The best robot lawn mower could be THE perfect garden tech for 2021. This summer more than any before everyone is going to be out and enjoying themselves after months of being stuck in the house, and a robot lawn mower can make garden work easy while you're relaxing and soaking up the sun.
Mowing the lawn can be an arduous task. Luckily, modern tech companies have noticed the problems that mowing a garden can present and have come up with a nifty solution: the robotic lawn mower. Unlike the best lawn mowers and best petrol lawn mowers, these turf cutting systems require little to no human input at all, and can be left to routinely slice that sward.
Here at T3 we love the idea of getting stuck in to food cooked on one of the best barbecues or best pizza ovens, all the while watching as a robot lawn mower maintains your lawn, safe in the knowledge that by the time the sun goes down and you're sitting out under some of the best outdoor lights on the market, you've got an immaculate garden.
And the robot lawn mowers below can make that dream into a reality.
The best robot lawn mowers you can buy today
Most people have medium-size or small gardens, and that is who this smart, compact robot lawn mower from Flymo is targeted at. It cuts lawns up to 250 square metres in size, with its intelligent guide wire allowing its owner to specify cutting areas (multiple ones, even).
Cutting width is a modest 16cm, which isn't huge, but again this mower isn't designed to cover really large areas. The Flymo EasiLife 250 Go does come with a pivoting three razor blade cutting system, though, and that operates at a very ear friendly 58 decibels, so you're definitely not going to annoy your neighbours.
A key selling point to this model is how easy it is to use, with a small selection of top-mounted buttons making it easy to stop and start. The beauty, though, is that the EasiLife 250 also has its own Bluetooth-connecting app, which then unlocks the mower's full menu system, which offers access to scheduling, trouble shooting and extended settings.
The Flymo EasiLife 250 also comes with a charging base that has been designed so that it can sit anywhere around a lawn's edge, including corners, which is good for placement flexibility, as well as Flymo's LawnSense and FrostSense sensors, which allow the mower to automatically adapt its mowing schedule according to the weather.
It can cut slopes up to 14 degrees, which again is not really high and beaten by other mowers in this guide, but providing your lawn is remotely flat then that won't be a problem.
Overall a quality compact robot lawn mower for small to medium gardens at a competitive price point and with a strong all-round package.
This brand new brushless motor model from the house of Bosch is another ideal option for small urban lawns. Once set up, its intelligent LogiCut navigation system calculates the most efficient mowing pattern before setting off on its first cut. Unlike many robotic mowers that adopt a zigzag pattern, this one is said to cut lawns using a diagonal up-and-down method. This means that the patterns on your lawn during the first few cuts won’t look quite so irregular. SpotMo is another cool feature that enables the Indego to mow small patches of growth under tables and other garden furniture (obviously you’ll need to move the furniture to the side first).
As is the case with many robotic lawn mowers, this one monitors weather forecasts and only ventures out when it’s mostly dry – a good thing because wet grass rarely cuts well. It can also be controlled via the Bosch Smart Garden app and Amazon Alexa.
The Indego M+700 has one of the smallest cutting decks here (just 19cm) so make sure your lawn isn’t larger than the stated 700 square metres. That said, if your patch does meet the correct dimensions and it doesn’t have inclines steeper than 27%, then the Indego is definitely worth a punt. It’s a Bosch, after all.
To see how this model stacks up against our number one choice, be sure to take a read of T3's Robomow RC 308u vs Bosch Indego M+ 700 comparison feature.
If you're looking for maximum bang for your buck in terms of your robot lawn mower purchase then the Lawnmaster L10 is a great, affordable choice. It rings in for hundreds less than some of the other mowers in this guide, but despite that delivers strong performance for small and medium size lawn owners.
Caveats to an instant purchase include its small cutting width, which is beaten elsewhere, as well as the fact that its base station cannot be placed in a corner, which restricts placement options. There's also no smart connectivity features or smartphone app, either.
That said, though, everything else about the L10 point to a budget bargain. It can run for 40 minutes on a single charge and, once it automatically returns to its base station, only needs 45 minutes to recharge back to full power, too. This means it is more than capable of multiple cutting runs over a half day period.
It offers cutting heights of between 20-60mm as well, with a three pivoting razer blade cutting system slicing the sward while outputting only 62dB in noise. The L10 is also IPX5 rated, which means it is fully waterproof and it even features an automatic return to base function if heavy rain is detected.
Unlike some cheaper robot lawn mowers the L10 can deal with gradients of up to 35 per cent, too, so even if your lawn isn't perfectly flat it can deal with it without getting stuck. It's can also cover lawns up to 400m sq.
Overall, the Lawnmaster L10 delivers a lot of performance for a low price point, so unless you need a bigger, more heavy duty robot lawn mower, or smart functionality, it's a strong choice.
Ideal for small to medium size lawns of up to 1,000 square metres, the McCulloch ROB 1000 is an ideal entry point into the robot lawnmower world. It’s not particularly flashy or feature-packed, but it performs all the usual robot lawnmower duties – automatically mowing the lawn within its boundary wire, according to the times and dates you've programmed into it, and returning to its docking station to recharge when its battery gets low.
It also includes an audible alarm and PIN protection to help protect it against theft. And it can handle inclines of up to 25% – handy for sloping gardens.
The McCulloch ROB R1000's biggest catch? It can only mow within a single zone (that is a front or back lawn). Many of its rivals can handle multiple zones, enabling the whole garden to be mowed.
If you’re a busy city-dwelling bod with a small garden up to 250 metres square, this relatively affordable 16cm ‘city’ model could just be the answer to your overgrowing sward conundrum.
The Sileno City’s Lithium battery provides a continuous cutting time of 65 minutes before the mower heads back to its base station for a nifty 60-minute top-up. It’s quiet, too, and water resistant against both heavy rain and blasts with a hosepipe.
As is the case with most robot mowers, you’re advised to remove any raised garden borders or the mower will stop an inch or two from the flowerbed, leaving an unsightly strip of overgrown grass, to which you’ll then have to take a strimmer. And, as any gardener will tell you, strimming is arguably the biggest pain of all garden duties, leaf clearance notwithstanding (see our separate feature on garden blowers). Also, make sure your garden isn’t too hilly because this mower’s maximum inclination is a not especially impressive 25%.
The Sileno City cuts very well, albeit slowly, and is very adept at negotiating tight turns in confined areas. The bubble-type keypad interface is relatively easy to use too (it comes with its own onboard programming assistant), but those with poorer eyesight might have trouble reading the LCD screen in bright sunlight.
Of course, there is a good argument against having an expensive robot mower that cuts such a small area – after all, it wouldn’t be that much of an inconvenience to get off one’s arse and have a quick 10-minute whizz with a cheap cordless or electric model. But that’s your prerogative.
The Smart Sileno+ is part of Gardena’s smart system range, which includes things like electronic timers and automatic garden sprinklers. That’s handy because the devices not only talk to each other when connected to a gateway via your home router, they also have internet access as well – and that means you can control them remotely using the free Gardena smart system app for iOS and Android. Clever.
In practice this means that the Gardena Smart Sileno+ robot mower knows only to mow the garden when the garden sprinkler isn’t working. It also includes Gardena’s SensorCut System, which effectively measures the height of the grass so it only cuts your lawn when necessary. Anything else? Unlike less capable mowers, Gardena Smart Sileno+ can handle complex, sloping lawns (with inclines of up to 35%) and can navigate even narrow areas with ease.
There’s a good argument for getting a Honda robotic mower. After all, the company has been at the forefront of the burgeoning garden robotics industry for many years and we all know about Honda’s excellent reliability record in all matters mechanical. If its humanoid robot Asimo can walk, dance, kick a football, interact and carry things, it’s probably safe to say the company’s new Miimo 40 will cut a lawn reliably and with very little fuss.
The Miimo 40 is designed for small urban gardens up to 400m2 and has a cutting width of 19cm and an 18v lithium battery that provides up to 45 minutes of cutting time per 45-minute charge. Some of its features include the ability to handle inclines of up to 27%, monitor the weather via MeteoGroup before heading out on a cutting session, and even be controlled using the Mii-Monitor 40 app and Amazon’s Alexa.
As with all robotic mowers, it’ll take about a week or so before you’ll see the fruits of its labours but, before long, your lawn will look spick and span without you so much as having lifted a finger. For best results – and fewer back problems – get Honda’s installation team to set it all up for you. Top dollar cutting from a highly reliable brand.
John Deere makes some of the most reliable utility equipment around – and the Tango E5 Series II is no exception. It works in any weather condition across almost any terrain and does so quickly and quietly. Oh, and it has a range of up to 2,250 square meters.
Of course, lots of other mowers do that, too, but the Tango E5 is famous for its star-shaped blade design and quality, which John Deere is proud to talk about. Obstacles, like rocks, are protected against, which reduces the need to replace the blades or make repairs to the mower. The focus on blades may seem trivial, but it's something that makes the Tango E5 one of the best robotic lawn mowers around.
How to choose the best robot lawnmower for you
Getting every piece of grass an even length, making sure that every area is covered, and so on can be annoying, and that's not to mention inclement weather conditions.
As the name suggests, robotic lawn mowers are just that. They happily move around a garden, cutting grass to an equal length and navigating most tricky terrain while you kick back and relax.
Depending on your garden type, different mowers can work better than others – for example, if you have a MASSIVE garden you'll want a large lawnmower with plenty of battery life, and if you have a small-but-hilly garden you'll need a mower with plenty of power and grippy wheels.
Blade width is important, as are other features, such as the ability to remote control the mower with your smartphone.
However, you can't just buy a robotic mower, unbox it, stick it on the lawn and expect it to start cutting immediately because it needs a perimeter wire inserted around the entire lawn (preferably under it) and any obstacles like trees, benches and arbours. The perimeter wire is a vital component that tells the mower when it's reached the edge so it doesn't run riot through the roses or tumble into a void. Instead, it'll turn around and mow somewhere else.
Another thing worth noting is that robotic mowers tend to travel in a haphazard fashion that may make you wonder if you've bought a duffer. You haven't, it knows exactly where it's been and where it's going. So, bear with the zigzag patterns on your lawn for the first day or two and eventually the whole sward will look evenly mowed and as smooth as a billiard table.
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