Best robot lawn mower review
Put your feet up and let the robot do the work.
Mowing the lawn can be a real chore. Then again, why not just put a ‘droid to work. It’ll just go about its business cutting the lawn day in, day out, rain or shine, or even at night!
The following are under the microscope to see which one is the best robotic lawnmower on the market.
■ McCulloch ROB S600
■ Flymo 1200R
■ Gardena 19300-28 Smart Sileno City
■ Lawn Master L10
■ Robomow RX12 U
■ Bosch Indego S+ 350
The very cutely named McCulloch ROB S600.
This robot lawnmower is compact, and light. It weighs 7.8kg, making for easy to handling. Setting up the mower to mow the lawn is straight forward, but set aside a couple of hours to do so.
As with all current robotic lawn mowers, the ROB S600 needs a perimeter wire in place around the edge of the lawn to navigate the lawn, stopping itself from getting stuck in flower beds and avoiding other obstacles. McCulloch includes 150m of guide wire and 200 lawn staples to do this. However, it’s worth burying the guide wire about 1cm under ground, as many owners have experienced their mower cutting the wire which brings everything to a standstill until the wire is repaired.
Once the boundary wire is set up and connected to the docking station, the ROB S600 needs to be programmed. McCulloch simplified this by having an “installation wizard” to guide owners, through the process. The keypad and “wizard” makes things like customized mowing programmes and time schedules stress free. Once done the ROB S600 is ready.
The ROB S600 with its cutting width of 16cms and cutting height of 20mm to 50mm, (which it automatically alters for different cutting areas) is able to cover lawns of up to 600sqm. It cuts grass to a “micro mulch”, disappearing into the lawn and acting as a fertilizer. This mower quite happily negotiates inclines up to 35%, something that most other robotic lawn mowers can’t manage.
This lawn mower is controlled by a bluetooth app, allowing access to customer services, manuals and machine status, meaning you can “set and forget”, even to not checking battery levels. The ROB S600’s running time is 60 minutes before returning to its charging station. The base station can be placed anywhere along the perimeter wire. Charging takes 1 hour. Once done, the mower resumes. Interestingly the lithium ion battery is the same as those for the Husqvarna Automower, so quality is assured.
Maintenance of the ROB S600 is simplicity itself. 3 easy to change cutting blades are included , as well as spare connnectors. As the ROB S600 is waterproof it can be hosed down.
Is the ROB S600 pet and child friendly? Yes it is. Equipped with bump sensors, it will immediately stop and move away at 90°. The cutting blades are placed well under the machine so paws and feet aren’t cut.
The ROB S600 does have a couple of tiny niggles. The perimeter wire staples are brittle and easily breakable, while being annoying, is easily remedied by burying the wire.
The control app is bluetooth only, giving a range of 30m. Again this isn’t serious. It just means you can’t control your robot mower from your office, hardly the end of the world.
■ Extremely light and compact. Easy to handle
■ “Installation wizard” makes installation easy.
■ cuts lawns up to 600sqm.
■ Produces “mico-mulch” for garden health.
■ Easily copes with different cutting areas and inclines of up to 35%.
■ Pet and child proof.
■ waterproof, easy to clean and maintain.
■ 2 year manufacturers guarantee.
■ Very Brittle staples, take care to make sure they do not break.
■ The control app uses only bluetooth.
The hulking lump. The Flymo 1200R.
Being orange the Flymo 1200R is very hard to miss. This is no compact robot lawnmower, weighing 15kg, it’s the heaviest mower in this review.
Designed to cut an area of 400sqm the1200R has a cutting width of 17cms and manually adjustable cutting heights of 20mm to 50mm. This robotic lawnmower can cuts to an excellent finish. The 1200R uses random navigation so the entire lawn will be cut over time. Like almost all robot mowers the 1200R also produces “micro mulch” making the lawn healthy.
As with all robot mowers, preparation and set up is necessary. Again, allow time to plot the boundary wire with 150m of wire and 200 staples provided by Flymo. However the wire provided breaks easily, and the fixing staples are just too brittle, so burying it under the turf is the best option with the 1200R. Again the docking station can be positioned anywhere along the periphery. Once preparation and installation is complete, the 1200R is ready .
All time schedules are entered via the control panel, which is straightforward; with this robot lawn mower being incredibly quiet and waterproof, mowing time can be at night as well as in the rain.
The 1200R comes with an lithium ion 18v battery which is also found in the Husqvarna Automower, so quality is certain. The run time is 60 minutes after which this “lawn mower robot” returns to its charging station for recharging, which takes 1 hour, then the robotic mower will continue to mow.
As seems to be standard with all robotic lawn mowers, the 1200R is fitted with bump sensors. When “bumped”, the 1200R reverses away from the obstacle, the cutting blade is positioned well out of reach under the machine, making it pet and child friendly. One of the best features of the 1200R which no other robotic mower in this review has, is a lift sensor.
Flymo claims the 1200R can mow on a 25% incline with ease, it wasn’t the case. This robot mower struggled on anything greater than 15%, which was disappointing. Sloping lawns aren’t suitable for this robotic mower.
Being fully waterproof the 1200R can be hosed down, and be mowing lawns in the rain, but its sheer weight can bog it down in mud or even churn up the lawn.
The Flymo 1200R package comes with the bare minimum and nothing else. Unlike many robot lawnmowers there are no spare blades included. Additional blades etc are bought from Flymo online. However, Flymo’s 2 year warranty is included.
■ Easy to install and set up.
■ 17cms cutting width.
■ Produces “micro mulch” for garden health.
■ Pet and child proof. Includes a lift sensor which ranks as one of the best features of all the robotic mowers on test.
■ Flymo 2 year warranty.
■ The 1200R weighs 15kg, the heaviest of all the robotic lawn mower models on test.
■ Perimeter wire and fixing staples are easily breakable.
■ For its width cut the 1200R is suited for mowing small lawns.
■ No remote settings.
■ Unable to cope with inclines of more than 15%
■ Able to damage lawns while mowing in , or after, rain.
■ No spare blades included.
The robotic lawn mower with the longest name: The Gardena 19300-28 Smart Sileno City.
Yes, that’s its name! To complement its garden range Gardena offers this compact robotic lawn mower specifically for lawns of up to 300sqm.
The Sileno City must have the usual set and installation time given, but the settings are easy to install as the “installation assistant” will help at every step. The Sileno City will work out the best way of mowing once given basic information. The only thing to be done on the L10 is to set the cutting height (20mm to 50mm),once done the mower will continue mowing the lawn.
As with most, robot mowers, the Sileno City produces “micro mulch” promoting lawn health. Being waterproof this little robotic lawn mower will work in the rain; as well as be hosed down, Gardena also supplies a cleaning and maintenance kit, including 9 extra blades when you purchase the lawn mower.
The Sileno City’s running time is approximately 65 minutes and will automatically return to its charging station, taking 60 minutes to recharge.
As far as slopes go, the machine coped with 35% inclines impressively, something few other robot mowers can do.
While your robot lawn ‘droid is busy in the elements you have full control with a wifi app. So the Sileno City is accessable remotely.
The Sileno City isn’t the perfect robotic lawn mower for a couple of reasons. Yet again, the perimeter wire and securing staples are both easily broken, but as mentioned before, there is a solution. However, this mower’s charge station is a headache. The mower must have a clear run to it, and the station must be securely attached to the ground, otherwise the machine will not connect to the charger.
■ An “installation wizard” for step by step guidance.
■ “Micro mulch” for garden health.
■ Remote access wifi app. Can control the lawn mower from anywhere.
■ Able to operate on a 35% incline.
■ Running time of 65 minutes and charge time of 60 minutes.
■ A maintenance and cleaning kit consisting of cleaning brushes, winter cable protection box and 9 spare blades, included in the price of the robotic mower. One of the best features of all the lawn mowers on test.
■ Fragile perimeter wire and fixing staples.
■ The design of the charging station and its requirements.
■ The price.
The no frills Lawn Master L10 robotic lawn mower.
As robot lawn mowers go, the Lawn Master L10 is a basic robot mower that’s designed for a smaller garden. For its compactness it’s surprisingly heavy at 8.1kg, it’s also the loudest of the machines on test.
Programming the machine is done with the built in keypad, as there is no app for remote access. Once the perimeter wire and charging station are set up the machine is ready to mow.
The L10 running time is 35 to 40 minutes, ideal for a small garden. Unfortunately this robot lawn mower needs 40 to 45 minutes to fully recharge. However, in the best robotic tradition, it automatically returns to base to recharge.
Being completely waterproof means the L10 can mow in the rain and be easily hosed down.
While the L10 is a basic machine, its ability to tackle slopes up to 35% was impressive, and its width of cut of 18cms is the largest of all the lawn mowers in this review. The L10 is fitted with standard bump sensors for child and pet safety.
The Lawn Master customer care dept deserves to be mentioned at this point as they were by far the most professional and efficient of all the companies taking part in this review.
■ Basic design. Keeping it simple. Less to go wrong.
■ Width of cut of 18cms.
■ Produces “micro mulch” for healthy grass.
■ Child and pet friendly.
■ Able to cope with inclines of up to 35%.
■ weight is 8.1kg
■ Short battery life of 35 to 40 minutes.
■ The price.
■ Noise. This the loudest robot lawn mower in the review.
The mobile helmet that is the Robomow RX12 U
At first sight the Robomow RX12 U is a strange looking mower. With rounded edges it could be taken for a cycling helmet.
Designed as a basic robotic lawn mower for small urban lawns of up to 150sqm, the RX12 U has potential to corner a niche market.
Weighing 7.5kg the RX12 U has a width of cut of 18cms, implying this robot mower means business. The cut was adequate and the mower was almost noiseless, but the micro mulching was disappointing.
Setting up this robotic mower proved to be difficult. The instruction manual is machine translated from German! Once set up, the lawn mower dragged itself as it cut. The RX12 U has 2 wheels and a rear skid, which is off putting.
This robot mower has a battery time of 35 to 40 minutes before automatically recharging. Charging takes 45 minutes.
The RX12 U while not waterproof, has a rain sensor and will stop mowing when rain starts. This robot mower can’t be left outside, defeating one objective of buying one of these machines
Like most robot lawn mowers, this machine is child and pet friendly, but the large blade seemed to be a little to exposed.
While certainly not the best robotic lawn mower the RX12 U did cut the grass!
■ Quiet, almost noiseless.
■ 18cms width of cut.
■ 2 year warranty.
■ Unable to “micro mulch” properly.
■ Not waterproof.
■ No bogey wheels.
■ Instruction manual machine translated making some parts pure gibberish.
■ The price. You get very little “bang for your buck”.
The Bosch Indego S +350
Possibly the best name in cutting lawns, Bosch, has the Indego S +350 as its contender for the best robotic lawn mower, and when you read about it, you think Bosch has the best robotic lawn management technology, let’s see if Bosch does have the best robotic lawn technology.
The IndegoS +350 weighs 7.6kg and can cover multiple lawns with combined cutting area of 350sqm. Having a 19cm width of cut and cutting height of 30mm to 50mm, this robotic mower has a mow run of 45 minutes, with automatic return to its charge station. Recharging takes 45minutes. Nothing extraordinary when it comes to robotic mowers, but Bosch have tried to marry cutting the grass with A.I. and not with the best results.
As always preparation and istallation is needed and Bosch have been less than generous with staples and wire by supplying only 100m of wire and 140 staples. Both are prone to snapping, so burying the wire is the best option.
Installation is through Bosch’s “Smart Gardening” app or voice control Alexa app from Amazon. Which even with prompting, is confusing.
The IndegoS +350 will use Bosch’s patent “logicut” A.I. program to plan its best route through the garden.
The IndegoS +350 is stuffed with partially tested technology. Being waterproof implies that the machine operates in all weathers, so there would little point in updating itself on weather reports, but it does! Why is the Indego S+350 connected to Alexa? It is supposed to be programmed and controlled by the Bosch “Smart Garden ” app.
The “Logicut” system doesn’t fare much better, as it takes the machine over its tracks more than it mows, leaving between 5% and 10% of the area unmown. As one frustrated owner said, “it has doubled my lawnmowing time”.
Design wise, the Indego S +350 has most of its weight on its front casters giving the back driving wheels no traction in wet conditions making it slip and slide. Its lack of traction also means that the IndegoS +350 struggles with the gentlest of slopes.
While on the side of superficiality, a great fuss was made about customer choice of colour for the canopy!
The recharge station must be perfectly flat to the ground for the robot to stand a chance of docking. The docking port on the mower is subject to clogging up with “micro mulch” needing clearing nearly every time before recharging. The power lead for the charging station is just 3m long, ridiculously short!
The Bosch Indego S +350 was hugely disappointing. Bosch does not have the best robot lawn technology and should return to cutting lawns.
■ 19cm cutting width.
■ Produces “micro mulch” for garden health.
■ Bosch 2 year guarantee.
■ Child and pet friendly
■ Poorly designed. Weight distribution means no traction for the drive wheels causing slipping and sliding.
■ Gimmicky “connectivity”. Adds to lawnmowing time.
■ A.I not properly developed and next to useless.
■ Ridiculous personalisation of canopy feature.
■ Clogging of charging port. Continually clearing the charge port.
■ Charge station power cord ridiculously short and not waterproofed.
■ Unable to negotiate the gentlest of slopes.
So, which is the best robot lawn mower?
To have the top product doesn’t mean having the best robot technology and gimmicks. It comes down to ease of use and reliability in having the job done well.
For that reason This review’s choice for the best robotic lawn mower is The McCulloch ROB S 600.