We found the Ryobi 40cm Cordless Brushless lawn mower to be a well made machine, with a clever handle design that is slightly hampered by an annoying grass box. We think this mower is definitely worth considering if you have a medium to large garden, especially if you have other Ryobi products on the same One+ battery system.
Easy set up
Convenience of battery power
Well designed telescopic handle
No batteries included
Poor grass box design
No battery readout
The Ryobi 18V ONE+ 40cm Cordless Brushless lawn mower is one of over 150 tools in Ryobi's power share range. This means the mower along with a wide selection of drills, sanders, strimmers and other power tools, can all be powered from the same battery.
The appeal is obvious. Not only can you save money buying the bare tool if you already own the battery, but you can save space on cords, cables and fuel for all of your tools and have one or two batteries fully juiced up for when you need them.
It is amazing to think this ample mower with a 40cm cutting width (not the biggest, but not that small either) and generous 50 litre grass bag could run off the same battery as much smaller tools, so we were keen to seen whether it had the power to match the best lawn mowers around.
See how it got on in my garden as I tested it over several weeks.
Ryobi 18V ONE+ 40cm Cordless Brushless lawn mower specifications
- Deck size: 40cm
- Drive mechanism: Push
- Mulching capable: Yes
- Mulching plug supplied: Yes
- Weight: 17kg
- Power: 18V
- Included: Grass catcher, mulching plug
The first thing you notice when you open the box is all the intense bright green. Ryobi have clearly worked hard on their branding and their logo, and the distinct colour scheme is prominent on virtually everything, both on and in the box.
The next thing you notice is how complete the Ryobi 40cm Cordless Brushless Lawn Mower is, unlike others I have tested. There are very few parts, nothing needs major assembly and the handles are already semi-connected to the base unit, thanks to the electrical wire.
I was also pleased to see that there was a lot less protective plastic film compared to the Flymo 340R Li I tested recently. The vast majority of the packaging was recyclable cardboard, which definitely a good thing.
The Ryobi 40cm Cordless Brushless lawn mower is about the easiest mower to set up I have ever encountered. There are three main parts: the mower, the handlebar and the grass box. The telescopic handles are already connected to the mower by an electrical wire, but need to be fastened using two bolts.
I was pleased to see that Ryobi had included an Allen (hex) key with the mower for this, so no additional tools are required. I found one of the bolts took a couple of goes to seat properly, but this is being picky, otherwise it was a very easy process.
One thing I did notice was the cable that connects the base unit to the switch on the handle. Some mowers require you to clip it on during set-up using special clips provided. The Ryobi does not, but in several places it is held in place using black cable-ties. While this is no doubt functional, I felt it did undermine the quality of the machine. On a more positive note, I was impressed that it had a protective shield around the cable, something I had not seen before.
The grass box for the mower is also already complete. Being part canvas, as opposed to rigid plastic, allowed it to be shipped as one unit so, unlike models from Bosch, Flymo and Stihl it just clips straight on the back of the mower with no assembly.
The manual that comes with the mower is a bit deceptive. While it looks very thick, this is because it includes about 10 different languages and the amount of information is actually quite short. All the instructions for putting the mower together were pictorial and located (a bit confusingly) at the back. I would estimate that anyone would be able to get this mower up and running within about 10 minutes.
What it's like to use?
Overall, I found using the Ryobi 18V ONE+ 40cm Cordless Brushless lawn mower very simple and straightforward. Startup is a simple case of unfolding and extending the handlebars, clipping on the grass box and pushing in a battery. It comes with the standard safety features, two button operation and a removable key to disable the operation of the mower.
In terms of construction, the mower does feel solid overall. All the components seem to fit together well and you do get that reassuring ‘sturdy’ feel when you use it. Yes, there are a few scratchy plastics that probably won’t wear that well and I did think the switch handles felt a little flimsy. However, these points are minor and it certainly doesn’t feel like it's going to drop apart as soon as you use it. One area where I was actually very impressed was the telescopic handlebar, which felt very solid and was far better quality than the Flymo 340R I tried recently.
The handles are coated with a layer of foam to make them softer to grip. While I'm not sure how long this material will last, I did think that it made pushing the mower more comfortable than gripping either hard plastic or a metal bar. I also liked how the handlebar had two angles of incline; shallower for the shorter user and steeper for the taller one. I thought that this was a clever touch and again, makes the Ryobi 18V ONE+ 40cm Cordless Brushless lawn mower more comfortable to use.
When it came to mowing the lawn, I tested the mower on a variety of different grasses and grass lengths and found that it gave a good standard of cut in every case. The cutting height is very easy to adjust using the handle on the side of the mower. I found that it picked up most, but not all of the grass as it went. Not the best I've seen (the Stihl Cordless lawn mower RMA 235 wins that one), but certainly better than a hover mower.
While the Ryobi 18V ONE+ 40cm Cordless Brushless lawn mower is on the heavier side, it is very maneuverable and turns easily. I did notice that it left quite pronounced wheel marks in the lawn, but this did not affect that quality of the cut. Considering the weight, I think it would have probably benefited from a roller on the back to leave those attractive stripes people love for their lawn decoration.
As with most mowers, the Ryobi does have the option to be used with or without the grass box attached and like most other models on the market, a hinged flap either rests on the grass box or closes to prevent the ejection of cut grass when the box is not there. There is also a mulching plug included with the mower.
When you are finished, the Ryobi 18V ONE+ 40cm Cordless Brushless lawn mower packs down well, thanks to its telescopic handles which simply shorten and then fold across the top of the mower. The canvas grass box squashes down very easily allowing the whole mower to be packed into a very small space.
Ease of use
The biggest asset the Ryobi 40cm Cordless Brushless lawn mower has to offer when it comes to ease of use is its telescopic handle bar, which can be lengthened and shortened by simply undoing a couple of clips.
There are handles to lock and unlock the angle of handlebar, or to fold it away. This is far easier than other mowers I have tried that have bolts which need to be loosened in order to the fold down the handle. However, I would have preferred the handle to be slightly wider and I suspect broader-shouldered users may find the mower uncomfortable for prolonged use.
Where I did feel that the Ryobi 18V ONE+ 40cm Cordless Brushless lawn mower came up short though was the grass box. While it does the basic job of collecting grass, some of the design choices seemed questionable. The box is mounted to the mower at a very steep angle and has a full width opening with no lip at the bottom. This means that as soon as you unclip it, grass will inevitably spill onto the floor, even if there is not much in it. There is also the risk, as it gets full, of grass falling back out while you are still mowing.
The grass box is constructed with a rigid plastic top, canvas sides and thin plastic base. This makes it ideal for storage, as it collapses to almost flat with no effort, however it also gives a very odd weight distribution when the box is full. One of our (shorter) testers noted that she would not relish trying to empty it into a full height wheelie bin. Additionally, the carry handle, while smooth on the top, is ridged underneath (where you grip it) so even without any weight, it digs into your hand when you pick it up.
Other battery powered mowers, such as the Cobra MX4140V, have a readout on the handlebar that shows you how much charge is left in the battery. Some models allow you to check the charge on the battery while it is still mounted in the machine. The Ryobi requires you to remove the battery from the machine so you can you use its readout function. Not a huge issue, but we did feel that this let it down compared to other models for convenience.
Finally, I think the single best feature of the Ryobi 40cm Cordless Brushless Lawn Mower is the battery power. The elimination of an electrical cable makes it a great deal easier (and safer) to use, especially on larger areas. We imagine that anyone switching from a cable mower will find increased convenience will offset the other problems.
The main and most important additional feature you will need for this mower is at least one battery and a charger. There is no battery included if you buy the bare tool so you will need to buy one (or two) to actually use the machine. There is actually a red warning label on the box to let you know. This won’t be a problem for anyone already using the Ryobi One+ battery system, but it should be factored into the cost of purchase for anyone else.
What is interesting about this mower is that it can be used with either one or two batteries. So how much battery power you choose to buy will depend on the size of your garden and what your demands are of the machine.
Ryobi also sell replacement blades for when the original blade eventually wears out and even branded safety glasses for when you are using your mower. These feature on the images on the box.
How does it rate?
Our research showed that consumer feedback on the Ryobi 18V ONE+ 40cm Cordless Brushless lawn mower was largely very positive. On Amazon (opens in new tab) it has a 4.4 out of 5 star rating from 142 reviews. I thought this figure was slightly higher than I would have given it, but not by very much. Many people were impressed by the build quality and the convenience offered by battery power.
The main criticism was its grass collection. Like me, many people had issues with the high angled grass box causing grass to fall back out of the box. It was also mentioned by several people that they did not find the mower to be as powerful as they had expected. I did not find this, although the lawns I tested were not particularly overgrown. Anyone who is going to be particularly demanding may want to take this into consideration.
I have decided to give the Ryobi 18V ONE+ 40cm Cordless Brushless lawn mower 4 out of 5 stars. I think that, overall, it is a well built and capable machine that would be a good option for medium and larger sized gardens, especially if you are already using the Ryobi One+ battery system.
I liked the telescopic handlebars and think that they are well designed and convenient for the majority of users. I also liked how well it packed down and thought that the option to stand on its end made it great for storing in small spaces. I thought it was actually (ironically) easier to store than than the Flymo EasiStore 340R.
I have to say that I thought the biggest negative of the Ryobi 40cm Cordless Brushless lawn mower was the poorly designed grass box which, in many ways, is the Achilles heel of this particular machine. It could have been better thought out and if 100% grass pick-up is your top priority, then this is probably not the machine for you. I also thought that having to take out the batteries to find out how much charge was left was annoying. Not a deal breaker by any means, but it is not as good as other machines on the market.
The decision to purchase the Ryobi 18V ONE+ 40cm Cordless Brushless lawn mower shouldn’t be taken in isolation. By buying this mower, or any mower that requires batteries, you are choosing a battery system that will influence your choice of power tools for years to come. If you are already on the Ryobi system, we think that this mower would be a good bet. Yes, it does have a couple of flaws, but certainly nothing serious enough to warrant purchasing a competitor that would not be compatible with your existing batteries.
If you are not on the Ryobi One+ system then make sure to not only to consider this mower, but also the rest of the One+ range. Compare it to what other suppliers are offering to decide what you will be happy buying and using over the short to medium term.
About this review and the reviewer
Gardening expert Steve Bradley has written no fewer than 40 books on the subject. His lean towards practical gardening advice has given him air time on a number of publications and a regular seat as garden advisor for listeners of several local BBC Radio stations.
When he is not helping others make the most of their gardens, he is looking after his own. It is here where he tested this Ryobi mower, which was sent to him free of charge by the brand. He measured its worth in his own plot, and helping care for a neighbour's garden, at the same time as testing a hedge trimmer from the same range to really give the battery system a good run.
Steve has written (or co-written) over 40 practical gardening books, and along with his wife Val (also a qualified horticulturist) was commissioned to update some of the world’s best-selling gardening books, The Expert series, originally written by Dr David Hessayon.
Steve and Val have worked for the Sun newspaper since 2002, writing the Gardening page with the late Peter Seabrook and answering hundreds of readers’ letters every year. Over the years, Steve has also written for most of the popular UK gardening magazines. He has a vast knowledge of gardening and enjoys sharing it with listeners to BBC local radio.
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