If you dread mowing the lawn, a robot mower might be a worthwhile investment. Whether you have a tiny city lawn or a sprawling estate, dock one of these Roomba-esque robots outside and let them do the work while you sit inside in the air conditioning.

For some, mowing the lawn is a pleasant experience. For others, it absolutely sucks — or, at least, it sucks unless it’s between 65 and 75 degrees outside.

If you’re an enthusiastic member of the latter category, a robot lawn mower may be an investment to consider. Once set up, they’ll allow you to step back from lawn maintenance pretty much entirely. Think of robot mowers as Roombas for lawns, just way more expensive and definitely for outdoor use only.

How do robot lawn mowers work?

Robot mowers are battery-powered and, for the most part, run automatically based on a schedule, which the user sets using a companion app. When they’re not running, they sit safely docked in a charging port plugged into an outdoor outlet. 

When it’s time to mow, they head out into the world, cutting the grass to a predetermined height and generating grass clippings so fine that they essentially become mulch. (Some mowers are better mulchers than others, which we detail below.) “Unlike traditional mowers that you use when the grass starts getting tall, a robotic mower typically will run daily or nightly cutting off just the tips of the grass to keep it at a set level,” says Gary Pitts, a customer service expert at the tech insurance company Asurion. The range of cut heights a mower is capable of varies by product. 

How does it know where to mow?

Robot mowers learn where to mow based on a perimeter wire, which you’ll lay around the edges of your lawn to form a boundary. Pitts compares it to an Invisible Fence for dogs. “The mower detects the signal from the boundary wire and knows to turn around,” he explains.

Setting up your perimeter wire can be a bit of a headache. In fact, the majority of negative user reviews we read for this story involved the perimeter wire in some way. The companies featured in this story — Husqvarna, Robomow, and WORX — offer fairly comprehensive installation guides on YouTube in addition to the instructions in the package. Husqvarna and Robomow also offer professional installation services (for a fee) on their company websites. 

WATCH: This robotic mower cuts your grass for you

Uploads%252fvideo uploaders%252fdistribution thumb%252fimage%252f94996%252f9f2b9faf e264 464d 93ba 112707cb53fd.jpg%252f930x520.jpg?signature=9mgz7qz8ookwwymtpxntmwzmvve=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

How should I choose a mower?

When selecting a robot mower, you’ll want to consider at least three basic categories: yard size, hills, and budget. 

All the mowers on this list except one, the Husqvarna 450XH, are best suited to yards under one acre. Each mower also lists the maximum slope it’s able to climb while still achieving a successful cut. In general, you’ll pay more if you want more ground covered and higher hills climbed, though there are exceptions.

A few other things to keep in mind include integrated rain sensors, companion app quality, weather resistance, and GPS, which are addressed in the recommendations below.

Robot mowers are fairly new technology in the grand scheme of things, so the category still has a few kinks to work out. It’s possible, for instance, that the mower will miss a spot or two and you’ll need to go back over it with some clippers.

Make no mistake, though: These little robots are still extremely cool. Here are a few recommendations, based on user reviews.

Solid, easy-to-use app • Quiet • Smooth mowing experience • Rain detector
No remote control
Our top pick covers yards up to a half-acre in size, mows well, and is easy to program with its accompanying app.

1. WORX WR150 Landroid L 20V

This easy-to-use robot mower works well with most lawns and is (relatively) affordable.

  • Dimensions:
    8.86 x 17.52 x 24.80 inches
  • Weight:
    22.9 pounds
  • Run time per charge:
  • Cut height:
    1.6 to 3.9 inches
  • Maximum slope:
    20 degrees
  • Maximum lawn size:
    0.5 acres
As you’ll notice as you read, this mower is very similar to the WR140 also featured on this list. This WR150, however, covers 0.5 acres to the WR140’s 0.25, making it a more sensible choice for folks who want WORX features but have larger yards. 
The Landroid L is controlled by a smartphone app, on which you can program its mowing schedule. It mows in a “random algorithm,” which means that it doesn’t mow in pre-programmed rows. Instead, it detects un-mowed patches periodically, then heads out to take care of them. (You’ll be able to see its location on the app — in fact, it’ll send you push notifications if you want.)
A few things set the Landroid apart from its competitors. For one thing, it’s relatively affordable considering its performance, ease of use, quietness, and number of features. A few Amazon reviewers did report that they had to get it un-stuck from obstacles a few times — particularly objects close to the perimeter wire — but that’s par for the course for many robot mowers. 
Here’s a particularly poetic review, which we think should be optioned for a feature film:

I think of all the loud lawn mowers running around here, especially early on Saturday mornings… Maybe if I can convince my neighbors of the benefits of letting Landroid take over their lawn mowing duties, by next summer our Landroid won’t be working the night shift alone. He’ll have friends working along side of him, quietly keeping all of the yards on our street looking their best.

Looks cool as hell • Plenty of features • Cuts cleanly and evenly
No built-in rain sensor • Spotty support when you buy from third-party sellers
If you want features, the 315X is your mower. It’s not the most affordable option on this list, but it’s versatile enough to make up for it.

2. Husqvarna 315X Automower

Is this a race car? No, it’s a mower — and one with a hefty list of cool features at that.

  • Dimensions:
    9.8 x 20.1 x 24.8 inches
  • Weight:
    20.9 pounds
  • Run time per charge:
    70 minutes
  • Cut height:
    0.8 to 2.4 inches
  • Maximum slope:
    22 degrees
  • Maximum lawn size:
    0.4 acres
You can’t deny the Husqvarna 315X’s visual appeal. It looks like it’s about four seconds away from becoming a Transformer. But beyond the aesthetics, reviewers like this mower for its quietness, even cutting, voice command compatibility (it works with Google Home and Amazon Alexa), and the thin, barely-noticeable mulch it generates. “It mulches so finely you can’t even tell,” one Amazon reviewer writes
It does not have a built-in rain sensor, so it won’t “return to base” in inclement weather, but reviewers say it works in light rain just fine. Its built-in GPS, though, is a major perk: It’ll help the unit from re-mowing spots it’s already mowed. (No one likes an overzealous mower.)
If you want your Husqvarna mower professionally installed, though, you may want to purchase it directly from the manufacturer. Several reviewers say they’ve had trouble scheduling an appointment when they’ve purchased from Amazon. Professional installation does cost extra, though, so be prepared.

Quiet enough to run at night • Covers larger yards • Built-in rain sensor
This feature-packed robot mower is great if you have a little more lawn to work with.

3. Robomow RS630

This mower is best for midsized yards and packed with features, including an integrated rain sensor.

  • Dimensions:
    12 x 25 x 29 inches
  • Run time per charge:
    80 minutes
  • Cut height:
    1.25 to 3.5 inches
  • Maximum slope:
    20 inches
  • Maximum lawn size:
    0.75 acres
This mower is more souped-up than the Husqvarna 315X in some — though not all — respects. For instance, the RS630 has an integrated rain sensor, which means that it will automatically head back to its shielded port in the event of inclement weather. (Think about it: This means you will not have to go outside in the rain.) It also covers quite a bit more ground, though it’s also heavier and can handle slightly less steepness.
In particular, reviewers praise this mower’s quietness. Writes one Amazon reviewer

Robomow got to work and did a surprisingly quiet job of getting the mowing done… This is quiet enough that I could imagine letting it roll at night while we are sleeping, though I personally like to have it run while I am around.

If you have a midsize to large yard and want to run your robot mower under cover of night (spooky!) this is a good option for you.

Built-in rain sensor • Optional GPS • Affordable
Wheels slip occasionally
For small yards, this WORX Landroid model is hard to beat.

4. WORX WR140 Landroid M 20V

For yards under a quarter of an acre, this robot mower from WORX provides the most bang for your buck.

  • Dimensions:
    10 x 15 x 22 inches
  • Weight:
    21.2 pounds
  • Run time per charge:
  • Cut height:
    2 to 3.5 inches
  • Maximum slope:
    20 degrees
  • Maximum lawn size:
    0.25 acres
If you have a small yard, a smaller robot mower like the WORX WR140 Landroid M — basically a less expensive version of the Landroid L —  might be for you. This one performs beautifully on yards up to a quarter of an acre in size, according to reviewers, and runs smoothly and quietly. 
It’s also controlled by an app that reviewers largely find streamlined and easy-to-use: You can program, schedule, and observe your mower from indoors, peering through the blinds as you play Wordscapes in the comfy A/C. Or, you know, whatever.
Like the Landroid L and the Robomow RS630, this mower also has an integrated rain sensor, which means it will return to base if the weather becomes too severe for it to operate safely. One thing to watch out for: A few reviewers pointed out that this mower’s wheels tend to slip on flat, dry grass.
You can also buy this mower (and the Landroid L) with a GPS system included, though that’ll cost a bit extra.

Good with hills • Long list of features • Reviewers say it’s quiet
Pricey • No built-in rain sensor
Consider the 450XH Automower if you have a large yard and a large budget.

5. Husqvarna 450XH Automower

This pricey but powerful mower can handle yards up to 1.25 acres.

  • Dimensions:
    13 x 24.8 x 29.5 inches
  • Run time per charge:
    270 minutes
  • Cut height:
    2 to 3.5 inches
  • Maximum slope:
    24 degrees
  • Maximum lawn size:
    1.25 acres

OK, OK, elephant in the room: This is an extremely expensive lawn mower. But it does boast some pretty impressive stats — it can handle yards up to 1.25 acres and slopes up to 24 degrees, and can last 270 (!) minutes on a single charge, according to the manufacturer. 
Features-wise, it’s similar to the 315X Automower, since they’re members of the same family — it’s just a bit more souped-up and powerful. If you have a larger yard or more hills than the 315X Automower can handle — and, crucially, a large budget — this might be a good alternative for you.

Most affordable option on this list • Can be voice controlled using Alexa • Has an integrated rain sensor
Only works in very small yards
This little robot mower is perfect for small city yards — just don’t try to set it up on a big lawn.

6. Robomow RX20

Have a tiny, tiny yard? There’s still a great robot mower for you, and you won’t have to pay a big-yard price.

  • Dimensions:
    10 x 16 x 20 inches
  • Weight:
    16.5 pounds
  • Run time per charge:
    90 minutes
  • Cut height:
    0.5 to 1.75 inches
  • Maximum slope:
    8.5 degrees
  • Maximum lawn size:
    0.05 acres
Let’s be real. A robot mower is going to be an investment no matter what. The Robomow RX20 is a slightly less wallet-decimating option than others, but with one caveat: It’ll only work for yards less than one-twentieth of an acre in size. (That’s about 200 square meters, or around 2150 square feet.) If your yard is that small, this is likely a good choice for you. 
If it’s not? Pick another option on this list!
Features-wise, the RX20 measures up: It’s compatible with Bluetooth and Alexa, returns automatically to its base in rainy weather, and heads out once per day to assess the areas of your yard that need to be mowed. 
Keep in mind that this mower can’t handle steep slopes — 8.5 degrees is its limit. If your tiny yard has big hills, you may want to go for the WORX WR140 Landroid M or a similar option.