While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (2024)

Do you dread your weekly summertime ritual of pushing a noisy lawn mower back and forth across your front and back yards? If a little voice in your head whispered, “yes,” you should consider handing off your grass-cutting chores to a lawn care robot. Robot lawn mowers are an increasingly popular luxury lawn care tool for homeowners who don’t want to put in the work to maintain a perfect yard, but also don’t want to spend a ton of money on landscapers.

These high-tech yard machines keep your grass neatly trimmed so you can kick back and relax with a glass of iced tea instead. Like a robot vacuum, you can program their schedules with a smartphone app, so you don’t even need to be home.

Robot lawn mowers don’t come cheap–expect to spend somewhere around $1,000 to $5,000–but it’s an investment. When you compare it to the cost of a mowing service over multiple years, it may likely pay for itself. Regardless of the math, though, the best robot lawn mowers take all the work out of yard maintenance–turning a chore that takes all afternoon into a problem you can solve with the push of a button.

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The Best Robot Lawn Mowers

Jump to:

  • The Best Robot Lawn Mowers
  • The Experts
  • How a Robot Lawn Mower Works
  • What to Consider in a Robot Lawn Mower
  • How We Selected The Best Robot Lawn Mowers
  • Our Full Robot Lawn Mower Reviews
  • What to Know Before You Mow: Q+A With Our Experts

The Experts

Tony Carrick: I’m a freelance writer who specializes in home improvement, DIY, home security, and outdoor recreation. I’ve tested and reviewed everything from home security systems to power tools to gas grills for publications like Bob Vila, CNN Underscored, Angi, Field & Stream, and Pro Tools Review. Between projects, I’m always doing whatever I can to make sure the grass is greener on my side of the fence.
Kate Morgan: I’m a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and many other places. I’m also constantly taking on new projects to improve things in and around my rural Appalachian Pennsylvania home, and there’s little I can’t build or fix. After spending many, many hours mowing lawns, I am content to let the robots take it from here.

How a Robot Lawn Mower Works

A robot mower consists of a plastic chassis, on which are mounted mower heads, a battery, drive motors, and one or more circuit boards to assess ground speed, direction, tilt, and obstacles. Most require you (or the dealer) to bury a wire in the lawn that forms a perimeter within which the robot mower will cut.

That wire leads to a charging station, which is plugged into a 120-volt exterior outlet. It also contains a generator that sends a low-power signal out on the wire. As the mower approaches the wire, it picks up the signal, stops, turns around, and heads off in another direction.

When its battery is nearly depleted, the mower heads to the station for recharging, which usually takes one to three hours. Some mowers have removable batteries, so you can swap fresh ones in to keep the mower going while you charge the dead ones separately.

The cutting action of a robot mower is different than the typical walk-behind mower, which spins a large steel blade designed to cut an inch or more of grass in a single pass. A robot mower’s action is closer to shaving the grass down than cutting it down.

The average robot mower (there are some exceptions) uses multiple small steel pieces, each about the size of a razor blade, to remove very small amounts of grass over many days and multiple passes. This style of gentle, low-impact mowing keeps your grass crisp and sharp all the time, but also means that the mower will be out there constantly shaving and re-shaving your lawn.

It’s also important to point out that, as it continuously roams and trims, your robot mower will likely bump into lawn features and other objects within its boundaries, then redirect around them. The easiest way to keep the robo-mower from toppling over a vase or garden chair is to move as many lawn features as possible outside the boundaries set by the ground wire.

More advanced robot lawn mowers have sensors that can detect obstacles and maneuver around them. Others, like the wireless Husqvarna 450X EPOS, allow you to set “no-go zones” to keep the mower out, as you would with a robot vacuum inside your home.

For the most part, robot mowers are best suited to simple yards that are relatively smooth and flat. Yards with more complex geometry require you to lay more ground wire. The more wire you lay, the more you increase the likelihood of a break from somebody digging in the yard or a tunneling rodent chomping through it.

Also, it doesn’t take much to stop one of these robots. A deep divot or a mushy zone can bog it down. Pine cones, fruits, nuts, and fallen branches can get caught underneath it.

There are some robot mowers designed for difficult turf conditions or more acreage: If you have a big yard or one with slopes and rough terrain, make sure you’re shopping for a mower specifically designed to handle it.

Finally, don’t get lulled into a sense of complacency with one of these machines and forget that you’ll have to periodically clean its undercarriage and sharpen or replace its lightweight steel blades. Still, none of this is any more than the attention that a gas-powered or electric lawn mower demands.

What to Consider in a Robot Lawn Mower

Most robotic mowers require a pretty hefty investment – and it might be your first time bringing home a robot – so there’s a lot to think about before making your choice and buying one.

We spoke to Jim Zwack, vice president of the Davey Institute, a nationwide horticultural firm that uses auto-mowers for a number of clients, about what to keep in mind when shopping for a robot lawn mower. Budget permitting, he believes most people will be thrilled with how good their yard looks after handing their lawn care responsibilities over to a machine.

How We Selected The Best Robot Lawn Mowers

Like most homeowners, we’ve spent many hours of our lives mowing the lawn. While we’ve used various walk-behind and riding lawn mowers, robot lawn mowers are newer to us. Since we haven’t had the chance to test drive these high tech yard care machines ourselves, we spoke to lawn care experts who know them well, like Zwack, and looked at previous testing data from the Popular Mechanics test team. Armed with that information, we spent hours researching these cutting edge yard care machines, comparing specs that are important to buyers while pouring through dozens of positive and negative customer reviews from major retailers like Amazon, Lowe’s, and The Home Depot.

Since yards vary in size, complexity and type of terrain, we’ve highlighted a variety of robot mowers for the many different types of lawns you may or may not have. There are great picks for large yards, small yards, flat yards and hilly yards. And, while all robot lawn mowers are expensive, we kept price in mind so you can find the best options within your budget.

Our Full Robot Lawn Mower Reviews

Best Overall

Husqvarna Automower 415X Robot Lawn Mower

While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (1)

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Pros
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (3)Can navigate a slope
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (4)Easy to control with an app
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (5)Simple DIY installation
Cons
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (6)Short Battery Life

Key Specs

Mowing area0.37 acre
Run time50 min
Mow height2 in. (max)

As the creator of the first robot lawn mower, Swedish manufacturer Husqvarna has more experience designing them than anybody else. The Automower 415X stands out as an attractive, versatile option for small- and mid-size yards. It’s easy to install, and you can control it through an intuitive smartphone app (or with your voice using Amazon Alexa).

The Automower 415X mows close to 700 square feet per hour. It has three pivoting razor blades which flip back into the chassis if they hit something to prevent bent blades. Though a flat yard is always better for a robot mower, the 415X can handle up to a 40-percent incline. That said, it’s approximate hour-long battery runtime means that it will need to charge often, especially on larger properties.

Rather than roaming in a random pattern, as most auto-mowers do, the Automower 415X mows in a stripe or checkerboard pattern, which will make your lawn look like professional landscapers have cared for it.

Best Value

Gardena Sileno Minimo Robot Lawn Mower

While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (7)

Pros
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (8)Mows rain or shine
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (9)Near-silent operation
Cons
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (10)Gets stuck easily on yard debris

Key Specs

Mowing area0.06 acre
Run time65 min
Mow height0.8-1.8 in.

If your yard is tiny and you have an equally small budget for robotic mowing, the Gardena Sileno Minimo is a small robot lawn mower that’s effective, so long as you limit it to a small space. The 13.4-pound robot features a single cutting disc with three pivoting blades that can cut 2,700 square feet of grass with its hour-long battery. It can climb shallow slopes, up to 14 degrees (25-percent incline). That’s modest compared to our top pick, but still effective for a smaller yard.

The Sileno Minimo’s frost detection sensor means you can trust it to mow when the conditions are right, though you may not even notice when it’s out cutting the grass. At just 57 decibels, this little mower runs quietly enough to mow at night or during your neighbor’s BBQ without anyone raising an eyebrow.

Best Wireless

Husqvarna Automower 450X EPOS Robot Lawn Mower

While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (11)

Pros
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (12)Can mow a massive area
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (13)Great battery life and quick charging
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (14)No ground wire required
Cons
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (15)Requires professional installation to activate

Key Specs

Mowing area2.5 acre
Run time210 min
Mow height0.8–2.4 in.

Husqvarna’s newest top-of-the-line robot mower lets you ditch the guide wire in favor of a proprietary GPS system called EPOS (Exact Positioning Operating System) to control it and set virtual boundaries. More than that, EPOS constantly steers the mower to the most efficient route and automatically avoids obstacles or challenging terrain.

GPS-aside, it’s also a very powerful robot mower, capable of cutting more than two acres of grass on a single charge, thanks to its 210-minute battery life. And like Husqvarna’s other models, it can mow in stripe or checkerboard patterns.

Though you no longer need to dig up the ground to set up a wire, the EPOS still requires professional installation to set a reference station, which receives orders about boundaries, patterns, and no-mow zones from a satellite.

At nearly $6,000 for the mower and reference station, the cost is steep, but the benefits are clear. You’ll never need to worry about digging up a broken ground wire. It self-updates via satellite, and the GPS that directs the mower can also be used to track it if it’s stolen.

The Automower 450X EPOS has all the power and capability of Husqvarna’s commercial models in a convenient, home-friendly package, and the lack of wire adds a ton of convenience.

Best for Complicated Yards

Sunseeker L22 PLus Robot Lawn Mower

While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (16)

Pros
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (17)Detects and avoids obstacles
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (18)Wide cutting deck
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (19)Multi-zone mowing schedules
Cons
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (20)Requires perimeter wire installation

Key Specs

Mowing area0.6 acre
Run time120 min
Mow height1.6-3.2 in.

The Sunseeker L22 relies on ultrasonic technology and bumper sensors to weave around trees and avoid landscaping beds or other obstacles that might interrupt a rectangular mowing path. It even allows you to fine tune how close it gets to obstacles as it works its way around them, so you can give delicate landscaping features a wide berth. If it does bump into something, it also has a safety mechanism that will halt the mower in its tracks.

To achieve that level of precision, the Sunseeker L22 comes with a perimeter sensor, so the installation takes some doing. Once up and mowing, though, the Sunseeker has a broad 8.7-inch cutting width, and runs for up to 2 hours, making it suitable for yards of just over half an acre. With the Sunseeker app, you can program mowing schedules. Plus, it supports multi-zone mowing, so you can schedule it to mow different parts of your lawn on different times and days.

Best for Sloped Yards

Mammotion Luba 2 AWD 1000 Robot Lawn Mower

While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (21)

Pros
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (22)Can climb steep slopes
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (23)No perimeter wire
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (24)Supports voice commands
Cons
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (25)Setup can be a challenge

Key Specs

Mowing Area0.25 acre
Run time180 min
Mow height1.2-2.8 in.

Steep inclines are no match for Mammotion Luba 2 AWD 1000. As the name suggests, it features all-wheel drive, as well as knobby anti-slip tires that allow you to climb up hills you’d have difficulty walking up without getting on all fours. And since it doesn’t require perimeter wire, you won’t have to worry about running wire down any slopes to set boundaries.

The Luba 2 also has excellent obstacle avoidance thanks to a set of three detection systems–bumper sensors, sonar, and binocular vision. It’s also a great choice for large lawns, since you can schedule it to mow different parts of your property on different days or times. It’s even compatible with Amazon Alexa, so you can boss it around as it works from your lawn chair.

We’ve highlighted the Luba 2 1000, the smallest model in the line, because robot lawn mowers are expensive and picking a smaller model will keep the price down. With the capacity to cover up to 0.25 acres on a single charge, it’s ideal for front yards and relatively small properties.

If you want to size up, there are three larger Luba 2 AWD models–3000, 5000, and 10000–which can cover larger properties up to 2.5 acres with the Luba 2 AWD 10000. Mammotion also makes a set of Luba 2 AWD Series-H models, which cut your grass a little taller– 2.2- to 4 inches, versus the standard Luba 2’s 1-2.7 inches. We recommend all of these for sloping, hilly yards, so just pick the size and cutting height that works best for you.

Best with Sweeper Kit

EcoFlow Blade Robot Lawn Mower

While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (26)

Pros
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (27)Sweeper attachment available
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (28)Wireless design
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (29)Broad cutting height options
Cons
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (30)Sweeper kit is sold separately

Key Specs

Mowing Area0.7 acre
Run time180 min
Mow height0.8-3 in.

The EcoFlow Blade differentiates itself from the rest of the robot lawn mower pack by offering an optional sweeper kit, which allows it to double as a robot leaf vacuum in the fall. The kit, which resembles a bagging attachment on a traditional walk-behind lawn mower, drags behind the EcoFlow mower.

Small sweeper brushes on the attachment collects leaves, sticks and other yard waste in the bag as it moves. It’s a very helpful, if expensive, perk: It costs nearly $700 on top of the multi-thousand-dollar mower, so it will only appeal to those who hate raking leaves as much as they hate cutting grass.

The Blade is a mower, though, and cutting grass is still its forté. One of the largest bots on our list, it measures more than 2 feet long and features large, knobby tires. It also sports a broad 10-inch mowing deck with a wide range of cutting heights.

It supports wireless, GPS-based boundaries, so you won’t have to dig a trench around your yard’s perimeter to set it up. Plus, it has many of the hallmark features you’ll find on our other picks, including built-in sensors that reroute it around obstacles and automatic route planning. The EcoFlow is certainly a solid, albeit expensive, robot mower: The sweeper kit, which is something you won’t find on other lawn bots, is really what makes it a top choice.

Best for Small Yards

Segway Navimow i105N Robot Lawn Mower

While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (31)

Pros
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (32)Wireless design
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (33)Multiple programmable zones
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (34)Enhanced obstacle detection
Cons
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (35)Short run time
  • While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (36)Narrow cutting width

Key Specs

Mowing Area0.13 acre
Run time60 min
Mow height2-3.6 in.

We like the Segway Navimow i105N because it’s one of the smallest, most affordable mowers from a known brand. Its capacity is limited–with a small, 7.1-inch cutting deck and 1 hour run time, it can only cut about one-eighth of an acre on a single charge. That’s far less than most of our picks. On the other hand, you can program it to mow up to 12 zones at different times and grass lengths, so it can tackle smaller chunks of lawn throughout the week rather than doing it all at once.

Both the Navimow i105N and its big brother, the i110N, feature a built-in GPS system that allows it to navigate your lawn, so there’s no need to install a perimeter wire. It also has built-in sensors to guide it around obstacles like trees, gardens, shrubs and even people that may be in its path. The nimble Navimow’s accurate navigation and small size allow it to weave around objects in tight spaces, making it the ideal robot mower for managing smaller yards.

What to Know Before You Mow: Q+A With Our Experts

While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (37)

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While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (38)

Tony Carrick

Tony Carrick is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in technology, home improvement, DIY, home security, and outdoor recreation. He’s tested and written about everything from home security systems to power tools to gas grills. His product guides, how-to articles, and feature stories can be found in such publications as Bob Vila, Angi, U.S. News and World Report, Field & Stream, Futurism, and Switchful. When Tony isn’t writing, he can be found working on his latest home improvement effort at his home in North Carolina.

While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (39)

Kate Morgan

Kate Morgan is a freelance journalist based near Philadelphia who writes about science, food, travel, culture, awesome people, and a little bit of everything else. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming inThe Washington Post, O Magazine, The Cut, Woman’s Day,USA Today,Harper’s Bazaar,Slate,Saveur, Medium, Popular Science,and others.

While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (40)

Expert consulted:Jim Zwack

Jim Zwack is the Vice President & General Manager of The Davey Institute. He is an expert in tree disease and stressors, with special emphasis on the emerald ash borer. Zwack has over 17 years of experience within the green industry. He’s previously chaired the Education Committee for the Minnesota Society of Arboriculture, served on the Board of Directors for the Society of Commercial Arboriculture, and is a past President of the TREE Fund. He has a B.S. in urban forestry from the University of Minnesota and an M.S. in plant physiology from Iowa State University. Zwack’s work focuses on providing assistance to trees that grow in unnatural, urban environments so they can reach their full landscape potential.

While You Weed the Garden, Cook Dinner, or Enjoy a Cold Beverage, These Robot Lawnmowers Will Cut the Grass For You (2024)
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