Last updated: August 21, 2021

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Robotic lawn mowers take over the time-consuming lawn care in the garden. Only the pre-setting has to be done by the user. Otherwise, the robotic lawnmower works completely autonomously. Depending on the model, the robotic lawnmower can trim garden areas of up to 1000 square metres. Various cutting heights can be set manually as desired. Many robotic lawnmowers can even withstand rain and achieve a clean result.

By means of the robotic lawnmower test 2021 we help you to find the most suitable robotic lawnmower for you. It doesn't matter whether you prefer a robotic lawnmower with or without a boundary wire. We have listed some of the top models of both types, so you are sure to find the right one for you.




The most important facts

  • With a robotic lawnmower, you are spared the physical effort of mowing. After a short preset, the robotic lawnmower works autonomously
    autonomously.
  • Robotic lawn mowers are suitable for areas up to around 1000 square metres. However, the use of a robotic lawnmower can also be worthwhile for small garden areas.
  • The robotic lawnmower can be guided by a boundary wire. Alternatively, many devices have highly sensitive sensors that provide the robot with important information about its surroundings.

The Best Robotic Lawn Mower: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for robotic lawn mowers

In the following, we have listed some aspects for you to decide between different robotic lawn mowers.

These criteria will help you compare robotic lawn mowers with each other:

Weight

When it comes to weight, the robotic lawnmower scores particularly well. The small lawn trimmer is already available from 7 kilograms and usually does not exceed 11 kilograms.

In contrast to conventional, large lawn mowers with an average of 30 kilograms, the battery-powered robotic lawn mower is thus a lightweight. It is therefore particularly suitable for older people or people with a handicap. The robotic lawnmower carries its weight all by itself. Human effort by pushing is no longer necessary.

The low weight of the robotic lawnmower is also noticeable when stowing it away. It can be easily lifted and placed in a storage space provided for it.

Cutting width / size

Depending on how a garden is laid out, the cutting width of a robotic lawnmower requires special attention. The range of available sizes does not differ too much. Nevertheless, some people should take a closer look at the lawn they want to mow beforehand.

This is especially true if flowers are planted close together on the lawn. If there are thin strips of grass between them, you should definitely consider the cutting width when choosing a robotic lawnmower. This is the only way to avoid damaging free-standing plants.

For narrow garden passages, robotic mowers with a narrow cutting width are suitable.

Robotic lawnmowers with a very narrow cutting width are therefore suitable for narrow passages. If the lawn does not have any such narrow green strips, the focus can be shifted away from the cutting width to other criteria.

Smaller robotic lawnmowers already shorten the lawn to a width of around 17 centimetres. Somewhat larger models achieve a cutting width of up to 28 centimetres. The small robotic lawnmower can thus also reach lawns for which conventional lawnmower models are simply too bulky.

Cutting height

The relevance of the correct cutting height is often underestimated. Yet it is an important factor that ultimately determines the healthy growth of the lawn. If you choose the wrong cutting height, for example, weeds may grow.

To prevent this from happening to your lawn, you should know what cutting heights are available and how to set them correctly on the robotic lawnmower. Depending on the model, a robotic lawnmower can shorten your lawn by 1.5 to 6 centimetres.

To find the right cutting height for you, it makes sense to first clarify various influencing factors.

  1. Commercial lawns: A cutting height of 3.5 to 5 centimetres is suitable for commercial lawns.
  2. Ornamental lawn: If it is an ornamental lawn, a setting of 2 to 3 centimetres should be made.
  3. Season: Another influencing factor is the time of year. To prepare the lawn for the winter season, it makes sense to choose a cutting height of 2 to 3 centimetres.
  4. Freshly sown: If you have just sown your lawn, the cutting height should be 5 centimetres.

Depending on the type of robotic lawnmower, the cutting height can be determined manually using a wheel or a display. In both cases, it is advisable to do this in switched-off mode.

Suitability according to lawn size

The small robotic lawnmower demonstrates its advantages when it comes to suitability according to lawn size. On the one hand, it is in no way inferior to the conventional version of the large lawn mower. Similar to the latter, certain models of robotic lawnmowers are suitable for areas up to 1000 square metres.

If you have a smaller property, you can also opt for a type of robotic lawnmower that is not designed for such large areas. These make sense for city dwellers with a small garden plot. Here, the recommended lawn size starts at around 350 square metres.

Edge function

Many owners of normal lawn mowers miss the ability to mow cleanly along the edge of a lawn. Robotic lawn mowers do not necessarily have this function. If this feature plays a decisive role for you, you should make sure that it is available before buying.

If you decide on a robotic lawnmower with edge mowing function, it can shorten the lawn up to 2 centimetres before the lawn edge. With lawn edging stones, all blades of grass even disappear and manual reworking is no longer necessary. The choice of your robotic lawnmower depends on the width of the lawn edge.

The distance from the mowing blade to the protective cover of the robotic lawnmower varies depending on the model. The greater the distance, the further the robot can travel beyond the stone edge. It is best to measure the edge of your lawn in advance. Then you can choose your robotic lawnmower accordingly.

Replacement blades

After a certain time, the blades of your robotic lawnmower can wear out. In this case you will not get a clean mowing result. This is due to blunted blades caused by stones or sticks.

In this case, replacement is essential. Replacement blades are not necessarily part of the initial equipment when buying a robotic lawnmower. Find out in advance which manufacturer's models come with replacement blades. You can buy replacement blades from the original manufacturer of your robotic lawnmower or often from third-party suppliers.

Decision: What types of robotic lawnmowers are there and which one is right for you?

There are two different types of robotic lawnmowers you can choose from:

type advantages disadvantages
robotic lawnmower with boundary wire exact area determination possible slippage of boundary wire
robotic lawnmower without boundary wire quick start-up possible sensor inaccuracy

The models of robotic lawnmowers can be divided into devices with and without a boundary wire.

Depending on which type you choose, there are some advantages and disadvantages to consider. The main difference between the two types is the amount of preparatory work that needs to be done and the final mowing result. The following section is intended to help you make your decision:

Robot lawnmower with boundary wire

Robot lawnmower with boundary wire

Most robotic lawnmower models are controlled by a pre-laid boundary wire. With the help of induction, the robotic lawnmower then knows exactly where the boundaries of the garden are.

You can therefore define in advance exactly within which area the robotic lawnmower should be active. Provided no problems occur, you will get a clean mowing result.

Advantages
  • Precise definition of the area to be mown
Disadvantages
  • Boundary wire can slip

However, a major disadvantage could arise if the boundary wire accidentally slips. This is possible due to both weather and animals. You must constantly check that the wire is still laid according to the needs.

If the wire slips, the robotic lawnmower can also approach areas that should not be mowed. The result could then be destroyed plants. Uncleanly cut lawn edges are also conceivable.

Robot lawnmower without boundary wire

Robot lawn mower without boundary wire

If you decide to buy a robotic lawnmower without a boundary wire from the outset, there are also pros and cons that you should keep in mind.

On the one hand, without the boundary wire supplied, you do not have the option of predefining the garden area to be mown for the robotic lawnmower. The robotic lawnmower does not use induction technology here, but relies entirely on its sensor system.

As a result, the robotic lawnmower may not always be able to distinguish 100 percent between the lawn and the planted flowers. Planted flower beds thus run the risk of being damaged.

Advantages
  • Quick start-up possible
Disadvantages
  • Sensors can misinterpret surroundings

Nevertheless, one should also consider a major advantage of choosing a robotic lawnmower without a boundary wire. It can be put into operation without a lot of preparatory work.

You don’t have to make sure in advance that your garden area is marked out by the wire. The sensors of the robotic lawnmower, which are usually very well developed, also do this work for you. All you have to do is set the cutting height and from then on you can sit back and relax.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about robotic lawnmowers answered in detail

When looking for a robotic lawnmower, you are sure to have a few questions that you would like answers to. We have listed the most important and most frequently asked questions from customers below in our guide for you and answered them in detail. The guide will help you decide which robotic lawnmower is perfect for you.

What is a robotic lawnmower?

A robotic lawnmower is a lawnmower that can mow lawns on its own. No human effort is required to operate the robotic lawnmower. The robot simply receives information about the lawn to be mowed in advance and then works on it autonomously.

The robotic lawnmower helps you to maintain your lawn gently. It works completely autonomously. (Image source: Markus Distelrath / Pixabay)

This type of mowing is particularly convenient for older people or people with a handicap. The presetting can easily be done via a display or an app. Compared to conventional lawnmowers, the robotic lawnmower is quite small and can therefore also work on lawns that are difficult to access.

How does the robotic lawnmower know how to drive?

Most robotic lawnmower models require an orientation cable that delimits the lawn area to be mowed. Embedded in the ground, the robotic lawnmower detects the boundary wire by means of induction.

Other model variants rely solely on their sensors. Various sensors constantly transmit information to the robotic lawnmower, which it can use to orient itself. In this way, it knows when it needs to avoid an object or perceives changes in the weather, such as rain. Many robotic lawnmowers can also recognise lawn edging stones and move along them.

How is the robotic lawnmower controlled/adjusted?

Most robotic lawnmowers have a built-in display that can be used for presetting. The first things to set are the time, date and often a PIN to lock and unlock the device.

Finally, you must tell the robotic lawnmower at which cutting height it should mow. You can find more information on this topic in the section on buying and evaluation criteria above. Many robotic lawnmowers also offer the option of setting specific mowing and break times.

How does a robotic lawnmower react to rain?

Some of the robotic lawnmowers switch off automatically as soon as it starts to rain. However, there are now also robotic lawnmowers that continue to mow regardless of the weather without any problems.

Most robotic lawnmowers have a rain sensor. You can manually set whether the robotic lawnmower should continue to mow when it rains or whether it should stop working for the time being. (Image source: Photo Mix / Pixabay)

The protection of the electronics of the robotic lawnmower is ensured by a robust housing. The casing of the robotic lawnmower can even withstand small hailstones in extreme cases. Damage caused by precipitation is therefore the exception to the rule for robotic lawnmowers.

Many manufacturers of robotic lawnmowers already integrate a rain sensor in their devices. The sensitivity of the sensor can usually be manually adjusted by the user afterwards. Ultimately, you can decide for yourself whether the robotic lawnmower should pause or continue its work when it rains.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a robotic lawnmower?

One of the biggest advantages of the robotic lawnmower is that it works autonomously. You don't need to do anything other than set the robotic lawnmower for your lawn. It does the rest all by itself. The physical strain of conventional mowing is therefore eliminated.

In addition, many of these robotic lawnmowers are all-weather capable. While you would otherwise not be able to go out in the rain to work on your lawn, the robot simply continues to cut. In strong sunlight, many models still allow you to read the display without difficulty.

A robotic lawnmower is a real space-saver, especially for those who have little room in their shed or the like. Due to its small size, it takes up very little space. Alternatively, it is possible to buy a kind of small garage for the robotic lawnmower. This can then be placed directly in the garden.

Advantages
  • no effort required
  • weather-independent
  • space-saving storage
Disadvantages
  • expensive
  • objects lying around can be overlooked

Not quite as much in favour of the robotic lawnmower, however, are the prices. There are cheaper exceptions, but as a rule you should expect to pay around 600 euros. There is still a lot of room for improvement.

Always make sure that no small objects are left on the lawn. The robotic lawnmower could miss them and be damaged. (Image source: Iñigo Zubizarreta / Pixabay)

You should also be aware that robotic lawnmowers can miss small objects lying around. This information is particularly important in the context of children. If small toys are left on the lawn, the robotic lawnmower can be damaged if it runs over them.

How can the robotic lawnmower be recharged?

As soon as the battery is empty, the robotic lawnmower must be charged via a charging station. In most cases, the robotic lawnmower will return to the charging station on its own as soon as it is necessary. To do this, a kind of auxiliary cable is laid in the ground, which the robot then follows.

Another method of charging is via solar cells in some robotic lawnmower models. A major disadvantage in this case is of course the dependence on solar radiation.

What alternatives are there to a robotic lawnmower?

The most noteworthy alternative to the robotic lawnmower is probably the conventional lawnmower. You have to distinguish between the following types:

Designation description
Battery-powered lawn mower lawn mower powered by a battery that needs to be recharged from time to time
Electric lawn mower lawn mower contains a cord with a plug
Petrol lawn mower lawn mower with a petrol pump that starts the engine

What all these types have roughly in common, however, is size. In contrast to a small robotic lawnmower, the normal lawnmower is much larger. In addition, the conventional version depends on the user's cooperation, while the robotic lawnmower works autonomously after being preset.

Image source: Sandrine/ 123rf.com

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