The best robot lawn mower is expensive but you will save heaps of time and effort and your lawn will be healthier and greener than ever before.
During testing we found your lawn layout to be the most important factor in loving or hating robot mowers.
The more flat and open – with less obstacles – your lawn is the better suited it is for a robot lawn mower.
If you have a lawn with many garden beds, trees, and other obstacles you will likely need to own a small push mower to do those areas while the robotic mower does the open areas.
If your lawn is suitable then an automatic mower is a great investment.
- It mows while you sit inside with your feet up.
- You can set its mow frequency from an app on your phone or smart watch.
- It charges itself in the docking station.
- It mulches the grass to return the nutrients to your lawn.
Think of a robot mower as a lawn mowing service – not just a lawn mower.
Today, we’ll recommend 4 different robot lawn mowers for you and tell you everything you ought to know about them so you can make a buying decision you don’t regret.
Quick Look: 4 Best Robot Lawn Mowers
WORX Landroid WR150
- Good for mowing lawns up to 1/2 the size of a football field.
- Great phone app to control your robot mower remotely.
Gardena Minimo 15202-41
- Good for up to basketball court size lawns.
- Half the price of the Husqvarna #1 pick.
- All the features you need.
Husqvarna 435X AWD
- Good for up to 3/4 acre lawns.
- Good for up to 35 degree slopes (best-in-class).
- All wheel drive.
Why Buy A Robot Lawn Mower (Benefits)
There are many benefits (and some downsides) to the best robot mowers on the market.
The 3 main benefits are:
Keep your lawn thick and green.
An automatic robot lawn mower keeps your grass at its ideal height for max airflow and sun exposure. Also, by mulching the grass it returns those nutrients from the top 1/3 of the turfgrass to the lawn.
- Keeps grass at healthy height. Just like push mowers, you can adjust how high you want to cut your turfgrass. Usually the options are from 1″ – 3.5″. Some robot mowers like the Husqvarna XH models only allow cutting down to 2″. Regardless, the robot mowers mows daily keeping the grass at exactly the height you want and is the healthiest for it.
- Mulches grass, returning nutrients. Robot mowers don’t have huge 16″ – 19″ cutting blades. They have 3 – 4 tiny razor blade size blades sitting below the cutting deck at the edge of its cutting wheel. These razor sharp blades only cut 1/10 of an inch (3mm) at a time. Those tiny/fine grass clippings easily return to the soil and boost the nutrient level.
You will still need to water your lawn and fertilize seasonally for best lawn results.
You don’t have to do anything but install the guide wire.
The only bad part about owning a robot mower is the initial install.
You can hire a professional to install the guide wire in 1/4 of the time but that adds more cost.
If your yard is straightforward then it should only take 1 – 2 hours to setup. Adding in obstacles quickly increases install time.
Once the hard part is done you program the robot mower cutting height and mow frequency and you done.
You can make adjustments within the app but you really do just sit back and watch the robot mow your lawn.
You save money long term vs. lawn mowing service.
To justify the cost ($600 – $3,000) of a robot lawn mower you should think of it as a lawn mowing service – not a lawn mower.
A professional lawn mowing service is around $50/hr per person. Assuming you have a basketball court sized lawn and they mow once a week (not including winter) you are paying at least $1,500 per year.
No matter how you play with the numbers an automatic robot mower costing $2,000 pays for itself in 1 – 2 years.
The Best Robotic Lawn Mowers For Most Peoples’ Needs
Husqvarna dominates the automatic robot mower market. They make 3 of our top 4 picks (Husqvarna owns Gardena).
Robot mowers are the 2nd largest seller of household robots behind robot vacuums.
If you would rather not mow your lawn but don’t want to hire a lawn mowing service then a robot mower is for you.
Here are the 4 best, according to our testing and field notes:
Best Overall: Husqvarna 430X
We found the best overall robot mower to be the Husqvarna 430X.
The installation was easy including the charging station, boundary wire and guide wires.
The mower didn’t have troubles navigating around permanent obstacles (trees, garden beds, fire pit etc.) by following the installed wires.
And it dealt with temporary obstacles (large kids toys, bikes) with its collision sensor with ease – turning in another direction and mowing forward.
After 4 weeks of watching it work the only real complaint we have is the robot mower can’t be programmed to mow stripes in your lawn – it only mowers randomly.
Husqvarna 430X field notes:
- Cutting height. It’s nice how the Husqvarna 430X cuts the turfgrass down to 1″. The other Husqvarna – the 430XH – only cuts down to 2″ (The 430XH stands for high cut). If you have a Bermuda grass that needs to be cut down to 1″ then the XH model won’t be good.
- No issues with simple lawn layouts. The automower works great on wide open flat lawns. Our 1st testing lawn (diagram shown) was about as easy as it could get for a robot mower. None of our recommended robot mowers had trouble with this lawn.
- Complex lawns. The automower had plenty of trouble on our 2nd testing lawn (a complex layout as shown in the diagram). We had a go of setting up the boundary wire as instructed in the many Youtube videos and in the installation manual included from Husqvarna. But there were many times the robot mower just seemed to have no idea what to do or where to go – basically bumping into the same things over and over again. We spent hours trying to fix problem areas (between the kids play area and veggie garden beds) but the Husqvarna needed manual intervention in this area each mow. Note: Setting up more guide wires may help. Husqvarna recommends at least 1 guide wire to help the mower find its charging station. But adding 3 or more in the complex areas will help.
- Apps. The Apple and Android apps from Husqvarna were top quality and easy to learn how to use.
- Software. The firmware/smarts within the Husqvarna seem to be several years away from being foolproof.
If you have a flat and simple lawn then the Husqvarna 430X robot mower is an awesome investment. If you have a hilly complex lawn then we recommend you hire someone to install/troubleshoot the boundary wire so the automower can find its way around better.
Runner Up: Worx Landroid WR150
The next best robot mower is the Worx Landroid WR150.
It is designed for lawns up to 1/2 acre and mows flat, simple lawn layouts with ease.
As with most robot mowers it has some troubles with slopes at the boundary wire and uneven areas like tree roots or divots in the grass.
All-in-all it eventually cuts your turfgrass and once you have troubleshooted the boundary wire locations it will get it done with little effort on your part.
Let take a look at some of our field testing notes.
Worx Landroid WR150 field notes:
- Installation is easy. The instructions on how to install the boundary wire and charging station were easy to follow and perform. The included boundary wire spool was plenty long and everything seemed to work without any troubleshooting (on the simple lawn layout. Troubleshooting was required on the complex layout.
- Works great on short grass. The Worx robot mower cut our well manicured lawn no troubles. We keep it around 2″ and programmed the Worx to cut to 1.5″ (the lowest height setting) and it had no problems. It does mow randomly and takes a full day to mow 1/3 an acre. This is no issue since it does its mowing while you are doing your daily routine.
- Cuts flat, level lawns with ease but has troubles with declines at the boundary wire. The main complaint we have is the mower had great trouble dealing with a 20 ft boundary section of our lawn that has a decline to a retaining wall. We set the boundary wire a foot away from the retaining wall but the back wheels of the Worx would still get stuck and dig up the grass in this 20 ft section when trying to turn around. No matter what we tried we are now left to weed wack that 20 ft x 1 ft section as we have moved the boundary wire an additional 6″ away. Note: the Husqvarna did not experience this same trouble.
- Has troubles with thick, long grass. All robot mowers are not powered by Honda engines and are not meant to deal with long, thick grass. They maintain your lawn and work almost daily to keep it looking great.
If you have a flat, level lawn with no obstacles and is free of divots and tree roots then this Worx robot mower is a great investment.
Budget Pick: Gardena 15202-41 SILENO Minimo
Our budget pick is the Gardena Minimo.
It is a fraction of the price of the Husqvarna’s and Worx and works fine for smaller lawns up to basketball court size.
The app to control the robot mower was worse than the Husqvarna and Worx apps and you need to do most programming from the onboard LED screen.
It was quiet and cut the simple lawn layout no problem but greatly struggled with obstacles, inclines and any area that wasn’t perfectly level and flat.
For the price it is worth it if you have a small, simple lawn.
Best For Your Hilly Lawn: Husqvarna 435X AWD
Husqvarna makes the best robot mowers for residential use.
And their top model is the 435X all wheel drive.
It performed better on declines and uneven ground than the other automowers and wasn’t too much more expensive.
Check it out if you have hilly/uneven lawn.
9 Things You Ought To Know About Robot Lawn Mowers Before Buying
Just like with a regular walk behind lawn mowers, all robot mowers cut your lawn.
The reason to buy a certain brand or model (other than cost) is because of the below features, which may differ between brands and models.
Let’s check out the 9 robot mower features that matter.
1. Ease of Installation (Can you install yourself)
All robot mowers can be installed by you, if you want.
All robot mowers come with an installation pack which includes a length of wire, lawn staples and some connectors and couplers.
Most areas now have the ability for you to hire someone to come and install the boundary wire.
How long will it take to install?
Your installation time will depend on your lawn size, complexity and how quickly you learn how to do it.
It took us 2 hours to install 200 ft (59 m) of boundary wire on our 1,700 square foot nearly square backyard.
If your lawn has many obstacles or is 1/2 acre then expect it to take a full day at least.
2. Battery Capacity (Know your lawn size)
Since the robot mower returns to its docking bay to charge itself this is not a huge issue either way. However, most robot mowers will be able to mow for 1 – 3 hours on 1 charge. The more expensive robot mowers meant for larger lawns will have larger battery capacity and be able to mow for 3 – 4 hours.
3. Your Lawn Layout (How many obstacles)
Robot mowers do not do great with narrow passes and many obstacles.
If you have a simple lawn layout like the below example a robot mower will work great.
The boundary wire is simple to install and the robot mower will have no trouble mowing this simple lawn.
If you have a complex lawn layout like the below example you may run into problems with certain robot mower models.
The installation of the boundary wire is going to take you 3-5x longer and the robot mower may still have trouble navigating the narrow passes like between the kids play area and veggie garden beds.
However, with correct installation and some troubleshooting our top picks should be able to mow a complex lawn like pictured above.
4. Your Lawn Terrain (How flat or hilly)
Our automatic robot mower picks above can mow all but the most insane of hills. If your hilly lawn has been mowed with a push mower before then a robot mower will have no problem mowing it too.
5. Anti-theft Features (Alarms)
The purpose of a robot mower is to set and forget. You set everything up and leave it to mow – even when you are sleeping.
For this reason all robot mowers come with some anti-theft features so someone walking down the street doesn’t just go and pickup the mower and walkaway.
Here are the most common security features:
- Login code. Requires you to login to start the mower or make any changes.
- Alarm. Makes a loud noise when robot mower is lifted and taken from the setup geofence area.
- Charge station pairing. Robot mower will only charge with a specific charging station.
- GPS locator. You can see where the robot mower is at all times via the phone app. If it leaves your property you will be able to see where it is currently.
- GeoFence. You can instruct the automower to alarm when it leaves your preset geofence area.
6. How Good is the App
The Husqvarna Automower Connect, Worx Landroid and Gardena Smart System phone apps help you control your robot mower and tell it what time of day to mow, how often and how short to cut the turfgrass.
7. How Smart is it (Does it learn your lawn)
Although Husqvarna and Worx claim their robot mowers are smart and learn your lawn we don’t see any evidence they do.
8. Safety Features
Robot mowers have different features to protect themselves and others from damage.
These may include:
- Rain detection. If the mower sense rain it will return to its charging station and not mow until it has stopped raining.
- Lift sensor. The lift sensor will stop the blades rotating and turn the mower off if it is lifted by you or your family. This will usually send a message to your phone app so it acts as a theft/security protection as well.
- Collision sensor. If the robot mower bumps into something then it will reverse and go a different direction.
9. Other Minor Things To Consider
- Where to put charging station. The charging station needs to be close to an electric outlet and ideally in a central location.
- Ease of cutting blade maintenance. All robot mowers have 3 small razor blade style blades which are easily changed with a single bolt.
Other Robot Lawn Mower Brands We Looked At
Mammotion makes a perimeter-wire-free robot mower that looks like an 4WD Indy car. It can cut in lanes or randomly and detects obstacles on its own. No guide wires needed. We have not got our hands on one yet but the reviews look promising.
EcoFlow is a smart devices brand that makes portable power stations, fridges, portable AC unit, solar panels and now a robotic lawn mower. It is newly released in spring 2023 and we have not had a chance to properly test it yet. However, it does look promising.
MowRo is an outdoor power equipment brand making lawn mowers, chainsaws, hedge trimmers and string trimmers. Their robot mower targets the budget entry level market. We decided not to bother testing the MowRo because we could only find bad reviews of it.
Remote Control Mowers vs. Automatic Robot Mowers
An automatic robot mower is a battery powered guide wire following lawn mower. It is small and used by homeowners who want their lawn mowed without them thinking about it.
A remote control lawn mower is usually a commercial-use mower used to get to places dangerous for humans. For example: zoo enclosures, highway shoulders and medians and steep slopes beside cliffs or water – especially in the southern states to mow inclines beside snake infested ponds.
The remote control mowers you can easily buy online are about 3 ft wide x 3 ft deep x 2 ft tall and cost a few thousand dollars.
The DareDevil mower pictured above is 290 lbs and can be controlled from as far as 650 feet away (200 metres).
Is a remote controlled mower right for you?
A battery powered robot mower is the mower to buy for most homeowners. It cuts your lawn without you doing anything.
A remote control mower is a more heavy duty commercial use machine.
However, there’s no reason you can’t get one and mow your lawn from you deck while having fun.
How Much Does a Robotic Lawn Mower Cost and Where Should You Buy?
- Professional. Husqvarna has the most expensive residential-use robot mower and it costs $6,000. It is suitable for acreage and has a 4 hour mow time before charge.
- Prosumer. The majority of robot mowers fit into this category and cost $1,600 to $3,000.
- Entry Level. The Husqvarna, Worx and Gardena entry level robot mowers cost between $650 and $1,000.
Where To Buy
- Amazon. The best online retailer to buy your robot mower is Amazon. They have the largest selection, fastest shipping and offer easy returns.
- AcmeTools.com. We partner with AcmeTools.com because they seem to offer better prices on select lawn mowers compared to Amazon. We often include a link to both Amazon and AcmeTools for you to choose from.
- Big Box Stores. The Home Depot, Lowe’s, WalMart and AceHardware often carry select robot mowers. If you prefer to buy in person then the big box stores are your best option.
Are robot mowers safe around pets and kids?
Robot mowers have collision and lift sensors to protect your kids and pets.
If the mower is lifted the blades will immediately stop turning and the mower will shutoff.
If it bumps in your kid – who may be sitting in its path – it will back up and turn to mow in another direction.
How do you install the perimeter wire for a robot lawn mower?
First up: Follow your User Manual as it will give brand and model specific instruction how to install the boundary and guide wires correctly.
All robot mowers will come with a long length of wire and lawn staples.
You lay the wire along the boundary of your lawn and secure it flush to the soil with the lawn staples. The wire eventually disappears into the lawn.
To install wires to help the robot mower avoid permanent obstacles you need to come off the outside boundary wire with another length of wire and go around the obstacle and back to the exterior boundary wire.
Where does the grass go? Does the robot mower mulch?
Yes, they all mulch and have no bagging capability.
Robot mowers cut the turfgrass very fine so the grass clipping settle at the bottom layer of the lawn returning nutrients and promoting a healthy, thick green lawn.
What is the biggest size robotic lawn mower for golf courses and farms?
The biggest robot mower is made by Graze Mowing.
See it in the image above.
It has a 6ft cutting width and can mow at walking speed.