Honda Miimo HRM 40 Live Review
With smartphone control and smart scheduling, the Honda Miimo HRM 40 Live is a powerful and intelligent lawn mower designed for gardens up to 400m2. It's slightly fiddly to set up and can get confused by objects or divots in the ground, but get everything right and this robot lawn mower cuts beautifully and leaves your lawn neat and lush automatically.
- Smart scheduling cuts when it's best
- Alternates cutting pattern
- Keeps grass short and lush
- Fiddly to set up
- Can get confused by obstacles
- Review Price: £995
- Robot lawn mower
- 445 x 364 x 202mm, 8kg
- 400m2 max lawn size
- 30cm cutting width
- 30, 40, 50mm cutting heights
- Smartphone, Amazon Alexa control
Many robotic lawn mowers are designed for larger gardens, but the Honda Miimo HRM 40 Live is a smaller, neater product designed to cope with smaller gardens up to 400m2. Despite its small size, this robot lawn mower goes big on features, with full smartphone integration to let you programme and plan the cutting schedule or start a manual cut yourself.
Slightly fiddly installation and fussy obstacle avoidance mean that this lawn mower needs careful setup to get the most out of it, but if you spend the time to get things right (or opt for pro installation), the Miimo cuts beautifully and can improve the condition of any lawn.
Honda Miimo HRM 40 Live – What you need to know
- Cutting performance – Adjusts the cutting pattern to keep your lawn free of wheel tracks, expertly cutting and mulching.
- Build and features – A solid, tough feeling body complemented by a smartphone app and smart scheduling, but object avoidance could be better
- Run time – Runs for 45 minutes at a time but will recharge multiple times until the cut is finished
Related: Best cordless lawn mower
Honda Miimo HRM 40 Live Design and Installation – Tricky to get it right but it’s worth spending the time to plan the perimeter wire carefully
As with any robot lawn mower, the Honda Miimo HRM 40 Live has to be installed running the perimeter wire around your garden. You get all the cabling that you need in the box, although you can pay for professional installation if you prefer. This will most likely work out better and ensure that the cable is installed properly.
If you do want to tackle the job yourself then you need to follow the instructions carefully. The most important first decision is where you want to place the docking station, which can either go at the edge with the perimeter wire running through the dock; or, you can place the docking station in a corner. Perimeter wire has to run 30cm away from the sides of garden or any obstacles, and you need a 1m length from the docking station before the first corner. They’re fairly hefty restrictions, so plan your dock’s location carefully and, of course, make sure that there’s power nearby.
Perimeter wire can either be buried, which is neater, or you can use the pegs to hold it in place. With pegs, the grass will quite quickly grow over the wire, so you shouldn’t see it by the end of the season. Both ends of the perimeter wire clip into the docking station.
Once the dock’s in place, the Miimo has to be sent out around the border, so that the lawn mower can work out where it needs to cut. Be on hand, as when the mower hits the dock, you’ll see a message on-screen asking you if you’re back at the dock, and you need to hit Yes.
With the map saved, you can then create a PIN, which prevents the Miimo from working if stolen, or for the lawn mower to restart again if it’s had a problem (handy for stopping accidents if kids get involved).
Finally, you can hook the Miimo up to the app: there’s a built-in SIM so there’s no need for a wireless connection. This makes sense, as Wi-Fi often isn’t very good outside, whereas you’re very likely to have a cellular connection.
Honda Miimo HRM 40 Live Features – Clever scheduling takes the guesswork out of mowing
You can set the cutting height using the push-down cartridge on top of the robot. There are three cutting heights: 50mm, 40mm and 30mm. These cover the typical range that you’ll need throughout the year.
Using the app, Amazon Alexa Skill or the control panel, you can start a manual mow. If you start from the dock, the mower will tackle your entire garden, recharging along the way if it needs to.
Alternatively, you can go into the Settings menu (robot only, not the app) to use the Place and Mow feature, which lets you cut your choice of a 2x2m or 3x3m area, which is handy for mowing under furniture. To use Place and Mow, you have to enter your PIN, as this deactivates the theft alarm on the mower. Once the mower is moving, the alarm is reactivated and if the Honda Miimo HRM 40 Live is moved before finishing, it requires the PIN to unlock it. You also need the PIN if you hit the big-red stop button on top, or if the lawn mower gets stuck.
Using the app is helpful if you want to set a schedule. You can either set your own, or you can use the SmartTimer. This uses weather forecasts so that you can tell the lawn mower not to mow when rain is forecast or when the temperature is above 30C. You can tell the timer how many cuts a week you want (1, 2 or 3), and you can tell Miimo to adjust the schedule if the grass grows faster or slower during the season. Finally, you can tell the system which days you definitely want the garden to yourself, and set do not mow before and after times, and your lunchtimes, so that the mower won’t bother you.
The system then goes off and creates its own schedule, automatically looking after your lawn for you. You can, however, still perform a manual mow if you want to get an extra one in.
Underneath the mower are three swing-type blades that are used to cut a fine amount of grass, leaving the cuttings to mulch and condition the lawn. Blades should regularly be examined and worn ones replaced.
Although the Honda Miimo HRM 40 is completely weatherproof, it’s recommended that once the temperature is consistently below 5C, the docking station and robot are stored in a secure and dry place out of the reach of children.
Miimo HRM 40 Live Performance – Doesn’t like obstacles very much but cuts beautifully
As with all robot lawn mowers, the Honda Miimo HRM 40 needs to be set up carefully, with the guidewire in the right place. Perimeter wire should be laid carefully around fixed objects that the Miimo may not be able to navigate itself. You also need to leave enough space for the Miimo to find the perimeter wire at all points during the cut. A couple of times, I’d left some garden chairs out partly across the boundary, and this confused the lawn mower so that it couldn’t finish.
Obstacles can also cause issues, so be careful how furniture is placed, as the Miimo got stuck between garden chairs and tables. There was one bit around the perimeters, where my cats insist on digging out the soil; every time the Honda Miimo HRM 40 hit this patch its wheel would get stuck in the loose soil, and the lawn mower would sit there idly spinning its wheels.
This model can only cope with gradients of up to 27%, which will suit most gardens. However, at the end of mine before the patio, there’s a small ledge of concrete, which the Miimo hit and got stuck on, as the gradient was too high. I had to move the perimeter wire a little to fix the problem.
I generally found that it was best to pick up the furniture and move it out of the way to give the Miimo a clear run at the garden, as well making sure that all the grass got a chance to grow. Some furniture is alright, as the Miimo has sensors that send it away from obstacles, and its built-in map means that it knows where it is and what’s left to be cut. With enough space to move around properly, the Honda Miimo HRM 40 Live is an excellent tool for maintaining your lawn.
An issue with robot lawn mowers is that they can take the same route around the garden, eventually wearing wheel tracks into the lawn. To prevent this, the lawn mower adjusts how it cuts, using a horizontal cutting pattern for one go, then using a diagonal cutting pattern for the next one.
On a full charge, the Honda Miimo HRM 40 can go out for 45 minutes, and returns to the dock to recharge before continuing a cut. For the largest lawn sizes (400m2), the Miimo will take around half a day to finish a cut.
After running the lawn mower for a couple of months, I didn’t have any wheel marks in the lawn, and Honda’s cutting pattern was working.
The cut is excellent, with small amounts of grass neatly cut, with the trimmings mulching down to feed the lawn. This has a massive impact on the quality of lawn. In fact, several people came round and asked if I’d freshly laid the lawn as its condition was so good. Lush, green and springy, the Honda Miimo HRM 40 did an excellent job of keeping the grass not only short but in excellent condition.
With the gap that you have to leave around the boundary, you’ll still need to get the grass trimmer out once a week, although you’ll have saved yourself the main job.
Should you buy the Honda Miimo HRM 40 Live?
Robot lawn mowers aren’t cheap, but the Honda Miimo HRM 40 is comparatively good value, given that it has smartphone control. Looking at the similar-sized Stihl iMow RMI 422, you don’t get smartphone control on the entry-level model (which costs around the same as the Miimo). If you want smartphone control with Stihl, you’re looking at paying significantly more to get a model designed for very large lawns, with the Stihl iMow RMI 422 PC, which can also handle very steep inclines.
The Stihl iMow RMI 422 can cope with steeper terrains (up to 35% gradient) and is a slightly more nimble mover. If you’ve got more challenging terrain, I’d go for that version. That said, for smaller, more standard gardens, the smart features in the Honda Miimo HRM 40 make it a more flexible and easier-to-control lawn mower, and once configured correctly it cuts beautifully, automatically.