Robotic lawn mowers are here to stay whether you like it or not. But they are REALLY expensive compared to a normal mower.
That’s why I went on Amazon and bought the three best selling robotic lawn mowers for under $1,000. Ones that are still in the reasonable price range that may make not having to go out into the heat and mow for an hour worth it. I put these to the test and had them do a three-way battle for the best cut for the best price.
The results were…interesting. Here are the three best budget friendly robotic mowers under $1,000, ranked:
My experience with robotic lawn mowers
Frankly, I am just a normal dude who really likes mowers. I’ve used a billion gas powered push mowers, dozens of battery powered mowers, but NEVER a robotic mower. Until now.
But I think that helps you realize I am not a biased source here. I do not have stake in a robotic mower company. I was not paid to create this review – and I didn’t even get these for free (am I doing something wrong?).
I know a thing or two about mowing the grass, though. And that will help me provide a super unbiased review of my experiences with these three robotic mowers. Let’s get started.
The basics of how these robotic mowers work
Here are a few things I learned that all of these things have in common. They are all way more alike than they are different, but have nuances that ultimately make one better than the other two.
- They’re basically giant Roombas with razor blades attached on a spinny disk
- They mow in random patterns all throughout your lawn
- They are almost constantly running when they aren’t charging
- Most require boundary wires to set up the perimeter (all of these do), but others use GPS technology to set a perimeter
- Your lawn gets cut…….eventually
- Each mower has all the controls you need on top of the mower itself
Setting up the robotic mowers
Unboxing and setting up the robotic mowers was basically the same thing over and over again. The cheaper (under $1,000) robotic mowers all use boundary wires. I believe the high-end robotic mowers have some sort of GPS technology that keeps them in a defined area.
But these cheaper ones have boundary wires and stakes that are used to define the perimeter of your yard. You simply put the stakes into the boundary wire and hammer them down. You can bury them if you’d like, but I didn’t find that necessary as the grass and soil will overtake them after a bit of time passes. One major differentiator in this process is that the Husqvarna Automower and the Gardena Sileno Minimo both require a guidewire that tells the mower how to get back to the charger, whereas the Worx Landroid uses the outer perimeter wire to get it back home to the charger.
Each of these robotic mowers had the exact same setup process – including the perimeter wire, stakes, and instructions on how to set up the mower via an app that they like you to download. One tip to keep in mind with the boundary perimeter wire is that you will want to be cautious not to clip it with your weed eater or edger.
I have to give the advantage in this section to the Worx Landroid robotic mower. Not having to set up the guidewire back to the charging station made the process a bit more straightforward and saved me some time.
My overview of the best budget friendly robotic lawn mowers
I looked at a few factors when ranking these mowers, so let me break down each one, how I tested it, and how it ultimately performed.
Breaking down the Worx Landroid S 20V Robotic Mower
The Worx Landroid is powered by a 20V battery, which took about 60 minutes to charge each time it made it back to the base station. This one is able to mow about ⅛ of an acre, or about 5400 square feet. If you have no clue or context for what that means in your lawn, you can go to www.measuremylawn.com and get it figured out really quickly.
The height adjustment on this goes all the way down to 1.5 inches all the way up to 3 inches, which is easily adjustable using a knob on the top of the mower. You may note right off the bat here that this isn’t an acceptable height for folks with tall fescue or other grass types that require you to mow high. At 1.5 inches, you’re at a great height for bermudagrass or warm season grasses. This one can also do a 20% slope, which was the lowest of the three. This means it isn’t a great mower for steep banks and hills. It also has a cutting width of about eight inches, which is less than half the width of a normal residential push mower.
This one is available on Amazon for sale right now for a really good price.
Gardena Sileno Minimo Robotic Mower: Overview
The Gardena Sileno is the one I had the most reservations about going into this. I’ve done a ton of reviews of Worx products and Husqvarna products, but have never heard of Sileno. I had to get this one because it is one of the top sellers on Amazon for under $1,000.
Much to my surprise, this thing is manufactured by Husqvarna. The charging station even has “Husqvarna” written on the side. The Sileno Minimo takes about 65 minutes to fully charge and runs for about 65 minutes until it heads back into the charging station. Gardena’s Sileno Minimo covers about ⅛ of an acre, which is exactly the same as the Worx above.
The height setting on this one was tough, which cuts between 0.8 inches and up to 2.0 inches. This cut height is ideal for warm season grasses but will get you into major trouble for longer grass types, like transitional or cool season grasses (think Tall Fescue).
This thing was tiny though – with a cutting width of about 6.5 inches which is well below the Worx which means it will take a while longer to cut the same amount of grass as the Worx above. At around $729 – this one is cheaper than the Worx and still in a decent price range.
Lastly, I couldn’t really get the mobile app to work on this thing.
Husqvarna Automower 115 H Robotic Mower Review
The Husqvarna Automower is the “OG” of the robotic mower space because Husqvarna has been at this for a while and has a full spectrum of more expensive (but better) robotic mowers.
The specifications on this one are quite a bit more impressive. It takes about 60 minutes to charge but can cover 0.4 acres, which puts it well above the Worx Landroid and Gardena Sileno Minimo robotic mowers. The Automower also had a noticeable speed difference and zoomed across my yard relative to the other two mowers.
The height adjustment settings on this one go from 2 inches to 3.6 inches – putting it in a much better category for cool season grasses and overall making it great for both cool and warm season grass. The Automower can also handle a slightly steeper slope – rating at 30 degrees of incline before spinning its wheels.
Best of all, the Husqvarna Automower has a 9 inch cutting width which is the widest. It also comes in at the lowest price point – right at $700 on Amazon.
Ranking The Best Robotic Mowers Based On My Experience
Alright – now that I’ve provided an overview, here are my rankings of the best, affordable robotic lawn mowers on Amazon.
3. The Gardena Sileno Minimo Robotic Mower
It was basically unusable on my cool season grass so it didn’t get the best chance. Besides it not fitting my lawn, it was extremely buggy, the app never worked, and it was slow and tiny. Even in a short, warm season grass – this thing would be a total wimp compared to the other two.
When I first got it, I could barely get it to operate and spent a bunch of time on the phone with customer support who tried to get me to do a hard reset on it or plug it into my USB drive of my computer. It was a really hectic process and it ultimately couldn’t get the job done.
It also doesn’t have a screen so its hard to operate it without the app (which never worked). If you are interested in learning more, you can check it out on Amazon.
2. Worx Landroid S 20V Robotic Lawn Mower
Coming in at number two is the Worx Landroid. I liked the rugged look of this one but it only cuts up to about 3 inches, which isn’t going to cut it in my lawn. It also kept getting stuck and lost in my yard. It was essentially an expensive turtle that kept getting flipped over on its back.
It made it through my lawn eventually, but needed a lot of support to get the job done. Overall, the power isn’t there with this one. I was able to download the app on this one that let me schedule the cuts and also had a funny “party” mode.
I did like the height adjustment knob on this one that was really intuitive, but overall I can’t give the Landroid the number one spot. This one is still pretty good and goes on sale on Amazon from time to time.
1. Husqvarna Automower 115H
The Husqvarna Automower 115H took the top spot in budget robotic lawn mower rankings based on my experience. It looks sort of goofy, but I’ll be darned – the mower worked. As compared to the Worx, which stalled out a few times, the Husqvarna was really good at “unstucking” itself. Whenever it got into a tough or tight spot, it could always find its way out and never needed my assistance.
It was cutting so fast and often, which was surprising to me, but it did a great job and really turned me from a skeptic to a bit of a believer in robotic mowers. If you want to spend some more money, you can grab a better Automower – but for the money – this one cannot be beaten.
You can grab this one for a really low price on Amazon, where I got mine.
Final thoughts: Would I use a robotic mower forever?
I really thought these things would totally suck and was happy to be proven wrong. The Husqvarna was pretty cool but also did a great job and my lawn looked awesome.
In the long term, I would not use a robotic mower. Regardless of how good of a job they can do, I love putting the sweat equity into my yard and doing it myself. If you’re like me, then you understand.
Common questions about robotic mowers
Here are some common questions I had before I bought and tested these robotic mowers.
How much does a robot lawn mower cost?
Robotic lawn mowers have extremely high ceilings, but for residential use you can grab one for $700-$5,000.
Are robotic lawn mowers worth buying?
Robotic mowers are worth buying if you hate cutting your grass and want to spend more time doing other things.
Why are robotic lawnmowers so expensive?
Robotic mowers have a ton of tech inside that make them really expensive despite being so small.
What are the disadvantages of a robotic mower?
Robotic mowers have limited cut heights, don’t cut your lawn in a specific pattern, and can be quite expensive.
Do robot mowers cut well?
Robot mowers actually cut pretty well but not in a specific pattern.
How long do robot mowers last?
The jury is still out, but robot mowers likely last between 5-7 years.