If you groan every time you remember the grass needs cutting, then it may be time to consider a robotic mower. Simply get out the charging station, set up your boundaries and programme your mower accordingly. Yes, it really does do all the hard work for you, with some making their own way back to the docking station once they’ve done their job or have run out of batteries.
You don’t need a neat rectangular plot to use one – with many of today’s robotic mowers able to cope with oddly shaped gardens, slopes and obstacles such as flower beds and trampolines. Other good news (for the environment anyway) is that all robotic mowers are mulching, meaning they cut up the grass into fine clippings and scatter them back on the lawn to feed the soil with nutrients.
When buying a robotic mower, make sure it’s suitable for the size and shape of your garden - remembering that some of the more expensive ones are really only worth it if you have a big plot. Also, check how long it lasts on a full charge and how long it takes to charge up. While some take under an hour to charge, others take up to 16 hours.
Beyond that, it’s simply a case of checking what features are a priority to you and making sure you can afford them. For instance, do you mind having to set up a perimeter wire? Do you want it to cope with wet grass? Do you want it to be quiet? And so on. We put them to the test to find out which ones are worth investing in.
1. John Deere Tango E5 Series II: £2,130, John Deere
It’s quite a thing to watch this machine’s smart navigation powers in action. In particular, when it comes to detecting and dodging obstacles and pre-set boundaries, ultimately creating a smart lawn up to the size of around half an acre. Its blade and shell are built to last and it works well even in the rain and on slopes, with one charge generally lasting around 90 minutes (longer than most). It’s intuitive and informative (telling you what it’s about to do next) and quiet. But it is heavy.
2. Robomow RX12U Automatic Robotic Lawn Mower: £499, Mow Direct
New for this year, this is the smallest and most affordable robotic mower on the market and it’s well worth the money if you have an average-sized lawn (up to 200sq m) that you loathe keeping neat. Nifty features include a forward mounted blade, which cuts up to and (critically) over the lawn edge and a full charge that lasts for around an hour-and-a-half. But it does take a whopping 16 hours to charge up again, so make sure you plan ahead.
3. Honda Miimo HRM3000: £2,499, Honda
This one copes with huge plots of up to 4000 square metres (equivalent to half a football pitch) even when the grass is wet, plus you can communicate with it wirelessly using your smartphone. Other handy features include the flexible docking station (which can go anywhere you choose), quick charging (just 45 minutes) and it is brilliant on slopes too.
4. Flymo 1200R Robotic Lawnmower: £599.99, Amazon
While not the cheapest in our round-up, this is still a good price and we were impressed with how easy it was to program (with particularly clear instructions) and adjust according to the cutting height you want. It works for about an hour on a full charge, simply heading back to the docking station independently if it needs recharging, and it manages gardens of up to 400 square metres. It’s quiet and safe, but overall it has fewer features than other models.
5. Bosch Indego 400 Connect: £750, Bosch
New for this year, this is the updated version of a previous model, which Bosch changed based on customer feedback. Great for lawns of up to 500 square metres, it’s intuitive, quick and you can work it with your smartphone or tablet. Unlike many other robotic mowers that work in random patterns, this one does its job in consecutive rows so that no spot is missed, though it won’t leave stripes.
6. Viking iMow 632 PC: £2,299, Sam Turner & Sons
Although this can be controlled by a smartphone or tablet, you’ll probably prefer to control it via the easy-to-use control panel, not only because of its bright LCD display, but because it can be removed from the machine, which is great for avoiding a bad back. Covering gardens of up to 4,000 sq ft, it’s a boon for those with bigger lawns and is easy to set up to your exact specifications, and manages steep slopes well. It’s also fast.
7. Husqvarna Automower 450X: £3,100, Husqvarna
The racing car of the robotic mower world (it even looks like one), this is excellent for complicated lawns, including obstacles, narrow passages, bumpy terrain and slopes of up to 45 per cent – and it works well in the rain too. From the brand that sold the world’s first robotic mower back in 1995, you can work this one from your smartphone, while the in-built GPS system ensures efficient coverage of the lawn. It’s exceptionally quiet and manages lawns up to 5,000 sq m.
8. McCulloch ROB R600 Robotic Mower: £779, Cheap Mowers
Brand new for this year, it can cut up to a 25 per cent gradient with ease. This robo mower can also cope with bigger gardens better than the cheaper models in this round-up (of up to 600 square metres) and if that’s still not big enough for your needs, then there’s an advanced version (ROB R1000) to cover 1000 square metres. It’s quiet and easy to set up too.
The Verdict: Robot lawnmowers
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testingReuse content