Admittedly, the Ryobi RY40460 is neither the most powerful nor quietest cordless leaf blower we have seen so far. It also doesn't have a terribly impressive battery life, though it is one of the more ergonomic and comfortable. However, it couples an alright performance at a much more palatable price than the premium top-tier blowers, earning it the Best Buy Award and is our top recommendation for anyone shopping for a new leaf blower on a tight budget.
Ryobi 40V RY40460 Review
Pros: Much more affordable, exceptionally ergonomic
Cons: Not the most powerful, can be earsplitting to operate
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Ryobi finished roughly in the middle of the pack overall, scoring just a few points lower than the DEWALT DCBL790M1 and a few more than the Greenworks G-MAX 40V. We actually found the Ryobi to be a bit more powerful than the DEWALT, even though the DEWALT costs almost twice the price. This pair of blowers performed about the same in our battery tests, but the DEWALT is far more ergonomic to use and much quieter. The G-MAX costs a little bit less than the Ryobi but is significantly weaker. However, the G-MAX is quieter, more comfortable to hold, and has a way better battery life but we still would recommend the Ryobi over the Greenworks as it is much more powerful.
In our quest to find a cordless leaf blower that bested them all, we compared and evaluated a whole heap of different battery-powered blowers, then purchased all the most promising models that had the most potential to win an award. We then pitted all of these cordless blowers against each other in a series of head-to-head tests, grading their performance in each of our four weighted metrics — power, battery, ergonomics, and sound levels — with the Ryobi's results in each described below.
Comprising 50% of the final score for the RY40460, our leaf blower strength tests are by far the most significant to the overall rank of each blower. For this metric, we compared and scored each blower on how easily and effectively it can remove all sorts of common debris, how far its maximum range is, and how high it can levitate a beach ball. The RY40460 is just a bit more powerful than average, earning it a 6 out of 10 for this rating category.
It takes a bit longer than the top products to clear stuck-on dirt and grime but the Ryobi could usually do it if you got close enough. The RY40460 does have a respectable enough range with lighter items, able to blow sand a little further than 13' away when the Ryobi is held at a stationary point.
It also did fairly well at floating the beach ball, able to get it to hover at a distance of 4' from the end of nozzle on it High mode and 5' on Turbo.
To see how the Ryobi handled moving different sorts of rubbish, we used it to clear a section of our parking lot and a bike path of leaves, litter, pine needles, dirt, and rock. The RY40460 did well at moving the mess but you can definitely tell that it is a step down in power levels from the top blowers. However, it does have a decent amount of oomph and is able to move lighter items and even smaller pebbles and stones relatively far. It did get bogged down if the pine needles got matted together, only able to move the lighter portions of it rather than moving the entire clump as the top-tier cordless blowers can.
Our next set of evaluations are concerned with the performance of the Ryobi's battery system, which combine to account for 25% of its final score. To determine points, we started each blower with a full battery, then measure how long it lasted running the blower at its most powerful normal mode, then repeated this test with the Ryobi on its Turbo boost mode. We then estimated normal use to be a 70/30 divide between using these modes and calculated an effective run time. Finally, we also timed how long the factory charger took to completely recharge a spent battery. The Ryobi RY40460 did about average in this metric, receiving a 5 out of 10 for its results.
The Ryobi's 40-volt, 4 amp hour battery lasted for 26 minutes on high and a little more than 18 minutes on Turbo mode, which overall counted as a runtime of 20 minutes and 24 seconds for scoring purposes when using our estimated 70/30 split.
Unfortunately, the Ryobi RY40460 takes an exceptionally long time to recharge, with a dead battery only hitting 100% charge after 2 hours and 45 minutes on the charger.
Next, we evaluated and scored how it felt to carry and use the RY40460, looking at its balance, grip, and weight. We also compared the location of the air intake on each blower, deducting some points from models that are disposed to sucking in your clothes when switching hands or throughout normal use. Overall, these evaluations account for 15% of the final score for the Ryobi, which earned a 7 out of 10 for being one of the most comfortable and ergonomic models of the group.
The Ryobi is about average when it comes to heft, weighing in at 9 lbs. with the battery installed.
This cordless leaf blower has a very comfortable grip and it naturally rests at a great angle when held in a neutral position. The trigger is a little stiffer and wider than the others and takes a little more effort to engage than some of the others but it is still relatively easy to press. It also isn't a hassle to hit the Turbo button while holding the Ryobi normally.
This blower has an air intake on the back of the main housing but the battery protrudes from the back, providing some protection and preventing your shirt from getting caught when you switch the RY40460 between hands.
The remaining 10% of the score for each blower is allocated to its noise levels. For this metric, we measured the sound level for the operator on the most powerful operating mode and for a bystander 50' away, awarding points accordingly. Regrettably, the Ryobi thoroughly failed to impress in these assessments, being one of the loudest products we have tested to date, earning it a 3 out of 10.This blower measured in at 93.3 dBa on its Turbo mode for the person using it and 83.7 dBa for someone 50' away. On top of being one of the louder blowers, the Ryobi also has a high-pitched whine that all of our judges universally agreed is highly unpleasant.
While the Ryobi isn't the most powerful and is quite loud, we think it's the absolute best option for a budget-minded shopper trying to keep costs down while getting a decent leaf blower.
Overall, it's definitely the Ryobi's relatively affordable and attractive price that earned it recognition, not necessarily its performance. It did fairly well in most tests but can't compare to the top-tier models. However, it does cost less than half as much, making it one of the absolute best choices if you are shopping on a tighter budget.
— Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman