Leaf Blower Reviews

Ryobi Backpack Blower Gets A Cordless Upgrade RY40440


Ryobi Leaf Blower Line Now Includes a Cordless Backpack Blower and it has Impressive Power

We put the latest Ryobi backpack blower through its paces to see how it compares to other models in its class. The big deal is that it’s a 40V cordless model using a brushless motor to deliver its power and it doesn’t have a ton of competition. However, EGO and Greenworks are no slouches and create a high bar to reach if Ryobi is going to compete well.

PROS

  • Up to 20.0 Newtons of force in our testing
  • CFM and MPH are higher than EGO 56V and Greenworks 80V
  • 23-minutes runtime on high using one 5.0 Ah battery
  • Only needs one battery to run and both ports are active

CONS

  • We measured a significantly higher decibel level than Ryobi’s 59 dB claim
  • The flexible tube portion doesn’t allow full motion to the left across your body
  • No hip strap to shift weight off your shoulders and back

Recommendation

It’s a bit of a mixed bag for the cordless Ryobi backpack blower. It has impressive power at the top end and balances moderate power with good runtime on high. However, the lack of a hip strap and restriction across the left side of your body make us adjust from what we’re used to.

Those considerations make this Ryobi leaf blower one you want to try out before you buy it if you can. It should only take a few minutes to know if it’s going to work for you or not. However, its price is compelling and as their full line continues to improve on the performance side, it’s worth taking a look at for homeowner use.

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Performance

Great Ex-SPEC-tations

The cordless Ryobi backpack blower’s specs made us do a double-take. At 625 CFM and 145 MPH, the RY40440 throws down the gauntlet for EGO’s LB6000, the most powerful battery backpack blower we’ve tested to date with 25 fewer CFM. That’s right, Ryobi’s claiming more muscle than the current top dog.

The other major player is Greenworks and they have several options. On the homeowner side, the 80V model is only slightly lower with 580 CFM and 145 MPH.

They also have a commercial line of 82V that includes 600 CFM/150 MPH and 690 CFM/160 MPH models. You need to go up quite a bit in price for those, though.

With our trusty force meter, we measured the Ryobi’s lower bound at 10.4 Newtons. That’s nothing to write home about – plenty of handheld cordless blowers can exceed that by quite a bit. But then we turned on Turbo Mode and measured as high as 20.0 Newtons. That’s impressive for a battery-powered blower!

Ryobi Backpack Blower

EGO and Greenworks both use inline axial fan designs to reduce air friction in its delivery. Ryobi sticks with a design that looks like the cordless twin of their RY38BP gas blower. Despite any friction losses, the secret seems to be what Ryobi calls Crossforce Fan Technology – a dual-intake design that swings the air column around the motor and down the tube.

Ryobi Backpack Blower

Unfortunately, we did not have our force rig back when we reviewed the EGO backpack blower to get a head-to-head comparison.

Gas Replacement?

Um, no. No one has a cordless backpack blower that effectively replaces the power of gas models. On the low side, we see force readings at 26 Newtons and moving up beyond the 40-Newton mark for the most powerful. Cordless models are still best for homeowners.

Ryobi Backpack Blower

Mode Choice

High mode takes care of hardscapes and moves dry, broad leaves quite well. Smaller oak leaves are a pain in the neck and 10.4 Newtons doesn’t inspire much movement for the ones caught up in the grass.

Ryobi Backpack Blower

For them and other stubborn material like wet leaves and debris, this Ryobi leaf blower’s turbo mode is a better option. When you hit the turbo button, it’s on a 2-minute timer. You can hit it again to restart another 2 minutes or while it’s in turbo to return to normal speeds.

There’s also a cruise control for extended use. The trigger doesn’t give you much finger fatigue and since you need to have a hand on the control stick anyway, we didn’t use it much.

Ryobi Backpack Blower

Like other blowers, lower speeds are modestly effective. They aren’t very strong but offer sufficient control for blowing dust out of the shop. Even with that, we prefer to vacuum rather than send dust into the sides and corners.

The Long Run

Although the Ryobi RY40440 runs on one 40V battery and kits with a 5.0 Ah pack, there are two active battery ports for more runtime.

Ryobi Backpack Blower

With that 5.0 Ah battery, we ran the Ryobi 40V backpack blower on high for over 23 minutes – not too shabby at all! You can approach 50 minutes of use on high without flipping a switch.

At full turbo blast, we ran the battery down in 10:52. Two 5.0 Ah batteries will net you between 20 and 25 minutes depending on how hot and humid it is.

Charging the 5.0Ah battery is on the slow side, but that’s typical for Ryobi. Expect the larger batteries to take several hours to recharge.

Ryobi Backpack Blower

Quirks

Listen to the Sound

Now to the Ryobi’s sticky wickets. The company claims that this is the quietest blower industry at just 59 decibels. However, with a decibel meter at my ear, the Ryobi RY40440 measured 75 dB(A) on high and 81 dB(A) on turbo!

While that’s much higher than the claim, it is remarkably quiet for the power level. We tested the Newton force several times because the numbers seemed too high for what it sounded like it was pushing.

Flexibility

The blower tubes connect to the flexible portion with the included clamps that serve to guide the control wiring from the motor to the control stick. The flexible part of the tube is a little too short, though. Consequently, you have an excellent range of motion to the right but you can’t swing very far to the left.

Fit and Comfort

Ryobi includes a frame, adjustable shoulder straps, a chest strap, comfortable back padding, and hip padding. But there’s no full hip strap, so your shoulders and back bear the 21+ pound burden instead of your hips. Each of us has a different fitness level, of course, and I started feeling the weight on my back after the 20-minute mark.

Ryobi Backpack Blower

Soft Start

This Ryobi leaf blower has a 2-3 second ramp-up speed to full power. Considering the brushless motor’s electronic controls, this is almost certainly intentional. It could be to mimic a gas blower’s operation better, but my Stihl BR800 has quicker throttle response.

Ryobi Backpack Blower

Price

Kitted with a battery and charger, the RY40440 will set you back $219. The regular price is $249, so that might go back up after the spring sales end.

  • Ryobi 40V RY40440: $219 (1 x 5.0 Ah kit)
  • EGO 56V LB6000: $299 (1 x 5.0 Ah kit)
  • Greenworks 80V 2404802AZ: $329 (1 x 2.5 Ah kit)
  • Greenworks Commercial 82V GBB 600: $249 (bare tool) + $96 (charger) + $231 – $1186 (battery options)
  • Greenworks Commercial 82V GBB 700: $299 (bare tool) + $96 (charger) + $231 – $1186 (battery options)

Ryobi clearly has an advantage in pricing and it comes with a 5-year warranty. Combined with its excellent top-end power, that’s what we expect to swing it into the “serious consideration” column and overcome its quirks.

Greenworks Commercial is targetting Pros, so it’s not a big surprise to find their entry cost is over $500.

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The Bottom Line

It’s a bit of a mixed bag for the cordless Ryobi backpack blower. It has impressive power at the top end and balances moderate power with good runtime on high. However, the lack of a hip strap and restriction across the left side of your body make us adjust from what we’re used to.

Those considerations make this Ryobi leaf blower one you want to try out before you buy it if you can. It should only take a few minutes to know if it’s going to work for you or not. However, its price is compelling and as their full line continues to improve on the performance side, it’s worth taking a look at for homeowner use.

Ryobi 40V Backpack Blower Specifications

  • Model Number: RY40440
  • Battery: 40V 5.0Ah Lithium-ion
  • Volume: 625 CFM
  • Velocity: 145 MPH
  • Noise Rating: 59 dB
  • Throttle: Variable Speed
  • Warranty: 5 Year-Limited
  • Weight: 21.2 pounds
  • Price: $219 (Kitted with charger and 5.0Ah battery)

 

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Andy G White
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beautiful