How to choose a robot lawn mower: experts wade in

looking at the side of luba lawnmower
(Image credit: Future / Alex Temblador)

There’s no doubt that robot lawn mowers can be quite useful in helping keep our lawns healthy and looking great. And the best part is that they can do this automatically, removing much of the manual labor involved in keeping the grass cut. This is one of the reasons many people choose robot vs push mowers.

The tricky part is that there are dozens, if not hundreds of different types of robot lawn mowers out there so choosing the best robot mower can be a challenge. We put together this guide together highlighting some key considerations when looking for a robot lawn mower. We even talked with a couple of industry experts to help you narrow down the choices and find the right one for you.

How to choose a robot lawn mower

Follow this guide and you'll avoid making these mistakes when buying a robot lawn mower, such as assuming robot lawn mowers will work with any lawn and not considering things like the installation and maintenance costs . A large part of how robot lawn mowers work in your yard is that you would have done your research and checked the spec to ensure that it is compatible with your yard size and yard type, and that it doesn't stretch your budget too far. Here's what you need to do.

1. Measure your lawn size

Arguably the most important factor to consider when looking to buy a robot lawn mower is the size of your yard. Even the best robot mowers all have a maximum size of yard they can manage. This is one of the biggest differences between robot mowers and traditional push mowers so it’s critical to know how big your yard is before you can pick the right robot mower for you.

Oliver Johnson, a gardening expert with, says: "The area of lawn a robot mower can cover is another important consideration. If your lawn is on the larger side, you might be better off choosing a heavy-duty model, as these can typically manage much bigger areas. If this is an issue, it’s also worth comparing the battery life and charging time of suitable mowers."

Oliver Johnson headshot
Oliver Johnson

Oliver Johnson is a UK-based landscaper with over 15 years of experience in the industry. As a gardening expert for, Oliver offers his expert advice to tradespeople and homeowners around the globe, and has been featured as a gardening expert for a range of reputable publications. 

This also helps make sure you don’t spend more than you have to when making your purchase. Luckily, nearly every manufacturer will list the maximum recommended lawn size for their robot mowers, so once you know your lawn size, you can begin to narrow down your options.

2. Check for obstacles

For robot lawn mowers, the complexity of your yard can also make an impact on which mower is best for your yard. If you have a lot of features like trees, flower beds, decorative items, etc., throughout your yard, you’ll need to make sure you get a mower than can easily detect and avoid those features. Some of the lower-end models might get stuck or confused by too many features in the way so you’ll want to make sure you find one that has plenty of sensors and smarts to successfully navigate your yard. 

Taylor Olberding, co-owner of Heroes Lawn Care, recommends: "Consider your lawn size, terrain, and cutting performance. Opt for models with features like adjustable cutting heights and advanced capabilities such as obstacle or rain detection to ensure it runs smoothly with minimal intervention."

Taylor Olberding headshot
Taylor Olberding

Taylor is the Co-Owner of Heroes Lawn Care and is a qualified professional lawn expert with a Bachelor of Science in Turf and Landscape Management from the University of Nebraska,

3. Assess the number of zones

The last thing you’ll need to check about the yard itself is how complicated the layout is. Some yards are simple shapes with not too many different sections making it quite simple to get around. Others are laid out with more sections or zones that might need to be individually mapped and assigned. There are plenty of robot mowers that can handle multiple zones or sections so if that’s your yard, be sure to get one that can handle it.

4. Boundary wires or no?

Most robot mowers use a boundary wire planted around the perimeter of the yard to keep it from going off course. Others use an antenna to connect to GPS systems while others simply use cameras to navigate around. You’ll want to check the recommended installation steps of any mower your considering so you know what you’ll be getting into. While some boundary wires might be easy to install yourself, others might require professional installation.

5. Look at the spec

Every mower will offer different features and functionality typically depending on how expensive they are. Some robot lawn mowers, like the Mammotion LUBA AWD 500, offer things like different mowing speeds, variable cutting heights for a more manicured look and a whole lot more, so there are lots of options available when looking at robot lawn mowers.

Taylor shares: "Opt for models with features like adjustable cutting heights and advanced capabilities such as obstacle detection to ensure it runs smoothly with minimal intervention."

The key is to do some research and see what features you want and that will help narrow down the search.

6. App control?

Since we do almost everything through our smartphones these days, it makes sense that almost every robot mower has a smartphone app to go with it. Just like the mowers themselves, however, not every app is created equal. Each manufacturer’s app will be different with each of them offering different features and functionality in them.

While some will simply tell you information about your mower like the battery life and things like that, others will give you options to set things like mowing zones, schedules for your mower, mowing height, and others. Some will even let you drive the mower manually through the smartphone app.

Oliver says: "Another thing to check is whether it’s usable via an app or whether the programming all needs to be done via the control panel. An app can give you extra flexibility such as voice controls, monitoring capabilities for when you’re not at home and remote programming to help you adjust the timings should the weather change."

It’s a good idea to read about what features are offered in the app for your mower before you spend any money.

7. Check the battery life expectancy

Since every robot mower is battery powered, they each have their own battery life as well. The battery life determines how long the mower can cut before needing to head back to the charging station to juice up. Ideally, you’d want to find a mower than has to recharged as few times as possible during a mow as every time a battery recharges, it loses some of it’s overall lifespan.

The battery is also the most expensive component of the mower to replace, and you will have to replace it eventually. Every batter has an expected lifespan which can be impacted by things like how hot or cold it is where you live and how often you cut the grass.

Most mower batteries will last between 2-5 years so you’ll want to factor the replacement cost into your buying decision. Be sure to find out from the manufacturer how long the expect the battery in their mowers to last, how expensive they are to replace, and if they need professional replacement or not – some model’s batteries can only be removed by a trained technician.

8. Look at other customer reviews

Robot lawn mowers can be quite the investment and since every lawn can be quite different, it’s important to read some reviews to find the one with the right capabilities and features for your lawn.

Start by taking stock of your yard to see what kind of features you have and how many zones you might need to cover. If you can, try to find the dimensions of the lawn so you know how much boundary wire you might need. For particularly large lawns, you might need to buy extra boundary wire.

If you want things like different cutting modes or the ability to schedule your mower to run at certain times, then you’ll need to make sure all those features are available in the compatible smartphone app. Once you have an idea of the mower you might want, you can check out trusted sources like Top Ten Reviews to find all the information you need about the right one for you.

Oliver says: "Not all robot lawn mowers work in the same way. Many operate in a random pattern, so that they don’t leave lines in your lawn but not all are successful and can miss sections. So, it’s handy to read tried-and-tested reviews to see how different models’ fare. Some robot mowers actually work in straight lines, which can improve coverage but may result in marks on your lawn."

9. Set and follow a budget

The prices for robot lawn mowers can vary quite a bit these days from just a few hundred dollars, to several thousand depending on the size of lawn you need to cover and the features you want. Thankfully, with proper care and maintenance, they’ll also last you several years which can make it a bit easier to justify spending a bit more to get the best one for you.

Taylor says: "While more expensive options may offer advanced features and superior performance, that does not mean they are the best option for you. More affordable alternatives can still deliver great results for smaller lawns or basic requirements."

It’s also quite easy to find a good deal on the one you want, particularly when you check our roundup of the best lawn mower deals. We keep it updated regularly so when you’re ready to buy, you can always find the best price.

Jason Cockerham
TTR Contributing Editor

Jason has been writing about tech products for nearly a decade covering everything from smartphones to smart light bulbs. He has written for publications such as Android Central, iMore, CrackBerry, TopTenReviews, and more. When he’s not writing about the latest tech gadgets, he’s usually chasing his kids around, playing video games, or Netflixing (and folding laundry) with his wife.