The moment I handed my friend Eli Mosely the cordless OPE product, his immediate response was “cute.” After converting him into a chainsaw believer, we decided to meet at the ranch to address some fence wire issues using the Ryobi 40V HP brushless drill.
Advantages of the Ryobi 40V HP Drill
- Familiar gas-style design with a quick-connect pin connection to the drill
- Two speeds to accommodate various digging needs
- Sufficient power to penetrate clay soil and tackle roots
- Features automatic recoil and overload control
- Comes in a kit with all necessary accessories
Shortcomings of the Drill
- Could benefit from additional handle material to prevent sliding in the back of a truck
- Dust accumulation can occasionally trigger the trigger stick
The Ryobi drill utilizes a brushless motor that can spin the auger up to 8 inches at speeds reaching 210 RPM. For optimal control, it also offers a low-speed mode, which we found ourselves using most of the time. According to Ryobi, the engine torque stands at around 54 foot-pounds, which is a notable 30 percent increase compared to similar gas augers.
Performance on Different Soils
To put the Ryobi drill to the test, we started drilling holes using an 8-inch bit. We quickly discovered that it confidently navigated Florida soil, both at high and low speeds.
However, when faced with clay soil, things became more challenging. The tan/gray, sticky, and wet nature of Florida clay wasn’t particularly easy to work with. That being said, the Ryobi drill managed to dig to a maximum depth of 31 inches, showcasing its capabilities. Nonetheless, we did encounter overload protection issues when we pushed it to the limit.
As expected, tree roots and rocks posed obstacles. We were able to break through 1/2″ or sometimes 3/4″ of roots, but larger obstacles brought the drilling to a halt. The kickback sensor provided some assistance in these situations. Despite occasionally allowing the handle to rotate more than desired, overall, it played its intended safety role. Of course, it’s essential to have competent operators to ensure safety at all times.
After addressing the power concerns, our next task involved determining how long the Ryobi 40V HP earth drill could operate on a full charge. The kit comes with a 4.0Ah battery, which we used for testing. The runtime depends on several factors, including soil type and drill bit size.
In relatively light, dry soil, you can expect to drill around 25 to 30 holes with an 8-inch bit, reaching a depth of 30 inches. For clay soil, the number decreases to around 20 to 25 holes.
However, in loose soil, you can push up to 40 holes at a time. If you’re only digging down 15 inches for new garden plants, a range of 40 to 50 holes is reasonable. It’s important to note that using a smaller drill diameter and a 5Ah or 6Ah battery will extend the runtime.
Consider all these factors when determining the battery requirements for your specific project.
The design team at Ryobi did an excellent job sticking with a traditional gas auger design, making the transition easier for those accustomed to gas-powered tools. The right handle houses the control switch for high and low speeds, as well as reverse functionality.
To enhance control during forward speed, the left handle has a foam cover, allowing you to utilize your legs for additional support. Additionally, it provides cushioning in case the drill gets stuck. Installing auger bits is a breeze with the standard pin-based quick-connect system, ensuring compatibility with most other brands.
On the downside, the drill tends to slide easily on the back of a truck. If you have a sheet lacking sufficient friction, consider adding rubber pads to the handle corners to minimize this issue. Proper maintenance involves wiping off the trigger after a particularly dirty day to prevent sticking.
The Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Ground Drill is available at The Home Depot for $299. This comprehensive kit includes all the essentials: tools, a 4.0Ah battery, an 8″ auger, and a charger. With a 5-year warranty, this price is highly attractive for those contemplating a shift from petrol or manual backhole diggers.
The Bottom Line
We were pleasantly surprised by the consistent performance of the Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Soil Auger across various soil types. It excelled at fence post hole digging and proved equally effective for planting, setting up landscape structures, and even drilling for ice fishing.
Ryobi Earth Drill Specifications
- Model: Rimei RY40710
- Power source: Ryobi 40V battery
- Speed: 210 RPM (High)
- Engine Torque: 53.98 ft-lbs.
- Maximum Drill Diameter: 8 inches
- Maximum Hole Depth: 31 inches
- Weight: 40.2 lbs
- Warranty: 5 years
- Price: $299