There was a time when I’d see someone mowing their lawn with an electric mower and I’d laugh at the tethered fool cutting grass cautiously while trying to avoid cutting through their extension cord. In a very short time frame, the window for electric mower shaming has come and gone. Much like the power tool industry, battery powered platforms are actually starting to surpass the performance of their traditional brethren. In this case, Ryobi’s 40v line up has flipped the script and shown that gas guzzlers should be put on notice. The 40v platform is here to (more quietly) take the industry (and your yard) by storm.
Last year Ryobi Outdoors wowed me (and my neighbors) with the benefits of their 18v outdoor line, but this year we’re flexing our muscles with the 40v line anchored by the 20″ Self Propelled Lawn Mower (*affiliate link). Living within the city I have a smaller city yard, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less of a pain in the grass to maintain. If anything, there’s more pressure to keep my lawn looking nice (at least the front) because it’s glaringly obvious due to the proximity when one person on the block has mowed and the others haven’t. Let me paint you a picture: You’re sitting on the couch and hear the familiar high pitched whir of a gas mower start up down the street, then a synchronized groan of annoyance echoes down the block. Then one by one other mowers start firing up for the droning seasonal task. That is… until I go out to mow my lawn.
Silent, But 40v Of Deadly
The Ryobi 40v self propelled mower looks like a race car, but just like the newest electric speedsters, it’s eerily quiet in comparison to the competition. Have you ever tried to take a weekend siesta with the windows open when your neighbor mows their lawn? Fat chance when that gas powered carburetor starts chugging. Meanwhile, with the 40v mower, I can easily mow outside my daughter’s room during nap time without so much as a disruptive snore.
But enough fluff about the good life in this electric urban utopia, let’s get into the details. With one 40v 5.0 Ah battery slotted, I’ve found you get about 45 minutes of run time for a regular weekly mow. Like the power tool industry, the brushless motor gives you more power and longer run time. However, if you start cranking up the self-propelled function, you’re going to get closer to 30-35 minutes in my experience. With a flat lot and manageable grass growth, I’ve found that being self propelled isn’t all that important to me, but I absolutely see the merits for a yard with inclines or someone needing a little pushing assistance.
There’s something to be said for a push button start as well. When my neighbors are outside struggling to get their engines to start with their pull cords, I like to unfold my mower (yes it folds up for storage), slap in a battery, push a button and go. “Surely (stop calling me Shirley) it lacks cutting power right? It barely sounds like it’s doing anything.” Each time I’ve mowed my lawn I’ve had someone stop to ask me about this mower and then point out that it sounds like it’s doing nothing. That’s because the motor distributes power when the grass gets thicker or is more difficult to cut. Sort of like a car engine dropping the cylinders it uses at cruising speeds on the highway, the Ryobi 40v mower is giving you the most out of it’s motor, but only when it needs to.
Ergonomically this is one of my favorite mowers. At 6’5″ I’m a tall glass of water, but with the adjustable height and position on these handles I can comfortably mow as far as the battery takes me… even at night… because this thing has headlights. While you probably shouldn’t mow in the dark, I could probably get away with it with my neighbors none the wiser.
Complaints? There’s a section of my front yard where my neighbor’s good grass encroaches on my weed filled grass that always plagues whatever gas mower I’ve tried to cut it with. Nine times out of ten my mower bogs down and cuts out. The Ryobi 40v revs a little faster and chops right through it with an even cut. So complaints… I have none. The Ryobi 40v 20″ Self Propelled mower actually made me enjoy mowing my lawn again.
40v Expand It
While the self-propelled mower is the belle of the ball, Ryobi’s 40v “Expand It” line brings the party. Like literally, all the guests, caterers, entertainment, etc. With 10 different landscaping attachments, the Expand It base looks like the top half of a string trimmer that lets you swap out for one of ten different pieces of equipment. For this week’s review we’re looking at strictly the String Trimmer, Edger and Jet Fan Blower. Next round we’ll be reviewing the Cultivator, Hedge Trimmer and 14″ brushless chainsaw.The Ryobi One+ 18v String Trimmer was one of my favorite Ryobi Outdoor products because it’s lightweight, easy to reload and is ergonomically friendly for the the tall folk. Not to mention… Squeeze the trigger and you start spinning right away. Gas powered string trimmers are terrible and often take forever to start. No, I don’t want to adjust the choke 4 times before I try to pull start it 6 more times. Like the 18v little brother, the 40v String Trimmer is extremely easy to use. It is about 2″ shorter and 2 lbs. heavier (sans battery) which is a trade-off you get for balance with the heavier battery that gives you more power and longer run-time (plus a 2″ wider cutting radius). With my smaller yard, the 40v model is definitely overkill, but if you’re already buying into the Expand-It line then why not go for the upgraded model? My only knock is I can absolutely feel the effects of losing the 2″ from the overall length of this model in my back after prolonged use. Once again, that’s because I’m a tall freak of nature, but for you normal folk, you shouldn’t notice a thing. If you’ve got some serious tall growth to cut back, the 40v model is calling your name.If there’s one place I ALWAYS cut corners in lawn care it’s with the edging around our sidewalk. My neighbors all have beautiful straight lines with a nice clean look… and I have clover hanging over 6″ into the walking path. Sure, I occasionally clean it up with the string trimmer, but I usually end up splattering spent greens like a Jackson Pollock in every direction. The Expand It Edger swaps out in seconds and makes short work of my overgrowth. The adjustable depth and universal blade make it extremely easy to use, just know you legitimately have to set the height. My first use I was blasting mud and clogging up the debris shield before I figured out maybe this was actually user error. From there it was smooth sailing and no more sidewalk shame.The final part of this round up is the product I was the most skeptical of, the Expand It 140 MPH Universal Axial Blower. The Ryobi 18v 100 MPH Jet Blower and I go way back, I use it multiple times per week in all seasons and even use it to blow debris out of my workshop. So when I first unpacked what looked like a Might Morphin Power Ranger cannon that attaches to the shaft of a string trimmer that was aiming to replace my old friend… I was wary. You look at a duckbill platypus and you say, “hey, those parts don’t go together!” The same holds true upon initial inspection of this setup. Then you grip the handle, pull the trigger and watch the wind turbine engage and realize this is actually a viable option for clearing out landscaping debris. It’s big and has what almost feels like a cumbersome reach, but when you realize it puts you at an optimal clearing angle it all starts to make sense. I wanted to hate it, but when clearing off my patio of leaves and my walkways of grass clippings it all came together. Did I mention this little attachment also fits other universally branded trimmers like WeedEater, Toro and Troy Bilt? Yep, not only does it blow away the mess, but it always plays well and shares with others.
Want to check out an additional review of the Ryobi Outdoors Expand It System? Take a look at this review from my friends at Charleston Crafted!
*This post was sponsored by Ryobi Outdoors. Affiliate links are included within this post.