Professional boundary wire installation recommended
The Husqvarna Automower 310 Mark II is a really capable robot lawnmower. It requires an initial investment in its set up and it lacks frills but its core functions are excellent. Recommended.
While this year’s hottest trend in garden tech is robot lawnmowers that don’t require boundary wires, the traditional models will be around for a long time. The ability to control exactly where your machine will and won’t go is simply so much better when you use boundary wire. Or in my case, when you hire an installer to do it for you.
But if you’re looking for a robot lawnmower that doesn’t require boundary wires, read our review of the excellent Segway Navimow.
Setting up the Automower 310 Mark II
Uses boundary wires
Optional guide cable
With a proper machine and an installer who has a keen eye for detail, you’re setting the stage for trouble-free mowing – instead of spending your time looking for breaks in the cable.
Husqvarna’s 310 series (now Mark II) is, according to the brand, the best seller in its product catalogue and I understand why. It offers lots of great features while being specified for lawns up to 1,000 square metres. The basic version communicates with the app via Bluetooth but can be controlled via Wi-Fi and 4G if you buy a “Connect kit”. I’m beginning by testing the mower in the simplest version, but plan to update it for remote control later this summer and will update the review then.
I enlisted the help of an installer to set up the mower on a plot of just over 1,000 square metres that has various challenges. There are flat surfaces and mossy outcrops, pits, slopes and various obstacles, as well as a narrow, one-metre passage between two sections of the garden.
The Automower 310 supports a guide cable, which will help it find its way back home, and you can also use it to create several different starting points on your lawn, to get full coverage.
This is done by marking different distances along the cable as alternative starting points. You then choose what percentage of the mowing time should begin from each starting point. In this way, you can ensure that the entire plot is covered even if you have remote areas. Smart!
The mower also has a lot of other great features. For example, you can wire in an extra area and carry the machine there to mow. Or spot-mow areas with extra tall grass, something I tested and which works surprisingly well.
There’s also a weather timer (which adjusts timings depending on how fast the grass grows), frost protection and the ability to create different profiles with customised settings for multiple areas.
You can tell that Husqvarna has been doing this for a while and puts the core mowing features before add-ons. But you have the option to connect the machine to IFTTT Applets or use Google Assistant to control it.
Without the Connect kit, the phone and app communicate with the Automower 310 via Bluetooth. It works well, but after a couple of weeks I got the urge to upgrade the machine. Installing a Connect kit means that the machine needs to be opened up, which needs to be done in a workshop as the mower then needs to be resealed.
It would be preferable from a user perspective to just be able to plug in an add-on module yourself. However, I assume the current solution minimises support calls, so the decision is understandable.
The Husqvarna Automower 310 has no radar or ultrasonic obstacle detection. It simply runs towards things it encounters and then turns around when it’s stopped by an obstacle. It won’t damage tree trunks, but you’ll want to remember to remove toys and other items from the yard when it’s running.
Traction and manoeuvrability
How well does the mower get around when the ground is difficult? Even though it’s only rear-wheel drive (you can buy four-wheel-drive mowers), traction and manoeuvrability is really good. One area of the lawn had a number of pits made by wild animals and the 310 never got stuck. It’s quite clever when it needs to get out of a difficult situation. The only times the machine got stuck in the beginning were when it drove up onto roots I hadn’t put boundary wire around.
There’s always a learning curve with a new robot mower, but Husqvarna’s little workhorse is very impressive when it comes to getting around. And it never had a problem with the narrow passage between two parts of the garden.
The Husqvarna Automower 310 Mark II is far from a budget buy. But we think that for its price point, it represents good value and excellent quality.
In the US, you can buy it from a number of retailers, including Amazon and Beaconsfield Mowers. Price points tend to vary, so it’s a good idea to shop around.
Prices vary in the UK as well, but we spotted it at less than RRP from retailers including Garden Machinery Direct. But the best price at the time of writing is from FR Jones & Son.
I’ve tested some cheaper machines from competitors in the same class as the Husqvarna Automower 310 and there’s really a difference between investing in a quality machine like this and a cheap contender from a player with less experience in the field.
We will keep testing new models that appear, but at the time of writing this is the best value and most well thought-out robot mower I have tested for this plot size. Recommended!
This article originally appeared on M3.se and has been translated.
Manufacturer: Husqvarna Cutting area: Up to 1,000 square metres Maximum inclination: 40 degrees Cutting height: 20-50 mm Anti-theft protection: Pin code and alarm Protection class: IPX5 Connectivity: Bluetooth Obstacle detection: No Weight: 9.4kg/ 20.7lbs Dimensions: 43x25x57cm