The idea of spending your weekend doing basic lawn maintenance like mowing the grass can be tedious.
If you'd prefer to put your landscaping time and energy into projects that offer more interest, consider investing in a robotic lawn mower.
These tools mean you can spend your time on other things while the unit is hard at work keeping your grass looking well manicured.
In the following you will learn about various types of robotic lawn mowers and their features, as well as being able to compare models in our robot mowers review and buying guide.
Robotic Lawn Mower Comparison Chart
Brand & Model
Max. Lawn Size
Needs Guide Wires?
10,750 sq. ft.
Up to 20 degrees
16,000 sq. ft.
Incline up to 40%
23,000 sq. ft.
Incline up to 36%
5,500 sq. ft.
Up to 27 degrees
Incline up to 25%
Top 5 Robotic Lawn Mower Reviews
WORX Landroid WG794
The Worx WG794 mows in a defined space as determined by guide wires.
It's important to follow instructions on how deep to set this wire; too much sod and you'll weaken the signal so much that your Landroid mows next door.
The Landroid WG794 is quite easy to program; however, this unit does not sync with the phone app.
You'll need to give it easy access to the docking port for efficient charging, then program it for a daily lawn trim and watch it work!
Husqvarna Automower 315
The Husqvarna 315 is GPS assisted but also requires a guide wire to guarantee that it won't leave your yard, and once programmed, that it won't work outside the guide wire.
The Husqvarna 315 has large tires to the back, giving it great tread and the ability to climb slight inclines.
This unit uses three sets of razor sharp pivoting blades and will automatically dock when it needs recharged. You can easily run this tool at any time of the day or night as it is extremely quiet!
The Robomow RS622 is a great tool for those who want to stay connected. The phone app will let you know where the mower is, when it docked and the power level.
In addition, this tool has a child lock so untrained users can't pick it up and disrupt the operations or injure themselves.
You will still need to install guidewires for your Robomow RS622. However, this tool allows you to program multiple zones for a quality mowing job with little effort or mower movement on your part.
LawnBott LB1200 Spyder Robotic Lawn Mower
No wires! The LawnBott LB1200 is an ideal choice for a fully fenced back yard, or if your grass is fully contained in an area framed by tall stonework or landscape timbers.
This unit is quite light and weighs only 18 pounds. The LawnBott Spyder finds a mowing pattern via the bump sensor; if you have solar lights, bird baths or anything else that can be easily tipped, whacked or knocked over, this may not be the mower for you.
Be absolutely certain to protect your flower beds! Also, this is not a good tool for any part of your yard that isn't contained; the LawnBott has no good reason to stop until it runs into something.
McCulloch ROB 1000
The McCullough ROB 1000 is easy to program and hard to steal. The theft beeper goes off whenever this tool is lifted off the ground; you will know if someone tries to walk off with your ROB 1000.
You will need to place guide wires for your McCulloch. This is particularly helpful around flower beds, new trees and delicate landscaping features.
Each spool of wire comes with several clips; take care not to bury the wire too deep or hammer in the clips too sharply as the wire can break or go so deep as to lose the signal.
Your McCulloch will return to the docking station when the power gets low. As it leaves the station, you will hear it chirp. For this reason, an overnight mowing schedule may not be a good choice, but the easy programming option will make that easy to set.
Why Buy A Robotic Lawn Mower?
These battery operated mowers are extremely quiet and require little set-up, but you'll probably need to lay out boundary cords to keep your mower working on your yard.
However, once the boundaries are laid and the mower is powered, it's possible to use these units overnight and wake up to fresh-cut grass.
Brand & Model
Mowing Sound Levels
44.5 - 63 dB(A)
58 - 69 dB(A)
66 - 74 dB
est. 65 - 80 dB
57 - 59 dB(A)
Robotic lawn mowers are significantly quieter than standard mowers which are typically over 100dB.
If you have an automatic sprinkler system you'll want to review the schedule; mowing wet grass is not good for the mower or your lawn.
Of course, the layout of your yard will impact the action of these tools. If your yard features lots of height variance or landscaping challenges, you may need to physically relocate the mower.
Be aware that many of these tools have a self-docking feature, so you'll need to give the mower access to both the docking station and a 110 volt plug-in. Some robotic lawnmowers also have mobile apps for iTunes and Google Play that will let you know when the mower docks and self-charges.
Of course, as with any other mower you'll need to keep the blades replaced as needed, and keep the underside and blades dry to avoid the risk of corrosion. The blades of many robot lawn mowers are double-sided and very sharp; take care when clearing blockages or clumps of grass.
How Well Do They Work?
Robotic lawn mowers are an excellent choice for anyone with a small yard of good quality grass and a low weed count.
If your yard contains tree stumps, trailing vines, broad-leaf weeds or toys including tennis balls for the dog to chase or children's outdoor game pieces, please note that these may damage your robotic mower.
While the blades are extremely sharp, running this tool over heavy-stemmed weeds such as large dandelions or a heavy-stemmed grass may damage or clog the blades.
However, inclement weather doesn't seem to trouble these tools at all. They'll happily mow overnight, during the windy build-up to rainstorms or during the hottest part of the day.
Some units have a "return to dock" feature if they notice rain, but will mow through heavy dew with less than stellar results. However, you can change the programming to add a delay in the maintenance schedule so the dew can burn off.
Programming is an option for several of these units, but not all of them are terribly intuitive.
However, if you purchase a unit with the phone app option, you can program your mower to run when you're gone and let you know when it docks. Once you set your perimeter wires, these tools will shut down should someone steal them.
Installation & Demonstration
In the following video by This Old House, they demonstrate the Husqvarna Automower installation and setup, grass cutting ability, and price considerations of autonomous lawn mowers compared to traditional lawn mowers.
Features To Consider
Robotic lawn mowers run the gamut on programming and boundary setting; from models such as the Husqvarna Automower, which requires perimeter wires but is completely programmable to the LawnBott Spyder, which will stay within raised barriers such as railroad ties or fences and mow via bump sensor.
If your yard is large or complicated, such as including a side yard that the mower must traverse to move from back to front, the mobile apps that allow you to track the mower and review the docking history will likely give you peace of mind.
The RoboMow RS622 may be an ideal option for your lawn.
It should be pointed out that some robotic lawn mowers offer GPS and have no need of wires. However, the majority of robotic mowers work in relation to guide wires.
Zoning & Cutting
The placement of boundary wires will determine the "zones" of your lawn. Robotic lawn mowers also "learn" the spaces they work in as they spend time working in the area, so the tool will become more efficient over time.
The bump sensors are included to reduce the risk of yard debris or outdoor toys being caught in the razor sharp cutting blades.
Of the robotic mowers in this review, only the LawnBott Spyder works solely from the bump sensors. However, you will need to keep this tool caged or it may wander through the neighborhood.
Robotic mowers work a lot like robotic vacuums; they wobble off from boundary wire to obstruction, cutting grass all the while. If you like a perfect checkerboard lawn, you will not be happy with these tools.
However, because you can mow every day with these tools, there will be no raking and you can actually fertilize your lawn with the clippings.
Slopes & Obstructions
If your yard has any extreme slopes, the robot mower may see this as an obstruction and need a physical lift. However, you can be confident that gentle slopes will be mowed, though it may take more battery power and thus more re-docking.
Should you struggle with low areas or odd bumps in your yard, be aware that your robot mower will follow these and trim the grass within hollows. If your standard mower used to run right over low spots and cut the grass evenly, you'll need to be prepared for a more ground-hugging grass height.
Blades & Safety Features
Most gas or electric powered push mowers have one large blade that is sharp only on one side. While these blades can get jammed if you hit debris or are chewing through tall grass, clearing them is fairly straightforward.
However, the blades on a robot mower differ in several ways. They are shorter, obviously, because the unit is smaller. They're also razor sharp on both sides of the blade and built to finely chop all freshly cut grass.
If you need to clear a jam in your robot lawn mower, be absolutely certain to follow all instructions regarding turning off the tool and using the proper tools to remove debris or clumps of wet grass.
In short, never put anything in the path of the blade of any lawn mower that you would like back all in one piece. Jams may shut down the tool, but removing the jam may cause the blade to complete a cycle or turn.
Power & Motor
Your docking station will need a 110 volt plug. You can expect your rechargeable battery to last between five and ten years for nearly all of these tools.
It's important to remember that these mowers are meant to run daily; in short, you're not so much cutting the grass as giving it a quick trim.
If you have a stretch of several days between mowings, you're probably not going to be happy with the results; the grass may bend and the mower may jam.
If your home's electricity is generated via solar power, these mowers are quite kind to the environment and runs on solar power. However, these mowers are not built with solar charging panels.
Grass Types and Condition
Mowing wet grass is not good for any lawn mower and can eventually damage the plant and sod. To avoid damaging your lawn by cutting it wet, review the programming for your robotic mower so it doesn't start cutting until the dew is burned off.
Should it start raining while your robot mower is working, most of these units have an auto-docking feature to send them back to their docking station when they sense rain or sprinkler activity.
The trick to cutting very thick grass is to start while the grass short and let the robotic mower start ahead and stay ahead of the grass.
If you try to force the robot to cut through tall, thick grass you'll like wind up with a jammed mower.
The initial investment of a robot lawn mower may seem expensive. However, by the time you pay someone else to address your lawn or spend your free time attending to it, your robot mower may seem like a very good choice.
Not all yards are good candidates for robotic lawn mowers.
You will probably have good results if your yard is:
- Fairly flat.
- Fenced, or can easily be outlined with perimeter wire.
- Consistently planted and fairly weed-free.
Did you enjoy this guide? Let us know in the comments with your thoughts or experiences with automatic lawn mowers and grass cutting.