Robot Mowers

Tested and Reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

 

Updated 2nd September 2021

Since starting Fredshed in 1999 I have carried out long term testing on 6 robot mowers and studied many others.

 

On This Page

History Of Robotic Mowers

Important Facts - The True Pros & Cons of Buying a Robot Mower

The Cheapest Robot Mower

Worx Robot Mowers

Bosch Inego Robot Mower

Husqvarna Robot Mowers

Friendly Robotics Robot Mower

Stihl Robot Mowers

 

 

 

History of Robotic lawnmowers

I have tipped up 2 robot mowers to show you the different blade types. Both are mulching mowers and finely chop your grass.

You can see from this image that the larger one can cut as wide as the wheels and right up to the edge of your lawn. The smaller one will always leave a 6 inch strip of grass around the edge of your lawn that you will need to strim or use shears on.

 The first robot lawnmower was made in 1995 by the Swedish Electrolux company followed from Robomow from Israel and Mowbots from Italy.

Currently around twenty manufacturers sell to the UK market and all now come with a charging station where the mower returns for re-charging. Early models had to be manually charged and used heavy lead acid batteries. The new models use Lithium Ion batteries that are lighter, smaller and more powerful.

The latest developments are apps for smartphones so you can cut your lawn and control your mower from anywhere in the world where you can get a signal.

Robot Mowers really do work, but like any machine have some negative aspects. Replacement batteries are expensive and if the perimeter wire gets cut it can be a pain to find it underground to repair it. Some of the first models were too complicated and had poor service back up.

The current crop of robot mowers are reliable and timesaving machines. I believe that one day they will be as common as washing machines.

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Robot Mowers Facts

Until 2019 all Robot mowers operated by working within a perimeter wire that is powered by a mains plug or battery pack.

Perimeter wires are pegged down and eventually disappear 2-3 inches below the grass. There is now a new model with no perimeter wire that I hope to see and test soon. Most models come with a charging station and a separate garage/cover can be purchased separately to give some protection from rain and snow.

 Robot Mower Garage

Since the mower contains an expensive battery that won't get used much in winter I also recommend bringing in the mower if the temperature falls below -5c.

If the perimeter wire gets cut it can be easily fixed with a waterproof connector - if you can find the break!

Expect to replace the batteries every 4-5 years and be horrified at the price, (unless you buy a Worx robot).

All robot mowers mulch the grass and don't collect it which is good if you cut regularly.

It is not always necessary, but you could probably benefit by making a few small alterations to your lawn shape.

A simpler shaped lawn will maximise the cutting performance of your robotic mower.

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What is the Cheapest Robot mower?

The cheapest robot mowers are probably found on ebay from far eastern manufacturers who will use the lowest quality parts and offer no technical support or parts backup.

You may as well flush your money down the toilet and throw some plastic in the ocean to save yourself some hassle. On a more realistic level the cheapest robot mower that has any chance of a useable lifespan is in my opinion the Flymo 1200R. This is powered by an 18v 1.6 amp hour lithium ion battery and will cut up to 400 square metres.

This is quite a small battery and the mower is not internet enabled which helps keep the price down and improve reliability.

The 1200R works in the same way as more expensive robots by cutting within a perimeter wire using 3 small pinning blades and then returning to its docking station to recharge. It can be set off manually by pressing a large top mounted button or it can be programmed to come out and cut whenever you want it to. Overall this is a simple, well designed machine and ideal for small gardens.

Update - Flymo have a new range of robot mowers that have bluetooth capability. The smallest is the EasiLife 150 Go.

Flymo EasiLife 150 GO Robotic Lawn Mower - Cuts Up to 150 sq m,  

 

 

The parent company of Flymo is Husqvarna who have a long history of developing robot mowers. They actually invented the first robot mower in 1995 and also make the McCullough Rob 600 and Rob1000 which are similar to the Flymo but with a larger batteries. All run off an 18v battery so the McCullough may be better value especially if you have a larger lawn.

Check the links below and if the McCullough is not much more than the Flymo get the McCullogh.

 Mcculloch ROB 600 Robotic Lawn Mower 18 V, Up to 600 sq m,

Use link below for my best value robot mower for lawns up to 1000m square.

McCulloch R1000 - Lithium Ion Robot Lawnmower

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Worx Landroid Robot Lawnmowers

Worx Landroid -now with Wi-fi Control

The Landroid can be set up and controlled from your smartphone and does not even have an LCD screen to swear at.

It communicates to the user via flashing LED lights - so you can swear at those if need be.

It can be overridden, which is good because I know that all these clever gadgets are only as good as your Wifi signal.

An example of this is my Sonos wireless hi-fi which often packs up halfway through my favorite song! Doh.

The main downside with robot mowers is that most of them can't cut to the edge so you need another mower or trimmer to finish the job.

This is due to safety rules and the nanny state trying to protect every moron from every danger.

This new Worx Landroid has a unique blade design that cuts almost to the edge and only leaves a 2.5cm strip to deal with.

Another unique feature is that the charging base is a "drive through" so it will need to be situated on the edge of your lawn not in a corner like most others.

There are 4 Landroid models and all run off an interchangeable 20v Li-ion battery from the Worx powertool system.

The small model has a 2 amp hour battery and will cut up to 300 sq m,  while the largest model that cuts up to 1500 sq m, will have the biggest 4 amp hour battery, both can be exchanged so you could upgrade the cheapest model just by buying a bigger battery.

 

 

 WORX WR142E M700 Landroid Robotic Mower

 WORX Landroid Anti Collision System (ACS)

 Worx WA0194 Garage for Landroid Models S, M and L

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Bosch S350 Inego Robot Mower

This was the original model that I was introduced to at the Bosch factory on a press event.

The model shown above has been replaced by 7 new models, including the Indego S350 and the internet connected S350 Connect.

The unique feature of the Indego is that it cuts in straight lines instead of the random pattern like other robot mowers. This increases battery duration and reduces wear marks on your lawn.

The other unique feature is that it analyses the weather in your area and will delay mowing.

Like the Flymo and McCullough robots the Bosch Indego 350 is powered by a built in 18v, 2.5 amp hour Li-ion battery. A full charge will give 30 minutes of run time and cut up to 350 sq m.

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The Husqvarna 105 Automower

The Husqvarna robot mower shown above is the 220AC Auotmower that I tested on my lawn for 2 seasons.

It has been replaced with the 105 automower that now has a Lithium Ion battery, that will run for 70 minutes and cut up to 600sq m.

The automower blades are like 3 small razor blades located on the edge of a rotating disc.

It is very quiet and has an amazing amount of programming and setup options to suit many lawn types and user requirements.

Husqvarna also own the Flymo brand who offer the cheapest credible robot mower in the UK, and the McCulloch brand.

The entry level Husqvarna robotic mowers use the same 3 wheel platform and many other common parts as the Flymo and McCullough models .

The more expensive Husqvarna robotic mowers are different and can cut the largest of lawns and are backed up with service and installation options.

 Husqvarna 105 automower

Flymo Robotic Lawnmower 1200 R

McCulloch R1000 Robot Lawnmower

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MS1000 Robomow -  Now Discontinued

Features rain sensor and anti-theft device

 My test lawn is fairly small so so the MS1000 had no problem mowing it as the powerful Lithium-ion battery can cut an area 1000 sq m, in one go.

Setup was fast and easy using the tried and tested Robomow ruler and excellent instructions. The base station and perimeter wire are powered by a mains adapter.

Programming is easy with an LCD screen and simple button choice. The cutting height adjuster is the best I have seen. Just lift the top flap and turn a knob. The simple blades are razor sharp and a special tool is supplied for changing them safely.

The MS1000 gives a 56cm cut and is the only Robotic mower that cuts wider than its wheels so does not leave an uncut edge around your lawn.

The Robomow MS1000 is incredibly quiet and gives a superb cut. The build quality is high and I cant see any issue with this or the base station surviving outside in the UK but I would take it inside for the winter months.

The smartphone app is excellent and can be used for remote programming

The MS1000 is powered by a 26v 4.6 amp hour battery. The smallest model in the range is  the RX12u model that is around 500 and for small lawns up to 150 sq m.

 

Robomow RX12U Robotic Lawnmower

 

 

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The Stihl RMI422 iMow Robot Mower

 Stihl robot mowers were originally green coloured Viking models but have been rebranded into the main company.

The RMI 422 is the entry level model starting at about 1000 and larger more expensive models are available.

This is a well designed and relatively "conventional" robot mower with no surprises or gimmicks.

It has 15 cut heights from 20-60mm and can have a 5 year warranty. It is exceptionally high quality and I have even been to the factory in Austria where it is made.

The advantage of this model is the backup and support available from the established Stihl dealers in the UK who are all be trained and available to service this product.

Stay on this page for Robot Mowers

click here for my new page on cordless mowers

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Discontinued Robot Mowers

Friendly Robotics RL500 Robomow

I used this and a couple of similar models over a 10 year period on 3 different sized lawns.

This Israeli made mower had 5 motors!  2 driving the rear wheels like a tank, and 3 more to power the 3 separate blades. It cut extremely well and was very reliable. It used old style lead acid batteries and my ones lasted 5 years before needing replacing.

This model has been discontinued and the company has been sold to MTD of the USA who made the robots under their Cadet Cub name but now use the Robomow name.

The RL500 and RL350 and RL550, RL800 and RL1000 that were sold in the UK by Friendly Robotics can still be serviced by Mowermagic in Lincolnshire.

 
 

Ambrogio Mowbot 200

Testing a Mowbot 200 back in 2007

My Italian made Mowbot was one of the first robots with a charging station had a remote control for areas outside the wired perimeter so it could be used to mow small area separate to a main lawn.

This Mowbot 200 used one motor with one blade so it was light enough to be carried up steps to other lawns if required.

The Mowbot range was produced by Ambrogio of Italy who continue to make Robotic Lawnmowers under their own name. Mowbot is now a USA based company partly owned by Husqvarna who are planning new models for the USA. in Europe the latest innovation from Ambrogio is the first robot mower that does not require a perimeter wire, Robot AMBROGIO L60 Deluxe elettrico .

The Ambrogio L60 is a small robot for the smallest lawns (up to 200 sq m) and looks similar to my old Mowbot 200 shown above.

 

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If a robot mower is too expensive or complicated for you

click here for my new page on cordless mowers

 

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