Nobody likes to mow the lawn. But the American need for ever bigger houses and ever bigger yards makes this mundane chore all the more painful. So why not turn to robots to automate the job? We already have robot vacuums, robot mops, and soon a ton of new companion robots if CES 2019 was any indication.
With the average American spending some 70 hours a year dealing with lawn care, this is time that could be more fruitfully spent on more enjoyable things. The machines are coming for our jobs, so we might as well let our future robo-overlords manicure our lawns before they inevitably send us out to pasture. Without further ado, here are five of our favorite robotic lawnmowers money can buy, starting with the homeowner-friendly and reasonably priced Worx WR140.
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 on one, especially if they aren’t sure how exactly it’s going to perform on their lawn. Second, buyers are looking for bots that can handle relatively small spaces very tidily. The WR140 fits well with these needs, 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 — 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 simply that someone is stealing it (every good mower bot should have this feature).
At 20V it’s not the most powerful bot designed, but it does have the features a modern 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 magnetic strips included so the bot will avoid that area. All in all, it’s a great mower bot to start with.
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 runs low on power.
With an operational decibel range of up to 78dB, the RS630 is certainly louder than the Husqvarna Automower 450X (our next recommendation), but it’s significantly quieter than your average riding lawnmower.
Husqvarna Automower 450X
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 yard as well as garden patches before you mow (or rather it mows) 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 for 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. But perhaps its best feature is its quiet operation.
Graded at just 58 decibels, this lawnmower is 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.
Honda Miimo HRM520
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 0.75-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 also uses an innovative “continuous cutting system” where the machine trims your lawn about an inch multiple times a week. Honda says this promotes better growth and overall yard health versus much less infrequent and larger cuts.
These regular trimmings also adjust as grass growth increases or decreases seasonally, and its cutting patterns adjust appropriately when it detects denser patches of grass for more even cuts. Three panoramic sensors allow the unit to detect and avoid obstacles around the yard.
Have a smaller yard, but still want these great features? Opt for the HRM310 instead, which cuts yards up to 0.37 acres.
Husqvarna’s smart 315X comes offers quick automatic cutting for yards a little under a half an acre, and can handle slopes up to 22 degrees and grass up 2.4 inches tall. It can run for about 70 minutes on one battery charge, too! The accompanying app will help you control the mower, but we also like the large LCD panel for more manual controls and adjustments. But the feature that most sets this bot apart is the voice command technology: It’s compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant, making it the ideal choice if you really like yelling at your lawnmower. Specifically, voice commands can make the 315X start, pause, stop, park, run for a specific amount of time, and more — pretty handy!
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