It’s fascinating to see the wide range of lithium-ion lawn mower options available today. While mowing lawns may not be as exciting as flying cars, the fact that we can now use batteries to maintain our lawns is quite remarkable. In a previous article, we covered the major players in the battery-powered lawn mower market. Now, let’s take a closer look at the upgraded Ryobi 40V Brushless Lawn Mower, which not only retains some of its best features but also improves upon them.
Top 5 Features
Usually, assembly wouldn’t make it to the top 5 features list, but the Ryobi 40V Brushless Lawn Mower makes it an easy win. The assembly instructions are incredibly simple: just open the box and take it out. It’s as easy as that. Once you’ve let the battery charge for a few hours, adjust the deck height to your liking, and decide if you want to attach the cover or use the bag. Installing this mower is a breeze. It takes just a few seconds to get it right the first time.
The mulch plug may be a bit less intuitive, but once you see how it fits, it all makes sense.
When it comes to battery-powered lawn mowers, the motor is the most crucial component. To ensure sufficient power and maximize runtime, it’s essential to go with a brushless motor. In fact, it’s the only way you can guarantee the performance you need. Additionally, the electronic control that comes with brushless motors enables the mower to handle thick grass more effectively and adjust to thinner areas.
Simple Height Adjustment
The Ryobi 40V Brushless Lawn Mower offers easy height adjustment options. You can choose from various cutting heights, ranging from as low as 1-1/2″ to as high as 3-3/4″. Personally, I prefer to mow at 3 inches to allow the grass to grow thick and prevent weed growth. Adjusting the cutting height is a breeze too. With just one lever, you can effortlessly raise or lower all four wheels. The locking mechanism ensures a secure position, which is something you should always check before making a purchase.
One standout feature of the Ego 56V lawn mower is its ability to fold down to a compact size, saving space. The Ryobi 40V Brushless Lawn Mower also adopts a similar design. The handle retracts and folds over the top of the mower, allowing you to stand it upright in a corner of your shed or against a wall. This space-saving feature is particularly beneficial compared to gas lawn mowers that cannot be stored upright. The telescoping handle also offers height adjustment options for users of various heights.
It’s worth noting that the handle will lock into place only when the height adjustment is set to the lowest position. Higher positions may interfere, but thankfully, adjusting the height is a simple task, making it only a minor inconvenience.
Quiet, Maintenance-Free Operation
One of the key advantages of lithium-ion lawnmowers, and other Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE), is the absence of gas engine issues. With the Ryobi 40V Brushless Lawn Mower, you can say goodbye to carburetor clogging, fuel and oil mixing, emissions, and noisy operation. The most surprising aspect for new users, though, is just how quiet the mower really is. To put it into perspective, I was able to have a phone conversation with my wife while mowing the lawn without any issues. That’s right, no headphones or earphones. It’s even quieter than vacuuming, unless, of course, you happen to have a Hoover cordless vacuum.
While the aforementioned features are fantastic, they won’t mean much if the mower can’t perform its primary function—cutting grass. Unfortunately, Central Florida’s current drought conditions have turned lush green lawns into overgrown gardens with dormant vegetation. However, even in these challenging conditions, the Ryobi 40V Brushless Lawn Mower proves capable. Most lawns won’t pose much of a challenge for this brushless mower—it effortlessly plows through the grass, leaving behind a fairly even cut.
In some areas, particularly around the front where the shade from trees creates denser grass, you can hear the motor working harder. It tackles even the thickest grass with ease. One thing to keep in mind with any lawnmower is blade speed. The slower the blade, the more frequently you’ll need to sharpen it for effective cutting. In this regard, gas mowers generally excel. The blade speed of the Ryobi 40V brushless mower feels a bit slow, requiring a second pass through areas with tall and soft grass or weeds. However, it performs exceptionally well in denser regions.
Ryobi claims that their 5.0 amp-hour battery can provide up to 45 minutes of runtime on a single charge. During my testing, I came quite close to that mark, achieving approximately 44 minutes and 30 seconds of uninterrupted mowing time.
Once the battery level drops to one bar, the mower starts to intermittently stop working. However, releasing the lever and starting it up again immediately restores functionality. This issue doesn’t appear to be related to heat, despite the scorching 95-degree weather here. It becomes more frequent after about 42 minutes of use. Realistically, you can expect around 40 minutes of continuous runtime before the issue begins to affect your productivity.
UPDATE: I’ve been using the lawnmower for longer periods of time, and the intermittent shutdowns are not caused by the heat but rather occur randomly. The frequency of these shutdowns varies. Although it’s a minor annoyance, it doesn’t significantly impact the overall experience. It seems the microswitch on the right side may be the cause of the problem. I’ll investigate further and provide another update.
The Bottom Line
At $449, the Ryobi 40V Brushless Lawn Mower offers an attractive price point for a 20-inch brushless mower that includes both a battery and a charger. Its performance is more than adequate for most lawns, especially when dealing with dense grass that provides ample resistance to the blade.
While there are a few downsides, such as its stuttering performance when the battery is running low, the advantages of this model outweigh the disadvantages. The foldable design, reasonable price, and easy height adjustment are definite standouts. I appreciate having the option to use a cover (which I mostly prefer) or a bag, although it would be nice to have a side discharge feature as well. My primary complaint lies in the performance hiccups during low battery situations. However, you can still enjoy around 40 minutes of uninterrupted runtime.
The Ryobi 40V Brushless Lawn Mower is well-suited for lawns up to 1/4 acre, unless you plan on purchasing an additional battery. If you’re willing to invest a bit more, you can opt for a higher-end model like the Ego or the more durable Echo. These alternatives offer superior performance, fit, and finish in their respective categories, but they come at a higher price—typically over a hundred dollars more.
Ryobi 40V Brushless Lawn Mower Key Features
- Worry-free, one-key start
- 7-position single-point height adjustment
- Gas-like power
- Extended runtime with 5.0 AH battery
- Lithium-ion battery with non-fading power supply
- Load sensing technology maximizes power and efficiency
- 2-in-1 Covering and Bagging Capabilities
- High Intensity LED Lights
- Onboard storage for a second battery
Ryobi 40V Brushless Lawn Mower Specifications
- Model: Rimei RY40180
- Power supply: Ryobi 40V battery pack
- Deck Size: 20″
- Weight: 45 lbs
- Specified run time: 45 minutes
- Test run time: 44:30
- Warranty: 5 years on the tool, 3 years on the battery
- Price: $449