Landroid vs Bosch Indego
After seven seasons my Bosch Indego robotic lawn mower finally threw in the towel, and I decided to upgrade to a Worx Landroid. After some time with the Landroid I thought I’d put together a comparison and share some thoughts about moving from a position aware lawn mower to a “random cutter”.
This post contains my own thoughts and opinions and is not sponsored by Bosch or Worx.
The veteran - Bosch Indego
End of life
Purchased in 2013, the Indego was becoming quite dated and since the warranty ran out in 2018 I haven’t had any services or firmware upgrades. But it kept my lawn in a really good shape up until late summer 2020 when it stopped finding its way back to the charging station and, in the rare cases it did, it wobbled too much to align and connect to the charging pins. Bosch support suggested a service (probably a broken compass component) but servicing the Bosch Indego out of warranty is quite costly as it involves packaging and shipping the unit abroad. I did this several times during the warranty period, for both service and winter storage, and although Bosch always took the cost I still got the receipts so I knew this would probably be quite expensive. So this time I decided to purchase a new model instead.
Seven years is probably in the lower end of what I initially thought when spending 1200€ on the device, for a couple of hundred euros I might have been able to run it a few more seasons, but the battery would probably go bad soon (and the Indego battery is expensive). Also, whispers started spreading about a new robotic lawn mower - WiFi connected, modular and regularely upgraded firmware…
The Bosch Indego is not a “random cutter”, like most other robotic lawn mowers on the market. It instead keeps an internal memory of your lawn and works over it in parallel lines, very much like robotic vacuums and the way you manually mow a lawn. It spends its first time learning and mapping the lawn, along with any “islands”, and can then navigate pretty much without the perimeter wire. As the battery goes low, it returns to the charging station (it knows the lawn and its own position, so it doesn’t need to navigate home around the perimeter wire) and then returns back to continue where it left off.
I’m not 100% sure how the navigation and mapping is done, but I believe it’s a combination of synchronizing with the wire signal and constantly calculating and keeping detailed track of every move and turn. It does not have any lidar or cameras like robotic vacuums. Any way, it works really well.
Logicut is hard to beat. After learning the lawn (usually took about a week or so) I scheduled my Bosch to start at 09.00 and it typically finished and returned home at around 19.30, having cut every bit of grass. This is quite impressive considering I have a 1600m2 yard that is quite complex (U-shaped, lots of islands, height variations and thin passages). I scheduled this between one and three times a week, depending on the season, weather and grass growth.
Logicut (left), random cutting (right).
The best part is it’s so predictable - once the Bosch is done in one area, you know it won’t come back during that run (apart from, possibly, a drive by on its way to the docking station). So you can do stuff like watering, grilling, throwing out kids toys, etc.
Service and spare parts
During the first five years, Bosch took all costs for service and firmware upgrades, apart from a static shipping fee. Also spare parts (blades, wheels and generally anything that wore out) where easy to get hold on and not very expensive.
The first generation Indego lacks a lot of technology that is considered standard in robotic lawn mowers today.
No rain sensor
Cutting grass in heavy rain is not very good, with the Indego you have to run out in the rain and manually push the button to send it back to the charging station.
There is no app or connectivity - everything is done by hand on the device display, and there is no way of knowing if the devices is charging, mowing or stuck. (Unless you build some kind of DIY sensors for this yourself, like I did)
Unable to upgrade firmware
You have to send the device to Bosch in order to get the latest firmware. The first two years I did this several times, because it simply didn’t work as expected. After 2015 the firmware became good and stable. But it’s still annoying to not be able to do this yourself.
Loud and heavy
Being heavy is not always a bad thing. The Bosch has good traction and rarely slips, but it does leave clear wheel tracks. The motor is also quite loud.
Sensitive to wire changes
If you need to move the perimeter wire by just a few centimeters anywhere, you typically have to delete the current map and re-map. This is no problem if you find a problematic area a day or so after installing it, but a lot worse if the Indego just spent a week learning your lawn.
The newcomer - Worx Landroid
In contrast to the Bosch Indego, the Worx Landroid is a “random cutter” - it does not keep track of its location or how much work is left with the lawn. It instead bounces around inside the perimeter wire until it decides it spent enough time out on the lawn for the day. Eventually, it will have worked over the the entire lawn.
This is the most significant difference between the two devices - where you typically only see the Bosch work on the lawn once or twice a week, prepare to meet your Landroid every day. Since it’s not aware of how much of the lawn it reaches, it needs to run often.
App and the Worx platform
Worx seem to have a good base platform for the Landroid. It’s a connected platform, with inputs like online weather reports, combined with options for grass type and lawn size to create an automatic schedule. It feels like a platform that is built for extensibility.
The app is good with easy overviews, settings and alerts.
The Landroid has a rain sensor and configurable rain delay, to avoid cutting wet grass.
Regular firmware upgrades
Worx work actively with the firmware, and it is easily upgraded using the app. Not only bug fixes, but also new features and improvements are regularely added.
I could hear my Bosch through my house wall when lying in bed for the night and it was nearby, and in order to check if it was running I just had to open my front door no matter where on the yard it was. The Landroid is quite silent, you can only hear it when it’s nearby.
One of my favorite aspects of the Landroid is that it’s modular; you can purchase addon modules for improved functionality like obstacle detection, GPS tracking, etc. They are a bit pricey, but at least the option is available.
Random mowing pattern
I prefer the predictable pattern of Logicut over the random mowing pattern, but the end result is the same - the grass is evenly cut and looks good. With the modularity of the Landroid, I guess it’s possible Worx will eventually figure out and offer a Logicut-like addon module. (Perhaps taking advantage of modern positioning technologies like UWB/beacons?)
I think the device is a bit light weight by default, it slips easily even in dry grass. I changed my wheels to non-slip variants that added quite some weight, and the slippery turns went away, but this should really be the default for the price tag.
I feel the Landroid is a worthy replacement for the Bosch. Sacrificing the predictable Logicut for good app connectivity, modern and silent motors and the future-proofness of addon modules feels like a good deal. Will the Landroid last seven years like the Bosch? I’m not so sure. With a brand like Bosch you don’t have to worry about the longevity of the product, but I never heard of Worx before. With that said, I haven’t had any problems so far and hopefully they will step up with good support and spare parts when/if things start to break.