Increasingly popular with UK gardeners, robotic lawn mowers are a welcome, hands-free alternative to traditional petrol and electric lawn mowers. Because a robotic lawn mower is fully automatic, it can be a brilliant option for gardeners who have mobility concerns, are away from home a lot, or simply find mowing a chore. Powered by rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries, most mowers are guided by a boundary cable laid around the edge of the lawn, which helps the robotic lawn mower identify where to mow and to avoid flower beds, trees and other obstacles.
While we tested models from a number of different brands, note that all of them offer a range of mowers with varying sizes, capabilities and features.
To compare these robotic models against other types of mowers, see our reviews of the best cordless lawn mowers, the best electric mowers and the best push mowers. And, if you're looking to give your lawn a bit of TLC, our experts have tested a range of manual and powered aerators and scarifiers - check out the best scarifiers and best aerators reviews. You can also keep edges looking neat with our tests of the best strimmers or pick of the best lawn edging.
Best robotic lawn mowers at a glance
- Best robotic mower for performance 2024: Stihl iMOW 5
- Best robotic mower for installation and features 2023: Worx Landroid Vision L1300 WR213E
- Best robotic mower for features 2022: Husqvarna Automower 405X
- Best robotic mower for small lawns 2023: Flymo EasiLife Go 500
- Best robotic mower for medium lawns : Stihl iMow 422P Robotic Mower
To help you find a robotic lawn mower suitable for your garden, we tested a range of mowers for different size gardens, including gardens with slopes and a complex shape. Each mower is in use for weeks at a time to allow us to assess its battery capacity and cutting proficiency as well as ease of use.
Each mower in our review has a detailed list of pros and cons for clarity and has been rated according to set up and ease of use, cutting performance, extra features and value for money. Every robotic mower in our round-up below has scored a minimum of three out of five stars, so you can buy with confidence.
The robotic mower industry is constantly evolving, with new developments and advances, and we are regularly testing the latest models ready to update this review. Please check back soon to see the results of our new reviews.
- Best robotic lawn mowers
- Best of the rest
- How does a robotic lawn mower work?
- What are the benefits of a robotic lawn mower?
- How to choose the best robotic lawn mower
- How to clean a robotic lawn mower
- How we tested robotic lawn mowers
Stihl iMOW 5
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Our rating: 4.8/5
- Easy to set up on app
- Wide range of cutting heights and cuts even longer grass well
- Good features including rain sensor, anti-stuck and 40% slope capacity
- Long warranty
- Need to be tech/app savvy
- No mobile connectivity for price
- Installation kit sold separately
The iMow 5 is the smallest in a new range of six robotic mowers from Stihl that cover three sizes of larger garden – 1500m2, 300m2 and 500m2. Together with the iMow 5,6 and 7 there is also the iMow EVO range that covers the same size lawns with the same features but also has mobile connectivity, allowing you to connect to your mower even when you’re not at home.
When you purchase an iMow you have the choice of instalment by a Stihl approved dealer (the cost of this will depend on the size of your garden), or installing it yourself and purchasing an additional installation kit. To cut down on waste, different size installation kits are available and as well as the standard fixing pins which hold the wires in place, there’s also the option to purchase bio pins, made from 100% biodegradable material that gradually break down in the soil. Like many robotic mowers the iMow requires a boundary wire around the perimeter of the lawn and a guide wire through the middle of the lawn to help it find its way back to the docking station. The mower comes with a clear instruction booklet plus there are helpful guides on the Stihl website if you need them, and laying the wires in our 1250m2 test garden took 3-4 hours. When laying the wires, it’s worth noting that the boundary wire needs to be 37cm from paths, a deck or fence, unless they’re level with the lawn and then it can be right up against them and 100cm from a pond. You also need a clear 2m area straight in front of the docking station for the guide wire and 37cm either side before you start laying the wires.
Once the wires are laid, it’s easy to programme the mower via its app – as long as you’re comfortable with this kind of tech. There’s no control panel as such on the new iMows, so there’s no need to bend over a control panel to set mowing times, heights and zones etc. All of this is programmed through the My iMow app, which is pretty simple and intuitive to use, but only works via your own wifi at home, if it reaches into your garden, or by Bluetooth when you’re standing next to the mower. There are also four large control buttons on the mower that allow you to stop, start, unlock, and send the mower home without using the app, and an info button that talks to you and gives you status updates.
Like many other robotic mowers, the iMow has three free-swinging blades and it cuts very well. The lawn was quite long before it was installed but with an impressively wide cutting height range of 20-60mm it didn’t struggle, and after a few days the whole lawn looked good with no tufts of uncut grass and it continues to look good. Unlike the Husqvarna Automower, once you’ve laid the boundary wire you can’t completely alter mowing zones and would have to lift and relay to change this, but you can divide your lawn into zones by directing the mower to only mow on one side of the guide wire. It cuts close to the edge so there’s no need to tidy up afterwards and if it comes across an obstacle, it gently bumps into it and then turns away. It also has a feature that helps it manoeuvre out of a situation if it does get stuck, it can cope with slopes of 40 %, has an anti-theft alarm and a rain sensor feature, which you can adjust that interrupts, or does not start, mowing if it’s raining. You can choose what degree of rain you want it to mow in and when the sensor on the top of the mower dries it automatically begins mowing.
The iMow comes with a five year warranty and there are a host of accessories available including spare wire, pins and clips, a sun canopy for the docking station and upgrade wheels for the EVO range to enable them to cut slopes of up to 60%.
For the size of larger lawn it cuts, this is a reasonably priced mower that’s packed with features and cuts very well. We are particularly impressed with the range of cutting heights, its ability to cut longer grass and the simplicity of its design and awarded it a BBC Gardeners’’ World Magazine Best Buy for performance.
Buy the Stihl iMOW 5 from a Stihl approved dealer
Worx Landroid Vision L1300 WR213E
Our rating: 4.5/5
- Buy now from Homebase
- No boundary cable to install or GPS antennae to deal with
- Cuts as close to the boundary as possible with a robot mower
- It cuts lawns up to 1300 m²
- You can control multiple Landroid mowers via the app
- A significant expense for a lawn mower
A rather astonishing leap forward in robotic mowing technology, the Worx Landroid mower does away with boundary cables and tricky GPS receivers and uses cameras and AI technology to mow your lawn instead. We awarded it a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy for installation and features. This big and futuristic looking mower is installed in seconds and connects to your phone or tablet via the Landroid app, although you can also control most of the functions via the onboard LCD screen and dial if you like. Using cameras rather than boundary wires, it knows where your lawn ends, keeps an eye out for obstacles, and even avoids hitting wildlife or pets. The cutting height ranges from 30 – 60 mm and you can adjust this via the app or the LCD screen, but the Landroid also self-levels the cutting deck to ensure that uneven ground is cut properly. The three blades underneath are offset, allowing the mower to cut close to the edge of hard boundaries and big knobbly wheels help the mower keep a good grip on slopes up to 35%. It cuts to an excellent finish and after a few days mowing, there are no tufts or patches of uncut grass. It creates its own mowing schedule to suit the time of year and uses a standard Worx battery that you might find on one of their drills or saws. Packed with features and clever technology, the only thing that might put you off is the price. However, it's capable of tackling huge gardens up to 1,300 m², so it’s ideal for very large lawns, and could even replace a ride on lawnmower. The mower comes with a two year warranty that can be extended to three years.
Husqvarna Automower 405X
RRP: From £1899.00
Our rating: 4.5/5
- Unobtrusive colour
- Easy, mobile connectivity
- Clever mowing features
- GPS theft tracking
- High price
- Short warranty
Awarded a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for features, the Automower 405x boasts a huge range of features that help the mower cut well and make the experience easy for the user. These include, three different start points, switching mowing pattern according to where it’s mowing, such as through a narrow passage, frost guard and weather time that automatically adjusts the height according to the grass growth, and its new Rewilding Zone where you can leave 10% of the lawn aside to grow for pollinators.
It's available to buy as a bare mower, which is then installed by a dealer for an additional cost, or with the installation kit included and you install it yourself. Suitable for smaller gardens 600m2, the mower operates with both a boundary wire and a guide wire and unlike some other mowers, has a more flexible docking station, which doesn’t need a wide, clear space around it - ours was tucked neatly into the side of a hedge. It’s also easy to set up via the intuitive keypad or the impressive Automower Connect app, which allows you to change the schedule, adjust the height of cut, check on the mower's progress and receive notifications, simply and quickly no matter where you are. As an X model, the mower also has a built in SIM so you have both remote and voice controlled control. Our only confusion with set up was working out the scheduling needed, which took a couple of weeks to establish, and that the height of cut on the app is listed as 1-9, when it cuts between 20mm and 50mm.
The mower can cope with 40% slopes, which should suit most gardens. The slope in our test garden has a tendency to get muddy and slippery so at the installer’s advice, we used the spiked Terrain wheels which stop the wheels slipping. Only occasionally did the mower fail to get up the slope and when the weather was really wet we simply removed that zone from the work area. The mower cut consistently well and is very quiet, the only perceptible sound is the whirring of the blades as they cut. It occasionally missed spots on the lawn but overall this is a very easy to use and high performing mower.
The Automower 405x is just one in a large range of Husqvarna mowers to suit different size lawns. A host of accessories are also available, including a cover for the docking station and wheel brushes, as well as spare parts, from batteries and blades to wheels. Both the mower and the battery come with a 2 year warranty.
Stihl RMI 422 P iMOW
Our rating: 4.8/5
- Buy now from MowersUK
- Light weight, simple to use and adjust
- Fast efficient cut
- ‘Park’ button on docking station
- ‘Intelligent’ performance and charging
- Long warranty
- No Smart connectivity
- Occasionally struggled on wet grass
This great value mower has an impressive finish. Nippy and quiet, the iMow has a single, steel rotary blade that's excellent for mulching and cuts efficiently and well, with a great finish, although it does get stuck occasionally on damp ground. The mower adjusts its speed itself according to the conditions, grass length and terrain and can tackle slopes up to 40 per cent.We awarded it a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy for medium lawns.
Flymo EasiLife Go 500
Our rating: 4.3/5
- Incredibly quiet during use
- Small and easy to move around
- Supplied with plenty of boundary cable and spare connectors
- Spot mowing function for problem areas
- An affordable robotic mower for smaller gardens
- Installing the guide wire correctly can be tricky
- Lacks a screen
- Changing mowing height isn’t quick
- Setting multiple mowing zones takes a while
This compact yet capable little robotic lawnmower is an ideal choice for small to medium sized gardens and we awarded it a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for small gardens.
With more than half a century of experience in the garden, Flymo know a thing or two about mowing and their EasiLife Go 500 is marvellously small and lightweight and uses three pivoting blades for an even cut. To help with installation there's an online video, which you should watch before you start as the mower needs both a boundary wire and guide wire pegged down. This can be a bit tricky but is easier if you plan ahead. Unlike some mowers, instead of an LED screen, you get five buttons on the top of the mower that control all the basic functions. For everything else, there’s the Flymo EasiLife app. It’s easy enough to programme and cuts regular shaped lawns with ease. It mows in a random pattern, so every piece of grass is cut eventually but there’s also a spot mowing function if any are missed. You can also set the mower to cut different sections of your garden, including narrow passageways although this is a bit fiddly to master. The cutting height ranges from 20-50mm and the wheels can cope with slopes up to 25% and a slightly bumpy terrain, but it’s much happier on flat lawns. Due to the small cutting width of just 16 cm, it’s only really suitable for small gardens up to 500 m². It’s one of the more affordable mowers in our test and comes with a two year warranty.
Although some models didn’t quite achieve a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy award, they still have great features that make them worth recommending. Browse our pick of the best of the rest robotic lawn mowers on test.
Segway Navimow H1500E
Our rating: 4 out of 5
- Buy now from The Mower Shack
- The quality of cut is excellent
- It mows in pleasing straight lines rather than in random directions
- The app is powerful and fun to use
- No boundary wires to install
- Setting up the GPS receiver can be tricky
- You need clear space for the antennae to work properly
- The charging station needs to be within Wi-Fi range
- Power cord and antennae leads are both too short
Coming from a company famous for its two-wheeled vehicles, the Navimow H1500E cuts lawns up to 1500 m² and the best thing about this mower is the app. Not only do you drive the mower around like a remote control car to define your garden’s boundaries, but it shows you exactly where the mower is in real time via the onboard GPS system. Once you get past the fiddly setup, the mower cuts your lawn in strips rather than in a random pattern as well as offering spot cutting and boundary cutting modes. It cuts grass from 30 – 60 mm, the onboard camera helps to detect obstacles before it hits them, and it can tackle slopes up to 45%. It comes with a one - three year warranty for the mower body and batteries.
Buy the Segway Navimow H1500E from The Mower Shack
Cobra Mowbot 800
Our rating: 4/5
- Buy now from Cobra
- Simple install with minimal tools
- Basic but easy to use app
- Generous amount of boundary wire included
- Wide range of cutting heights
- Only two cutting blades
- Multi area lawn is complicated to set up
- No spot mowing feature for trouble spots
A straightforward robotic mower that can tackle decent size lawns, the Cobra Mowbot 800 is ideal for low effort lawncare. All you need to do is install the boundary wire and press go- either on the machine or via the basic “Robot Mower” app. It can maintain a lawn up to 800 m², has a cutting width of 18 cm, cuts grass from 20 – 60 mm high, and the wheels can deal with slopes up to 36%. One of the best things about this mower is that it’s nice and quiet, running at just 66 dB maximum. It won’t wake you up if you set the mowing schedule earlier than your alarm clock, and if you want to add some flair to your robot, there are several fun covers that you can purchase separately. It comes with a two year warranty.
Buy the Cobra Mowbot from Cobra
Honda Miimo 520
Our rating: 4/5
- Easy to programme
- Quiet, smooth & efficient
- Tackles large/sloping lawns
- Long warranty (during 2019)
- Relatively few features
A large capacity model, this robotic mower is smooth, quiet and easy to use. Out of all mowers we tested, it can tackle the largest area and also copes well with sloping lawns up to 45 per cent. It’s smooth, quiet and unobtrusive. Its 360 degree sensors help it turn away when it comes near obstacles or pets and the blades automatically stop when it's picked up. Clumps of lush grass are dealt with by the spiral cutting option which mows round and round the grass until its cut. However it's the priciest option and has few features compared to other models.
Read the full Honda Miimo 520 review.
Buy the Honda Miimo 520 from Just Lawnmowers
Gtech Robot Lawnmower RLM50
Our Rating: 3/5
- Simple and uncomplicated operation
- Three blades for an effortless cut
- Boundary cable connectors included
- No app to remote control the mower
- White case shows up dirt immediately
The ideal solution for anyone who wants some help mowing their lawn, but doesn’t want to get technical with a smartphone app. The RLM50 has a small LED screen that you use to program all the functions, including zones and spot cutting. It has an 18 cm cutting width and can tackle lawns up to 625 m². It’s relatively easy to operate, has three blades that make short work of cutting the lawn, and comes with six spares as well as cable connectors should your boundary wire break. You can set the cutting height from 25 – 55 mm, and it can tackle slops of up to 30%. It comes with a two year warranty.
How does a robotic lawn mower work?
Robotic lawn mowers are powered by rechargeable lithium ion battery and designed to cut the grass regularly, little and often so the lawn always looks neat. Clippings are mulched down back onto the grass, feeding the lawn and there are no grass piles to deal with or collection bags to empty.
Most robotic lawn mowers work by detecting the edge of perimeters via sensors or a boundary wire. The latter is laid out around the edge of the lawn — as well as any obstacles such as trees or island flower beds — to tell the lawn mower to stay within that area. When the mower senses the boundary wire, it will change direction to avoid leaving the lawn. Many have collision sensors so that if they bump into an object, the robotic lawn mower will automatically turn around and head off in another direction.
Some models mow randomly, eventually covering the entire lawn before returning to the docking station. Others use a more sophisticated GPS system that allows you to programme specific paths. Robotic mowers are programmed with a pin pad on the front of the mower but many models can also be controlled via an app, which allows you to monitor the mower's progress, schedule cutting times and let you know when servicing etc is required, easily and remotely. Once the mower has finished mowing, or if the battery is running low, the lawn mower will automatically return to its docking station, connect, and recharge.
These fully automatic mowers can save you hours of mowing time throughout the spring and summer, are great fun to watch and emission free. However, they are expensive, require an outside power source and careful installation, may not be appropriate for every style of garden and will not create stripes.
There are a number of benefits to buying a robotic lawn mower in comparison to the more traditional petrol or electric models.
These benefits include:
- Less work for you: Once installed and programmed, the robotic mower will automatically cut the grass according to your specific schedule. The lawn will always look tidy and the mower will return to its dock on its own when it needs recharging.
- Zero emissions: Unlike petrol mowers, they emit no emissions because they’re powered by a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery.
- Quiet:The lack of an engine also makes the mowers incredibly quiet.
Price and size ranges for robotic lawn mowers
Robotic lawn mowers are expensive, especially when compared to cordless or electric lawn mowers. Prices start around £600 with premium models for large gardens costing anything from £3000 up.
Most brands include a range of mowers to suit gardens of different sizes, from small 400m2 lawns up to large gardens and estates up to 5000m² in size and beyond.
Robotic lawn mower features
Beyond being fully automatic, the additional features on the best robot lawn mowers vary depending on model. They can include weather sensors, GPS navigation and smart connectivity, which is increasingly popular and useful for making the mower easier to programme wherever you are. Readily available as an app on your mobile phone, you can adjust the schedule and set up your phone without having to bend over the mower’s PIN board but you can also check on your robotic lawn mower while you’re away, track it if it’s stolen and see when it needs servicing.
Good security is essential when paying for a machine in this price range and all mower have security features as standard. Some simply require a PIN code to start the mower, while others have lift sensors, alarms and a GPS tracker.
The latest innovation in the robotic mower world is the arrival of of a number of mowers that cut without the need for a boundary wire. Although some mowers could already do this they were primarily for very large open lawns or small gardens with particular types of boundary such as paving or raised beds. Now there are mowers that can identify exactly where they are, with the help of pin-point positioning via GPS or, are able to identify grass as well as other obstacles to work out where to mow.
We are currently testing some of these new mowers, so keep checking this page for updates and our latest reviews.
Robotic lawn mower requirements
Although they're fully automatic, once set up robotic lawn mowers are more complex initially compared to a traditional, petrol, electric and cordless mower.
A robotic lawn mower requires an outside power source to connect the docking station to and this ideally needs to be positioned out of direct sun and level. Most also need a clear area around them — typically two metres to the front and a metre each side, which can limit where you place the docking station, especially in a small garden.
Accessing the layout is also essential before purchasing a robotic lawn mower. Some models can struggle with narrow passages, uneven ground and steep slopes.
Finally, they need installing and the boundary wire and sometimes a guide wire too, laid. You can either do this yourself, which takes time or get a dealer to do it for you, which is usually an additional cost, although some models include installation by a dealer in the price. They will assess your lawn, lay your boundary wire for you and show you how to programme and operate the keypad. If you're installing the mower yourself, take care to follow the instructions precisely for the robotic lawn mower to run correctly.
Despite being fully automated, a robotic lawn mower should still be checked, cleaned and serviced regularly.
- To clean, make sure the machine is switched off and turn it over to check the blades for damage. Clean the chassis and blades with a brush, or a garden hose if dirt is more stubborn.
- Grass may need removing from the wheels and give the body a wipe down with a damp cloth.
- Blades should be able to pivot freely and damaged blades should be replaced. All blades should be replaced at the same time to ensure a balanced cut.
- A service each year is encouraged so that dealers can update software. They will also clean and replace any worn parts, including batteries.
How we tested robotic lawn mowers
The BBC Gardeners' World Magazine reviews team tested a range of robotic lawn mowers for several weeks in different gardens. Some were installed for us by dealers while we installed the smaller mowers ourselves. They were programmed and left to work and were assessed according to the following criteria, with equal marks attributed to each:
- Set up and ease of use: Looked at installation and programming, including the need for a guide wire as well as a boundary wire, smart connectivity capacity and how easy it is to connect to the app.
- Cutting performance: Assessed how well it cuts the grass- the efficiency of cut and the neatness of the finish, its ability to evenly spread the cuttings and its ability to handle rough and damp grass. Also looked at run time and charge time and noise.
- Features: Focused on how well the mower could cope with obstacles or handle slopes, the number of zones you can programme it to mow, rain or temperature sensors, security features etc
- Value for money: Considered all of the above along with length of warranty and price, including installation cost where applicable.
For more information on our testing process, see How we review.
This review was last updated in January 2024. We apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.