Knowing is loving – or so the saying goes – I came to know about the Ryobi One+ 18V Brushless Cord Cutter. You really need to know the tool in order to understand what you can do and what you shouldn't expect from it. Given last year's cord clipper shootout and the plethora of other independent cord clipper reviews, it's hard not to compare this Ryobi cord clipper to every other brand we've tested.
But the fact is, they are not in the same class, such comparison is not fair. The Ryobi One+ 18V Brushless String Trimmer is 100% aimed at homeowners who already use the Ryobi One+ battery platform or wish to get into it. So let's leave the topic of commercial landscaping for a moment and consider the weekend warrior who just needs to mow their lawn before it really heats up on Saturday.
Unlike 40-volt lawn mowers, the Ryobi One+ 18V Brushless Lawn Mower requires some assembly. Like most cord cutters, you will need to install a guard. You also need to attach the shaft, but you do get a smaller box for your troubles. The shield is simple – just slide it over the metal protrusion and screw it on with the winged bolt. No tools required.
You'll need a hex wrench to attach the shaft in the center. While it may look like a hole-in-the-dark shot, it slides into place quite naturally before you screw it on.
The most obvious adjustment is to the support handle. This pivots rather than sliding the shaft up and down. It is possible – but very difficult – to move the handle on the shaft, even if the bolt is fully loose. However, I had no trouble finding a comfortable position with the swivel, and I had a fairly long reach.
You'll also need to decide if you want 11" or 13" cut strips. Knives inside the guard are preloaded at 11 inches. Just remove the screw and turn it to switch to 13". Now, this is shorter than our usual suggested string trimmers, but keep in mind who the target audience is.
other key features
You wouldn't necessarily expect a cord cutter at this price to give you high and low speed mode options, but the Ryobi One+ 18V Brushless Thread Cutter does. We were not told what the exact RPMs were at each speed.
At first glance, the Ryobi One+ 18V Brushless Cord Trimmer may seem like you're going through the typical two-cord replacement and the frustration that comes with it. However, Ryobi has developed a Reel-Easy line variation similar to some of the Speed-Feed style systems out there. The biggest difference is that you need to use the reel handle which is separate from the trimmer head.
When a change is required, the last line will fly out when it reaches the end. Simply thread a new line (with three spares included) through the head to the midpoint, then reel it up using the reel handle. After doing it a few times, the whole process takes less than a minute.
Compared to other battery powered cord trimmers, the Ryobi One+ 18V cord trimmer is relatively lightweight. Operating this machine is very simple. The trigger safety is easily breached when you place your hand on top of the handle to depress it and pull the trigger to activate it.
I realize that Milwaukee is a bit of a lone wolf when it comes to the OPE line on 18 volt battery systems. For almost everyone else, there isn't enough power to be worth the effort. However, the combination of the brushless motor and Ryobi's 18-volt battery does an excellent job of keeping it powered up for mowing duties. It's not quite the same as Milwaukee's wire cutter, but it's more powerful than you might initially expect.
What stood out to me during usage is that this trimmer has a lot of vibration. We noticed the same thing in the model we tested in last year's shootout. This is noticeable when compared to other battery powered cord trimmers. But I think you can get away with it because it's no different than the vibration you experience with a gas engine. So it's there, just not more than gasoline.
The blade guard could stand a little wider. You do have to pay attention to the direction of rotation of the thread to keep the clipping away from you rather than into you.
the bottom line
The lightweight Ryobi One+ 18V Brushless Cord Trimmer can handle most of a homeowner's lawn care trimming. It runs on the Ryobi One+ 18V battery system and is a huge win for the tens of millions of users who use tools on this platform.
While the performance exceeded my expectations for the 18-volt model, and the adjustments made my setup comfortable, the vibrations made me not want to volunteer to mow my neighbor's yard after my work was done. That said, it's still a great little cord cutter for homeowners. It can easily handle half an acre of land. I mowed a quarter acre with landscaping and fence lines and only used one bar on my 4 Ah battery.
You can get this one with a 4.0 amp-hour battery and charger for $159 at Home Depot. It's also available for $99 bare-bones, but it's not available yet. Either way, it's a great price. However, you're not far away from moving to other systems, such as the EGO Powerload cord cutter, which offer better fit, finish and performance. At the end of the day, it's a great option for homeowners who already use the Ryobi One+ battery system.
- Brushless Motor
- Compatible with all Ryobi One+ 18V batteries
- Reel-Easy bump feed head with speed winder
- Variable speed trigger and two speed modes
Ryobi One+ 18V Brushless Cord Trimmer Specifications
- Model: Ryobi P2090 (Kit), Ryobi P2009 (Bare)
- Power supply: Ryobi One+ 18V battery
- Wire diameter: 0.080″
- Cutting width: 11 or 13 inches
- Speed: 2
- Line Advancement: Bump feed
- Weight: 9 lbs
- Price: $160 (kit)
- Warranty: 3 years