The Ambrogio L60 Elite is easy to set up and operate, and cuts grass well, though it tends to leave uncut strips along the lawn's edges. Despite its steep price tag, for the right person with the right lawn it could be a good alternative to doing your own mowing or paying for a mowing service.
The Ambrogio L60 Elite is a compact robot lawnmower intended for lawns of up to 200 square metres. Unlike most robot mowers, it needs no perimeter wires installed – it runs much like a robot vacuum cleaner, navigating the area itself and turning around when it hits a hard edge or wall. It's generally easy to set up and run, and does a good job of cutting the grass, though it tends to leave uncut areas along lawn edges.
How well does the Ambrogio L60 Elite work?
We put the Ambrogio through its paces on a typical suburban backyard lawn, about 45 square metres in area. It cut the grass well – the first pass over the grass seemed to lack cutting power but after a few more passes, the grass was left neatly cut. Not every part of the lawn was evenly mown, but generally the robot left the grass looking very good.
It does have some weaknesses, for instances edges can be left uncut. We found some edge areas were left with an uncut strip of 12–18cm, depending on the orientation of the mower when it reached that part, and how often it went over it. Possibly if run every day for a few weeks, it might get to some of these areas more effectively, but we wouldn't expect perfect edge coverage.
Also, the mower can't cut the grass shorter than 42mm. This is OK for most common lawn grass types such as buffalo or kikuyu, but may not be short enough for some other types.
The wheels are also capable of damaging grass if the mower frequently goes over or turns around on a particular spot, but this is fairly uncommon. Overall, the grass is left looking neat and tidy after a mowing session.
The mower's battery has four hours of running time after a two-hour charge. Our test lawn is fairly level, but lawns with more slopes and obstacles will use up charge faster. The mower can manage slopes of up to 40%.
How easy is the Ambrogio L60 Elite to use?
Overall, the Ambrogio L60 Elite is easy to use. The robot is controlled by a set of buttons and indicators on its top surface. We found the onboard controls easy to operate, though the indicator lights are tiny and hard to see in direct sunlight, and the meaning of the various blinking patterns isn't very intuitive.
The supplied instruction manual is comprehensive and should be read before you start using the robot. You can also control the robot via a smartphone app using Bluetooth – it's easy to set this up and operate the robot via the app.
Most robot lawnmowers require a perimeter wire to be set up around the lawn edges, often buried in the ground, so the robot can sense when it's reached a boundary. There's no need for that with the Ambrogio, but the edges of the lawn still need to be clearly defined for the robot – for example, a wall, hedge or small metal arches at least 9cm high, or flat paving at least 35cm wide. If the model has a drop-off sensor (as this one does), a curb of at least 5cm followed by a step depth of at least 5cm will also serve as a boundary.
The robot can navigate major obstacles such as trees and clothes line poles, but you'll need to clear the lawn of other items such as toys. Small obstacles such as holes in the ground, protruding tree roots or pop-up sprinkler heads may need to be removed, or delimited (such as with a fence of small metal arches, as mentioned above), in case they damage, or are damaged by, the mower blade. Likewise you may need to fence off any very narrow sections that might trap the robot.
And of course, keep pets and young children away from the robot mower at all times.
The Ambrogio L60 Elite is quieter than the battery-powered push mowers we've tested. We measured its noise level as 52dBA at a distance of 7.5m, compared to well over 60dBA for most of the push mowers. This means the robot is quiet enough not to disturb you or the neighbours in normal daytime operation.
The mower's cutting height can be set at 42mm or 48mm – this requires you to turn the unit over and use a screwdriver for the blade's securing bolts and height spacer. This is a bit of work but after all, once you've decided on your preferred height, you'll probably not need to change it again.
Charging and maintenance
When it's out of charge, the robot simply stops, and you need to carry it back to the charger and plug it in. Weighing over 9kg, it's a hefty little machine, but it has carry handles to make this easier.
The robot has an IPX4 rating, meaning it's splash-proof and fairly rain-resistant, but still it's not recommended to operate it in rain or very humid weather. Just as with a conventional lawnmower, mowing wet grass is not ideal as the grass is harder to cut and can end up torn and damaged. Also the robot can end up damp and there's always a risk of water getting in, despite the IPX4 rating.
The robot should be cleaned regularly with a brush or cloth (not water or chemicals) and the blades sharpened when necessary. The instructions recommend an annual service by an authorised service centre.
Is this robot lawnmower right for you?
The Ambrogio L60 Elite could be a good option if you have a small to medium-sized lawn that:
- has clearly defined hard edges
- no steep slopes
- not many obstacles
- is secure, so a thief can't easily snatch the robot.
It's also helpful if you just really don't like mowing! Its $1999 price is pretty hefty compared to many battery-powered push mowers – our lawnmower reviews have recommended some models that cost only around $500, though you can pay $1000 or more.
Other options for not mowing the lawn yourself include letting it grow wild, paving it over or getting a sheep, but the usual choice is to pay someone else to mow it for you.
A regular mowing service could easily cost about $1000 per year, assuming they come once a month in cooler seasons and twice a month in spring and summer. So the robot could certainly pay for itself within a couple of years. But mowing services usually do more than just cut the grass, like trimming the edges, clearing away fallen sticks and twigs, and so on. It's your call whether the robot is the best option for you.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.