Finding the time to trim the grass can be a royal pain, especially when the workweek is loaded and you’d rather spend the weekend with Netflix. Fortunately, if you’re willing to invest in some smart hardware, there’s a solution. Robotic lawnmowers take the time and pain out of seasonal lawn care. Battery operated, a solid robot-mower will be able to learn your lawn inside and out, cutting quickly, quietly, and on a schedule that you create.
We’re reviewing the best robot lawn mowers of 2021, along with their top features. For our list, we consider performance quality in a few categories, such as noise level, automatic sensors, and adjustability of the blades.
At a glance
This Worx model shows a strong understanding of what the average buyer needs from a reliable robot mower. First, they need a reasonable price: Many people interested in a mower bot won’t want to spend thousands of dollars, especially if they aren’t sure how exactly it’s going to perform. Second, buyers are looking for bots that can handle relatively small spaces very tidily. The WR140 fits these needs, as it’s a sub-$1,000 mower that’s designed to do a really good job on lawns around one-quarter of an acre or less.
The mower is designed to follow a schedule based on the information you provide about your lawn on the app, cutting in light layers that don’t need to be emptied out or collected — and you can still adjust the cutting height if necessary. The “cut to edge” design helps the blades mow as close to the lawn edges as possible, so you don’t get those annoying stragglers by the flowerbeds, and there’s a handy alert feature that sends you a notification if your mower leaves the lawn space, which indicates a performance issue or that someone is tampering with the unit (every good mower bot should have this feature).
At 20V, it’s not the most powerful bot, but it does have the features a lawn owner needs, including automatic recharge for the battery and the ability to climb 20-degree hills. The sensors will keep it from colliding with anything surprising, and you can also surround specific items with included magnetic strips so the bot will avoid that area. All in all, theis a great mower bot for first-time bot cutters.
Lightweight is the name of the game with the Gardena 4069. Weighing only 16.5 pounds, you’ll have no trouble pulling this off the top shelf in the garage. The blade height is adjustable from .7 to 2 inches, and can be quickly raised or lowered with the top-mounted knob. Capable of mowing up to 88 square meters, the Gardena is smart enough to return to its docking station when the battery is low. Speaking of which, you can expect about an hour of mow-time from this model. Not the greatest duration in our roundup, but still quite capable for smaller yards.
We’re big fans of the additional rain hood that comes with the Gardena. Expecting a soaker? Attach the hood and your mower can operate during a downpour.
We tested out the Robomow RS630 a few years ago, and it’s still one of the premier robotic lawnmowers, although the price is a bit steep. However, for larger and more complex yards, you’re going to need a bit more lawnmower than the Worx above. The Robomow RS630 handles yards up to three-quarters of an acre and sloped yards up to 20 degrees, making this unit ideal for most yard types. It also has a rain sensor to prevent mowing during inclement weather and automatic recharging when the mower is low on power.
With an operational decibel range of up to 78dB, theis certainly louder than the Husqvarna Automower 450X (our next recommendation), but it’s significantly quieter than your average riding lawnmower.
Husqvarna’s Automower 450X covers the most turf — up to 1.25 acres. While other models on this list incorporate softer lines and warmer, matte color schemes, the Automower 450X has more of a glossy, RoboCop 2 build and looks downright menacing in your front yard.
Like the other models, you’ll need to “fence off” the perimeter of your lawn and garden areas before you mow for the first time. That said, you can also adjust the map of your yard via the app to mark additional zones to avoid. This is necessary for ditches or more rugged areas where the mower might struggle with adequate traction.
You can schedule the mow times over the course of a given month, allowing the model to trim as regularly or minimally as desired. Regular mowings minimize clippings, resulting in a cleaner-looking yard.
Perhaps its best feature is its quiet operation, though. Graded at just 58 decibels, theis about as loud as an air conditioning unit. If you really wanted to, you probably could get away with mowing in the middle of the night without waking the neighbors.
It’s really no surprise that Honda — the company that brought us Asimo — was one of the pioneering robotic lawn care manufacturers. Overall, the Miimo HRM520 is one of our favorite offerings on the market, with its three-quarter-acre mowing capability and an impressive slope mowing capability of up to 25 degrees.
The HRM520’s app allows you to adjust the cutting height, start or stop the unit, and also manage a calendar all from your smartphone. This model uses an innovative “continuous cutting system,” where the machine trims your lawn about 1-inch multiple times a week. Honda says this promotes better growth and overall yard health versus infrequent and larger cuts.
This regular lawn maintenance can also adapt by itself to seasonal grass changes. When the machine detects thicker grass sections, it can rapidly alter itself to maintain accurate cuts. The Honda Miimo HRM520 also uses internal detectors to avoid running into any barriers. Its three scenic sensors keep it running and trimming in top form.
Husqvarna’s 315X is easily controlled and customized. It’s a reliable device and can handle lawn care for yards roughly half an acre or smaller, with slopes of 22 degrees or less and grass height of 2.4 inches or less. You can control this lawn care device through your smartphone and its LCD panel, where you can customize controls. Its battery will last for just over an hour on each use.
The Husqvarna 115H Connect is one of the premier robotic lawnmowers in terms of voice command technologies. This mower easily connects with Google Assistant and Alexa. You can set specific commands to start, stop, pause, or park your mower, set the timing for your lawn care, and more.
Research and buying tips
Yes. Keep in mind that a robotic mower may not offer the same power and features as a traditional push mower, gas- or electric-start-powered. A robot mower works best when run a few times per week over your property, where a traditional mower may only get one use per week. That being said, the results are clear as day. A robot mower will definitely give your lawn the clean-cut it deserves, with end results just as good as a traditional mowing job.
On average you can expect to spend about $1,500 for an electric mower. Basic models can go for anywhere from $200 to $600, while premium mowers can go for as much as $5,000 (or more).
Most robot mowers run off a rechargeable battery pack that keeps the mower cutting for a few hours at a time. If the battery starts to get low, you just have to make sure it attaches to its docking station so it’s able to recharge. Equipped with adjustable cutting blades and features like rain sensors and anti-theft pins, a robot mower can typically be controlled by a keypad on the mower, with many brands offering remote control via the app.
Do robotic lawnmowers have bags?
No. Robot mowers don’t need bags because they mulch the grass while cutting. The clippings are deposited back on your lawn to work as fertilizer.
Does iRobot make a lawnmower?
iRobot originally revealed that they would launch a robot mower in 2020, but this project is on hiatus and we’re not sure when they will announce a new release date.
Should I buy a robot mower?
That depends. On average, you’re looking at a lofty expense for a bot that may not cut the grass as fast as you and your Torro. But if you don’t mind forking over the dough, the capabilities more than match the price point (for most models). If you hate sweating buckets while you mow in the hot summer sun, a robot mower will save you that pain while delivering fantastic results. Plus, if you’re a lawn connoisseur, you can always check in remotely with your mower’s app (if one is available).