Ryobi 40-Volt Cordless Snow Blower

By John Peachey on Tools PLUS!

Ryobi 40-Volt 21-inch Brushless Cordless Snow Blower RY40860 Review

Here in Massachusetts where winter snow can begin in November and end in April, a snow blower is an essential device for almost all homeowners.  I already own a two-stage gas-powered snowblower, but I also own all of the headaches associated with a gas snow blower.  When given the chance to test the Ryobi 40-Volt 21-inch Brushless Cordless Snow Blower (RY40860), I leaped at the chance to ditch my shovel and go cordless!

Initial Set-Up

The Ryobi 40-Volt Cordless Snow Blower arrived almost entirely assembled in a large box that required two people to carry.  I reviewed the manual and then needed less than 15 minutes to finish the assembly, which included really only two steps—securing the handles and attaching the snow chute deflector.  Once the snow chute was twisted onto the top of the snowblower and secured with a screw, all that was left to do was unfold the handles and secure each side with the upper handle lock lever and the lower handle adjustment lever.  Such an easy setup made the Ryobi Cordless Snow Blower very attractive from the start.

Ryobi 40-Volt Cordless Snow Blower Specifications

  • Brushless motor
  • 2 active dual discharge battery ports f
  • 21-inch clearing width
  • 13-inch clearing depth
  • Variable speed impeller
  • Discharges snow up to 35 feet away
  • 180° directional chute for controlled snow throwing
  • Push-button start
  • LED headlight bar
  • Includes two 40-Volt 5 Ah high-capacity lithium-ion batteries and 1 charger
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Sold at The Home Depot for $549.00

Ryobi 40-Volt Cordless Snow Blower Design

The majority of the Ryobi 40-Volt Cordless Snow Blower is made of durable plastic.  The two side handles are metal and they run from the upper handle to the lower impeller area.  The upper handle is approximately 38.5 inches above the ground.  The start button is housed in the middle of the upper handle and it is large enough to be depressed with gloved hands.  In order to start the snow blower, one of the two impeller control levers on the upper handle needs to be depressed, followed by pushing the start button.  At least one control lever—though preferably both—must be depressed at all times for the impeller to operate.

The impeller variable speed control lever is on the left side of the upper handle assembly.  The chute rotation lever and connecting cable are on the right side of the upper handle.  The handles themselves are telescoping and collapsible, requiring you to use the handle lock lever and handle the adjustment to secure them.  The lower body of the snowblower is primarily heavy-duty plastic, with a black metal plate on each side that slightly wraps around the front, making it more durable as you push it into snowbanks.

The battery compartment has a semi-transparent plastic cover to protect the 2 batteries from the snow.  The chute deflector’s angle is adjusted manually with the attached gray handle.  In the front of the blower is a long LED headlight bar that turns on the second you squeeze one of the impeller controls.  The LED headlights are quite bright and they are always on during operation–they turn off automatically after 1-minute of inactivity.

The impeller itself is constructed of heavy-duty rubber blades over a metal frame.  The rubber blades are approximately 1.75 inches wide and 0.25 inches thick.  The opening in front of these heavy-duty rubber blades is 21 inches wide and 13 inches tall.  The two plastic wheels in the back of the blower are 8 inches in diameter.  Finally, the scraper blade on the bottom of the snowblower is plastic.

Ryobi 40-Volt Cordless Snow Blower Battery Life

The Ryobi 40-Volt Cordless Snow Blower includes two 40-Volt 5 Ah high-capacity lithium-ion batteries.  Both batteries are required to operate the snowblower.  The snowblower arrives with 2 batteries and 1 charger.  If you don’t own another Ryobi 40-volt battery charger, then you can only charge one battery at-a-time.  After multiple charging cycles, I found each battery needed an average of 3.25 – 3.5 hours to fully charge after being depleted.  Ryobi highly recommends that you use only a 40-Volt 5 Ah high-capacity lithium-ion battery, which is disappointing if you own other 40-volt batteries that are only 2 Ah or 3 Ah.  It will be important to plan ahead for approaching storms if you only have one charger in your house

Storing the Ryobi 40-Volt Cordless Snow Blower

When I was ready to use the snowblower, I had it stored inside my basement.  In my opinion, one of the biggest benefits of this Ryobi snow blower is that it’s battery-operated and it can be stored in any room of your house because it is light enough to carry and it doesn’t smell like gas and oil.  With the telescoping and collapsible handles, it also takes up very little space.

I especially loved having access to a snowblower that didn’t require me to fill a gas tank.  Plus, when you are done working, your clothing won’t wreak of gasoline—my wife really appreciated that!  The Ryobi battery-powered snow blower is an environmentally friendly solution since there are no gasoline fumes polluting the air around you and it runs very quietly.

Snow Removal

Over the course of 8 weeks this winter, we had 4 measurable snow events that enabled me to use the Ryobi 40-Volt 21-inch Brushless Cordless Snow Blower.  The nature of the weather in New England is certainly unpredictable, but this snowblower made each winter storm more tolerable.

On December 17, 2020, the suburbs of Boston received 13-14 inches of very light snow.  I began by creating a 75-foot long path to my driveway from my basement’s bulkhead.  The Ryobi had a little trouble traveling across the uneven ground piled high with 14 inches of snow.  Once I made it to the driveway, the snowblower worked much better on the flat asphalt.

Since this Ryobi snow blower is not self-propelled, it does require more effort by the user when clearing snow.  I have a driveway that is 2-cars wide and 2-cars deep (approximately 700 square feet).  The 14 inches of snow were a lot to handle and the impeller struggled at points.  I tackled small areas of snow with a push forward and pull back approach since it was as high as the snowblower opening.

The light snow was thrown at least 20 feet high and depending on the angle of the chute, it could throw the snow 20-25 feet.  Due to the great height of the snow, the Ryobi blower’s impeller struggled to clear it all.  In the end, I was able to only make the 75-foot single-wide path to the driveway and then I cleared three-quarters of my driveway before both batteries ran out after 28 minutes.

A Big Storm For The Ryobi Blower

On February 1, 2021, it was predicted that we would receive close to 20 inches of snow over the course of 2 days.  The night of the storm, I began by clearing 10 inches of snow while more snow was still falling.  The Ryobi performed admirably that evening, easily blowing the light snow.  That evening, I also allowed my teenage son to use the blower.  He is almost 6 feet tall and weighs less than 150 pounds.  He really enjoyed using the blower and he had more than enough strength to push it back-and-forth across the driveway.  Due to the shorter snow height, we were able to clear our path and remove all of the snow from my driveway before the batteries died after 34 minutes.

The morning of February 2, my son and I removed 7 more inches of snow from the driveway.  This time, the snow had a higher moisture content.  The Ryobi was able to clear all of the driveway, the walkway to the front door (approximately 116 square feet), and the path to my shed with great ease.

The most difficult job for the Ryobi snowblower was clearing the snow debris at my driveway entrance where the town plow had dumped snow from the road.  When tackling the debris at the entrance to the driveway, I found I had the most success traveling across it back-and-forth rather than approaching it head-on.  On 2 occasions, the chute did clog with wet snow, though it was very easy to clear out.

On February 9, we received 4 inches of very light snow and the Ryobi Cordless Snow Blower managed it very impressively.  The snow was easy to throw more than 25 feet and it never clogged the chute.  It cleared the path to my driveway, the front walkway, and the driveway right down to the asphalt.  I used the blower off-and-on for 70 minutes and it still had 25% battery life when I was done.

Overall Impression of Features

I really dislike shoveling snow, so the Ryobi Cordless Snow Blower was a tremendous asset for these 4 storms.

Easy Starting

The Ryobi snow blower’s impeller started each and every time with a simple squeeze of the impeller control levers and a push of the button.  This was something that I was not accustomed to after years of wrestling with a gas-powered snowblower.  It was so nice not having to prime the engine with gas and struggle with a pull-cord or an electric start.  After stopping the unit, the placement of the large start button allowed me to re-start it without even looking down at the handle.  Anyone who has ever struggled to start a gas blower will love the simplicity of the Ryobi Snow Blower.

Easy Chute Direction

Adjusting the direction of the snow chute deflector was very fluid using the large rotation lever on the right side of the handle.  The snow chute rotates 180 degrees in less than 2 seconds with just a simple push or pulls of the lever.  The snow chute also remained steady in one place, even when heavy snow was being discharged.  I had to release the 2 control levers to stop the impeller completely in order to adjust the angle of the chute deflector because of its distance from the upper handle.

Maneuvers Easily

The snowblower was really easy to turn and maneuver in the driveway.  Pushing the snow blower through the snow provided me with a cardio workout, but it also gave me more control over the blower. The unit stopped moving when I did.  At no time did the snowblower “take-off” ahead of me as my gas-powered blower would often do.  I was very comfortable using it to remove the snow next to our cars because I could move the snowblower at a deliberate pace, preventing scratches along the side of the car.

Clearing the Chute

Clearing out the chute when it clogged was very easy to do and quite safe once the impeller stopped.  The large opening above the rubber blades facilitated easy snow throwing and the plastic sides of the chute only clogged two times when the snow was denser.


Lightweight

The Ryobi Cordless Snow Blower weighs approximately 55 pounds with both batteries installed.  At this lighter weight, I found it easy to pick up and carry almost anywhere.  With the telescoping handles collapsed, I stored it in the back of my compact SUV one night.  This portability would enable you to pack it in the car and take it on the road to assist family members after a snow storm.

Teenager Friendly

If you also have teenage children at home, this snowblower might be your answer to getting more help clearing snow.  My son really looked forward to using the Ryobi Cordless Snow Blower.  I was very comfortable letting him use it since it is was easy for him to maneuver and its rubber blades were much safer than the steel blades on my gas-powered snowblower.  Based on his height and weight, I imagine other teenagers and smaller adults would also have great success operating this snowblower.

The rubber blades and plastic scraper blades were gentle on my lawn when I traveled across it.  These rubber blades and plastic bottom would be perfect for those homeowners that want to avoid any potential scratching or damage to their wood deck or expensive stone patio.

Intuitive Levers

The Ryobi Cordless Snow Blower offers a variable speed sliding lever on the left handle.  For the higher snow totals, I always operated at the maximum speed.  When I had only 4 inches of snow on the ground, the minimum speed also cleared the snow effectively.  The variable speed impeller allows you to match the impeller speed with the snow’s height/density, while also saving battery life.

Quiet Operation

The Ryobi Cordless Snow Blower operates very quietly.  I found it averaged 81 decibels while throwing snow, with a maximum of 94 decibels when it encountered icy chunks of snow.  This snow blower could be run early in the morning or late at night with little worry about disturbing your neighbors.  Your closest neighbors will also appreciate that there are no obnoxious gas fumes emanating from the snowblower.

Bright LED Light

The LED lightbar on the snowblower was wonderful when I operated it at night.  However, I do wish there was an off switch for the LED lights since they are not necessary during daylight hours and that might conserve some battery power.

The Ryobi Cordless Snow Blower performed best on level ground.  When I pushed it across my clean driveway, it really excelled and could throw the snow more than 20 feet in either direction.  When the snow was really high and required extra effort to push and pull the snowblower, I had to adjust my approach with the snow and it helped to have boots with good traction.  I also found when I was pushing the snowblower with a lot of force, the right handle had some “give” to it.  While the handle didn’t collapse a great deal, some movement was noticeable and I couldn’t tighten it more with the two levers.

It would not be fair to compare the Ryobi Cordless Snow Blower unit with a two-stage snow blower since the two are like night and day when dealing with chunks of ice or dense, high snow totals, like the masses of snow at the entrance to a driveway.  I accepted the small limitations of the Ryobi Cordless Snow Blower by altering my method of clearing the snow and I was very happy with its performance.

Final Thoughts

After using the Ryobi Cordless Snow Blower for 4 separate snow events, I would consider it to be a worthwhile secondary snowblower for many New England homeowners.  If you live in an area of the country that rarely receives snow, this snow blower will probably be all you need to survive the winter.  The Ryobi Cordless Snow Blower can be pushed through most snow depths and easily throw that snow 20-30 feet away.

The advantages of this battery-operated snowblower were very obvious when it came to convenient storage and avoiding the aggravations of a gas-powered snowblower.  If you don’t have an enormous property to clean and you enjoy a little exercise when removing snow, you will appreciate owning the Ryobi 40-Volt 21-inch Brushless Cordless Snow Blower since it will save you time, as well as preventing back-ache and lots of other frustrations, too!

Where to Buy

You can buy the RYOBI Cordless Snow Blower exclusively at The Home Depot here: BUY NOW

 

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About the author

John Peachey

John Peachey

Writer / Teacher / DIY Enthusiast

John Peachey is a 28-year veteran teacher with a Masters Degree in Instructional Technology. John is passionate about technology and is a big fan of Apple hardware and other techie gadgets. As a homeowner, John enjoys spending time in his workshop and in his yard getting his hands dirty completing DIY projects. For ten years John was the general manager of a swimming and sailing club, responsible for overseeing and maintaining the extensive facilities. In his free time, John enjoys outdoor activities, especially golf, fishing, boating, biking, and camping. John’s love of the outdoors provides him with the time and opportunity to field test and review knives, multi-tools, flashlights, yard tools, and other handy devices. In addition, supporting teachers, students, and friends with technology for more than 20 years has provided him with the experience to advise, evaluate, and integrate technology products into a user’s daily life. Here at A Concord Carpenter, John enjoys reviewing all of these products.

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