If you don’t own a cordless electric blower you need to go buy one right now. This is a life changing tool. Here’s why I think you should choose the the Ryobi 40V RY40401 brushless blower. Having owned this blower now for 3 years, and done extensive research on the competition, there’s not a better blower out there for under $100, especially if you’re already a part of the Ryobi ecosystem. The features and performance are great, and with a 5 year warranty, you can’t go wrong. However, it’s not necessarily the blower for everyone. It’s all about trade offs. My review will cover the blower’s pros and cons, key features, its power, run time, and durability.
Cordless Electric Blowers
Certainly blowers are the most efficient way to clean up a landscape after mowing. I would consider it to be almost a must have tool for mowing your lawn. Having your blower be cordless and electric, however, provides such immense value (considering how cheap they are and how much time they save), that they are a must have. It’s truly a tool that has to be cordless. Whether you’re using it to clean up around your house, clearing paths and flower beds, or the driveway, you move around a lot, and quite briskly, so the effort of dealing with a long extension cord are majorly pronounced. When it’s hot out this is especially annoying.
There are many other benefits which mirror those of cordless electric mowers. They are environmentally friendly and require none of the yearly maintenance gas equipment requires. They start instantly with the press of a button, run much more quietly and, of course, do not emit exhaust fumes. The nice thing about that is you can actually use them indoors, or in your vehicle. It sounds crazy, but a cordless electric blower is fantastic at cleaning out a vehicle. You need to be a bit careful where you’re blowing but it works so well and so fast compared to a vacuum, it’s pretty much all I use anymore. Regarding noise, gas blowers have a particularly bad reputation for being noisy. An increasing number of municipalities have actually banned, or are considering a ban on, gas blowers. The Ryobi RY40401 benefits from all of these advantages, however as with any piece of equipment it has a few pros and cons that differentiate it.
PROS of the RY40401
The main advantages of the Ryobi blower are that:
- It’s lightweight and small
- Its runtime is long
- It has great ergonomics and a variable speed trigger
- The price is right
- The warranty is right
CONS of the RY40401
The main disadvangaes are as follows:
- It’s durability is not the best for heavy users
- It’s CFM rating is on the low side
At 7 lbs, the RY40401 is among the lighter cordless blowers on the market, even when you add the weight of the larger 4 and 5 Amp hour batteries. I can blow for 20 minutes, even working with it above my head (for cleaning out eavestroughs for example) without it feeling heavy. My two year old son can also carry it around.
According to the specs the RY40401 operates at 65dB which is somewhere between a normal conversation and an upright vacuum cleaner. Gas blowers can measure between 70-75 dB at 50 feet can reach 90-100 dB at the operator’s ear. This may not seem like a big difference but since the decibel scale is logarithmic, each increase of 10, say 60 to 70, represents a noise twice as loud.
The RY40401 uses the same batteries and chargers as the rest of the Ryobi 40v tool ecosystem. The charger does a fine job charging, charging a 4.0 Amp hour battery in 90 minutes. Not the fastest on the market but plenty fast, since you’re highly unlikely to go through an entire battery, even on a large property.
The variable speed trigger on the Ryobi 40V Blower is very easy to operate and gives you enough control to tackle a variety of surfaces, from blowing debris out from mulch beds to river stone. The positioning of the trigger is in a good spot as well and it operates smoothly.
The size and design of the RY40401 handle 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 when I used it for the extended periods. The handle is rubber coated making it easy to hold. The design 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 unnatural. The balance of the RY40401 is symmetrical and the intake is on the bottom so it will work well if you’re a lefty or righty. I like the length of the blower tube (longer than average) as it reaches closer to the ground. This the reduces the need to bend over and makes the blower more effective in general because it’s always closer to it’s target. It has an interchangeable nozzle with a high velocity attachment. I leave this on all the time as I find it works best.
Power comes down to two numbers: MPH and CFM. Miles per hour (MPH) measures what most of us understand of as power: blowing heavy things, like wet leaves. The higher the MPH, the stronger the wind. Cubic feet per minute (CFM) measures quantity of wind, or how many things we can blow around at the same time. As CFM increases, the amount of wind pushed through the blower increases. So a blower with a high CFM can cover large areas in a shorter period of time.
The RY40401 is rated at 150 CFM and 150 MPH. The CFM rating is on the low side for cordless electric blowers, but that’s not necessarily a concern, depending on your requirements. High CFM would be important, for example, if you were planning on doing serious yard leaf blowing. Blowing leaves, ironically enough, is not what blowers are best at in general, in my opinion. For heavy duty leaves, nothing beats a broad leaf rake. For light to moderate amounts of leaves I mulch them with my mower. This saves work and it has also been shown to add nutrients to your lawn. So for me this isn’t an issue. And I get A LOT of leaves. My house is completely surrounded by large trees.
MPH is the more important number for most people. And 150 MPH is pretty respectable. It is certainly plenty of power for clearing grass clippings, dirt, leaves and other debris off of hard surfaces. Any hard surface outdoors you’d normally use a broom or a hose to clear off you can use the blower instead. This goes for your garage, your pick-up bed, eaves-troughs, etc. It’ll be easier and quicker than a broom or hose.
Overall, don’t expect the RY40401 to be effective in doing super heavy-duty work. Once in a while it would be helpful to have a higher CFM blower, but there’s always a tradeoff. Higher CFMs usually means a bulkier blower, more expensive, etc. The RY40401’s power is optimal for the majority of tasks for most people.
The run time for this blower on a single 4 amp hour battery is more than ample to blow all the hard surfaces of even a large property. Given the amount of debris that falls from trees on our small to medium sized property, I can do a thorough job of the front and back yard with less than half a charge, which takes about 15 minutes, mostly on full power. This is the same large 40V battery used for the Ryobi push mower, which gives me around 30 minutes of run time. Truthfully, if weight is a concern for you, you could opt for the smaller 2.6 amp hour battery for this application.
Throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall, I used the RY40401 almost daily for three years. Although I treated it respectfully, and stuck mainly to hard surfaces, the internal fan began to show it’s age by the third year. The screws holding the impeller fan down began to come loose causing it to rub against the housing. This didn’t turn out to be that big of an issue however. I brought it in for service, which didn’t cost anything thanks to the five year warranty, and I was back in business. From the looks of it, it wouldn’t be that complicated to tighten myself if it happens again. So if it happens out of warranty I may be able to take care of it myself.
Reading some other reviews and speaking to a technician who repairs these units, this is a fairly common issue. So I would stop short of recommending this blower to landscape professionals who would use it all day, everyday. I think the inherent design would be excellent for this sort of application but some of the internal parts would need to be upgraded, from plastic to metal perhaps. So it’s durability isn’t perfect, but I don’t consider this to be a deal breaker, considering how much I used it and how much it cost. The overall construction of the blower is sound. The unit consists of 4 pieces that snap together easily. The housing and blower tubes are made of durable plastic and have held up well.
In conclusion, the Ryobi 40V RY40401 offers unbeatable value in a lightweight, clever design. It has ample run time, on top of all the benefits of a cordless electric blower – ie. quiet, no maintenance, easy storage, easy to start, etc. The RY40401’s power and features are optimal for the majority of tasks for most people. You should definitely consider it for your next purchase, unless you’re a super heavy user.
Check out my gear section for links to this blower and more.