Robot Mower Buying Guide – What Factors are Crucial?
Robot mowers are undoubtedly a real help for any gardener with a medium to large lawn area. Accordingly, the purchase can be expensive. But are there also affordable alternatives?
Before making a purchase, it’s important to know exactly what the robot mower can offer and what size of lawn it is suitable for so that you are fully satisfied with its performance for many years to come. Are you looking to buy a robot mower? Then you’ll find the perfect robot mower buying guide here – alternatively, you can also check out the top 3 best-selling robot mowers currently available.
Essentials of Robot Mower Buying Guide
In the following, you will learn which groups of people can afford a robotic lawn mower and what factors they value the most. In general, a robot mower should be appropriately sized in relation to the area it can handle. Otherwise, this may result in long mowing times and the quality of the mowing may suffer. Therefore, we advise: it’s better to choose a robot mower with a slightly higher area capacity.
In addition to the obvious reason for a purchase, namely a large lawn, there are other aspects that may be important when considering a robotic lawn mower. For example, if you have grass allergies and mowing or manually trimming with grass shears or a string trimmer quickly becomes a burden, a robotic lawn mower may be worthwhile even for a smaller lawn.
The robotic lawn mower keeps the grass length at a pleasant and constant cutting height, resulting in less pollen in the surrounding area. Plus, you won’t be involved in cutting the grass anymore. You won’t be exposed to flying grass clippings that you had to endure during manual operation with a lawn mower or string trimmer.
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What should be considered when buying a robot mower?
When purchasing a robot mower, there are three fundamental questions that provide the best possible guidance and help with a quick and informed decision. Afterward, it’s worth looking at the bestsellers to narrow down the selection further. The following questions will help you choose the right lawn robot.
Buying a robot mower in 2023 – the 3 most important questions:
- What size area should the robot mower cover?
When buying a robot mower, the size of the lawn that your new garden assistant should mow is crucial. Experts generally recommend slightly overestimating the size to not overload the robot mower and achieve an optimal mowing result. This is where the first narrowing down of possible models takes place.
- What is your budget for the robot mower?
Robot mowers are available from around $375 up to $4000 and more, depending on the features, manufacturer, and performance on different lawn sizes. Common models and current bestsellers are typically priced in the range of $650-900 and are available from brands such as Gardena, Bosch, or Worx. This is where the second budget-related narrowing down takes place.
- Which robot mower principle is the right one?
Most robot mowers operate with a perimeter wire that defines the working area and requires some time for installation. Higher-priced models may also come with additional sensors or even GPS for navigation, or they may be available as models without a perimeter wire. However, many people may not find these features necessary. Take a look at the robot mower bestsellers now!
Our recommended robot lawn mower for 2023:
Not sure which robot mower to choose yet? Have a look at our top recommendations for the best models of robot mowers 2023:Find your robot lawn mower now!*
Even older and physically limited individuals can greatly ease their lawn care with a robot mower. Pushing and guiding a traditional lawn mower can strain the back and joints. The robot mower doesn’t require pushing or pulling, as it operates independently. The physical effort and unnecessary, potentially unhealthy movements (such as bending) are eliminated with the robot.
If you are in good health and not affected by pollen allergies, you should consider a robot mower for lawn areas of approximately 100 to 200 square meters or more. This is where the small-sized robot mowers start. The entire lawn area should be taken into consideration. If you have a particularly complex lawn area with many narrow passages or obstacles, you should consider these factors in your purchasing decision. The more complex the area, the more the robot will need to turn, rotate, or move in reverse. This means it will cover more area than in a more accessible lawn.
For those who do not wish to install the robot mower themselves after purchase, we recommend requesting a non-binding offer from a professional installation service:
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Factors to Consider when Purchasing a Robot Mower
So, those are the basic considerations to keep in mind before making a purchase – now let us share with you the specific factors that you should focus on.
A robot mower operates on a random principle, also known as the chaos principle. It starts at a selected spot and mows in a straight line until it encounters an obstacle. Then it will turn around, leave its path, and choose a new one. Again, it will only leave this new path when it encounters another obstacle. Ideally, the perimeter wire acts as the obstacle, as the change in direction is planned.
In the worst case, it encounters an obstacle on its path that doesn’t belong there and is forced to deviate from its path. If you have a particularly complex lawn area, it may be worth considering a robot mower with navigation aids, such as those offered by Husqvarna. For example, the Automower 330 X uses GPS and can be guided by a map that shows where it has already mowed and which areas it doesn’t need to mow again. The GPS module can also be retrofitted, for example, on the Automower 220 and Automower 230.
If your lawn area is on a slope, you should definitely consider the gradient that your robot mower would have to handle. There are robot mowers that can handle slopes of 25 percent to 40 percent. Otherwise, the robot may get stuck halfway. Since a lot of power and energy are consumed when mowing on a slope, the robot mower should have a strong motor performance and a high-energy capacity.
3. Noise Emission
Robot mowers operate practically every day for several hours. Therefore, it is advisable to consider the noise level if you want to protect your ears and your neighbors’ nerves. There are models available with noise levels below 60 decibels, such as those from McCulloch or Gardena.
The loudest noise from robot mowers is during the actual cutting of the grass. The simple driving around makes the least noise. If you would like to test the noise level of the devices beforehand, choose a spot where grass actually grows and not an area where the robot mower has nothing to do.
4. Cutting Height & Cutting Width
Of course, these factors are important for proper lawn care. However, robot mowers are quite similar in this regard, so we can hardly make any specific recommendations here. In general, you will find cutting heights between 2 and 6 cm on most devices. The cutting width is typically between 20 and 30 cm. As a reminder, for a simple lawn, the standard cutting height is usually around 4 cm.
5. Perimeter Wire
Currently, there are not many models without perimeter wire on the market, but they are becoming more popular. It’s tempting to avoid laying the perimeter wire. However, you should carefully consider whether your lawn area is suitable for this type of robot. These robots rely on a grass detection sensor. They navigate to areas where the sensor detects grass.
If the sensor does not detect grass anymore, the robot turns around and heads to more suitable areas. You can read about misunderstandings that may arise from this and practical tips on how to help your robot mower without perimeter wire better recognize its working environment. Without an induction loop, these robots cannot find their way back to the charging station. Therefore, you need to manually charge your robot mower when it runs out of energy. From the current state of technology, we recommend robot mowers with perimeter wire. You can find our thoughts on this topic here.
Speaking of sensors, every robot mower is equipped with them. All good robot mowers are equipped with at least collision sensors (they detect obstacles and navigate around them), safety sensors (the blades stop when the device is lifted or tilts unusually), and theft protection (an alarm goes off when the device is lifted off the ground). In addition, some robot mowers also have rain sensors that prevent the robot from operating during rain and high humidity.
7. Battery and Runtime
All lawn robots run on batteries. When it’s time to recharge, most robot mowers with induction wire find their way back to their charging station, where they replenish their energy. Robot mowers without induction wire need to be manually charged, as mentioned above.
Battery runtime may be of interest, especially for robot mowers without induction wire. After all, you don’t want to constantly transport your robot back to the charging station. Solar power could be a suitable option for these robots. There are already hybrid models with both battery and solar panels, such as the Husqvarna Solar Hybrid Automower, but it still requires perimeter wire.
As a buying recommendation, a robot mower with perimeter wire should have a minimum voltage of 18 volts. Most of the branded devices, from McCulloch to Husqvarna to Gardena, meet this requirement.
For robot mowers without perimeter wire, you can find models with batteries of around 29 volts. Runtimes range from 120 minutes to 230 minutes.
In general, it’s advisable to compare the maximum lawn area specified for the battery question. Because how much lawn can be mowed in one go depends on the battery capacity and performance of the robot.
Robot Lawn Mower Purchase: Affordable Alternative – Worx
Top 3: Robot Lawn Mower Recommendations
When advising on robot lawn mower purchases, it’s always worth taking a look at the current bestsellers to provide a good buying recommendation. It quickly becomes clear which model is suitable for whom. As the bestsellers can also change, feel free to check out the current models on the homepage. Here you will find the current top bestsellers in the field of robotic lawn mowers on amazon.de.
Overview of Robot Lawn Mower Bestsellers:
1. Worx Landroid S WR130
The Worx Landroid S WR130 is the most affordable model in this top 3 overview and is suitable for lawns up to 300 sqm. Like Gardena, Worx also has a wide range of products and is one of the current market leaders in the field of robot mowers, thanks in part to its good price-performance ratio. The cutting height of the Landroid S WR130 is 20-50 mm and the cutting width is 18 cm.
In addition to the above-mentioned model, Worx offers five other robot mowers with a coverage area of up to 2000 sqm, each with a comprehensive accessory package that can be purchased separately and equips the robot mower with additional sensors.
With Worx’s “AIA technology,” the Landroid S WR130 navigates autonomously and systematically through the garden, saving time, energy, and protecting the lawn. As the current number one bestseller in the field of robot mowers, it is a clear recommendation for all beginners on a tight budget!
2. Gardena Sileno City
As the name suggests, the Gardena Sileno City is particularly suitable for smaller gardens in urban areas. However, it also performs excellently in rural areas, as it can be purchased in different versions depending on the size of the lawn area.
The Sileno City comes in variants for lawn areas from 250 sqm up to 2000 sqm in a total of seven different model levels. The cutting height of the Gardena Sileno City is 20-50 mm and the cutting width is 16 cm.
In addition, an additional set with app control is offered for each model. With a wide range of options, Gardena exemplifies a market leader, in addition to the good quality of its products. We can wholeheartedly recommend the Gardena Sileno City.
3. Bosch Indego S+ 350
The Bosch Indego S+ 350 is currently one of the most affordable models from Bosch and is suitable for lawns up to 350 sqm. It has a cutting width of 19 cm, a cutting height between 30-50 mm, and is even equipped with artificial intelligence: it navigates autonomously around obstacles in the garden. Overall, Bosch currently offers three different series.
It also uses Bosch’s “LogiCut” principle, which allows the robot mower to orient itself independently on the lawn area. With the “SpotMow” function, the Indego S+ 350 is also capable of mowing in narrow areas.
Buying a Used Robot Mower
Buying a used robot mower can be an alternative solution for many people to stay within budget. B-grade, which may only have cosmetic defects, can also be interesting in this case. Most major retailers offer B-grade robot mowers, but you may need to inquire about them. When buying a used robot mower, it’s important to carefully check the condition, whether a warranty is provided, and what accessories are included or may still be missing for proper operation. You can find used robot mower models here.
Buying Guide FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions when Buying a Robot Mower
A robot mower operates based on different principles – it navigates either using perimeter wire or through sensors. It has sharp blades underneath that can cut the grass at varying heights.
The price of a robot mower starts at around $400 and varies mainly based on the lawn area it can handle. A quality robot mower for an area of up to 800 sqm currently costs around $900-$1200.
High-quality robot lawn mowers are offered by manufacturers such as Gardena, Bosch, Husqvarna, Stihl, and Worx.
The best robot mowers and bestsellers for small areas currently are: Gardena Sileno City, Bosch Indego 350, and Worx Landroid SO500i.
Yes, there are robot mowers with GPS navigation. However, these are more commonly found in the high-end professional range, such as those offered by Husqvarna. Currently, a new generation of robot mowers with increased use of GPS and other wireless technologies is entering the market.
With a robot mower, there is no collection bag for the grass clippings. Instead, most robot lawn mowers utilize a mulching function, which finely chops the grass into small pieces and returns them to the soil as natural fertilizer.
The advantages of a robot mower include time savings, convenience in lawn care, and the potential for achieving an ideal lawn maintenance routine. However, some disadvantages may include the need for initial installation and potential safety considerations. But with the new generation of smart robotic lawn mowers, these disadvantages are eliminated as well.
The top-performing models in the field of robot mowers and current bestsellers are: Gardena Bosch Indego S+ 350, Husqvarna Automower 420, Gardena R40Li, Worx Landroid S, and Gardena Sileno City. Newer bestsellers include Segway Navimow or Ecovacs Goat G1.
For a 100 sqm area, the time required by a robot lawn mower can vary depending on the design of the model and its daily mowing duration. Models designed for larger areas typically complete 100 sqm much faster.
You should winterize a robot lawn mower once the temperatures start to drop. Make sure the battery is fully charged, and store the robot lawn mower, including the charging station, in a dry place such as a basement.
The right robot lawn mower depends mainly on the size of the area it needs to mow. Robot lawn mowers designed for larger areas generally work more reliably than models that operate at their maximum capacity. This also helps protect the nocturnal wildlife. We recommend popular models from Worx, Gardena, or Husqvarna. In addition, Segway Navimow or Ecovacs offer new, smart robot lawn mowers.
A robot lawn mower without a perimeter wire typically uses GPS modules or specific sensors for navigation. It can orient itself based on these features. Often, these models mow in a random pattern or follow a predetermined direction. However, the newer generation of smart robot lawn mowers uses camera technology and artificial intelligence for navigation.
Yes, modern robot lawn mowers are typically waterproof and can mow in the rain. In fact, some current models even have settings that allow them to mow in rainy conditions. However, it's worth noting that robot mowers may get dirtier and work less efficiently in rainy weather.
Conclusion of the Robot Mower Buying Guide 2023
Before making a purchase, consider what you need the robot mower for (lawn area over 100 sqm, limited physical strength, pollen allergy) and the characteristics of your lawn (complexity, slope). Then compare your preferences with the available options (cutting height/width, noise level, with or without perimeter wire, runtime), and you’ll find a robot mower that will serve you faithfully for many years.
» All Robot Mower Bestsellers 2023*