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Best Robotic Lawn Mowers

Updated September 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 12 Models Considered
  • 8 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 87 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for robotic lawn mowers

    Last Updated September 2018

    Now that the world has fallen in love with robot vacuums, everyone is on the hunt for the next big thing in task automation – and with the advent of the robotic lawn mower, we think we’ve found it.

    Robotic lawn mowers are essentially automated robots that can be set to trim grass on their own. With a robot lawn mower, you can schedule when your lawn gets mowed, decide how much grass is cut each time, and avoid the headache of using a traditional lawn mower.

    If you’re interested in purchasing a robotic lawn mower, please jump to the top of this page to learn about our favorites.

    If you’re curious about robotic lawn mowers and want to learn more, please continue reading this guide.

    Robotic lawn mowers don’t typically move in straight lines. Instead, they move in a random pattern and track where they’ve been to ensure they’ve mowed the entire lawn.

    Why your next lawn mower should be a robot

    Robotic lawn mowers are downright convenient, but that’s not the only reason they’re so popular. In fact, many consumers note a few surprising benefits.

    • Reduced maintenance: While robotic lawn mowers do require a decent amount of first-time setup, once you establish the basics like the size of the yard, they become “set-it-and-forget-it” devices.

    • Environmentally friendly setup: Like all-electric vehicles, robotic lawn mowers don’t run on gas engines or require motor oil to run. That means zero emissions and a lot less hassle. (Keep in mind that all robotic lawn mowers require some level of maintenance, but never as much as a traditional gas-powered mower.)

    • Speed: Robotic lawn mowers tend to move more quickly than traditional motor-based lawn mowers, in part because they can make turns easily and adapt to problems as they occur. While tall grass can definitely slow down any mower, under ideal conditions, a robot lawn mower can really cruise around your yard.
    EXPERT TIP

    If you have a sloped lawn, find a robotic lawn mower specifically designed for uneven yards. Many low-end robotic lawn mowers will struggle when forced to go uphill.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Many robotic lawn mowers perform better when cutting less than an inch of grass. Shorter, more frequent mowing sessions can also help the mower battery last longer.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Robotic lawn mower apps

    Most robotic lawn mowers are meant to be controlled with an iOS or Android smartphone app. And while that’s pretty handy – especially considering you can make schedule adjustments at any time – the quality of the experience you have with a given mower will largely depend on how user-friendly the accompanying app is (or isn’t).

    If you’re looking at a specific model of robot mower, we advise you to find out which app it uses before you buy it. Then, read app reviews in either Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store. Often times, a few key insights from others can make all the difference when it comes to picking the right robotic lawn mower.

    Some apps offer significantly more functionality than others. For example, pricier robotic lawn mowers can often be manually steered by the app in instances where you need to take control of where it goes.

    Also keep in mind that some robotic lawn mowers are compatible with digital assistants like Amazon’s Echo or Google Home. When properly set up, mowing your lawn becomes as easy as saying, “Alexa, tell my lawn mower to start mowing.” If your mower supports a digital assistant, you can worry less about the quality of the included app and focus on providing verbal instructions.

    Most robotic lawn mowers come with a child safety lock to help keep little ones safe and a sensor for keeping itself out of the rain.

    Mulch ado about mowing

    Many higher-end robotic lawn mowers can mulch in addition to cutting grass. If you’re in a situation where you need to be able to make mulch, be certain that your robot mower is up to the task. Keep in mind that, like mowers that can cut sloped lawns, additional features like mulching will drive up the price of a robotic lawn mower significantly.

    Robotic lawn mower prices

    Robotic lawn mowers have one other thing in common with Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners: they’re both quite expensive. With robotic lawn mowers, there are essentially two major price categories.
     

    • Entry-level robotic lawn mowers

    These generally cost between $600 and $1,000. Compared to their pricier counterparts, mowers in this category are usually either smaller in size (and therefore take longer to mow) or somewhat lacking in features or build quality. Lawn mowers in this price range are more appropriate for smaller lawns.
     

    • Larger, more capable robotic lawn mowers

    These are priced between $2,500 and $3,500. In most cases, the price jump is money well spent — more expensive robotic lawn mowers include “luxury” features like task scheduling, wider decks for cutting more grass at a time, and even rain sensors that cancel a job when it starts to rain.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    While some bargain-bin robotic lawn mowers cost less than $1,000, they often skimp on critical features, like the capacity of the battery. Typical robotic lawn mower prices may seem high, but consider that you’ll never have to pay for gas, oil, or yard debris bags ever again.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Robotic lawn mowers are typically smaller than traditional motor-based lawn mowers. As a result, they are much easier to store. Due to their small size, they also have greater maneuverability and can reach areas that traditional lawn mowers can have difficulty in.

    Important information and tips

    Similar to electric cars, robotic lawn mowers rely on an internal battery, which means they can only go so far before needing to charge up. Thankfully, most robotic lawn mowers are “smart” enough to head home to their charging stations when they’re low on power. Nonetheless, consumers will need to take time to get used to a new paradigm of lawn-mowing, which forces similar changes. Consider the following.

    • Your robotic lawn mower may need to stop and recharge occasionally. Many owners note that it took time to get used to the idea of mowing the grass in increments.
    • With a robotic lawn mower, you can schedule your lawn-mowing at any hour you like, even the middle of the night. For a lot of people, overnight lawn mowing is an unusual concept, but it’s one that’s sure to catch on fast, given how much effort it saves. And don’t worry about noise; robotic lawn mowers run very quietly.
    • Most robotic lawn mowers don’t include bags or receptacles for storing grass clippings. As a result, most cut grass gets ejected back onto the lawn. While this can take some getting used to, it definitely beats having to handle multiple bags of clippings each time you mow.
    • Robotic lawn mowers are less precise than traditional mowers and typically leave a few blades of grass behind. For best results, follow up each time with a string trimmer.
    • If your robotic lawn mower gets stuck on yard debris while mowing, try using the mower’s smartphone app to resolve the issue before moving the mower itself.

    • Exercise caution when performing maintenance on your robotic lawn mower. All lawn mowers have blades, and if yours is battery-powered, be certain that it’s locked in the off position before attempting to touch any of the internals.

    • If you’re not sure how big your yard is, you may want to search your local property records. Most cities keep records of yard square footage for the purposes of property tax.

    When considering which robotic lawn mower to buy, read up on each manufacturer’s warranty and software support policies. If a mower doesn’t have a one-year warranty or doesn’t spell out the manufacturer’s app and software support policies, don’t buy it.

    FAQ

    Q. If I don’t have a fence, how will a robotic lawn mower “know” where the edges of my yard are?
    A.
    Many robotic lawn mowers include additional hardware so you can set up a virtual perimeter around your yard. Before buying a specific robotic lawn mower, check its user manual to learn about how it establishes yard boundaries.

    Q. Do I need to buy any accessories for my robotic mower?
    A.
    If your mower works with a perimeter wire to help it determine where your yard boundaries are, you may want to buy extra wire as well as yard pegs for installing it.

    Q. How long do robotic lawn mower batteries last?
    A.
    Battery life will vary from model to model, but a good baseline expectation is an hour. If you have a yard larger than three-quarters of an acre, expect your mower to need a battery-charging break before it’s finished.

    Q. How often should I use a robotic lawn mower?
    A.
    Many manufacturers recommend that you cut small amounts of grass (three-quarters of an inch or less) a few times a week. Your lawn-mowing method should take into account the size of your lawn, how short you want your grass to be, and how comfortable you are scheduling lawn-mowing sessions ahead of time.

    Q. Can I change my robotic lawn mower battery myself?
    A.
    Most robotic lawn mowers restrict access to the battery for safety reasons. If you need to buy a new battery, contact the manufacturer.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jaime
      Jaime
      Writer
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor
    • Stacey
      Stacey
      Writer

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