Hands-on review: Honda Miimo 3000 robot lawnmower
Image credit: Honda
It’s not cheap, but a mechanical gardener can keep things in order even while you’re sleeping.
Robotic lawnmowers make a lot of sense if you have a good-sized lawn. In fact, we’d argue that they make much more sense than robotic vacuum cleaners.
The problem with robo vacs is that none of us live in show homes and the robots don’t tidy up for us. They can’t clean effectively when there’s stuff sitting on the floor and they can’t navigate under dining tables and the sea of chair legs. If you live in a house, they certainly can’t handle the stairs or traverse them to clean multiple floors.
Lawns, on the other hand, tend to be more straightforward. If you keep yours fairly free of impediments (and most of us do, even if only so the grass can grow) then the mower can get on with the job in hand.
Miimo 3000 is Honda’s top-of-the-range robotic mower. It can mow a lawn of up to 4,000 square metres (an acre) with an impressive cutting time of up to 90 minutes on each charge. The garden can be divided into up to five different zones, each with different settings to suit its needs.
The price of a premium mower like this can’t be weighed against a basic manual mower; instead you have to consider how much it costs annually to pay a gardener to do the job. Because Miimo does all the work for you.
Initial setup, like all robotic mowers, means pegging down a wire near the perimeter right the way around the lawn. The two ends of the wire terminate at a weatherproof charging dock which requires mains power. In theory, it’s a DIY job. In practice, if you’re investing in a high-end mower like this you’ll want the dealer to deliver and install it to get the installation perfect.
The mower is surprisingly forgiving of the setup: our garden has a significant slope and gets muddy much of the year, thanks to London clay, but Miimo handled the slope fine and it claims to mow inclines of up to an impressive 25 degrees (47 per cent).
We also found its chunky wheels to be very competent on slippery ground, whether that’s wet grass or muddy patches. In months of testing it only ever struggled once.
More basic Miimo models start at £1,799 (1,500 square metres mowing area) but this top model offers more than just a bigger mowing area: you can pair it with the Mii-monitor app over Bluetooth to control it and access remote diagnostics.
This is no gimmick: if you want to reprogram your weekly mowing schedule, you can do it lazing in a hammock rather than bending over the mower. We found the app control very impressive; it’s easy to adjust not only the schedule but also the mowing height, and to check that everything’s OK with the mower.
The scheduling came into its own when we had our only real challenge, not a robotic issue or even human error, rather a canine challenge. The puppy interacted with Miimo. He interacted with it a lot. He might even have thought Miimo was another dog as he would repeatedly run in front of the mower, stop and bark.
The simplest way to keep things quiet for the neighbours was counterintuitive. We adjusted the schedule so Miimo mows in the early hours of the morning three times a week, while the dog is asleep indoors. Incredibly, the mowing is so quiet that it doesn’t affect anyone. Why mow by day when it can be done magically overnight?
Like other robotic mowers, Miimo doesn’t have a grass box to empty, instead it cuts little and often, scattering the tiny grass clippings to mulch, feeding the lawn. It also trundles automatically to its charging base when it’s done or when it needs more juice.
In all, Miimo impressed us hugely. The technology works brilliantly for large lawns without too many impediments. But it is pricey so it’s best suited to those with large lawns and large bank balances.
Intelligent mowing, intelligent charging, 15 cutting-height settings, and app control on the top-of-the-range iMow MI632 PC.
There’s a Robomow to suit almost every budget, from a compact model that mows up to 200 square metres to a range-topping mower that handles up to 5,000 square metres. There’s app control and even Alexa voice control on top models.
Affordable for a mower that handles lawns of up to 400 square metres. Don’t expect app control at this price, but it will save you work in the garden.
around £599.99 flymo.com/uk
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