Worx is one of the most popular brands for garden power equipment. This has a lot to do with their low prices. Though the previous generation Worx robotic lawnmower (Landroid M WG794) left a little to be desired. A great product for its price, but not the best.
In the spring of 2019, Worx introduced their upgraded Worx Landroid WR140 M, along with larger options for lawns more than a quarter acre. The newer models are, as to be expected, more expensive than the previous Landroid’s. Though still very reasonably priced. Now in it’s second year, the Worx WR140 is set to be one of the top sellers for 2020. This review will reveal why.
TECH Specs : Worx WR140
|Rated Voltage||20V MAX|
|Battery Capacity||4.0 Ah|
|Charging Time||90 min|
|MAX Cutting Surface||Up to ¼ acre|
|Cutting Height||2″ – 3.5″|
It wasn’t all that long ago when robots in and around our homes were merely the work science fiction. In a relatively short period of time, bots, of all types and descriptions, have gone from novelty items for the rich, to everyday dependable helpers in our homes and gardens. In this article we will be taking a look at how robots have come to change our lives and how the technology has improved, while becoming more affordable.
VIDEO | A Closer Look at the WORX WR140 Robot Mower
While there’s a lot to come, this is first and foremost a review of the Worx WR140 robotic lawn mower. To provide a good comparison, I’ll also be reviewing the Gardena 4069 R80Li and the Husqvarna Automower 115H. The Gardena and Husky mower bots are both more expensive than the Worx Landroid model. This begs the question: Is the relatively cheap Worx WR140 any less competent than its more expensive rivals? Read the review to see how these robotic lawnmowers compare head on.
Quick Overview : Best Robot Mowers for 2020
- Worx Landroid M WR140: Affordable robotic lawnmower with advanced technology. Excellent value for money.
- Gardena 4069 R80Li: One of the quietest and most efficient robotic lawnmowers, at a reasonable price.
- Husqvarna Automower 115H: Proven Husqvarna reliability, service and performance. Arguably, the ultimate small robotic lawn mower, and one of the most expensive.
Review | Worx WR140
- Fully automated robotic lawn mower can cut up to a ¼ acre
- *Bonus Find My Landroid GPS included (keeps your Landroid connected and software up-to-date)
- Use smartphone APP for full control of the robot mower
- Patented mowing AIA (Advanced Intelligence Algorithm) cutting technology ensures it can pass through narrow paths with ease
- Intuitive layered interface for customized working schedules
- Innovative electronics allow for mowing on hills and slopes
- Cut to Edge – Offset 3-blade cutting/mulching system for closer edge cutting
- Two independent brushless wheel motors
- Rain sensor tells it to return back to charger station
One of the things that placed the older Worx Landroid models at a disadvantage, when compared to the high-end expensive brands, was the absence of a mobile app. This has been addressed and the latest Worx WR140 sports an advanced smart device app with some amazing features that will make your life much easier. This is one of many upgrades, offering improved technology and safety features.
The WR140 is the baby of the Worx robotic lawnmower lineup. This makes it a delightfully lightweight machine, only 21-pounds. It is also a compact little bot: 10”(H) X 15”(6) X22”(w). The rotating disc with 3 blades, has a 7” diameter, making it suitable only for smaller lawns, up to a ¼ acer. For larger lawns, the Landroid L20V is rated for up to ½ acre and will set you back roughly $300 more than the WR140.
One area where the Landroid WR140 really excels is when it comes to narrow areas. Not only is the compact, 22” width an advantage here, improved navigation technology is a great advancement. It has the same great floating deck as the older Worx robotic lawnmowers which leaves your lawn perfectly even. Cutting height can be set between 2 and 3.5 inches.
WORX WR150 Landroid L / ½ acre
The large 8” wheels at the rear have excellent traction and this little bot is a master at negotiating slopes and berms, up to 20°.
Along with improved firmware and programming options, the WR140 navigates and remembers the shape and form of your yard like never before.
A really cool function on the new Landroid app is the ability to calculate the size and shape of your lawn. By walking the perimeter of your lawn, with your smartphone, the bot learns these parameters. Using this function, the Worx WR140 is able to calculate the most effective path to maximize its working time. It also has a new blade design, allowing the Worx bot to cut closer to the edge of your lawn, requiring little to no trimming.
While the Worx Landroid WR140 isn’t the quietest robotic lawnmower, it is barely audible at 63dB. Just about the same as a conversational speaking voice, I doubt the swift little bot will cause a disturbance. It will amble around the yard, unattended without you even noticing it. Rain sensors mean that the Worx mower will return to the docking station when the weather turns and will resume according to its programmed schedule.
You can create three unique programs, with a bunch of pre-programmed options, if you want get it up and running straight out the box. With the app, you can choose varying programs for different parts of the garden. With the option to change this, using the app, even if you’re miles away. If the Worx bot encounters a change in its programmed schedule, like bad weather, you’ll be notified through the app, keeping you up to date at all times. Like any reputable robotic device, the Worx WR140 will return to the docking station when the battery needs to be recharged. It takes 90-minutes to charge the battery, whereupon the bot will resume its job where it left off, using the built-in timer.
The new Landroid also has a number of safety features. If it encounters a person, animal, or garden furniture, the bot will stop, backup and avoid the obstacle. This function is one of several optional extras, which includes an optional GPS module, which allows for Find my Landroid if the mower is lost or stolen and improves phone app communication. It also has an automatic disable function which will shut the mower down if it tips over. The weatherproof design, keeps the Worx safe from water damage. To prevent theft, or unauthorized use, you can choose a unique pin code that needs to be entered before you can use the Landroid.
While the App has all the functions you could possibly want, you can access most user functions directly at the machine. A touchpad control, with LCD screen, allows you to activate the mower, enter a unique user pin and choose program options. Your initial kit now includes the GPS module for free (valued at about $300), along with a 590’ boundary wire kit, measuring equipment, 9 X cutting blades, 9 X screws, 8 X base ground screws, 250 X wire ground pins, along with the WR140 mower, charging base station, power adapter, and 1 X 20V 4AH battery. This all adds up to incredible value at just about $1,000 retail price. With the added bonus of a many Worx power tools that share the same battery.
Whichever way you look at it, the Worx Landroid WR140 makes for outstanding value for money. This is one of the cheaper robotic lawnmowers yet offers high-end features and technology. With the GPS module now part of the standard purchase price, it is even better value. This is most certainly a quality, well-made machine with a great 3-year warranty and the reassurance of an established brand for service in the future.
Gardena 4069 R80Li
- Cutting Height : .7″ to 2″ (2 to 5 cm). Adjust with a rotary knob.
- Different mowing times or days can be set
- Cutting system : 3 pivoting razor blades
- Cutting width : 17 cm
- Ultra Quiet — Sound level Guaranteed : 60 dB(A)
- Security features : Alarm, PIN code, Lift sensor, Tilt sensor
- Charging system : Automatic
- Maximum incline : 25 %
- Battery type: Li-Ion
- Typical charging time : 50 min average)
- Mow time on one charge : 65 min (average)
- Information panel : LCD display with settings menu
- Timer : Yes
- Handle type : Integrated
- Product Size, LxWxH : 58cm x 46cm x 26cm
- Weight : 7.7 kg
The Gardena brand is owned by the Husqvarna Group. Although Husqvarna and Gardena operate as independent brands with unique deigns and technology, there are advantages when buying power equipment from a group that owns so many prestigious brands. For one thing, you have the peace of mind that service and spare parts will around for a very long time.
For about $100 – $150 more than what you’d pay for the Worx WR140, the Gardena R80Li is a more refined machine with a few advantages. This is a quieter robotic lawnmower (60dBA), though the minor difference in noise levels may not be noticeable for most. The Gardena R80Li can achieve a closer cropped lawn, as low as 0.7”, up to 2” maximum cutting height. It has a very similar blade configuration to the WR140. This being a disc with three rotating blades.
VIDEO : How to Setup the Boundary Wire
I find it ironic that this more expensive robotic lawnmower doesn’t have a mobile app. You don’t even have a conventional remote control. An app is only available for the Gardena Sileno robotic range. Admittedly, it has great programmability, but you can’t change this remotely. It is great for complex lawns that require several different programs for various areas of the garden. The Gardena R80Li is one of the few bots that will keep working, rain or shine. It won’t stop mowing the lawn when it begins to rain, thanks to a completely weatherproof design.
Despite the absence of any type of remote control, the Gardena lawn bot has all the functions that we’ve come to expect from a high-end robotic lawn mower. The large LCD screen allows you to easily scroll through menu functions and access numerous programming options. It has a pin and alarm for security, and a built-in timer. User safety is aided by a tilt sensor and a lift sensor.
I must commend Gardena on their excellent battery technology and superb brushless DC electric motor with a digital management system. This is truly a low energy consumption bot (6 KWH at maximum power). This means an hour or more of lawn mowing before it returns to the docking station to recharge the battery. It then takes only 50-minutes before the battery is charged and the relentless Gardena is back on the job.
This is a mighty productive little mower. While the maximum lawn size is somewhat limited, specified as being ±¹⁄₅ acre, it can handle pretty challenging conditions. Able to tackle an incline of 25°, the Gardena R80Li is one of the best robotic lawnmowers for yards with steep slopes. The 6.7” blade diameter is in line with the expectations for a mower of this size. It’s also extremely lightweight and easy to carry with the molded handle. The Gardena R80Li weighs only 17 LBS. You get 656 Ft of boundary wire and 400 staples with the machine, allowing for a pretty expansive boundary, with the option to buy more if needed. You also get 3 additional blades.
Gardena is recognized as one of the top brands in the garden tool and accessory business. With even more reassurance as being part of the Husqvarna group, probably the biggest name in the power equipment world. This is a wonderfully durable robotic lawnmower for all conditions. It’s also one of the best for inclines and is delightfully quiet.
Visit the Gardena site to watch their comprehensive how-to videos.
Husqvarna Automower 115H
The Husqvarna Automower 115H is one of the most expensive in its class, costing about 60% more than extremely affordable Worx WR140. Husqvarna power equipment tends to be more expensive. Then again, the brand carries a lot of weight. Anyone buying a Husqvarna lawnmower expects greater performance and durability. The Automower 115H certainly promises to deliver on this expectation.
The Husqvarna Automower is possibly the quietest there is. At only 59dBA, it can brag whisper quiet operation. This is also a weatherproof mower for all weather conditions. It works in the rain. The formidable Husky 115H is an impressive looking machine with chunky wheels, positioned in the center for an excellent center of gravity. There is very little chance of the Husqvarna mower ever tipping over. In the unlikely event that it does, tilt sensors will shut the mower down. Despite this unique and capable design, the Husqvarna Automower is the worst performer on an incline, of the models we’re reviewing here. Capable of handling a maximum slope of 17°, it should be fine for most yards. However, if you have a garden with steep slopes, the Gardena is tops, able to take on an incline of 25°. Even the much cheaper Worx WR140 beats the high-end Husqvarna in this regard, rated for an incline of 20°.
While the Husky is not much of a climber, it is a winner in most other respects. Programmability and functionality is tops. The mower has a pretty large LCD screen with a wonderfully easy and logical layout. You can pre-program three different starting positions and a whole lot more. The intelligent smart app, offers full remote control. Husqvarna has a unique hidden boundary wire that vastly improves productivity. This allows for a direct path back to docking station, meaning it uses much less battery power to return and, therefore, can keeps working for longer. Most robotic lawnmowers follow the boundary back to the charging station. This takes a lot longer and, therefore, requires more reserve battery power for the return journey. By shortening this route, the Husqvarna can spend more time doing its intended job, instead of wasting valuable battery charge time just to reenergize. Using only an 18V, 2AH battery, the Husqvarna Automower can work for up to an hour. More importantly, most of this time is spent productively, achieving a lot more. It takes an hour to recharge the battery, whereupon it will resume mowing.
Navigation is excellent and the Automower will negotiate the narrowest of paths with ease. The fast-rotating 3-blade cutting system produces a fine mulch that fertilizes the lawn as it cuts. It has an easy to use height adjustment knob with plenty of settings from 2” to 3.6”. This is a fairly heavy bot, weighing almost 21-pounds. Though the extra weight can be attributed to Husqvarna’s ultra-durable design philosophy. It has a molded handle, making it easy to carry.
Naturally, the Automower 115H has all the automated safety features that we’d expect to find on a high-end robotic lawnmower. These include a user pin to prevent theft, a tilt sensor, lift sensor, and an alarm. The mower comes with 9 X replacement blades, boundary wire, and staples.
Durability is tops. The Husqvarna Automower 115H uses super tough carbon steel blades and a fully weatherproof design. It cuts like few other robotic lawnmowers can and has superior intelligence. These factors, along with the Husqvarna reputation for excellence and outstanding customer service, equate to a pretty hefty price tag. I, like many, see great value in paying extra for this. The Husqvarna Automower 115H has a standard 2-year warranty with an optional extension to 3-years when you register your product.
Rise of the Robots ǀ Moving beyond Science Fiction
From as early as the 1930’s, the term “rise of the robots” was met with apprehension. In the imagination of authors and script writers, a time would come when obedient robots, built to serve, would turn on their masters. The robot revolutions of science fiction resembled the age old tale of Spartacus who banded together a group of slaves to overthrow their oppressive Roman overlords. Perhaps, in the future, our faithful bots will have the intelligence and imagination to turn on us. Though, thankfully, this remains in the realm of the imagination. For now, the idea of a robotic revolution has a positive context. It is the rise of robots as a means to make our lives simpler and more pleasant. But where did this revolution begin? Where is it heading?
The robotic revolution began, in earnest, during the 1980’s. It was driven by the need for productivity in industrial applications. The mechanized factory took on a new dimension during this time. Menial, repetitive tasks, once done manually, could now be achieved much faster and more accurately using intelligent machines. Though, these early days of robotics, did little to appease uncertainty as to how they may take over our world. Jobs in factories became fewer as people were replaced by robots. There were, obviously many who did see this as a good thing. The fact is; robots served to improve the technology that we use. Because these machines work so efficiently, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, it is now possible to accomplish more intricate manufacturing tasks that would be too arduous if done manually. In essence, the robotic revolution is driven by robotic technology.
Through the course of the 1990’s, robotic technology advanced in leaps and bounds. In law enforcement and in the military, robots could do things that were simply too dangerous for people, like disable bombs and seek out landmines in previously war-torn countries. Unmanned, autonomous drones could go where human pilots dare not. Robotic drones have gone on to fulfill many civilian tasks, like making aerial surveys much more affordable, quicker, and easier.
Come the 21st century, and the era of the automated home becomes a reality. In the late 1990s, the first robotic vacuum cleaners emerged on the consumer market. While these early bots were pretty useless, they started a revolution that could not be halted. Before long, robotic lawnmowers and pool cleaners started making their way into gardens around the world. With each passing year, the technology improved and artificial intelligence (AI) became smarter. Batteries improved, and the digital brushless motor improved efficiency, allowing bots to be more powerful and work for longer before recharging the battery.
Probably the greatest advancement, in recent times, has to be the smart device app. We can now control just about every aspect of our homes from a smart phone in our pockets. Schedule the vacuum, pool cleaner, or robotic lawnmower when we want, where we want. Control our lights, air conditioning, or access our security system and CCTV, with the swipe and tap of a finger. Even our refrigerators can connect to the internet, ordering milk before it runs out. Autonomous cars are starting to become a reality, possibly the greatest achievement thus far. What’s next? Robotic technology and artificial intelligence is snowballing. Each discovery sparks many more. Much of this is driven by the internet and its expansive reach.
The Internet of Things (IOT)
Big data, or the internet of things, has been the cause of heated debate. Ironically, much of this debate has taken place on the internet. What exactly is big data? Is it to be feared, or revered? Controversy over electioneering, using big data and social media, has placed a spotlight on the connectivity of the internet and algorithms designed to affect human behavior. While this the effects of this, positive or negative, is up for discussion, the general purpose of big data is to improve our lives.
VIDEO | Learn About the Internet of Things
Big data, often called the internet of things, is the use of the internet to connect devices in order to collect and process data. If you think of the app that controls your robotic lawnmower, it may seem like a simple novelty, giving you better access to the bot. Though it’s what’s happening in the background that may be of greatest significance.
Every time your robotic lawnmower sends you an error message, this information can be accessed by the manufacturer via the internet. The same applies to your robotic vacuum cleaner or pool cleaner, provided they use a Wi Fi app that connects to your smart phone. Basically, when you agree to the T & Cs for the app, allowing for third party access, this is what they are doing – accessing the information relayed to your smart phone, tablet, or laptop. Despite all the media hype about internet privacy, this is mostly a good thing, if used in the right way.
What happens to the information sent by the app, and how is it used?
Conspiracy theorists might suggest that information sent by your robotic lawnmower is all part of a larger plot for global dominance by lawnmowers and the industrial military complex. The truth is much simpler and not as nefarious. By collecting and analyzing the data received from every robotic lawn mower that is connected to an app, engineers can asses how we use these machines and where there weaknesses may be. This is a huge amount of data, there are thousands of robotic lawnmowers being used every day. So computer algorithms are used to process the data and look for trends and patterns.
Let’s say a particular make and model of robotic lawnmower regularly gets stuck each time it reaches a certain position. This will generate an error message, which is sent to the app. Since this happening to many mowers every day, this will be identified by the algorithm as an issue that needs to be addressed. The engineers can then look into why this bot keeps getting stuck and find a way of correcting the situation.
The app that controls your robotic device can send any number of parameters back to the manufacturer. What percentage of the battery time is used to return to the charging station? How often does the bot stop to recharge the battery, and how long before it returns to the position it was before? How often does the bot encounter an obstacle and how does it react? How many times does a bot fall over? The options are endless and grow with each succeeding software version. Updates to the app can be introduced at any time, making the existing model more user friendly.
In the end, this information is used to improve the next generation of robotic lawnmower. In essence, the robots, and the apps that control them, are speeding up their own evolution. The fear may exist that Darth Vader might hack the app and turn your robotic lawnmower into a destructive force of the dark side. Though, this takes some stretch of the imagination. In the event does actually happen, we can only hope Luke, R2D2, and the guys are on hand to set things right.