If you’re on the market for a robotic mower, deciding on the right model for your property can be daunting.
With so many models, features, and prices it can be hard to identify an automatic lawnmower that will match your requirements and deliver time savings and convenience.
To assist you in selecting your ideal robotic mower, we share this insightful 11-point guide detailing things to consider before buying a robotic mower.
Familiarise yourself with the features and factors you need to be aware of and use this guide to evaluate the robotic mowers on the market.
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11 Things to Consider Before Buying a Robotic Mower
Here are 11 things that every buyer should consider before buying a new or replacement robot mower.
Price is going to be the primary consideration when splashing out on a new robot mower.
Purchasing a robotic mower for your garden is certainly an investment that delivers outstanding returns as time savings, rest, and relaxation on your carpet-soft lawn.
These automated lawnmowers are expensive starting at $500 to $600 dollars for the most compact, basic models and running as high as $5000 dollars or more for heavy-duty mowers that can mow expansive grounds and have advanced in-built technology.
Leading land management and garden tool dealerships like John Deere or Husqvarna often sell the more expensive robotic mowers and include additional services like professional installation or servicing.
The key factors that affect the price point of the mower you buy include:
- The maximum area the robot lawnmower mows
- Features that increase the maneuverability and ability to handle varied terrain
- The capacity of the battery
- Advanced connectivity solutions including WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS
10. Garden Size
The mower you choose has to be a great match for your garden, and your lawn size will be a key determinant of the robot mower that you select.
This is because every robotic mower has a maximum area it can mow. The manufacturers usually provide this in square meters or feet so you can compare it with the dimensions of your lawn.
Here are some typical lawn area specifications for a robot mower:
- Small gardens: 600 square meters
- Medium-sized gardens: 1000 to 1500 square meters
- Large gardens: 2000 square meters plus
If you have an estate, large grounds, or are purchasing on behalf of a sports ground or professional landscaping company a professional robotic mower may be a better fit for your needs.
Here’s a handy run-through of how to measure the square footage of a lawn
Slope can make or break a mower and a robot mower that struggles on uneven terrain is going to be hard work for you rather than the mower.
Most robot mowers can cope with some gradient in the ground they are working but slope tolerated varies significantly between models.
Factors that affect slope tolerance include:
- The gradient and angle of the slope
- The presence of rain and moisture
- The wheel design and tread
- Center of gravity of the mower (the lower the better)
To know the gradient or percentage of slope to look for you will need to calculate the slope of your lawn. This requires some canes, a tape measure, string, and some 8th-grade maths.
If you have a lot of obstacles on your lawn, you will need a robot lawnmower that can detect and dodge them rather than get stuck.
The quality of the lawnmower’s onboard technology will affect its ability to sense obstructions. Integrated sensors can detect obstacles that are in the mowing path of the robot and prompt it to change direction.
The number of wheels also affects the maneuverability of the mower with 4-wheeled or all-wheel drive mowers faring better with more complex lawn arrangements.
Aside from the hardware, the software algorithms used by the robotic mowers to calculate their mowing journeys will determine how they handle narrow passages, edges, and beneath objects like tables or trampolines.
With an expensive and potentially dangerous garden tool like a robotic mower on your property, you’ll appreciate the reassurance of knowing that the model you opt for has robust and reliable security and safety features.
Though we leave robot mowers outside for a prolonged time, they are not tempting to thieves, because of their size, bulk and reliance on their complementary base station.
That does not mean that you should overlook security. These common security features will also protect the children and pets that use your garden too.
- PIN: you can secure even the most basic models of robot lawnmower with a 4-digit PIN
- Alarm: many automatic mowers have an alarm that is activated if they are picked up or someone enters an incorrect PIN
- GPS: onboard GPS means that you can track your robot mower, with alerts if it leaves its position
- Tilt and lift sensors: these sensors cause the mower to stop cutting if the unit is tilted or lifted off the grass
Your choice of robot mower manufacturer will affect the price and specifications of your robotic mower.
There are many Chinese-manufactured OEM robotic mowers available at competitive prices, but some buyers prefer to purchase a mower from a reputable manufacturer via a dealership.
These manufacturers will also provide replacement parts, warranties, servicing and even professional setup of your new mower.
Leading manufacturers of robotic mowers include:
- WORX – the Landroid range of robotic lawnmowers
- John Deere – the John Deere Tango
- Husqvarna – the Automower range of robotic mowers
- Stihl – the iMOW range of mowers
Robotic lawnmowers are smart devices that can be integrated into the contemporary smart home ecosystem.
They combine a range of wireless networking technologies that allow them to be programmed and secured and navigate your lawn efficiently.
The Internet of Things capability of automatic mowers provides added convenience to owners who can remotely program and control their lawnmower.
These app-based controls are usually premium features and connect to the mower using:
- Wi-Fi: You can connect the robotic mower to an app-based control via a domestic Wi-Fi connection. You can also use Wi-Fi to link the mower to your property virtual assistant (Alexa) for voice command of your mower.
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth has a shorter range than Wi-Fi, so you will have to be within a 30-foot range of the mower to program it.
- GPS: GPS can also track the location and progress of a robotic mower in real-time.
Get an idea of how app-based control of a mower works with this explanatory video for the Bosch Indego mower
4. Control panel
All robotic mowers carry an onboard control panel you can use to program the mower and check its status and battery level.
A control panel should be as intuitive as possible with LCD displays being preferable in the abscess of app-based control.
Robotic mowers also carry an emergency stop button and a dial for adjusting the cutting height of the blades.
Robotic mowers have different blades, to cut and mulch your lawn, keeping it healthy and looking its best. The cutting action and quality are similar among manufacturers and models use one of three types of replaceable blade:
- Rotating razor blades: these blades are small and mounted on a rotating disc. They tend to wear out quicker than other types.
- Blades with star-shaped separations: these reversible blades have four or eight sharp edges and are mounted at a central point.
- Individually mounted fixed blades: these are strong durable blades that cut effectively.
Ideally, choose a mower with blades that can be obtained and replaced easily. The grass juices and debris can wear blades quickly and most mowers will need to have their blades changed once or twice per season.
If you want to learn more about how to change the blades of a robotic mower why not read our article: “How to clean and take care of a robotic mower”?
As robotic mowers are so expensive a decent warranty is a must. Without a warranty, you will be stuck with the costs of repairing the mower if it fails early on.
The warranty guarantees a suitable level of performance from the robot mower, with manufacturers undertaking to repair or replace damaged or defective units.
Warranties for robotic mowers are typically between one and three years duration. Many require registration of the mower or purchase for an extension of the warranty period.
A robotic lawnmower will be one of your hardest-working garden tools and it is almost inevitable that some part will wear or fail.
You need to be confident that you can source replacement parts easily and cost-effectively, especially consumables like blades and the boundary wire and connectors that can often become broken.
4 Great Robotic Mowers for the Smaller Garden
Here, we cherry-pick 4 great robotic mowers for smaller gardens to give you an idea of the type of mower that could work for you.
These are ideal for smaller backyards including urban gardens and condominiums.
1. GARDENA SILENO Minimo Robotic Lawnmower
- Maximum lawn area mowed: 2700 square feet (250 square meters)
- Cutting width/height: 6.29 in/ 0.78 – 1.77 in (16 cm/ 2 cm to 5 cm)
- Battery: Lithium-ion
- Working time: 65 minutes
- Dimensions: 20.4 in x 13.38 in x 8.66 in (52 cm x 34 cm x 22 cm)
- Weight: 13.44 pounds (6.1 kilograms)
- Warranty: 2-year warranty
Gardena is a German manufacturer of robot mowers that are designed for small and medium-sized gardens.
Features like its CorridorCut setting enable this robotic mower to mow tight passages and finish your edges.
It also boasts a spot-cutting setting that can mow evenly under objects on your lawns like tables or grills. It is weatherproof and will also sense frost to avoid damaging your lawn in the cooler months.
The SILENO robotic mower is not only small but operates silently. It is also convenient to control via the Gardena smartphone app.
Once everything is set up, just use the app to enter your lawn size and your desired mowing schedule.
2. Bosch Indego S 500
- Cutting height: 1.2 in to 2 in (3 cm to 5 cm)
- Maximum lawn area mowed: 5832 square feet (up to 500 square meters)
- Maximum gradient: 27 degrees
- Battery: Lithium-ion
- Working time: 60 minutes
- Dimensions: 44.5 x 36.4 x 20.2 cm
- Weight: 16.8 pounds (7.6 kilograms)
- Warranty: 1-year warranty
Bosch’s smart and compact mower handles up to 500 square meters of lawn area and is equipped with the features that smaller gardens require to look their best.
This little mower used LogiCut technology to mow your lawn in simple parallel lines, getting the job done in the fastest time.
It is specifically engineered to cut borders avoiding the straggly finish of some larger mowers. It also has onboard sensors that assist it in navigating even the smallest passages (75 cm wide).
If you have multiple small lawns, it can mow up to three of these within its maximum area of 500 square meters using its MultiArea function.
Once everything is set up this Bosch robot mower can auto-calculate and run a mowing schedule for you, using its calendar function.
3. Robomow RX20 Automatic Mower
- Cutting width/height: 7 in (17.8 cm) adjustable cutting height
- Maximum lawn area mowed: 180 square feet (16.7 square meters)
- Maximum gradient: 8.5 degrees
- Battery: Lithium-ion
- Dimensions: 26 in x 22 in x 12 in (66 cm x 56 cm x 30 cm)
- Weight: 27.9 pounds (13.5 kilograms)
- Warranty: 1-year warranty
Robomow is another robotic mower manufacturer that is cornering the market on automatic mowers for smaller gardens. This cheery beetle-like mower will keep the grass of a small garden in great condition with its efficient cutting and mulching action.
The manufacturers know that this mower will look tempting to kids and pets so they have fitted it with essential safety features like tilt and lift sensors that stop the blades, and PIN access to the control panel.
It can cut beyond the wheel, meaning you can retire your strimmer as it will handle your edges and other challenging areas.
You can control the Robomow RX 20 via Bluetooth and if you are looking for a robot mower with an even smaller footprint the Robomow R12u is currently the smallest robotic mower on the market!
4. Husqvarna Automower® 115H
- Cutting width/height: 8.7 in/ 2 in to 3.6 in (5 cm/ to 9.1 cm)
- Maximum lawn area mowed: 10882 square feet (1011 square meters)
- Maximum gradient: 30 degrees
- Battery: Lithium-ion
- Working time: 60 minutes
- Dimensions: 23.22 in x 17.71 in x 27.62 in
- Weight: 20.7 pounds (9.07 kilograms)
- Warranty: 1-year warranty
This is the most compact of the outstanding range of robotic mowers by Swedish garden tool experts Husqvarna and will competently mow lawns of up to a quarter ace in size.
Husqvarna is a great band to buy from because they deliver excellent support and replacement parts and servicing is easily accessible across the US.
You will be delighted with the quality of cut as Husqvarna specifically designed this 115H model for smaller lawns. It has high maneuverability and can dodge a variety of garden objects.
It is one of the best and most intuitive models for handling passages and can clear corners and tight areas of your lawn.
Programming the 115H is ultra-convenient as you can connect to it via 4G/LTE, meaning that you can control your mower via a cellular connection from anywhere.
This is a great little robotic mower for consistent performance and durability.
Frequently Asked Questions for Robotic Mowers for Small Gardens
Is the installation for a robotic mower easy?
Robotic lawnmowers have a straightforward setup which usually includes installing the charging station, a boundary wire that surrounds the lawn area the robot will mow and configuring your mowing schedule and settings via the mowers onboard control panel or via an app.
Can my automatic mower create stripes on my lawn?
Interestingly, there are very few robotic mowers that can achieve this. This is because the mowing pattern of an automatic mower is essentially random, covering the entire lawn bit by bit.
Will a robotic mower damage trees and shrubs in my garden?
Many property owners initially worry that their robotic mower will lose control and head into their prized rose bush or other cultivated plants.
This is unlikely because the boundary wire that is installed around the perimeter of the lawn prevents the mower from mowing beyond it. Use boundary wire to surround trees and shrubs that are growing in your lawn.
We hope that this 11-point buying guide has provided you with food for thought as you select your ideal robotic mower.
As we have said above, it is a big investment, but if you get it right these mowers will deliver great performance and value for money.
If you would like to look at some of the robotic mowers on the market right now our article “Best Robotic Lawn Mowers USA” is a round-up of seven of the best models for US gardens.
If you’re in the UK – Check out this page full of helpful information for UK models