One look at my lawn and I knew it was time for a trim. A few weeks ago it had been an ugly brown, but after some essential watering and a change in the weather, it's back to being green again.
I already have a decent cordless lawnmower in the shape of the Mountfield Electress 34 Li Cordless Lawn Mower, but wanted to try out a robot mower to see if it is time to upgrade to a hands-free, sit down and watch the lawnmower while enjoying the summer sun with a cold drink.
Robot lawn mowers seem like the future of mowing and if they free up time to do other gardening tasks then why wouldn’t I want one, right? The majority use what is known as a perimeter wire, which effectively creates a border of how far the mower can go, but you need to peg it down before you start using the mower. Otherwise the mower could go rogue, fall into a pond or run through your roses and start mowing where you wish it wouldn’t.
But a perimeter wire needs to be installed and while weatherproof they can be damaged with a garden spade. So knowing there was a new breed of robot mowers out there that didn’t need a perimeter wire I thought I would give one try. I decided to go big and try the Segway Navimow 1500E.
Robot lawnmower took some setting up but was fantastic once it got to work
What made an immediate impression was the size and weight of the box. Not sure what I was expecting but it was not lightweight and certainly wasn’t small. Opening the box showed why — the Segway Navimow is a beast, it's an impressive looking piece of machinery. Its bright orange tractor style wheels and bumper perfectly complement its anthracite grey bulk.
The Navimow is definitely not as easy to set up as an everyday lawnmower. There’s no initial plug in and mow option. To take advantage of the Segway you‘ve got to do the background work.
You need to install the charging station, set up the GPS antenna and connect to a power supply before activating the mower via the app. Then you need to map out your garden boundary. All took longer than the manual suggested (yes I did read it) and it wasn’t as simple as I thought it might be, so you need to persevere. But once sorted the mower does a good job, especially if you have a large open garden.
Did I love Navimow? Yes. Was the 1500E the right model for my garden? No. Would I buy one? Probably not. It was much more mower than I needed, but if I had a bigger, more open garden and cash to buy it would definitely be in my shed.
What other robot mowers should I consider?
While the Segway Navimow (which you can buy for around £1500 to £1900) was a little much for my needs a robot mower is still definitely on the cards, but one more suited to my garden and budget and what better time to look for one than Prime Day.
The Einhell Power X-Change fits the bill when it comes to price, costing around the same as a good cordless lawnmower. It's a robot mower that uses a perimeter wire, but for the price I wouldn’t expect anything else. Ideal for gardens up to 400m2 and has impact, tilt and lift sensors to avoid obstacles, so definitely good for my suburban garden. Plus it comes with a rechargeable battery, which fits other Einhell tools and PIN code protection if anyone fancies borrowing it from my shed and using it.
Another garden robot mower - recommended for 500m2 gardens - is the Gardena Sileno City. Still a little too much for my garden and operates via a perimeter wire, but it does include an extra guide wire for those with an unusual shaped garden. Plus, it looks good, is quiet and can be extended with addons to do extra jobs like watering the lawn, but I think for the extra money I might stick with my hose for now.
Whatever I get I look forward to relaxing and watching somebody - or something in this case - do the hard work for me.
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Steve is Homebuilding & Renovating's DIY content editor, and has been a writer and editor for two decades. He is an avid DIYer with over 20 years of experience in transforming and renovating homes. He specialises in painting and decorating, but has strong all-round building skills, having previously worked in the industry for 10 years.