want to do it robot dealers are more than happy to assist and some will do it for free with the purchase of the Lawn robot.
One last comment here. Taking your time an doing a good job on the perimeter wire will save you lots of time and headache later on in your Robotic journey.
GPS comes with most lawn robots as a part of their theft protection to help you find a stolen robot. The difference maker in our mind, are robots that use GPS in assisting with determining where to mow in the yard. While not required it does help make the mow more efficient and make each mow cycle more productive.
Garages don't typically come with your Robotic lawn mower, however if you spending all this money on your new droid it does make sense to give it some sort of protection from the elements. The other fun thing about garages is you can get very creative. Anything from a dog house, to a tent to even a submerged platform that rises from the ground every time the robot comes out will do. Many owners become so attached to their lawn bot they give them names and provide only the best shelter for them!
The wheels on your lawn robot can make a difference in how well it performs. As a general rule we liked the way wider wheels with nubs on them performed. The Ambrogio model we liked even has rubberized tires like on a vehicle. The more surface contact you have with the wheel the better traction your lawn droid will have.
Cutting Height is important only when your lawn bot doesn't support the height you need. Most bots will trim bettween 3/4" to 2" height. If you like to keep your lawn longer than that you want to pay attention to what the maximum height setting is for the model you want. Reasons for wanting taller grass is for areas where it dries out to quickly.
Maximum Slope Rating
If your yard is relatively flat this isn't of interest to you. However if your your has some areas where your slope is 20% or more you will want to look at that rating for your lawn droid. Some handle steeper grades better than others.