Robotic lawn mowers generally have a maximum lawn size they can mow - up to around a quarter of an acre - but some can take on larger lawns.
As technology improves, we can automate some of the more tedious household chores we're otherwise forced to do. Buy a robotic lawn mower and manually mowing your lawn will be a thing of the past, giving you more free time to enjoy relaxing in your yard rather than maintaining it.
Our guide gives you all the basic information you require to choose the best robotic lawn mower to fit your needs. Our top choice is the Robomow RS612, a high-end model that's extremely effective and easy to use.
Considerations when choosing robotic lawn mowers
Although the majority of robotic lawn mowers give you the option to begin their mowing by pressing a button or two directly on the body of the unit, they also tend to be Bluetooth compatible and controllable via an app. Some apps are better than others, so we'd recommend looking further into the app that accompanies any models you're considering before you make your purchase.
The longer the battery life of your robotic lawn mower, the more ground it can cover before it needs to recharge. Most models can run for between one and two hours before taking a recharging break. Many models can return themselves to their docking station to recharge, but some need to be plugged in manually. You should also consider the recharge time, especially if your mower needs to recharge partway through mowing — some models can recharge in an hour or two, whereas others need a full overnight charge.
Some robotic lawn mowers are waterproof so they won't get damaged if left outside in wet weather or if it starts raining partway through a mowing session. Others have their own waterproof shelters and rain sensors and reschedule any pre-programmed mowing tasks when it's raining. Robotic lawn mowers should also have UV-resistant outer casing so strong sunlight doesn't harm them.
You can find robotic lawn mowers that are compatible with smart home systems such as Alexa so you only need to give a verbal command to the system when you want mowing to commence.
With many robotic lawn mowers, it's possible to program a mowing schedule. You can set it and forget it, allowing your mower to run on its scheduled days.
Robotic lawn mower prices
Expect to pay anywhere between $600 and $3,000 for a robotic lawn mower. Inexpensive models aren't all that effective, but you can find some great choices around the $1,000 price point. Of course, you may pay more if you have an extra-large lawn.
Q. How regularly should I mow my lawn with a robotic lawn mower?
A. Robotic lawn mowers aren't great at cutting long grass, so it's best to set your robotic lawn mower to mow your lawn a few times a week in growth periods, and less often in winter or during heat waves when lawn growth is minimal. Luckily, it's easy to program robotic lawn mowers, so it takes no more effort on your part whether yours mows every day or once a week.
Q. Can robotic lawn mowers deal with a sloped lawn?
A. If your whole lawn is sloped or you have sloped areas, choose your robotic lawn mower carefully. Most models can deal with gradients of around 20° to 30°, but some can tackle steeper slopes.
Robotic lawn mowers we recommend
Our take: This top-of-the-line robotic lawn mower can tackle lawns of up to 1/4 acre (13,000 square feet).
What we like: Works in all weathers, though you can program it to hold off mowing on wet days. Quiet operation. Battery life of 90 to 120 minutes.
What we dislike: Requires a perimeter wire around the edges of the lawn.
Our take: Although it's not as advanced as high-end options, this is a solid pick at an affordable price.
What we like: Suitable for slopes of up to 20°. Uses shock sensors to navigate around objects. Cuts neatly and effectively.
What we dislike: Not especially great for large lawns.
Our take: An easy-to-install model that's best for lawns of 1/4 acre of less. Works quietly day or night.
What we like: Five cutting height options. Easy to program. Anti-theft alarm. Sensor can recognize fencing, so you require minimal perimeter wire.
What we dislike: Not ideal for wet weather.