Guide to cheap robotic lawnmowers: You can get that up to 500 euros


Robotic lawn mowers sometimes cost well over 1000 euros. But as you are used to from technology, the loyal robot sheep are becoming cheaper and cheaper. After correct installation, they now do their job reliably and completely independently. This saves the weekly ride across the green in summer. Autonomous robotic lawn mowers are available from around 300 euros, but of course the higher the price, the greater the range of features. We explain what you have to consider with particularly cheap models up to 500 euros.

In principle, the following applies: the cheaper the robotic lawnmower, the smaller the area for which it is designed. For 300 to 500 euros, you get primarily models that are intended for up to 300 square meters. That doesn’t mean that they can’t do more, but the accessories are designed for the recommended property size, as is the size of the battery. We therefore advise not to significantly exceed the manufacturer’s recommendation. There are also a few models in the lower price segment that cover 700 or even 900 square meters in one pass.

There are basically two types of navigation: with and without a boundary wire. Mowers that rely on lawn sensors or (rare and expensive) GPS usually work without wire. In the price range up to 500 euros, however, there are no models, only models are available for which a perimeter wire must be laid in order to keep the robot’s thirst for action in check. This also represents the greatest amount of work with such a device, laying the wire takes a few hours, depending on the structure of the property, even with a small area.

Robots then randomly drive around within this wire border until they either encounter an obstacle or find the perimeter wire. In both cases they turn away and drive to the next obstacle. Intelligent navigation in trains, as with vacuum robots, is not available in the lowest price range up to 500 euros.

It has already been suggested: Those who pay little money also get less technology. The good news: First and foremost, this concerns convenience functions. Most inexpensive models cannot be controlled via an app, instead the user has to rely on simple control elements via buttons. This makes the setup, for example when programming mowing times, a bit more complicated, inconvenient and time-consuming. After this step has been completed, such a simple robot lawn mower usually does its job without the need for further intervention.

However, if such a model should get stuck in operation, users usually notice it by chance. Robotic lawn mowers with an app connection, on the other hand, send calls for help to the owner’s smartphone. Here, however, it depends on the technology used: In this price range, Bluetooth and WLAN are the predominant connection technologies. At least Bluetooth is only intended for simple operation of the robot due to its short range. Then schedules can be implemented much more easily, sitting next to the model, using a smartphone touchscreen than using buttons on the robot. With WLAN, on the other hand, there is, at least in theory, the possibility of sending off the described calls for help – provided the WLAN in the garden is strong enough. Our guide to Fast Internet in the Garden with Outdoor Repeaters, Mesh and Co. provides help with improving the connection strength outside of your own four walls.

Special sensors or GPS as anti-theft protection are usually also ineffective. All robots detect the boundary wire and use the chassis as a bumper to detect collisions. In addition, all of them, including the inexpensive mowers, have lift and / or tilt sensors so that they switch off automatically when the robot is lifted and nobody can injure themselves on the cutting unit. Occasionally, inexpensive robotic lawnmowers also have a rain sensor, which is supposed to prevent the device from mowing in the pouring rain. Although robotic lawn mowers do not normally break it, the clippings tend to clump together and remain in piles of lawn on the green. This can affect the lawn in these areas, and the mower must then be thoroughly cleaned.

In addition, the robotic lawnmowers automatically switch to a protection mode that prevents further inputs on the device as soon as they have been lifted or switched off with the stop button. This is to prevent the theft of the device because a thief cannot put the device back into operation. Therefore, robotic lawn mowers require a PIN code to be set. Every robotic lawnmower approved in Germany has the aforementioned stop button as protection against malfunction. GPS to find a stolen robot lawn mower is not available up to 500 euros.

We don’t find information on the cutting width so important. Manufacturers do, but whether a mower mows 18 or 20 centimeters in one pass is irrelevant. In any case, robotic lawnmowers are designed to drive daily in order to reach every corner of the garden using the random system described. This is the only way to regularly cut off only the tips of the lawn, which then act as mulch during decomposition to provide nutrients to strengthen the lawn. Too long a cut rots too slowly and does more harm than good.

We find the possible cutting heights more exciting. Most models up to 500 euros allow settings from 15 to 45 millimeters or from 20 to 60 millimeters in several stages. We recommend a higher cutting height, as this allows the lawn to store more moisture, which means that it does not burn as quickly in summer.

Also important, depending on the property: the maximum gradient. Models with single-digit degrees are actually almost exclusively suitable for almost flat lawns, but in the price range up to 500 euros there are also some models with a gradient of 20 degrees and more.

Not all manufacturers specify the volume, and this value is often kept secret, especially for inexpensive models. In principle, no modern robotic lawnmower is noisy as long as it is well maintained and working. You can usually hear the cutting noise and the electric motor – but both are so quiet that even a few meters away, a gentle rustling can only be heard in otherwise absolute silence.

Especially with cheap models you should pay attention to the battery technology used. Even if the majority of suppliers have long been using lithium-ion batteries even in the lowest price range, there are still a few models with lead-acid batteries available. In the long run, they suffer from the memory effect and lose performance more quickly, and the corresponding models also load much more slowly. We therefore advise against robotic lawn mowers with lead batteries. Models like the Freelexo 350 from Einhell also have replaceable batteries that are compatible with other cordless tools from the manufacturer.

Important, especially in small gardens: the minimum passage width. The boundary wire mentioned is not always laid at the same distance from obstacles across all manufacturers. An AL-KO Robolinho 300e that we have tried requires a distance of at least 20 centimeters, whereas the Einhell Freelexo 350 requires 30 centimeters. Conversely, the Robolinho requires a clearance width of at least 40 centimeters at a narrow point, the Einhell mower 60 centimeters. Especially with small gardens, the Freelexo can literally get tight.

It has already been indicated: The perimeter wire from the scope of delivery of many robots is often kept very tight, especially on properties with many cutouts, it is then used up quickly. It is better to get supplies here right away – then you will still have material later if you need to improve or repair. In addition, the “cheap” robotic lawnmowers should also be protected, after all, 500 euros is a lot of money. So that the robot sheep are not constantly exposed to wind, sun and rain, you should therefore think about purchasing a robot garage. It should be noted here whether the purchased robot needs an open on both sides or a home with only one entrance to drive through.

Those who can do without “luxury” like app operation and have a rather small garden do not have to mow the lawn themselves or spend a lot of money. Models up to 500 euros do this just as well as more expensive ones. The first (one-time) setup may be a bit more complex because the convenience of a smartphone touchscreen is missing. Otherwise there are no noteworthy disadvantages – if you waste time mowing yourself, it is your own fault.