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

best robot lawn mowers
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Robot lawn mowers are growing in popularity, and for good reason. While some people take pride in breaking out their riding lawn mower to mow the lawn, many of us probably prefer to relax on a perfectly warm day. Professional landscapers can help, sure, but that gets expensive, long-term. Why not just let a robot do the work for you?

The best robot lawn mowers take all the guesswork out of yard maintenance. Beyond automating the chore, they’re constantly roaming around, keeping your lawn level. Your grass stays freshly mowed, and you barely have to lift a finger. A robot lawn mower is a serious investment – a good one will likely cost between $1,000-$5,000 – but it saves you a ton of time and effort.

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The Best Robot Lawn Mowers

The Expert: 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 When Buying 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.

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How We Selected The Best Robot Lawn Mowers

We picked a range of robot lawn mowers with different prices and capabilities, suited to the smallest yards and the most rugged. We’ve tested a few of the options. We relied on experts like Zwack and lawn mowing experts on the Popular Mechanics test team to direct us to additional options that we haven’t tested personally. We also surveyed user reviews from Amazon and Best Buy for all of our potential selections.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09WNDLXJL?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10060.a.30460131%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Automower 415X</p><p>$1999.99</p><p>amazon.com</p>

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Automower 415X



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.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09595K4T8?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10060.a.30460131%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Sileno Minimo</p><p>$649.99</p><p>amazon.com</p>

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Sileno Minimo



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-disc cutting 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.

<p><a href="https://www.husqvarna.com/us/robotic-lawn-mowers/automower-450x-epos/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Automower 450X EPOS</p><p>$5900.00</p><p>husqvarna.com</p>

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Automower 450X EPOS



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.

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestbuy.com%2Fsite%2F-%2F6474791.p&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.popularmechanics.com%2Fhome%2Flawn-garden%2Fa30460131%2Fbest-robot-lawn-mowers%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Optimow</p><p>$1299.99</p><p>bestbuy.com</p>

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Once you lay your guide wire and place the charging station, you can set up the Greenworks Optimow by simply downloading an app. The Greenworks Tools app allows you to control the mower's settings, security features, scheduling, and more right from your phone.

The mower takes the guesswork out of scheduling by using GPS and local weather information to monitor frost and rain conditions. If the conditions are less than ideal, the Optimow will skip a scheduled trim and stay in its charging station.

You can set the cut height with an easy-to-use manual adjustment knob on the top of the mower. There’s also a set of clear indicator lights for Wi-Fi connectivity or mechanical issues. It’s a pared-down robo-mower with all the essential features you need, without many bells and whistles. It’s a true set it and forget it kind of mower.

<p><a href="https://www.husqvarna.com/us/robotic-lawn-mowers/automower-435x-awd/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Automower 435X AWD</p><p>$3199.99</p><p>husqvarna.com</p>

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Automower 435X AWD



A hilly yard won’t stop the Husqvarna 435X AWD. With all-wheel drive and large, rugged wheels, it can navigate steep, slippery terrain that other robot mowers can’t. It will climb up an impressive 70-percent incline (a 35-degree slope!) and its articulated, two-piece body design allows it to pivot on a dime, so it can maneuver through narrow passages and maintain traction on rough ground. Its ultrasonic sensors detect obstructions and help avoid collisions, and LED headlights allow it to mow effectively any time, day or night.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09FXBNNCK?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10060.a.30460131%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>MowRo RM24</p><p>$749.00</p><p>amazon.com</p>

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MowRo RM24



Most robot mowers keep the yard consistently trim by cutting a little grass every day, but if you have an especially small yard, it likely doesn’t need to be cut section-by-section. Redback’s MowRo RM24 is a perfect solution: You can schedule it to mow once every 48 hours rather than running continuously. It keeps your small lawn in tip-top shape without constantly roaming around the lawn. The mower and charging station have a small footprint, so they can keep out of sight when they aren’t working.

The MowRo also has tons of safety features, including a robust blade guard that blocks anything that isn’t grass, and sensors that trigger an automatic shut-off if it bumps into anything or comes off the ground. This way you don’t need to worry about your pets or kids sharing the yard with it.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B097NJ37R7?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10060.a.30460131%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>WR147 Landroid</p><p>$1158.82</p><p>amazon.com</p>

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WR147 Landroid



If you have lots of garden beds and yard features, Worx makes a sonar accessory for its WR147 Landroid mower that allows it to ping the path ahead and change course when it encounters any object over 5 inches tall in its path without bumping into it. While it isn’t ideal that the mower’s signature feature costs an extra $230, it definitely comes in handy.

With its path free and clear, the WR147 is a well-equipped 20-volt mower with a 7-inch cutting width by means of a single free-floating disc that can pivot side to side and front to back to match the lawn topography. Adjust its cutting height using a large dial on top.

Whichever auto-mower you choose, you can expect the more frequent mowing to result in better-mulched, healthier grass. Outsource your yard care to a robot: your lawn will thank you for it.

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

automatic baterry lawn mower cutting green grass in modern garden
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