Husqvarna Automower 450X review: Luxury lawn made easy

Expensive, sure - but this robo lawnmower takes the hassle out of summer

Husqvarna Automower 450X
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Mowing the lawn can be therapeutic... every once in a while at least. In late spring and summer though, when the sun is shining and the rain is frequent, you can almost see the grass growing if you look hard enough and mowing the lawn every few days can become a major chore.

That's where the a robot lawnmower, like the Husqvarna Automower 450X reviewed here, plays its part.

As per the robot vacuum cleaners that have proliferated our smart homes in the past few years, robo lawnmowers can make your life a heck of lot easier by cutting down on a the effort required to complete a chore.

Much like the early robot vacuum cleaners, though, this new breed of mower is often expensive, a bit clumsy and not designed to completely eliminate a task.

You can't just chuck one in an overgrown garden and expect miracles. And neither can you expect to never have to get a manual mower out again - or, at least, a trimmer.

However, having lived with a few robot lawnmowers over the past few years - from brands such as Flymo, Gardena and Bosch - I can say that the Automower 450X is the most impressive machine I've had the fortune to test.

Read on for my full review to find out why...

Husqvarna Automower 450X: Price and alternatives

Being a Husqvarna, it doesn't come cheap at £3,999, even if it has been on the market for a few years now.

It's more expensive, and older, than stablemates such as the 405X, which is around half the price and it's not as advanced as the more-expensive, newer, models such as the top-end 550, which will cost you north of £5,000.

However, if you don't need the most up-to-date model - and you want a robo mower that is designed for medium to large gardens, then the 450X is a fantastic option.

It can handle areas of up to 5,000m² - that's well over an acre in old money - and is the robot mower most capable of navigating big inclines with official support of gradients up to 45%.

You'll find rival machines from the likes of Flymo and Gardena (which are both Husqvarna brands by the way) at much more affordable price-tags but, having tested the 450X and a range of the lesser machines, there's really no comparison.

Husqvarna Automower 450X: Design, build and installation

Husqvarna Automower 450X review: Luxury lawn made easy

The 450X is an absolute beast. It looks like a car - it even has LED headlights which automatically fire up when it's operating in the dark. These lights also flash to get your attention if the 450X runs into trouble.

And the speed in which it moves adds to to the comparison. It flew around our little garden without breaking a sweat - this bad boy was huge overkill in our garden of less than 500m².

Like a robot vacuum cleaner, the 450X charges at its own base station, which you'll need to place near an outdoor power unit.

Husqvarna Automower 450X review: Luxury lawn made easy

Unlike a robot vacuum cleaner, the 450X won't automatically find the base station when it is finished its duties though; like most robot lawnmowers you'll have to install a boundary wire to keep your Automower in check.

If your boundary wire is set to be pretty basic - i.e. a rectangular lawn without features or anomalies - then you could probably install it yourself as it's just a case of burying it an inch or two below the surface along the edge of the perimeter.

Thrown in a pond, a jungle gym, a trampoline, different levels, multiple lawns, flower beds and anything else you'd expect to find in a garden though and you'll need the help of a pro to install the wire.

The good news is they can get pretty creative with what they can do and you can end up getting every blade of grass, no matter how obscure or difficult to get to, cut, using an array of multiple boundaries and guide wires.

Most likely though, you'll end up with a few patches that are too small or narrow for the 450X, and you'll still have top do the odd bit of strimming and trimming manually.

In our garden, for example, there is a small gap behind the in-ground trampoline that is off limits for the 450X... and it sometimes gets a bit stuck navigating itself out of there...

Husqvarna Automower 450X: In use

Husqvarna Automower 450X review: Luxury lawn made easy

The Automower can run for well over four hours from a 60 minute charge and it only took a couple of days to transform our lawn from the first time we installed it and the grass was very long, as you can see in the image above.

Everything just looked much neater and healthier, thanks partly to the natural mulching the machine does as it feeds the micro trimmings back into the lawn.

We have our 450X going for a couple of hours every other day and the lawn looks the best it has in years. We never really notice the grass growing now, apart from the areas that our outside of its limits.

A cool feature is the spiral spot mode, where the 450X will cut in a spiral pattern away from a central point - do this a few times and it's possible to get a nice pattern on your lawn.

However, on the regular cutting mode you don't need to worry about lines or streaks - it actually uses its own built-in GPS to navigate to five different remote start points to randomize the cutting patterns.

That GPS doesn't mean you don't need a boundary wire though - which is a shame. Given the companion app provides a satellite image of where the 450X is, and it uses GPS to navigate, you'd have thought a virtual area could have been set in the app - but not so.

However, that GPS does come in handy when navigating narrow passages. We've got a thin corridor between a kid's jungle gym in our garden and, once the 450X had realized that, it really took its time getting through that, making sure it trimmed all the available grass.

The GPS is also used as part of a security system as it won't work outside of a set area. Talking security and you'll also need a PIN to reactivate the machine should it detect it's been lifted.

It will also sound an alarm if someone takes it away from its cutting zone.

Husqvarna Automower 450X: Apps and connectivity

Husqvarna Automower 450X review: Luxury lawn made easy

The 450X is clever - and not just the app (which it connects to using its own 3G SIM, so no need for a separate hub) - it knows what the weather has been like, so knows whether more or less cutting is required; and it also knows if it's raining - it goes home to its base, if that's the case.

The app itself is simple to use with everything you'd expect to see present and correct; stop and start functionality, schedule setting, device settings and so on.

There's also a monochrome panel on the machine itself for manual operation and for tweaking the settings.

You can also sync your 450X with Alexa or Google Assistant for voice controls, and there's also an Apple Watch app too for wrist-based operation.

Husqvarna Automower 450X review: Luxury lawn made easy

Feature check: 24cm mowing width; 20-60mm grass height; 5,000m² coverage; 45% slopes; 60 minute charge time; 270 minute battery life; 58db noise level; 31 x 72 x 56cm; 13.9kg; GPS and 3G.

Husqvarna Automower 450X
Let's start with the biggie – the price tag. Sure, the 450X isn't exactly exactly cheap but the Automower range is the ultimate in smart garden tech luxury. Imagine not having to mow your lawn ever again – anyone with even a small patch of grass will tell you what a ball-ache mowing can be, especially in the summer where bi-weekly trims are often required. There's nothing back breaking at all about pushing a button on a phone or Apple Watch, or shouting at Alexa and letting a robot mower do the hard work. It's not perfect – it occasionally gets stuck around objects like stepping stones and you still might need a strimmer for getting to those hard to reach edges – but the 450X will save you hours and hours walking around pushing a lawnmower. You may need to get someone in to install the hidden wire that keeps the Automower on track, especially if your garden is feature rich, and you'll need an outside power point for the charging station, but that's about it for the hassle stakes. The 450X is one of, if not the best, robot lawnmower that I've lived with.
  • GPS and 3G on board
  • Cuts superbly
  • Navigates complex gardens
  • Alexa and Google compatibility
  • Expensive as heck
  • Big, bulky machine
  • Boundary line needs installing
  • You need outdoor power

TAGGED    smart home

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