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I’ll always love the sound of neighborhood lawn mowers in the distance on a sunny Sunday afternoon. But as much as the smell and sound of gasoline-powered lawn mowers infuse my senses with nostalgia, the truth is that I recognize there are reasons to move from old-school gas guzzlers to more modern options: They’re loud, require regular maintenance and they’re not all that great for the environment. But we can’t let the grass grow too high, either. Luckily, we now have battery-powered mowers that actually get the job done.
That’s why I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to review the Ryobi 40V 18-inch Walk Behind Mower. I’ve recently become a fan of battery-powered lawn equipment, and I wanted to get my hands on this little mower to see what it could do.
About the Ryobi 40V 18-inch Walk Behind Mower
What’s in the Box:
- The mower
- One 5ah Lithium-ion battery
- Grass chute
- Deck size: 18 inches
- Power: 40V battery
- Cutting heights: 7 positions, 1.5 to 4 inches
- Run time: Unspecified
- Acreage: Unspecified (up to 1/4 acre in my experience)
- Extremely lightweight
- Very easy to operate
- Very quiet
- Relatively affordable
- Plenty of power for its size
- Easy height adjustment
- A little small
- Battery life can be an issue
Assembling the Ryobi 40V Mower
There aren’t a lot of parts to put together with the Ryobi 40V Walk-Behind Mower. The mower blade was already attached to the spindle on arrival. The push bar was folded up and detached from the mower, but the control panel was already attached. One bolt and a plastic knob-enclosed nut on each side of the bars are all it took to attach the handle.
The battery was dead out of the box. The charger is fairly basic, and it took about an hour to recharge the battery from dead. Once it was charged, popping the battery into the mower was simple and the spring-loaded plastic cover easily dropped back in place.
Switching between mulching and mowing modes is also fairly straightforward. The spring-loaded flap on the side of the machine lifts open and the discharge chute is then installed. As the spring-loaded flap lowers onto the chute, it locks the chute in place.
All in all, it took only a few minutes to take the mower out of the box and get it ready, though the batteries did need charging.
Mowing With the Ryobi 40V 18-Inch Walk-Behind Mower
Mowing with the Ryobi 40V 18-inch Walk-Behind Mower is pretty fun. It’s quiet and lightweight so it’s easy to push and manipulate. It does have relatively low-quality wheels so it is a bit wobbly, but overall it tracks straight and cuts well. Its light weight is really the shining star of this model, as it makes mowing hills, around objects and over longer distances a breeze.
One of the best parts about using a cordless mower is how easy they are to start. Starting the Ryobi requires holding the power button and squeezing one of the handles. Once it starts, it will run until the handle is released. And should this mower reach some thick grass that causes it to stall, restarting is a breeze.
Adjusting the cutting height is also simple. There’s one lever by the right rear wheel with a linkage to the front wheels to lift or lower everything together. I found that adjusting it to the fourth setting was sufficient for my lawn.
I was able to cut my quarter-acre on one charge, but it didn’t leave much life for the next time I tried to cut. Folks with larger yards will probably want to invest in an additional battery or two.
There is one thing to note: The first time I cut with the Ryobi battery-operated mower, it felt like it took much longer than usual. The reason for this is the Ryobi only has an 18-inch cutting capacity and requires many more passes to cut the same amount of yard as my 22-inch mower. It might not sound like a big difference, but the Ryobi required many, many more passes.
The Verdict: Should You Buy the Ryobi Walk-Behind Mower?
Anyone with a very small yard who’d prefer to own something that starts easily and doesn’t require any maintenance other than keeping the battery charged will love the Ryobi 40V Walk-Behind Lawn Mower. It doesn’t have nearly as much power as a traditional gas-powered mower, but it’s lightweight and very quiet, making it enjoyable to use.
Keep in mind that this is not a mower for a medium or large-sized property. The battery is too small and the cutting path isn’t wide enough. Otherwise, it’s an excellent machine for handling smaller yards.