Although a well-maintained lawn will make your property look great, it is not easy to keep it that way. If you’re tired of spending several hours a week pushing a noisy gas-powered lawn mower, consider investing in a robot lawn mower like the Greenworks Pro Optimow 50H ($1,599.99). The Optimow50H is a robotic mower that goes out every day, mows lawn, and then returns to the base station to charge for the next run. It cut grass well in our tests, was quiet, and offers cellular connectivity, a thoughtfully-designed app, and GPS tracking. However, it does not have Wi-Fi connectivity or onboard controls like the $999 Worx Landroid Mower M 20V Cordless Robotic Lawn Mower WR140.
A Lawnmower with a Cellular Radio
The Optimow50H is suitable for lawns up half an acre in size. It measures 12.2 x 20.0 x 25.0 inches (HWD), weights 26.4 pounds and has an IPX5 rating which means it can be washed with a hose. It is available in lime green or matte black and has two 9-inch rear and two swiveling front wheels measuring 3.5 inches. This allows it to maneuver lawns with up to 35% inclines. It has a handle above the front bumper, and as is the case with every robotic mower we’ve tested, the bumper contains sensors that will cause the mower to stop and change direction if it encounters any objects in its path.
A panel on the top of the mower contains a cutting height dial, start and stop levers, and four status LEDs, but that’s all you get in the way of onboard controls. The Operating LED glows solid green when the mower is in operating mode (mowing, charging, parked, paused), and is dark when the mower is stopped, if the safety key has been removed, or if the mower is waiting for a PIN number entry. The Connectivity LED flashes green when the mower tries to connect to internet. It glows solidly blue when it is connected, and dims when the mower has been turned off. The Security LED blinks yellow when a pin code is required. The ErrorLED flashes red when there has been an error, such a break in the wire, or the mower being lifted. The Greenworks Tools mobile app is available for iOS and Android. All other programming and settings can be done via the Greenworks Tools mobile application. The Worx Landroid M 20V, by comparison, has an LCD and many onboard controls. These include the ability to create work schedules and check battery life, design work zones, and set rain delay settings.
The Optimow’s brushless motor is 60dB quiet and powered by a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. It can cut for up to 150 minutes and takes around 70 minutes to fully charge. The mower uses a rotating disc with three pivoting cutting blades to cut the grass. It has an 8.7-inch cutting area and a 2.4- to 4.0-inch adjustable cutting height. You don’t get Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity with this mower like you do with the Ayi DRM3-600I, but it does contain a GPS radio for tracking the mower’s whereabouts and a cellular radio that lets you control the mower using a mobile app. You get two years of free cellular service with the 50H, but once the free plan expires you’ll have to shell out $29.99 for a two-year plan in order to connect to the app.
The well-designed mobile app makes it easy to create work schedules, check the mower’s current status, and start and stop mowing cycles. The screen displays the name of your mower, its current battery level, and operating status (leaving the base, mowing, parking, returning to the base). Tap the Park button for the mower to return to the base. Tap the Resume button to resume the mower’s work schedule.
The Settings and position button opens a screen that allows you to manually create work schedules so that the mower comes out at a particular time on certain days. The Scheduling Wizard can be used to create a schedule that is based on the size of your lawn. Simply use the slider button to tell the wizard how large your lawn is. The wizard will then automatically create a schedule based upon your input.
Tap the Position button at the bottom of the screen to see where the mower is and where it’s been on a satellite map. The Settings button opens a screen where you can change the name of the mower, create a PIN code that’s used to restart the mower if it’s been lifted, and enable the Rain Guard feature that tracks the latest rainfall readings from your area and will delay a work cycle to allow enough for proper water drainage if necessary. There’s also a Frost Guard setting that monitors the current temperature and will delay the work cycle if there’s a risk of frost. Other settings allow for push notifications to be enabled, custom starting points created for large lawns, as well as an Energy Saving mode that shuts down both the mower and the cellular phone after a full charge. In this mode you’ll have to physically pull the mower out of the charging station and push it back in to restart everything.
How to Set Up and Use the Optimow50H
Getting the Optimow 50H up and running for the first time isn’t difficult, but plan on spending an hour or more crawling around the yard laying down wire and hammering in plastic spikes to keep the wire in place. I had already installed perimeter wire in a previous review. That took me only a few hours as my lawn is 1,950 sq. feet. You can also hire someone to install the wire.
After connecting the AC plug and perimeter wire to the base station, the app was downloaded and I created an account. I tapped Add a Device. I selected Robotic Mower. I was informed that the mower had to be charged for at minimum two hours before it could continue to receive firmware updates. After the Optimow was fully charged, I tapped “Pair” to add the mower into the app. I gave it a name, and the installation was complete.
The Optimow50H did a great job keeping my entire lawn trimmed. It was quiet and did a great job of navigating inclines and depressions in my grass. The sensors did their job and stopped the mower whenever it encountered obstacles. gardenAfter a particularly heavy downpour, barriers, tennis balls and large fallen branches were all removed by the Rain Guard feature.
The Schedule Wizard was used to create a nighttime routine, and the 50H followed it to the letter. The app instantly sent the mower Start and Stop commands. The GPS radio did a great job tracking its location.
Take Back Your Weekend
You can have a perfect lawn with the Greeworks Optimow50H robotic lawn mower. Although it takes some time to install the perimeter wire, once everything is in place you can relax and let the mower do the rest. The Optimow performed admirably during our tests. It also has a mobile app that makes it easy to create custom night or day schedules. That said, you’ll have to eventually pay for a cellular plan to continue using the app because the mower doesn’t offer Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity. For a few hundred dollars less, our Editors’ Choice winner for robotic lawn mowers, the Worx Landroid M 20V, uses Wi-Fi to let you control it from just about anywhere and offers lots of onboard controls. If you are looking for the best in robotic lawn care, or if your yard is large and has lots of hills, the Husqvarna Automower 44X AWD offers all-wheel driving, Bluetooth and cell connectivity, support Alexa voice commands and IFTTT applets. However, at $5,199.99 it’s easily the most expensive model we’ve tested.
Greenworks Pro Optimow 50H Robotic Lawn Mower
The Bottom Line
The Greenworks Pro Optimow 50H robotic lawnmower is moderately priced and offers cellular connectivity, GPS tracking and a user-friendly app.
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