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Ryobi RM480ex Review

By: Carl Laron on May 08, 2017

Bottom Line

If you have a smaller property to mow, and would like to be rid of noise, fumes and maintenance headaches of a gas-fueled riding mower, the cordless electric Ryobi RM480ex deserves serious consideration. It can run up to 2.5 hours on a single charge, and is a great performer, too.

Pros

  • Great cutting performance
  • Less maintenance than with gas-fueled riding mowers
  • Very good handling

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Long recharge time (12 hours)
Our Analysis
Specs

Breaking it down

Performance

Excellent riding mower performance. Most people will buy the cordless electric Ryobi RM480ex riding mower to rid themselves of the nuisance of dealing the emissions, noise and high maintenance that's unavoidable with a gas engine riding mower or lawn tractor. The fact that it's also a very good performer across the board when bagging, mulching, or discharging clippings, as confirmed in testing by ConsumerReports.org, is the cherry on top -- and one that results in near universal satisfaction in user reviews that have been posted to date. The 2.5 hour run time is more than enough to handle a suburban plot of up to two acres.

Ease of use

Look ma, no gas. Users absolutely adore the ease of use that the cordless electric Ryobi RM480ex affords: no more lugging gas cans, no more messy maintenance, no more hard starting, etc. In formal testing, both handling and ease of use are rated as very good. There's cruise control to reduce rider fatigue and a high-backed seat for comfort. ConsumerReports.org grouses that things can get uncomfortable by the end of an extended mowing session, but we similar complaints for most rear riding mowers, and often worse. After mowing is done, the included charger plugs into a standard 110 volt AC outlet, but recharging takes 12 hours, so allow plenty of time before the mower is next used. There's a media holder for your cell phone or music player, plus a USB port for keeping it charged while you mow. There's a cup holder, too. The lack of a wash out port for easier cleaning seems like an unfortunate omission in what's otherwise a well-thought-out rear rider. Assembly is described as easy, too, once you get the mower out of its shipping crate.

Safety

Stay level. Most owners report excellent performance on flat surfaces, but some note that thing can get away from you on a downward slope, though that's not really unusual feedback for a rear rider. The maker recommends extra caution on all slopes, and adds to not use the mower at all if the slope is greater than 15 degrees. The mower has a safety interlock turn off the blades if the operator leaves the seat with them still running. As with any mower, eye protection is advised. Ear protection is a good idea as well, though at a noise level of 70 dB, Ryobi RM480ex is the quietest riding mower on the market.

Our Sources

Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

ConsumerReports.org tests the Ryobi RY48110, identical to the Ryobi RM480ex, except with a smaller batter rated for 2 hours of use instead of 2.5 hours. Editors rate mowing operations, as well as handling and ease of use. They also assign an overall score that can be used to compare the Ryobi to other rear-engine riding mowers.

Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of May 2017

In nearly 25 reviews, the Ryobi RM480ex earns an overall rating of 4.7 stars out of 5; 100 percent would recommend the mower to a friend. Owners are mostly to completely thrilled with both performance and convenience. The only significant gripe is that the mower is difficult to uncrate, though once that's done, assembly draws kudos as well. Elsewhere on the site, the Ryobi RY48110 -- the same riding mower but with a lower-capacity battery -- draws essentially identical feedback, though that's not a surprise as while there are a few additional comments, most reviews are the same as are posted on this page.

Paul Sikkema, Mar. 28, 2017

Paul Sikkema compares the ongoing operating costs of the Ryobi RY48110/RM480e to those of a standard lawn tractor. Using a five year time frame, and including the cost of replacing the Ryobi's batteries every three to five years, he finds the operating costs to be about the same if you take the mowers to a professional repair shop. DIYers, on the other hand, come out substantially ahead with the Ryobi even in his worst case estimate.

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