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With the introduction of the green-batteried li-ion line a few years ago, we became fans of Ryobi’s power tools. While the early (blue) One+ line pretty much defined (in our opinion, at least) the price-cheap and quality-cheap low-buck tool line, the updated li-ion versions flat blew us away. We thought the li-ion One+ drill compared favorably to models offered at twice the price; you could actually pick up a whole multi-piece kit for under $200. That’s not bad. Of course, Ryobi has always been in the garden tool market as well, so we’re interested to see what comes of Ryobi’s new 40V li-ion line, which applies most of the same technology to a battery pack large enough to power higher-draw tools, like the chain saw pictured above.

The specs look pretty encouraging. Despite looking larger in photos, that’s a 12″ bar in the picture — just about right for the kind of small trimming and pruning jobs it’s likely to see in its target market: the home. And while gas-powered saws will probably always dominate the heavy-duty use market, there’s a lot to be said for the low-maintenance convenience of electric for the homeowner, who won’t want to keep gas and oil (or mix) on hand and re-adjust the damn saw every time they pick it up.

The line launches sometime this summer, so we’ll update you again when we know more about actual street pricing and/or get a chance to take a look at these in person. As with all such tools — and especially the lower-priced ones — the test will be how well these hold up compared to their more expensive rivals. What do you think? Would you consider trying out a Ryobi string trimmer? Or lawn mower?

The 40V Garden Tool Line [Ryobi]
The 40V Chainsaw [Ryobi]

 

28 Responses to Ryobi’s 40V Li-Ion Garden Tool Line

  1. David H says:

    I’d definitely be interested in the lawn mower. I have the 92 pound Black&Decker self-propelled electric now. A 40 pound replacement would be great.

  2. phil says:

    This is pretty cool. 40 volts is enough to actually give these tools a good bit of power. I’d definitely try the chainsaw.
    I’d also like to see a pole saw that runs on that battery.
    I’m surprised that Dewalt and Bosch who’ve had 36 volt tools out for a while haven’t tried to widen their appeal with these type of tools. Maybe they will now.

  3. PutnamEco says:

    If they would come out with a 40v line of cordless tools I’m sure they would profit. I am continuously amazed by how many time I see Ryobi tools on job sites. The higher voltage systems are the only ones that make sense for tools like circular saws and roto-hammers, and are a big help on tools like reciprocating saws.

    • fred says:

      Amen on 36V cordless saws – but on rotohammers my guys still reach for corded tools – or on major breaking jobs we roll a Compressor/Jackhammer – if not a hoe ram

      • PutnamEco says:

        Cordless roto-hammers are really handy for putting up railing and bolting down the odd piece of equipment. Especially at height, when there is fall arrest equipment involved, it is nice not to have to worry about getting tangled up with a cord.
        I know not everyone is happy with having to pay Hilti/Bosch prices, that’s why I think Ryobi would have a winner with those tools, Knowing how many normally corded tool using guys have cheap back up cordless tools just for those few occasions when they are necessary.

        • fred says:

          Working at height most often does require fall-arrest equipment – and with the other PPE being worn – you have a point. Its not that we don’t use 18V cordless rotohammers – especially when working from ladders – it just that we use them less frequently – and wonder if a 36/40V tool’s weight might also be a bit of an issue. Of course when we need a breaker-hammer or a big rotohammer to do a job at elevation we go to staging – not ladders.

          • PutnamEco says:

            The extra runtime of 36v means less batteries to haul up and down. To me that makes up for working with a little more weight. If it is going to take more than one battery it is usually a job more suited to a corded tool anyway. Also having the ability to drill larger holes is a plus at times.

            Boschs 36v 11536C-1 weights about the same as Dewalts 20v DCH213L2 IF weight is really that much of an issue. The Hilti TE 7 is about 2 lbs. heavier though, but, IMHO is much more pleasant to use.

          • fred says:

            @PutnamEco

            Thanks for the observations – we have not used any of the 3 that you mention – but we have a TE 30 that I’m told is great at chiselling.
            Might give a Bosch 36V a try – if we have an application that looks like a good fit.

          • BruceCarson says:

            Usually we don use the fall arrest stuff. It is a pain and just gets in the way, at the company where I work no one falls for a few years now. One of the guys came from China, and he says they dont even use harnesses on skyscraper construction, just bamboo scaffolding.

  4. Jerry says:

    Like the rest here, I think these things might be a big hit if they hold up over longer use. Obviously, for the homeowner with a smaller property but for that purpose, pretty cool stuff. A 12″ bar can eat a 20″ tree so might be handy if you travel on forest roads in the winter – hopefully charged. I have battery string trimmers, battery hedge trimmers and a battery mower. Sure makes life on my small place easier.

  5. browndog77 says:

    I have an electric chain saw (corded) to go along with the 2 gas units I own, and for certain tasks, like clearing thick brush where you need to make a lot of quick cuts between other tasks and don’t want to keep the saw running, it is better suited even with having to drag a cord around. The cordless model is enticing, but the comment re: not having to constantly adjust the saw doesn’t ring true, as the chain still works the same way, and keeping it properly tensioned and lubricated is still required!

  6. Lee Gibson says:

    I’ve got the 18v chainsaw and string trimmer. They do not suck. There is no finer weapon for hunting wild christmas trees than the 18v chainsaw.

    • browndog77 says:

      My 19.3v recip w/ a pruning blade does a pretty good job of that!

    • Tomindc says:

      I have the string trimmer. It is very light, and no eye-watering fumes common to gas-powered ones. It holds enough charge to edge the drive and sidewalk, and get the tree bases and under shrubs. For longer jobs, you need to take an ice tea break to recharge :-). I love it.

  7. DrunkenMessiah says:

    What’s the deal with the weird cap that covers the tip of the blade? Seems like it reduces the useful length of the bar, though I doubt a battery-powered saw could chew through a full 12 inches of hardwood anyway. Is it some kind of safety thing?

    • ambush27 says:

      Yes, if the tip digs in it will push the saw up, Possibly towards your face. This prevents that.

      • browndog77 says:

        That guard would also prevent you from “drilling” into a cut, a good capability to have when working on large trees. Not something this tool would likely be used for.

      • DrunkenMessiah says:

        Lame. A good chain-stop mechanism should be good enough.

        I guess it makes sense though as the people who buy this thing are more likely to be inexperienced saw users.

        • Don Carson says:

          This is correct. My chainsaw came with one of these guards. The instructions tell you how/when to remove it and how to use the saw without it (with lots of warnings). Gives me a little extra peace of mind when I let someone less experienced use the saw.

  8. Cameron Watt says:

    Don’t get hung up on voltage. A Hilti 14.4 volt impact driver more than holds its own against 18v models from other brands.

  9. paul says:

    To the guy who asked for one of these in a pole saw:

    I have the corded black and decker pole mounted chainsaw its a great tool but at the longest extension I can barely weild it and when a branch comes down it takes everything in me to keep from letting the saw slam the ground, and I am no small guy. If it weighed ANY more it would get beat to ****. Even if that weight were on the handle. Maybe you guys are just that much strong than me?
    I do push mine to the limit though, cutting fairly large branches at full extension.

  10. ilader says:

    I own electric chainsaws. The problem I have with electric chainsaws is that they never have the full set of safety features and adjustments found on all gas-powered chainsaws. Why is that? I think it is because the electric models are meant to be bottom-of-the-line, and thus as cheap as possible, regardless of safety. For instance, I don’t see a handguard/chainbrake here, nor a spiked bumper, nor a chain catcher (though all these may be hidden in the photo). It does, very unusually, have an anti-kickback chain, a wide rear handguard, and what looks like a convenient chain-tensioning system.

  11. PutnamEco says:

    ilader says:
    The problem I have with electric chainsaws is that they never have the full set of safety features and adjustments found on all gas-powered chainsaws. Why is that?

    Perhaps what you are comparing are bottom of the barrel electric saws. Compare the Stihl MSA 160 C-BQ or the Husqvarna T536 LiXP and you WILL find all the features you expect from a professional saw.

    Like other tools there is a wide range in specifications, compare Ryobis offerings to Festools and you will find the same kind of differences.

  12. MattK says:

    I believe the biggest difference between electric and gas is the amount of power you use and how long you can be out working. I have both an electric and a gas saw and the gas is my go-to tool for just about everything.

    The electric has all the features but can often struggle cutting thicker braches on harder wood, like apple. The gas cuts it like butter and I can go as long as my arm will hold out.

    Electric is perfectly viable depending on what type of project you are trying to finish.

  13. BigWu says:

    I have several forested acres and the 18v Ryobi chain saw: love it! With two batteries, one charging while the other in use, you an saw all day while enjoying tunes or talk radio (yes, it’s that quiet). The lightness and near-silence of the 18v definitely boosts my endurance. I find myself only using my 2-cycle for dicing up the larger trunks.

    Main complaints re the 18v: chain tensioning is required every hour or so and requires tools and the bar is too short for big trunk work. The new 40v seems to have licked these two issues so I’m definitely interested.

  14. Walter Watts says:

    This looks like a great website. On battery powered chainsaws or other battery powered items. I am 68, retired. The one advantage of battery power is that the battery can last about as long as I can on most tools. Then I can take a break. (I don’t tell my wife that I have another battery already charged) Ryobi has surprised me over the years. Some real cheap junky products that break right away and some items like their battery powered items, saws, and weed eaters that just keep going and going. They are not top of the line but they work. I will watch this item and see which extreme this falls into. Right now it looks good. I like the idea of a 40V line. Someday I will have to replace my battery powered lawnmower (It is now on it’s third battery) and a group of tools with the same battery and charger appeals to me.

  15. Chris says:

    I have all of the 40V tools, and use them every week in the summer. The mower, while small, doesn’t wear you out and you don’t mind making a few extra passes (but I always wish for a side discharge). The blower kinda sucks, might as well stick with the 18V because it’s almost as powerful. The chainsaw is a good step above the 18V chainsaw, but still nowhere near a gas unit. The trimmer is excellent, great run time, good edger, power is as good as a cheap gasser! The hedge clippers are also excellent, and I might as well sell my gasser since I never use it at all anymore. The batteries are great, hold a charge like a Lithium Ion should (24V Ryobi drops off in a week, even new….however can be modified easily to work in Ridgid 24V tools and even 18V tools), and charge time is very good. They also have attachments for the trimmer now for pole saws and extended articulating hedge trimmers, but I already have those in 18V and 24V. All in all, these tools are worth the investment, but it would be great to see a circular saw, compound miter saw, and rotary hammer added to the 40V lineup.

  16. Brian says:

    I have the 40v Ryobi trimmer with tilt head edger and it has always performed well. It has plenty of power, does a reasonable job of edging and the line jams are less frequent than any of the half-dozen previous line trimmers I have owned. I would love to have a blower attachement for it, but the specifications tell me it would in no way have sufficient power for my use. I have already ordered and returned two of the pole saw attachments as they were defective right out of the box. After consulting with the factory tech we determined a bad capacitor in the wand portion of the saw head is at fault, but they offered no solution beyond exchanging the whole thing again and hoping for the best. They have no mechanism in place to test a unit prior to shipping it to me. I can’t waste anymore time dealing with poor quality control.

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