Imagine a mower that you can just program to do everything by itself and not require you to push or drive it around under the intense heat of the sun. The McCulloch ROB 1000 Programmable Robotic Mower is that lawn mower. Read more here!
Imagine never having to cut your lawn again?
First came the robotic vacuums, setting the standard for automated home cleaning. Lawns were the logical next frontier. What other monotonous maintenance activities do most long suffering suburbanites have to endure on a regular basis?
While iRobot has long been rumored to have a lawn robot patent in the wings, the shoe hasn’t dropped yet.
The following is a comprehensive guide to finding and purchasing the right robot vacuum for your needs. Keep this article in your favorites, as this page will be frequently updated as new robots hit the market.
Contents (Jump to)
Why Bother With a Robot Lawn Mower?
Obviously you can to this page because you are interested in one, but I think it’s important to define the “why” to help hone our search for the right robot.
- Automation – Saves Time. This is the big motivation. As I hinted at in the lead, imagine never having to waste time on your lawn again? The truth is, you will have to invest some time up front, getting the settings and perimeter markings set up (at least with the current robot tech). It’s not completely hands-free, but once set up, you may not have to touch your lawn for the rest of the season.
- Can Save Money – This might seem counter-intuitive due to the sticker price of most robots. However, If you hire a service to do your lawn, expenses add up quickly. Also, the cost of maintaining (let alone purchasing) a traditional mower isn’t insignificant. If you have a gas mower, consider the cost of fuel. Even if you do it yourself, your time is still valuable. What other things could you be doing instead of mowing your lawn? Time IS money, after all.
- Environmentally Friendly – This may or may not be a personal concern, but there is no doubt that gas mowers are among the most polluting and inefficient machines. If in doubt, see this article from the EPA.
- Cool Factor – Let’s face it, robots are pretty neat. It’s cool to be the first person on your block to have a robot mower. Okay, this isn’t a “legit” reason, but the inner nerd in me feels compelled to mention it.
What Makes a Good Robot Mower?
Some robot lawn mowers definitely are not ready for the market.
Before going further, let’s identify the key attributes that make a good robot mower.
- Ease of Use
- First an foremost, a good robot mower should be relatively easy to use. I say “relatively” because there will always be some initial set-up and learning required. The key point is that 1) instructions should be easy for the non-technical owner to follow, and 2) set-up should work the same for most users i.e. all lawn types should be compatible.
- Quality of Cut
- Just like a good robot vacuum should mimic a traditional vacuum, a good lawn bot should at least come close to mimicking a the cut quality of a traditional mower. In fact, the systematic quality of a robot means the quality might – in fact – be better in some case. Related to this is the height a robot mower can cut. Be sure to check the minimum and maximum grass height on the specs list before you buy.
- This is among the most important considerations. How much lawn can your robot cover? Not all robots have the same coverage. At this point, a standard range would be 1/4 to 1/2 of an acre. Anything larger and you may run into problems (or have to invest in additional boundary markings). However, as new robots are released, this range is increasing. Some robots can handle more territority, some less. Know what you need for you lawn before you buy.
- Smart Perimeter Control
- How smart and functional are the perimeter markings? Every robot to date relies on some form of boundary, many of which are buried a few inches beneath the surface. Even the best robot mower will struggle to be functional with a poor perimeter control mechanism. This is a key feature to research before you buy.
- Edging Ability
- This is the Achilles heal of any robot. It’s one thing to cut cleanly across the wide open areas, but proper edging can mean the difference between having a hands-free manicured lawn and hours of touch up work. The nice thing about robot mowers is that they – potentially – could be better at edging than traditional mowers.
- Weatherproof Tech
- This might not be the first thing you think about, but smart weatherproofing is key to keeping your investment safe. There have been some advances in weatherproofing, so most of the major players are at least rain resistant. Still, it’s important to know whether you need to monitor the weather closely or just let the robot do its thing.
- Ability to Handle Gradients
- Here’s the main catch with robot mowers. Unless you have a relatively flat lawn, don’t expect miracles. More recent robots have been able to increase the gradient handling, but this is one of the first specs to look at relative to your lawn.
- All the latest tech is great, but does the robot work every time? With new robots hitting the market every year, it can be hard to tell which ones are actually reliable over time. You want your lawn bot to be chugging along next year, just like the fist year. Part of this factor also includes maintenance requirements and servicing. Ideally, your robot will be low maintenance and durable over time.
- A robot with a blade is a particularly risky proposition without the proper safegaurds in place. Most of the leading robots have built in auto-shutoff technology, but this is another important box to check in your hunt for the right mower.
- Last by not least, price is likely the most important consideration for most buyers. Right now, prices are still all over the map. The lowest you will generally find is around $1000. While this is bound to fall as the market matures, it’s hard to know exactly when or how quickly this will happen. Higher end lawn robots (with larger ranges) can go for upwards of $3000.
The Best Robot Lawn Mowers Currently on the Market
Without further delay, here is my overview of the top robot mowers on the market:
- RoboMow Robots: RoboMow is arguably the market leader when it comes to the number of models and relative popularity. In the very early adopter stage, they have a distinct advantage.
- RS630: The RS630 is the highest end offering from RoboMow right now. You can read a comparison I did to the Husqvarna 220AC right here. The main advantage is that the RS630 is a less expensive high end robot mower (relative to comparable featured other robots). Importantly, the RS630 can cut grass up to 3.1 inches in height, higher than most. It can also covered more ground (up to 32,000 square feet). The main downside is that you are generally limited to 36% slope (a bit less than other brands).
- RS622: The Rs622 doesn’t have the same range as the 630, but it can still handle up to 23,000 square feet. Otherwise, it offers a similar cutting min/max ability. Everything else is vritually identical to the RS630, except the price (which is a bit lower here). For the full picture, you can read my review of the 622 here.
- WORX Landroid: WORX is among the more promising – if smaller – lines of robot mowers to hit the market in recent years (see my original review). The Landroid is their signature device. It’s able to handle a bit more in terms of grass height (up to 3 inches) and also comes with a nice 3 year warranty. The boundary marking is decent, but you will likely not be able to get more than a 45 minute run-time and 1/4 acres covered in one go. This makes it a better solution for smaller yards (and a step below the RoboMow’s). However, it’s also available at a much lower price point (check it out here).
- LawnBott Spyder: Lawnbott is another contender with a few models out. Originally featuring the LB1200 and LB1500, they also have a newer LB75DX mower. The advantages are that it can handle uneven terrain a bit better than the competition and is definitely very quiet (if you don’t want to bother the neighbors). The main issue is that they will only be good for about 10,000 square feet. The longer term issue is actually the boundary control mechanism. You have to bury cables and the sensors on the device are not particularly strong (in my experience). It can be a huge pain to dig up and replace to get the mechanism just right. They definitely need to work on this, but you can read my full review of the LB1200 here.
- Husqvarna Robots: Husqvarna is arguably a more formidable player in the space, given their long history in the lawn maintenance space. NOTE: I have only tested the 220 AC so far.
- Automower 315: review COMING SOON.
- Automower 220 AC: One thing I liked about the 220 AC was that it only takes 45 minutes to charge up, however, it also only has a 45 minute run-time. Since it has an “auto resume” function, this isn’t necessarily a major issue. The 18V battery seems a bit under-powered compared to the competition. When I compared it to the Robomow RS630, it did have a slightly better gradient handling (19 degrees vs 18 degrees for Robomow). But that was relatively minor in the large scheme of things. The Husqvarna was also quieter than the Robomow. Overall, Robomow still leads the pack when it comes to covering the most ground. The 220 AC also could only handle up to 2.4 inches of grass height (vs 3.1 inches for Robomow).
- Automower 430X: Review COMING SOON.
- Automower 450X: Review COMING SOON.
*NOTE: I do my best to update this list as new mowers come out and our team reviews theme, HOWEVER, please feel free to make use of the comment section to ask about mowers not listed above.
Comparison Table – Contrast the Key Features
The follow is an overview and side-by-side comparison of the key metrics to consider when selecting the optimal robot mower:
|Model||Price||Cut Dimensions||Max Rated Capacity||Recharge and Resume?||Max Slope|
|RoboMow RS630||Check Live Pricing Here||0.8-3.1 inches||30,000 Sq. Ft.||Yes||36%|
|RoboMow RS622||Check Live Pricing Here||0.8-3.1 inches||23,000 Sq. Ft.||Yes||36%|
|WORX Landroid||Check Live Pricing Here||1.6-4 inches||10,750 Sq. Ft.||Yes||35%|
|LawnBott Spyder LB1500||Check Live Pricing Here||0.8-3.1 inches||10,000 Sq. Ft.||No||34%|
|LawnBott Spyder LB1500||Check Live Pricing Here||0.8-2.4 inches||19,000 Sq. Ft.||Yes||32.5%|