Easy start button
Runs quieter than most mowers
Lightweight, collapsible design
Self-propelled to make it easy to maneuver
Can raise/lower the blade
Adjustable handles and LED-lit safety features
Neon green design
Can be hard to turn
We purchased RYOBI's 40-Volt Brushless Self-Propelled Mower so our writer could put it to the test in her own yard. Keep reading for our full product review.
Few people enjoy mowing their lawn, but it’s a job that has to get done. While gas-powered mowers have long been the status quo, electric options are now popping up across the market, and they promise users just as much power and no gas or oil to change. While we were initially hesitant to transition, we decided to try the RYOBI 40-Volt Brushless Self-Propelled Mower. Read on to see how it handled our yard.
Setup Process: Super simple
The RYOBI 40-volt mower comes with a thick instruction manual, but most people wouldn’t have trouble putting the pieces together by sight alone. The mower ships almost entirely assembled, but you’ll still want to check the packing list to ensure you have everything you need. The mower comes with a 40V 5Ah lithium-ion battery and battery charger, a start key, a grass catcher bag and frame, a mulching plug, and the owner’s manual.
To finish assembly, we just had to pull the mower out of the box, unfold its adjustable handles, attach the grass catcher, set the blade height to our desired height, pop the battery in, and then insert the start key. The whole process is super easy, and since there’s no gas or oil involved, it’s mess-free.
Design: Neon green with headlights
The Brushless Self-Propelled Mower has a durable black plastic body and thick and sturdy handle that looks like a workhorse. One thing that showcases this mower’s stalwart nature is the self-propelled feature, a cruise-control based setting that lets the device take charge and cut grass without you pushing it. It only works if your hands are on the handle and pulling the lever up, so you don’t have to worry about the mower running away without you.
As for physical design, this mower looks like any other battery-operated lawnmower, though the black body has neon green highlights that cause it to pop in a not-so-pretty way (unless, of course, neon green is your favorite color). At least while it’s moving around the yard, the green blends into the dapples of sunlight, which helps make it visually more appealing, especially when you’re watching from the confines of a wicker chair while someone else does all the work.
No matter who’s pushing the mower, the handle will adjust to fit your height and lock in place. This feature helps one maneuver the machine, especially when it’s on self-propelled mode. You can also adjust the length of grass, similar to how hair clippers work. If you are looking for a military buzz cut or wish to keep it longer, it’s all up to your preferences.
One feature that makes this mower stand out, though we aren’t totally convinced it’s necessary, is LED headlights. When the mower is going, these bug-eyed lights shed some illumination, but unless you’re mowing in the dark or at dusk, we don’t see much reason for them. We also don’t imagine many people feel the need to trim grass when the moon is out, but at least if you want to do some nighttime lawn care, you have this option as the beams light up about a foot outside the mower.
Another thing to note is that this mower is battery operated. That means it’s better for the environment since the battery is rechargeable, and the machine is not burning fuel and oil. You have to make sure the battery is charged before you get going, which can be a downside for those who don’t like planning. But since it also means mowing the lawn smells better, more like fresh-cut grass than a small semi-truck, we think this foresight proves worth it.
The RYOBI also cuts down on noise pollution. So much so, the last time we took it out, the neighbor with all the tools was impressed with how quiet it is compared to other lawnmowers.
Performance: A mower that drives itself
Having never mowed the lawn before, we decide to give this behemoth a spin only to have it take control of the drive and quickly move across the yard every which way. Yes, the self-propelled feature proves that powerful. An adjustment with the cruise control button helped tailor that feature to our abilities and offered more control to cut evenly across the yard. It helps that if you let go of the handle it shuts off, so even when it felt too strong, there was no fear of it running away.
The second try, we were easily walking the yard in rows, trimming the late-summer buffalo grass without breaking a sweat. You don’t have to engage the self-propelled feature; this is only active when you pull the levers up to the handle. Otherwise, you can use your body strength to push the machine.
The hardest part about using the mower comes when cutting corners, literally. It’s really hard to turn and you need to lift the machine up and move it to get it going the other direction. Luckily it’s lightweight, so doing this, while a bit awkward, proves completely doable. Once you manage, expect a lawn trimmed to whichever height you desire, there are seven options from close-cropped to long and slightly wild. No matter what grass length you choose, there won’t be any distinct lawn lines showing where you turned the mower around.
As for how it trims the grass, well, it cuts, but the stalks looked more chewed off than neatly sliced. Catch the errant blades in the large grass catcher or let it fly out in tiny, double-cut bits thanks to the mulch plug. It has a convenient 2-in-1 mulching and bagging option, so really it’s up to you to decide what you want to do with the cuttings. It’s nice to have choices, and we found the extra grass cutting left behind at the end of the season helped to insulate the lawn for next year’s greenery.
Battery Life: Long enough for a modest yard
The basic RYOBI Self-Propelled Mower comes with one 40-volt, lithium-ion battery, but has two spots to put it in. That way, if you have a large property to trim, you’ll get double the power. We used the mower to landscape approximately 3,500-square-feet of lawn, and 30-minutes later, the battery had dipped to just under half-full, which means it lasted longer than the projected 35-minute time frame the product information claimed. The power level can be checked with a built-in power bar when you insert the battery into the charger, which comes with the mower.
The mower has a nice battery cover to protect the power source from moisture and flying debris. It’s also a great place to keep an extra battery in case you want a backup. You can also keep the lithium ion battery on the charger when not in use, and if you need to juice it, it takes about 3.5 hours to get wholly amped up.
Care and Storage: Handle folds down for easy stowing
To stow the mower, fold the handle down and over the body to make a neat rectangle approximately 12-inches by 30-inches. Then, it’s easy to store under a worktable, in the corner, or wherever it’s convenient to shove until the next time you need to cut the grass. Just make sure it’s in a dry, clean spot and out of reach of children and either in a vertical or horizontal position with the battery chamber on top.
But, before you put it away, make sure to take off the grass catcher by lifting it by the handle and empty any greenery out of it. It’s good to also dust out the mulching plug if you used it so no stalks dry out inside. Then replace the bag before folding and storing.
Don’t use any solvents when wiping this machine clean. Because it’s made of plastic, albeit heavy-duty plastic, many commercial cleaners can damage the body. Instead take a clean, dry cloth and rub away any dirt, grease or dust. Also check the bolts to make sure everything is tight and ready for the next mowing adventure.
Price: Priced right
At $400 it might seem pricey, but when comparing the RYOBI Self-Propelled Mower with other battery-powered modern mowers, the cost remains similar. It’s worth it for the quiet, lightweight, easy-to-use and reliable machine. You won’t find much better in this price range, nor do you need much more if you’re looking to trim a modest-sized yard.
RYOBI 40-Volt Brushless Self-Propelled Mower vs. EGO 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Mower
When compared side-by-side with the EGO 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Mower, both are priced the same. However, the Ryobi is outgunned. The Ego is more powerful with a 56-volt motor, and it charges quicker. The two major things that the Ryobi has over the Ego is that it is lighter in weight and has brand recognition. We wouldn’t put too much stock in its name popularity, since EGO backs its product with a 5-year warranty. Ryobi only goes so far to offer a 3-year warranty on its mowers.
- Product Name 40-Volt Brushless Self-Propelled Mower
- Product Brand RYOBI
- MPN RY40190-Y
- Price $399.00
- Weight 44.7 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 39 x 21.5 x 59 in.
- Color Lime green
- Battery 40V 5Ah high-capacity lithium-ion
- Cutting Height 1.5 to 4 in.
- Drive Type Rear-wheel self-propelled
- Warranty 3 years