This robotic lawn mower is a solid choice for smaller yards

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Robot lawn mower designs vary widely because they are optimized for different strengths, and with each feature, weaknesses are exposed. The lightweight and fast robot can easily turn over. Heavy robots are slow and prone to getting stuck. Every robotic lawn mower I test seems to have a different build, optimized for stability, tight turns, longevity, or agility, but never all of the above. In this way, robot lawn mowers are very different from robot vacuum cleaners - it's less about which is the best robot and more about which robot is best for your yard. The Segway Navimow i110n ($1,299, but the smaller model is $979.99) is a useful little robot with an attractive design, a tight turning radius, a small footprint, and a relatively easy-to-use app. It struggled with the irregular landscape and didn't get as close to obstacles as I'd hoped. Still, if you're willing to make some modifications to your yard to make it work, the Navimow is a good choice for a mid-priced robotic lawn mower.

Segway Navimow i110N Robot Lawn Mower

Easy to assemble

Navigow works mostly out of the box. Unlike the Mammotion Luba 2 , this is not a low-lying robot; It's quite boxy. The Navimow has two large front wheels and two small wheels that look like office chair casters. The garage is an additional purchase that I would recommend (it protects your investment from the elements and thieves) and also came together quickly. The most confusing part is the navigation tower, which is mounted on top of the included pole. Alternatively, you could install it in your home, and the instructions don't help distinguish the various parts of the house brackets and poles. Docks, lawn mowers, garages, and GPS towers are all relatively lightweight.

Segway goes to great lengths in its app and documentation to provide guidance on how to set up the tower and robot, because like many other robots, the tower and robot need to be visible to each other at all times, and the tower also needs to be able to see the sky. If you have a front yard and a backyard, you may want to install poles throughout your home to keep the robot in sight at all times, meaning the robot and tower will be in two different places. There are a lot of wires to do this, but it's much easier if you can fit them all in one place. Once in place, it took me about 30 minutes to pair the Naimow with the app—the app just couldn't find the robot—but eventually it did, and the app has been consistent ever since.

Like a flat lawn

Navimow sets boundaries the way I like, just like Mammotion Luba 2. You can use the remote control in the app to set boundaries and have the robot "walk" around them. The lawnmower then starts painting everything within that boundary. You can set up "no-go zones," but in this yard, the only no-go zones were some raised beds that the lawn mower couldn't possibly harm. You can track the area Naimow paints in the app in real time, seeing where it is and exactly how much space it's covering, which is a feature I really like. Almost immediately, however, Navimo sank into a depression in the lawn. It wasn't a ditch or a big hole, but a shallow depression, about two feet wide and a few inches deep. The Luba 2 has navigated quite large ditches, but the design is completely different. Here, two big wheels and a boxy shape work against the robot. Over the next few mowings, once the robot senses that the depression is still there, it avoids the area. A hill elsewhere in the yard did the same thing. Again, this is not a dramatic hill, but a slight bump at over 18 inches, nothing more than a small bump. But despite this, Navimow saw this as a danger and avoided it, leaving a visibly untrimmed bulge. We shoveled down the hillside—no more than a shovelful—and relocated the soil into the depression and leveled it. The mower then started mowing those areas on its next run, but to my surprise it was bothered by them in the first place.

No lawn tracks, but predictable cutting

Unlike other robots, where you set the height at which you can mow your lawn in the app, you set it manually on top of the lawn robot itself - meaning you're unlikely to adjust it once it's set. The Navigow does an excellent job of mowing, dutifully moving back and forth in a predictable pattern after first circling the area. Because of the robot's lightweight nature, I've never been able to achieve the lawn lines so many desire, no matter how long the grass was beforehand or how short we cut it. Additionally, the finished lawn, while clearly mowed, doesn't have the neat look that a heavy-duty mower like the Luba 2 provides. The lawn is always dotted with missing patches of grass. While the occasional stray patch of grass isn't a big deal, it does affect the final look.

Improve over time

Over the first few weeks, I wasn't impressed with how much space the Navigow offered for these raised beds. The boxes are solid and made of straight lines, I think the robot would hit them and cut very close. Instead, Navimow avoids them entirely, leaving an 8 to 10-inch path around them that requires some pruning. But over the next few weeks, Navimow began to approach the boxes with greater precision. By week six, there was not much space left around the box.

Some features are buried

Navimow's app offers many of the same features as other lawn robots, including scheduling, reporting, anti-theft protection, and options for conditions when the mower is out: rain, dark, etc. What it does less well than other bots is help create multi-area maps. I have found that most lawns require multiple areas. You might divide your front and back yards into two areas and connect them, or you might have a strip of lawn between the sidewalk and the street. The addition of new areas is hidden within the application, outside of map management. I also had trouble establishing connections between areas once they were established. The lawn mower also had difficulty when I asked it to use these connections to mow multiple areas.

Reliable and trustworthy

That said, there's a lot to like about Navimow. It's consistent: When I ask it to trim an area, it does it reliably. Once I fixed the gradient issue, the Navimow no longer got stuck while mowing an area, and I was able to send it on schedule without having to worry about it during the six weeks of testing. During those six weeks we never had to mow the grass by hand, although we did use a string trimmer to clean up the edges.

Bottom line: Reasonably priced and suitable for smaller spaces

I did this test at the same time as the Mammotion Luba 2, so it was easy to compare them. For example, Luba won't struggle through difficult terrain, and Navimow won't be able to overcome the same obstacles as Luba. But the Navimow can navigate in much smaller spaces than the Luba. In spaces that are nearly inaccessible to the Luba, the Navimow quickly gets in, mows, and exits without tearing it apart. While the Navimow won't leave a trail of turf thanks to its lighter body, the wheels won't tear up the turf on hard turns like the Luba does in those spaces. The end result doesn't look too clean, but the lawn is mowed. Navimow is less than half the price of Luba. Navimow makes sense if your lawn is less than 1/4 acre. For $1,300 or less, you can knock a chore off your to-do list, and the cost amortizes quickly when you factor in the time it takes to mow the lawn or pay for the service. I do recommend the extra garage; the lawn mower lights up like a beacon at night and the garage really helps shade the light. I also recommend installing a GPS tower in your home to always have the best line of sight for the robot and to ensure your lawn is basically level. However, if you're willing to do some work up front, the Segway Naimow i110n will do the work for you.