Review - Ryobi 40V blower/vacuum mulcher

Feb 20, 2007
In a moment of desperation, irritation and impulse buy, I picked up ryobi’s inline 40V blower/mulcher vacuum. our trees exploded, I’ve not dealt with it, haven’t had the time, and mulching with the mower reached the end of the line. the store didn’t have what I wanted, so it was either the dregs, or their “premium” offering. It came with a charger (don’t need, but it’s their better charger), 2 batteries (it’s always cheaper to buy batteries with the tools), and the blower/vac. It was not cheap.

in fairness, it does the job. It chops them up into 1/4” bits and fits a lot of leaf bits into the onboard bag. The performance is usable for a homeowner. Battery effectiveness is good, and it worked well on both medium and high speeds. It did in 20 minutes what would have taken me 90 or more with a rake and bag. I carried it to the back yard, unzipped the bag and turned it on, and leaf powder emptied into the designated spot. Nursing around its weaknesses, it did the job.

the cons. Ryobi should be blatantly ashamed of charging so much for something which seems so cheaply made. Thankfully the impeller and drive did its job admirably, but the unit itself seems embarrassingly flimsy. This is not a tool for a professional by any means. The adjustable handle came loose and flopped around every time I turned around, and it just seems super delicate. Why Ryobi can’t engineer a handle on many of their products just baffles me (chain saw, string trimmer). I need to get 5 fall seasons out of it to get my money’s worth, and I think with care it will reach the goal. But if you can find any other product with the function and form that works for you, it would be worth the search.

it will be handy having an electric blower around for quick clean up and blowing dirt out of the cars - I’ll probably enjoy it here. But it laughably can’t even approach your average consumer tool grade of quality. I am beginning to believe that Ryobi is actually a battery company which sells products to create demand for their batteries.


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Yep!! This place has a pretty small lawn. I’ll bet that trailer weighs down pretty good at 10 minutes!
Meh, I just mulch mow my leaves and leave them where they are. The soil is high clay here and that creates topsoil if you have a mower that does not have a discharge chute so it mulches them up small enough to not choke the lawn. I do have plenty of leaves, giant oak trees make sure of that.

Ryobi's tools are best for light duty use. I have several 18V and they work fine, but I would not push them towards any use that is traditionally dominated by gas powered equipment.

There was a time when I would use a 2 cycle gas blower/mulcher to mulch some leaves for the garden. What a pain! It chews up the impeller (possibly partly due to my having the oak trees so acorns are too plentiful for the squirrels to drag them all away) but also, all that leaf dust, really does a number on the inside of the blower, requires nearly dismantling the entire thing just to get all that cleaned out. Granted since cordless electric are simpler mechanically, could take less work to get apart enough to get all the leaf dust out, but either way, I'm not going to mulch with anything that has internal areas where that muck can build up.

I do compost leaves for garden use, but I just put them in a pile, throw some dirt on top to retain some moisture, and by late spring (end of late frost date) they have composted enough to be useful in the garden. I also do some container growing and just bury them there too.
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agree on all. I’d run over the yard several times with the mower, and the first few times the grass sort of just soaked up all the clippings, magically. But that had its limits. the electric unit is frustrating in that it’s basically a kids toy. On the other hand, it bagged it and shredded it very finely, which was excellent for dumping it in the back. Our yard is too large for me to want to rake, and small enough that this should work.

a bagger for the rider would have been a sturdier choice, but larger to store.