Could the Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD robot lawn mower save me from one of one of my least favorite chores? While my front yard isn’t very large, it’s a pain in the butt to mow. Not only is it hilly — it slopes down a good 25 degrees — but in order to actually cut the grass, I have to pick up my lawnmower and carry it up a few steps.
So the idea of a robot lawn mower that could save me the trouble was very appealing. As I found out during this Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD review, the mower works well, but it comes at a steep price.
Husqvarna 435X AWD review: Price and availability
Size: 36.6 x 21.7 x 11.4 inches
Weight: 38 pounds
Battery capacity: 5 Ah
Working area: 0.9 acres
Mow time: 100 mins
Max incline: 50%
The Automower 435X AWD was first released in 2019, and costs $4,799. It’s the company’s top-end consumer model, and has all-wheel drive, GPS-assisted navigation, and an anti-theft geofencing, so it won’t work outside a proscribed area. It also supports the use of additional guidewires to more efficiently mow your lawn.
For the size of my front lawn - a few hundred square feet at most — the 435X AWD is overkill; the only reason the company suggested I try it over less expensive models was because of my yard’s slope of about 25 degrees. If your yard isn’t as steep, you can probably get away with a much more inexpensive unit.
Here’s a rundown of all of Husqvarna’s consumer robot lawn mowers, and the type and size yard they can handle.
|Model||Price||Working Area||Mow time||Max incline|
|115H||$1,199||0.4 acres||60 mins||15%|
|315X||$1,799||0.4 acres||70 mins||15%|
|430X||$2,499||0.8 acres||145 mins||15%|
|450X||$4,099||1.25 acres||270 mins||15%|
|435X AWD||$4,799||0.9 acres||100 mins||50%|
Husqvarna 435X AWD review: Design
“That thing looks like the Batmobile,” said my wife the first time she saw the 435X. Its angular design, low-slung body, large front wheels, slit-like LED headlights and rotating rear section makes it seem like something Bruce Wayne would drive if he owned a lawncare service.
The 435’s plastic body is a metallic gray, with orange accents on the wheels. The wheels on the front section of the mower are larger than those in the rear; the rear section pivots to allow the mower to turn while it’s navigating your yard. Arrayed around its edges are a number of collision sensors
On the top of the 435 is a small display that, in combination with a small dial, lets you control the mower to a certain extent; it’s intuitive and easy to use, but you’ll need the accompanying smartphone app for most other things. Also on top is a large, orange STOP lever that you can press to pause the mower.
Flipping the 435X over reveals its cutting blades. Like most robot lawnmowers, it has what are essentially three razor blades that spin around; according to Husqvarna, the blades should be replaced every 3-4 months, depending on how often the mower goes out, as well as the size of your yard.
Unlike a traditional lawnmower — where you might go out every week or so to cut your grass — the 435X and other robot lawnmowers are designed to make their rounds every few days, just slicing off bits of grass at a time. This way, the cut bits of grass are small enough to decompose on your yard itself, creating a sort of virtuous cycle.
Husqvarna 435X AWD review: Installation
Robot lawnmowers work in much the same way as the first generation of robot vacuums, randomly traversing your lawn until everything is mowed. However, because there’s no walls to stop them, you need to install a boundary wire around the perimeter of your yard to keep the mower from straying.
The boundary wire is simply secured flush to your lawn by a series of plastic stakes, and then connects to the mower’s recharging station. You then plug in the charging station, and a low-voltage current goes through the wire, telling the robot where to stop. I installed a similar system with another robot lawnmower in my rear yard — which is not even an eighth of an acre — in about 45 minutes.
For some of Husqvarna’s less expensive robot lawnmowers, the company will let you install the boundary wire yourself, but for the 435X, the company requires you to use a professional installer. The person installing the boundary wire in my yard typically charges about $850 to $1,000 for installation, depending on the complexity of the yard, and if he has to route any wires underneath sidewalks or pathways. The wire is installed about an inch or two underground — they have a special machine for that — so there’s no risk of tripping over it.
Husqvarna 435X AWD review: Performance
The Husqvarna Automower 435X worked very well for about a week, silently making its rounds and trimming my lawn. My neighbors were all impressed, stopping by to watch it work — without fail, someone would always pause their walk to observe it driving around my lawn. Some even took videos. My cat was the only thing nonplused by the contraption, growling when it came too near. But he got used to it.
However, after a couple of weeks, the mower started behaving erratically, sending collision errors when in reality, it hadn’t hit anything, and requiring me to go out and reset it. When it tried to dock with its base station, it was worse than Meadow Soprano trying to park outside Holsten's. And, the control dial on the top of the mower also got stuck, so I couldn’t make any changes on the mower itself.
After sending out a technician who determined that a motor in the mower had gone bad, the company sent me an entirely new model, which worked flawlessly in the two months since it was installed. It even made it through tropical storm Irma, which dumped around 10 inches of rain in my area.
One other benefit is that the 435X is dead silent. Even though I and many of my neighbors have electric lawnmowers and trimmers, they still make considerably more noise than the robot lawnmower, which does its job without making a sound.
Bear in mind that, because the 435X moves in a random pattern, your lawn won't look like the infield at Wrigley, with neat, parallel mowing lines; it's a small price to pay for the convenience of not having to do this chore yourself.
Husqvarna 435X AWD review: App
Husqvarna’s automower app lets you create a schedule for when the mower cuts your lawn; you can also manually tell it to start mowing or go back to its docking station. While the mower doesn’t have Wi-Fi, it does have Bluetooth and 4G LTE (from either AT&T or T-Mobile), so you can check on the 435X’s status remotely. Here, you can also set the geofencing radius for the mower, so that if it strays outside the area, it will stop working and send you an alert, along with its location. It’s a handy anti-theft feature, especially for something this expensive. However, you have to be within Bluetooth range to change any settings, such as the schedule and cutting height.
A map view overlays the mower’s most recent outing over a satellite view of your lawn; it’s fairly accurate and fun to look at, but not terribly revealing.
You can also connect the mower with Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT, though it’s not obvious how to do so. Under the Smart Home tab, there are suggestions for things you can set up - such as “Park your mower if weather forecast predicts heavy rain.” In fact, even after I had linked the 435X to Alexa (by going into the Alexa app and activating the Automower skill), there was no indication in the Automower app that it had been paired. However, it is pretty neat that you can ask Alexa to get the 435X to start mowing.
Husqvarna 435X AWD review: Verdict
The Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD has worked so well that I’ve completely forgotten about having to mow my lawn, or even the act of mowing. I’ll occasionally go out and use a weed whacker to trim some edges, but it’s saved me dozens of hours of work on the weekend — time I’d rather spend with my family. On the downside, my wife says I now need to do additional chores.
But the cost for this convenience is high; a professional service costs, on average, about $45 per week to mow your lawn (according to Bobvila.com). Assuming that you need your grass mowed every week for about six months out of the year, that would mean that it would be at least five years before the 435X would pay for itself, factoring in the cost of the mower and installation.
If my yard wasn’t so steep, I’d definitely try a less expensive robot lawnmower — there are a few models from Husqvarna and its main competitor, Worx, that are less than $1,500 — to save me from slogging my mower up and down the yard ever again.