The Navimow is a fantastic way to keep your lawn looking trim, but you will need a wide expanse of open and flat turf to get the best value from this mower.
It sounds like a horticultural dream: a robot mower with no need for boundary wires that you can control from your smart phone. And it can be… if you have the right kind of lawn in the right kind of place.
There are four Navimow models available, for lawns ranging from 500m2 to 3000m2. We’re testing the H1500E, which is – as you might guess by its model name – for lawns up to 1500m2.
Design and build
7.8Ah lithium battery capacity
The Navimow is big.
The box arrived at our testing ground on a pallet, which gives you an idea of the size and weight. The charging base alone is 80cm long by 55cm wide, and the mower itself is 58cm by 46cm by 25cm.
The mower is also heavy, so you may need help to manoeuvre and unpack it from the box and set it up on your lawn. It’s not a product you could have delivered to your grandmother and expect it to solve her gardening problems.
Both the body of the charging base and the mower are hard plastic: black for the charging base, and gunmetal grey with orange accents for the mower. The off-road wheels at the back of the mower, 20cm in diameter, have a chunky rubberised orange tread and good traction.
The top of the mower boasts a large red stop button, an LCD screen, and three buttons: one to start mowing, an okay button, and a home button. In this way, it is similar to the basic operation buttons you might find on a robot vacuum. The buttons also double up as plus, minus and power buttons, which you use to lock and unlock the mower’s pin code.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
The Navimow’s USP is that it uses GPS positioning to control the mower’s movements, rather than boundary wires. So, naturally, this means it has an antenna, which is a black transmitter mushroom that fits onto a black, forked, metal pole a metre high and needs to stand next to the charging base.
Again, the lithium battery is substantial at 7.8Ah, which allows this model of the Navimow to cover a 1500m2 lawn size.
The Navimow also has IPX6 waterproof protection, so it’s protected against a high pressure of water, but you can’t submerge it entirely. In short, it will withstand heavy rainfall, but won’t survive if it gets swept up in a flash flood.
Before you buy, you need to check that the Navimow will work for your lawn. Segway has created a Navimow checklist on its website for this purpose, and we’d strongly advise you go through it before you decide to purchase one of its mowers.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
The checklist takes about five to ten minutes to complete, and it will ask you what your lawn looks like, about your borders, how big your lawn is, about surrounding tree and house heights, and about passages between patches of turf. Upon completion, you will get an email of your result, which you can use to inform your decision.
Do be aware that the Navimow requires 15cm clearance between its outer boundary mow line and a wall, fence, hedge or tall border, so if your lawn extends all the way to a wall or planted shrub border, you are likely to get a 15cm strip of unmown turf around the outskirts of your lawn.
You will benefit from the Navimow best if your lawn abuts planted borders with low height foliage at the front.
If you want to use the Navimow to mow different lawns, they will need to have a flat corridor between them that the mower can use to traverse from one lawn to the next. If you have, as we did, two lawns separated by a cobbled path with stone curbs, it’s not going to work.
Good app directions
GPS reception may require charging base location adjustment
Lawn needs to be 6cm high or less
We’ll be honest: setting up the Navimow looks daunting. But it isn’t too much trouble once you get started.
The first thing is to ensure your lawn is 6cm high or less; this might mean, ironically, that you need to mow your lawn before you set up the Navimow. In this respect, you need to think of the Navimow as a lawn maintenance machine, rather than something that will sort out neglected grass. You also need to clear up any obstacles, such as toys or broken branches.
You then download the app from your app store – Navimow supplies a QR code – and set up your account within the app.
Next comes the installation of the charging station. You’ll need open ground with 110% skyward open clearance for the antenna, so the station needs to be on flat ground that is two metres away from any house, tree, fence or wall on any side, with reasonable access to a power point. Segway does supply a power extension cable, but bear in mind that you may need to shift the charging station to another location if reception is poor.
You then install the GNSS antenna next to the station. This is a simple matter of securing the antenna mushroom into the top pole half, screwing the bottom pole half into the fork, stabbing the fork into the ground, and then screwing both halves together. The antenna cable needs plugging into the back of the charging station, and this uses external waterproof fittings, like those on external fairy lights.
Plug in the charging station and the light on top of the station should illuminate blue if the antenna has a strong signal, or yellow if not – in which case, you will need to relocate the station and antenna to another part of your lawn.
You then activate the mower by placing it into the charging station and using the app to pair the mower to your smart phone. Once this occurs, you can screw the station into your turf and peg down your cables using the supplied screws and pegs.
The app will then take you through a calibration process, and you may find that this requires you move the base to another spot, even if the Navimow indicator light was previously green. The app will also take you through the Navimow checklist.
Once you’ve set everything up, it’s time to set up your boundary. You will get prompts through the app, but it’s a process of moving the Navimow to a starting position, fixing the 15cm measure to the mower, and then slowly directing it around the boundary of the plot you wish to mow using the arrow keys in the app.
You need to stand about 6 metres away from the mower at the back and slowly direct it. You then set your off-limit islands and create channels to other sections of lawn.
The final step is to then give it a test run. You’ll need to enter the pin code into the mower LCD screen to unlock the device.
In-app cutting height adjustment
The Navimow is quiet. Segway states 54 dB(A), but it seemed quieter to us and far below the noise level you’d expect from a conventional electric or petrol mower.
Through the app, you can set the cutting height between 3cm to 6cm, and schedule the mower to work at any time in a 24-hour window across all the days of the week. The app also allows you to switch on a rain sensor and set the light to “dark mode” so the light dims automatically if mowing at night.
For our first test, we set the height to 4cm. The Navimow did its job quietly and well. It zigzagged its way across the lawn in 21cm wide strips and covered 16m2 in roughly 15 minutes. The coverage was even and careful. You can follow the real-time progress of the Navimow in the smartphone app.
One thing to note is that the Navimow deposits cuttings back onto the lawn, so if you want a clean finish, you may want to rake up the cuttings afterwards.
For the second test, we scheduled the Navimow to cut to 3cm at a particular time of day. Again, we were impressed. The Navimow was so quiet, we didn’t realise it had begun to mow and it didn’t miss a spot.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
The mower can’t cope with slopes over 45 degrees, but we found that wasn’t a problem.
In terms of safety, there is a big red stop button on top of the mower itself, and a blade sensor that stops the mowers blades spinning when the sensor area is touched.
When the mower has finished, it returns to the charging station and charges automatically. You can check the charge level through the app’s main page.
The Navimow also boasts an anti-theft feature in its Exact Fusion Location System, which means you get an alert to your phone if the mower moves outside of its virtual boundary, and its current real time location.
You can buy accessories for the Navimow, including a VisionFence sensor that allows the Navimow to adapt to more complex lawns and avoid obstacles in a more intelligent way.
There’s also an ultrasonic sensor accessory that will, again, help to avoid obstacles. You can also buy a temporary fence to protect areas you want the Navimow to avoid, and an antenna extension kit, including an extension cable, if you want to install your antenna on a wall or roof.
Price and availability
We tested the H1500E with the 7.8Ah lithium battery for lawns up to 1500m2.
If you need more coverage than this, there is the H3000E for lawns up to 3000m2; this model comes with an integral ultrasonic sensor and three years free 4G data.
If you don’t need so much coverage, there’s the H500E and H800E for lawns of 500m2 and 800m2 respectively. The H500E works using Wi-Fi and has no GPS anti-theft measures.
If you’re in the UK, visit the Segway Navimow website, where you’ll be able to find a full list of local dealerships. There are also online buying options. FR Jones & Son has the entire range on its website: the H500E, the H800E, the H1500E and the H3000E.
If you’re in the US, you can get a Navimow via Indiegogo but you’ll need to be quick to get it at its best price.
The Segway Navimow is a brilliant robot mower. It’s quiet. It does the job well. You don’t need to fuss with boundary wires. But it is pricey.
Depending on where you live, there are limitations. If you have a high mound of turf outside your back door, or tall trees or shrubs sprouting out of your lawn, or lots of grassed walkways in-between raised beds, you won’t get the best value out of it.
But if you have a mostly flat, largish series of lawns, open to the sky, with flat corridors between the lawns and low front borders, you will love the Navimow. You can schedule the mower through the app, and just forget about your lawns from May to October. It’s a wonderful way to keep your lawn tidy and weed-free.