The cordless Ryobi 40180 electric mower illustrates just how swiftly battery-powered technology has gained ground on gasoline competitors in terms of comparably precise, vigorous cutting. There will always be drawbacks to eschewing fossil fuels. Specifically, electricity doesn’t react well to ugly weather. The tradeoff to opting for a finite battery life’s freer range of movement over tethering a corded mower to an outlet is a shorter runtime window and a weakened stream of power toward the end of any battery’s charge. Within that fleeting window of work, I can safely say few electric mowers will give any mid-size gas rival a run for its money quite like this one.
- Gas-like power from a brushless motor
- 40V 5Ah battery extends runtime as far as 45 minutes
- Load-sensing technology amps up cutting power in thick growth and backs off for thinner grass
- Single-point height adjustment with seven positions to choose from
- 2-in-1 mulching and bagging disposal options
- Instant push-button start
- Intensely bright LED headlights
- 20-inch metal cutting deck
- Folds for space-saving vertical storage
- Telescoping adjustable handle with quick-release knobs and convenient additional carrying handles
- Limited five-year tool warranty and three-year battery warranty
- Compatible with all Ryobi 40V lithium-ion batteries and tools
The Ryobi RY40180’s brushless motor packs a punch as efficient as it is fierce. The addition of active load-sensing technology ratchets up the cutting power to pare down stubborn weeds and tall, thick grass with might that rivals quite a few gas-powered competitors and throttles it back to judiciously ration your battery’s precious juice once you maneuver back into the thinner surrounding turf. Even when I took on a valiant little pinecone and a few moderately hardy twigs, the RY40180 didn’t even sputter during its uncanny wood-chipper impression.
The 40V 5.0Ah lithium-ion battery chugs right through grass of any stature for around 40 minutes and can soldier on for up to 45, but those last five minutes are barely worth it. Around the 42 minute mark, cutting power tapers off substantially and the motor begins spontaneously shutting down with increasing frequency. I would strongly suggest splurging $99 to pick up a spare battery for storage in the Ryobi RY40180’s onboard compartment. Doing so doubles your already-optimally managed runtime and allows for swapping in a fresh power source without interrupting your job more than a few seconds. If you own any other Ryobi tools powered by the same battery specs, consider this your lucky day: their proprietary battery packs are universally interchangeable across their full lineup of hardware.
Ease Of Use
Owners of electric mowers prize their gas-free machines for their generally effortless usability and remarkable dependability. Even by those lofty standards for user-friendliness, the Ryobi RY40180 could only be easier to use if it somehow achieved sentience and decided it didn’t need a human master to tell it when the grass needed trimming.
The RY40180’s push-button start retires the traditional aggravations of priming an engine and ruthlessly yanking a cord until you can no longer be sure you didn’t inadvertently purchase a piece of shoulder-blasting gym equipment instead of a lawn mower. Some owners and reviews alike have expressed disappointment that the 20-inch steel deck didn’t merit a self-propulsion option. I beg to differ. Ryobi deserves all the credit in the world for designing such a smoothly maneuverable body from satisfyingly durable materials without pushing their mower’s weight above 60 pounds. The telescoping handle’s quick-release knobs shorten or lengthen its dimensions to better serve any operator’s comfort. The convenient additional carrying handles make the already-lightweight RY40180 that much less demanding to lift when transported or nearly folded over for space-saving vertical storage. This design packs such a mighty wallop of power no matter the strain of grass facing it, one could easily be caught off-guard by just how unassumingly uncomplicated it is to wield.
Cut Quality & Options
The Ryobi RY40180 was built to groom lawns from one-half to a full acre in scope, preferably with as few major slopes as possible. As far as grass itself, not a single square foot of turf I encountered within the RY40180’s nearly two-foot path impeded a mosquito’s heartbeat worth of blade of rotation or was left behind with anything less than a carpet-fine finish. Disposal-wise, both the mulching and bagging features wrangle clippings in an orderly fashion without building up clumped shards in the works. A pair of small-but-powerful headlights cast an intense glow perfect for those nighttime mowing sessions made possible by operation so muted, I was able to carry on a handset-to-ear phone conservation. In terms of cutting-height options, a single-point adjustment with seven settings between 1.5 and 3.75 inches hits the perfect range for a healthy, cleanly trimmed lawn in any setting.
None. Seriously. You may have to search diligently for a local manufacturer-certified service center, but there are not many malfunctions or defects the limited five-year tool and three-year battery warranties won’t cover. Also, you will want to keep this mower bone-dry; electrical devices are deathly allergic to moisture. Other than that, your days of buying gas and oil are over as long as you own the Ryobi RY40180.
There’s always one catch when it comes to push-button starters: anyone can fire them up in a snap. That definitely includes curious, wayward children toddling around in a shed. Fortunately, the Ryobi RY40180 requires a fuse key to wake up its motor and won’t start at all without first holding down the bailout lever.
The final word on the Ryobi RY40180 is a bit tricky and has almost nothing to do with its actual performance. In fact, the stalling issues that spring up relentless toward the end of the battery’s charge are not at all uncommon among cordless electric mowers in general. When it comes to this particular model, you will have to weigh for yourself whether never needing to replenish a mower’s gas or oil again and having the ability to mow in almost perfect silence after sundown is worth a price tag that compares closely to most gas-powered mowers. If your tentativeness toward the Ryobi RY40180’s value proposition stems from its maximum 45-minute runtime on a fully charged battery, keep in mind that you can purchase an additional battery to stow in a handy onboard compartment for $99. Although that doubles the working window to around 90 minutes, you are still saying a fresh goodbye to Benjamin Franklin less than an hour of additional cutting.
No matter how much you may value an electric mower’s distinctive perks, you eventually pass the point at which your budget and time would have been better served just biting the maintenance and pollution (air and noise alike) bullets in favor of a gas-powered mower.
- Power comparable to many gas mowers
- Dependably quick, easy start
- Minimal storage footprint, thanks to vertical posture
- Unheard-of lengthy warranty
- Runs hard in thick grass and weeds
- Backs off in thinner growth
- Zero air pollution
- Whisper-quiet operation
- Deathly allergic to water
- Mowing a larger yard calls for multiple fully charged batteries ($99 each)
- Power tapers off, stalling becomes frequent after around 42 minutes