Robotic Lawn Mower Reviews

Robotic Lawn Mowers

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Final Thoughts

The Husqvarna Automower 115H is an excellent entry-level robotic mower that does its best work on simple lawns up to 0.4-acre. If you have a lot of obstacles and/or narrow corridors, a GPS or multi-guide wire model is going to be a more effective way to go. With installation included in the price of this model and a solid design, it's the best option we've seen to test the robotic mower waters.

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Husqvarna Automower 115H Robotic Lawn Mower Review


Husqvarna Automower Sets the Standard For Entry-Level Robotic Lawn Mowers

If you’re thinking about going the robotic mower router, you’re not alone. They’re gaining popularity in the US and some 1 in 4 lawn mower in Europe are robotic now. Husqvarna has one of the deepest and most advanced lines available. We installed the Husqvarna Automower 115H in my yard to see what you can expect from the entry-level side of their line.

Pros

  • Price includes professional installation
  • Guide wire offers better full-yard coverage than other entry-level designs
  • Cuts up to 3.6″ high
  • Simple add-based commands and schedule adjustments
  • Runs in the rain
  • Handles slopes up to 30%

Cons

  • No GPS support
  • No cell or wifi connections

Recommendation

The Husqvarna Automower 115H is an excellent entry-level robotic mower that does its best work on simple lawns up to 0.4-acre. If you have a lot of obstacles and/or narrow corridors, a GPS or multi-guide wire model is going to be a more effective way to go. With installation included in the price of this model and a solid design, it’s the best option we’ve seen to test the robotic mower waters. 

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Installation

I connected with Jesse from Choo Choo Lawn Equipment in Plant City, Florida to cover the installation of our Husqvarna Automower 115H. You can do the installation yourself, but working with a dealer brings in their perspective and eye for getting the best setup. They also have a machine that buries the wires, giving you a cleaner install.

 

The 115H uses one guide wire and that creates some limitations. Ideally, you install it on the side of your house so you can run the guide wire across the longest possible area. Upgraded models have two or more guide wires and you can run them in different directions from your backyard.

During the install process, you need to set your mowing zones (up to 3). These are simply the distance down the guide wire from the charging station the mower travels before starting to mow. I have mine set to 9, 30, and 55 meters.

Because the 115H doesn’t have GPS mapping, it relies on an algorithm to bounce around your yard. That makes it tough for the mower to find its way through narrow corridors. The guide wire is the way to get it through, but it’s not always possible.

kenWe mapped out a pretty aggressive installation to get an idea of what the mower can work with, including a narrow corridor without a guide wire, an island, and crossing a sidewalk.

Schedule

With any robotic mower, the goal is to give your lawn a fresh cut look every day. The Husqvarna Automower 115H uses 3 razor blade-style cutters and isn’t designed to take off 2″ or 3″ of grass on a weekly maintenance cut. One of the big changes from normal cutting is that the mower runs every day instead of once a week.

 

I cut my lawn two days before we installed the Automower and it covers roughly 95% of the lawn every 2 days. With that in mind, I let it mow on a 16-hour schedule for the first week to makes sure the lawn was under control. After that, I used the app to set it to 12-hour days to maintain.

It takes about an hour to charge the mower and that gives it about an hour of cutting time. When you set your schedule, keep in mind that you’re actually mowing for half of that time. On my ~0.2-acre yard, 6 cutting hours a day seems to be the right balance.

You can let the mower run all day, every day if you like. Just keep in mind that the battery has a limited lifespan and setting a schedule helps you extend it. The battery in this model has an expected life of 2500 cycles. If we do a little math, my 6 charging cycles each day will give the battery well over a year’s worth of cutting.

Realistically, I’ll get even more because it’s the peak of our growing season right now. As we move into the fall and winter, I’ll back off the schedule some. For areas outside of Florida that have a legit winter, you can bring the mower in for a good chunk of the year.

Cutting

I have bahiagrass that gives me a lot of flexibility in how high I cut. With species like Floratam and other St. Augustine varieties though, you need to cut at 3″ or 3.5″ to keep it healthy. If you have a lawn that needs to be cut taller, pay close attention to the cutting range on robotic mowers. The Husqvarna Automower 115H cuts 2″ to 3.6″ and is a great fit for Florida grasses. Many robotic mowers won’t cut that high.

When the mower is at work, it quietly runs around your yard with a light ticking sound as it cuts the tips of the grass off. That’s the sound you want to hear. If the grass gets too high, it’s tough for the mower to effectively cut it since it doesn’t have a traditional mower deck and suction to pull the grass up into it.

For safety, the cutting swath is not the entire width of the mower, leaving several inches between the edge and the blades. It’s one of the reasons you still need to go around with a string trimmer on your boundaries.

One of the big differences in cutting is that there is zero suction. The 115H can roll over small sticks, leaves, and mulch without picking it up and dulling the blades quickly. For soft landscaping boundaries, it lets you put that boundary wire a bit closer to cut more grass close.

When the battery drops to 20%, the mower looks for the guide wire and finds its way back to the charger on its own.

Expectations

Owning a robotic lawn mower isn’t a completely hands-off experience after installation, particularly with entry-level models like our Husqvarna Automower 115H. Here are some things we’ve learned that you should know before pulling the trigger.

Ownership or Adoption?

Once we got past installation, my kids decided to name our 115H. Our family refers to “Harvey” and talks about him like he’s a kid doing chores in the yard. Welcome to the family, Harvey. Now get to work!

If You Don’t Know Your Neighbors, You Will

I met a lot of my neighbors that I hadn’t after we moved in thanks to Harvey. People stop on their bike rides to watch him in the front yard, kids point and yell excitedly to their parents, and dogs don’t have the foggiest idea what to make of it other than wanting to move to the other side of the street. Well, most of them anyway. My neighbor’s 12-week old ball of fluff doesn’t know enough to know that it’s unusual and likes to chase Harvey around the yard.

Seriously, this thing starts conversations and builds relationships.

Narrow Corridors and Close Obstacles

Even without a guide wire, Harvey finds his way through my narrow corridor more frequently than I thought, but not as often as he should to stay on top of the cutting. About once a week, I pick up him up and put him in that zone and usually need to pick him up to move it back out.

Husqvarna Automower 115H Robotic Lawn Mower Review

Part of it is the corridor, part of it is thanks to some close obstacles. I have a communications box close enough to the driveway for Harvey to squeeze in between and look like Austin Powers trying to get that electric cart out. After some efforts to change his angle, he assumes he is stuck and waits to be rescued.

Low Clearance

Since the Husqvarna Automower 115H can bump and adjust, you don’t need to create an island around every obstacle. My pergola and firepit are a great example. However, the edge of the firepit is just tall enough for Harvey to sneak under and get stuck. He has a few superficial scratches from it and needs rescuing when it happens.

When it Rains, it Mows

We’re in the part of the year where there’s a threat of rain every day and the 115H can keep on going, even in a downpour.

 

The biggest risk is around the charging base. The connection doesn’t need to stay completely dry, but the installation often puts the connection close to the roof runoff. Do a quick search for “robotic mower garages” and there are all kinds of inspiration to build your own. You can also buy them pre-made.

Sooner or Later, You’re Going to Get a Line Break

Whether you bury your wires or not, eventually you’ll get breaks that need repair. The easiest way to deal with it is to call up your local dealer/installer to have them service it for you. It’s very possible to handle it yourself, though. The kit includes extra connectors to make those repairs when it comes time.

For the record, I haven’t had a wire break yet.

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Additional Points to Know

  • Audible lift alert deters theft (PIN code shutoff/reset)
  • Bluetooth app communications (no wifi/cell communication)
  • Height adjustment dial
  • Handles slopes up to 30%

Price

The 115H runs $1,475.48, but here’s the kicker—Husqvarna is offering it with free professional installation. I highly recommend going that route.

There are other robotic mowers out there that cost less. You’re on your own for installation on many of those. Stihl’s smaller iMow is a bit less, but you’re looking at a $700 installation fee. Between the price, design, and included installation, the Husqvarna Automower 115H is the best value in entry-level robotic mowing we’ve seen.

The Bottom Line

The Husqvarna Automower 115H is an excellent entry-level robotic mower that does its best work on simple lawns up to 0.4-acre. If you have a lot of obstacles and/or narrow corridors, a GPS or multi-guide wire model is going to be a more effective way to go. With installation included in the price of this model and a solid design, it’s the best option we’ve seen to test the robotic mower waters.

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