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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.


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


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

Breaking it down


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.


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.

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