Gardena is Husqvarna, Husqvarna means years and years of experience in the sector. The Sileno range of robotic lawnmowers for garden today represents one of the best solutions for its value for money, price which obviously varies according to the needs and dimensions of the garden. As for electric cars, this variation is mainly due to the battery, which accounts for a large part of the cost of the robot: the 600 m version2 of the Sileno City has a battery and a faster charging system, because it must be able to cut an area twice as large as that of the Sileno City 250 m2 . Apart from this, the two robots are identical, both in size and in performance: same cutting area, same wheels, same brushless motors and same functionality, nothing really changes except battery and price.
The differences within the range of Gardena robots are very few, and this makes it easier to choose: in addition to the size of the lawn, on some models the width of the cutting area and the presence of the “smart” system also changes: some robots they can be connected to a phone via bluetooth while on the “smart” ones, much more expensive, there is also a gateway for the Wi-Fi connection.
The smart system is much more than a simple gateway: a “smart” robot also has a card inside with a dedicated processor that enables some advanced mapping functions, guided by a system called Lona Intelligence. A bit like for home robots, which using computer vision and lidar are able to draw a map of the rooms allowing to define the various areas, Thanks to Lona Intelligence, the Gardena Smart also have a similar management via app, a map of the garden.
The version we tested is the City 300 with bluetooth, much more affordable: 699 euros. Some advanced functions are also present on ours, such as CorridorCut, which allows the passage and cutting of narrow spaces and spot cutting, that is a spiral cutting pattern that facilitates the cutting of particular areas, for example those under a garden table.
There are also several sensors, such as the temperature sensor which detects, for example, frozen grass and avoids cutting and the growth sensor which adapts the cutting time to the actual growth of the lawn.
Installation is very simple, as with all robotic lawn mowers
The installation of a perimeter wire robotic lawnmower can initially be confusing, but just reading the instructions to realize that in the end, in less than two hours, you can do everything.
The time obviously varies depending on the size of the garden, because the longest and most tedious thing to do is to plant the perimeter wire delimiting the area beyond which the robot cannot go out. Gardena supplies a paper ruler that helps to keep track of the different distances, 32cm or 10cm. The latter, for example, is the distance of the wire from a possible path at the same level as the grass: in this way the robot goes on the path with the front wheels, and cuts up to the edge without damaging the blades. If we want, from the app, we can say to go a little further, but we found it incredibly precise in refining the edges.
If there are obstacles on which the robot cannot climb, the wire must be kept at about 30 cm to avoid the risk that, by taking a step, the robot will get stuck. The installation may also require several modifications, and after the first hours of operation you will immediately notice if it is necessary, in some points move the wire a few centimeters or bring it closer.
The wire must be pressed with the plastic pegs supplied with the blade of grass: it is green, you can hardly see it and as soon as the lawn grows back it almost completely disappears. With a little effort, using a small blade, it is possible to bury it even at a depth of 10 centimeters to hide it completely, even if only in some places.
In this, the Sileno City Gardena does not differ that much from many other robots on the market: except for those with GPS, which have a very different cost, they all have the perimeter wireAnd.
What makes the difference for these models is a second wire called the “guide wire”: this wire has the dual function of guiding the robot inside and out of the charging base and taking the robot to areas that would be difficult to reach.
Let’s explain better: lawnmower robots cannot have the rooms as a reference, nor the ceiling when working outdoors, so while a domestic robot is able to understand where it is, thanks to fixed references, a lawnmower robot moves on the ground according to a sort of automatic path that tries to cover the ground evenly, but without precise orientation points.
There are more advanced models that use computer vision and keep track of trees, bushes and various elements, but in the most popular versions, those under 1000 euros, the movement is totally random. This means that it is really difficult for a robot to pass in a narrow space less than 50 cm: he must enter the opening perfectly, because if he only gets close to the perimeter he goes back.
Many robots cannot reach all areas of a specially arranged garden, and if they do, it doesn’t always happen. Thanks to the guide wire, the Silenus can be guided with precision in areas of the garden, even distant and separated from the main one, as long as they are communicating.
If you want, if you can bring the cable to a non-communicating area of the garden, using for example a duct, it is possible to manage the garden in front of the house and the one behind with a single unit by moving the robot by hand. Just take him to the second area, tell him to cut this area and he’ll do his job until the battery runs out. Of course, the convenience of not having to do anything is lost, but it can be useful for those areas that do not need constant maintenance.
The presence of the guide wire is also useful in positioning the charging station: while with other robots this must be positioned in a particular place, with the robot having adequate space in front and behind to exit, which can constrain, in the case of Silenus the base can also be hidden inside a wooden house, in a particular place or in a niche. The robot will follow the cable for a distance that the user can define from the menu before starting to cut.
Extremely silent and not afraid of holes
Pulled out of the box, you quickly realize that the Gardena robot it is built with top quality materials. From wheels to plastic it is light but very strong, and it is also well protected against splashes of water. It can be in a garden where there is an irrigation system, it can be cleaned by lifting it and wetting it with the hose and it has no problems under a downpour, even if Gardena has provided a box to protect it from UV rays and pouring rain.
On the robot, in the upper part, there is a LED management panel from which each option can be configured, and a guided installation system is also included that helps in the first configuration, where the guide wire, the perimeter wire and the connection are checked .
The system also has bluetooth: the first connection must be made within three minutes of switching on the robot, then once paired, just open the app and the robot is connected. Through the app you can organize all the functions also present in the small top panel, obviously in a simpler, more immediate and even clearer way.
His main job is still cutting the grass, and after a couple of weeks we can only be perfectly satisfied with the work done. With one pass a day, excluding Sundays, in less than two hours the robot keeps a garden of 180 square meters perfectly level, with a 5 cm cut.
The height can be adjusted with an internal knob, but to go below four the lawn must be just perfect and the one we used for the test is not. During the cut the robot is very silent, you hear only a very slight noise while it cuts if you are at close range but even when used at night it is imperceptible.
The choice of putting two large wheels in front, accompanied by a very wide rear wheel, proved to be a winner: despite the lawn having several holes related to the eradication of weeds, in two weeks of use he never ran aground once, he always went back to base on his own.
The fairly raised structure allows him to pass with the rear wheel on holes even of 3/4 cm and to get out of them without problems. If you keep the cable 10 cm from a flush driveway, it also manages to walk the driveway with one wheel on the lawn and one on the concrete cutting the edge, which however it cannot do if the edge is close to a high obstacle: the position of the cutting blades, three, is central and this means that next to the walls there will always be a 5/10 cm area of grass to be finished with an edge trimmer.
Regarding the running cost for the 300 m2 City model we tested, at the moment not listed on the Gardena website (there are the 250 m2 and the 600 m2) we calculated a consumption for recharging the battery and for powering the perimeter wire of about 60 watts per day, which in a month of constant daily use means about 1.6 kWh of energy consumed. Obviously, it all depends on how long you run it: if every day the battery is almost exhausted and the lawn is mowed every day, consumption rises to 2.5 kWh, which is still negligible even with the price of energy skyrocketing: 1 euro per month.
Interesting is the possibility of activating an energy saving mode that powers the perimeter case and the guide wire only if the programmed cut is taking place, which allows you to save about ten watts per day.
A little robot that does a really great job
The Sileno City Gardena is able to do practically everything that is asked of a robot well, with the exception of cutting the edges along the perimeter walls where it leaves a 10 cm band. Unfortunately, even the models that have a long cut at the edges are not able to eliminate every tuft of grass today, and a little manual finishing work, once a week, is necessary.
We are faced with a very silent robot, 57 dB (A) which also works well on a lawn that is not necessarily as smooth and regular as a pool court. The guide wire may be the reason for choosing this model over other systems on the market: the base can be placed anywhere and the robot can also pass through very narrow corridors following this cable, which is not always a given.
The price changes according to the models: on the internet the 300 m2 version, perfect for most houses with small gardens, is sold for 699 euros with everything you need for installation inside: 150 meters of cable, pegs, splices and instructions.
There is also an additional cover, which is installed above the base and is not very cheap: it is not necessary, it is something more that can help preserve the color of the ABS which could discolour over time with UV rays.
We point out that the versions for sale on Amazon Warehouse at a much lower price, about 500 euros, are reported as “Small cosmetic imperfections on the top, front or sides of the item”But they actually arrive home as if they were totally newstill with all protective plastics mounted and accessories packed.
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