Ryobi 40V Cordless Blower Review

Ryobi 40V Cordless Leaf Blower
The leaf blower, an odd name considering I hardly ever use it to blow leaves. It's the last tool used after edging, mowing and trimming my lawn. Until recently it was my least favorite part lawn care because I used an old corded blower. The last few weeks however I've been using a Ryobi 40V Cordless Leaf Blower which has made cleaning up after mowing is a lot easier than it used to be.

Sometimes I was lazy and leave the clippings alone and let the wind and rain eventually take care of them. This left the property looking unkempt for a couple of days but the cordless blower is such a joy to use I don't think I'll ever have that problem again.

Included in my review of the Ryobi 40V Blower is a video demonstrating how well it works in different applications.

After looking over the specifications for this blower I was impressed and contacted Ryobi who sent me a free blower so that I could write the following unbiased review.

When it's time to use a blower I've already been out in the heat for a considerable amount of time and all I want to do is get out of the sun and jump in the shower. Wrapping and unwrapping a long extension cord and avoiding getting it tangled up may not seem like a big deal but when you're tired, hot, sweaty and thirsty it seems like forever.

One way or another I needed to cut the cord either by getting a gas powered blower or a cordless leaf blower. When selecting a blower I was looking for one that would:
  • blow grass cuttings, dirt and other debris from mowing off my driveway and sidewalks and back onto my lawn.
  • blow dirt and clippings out of the slit created from my edger so I have a clean, well-defined edge.
  • blow leaves, seed pods, needles and other debris off my hardscapes and onto my lawn.
  • blow debris and leaves out of garden beds.
  • be relatively quiet.
  • be easy to handle.
  • be durable.
  • quick and easy to use.
  • have enough run time to get the job done.
You'll notice that almost everything I do with a blower involves blowing grass clippings, dirt and leaves off of hard surfaces and onto my lawn. I don't use a leaf blower to blow leaves off my lawn in the fall. Instead I mulch mow fall leaves into the lawn because it provides nutrients and organic matter which helps the grass and improves the soil.

A cordless blower should be enough for my needs and it will be quieter and easier to maintain than a gas powered blower. The Ryobi 40V Cordless Blower seems to be the best cordless blower currently on the market.

The following video shows the Ryobi RY40410 Cordless Blower in action cleaning up after mowing and trimming my lawn.


Ryobi 40V Cordless Blower Features

There were a few key features that made the Ryobi Blower stand out among other cordless blowers:

40V Li-Ion Battery

The higher the battery voltage, the more efficient the use of battery power so a larger voltage battery allows you to use a more powerful motor. Assume a 1amp motor on a 20V battery and you'd get 20 Watts of power output. If connected to a 1 amp hour battery the motor could run for 1 hour. Same setup except battery and motor are at 40 volts and you'll get 40 watts of power and the same run time. Or you can get twice the run time using the same power motor. Ryobi seems to have struck a good balance between power and run time and the RY40410 could be a good alternative to gas mowers for some commercial landscapers.

The lithium ion battery technology also offers a lot of benefits over the older nicad batteries. Self discharge is less so you don't have to keep the battery on the charger. There's a more even power curve so the tool doesn't slowly get weaker as the battery drains and li-ion batteries are lighter than their ni-cad equivalents and don't suffer from memory issues that can reduce usable life. Li-ion batteries also charge much faster than nicads and the Ryobi 40V battery can be fully recharged in 90 minutes using the quick charger.
Ryobi 40V Lithium Ion Battery

One cool feature of the OP4026 Battery is that there's a built in charge indicator. Press the question mark (?) button and 4 LED's will let you know how much power is left in the battery without having to insert the battery in the charger.

The quick charger that comes with the Ryobi 40V Blower Kit is the type of smart charger you would expect to get with a lithium ion cordless tool. It's smart enough to know if the battery is too hot or too cold and will wait for it to get to the correct temperature range before it begins charging and will monitor the charge level as it goes to prevent damaging the battery. The charger can sit on a workbench or it can be mounted on a wall using 2 screws.

To extend the battery's life at the end of the season try and leave the battery in about a 1/2 charged state and store ot in a cool dry place.

Long Run Time

The battery also lasts a long time. I tried to run the Ryobi Cordless Blower until the battery fully discharged. It took me about 10 minutes to blow my walks, driveway and other hardscaped areas after mowing and trimming, then I kept going for another 5 minutes going over the same areas to try and run the battery more. I spent just over 15 minutes outside using the blower before I got tired of being out in the sun so I moved indoors and continued to run the blower for another 10 minutes.

When I placed the battery in the charger 2 LED lights lit up and the third was blinking indicating I hadn't even discharged half the battery after over 25 minutes of on and off use using the blower and simulating how I would use it with 50 seconds on, 10 seconds off.

Quiet

Leaf blowers are notoriously loud. When I happen to be home when one of my neighbor's landscapers comes to mow the lawn it's not the gas mower, or trimmers that are a problem, it's the leaf blower. I can't leave my windows open when they start blowing because it's so loud and annoying. Unfortunately blowers are the most efficient way to clean up the landscape after mowing.

The Ryobi 40V Blower, unlike it's gas powered big brothers, is much quieter. According to the specs it operates at 65dB which is somewhere between a normal conversation and an upright vacuum cleaner. All I know is that holding the Ryobi blower a few feet from my ears during operation wasn't a problem while listening to gas powered blowers over 100 feet away is so loud and irritating I want to astroturf the whole block.

Since I mow my lawn on the weekends when my neighbors are more likely to home it's nice to know that I'm not ticking anyone off by using my blower.

Powerful Enough

Ryobi claims that air comes out of the blower at 155 MPH when using the removable high velocity tip. It has enough power to do all the jobs I need it to do adequately. I won't be able to efficiently blow a sidewalk clear of leaves from 50' away or roll a bowling ball up a hill like I might be able to do with a super high powered gas blower but I'd never have a need for that and don't have to worry about annoying the neighbors or damaging my hearing.

Based on how much run time I got I think Ryobi chose to use the extra power from the 40V battery to extend the run time rather than increase blower power compared to their older models. With a couple of extra batteries and possibly a 12V inverter to power the charger from a truck battery I think the Ryobi RY40410 cordless blower will be an attractive alternative to commercial landscapers that want to reduce noise pollution. This would be particularly important in municipalities that have banned or are considering a ban on gas leaf blowers.

The Ryobi blower has enough power to get the job done with a traditional edge, mow, trim and blow service without kicking up as much dust or creating as much noise as a gas blower and it's much quicker than using a rake or broom.

Comfortable Handle With Variable Speed Trigger

Handle of Ryobi 40V Cordless Blower
The rubber coated handle on the blower is very comfortable and easy to hold. It's symmetrical and will work well if you're lefty or righty.

The positioning of the variable speed trigger is in just the right spot and operates very smoothly. Reducing the power output of the blower makes it easy to clear out more delicate areas like gravel or mulch beds.

Even with the battery the tool is very light and the size and handle design make it easy to position the end of the blower where you need it without straining yourself. I never felt my arm or hand get tired or cramped even when I used it for the extended period where I made the video and tried to drain as much of the battery as I could.

Long Blower Tube

The design of the Ryobi blower, including the length of the blower tube with high velocity tip is such that when holding the blower in a normal straight-arm fashion the end of the tube is very close to the surface you're clearing. I'm about 6' tall and I didn't have to bend over or twist the handle in an awkward way to get the nozzle down closer to the ground.

The closer the end of the tube is to the objects you're blowing the more effective the blower will be. This seems to be a problem with some of the other cordless blowers I've seen that have shorter tubes.

The design of the handle makes it easy to adjust the pitch of the blower to adjust for your height or the height of the area you're blowing without feeling any strain.

Solid Construction

The blower comes in 4 pieces (plus the charger) that are easy to snap together without any tools. The housing and blower tubes are all pretty thick plastic that looks like it can stand up to a decent amount of abuse. At one point I bumped the end of the blower up against a wall which knocked the high velocity tip off the tube but it survived the impact without damage and popped right back on.

Ryobi 40V Blower Uses

The Ryobi Cordless Blower works best on hard surfaces but is powerful enough to move some debris from within the lawn but that's not something I normally do. Anything that falls on my lawn and decomposes quickly I keep on my lawn because as it decomposes it provides nutrients (including nitrogen) to the lawn and adds organic material to the soil. In fact I use the blower to get any clippings and leaves that are on my walkways or driveway back onto the lawn.

Clearing Debris from Walkways/Driveway

After mowing and edging a lot of grass clippings and grass wind up on the concrete surrounding the lawn. In addtion, this time of year a lot of seed pods fall from a maple tree which litter the area along with some small twigs. The Ryobi blower had ample power to blow all of this material back onto the lawn where it can decompose and enrich my soil while leaving my driveway and walkways looking clean.

The blower had some problems getting some of the seed pods past the edge of the lawn. My corded blower has the same problem. It's more of an problem getting the right angle to get the seed pods to jump up past the edge of the lawn since it's higher than the concrete. A little up and down motion with the nozzle and the seed pods cleared the taller grass. The design and balance of the blower made this easy to do without causing any strain to my arm or hand.

Clearing Lawn Edge

One of the nicest things about edging a lawn is getting that small little groove between the lawn and the concrete. Using a blower clears out the loose dirt and grass clippings which makes this effect more pronounced. Unfortunately it rained the day before the video and there was a lot of rain in the forecast so I wouldn't be able to edge the whole lawn but I did a small section and found the Ryobi blower had no problem cleaning out the fresh cut groove in the edge.

Clearing Debris From Concrete Joints

A lot of dirt and plant material collects in the stress cracks that are put in concrete as well as clippings from weeds that sometimes grow there. The blower was able to get these cleaned out without a problem.

Clearing Stone Patio

A lot of debris winds up on my patio. Things like plant cuttings, dropped blooms from plants, needles from nearby trees, the occasional dried up weed I toss there after pulling, dead bugs and bits of mulch. These blew off without any issue.

Needles and Other Dirt from Gravel

A small section of my property uses 3/8" pea gravel instead of the cedar mulch I use elsewhere. It looked great when first put in but there are a lot of evergreens in that area and over the years they've dropped a lot of needles that just collect on the gravel. It can't be raked, hosing it down doesn't wash the needles away and my old blower would blow the pebbles away with the needles.

The variable control of the Ryobi 40V blower as well as adjusting the angle and distance to the gravel allowed me greater control and I was ale to clear much of the dead needles out of the gravel bed without blowing rocks everywhere. The blower is powerful enough to knock the stones away at full power and a different angle but with a little more practice I think I can get better control.

Wet Clumps of Grass and Weeds

Where my driveway apron meets the asphalt street a small gap has formed where some weeds grow. When it rained the day before some grass clippings from my neighbor got caught in the weeds and when I used my trimmer to cut back the weeds I wound up with heavy, wet clumps of vegetation.

I thought the cordless blower might have some trouble here but I was surprised to see it clear the area quickly.

Leaves On Grass

It's too early in the year so there were only a few fallen leaves on my lawn that blew off the grass easily even though it had rained the day before.  I don't know if it can blow away soggy, wet, matted down leaves from the lawn but it can help blow leaves around and distribute them more evenly before mulch mowing.

The maple seed pods however were harder to blow out of the lawn as were some petals from a hibiscus that dropped it's blooms. That didn't bother me as these are things I like to keep on the lawn to feed the soil and I've never tried blowing them off with another blower.

Basically Any Hard Surface

Any hard surface outdoors you'd normally use a broom or a hose to clear off you can use the blower instead. Things like your garage, your pick-up bed, boat, etc. It'll be easier and quicker than a broom or hose and won't waste water. It will kick up some dust but not as much as a gas blower.

Conclusion

The Ryobi 40V Cordless Blower saves me a few minutes and a bit of bending over each week versus using a corded blower but it does it at the end of my weekly mowing when I'm already exhausted and want to get out of the heat. Those few minutes saved are very much appreciated.

The lithium ion battery retains it's charge longer and the blower has a long run time so even if I forget to charge the battery from the week before there's enough juice left in the battery clear my walkways. If not it only takes about 90 minutes to go from a drained battery to a fully charged one.

It's light and extremely comfortable to use. Best of all it has enough power to clear my property without making me deaf or scaring every animal in a 2 block radius.

The only drawback of the Ryobi 40V cordless trimmer is that it's more expensive than other cordless blowers but if you use other Ryobi 40V cordless tools you can share batteries and buy tools without the battery. The battery is the most expensive part of this kit. The long run time of these batteries makes sharing batteries easier than other brands. Price is comparable to some of the lower end, but still good quality gas power leaf blowers and offers the benefits of not having the hassle of gas, oil, spark plugs and so much noise.

Where To Buy

Currently the Ryobi 40V Cordless Blower is only available from The Home Depot. I couldn't find it in my local stores but it is available online.
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1 comments:

  1. great review, i think it will help me decide to purchase this blower over others i have considered. thanks, kb

    ReplyDelete