Finding the time to trim the grass can be a royal pain, especially when the workweek is loaded and you’d rather spend the weekend with Netflix. Fortunately, if you’re willing to invest in some smart hardware, there’s a solution. Robotic lawn mowers take the time and pain out of seasonal lawn care. Battery-operated, a solid robot mower can learn your lawn inside and out, cutting quickly, quietly, and on a schedule that you create.
We’re reviewing the best robot lawn mowers of 2021, along with their top features. For our list, we consider performance quality in a few categories, such as noise level, automatic sensors, and adjustability of the blades.
Note: Automatic lawn mowers are mulching mowers generally designed to cut high and often, so program accordingly.
At a glance
Worx WR155 Landroid
This Worx model shows a strong understanding of what a buyer needs from a reliable robot mower. It’s easy to use, includes an updated design with new traction wheels, and can handle up to one-half acre, perfect for mowing any sized suburban lawn or smaller commercial lawns (smaller models are available for less, but the half-acre capability guarantees this model is ready for a wider range of properties).
This lawn robot is designed to follow a schedule based on the information you provide about your lawn on the app, cutting in light layers that don’t need to be emptied out or collected — and you can still adjust the cutting height if necessary. The “cut to edge” design helps the blades mow as close to the lawn edges as possible, so you don’t get those annoying stragglers by the flowerbeds, and there’s a handy alert feature that sends you a notification if your mower leaves the lawn space, which indicates a performance issue or that someone is tampering with the unit (every good mower bot should have this feature).
The model also uses a brushless motor with a floating blade disc that can automatically lift the blades when dealing with uneven terrain. The Worx WR155 Landroid offers an 8-inch cutting width, a 6.0Ah battery designed to last longer than previous options, and a charging base station. You will have to lay down ground wire boundaries around your lawn, as the Worx — along with most models — needs these barriers.
Gardena Sileno City 250
Gardena’s line of mowers is both robust and affordable, making them ideal choices for smaller lawns. This model can tackle up to 2,700 square feet of lawn, and operates via a well-designed app that’s easy to set up and offers multiple scheduling options, as well as a security PIN to prevent unauthorized access. The mower is also ready to keep mowing in the rain (although, as we discuss below, this can have an impact on your lawn cut quality), and can handle steeper slopes up to 35%.
The Gardena Sileno City 205 is also made to be quiet, with decibel levels under 60. The normal running time is around 65 minutes — although this can vary a lot depending on the lawn — and charging time takes around 75 minutes. Like our top Worx pick, this model also uses A.I.-powered cutting power, and it can fit in narrow spots down to 24 inches wide for cutting lawn strips.
We tested out the Robomow RS630 a few years ago, and it’s still one of the premier robotic lawn mowers, although the price is a bit steep. However, for larger and more complex yards, you’re going to need a bit more lawn mower than the Worx above. The Robomow RS630 handles yards up to three-quarters of an acre and sloped yards up to 20 degrees, making this unit ideal for most yard types. It also has a rain sensor to prevent mowing during inclement weather and automatic recharging when the mower is low on power.
With an operational decibel range of up to 78dB, the Robomow RS630 is certainly on the loud side, but it’s significantly quieter than your average riding lawn mower.
Gardena Sileno Minimo
This Gardena model was designed for quiet operation, making it an excellent choice for mowing small lawns without disturbing the neighbors. While it does its best work on smaller patches of lawn up to 5,400 square feet (about 0.12 of an acre), it’s quite efficient, using app controls to manage settings and create schedules. The noise level is around only 57 dBA, which is about as loud as the humming of a refrigerator.
Like other good robot mowers, the Sileno Minimo can perform in most types of weather — it will delay mowing if it detects that the ground is frosty or similar problems — and a variety of terrain, handling slopes up to 25%. This model has a durable charging station that can fit in many different parts of a yard (with an optional charging cover that’s a good idea to use if you live in an area with lots of precipitation). You will need to set up a boundary wire along your lawn to help keep it in bounds.
Husqvarna Automower 430XH
Those looking for a powerful robot mower that can handle larger lawn spaces than most will be delighted by the Automower 430XH, which can handle up to 0.8 acres. The mower is also well-equipped to avoid damaging your landscapes, with lift and tilt sensors to prevent collisions (or running over toys left on the lawn), as well as a rubber front bumper to protect from unexpected bumps. There are also LED headlights, which the mower doesn’t technically need but is useful for keeping people from tripping over it at night.
The app controls for the Automower 430XH are also advanced. You can create schedules and track the precise location of the mower, as well as give it voice commands via Alexa or Google Assistant. There’s also a PIN-secured alarm to help prevent theft and a total of 145 minutes of cutting time per charge. Like most other models, you will have to set up a boundary wire, but with this in place, the mower can handle more complex lawns with ease.
Husqvarna 115H Connect
Husqvarna’s 115H is easily controlled and customized — and it’s a more affordable Husqvarna option than some of our other picks for those who would like to save some money. It’s a reliable device and can handle lawn care for yards roughly half an acre or smaller, with slopes of 22 degrees or less and grass height of 2.4 inches or less. You can control this lawn care device through your smartphone and its LCD panel, where you can customize controls. Its battery will last for just over an hour on each use.
The Husqvarna 115H Connect is one of the premier robotic lawn mowers in terms of voice-command technologies. This mower easily connects with Google Assistant and Alexa. You can set specific commands to start, stop, pause, or park your mower, set the timing for your lawn care, and more.
In case you’re looking to expand your lawn care tools, check out our lists for the best lawn sprinklers, weed killers, and leaf blowers for your yard.
Research and buying tips
Do robot lawn mowers really work?
Yes. Keep in mind that a robotic mower may not offer the same power and features as a traditional push mower, gas- or electric-start-powered. The cutting blade and cutting width will also impact performance (more on this below). That being said, the results are clear as day. A robot mower will definitely give your lawn the clean-cut it deserves, with end results just as good as a traditional mowing job — as long as you use it regularly, once every day or two, and keep the blades sharpened.
Note that robotic lawn mowers are not designed for large lawns, so if you have
How much does a robot lawn mower cost?
On average you can expect to spend about $1,500 for an electric mower. Basic models can go for anywhere from $200 to $600, while premium mowers can go for as much as $5,000 (or more).
How do robot lawn mowers work?
Most robot mowers run off a rechargeable battery pack that keeps the mower cutting for a few hours at a time. If the battery starts to get low, you just have to make sure it attaches to its docking station so it’s able to recharge. Equipped with adjustable cutting blades and features like rain sensors and anti-theft pins, a robot mower can typically be controlled by a keypad on the mower, with many brands offering remote control via the app.
Do robotic lawn mowers have bags?
No. Robot mowers don’t need bags because they mulch the grass while cutting. The clippings are deposited back on your lawn to work as fertilizer.
Does iRobot make a lawn mower?
iRobot originally revealed that they would launch a robot mower in 2020, but this project is on hiatus and we’re not sure when they will announce a new release date.
Should I buy a robot mower?
That depends. On average, you’re looking at a lofty expense for a bot that may not cut the grass as fast as you and your Torro. But if you don’t mind forking over the dough, the capabilities more than match the price point (for most models). If you hate sweating buckets while you mow in the hot summer sun, a robot mower will save you that pain while delivering fantastic results. Plus, if you’re a lawn connoisseur, you can always check in remotely with your mower’s app (if one is available).
Why is a rain sensor important on a robot lawn mower?
Many automated lawn mowers can work in the rain, but it’s not as good for the mower, and grass doesn’t cut as well when it’s wet. Rain sensors on the top of the mower can detect water and send the mower back to its (presumably covered) charging station. This reduces the risk of a short or malfunction due to rain. It’s also a good idea to schedule your mowing sessions far away from irrigation sessions.
How often do the blades of a robot lawn mower need sharpening?
Robot mowers use smaller blades, which work harder than larger mower blades and will dull faster. You can sharpen these blades with something like a kitchen knife sharpener, but the common approach is to replace the blades entirely. A compromise is to keep a couple of sets of blades and switch them back and forth, sharpening the extra set each time. It’s recommended you replace the blades every two months or so during cutting season.
Why is it important to create a cutting schedule for your robot lawn mower?
Robot mowers don’t work well with high grass. They are designed to make very frequent, short cuts to a lawn. It’s important to schedule your mower to work every day or every other day so the grass doesn’t get too long for the mower to handle.