26 months on Ryobi 40v Battery tools

Let me preface this, I’m not making a dime off of this. Let me amend the preface and say there’s a possibility I’ll make a dime off this due to ad impressions but this is just what I’ve experienced and my suggestions if you’re looking at Ryobi tools at the Home Depot on online.

Back in July 2018 I got a Ryobi 40v electric mower. I was sick of every year being without a mower for some reason (spark plug dead, worm ate a filter, gas which was drained somehow wasn’t all the way drained, bad gas, starter line snapped, trolls,) and I did not like having gasoline around a house with two kids who might have inherited my pyromaniac tendencies (it’s out of my system since 10 or so but daaaaamn that I didn’t blow up my house is incredible).

What followed was a Ryobi chainsaw, which has been used during multiple storms to help clear roads, and most recently this week helping me finish up downing a dead 46-55 foot tall tree.

I needed another battery at one point and picked up a leaf/yard blower because at the time the blower plus battery was $7 more than the battery, even on Amazon. It’s got its use and actually for how much I thought blowers were crap in general, I was wrong.

My ancient weed whacker and hedge trimmer batteries were starting to go (Black and Decker) and once again pricing out batteries (and a repair the weed whacker needed,) Ryobi tools came out as the economical option.

TL;DR – most are great for home use, probably not for larger projects, battery is main limiting factor on mower and chainsaw.

So, here’re my thoughts on the following Ryobi products:


Mower

The mower came with a 5 amp hour battery, and a charger. 5 amps is about a fifth of a tank of gas if I were to guess. For my 0.3 acre lawn it is not enough and I find my average mows being somewhere around 8 amp hours. For me this is not a huge deal because I have an extra battery. My yard is not your yard, and it has many a hill.

Ryobi 20" self propelled battery powered lawn mower

For a flat yard, small, reasonable length grass, this is great. I use it also to mow a small property that some people requested I get during the height of the pandemic. It’s light, it works, it’s not however gas powered level so if you’re dealing with anything bad you’re going to eat through the batteries.

Overall for average use, I love it. For serious haven’t been able to touch the lawn in 3 weeks due to rain and now it’s a swamp – underpowered. I have broken out my old gas mower to finish what 9 amp hours couldn’t after monsoon season. Actually, last monsoon season (this year, 3 weeks of rain,) I blew through 18 amp hours over two days and still had to finish up with the gas mower.


Chainsaw

Power is great, battery life is what kills it. My dead tree out back I’m going to guess has taken 20 amp hours of battery to down it. This was due to the 16 inch thick core having to be sliced through multiple times, rather than just cutting some limbs (which has been most of the cutting during storms as trees generally don’t drop their trunks on the road).

Slightly newer model than I have

If you have enough batteries, it does deliver gas performance and it’s so light. You don’t have batteries to spare you’re going to be disappointed.

You’re also going to be disappointed in Home Depot, which this is their brand as a note, they’re the only store that carries these in store, when your chainsaw loses a nut or needs servicing they do not do it at their tool department. My first chainsaw broke a tensioner, they could not repair and swapped thankfully. The second lost one of the nuts and once again, tool repair could not help because they do not work on that… one guy measured the thing and located a not right nut but it works.

I had a lot of difficulty getting the chain tensioned right and I’ve never been quite sure but I think the bar might not like OEM chains (I guess it could be bent,) as when I tried changing them out with the same spec but different mfg chain it did not work. About to grab a replacement bar as two years has not been kind, and I’ll see.


Blower

I’ve got a slightly older blower than the models that are showing now. The new ones talk about how quiet they are. Mine is slightly quieter than a gas powered mower. I’ve got no complaints about it as it works as well, as long as I need it to, but it’s not quiet.

Does what it says, will run as long as I need it.

Wait, I do have complaints… there’s a trigger, this starts the blower, but if you want to go into turbo mode you have to press and hold a button on the top. This seems unnecessary and is annoying as it doesn’t appear to be for safety and I’m usually having to press it unless I want to stand there for a bit.

Also the air intake is on the side, so when you’re getting tired and not wanting to hold it out it’s going to pull your clothes right in or just slow down because you’re now a human cork.


Hedge trimmer

Advertises gas-like power, delivered. Dealt with my hedge from hell in about 6 minutes as opposed to my normal 40 with my old underpowered B&D trimmer – I say underpowered as it was really really old, early battery tech, I am not casting aspersions on Black and Decker products, just this old one is done. I think it’s somewhere around 15 years old at this point and the batteries never seemed particularly strong back then.

Works, does what it advertises, seems to be a merchant of death. Main complaint is no way to easily hang/store it that I see.


Line string trimmer / weed whacker

As mentioned this was less expensive for this plus a 4 amp hour battery than it was for the battery alone. It whacks weeds well, my yard I’ve never pulled more than one amp hour of battery off of it so I think we’re looking at something that might be a pro level unit. Powerful enough to handle things the old B&D whacker would not.

One thing I’m annoyed at with it is either I’ve assembled something wrong or the guard is not positioned well enough to stop all the grass from flying straight back at me. My left foot ends up covered. Seems like 2 more inches of plastic and it’d be fine.


One of the other things I’ve been doing with these is charging via the sun using a Jackery battery and solar panel. I can think of very very few use cases where this makes sense other than if you’re a reviewer and happen to have all this tech in your house, but it’s somewhat amusing.


Everything above has had what I consider average person use with the exception of the chainsaw, which has had significantly more use than expected due to a tornado, 3 instances of straight line winds downing the city, the very large dead tree I just downed, loaning it out a couple of times. Several random uses. I’ve sharpened the original chain many many many times.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts