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Review: Gardena Sileno City robotmaaier

Review: Gardena Sileno City - All added up and subtracted, we can call the Gardena Sileno City a complete and user-friendly robotic lawnmower

Now that spring has arrived and the grass is starting to grow, many of us regularly have to take the lawnmower out of the shed. But wouldn’t it be nice if the grass was mowed for you? The robotic lawnmower is therefore becoming increasingly popular and the choice is huge. In this review we test the Gardena Sileno City.

What is the Gardena Sileno City?

Gardena has a very extensive range of robotic lawnmowers, within which you have different choices. You can go for the Sileno Minimo, the Sileno City and the Sileno Life. In addition to some minor differences, the main differences are in the area to be mowed and connectivity. The Minimo is mainly for the smaller garden and only works with bluetooth, while the City and Life are suitable for the larger gardens. With the City and Life models you can choose from a Bluetooth variant and a Smart variant. The bluetooth variant can only be operated when paired with bluetooth, within a radius of 10 meters. The possibilities of this app are also somewhat limited. In this review we therefore look at the Smart version, which is fully equipped and can be combined with other smart Gardena products in the Gardena app.

We have a lawn of about 200 square meters, so the smallest City variant is sufficient on paper, but it is advisable to opt for a ‘heavier’ variant because Gardena mainly implements the restrictions in the mowing time. For example, the smallest version can only mow 3.5 hours a day and if the grass is growing fast, it can sometimes be a bit tight. The City 500 (which we test) can mow for up to 7 hours, so you’re always in the right place.

The Sileno City is therefore a smart robotic lawnmower that can maintain your lawn independently. However, it is good to know that this always requires a perimeter wire. This is a boundary wire that you lay against the edges (and around objects) of your lawn. This wire lies in the grass and becomes invisible after a while, but the robotic lawnmower needs it to know exactly where to mow and where not. A guide wire is also laid with which the robot can return to the charging station. In terms of features, the Sileno City models are well equipped. Briefly summarized;

  • Resistant to rain and wind
  • Can drive on slopes up to 35 percent
  • Ability to create schedules
  • Schedules take into account grass growth (Sensor Control), sunrise and sunset, and frost
  • Includes charging station and boundary wire
  • Maximum 57dB noise level
  • Six blades included (3 on the mower disc)
  • Cutting height manually adjustable
  • Control via the app or the display on the mower
  • Security: PIN only

Prices vary per model, but take into account a price of approximately 1,000 euros. For this amount you also get a Gardena Hub, which is connected to the internet. It must be said that Gardena is rolling out the new LONA function this year, which allows the current generation of robotic lawnmowers to access a virtual map in the app. Allows you to exclude zones, emphasize and control the mower. Unfortunately, Gardena did not want to lend us a robotic lawnmower with which we can test these functions. They seem to have little faith in this.

design

In terms of design, the Sileno City is a typical robotic lawnmower. Nothing special really. Sister brand Husqvarna has (more expensive) and nicer lawn mowers, but that is purely a personal choice. The City is a compact mower, with Gardena colours, a plastic housing and a hood on the top under which the cutting height knob and display are located. The robotic lawnmower is well finished, but that’s about it.

Installation and placement

Installation is a very important part of using the Sileno City robotic lawnmower. This starts with choosing the right place for the charging station. In the manuals (and various online videos), Gardena explains in detail what you have to take into account, both in terms of placement and installation of boundary wire, avoiding objects (a tree for example) or with special paths or other elements in the garden. Since every garden is different, we will not go into this in detail, but it is important that the charging station is located on the grass, somewhere near a socket. It is also wise not to place the charging station in a corner. Not only does this make driving in and out more difficult, but a larger part of your lawn is also skipped because the mower cannot reach it.

To lay the wires in (or on) your grass, you have to allow a few hours. It is important that this is done accurately. For example, different distances to the edge should be observed for borders than for paths adjacent to the lawn. After all, the robotic lawnmower can drive a bit along the path to take the edge of the lawn with it, but you would rather not have it get stuck in the sand of the border. You therefore lay the wire closer to the edge of a path or terrace than to the edge of the border. This is also very extensively but clearly explained by Gardena, but definitely take your time. Especially when you have objects such as a trampoline or playground equipment, or a tree in the garden (not the case with us), it is important to read everything step by step. The boundary wire must be laid around this in a specific way. Even if you have several zones (with, for example, a walkway in between) a specific way to place the wire also applies. In addition, a wire is laid diagonally from the farthest corner of the garden towards the charging station. This is in front of it so that the robotic lawnmower can always find its way to the charging station via this wire.

Once the wires are in place and the charging station is connected, the robotic lawnmower itself can be set up. You can do this directly on the mower itself, but you can also choose to connect the mower directly to the internet (via the Gardena Hub) to set everything in it. Almost all setting options also appear in the app, but if you want to change the pin code or change the time/date, you have to do this on the mower itself. Also, the cutting height can only be adjusted on the mower itself, with a rotary knob. The installation of the mower is quite simple and can therefore largely be done via the app. You can read more about the exact settings below.

Gardena app

The Gardena Smart app is the same as every small Gardena product. Also the robot maaier can be here dus aan toegevoegd. Some icy ones are always lifted by the Gardena Hub. This communicates with the internet and the Gardena devices. Middle of the Gardena-app can be started and stopped manually depending on the robot, but it may be possible..

First of all, the robotic lawnmower can be set up via the app. For example, you can put it in sleep mode (autumn) or take it out of sleep mode (spring) and it is possible to create areas. These areas are zones in your garden where there is lawn, for example separated by a narrow path. It is possible to give these areas their own mowing frequency and distance and very narrow pieces of lawn are also taken along with CorridorCut. In addition, you can protect the charging station extra with the ‘mowing house’ function. This means that the mower circles around the station and does not hit it. We have not enabled that because this ensures that a nice piece of grass around the charging station is not taken along and the mower also drives very gently against the station. Finally, you can set the distance outside wiring (maximum 40cm). This is the distance that the mower travels over the wire to grab as much of the lawn edge as possible.

Once everything is set up, you can start creating schedules. This is possible using Gardena or completely manually. If you opt for the Gardena Assist Mode, you specify the number of square meters of your lawn, the days you want to mow, the times within which you can mow and the sensors that should be used. It is wise to use these sensors, because the mower then looks itself at frost (bad for mowing in frost), grass height (do not mow unnecessarily) and time (do not mow at night because that can pose a danger to nocturnal animals). Another advice is to estimate the number of square meters of your lawn extra high. We have this on 300 square meters. This results in longer mowing times, which is necessary when the grass is growing fast.

Usage

We have now put the Gardena robotic lawnmower to work for several months, with the exception of course during the winter when the mower was in sleep mode. The general conclusion of this period is mainly positive, but with some comments.

The Sileno City makes quite a bit of noise in the beginning. More than that 57dB. This was because the grass was still relatively high and the mower therefore had to do more work. The robotic lawnmower keeps track of the grass almost every day, so that the noise production decreases over time. This is therefore especially a thing at the beginning of each mowing period. Another point is that the Sileno City does not recognize objects and does not have a smart AI function on board. Everything is indicated by the wires in the ground. So if there are toys on the lawn or leaves on it, the robotic lawnmower will run against or over it. Fortunately, the mower does not hit it hard and if there is enough resistance it turns around, but it is wise to keep your lawn as free and clean as possible. Chopsticks or other debris can damage the blades.

A misconception that we often see is that you no longer have to do anything yourself with a robotic lawnmower. Unfortunately, that’s too good to be true. In addition to the obvious maintenance, you also have to keep track of the edges of your lawn (and around objects). A robotic lawnmower cannot reach the exact edge of the lawn, for example for elevations, depressions, raised edges or simply sand in which it can get stuck. So there is always an edge that you have to keep up with with a grass trimmer. Depending on where you lay the wire and how many centimeters it may be exceeded, this can be 10-20 centimeters.

The schedules you create in the Gardena app work perfectly and completely autonomously. As a user, you do not have to intervene, but you do have that option if you connect the robotic lawnmower to your home automation system. For example, you can connect the Gardena Smart system with IFTTT, Homey and Home Assistant, among others. It is not necessary, but in this way we have created a virtual stop button with which we can quickly stop the robotic lawnmower from the living room or the terrace. For example, when the little one goes to play on the grass. We also created a scenario that the robotic lawnmower returns to the charging station as soon as it starts to rain. Although the robotic lawnmower can mow well in the rain, it will become very dirty and running in wet grass is not really nice for your lawn.

The mower’s sensors also do their job well. The mower does not start when there is frost, and it stops sooner if there is sufficient grass clippings. Nocturnal animals are also not harassed by mowing only after sunrise and before sunset.

Maintenance of Gardena Sileno City 

Unfortunately, you cannot avoid maintenance if you choose a robotic lawnmower, especially if you wish it a long life. For example, it is advisable to check the mower every week or every two weeks. Brush off the excess grass from the underside, wipe the outside with a cloth and check the blades. If the blades are very dirty, it is wise to clean them. I also clean the blades myself so that they last longer. Depending on the period and type of grass, the grass can cake. If you clean them, they can take it again for a while and the grass will be cut better. The blades last about 2 to 3 months, depending on mowing time, grass, objects/dirt, etc. By the way, do not buy blades from the Gardena brand. Those are way too expensive. For a fraction of the price you get titanium-coated blades that fit perfectly on your robotic lawnmower. When changing the blades, it is also time for some major maintenance. This way you can clean the mowing disc, blow the dirt out of the mower and remove the caked grass with the garden hose. It is recommended to have a major service done at a dealer once a year. This will cost you 150-200 euros, but everything will be checked and replaced if necessary. Think of watertight couplings, seals and wiring. This also makes the robotic lawnmower last longer. Finally, you need to bring the Sileno City inside (the garage) in the winter and put it into hibernation. The wires can of course remain in the garden. When changing the blades, it is also time for some major maintenance. This way you can clean the mowing disc, blow the dirt out of the mower and remove the caked grass with the garden hose. It is recommended to have a major service done at a dealer once a year. This will cost you 150-200 euros, but everything will be checked and replaced if necessary. Think of watertight couplings, seals and wiring. This also makes the robotic lawnmower last longer. Finally, you need to bring the Sileno City inside (the garage) in the winter and put it into hibernation. The wires can of course remain in the garden. When changing the blades, it is also time for some major maintenance. This way you can clean the mowing disc, blow the dirt out of the mower and remove the caked grass with the garden hose. It is recommended to have a major service done at a dealer once a year. This will cost you 150-200 euros, but everything will then be checked and replaced if necessary. Think of watertight couplings, seals and wiring. This also makes the robotic lawnmower last longer. Finally, you need to bring the Sileno City inside (the garage) in the winter and put it into hibernation. The wires can of course remain in the garden. It is recommended to have a major service done at a dealer once a year. This will cost you 150-200 euros, but everything will be checked and replaced if necessary. Think of watertight couplings, seals and wiring. This also makes the robotic lawnmower last longer. Finally, you need to bring the Sileno City inside (the garage) in the winter and put it into hibernation. The wires can of course remain in the garden. It is recommended to have a major service done at a dealer once a year. This will cost you 150-200 euros, but everything will then be checked and replaced if necessary. Think of watertight couplings, seals and wiring. This also makes the robotic lawnmower last longer. Finally, you need to bring the Sileno City inside (the garage) in the winter and put it into hibernation. The wires can of course remain in the garden.

Gardena Sileno City  – Conclusion

All added up and subtracted, we can call the Gardena Sileno City a complete and user-friendly robotic lawnmower that does what it promises well. Apart from the noise at the beginning and the limitation that Gardena imposes on the mowing time, there is little to fault with these models. Yes, you have to keep track of the edges of the lawn yourself, but that is the case with any robotic lawnmower. Choose a slightly larger version than you need, buy cheap blades and keep in mind that regular maintenance will definitely improve the life of your robotic lawnmower and the quality of the mowing. It is also nice that the robotic lawnmower can be linked to your home automation system and that the sensors ensure that you no longer have to worry about the robotic lawnmower.

Pros

  • Fully autonomous
  • Good working sensors and schemes
  • Completely smart and remotely controllable
  • Can be linked with home automation
  • Mows the grass perfectly
Negatives

  • Regular maintenance is necessary
  • Gardena blades are too expensive
  • The mower makes quite a bit of noise at first
  • Installation takes some time and energy
  • Mowing time restrictions

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