8 best robot lawnmowers for hassle-free gardening

·11 min read
We paid attention to which lawnmowers could manoeuvre their way through obstacles, as well as withstand the British weather (iStock/The Independent)
We paid attention to which lawnmowers could manoeuvre their way through obstacles, as well as withstand the British weather (iStock/The Independent)

Nothing ruins a summer’s day quite like knowing you need to cut the grass before you can sit down with a drink and relax. But with a robot mower, your lawn will always be ready for the rays and you won’t even need to shift from your sun lounger.

It’s a pricey privilege as nearly all the mowers we tested cost well over £500, but if you struggle with mobility, have a large garden or just loathe cutting the grass, these machines are true gardening game changers.

All will mow your lawn regularly to keep it to a set height, leaving small clippings on the grass that will compost into the ground without the need for raking.

Before use, all of them will need you to map the perimeter of your garden using pegs and a boundary wire that plugs into the mower’s charging unit. Although all the ones we’ve featured here come with everything you need, plugs aren’t always included with robot mowers so be sure to check before buying.

If your garden is especially complex or has lots of flower beds and trees the mower has to avoid, marking the boundary can be time-consuming but it’s generally a fairly straightforward process. Some dealers also offer this service for an extra cost if you need a helping hand. Remember you do need an outdoor power source for the docking station too.

Other factors to consider before buying include the size of your garden, whether the mower can be controlled by an app and other nifty features such as whether mowing schedules can be programmed and if the mower can sense the weather. Then all you’ll need to do is put your feet up and watch it do all the hard work for you.

How we tested

We put these mowers to work in both our own and (very) willing friends’ gardens over several weeks to find our favourite. For each one, we looked at how easy it was to set up and operate, how useful extra features were, how well it avoided obstacles and how good our lawn looked afterwards. We also used any accompanying apps and considered every mower’s value for money.

The best robot lawnmowers for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Husqvarna automower 310 Mark II with installation kit: £1,839, Husqvarna.com

  • Best for handling the British weather – Flymo easilife go 250 robotic lawnmower: £579.69, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for larger gardens – Cobra mowbot 800 midnight black 800m² robotic mower: £599.99, Cobragarden.co.uk

  • Best for smaller gardens – Gardena SILENO minimo robotic lawnmower 250m²: £599, Mincost.co.uk

  • Best for a neat finish – Bosch indego s+ 500: £899, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for app-free control – Gtech robot lawnmower RLM50: £899.99, Gtech.co.uk

  • Best for a simple set-up – Greenworks 550m² robotic lawnmower: £699.99, Robertdyas.co.uk

  • Best buy on a budget – Yard Force easymow 260B robotic lawnmower 260m²: £349.99, OnBuy.com

Husqvarna automower® 310 Mark II with installation kit

Considerably more expensive than all the other robot lawnmowers we tested, we didn’t want to like this model as much as we did but our lawn had other ideas. Within two weeks of using this Husqvarna mower, our garden looked closer to a carpet than the often-unruly patch of grass it used to be and the machine’s intuitive operation means mowing is now off our to-do list forever.

Four wheels make it far more robust than many other models we tested and it zoomed over any rough terrain or inclines of up to 40 per cent without faltering. It can also guide itself through narrow passages making it ideal for more complicated lawn layouts, while a frost guard and weather sensor mean cutting times are automatically adjusted for the season. It has handy spot cutting and spiral cutting functions to even out grass height differences, a PIN code lock for security and an excellent app to control the whole thing.

A patented guide wire means it returns to its charging station in double-quick time and mowing can be started at three different locations along the wire using GPS assisted navigation. It is a little chunkier than other mowers so best avoided in smaller gardens, but if you have a bigger lawn and want an immaculate finish, you won’t be disappointed.

Buy now £1839.00, Husqvarna.com

Flymo easilife go 250 robotic lawnmower

This is a great little mower that won’t take up much room in the corner of your garden but has plenty of features usually found on more expensive models. It detects grass growth to automatically adjust the schedule for different conditions and protect the lawn, has a smartphone app to control settings and includes an intelligent guide wire so it will quickly return to its charging station after mowing. We especially liked the FrostSense function, which notices if the temperature has dipped and overrides any planned mowing until the weather’s warmer to avoid damaging the lawn.

Set up took a little longer with this model than with some other mowers and we needed to adjust our perimeter wire a couple of times in the first week but it does a brilliant job once it’s up and running. It handled uneven ground without an issue and wasn’t deterred when it bumped into our washing line. The manual controls are very easy to use if you’d prefer not to use the app too, with simple LED indicators so you can push and go.

Buy now £579.69, Amazon.co.uk

Cobra mowbot 800 midnight black 800m² robotic mower

Robot mowers are permanently stationed on view in your garden so we loved the fact the mowbot can be customised to suit, rather than coming in one standard colour. The machine itself is available in red, green or black but there are also different covers to choose from including a camouflage pattern and a smart floral design.

It’s not a case of style over substance with this mower either. The mowbot is a mini mowing dream machine, capable of scaling slopes up to 20 degrees and covering a decent sized garden of up to 800 metres-squared. It has built-in rain sensors and a cutting height adjustable between 20 and 60mm, and the mower can be easily controlled with Bluetooth connectivity and the accompanying app. Designed in the UK to cater specifically to the changing conditions of the British garden, we found it particularly easy to set up thanks to Cobra’s useful online video and it was seamless to operate, with barely any trouble establishing a schedule. A big thumbs-up from us.

Buy now £599.99, Cobragarden.co.uk

Gardena SILENO minimo robotic lawnmower 250m²

There’s no point choosing a machine capable of mowing huge areas if you only have a tiny patch of grass, as you’ll be stuck with a model (and docking station) that seem absurdly oversized in your garden. This compact Gardena model is perfectly suited to smaller lawns and won’t look like you’ve parked up a tractor in the corner.

It’s extremely easy to set up and operate, with Bluetooth connectivity, a smartphone app and a built-in keyboard on the mower itself. There’s a PIN code for security, a frost sensor to suspend mowing in cold weather and a CorridorCut function to mow narrow passages from 60cm. We found it was particularly good at handling obstacles and had no problem each time it encountered our washing line, turning away and continuing to mow without interruption. More curiously, it has no rain sensor as it can operate even in wet conditions without clogging, which we found hard to believe but seemed to work well – a major bonus in any rainy British garden.

Buy now £599.00, Mincost.co.uk

Bosch indego s+ 500

Should you choose this solid model from Bosch, there’s no need to panic about setting up your mower. Once you’ve marked out the perimeter, this marvellous mowing machine takes care of everything else for you. It maps the garden, devises the best schedule to keep it trim and – unlike most mowers – cuts in neat parallel lines to finish the job in record time.

Although you won’t get the obvious stripes a traditional mower leaves, we could still make out some definition from this and felt it left a neater finish than other models. We particularly liked the fact it started every full mowing session by cutting round the borders, right up to the edges, for an impressively tidy result.

Though the app isn’t the best we used, it still works well so mowing can be controlled remotely and via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It also uses the weather forecast to automatically avoid rainy days while the mower can target small areas of up to 9 metres-squared and tackle slopes up to 20 per cent gradient. As a bonus, its dark green colour means it blends in well with the lawn and won’t stand out like a sore thumb while it’s out mowing. Our only gripe is we found it a little too sensitive when it encountered obstacles but it got back on track quickly for a top-notch cut.

Buy now £899.00, Amazon.co.uk

Gtech robot lawnmower RLM50

If you’ve used a vacuum cleaner from Gtech before, you’ll already know its sleek, no-nonsense machines are reliable and efficient. And this user-friendly robot lawnmower is no different. It’s suitable for gardens with a 30 per cent gradient, is very simple to use and comes with an online set-up video if you need a helping hand.

We found it very straightforward to get going using the mower’s LCD panel to input the cutting program and when to start. The machine has a useful anti-tamper 4-digit PIN code to avoid unwanted use, built-in motion sensors to detect obstacles and an emergency stop button, while blades can be adjusted manually to change cutting height. The mower can also sense rain and will return to its docking station until the weather improves.

There’s no app but we didn’t find this a problem and were impressed by the smooth cut and variety of mower programs available. We especially liked the fact it’s possible to set up different zones in the garden so you can decide exactly how your lawn should look and focus on any problem areas. If you have a hilly garden or want a mower that’s a cinch to use, this is a fantastic investment.

Buy now £899.99, Gtech.co.uk

Greenworks 550m² robotic lawnmower

This neat Greenworks mower couldn’t be simpler to set up and get working. Once we’d laid the perimeter wire, the controls were intuitive and easy to figure out even without the instruction booklet. There’s a cutting height dial and chunky start and stop levers that will appeal to the most technophobic gardener. If you prefer an entirely hands-free operation, the mower also has good Bluetooth connectivity and an app to set mowing schedules that suit you.

Results were top-notch and the mower easily handles slopes up to 30 per cent and even narrow passageways. We were especially impressed with its obstacle sensors, which meant it turned away from our washing line and a garden chair without needing to constantly bash into it first. It did leave our borders a little untidier than some other mowers but these were easily tidied with a strimmer afterwards.

Buy now £699.99, Robertdyas.co.uk

Yard Force easymow 260B robotic lawnmower 260m²

We didn’t think it was possible to find a reliable robot lawn mower for under £500 but this fantastic Yard Force model really wowed us. Although it’s only suitable for gardens up to 260 metres-squared, you’d struggle to guess that this machine is several hundred pounds cheaper than many others. We were really impressed and it even comes with a boundary wire, pegs, connectors and spare blades.

It worked a treat once the perimeter had been marked out too, leaving our lawn smooth and even, with grass clippings mulched so they were barely noticeable. Able to tackle inclines up to 30 per cent, it managed small patches of uneven ground well with obstacle sensors to keep it clear of garden furniture and grass combs for maximum efficiency. We struggled a little to connect it to the app using Bluetooth but this was a small grumble. If you’re keen to try a robot lawnmower without the eye-watering cost, you won’t go far wrong with this one.

Buy now £349.99, Onbuy.com

The verdict: Robot lawnmowers

All of these mowers performed well, so none are a bad option if you’re hoping to put your feet up this summer. If you have serious cash to splash (and have a large garden), the Husqvarna automower 310 Mark II with installation kit is as good as it gets and will leave your lawn looking luscious. However, the Yard Force easymow 260B robotic lawnmower 260m² is a real bargain buy that still won’t let you down.

Keep your garden neat and tidy with the best tried and tested lawnmowers