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Ryobi Self Propelled Electric Lawn Mower Review

The Ryobi electric lawn mower is packed with features! This self propelled battery powered lawn mower can tackle my entire yard on a single charge and folds up for easy storage!

close up of Ryobi self propelled electric lawn mower with text overlay

Tired of pushing that heavy, stinky, gas powered lawn mower around the yard? The Ryobi self propelled electric lawn mower makes cutting the grass almost relaxing! It has all the power of a gas mower and pulls itself along effortlessly so you don't break a sweat. Best of all, it folds up flat and stands vertically for super compact storage!

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When we bought our house a few years ago, we didn't have any outdoor tools. My first purchase was a cheap, tiny, battery powered lawn mower to cut our dandelion-filled yard (the house had been sitting empty for months).

It struggled with thick grass, and the battery conked out before I finished our small yard. Neighbors said it looked like I was pushing a toy lawn mower around because it was so tiny! But it was quiet, and it got the job done (eventually).

So I was really excited when Ryobi reached out and asked if I'd like to review their 20 inch battery powered lawn mower! It's quite the upgrade over the tiny 13 inch model I was using before!

Ryobi self propelled electric lawn mower in front of garden bed

How to Set Up the Ryobi Electric Lawn Mower

Ryobi's self propelled electric lawn mower impressed me from the minute I opened the box. There's no assembly required, because the mower is folded up and ready to mow! Just turn the knobs, extend the handle, and you're good to go!

Watch the video below to see how quick and easy the Ryobi battery powered lawn mower is to use!

Insert the 40V Battery

The 40V battery is included, and slips into the slot easily. There's also a spot to store an additional battery so you can switch them out on the fly, but one is enough for our small yard with charge to spare.

battery compartment on Ryobi electric lawn mower

Unlock and Extend the Handle

My husband and I are both tall, and the old mower's handle was too low to push comfortably. The telescoping handle of the Ryobi lawn mower is high enough for both of us to use without getting a sore back!

To take the handle out of the folded position, pull out the knobs on either side and rotate them 90 degrees. Swivel the handle so it's behind the mower, then rotate the knobs back so they snap around the bars.

unlocking and extending the Ryobi electric lawn mower handle

Extend the handle to full height by unlocking the green flaps on either side. Then you can pull it out to the desired height and lock it into place.

extending the handle on the Ryobi electric lawn mower

Adjust the Blade Height

You can adjust the height of the blade with a simple shift of a knob, from 1 ½" all the way to 4" long grass. You should only cut your grass down by ⅓ each time you mow, so this adjustment makes it easy to keep your lawn looking healthy!

Ryobi self propelled electric lawn mower height adjustment

How to Start the Ryobi Lawn Mower

Unlike a gas-powered lawn mower with that dreaded pull cord, the Ryobi battery-powered lawn mower is super easy to start! Make sure you follow the steps in order if you're having trouble getting it to start.

Insert the Safety Key

After setting it up, insert the safety key. If your Ryobi lawn mower won't start, check to see if the start key is in place. The mower won't turn on without the key, which is an important safety feature when you have curious kids around!

Ryobi self propelled electric lawn mower key

Pull Down the Bar and Press the Button

This diagram shows you the steps to start the Ryobi push mower. Once you do it a few times, it'll become second nature!

How to Start a Ryobi Lawn Mower

Pull down the bar and hold it in place against the handlebars. When you let go, the mower automatically shuts off.

lower the bar before starting the Ryobi electric lawn mower

With the bar held down with one hand, push the button in the middle to start up the motor. You may need to hold down the button for a few seconds until it kicks on.

starting the Ryobi electric lawn mower

Adjust the Speed

The self propelling feature is pretty powerful, so you'll want to start off at the lowest setting. Leave it on the lower setting for flat ground, and ramp up the speed when you're going uphill. It really does make mowing your lawn less of a workout!

speed control on Ryobi self propelled mower

Unless you plan to jog behind your lawn mower (not recommended!), you'll only need to use the highest setting if you have a really steep hill. You can adjust the speed as you mow, so you can crank up the power when you encounter an incline and not break a sweat!

Clean Up and Storage

You can choose to bag up your lawn clippings or let the blade mulch them up and spit them back out. I was impressed by how well the bag collects everything. I had to empty it a few times while mowing the backyard since it's been so long since it was last done.

Ryobi self propelled electric lawn mower bag with lawn clippings

When you're done, collapse the handle and fold it down on top of the mower. It stores vertically, so you can keep it in the corner of your garage or shed without taking up a ton of space!

ryobi self propelled electric lawn mower folded up and ready for storage

Ryobi Battery Powered Lawn Mower Review

As you can see from the photos above, our lawn isn't exactly a lush, green carpet of grass right now. Despite the rumors you may have heard about Seattle being rainy, we actually have a drought period every summer! Our grass goes dormant and brown until the rain faucet turns back on in the fall. This was the first time I've mowed the lawn in over a month, other than cutting down the dandelions!

Initial Impressions

The Ryobi lawn mower handled the combination of dry and new grass like a champ. The motor has load-sensing technology, which allows it to detect and deliver the power needed to maintain an optimal cutting speed. Dry, brown grass - less power. New, thicker grass - more power.

Ryobi battery mower in action

One tip if you've never used a self-propelled lawn mower before:  when you want to turn the mower around, let go of the green handles. This will disable the self-propelling feature and allow you to turn it around manually. It took me a bit to get used to this, and I almost chopped down a garden bed before I figured it out!

Ryobi self propelling electric lawn mower cutting tall grass

Two Years Later

After testing out this cordless mower extensively over the last two years, I can still wholeheartedly recommend it! Here are the things I've learned:

  • It handles fresh spring grass easily, but it runs down the battery more quickly. I need to swap out the battery when the grass is wet, because it takes more power to cut.
  • I thought the headlights were a silly feature at first, but it's helpful when mowing under bushes and shrubs.
  • You can use the self-propelled feature without the blade turned on! We have to push the mower up a small hill to go from the back yard to the front yard, and it's nice to get a little boost from the motor without kicking up rocks.
  • It does a great job gathering up the clippings in the bag, but it will leave a trail once the bag is full. Keep an eye on the bag if you don't want freshly cut grass sticking to your shoes!
  • If the bag is really full, it can be tricky to empty it without leaving a pile of clippings on the sidewalk. I try to empty it before it gets too full, so I don't have to clean up as much afterwards.

Overall, I'm really impressed by all the features of the Ryobi self propelled electric lawn mower. It's certainly an upgrade from my old mower, which found itself on the curb with a "FREE" sign on it as soon as I took the Ryobi out for a spin!

Check out these other landscaping tutorials!

close up of Ryobi self propelled electric lawn mower


Monday 28th of June 2021

Light is of little use.canit be disconnected?

Vineta Jackson

Tuesday 29th of June 2021

You probably could disconnect it, but I don't see why you'd go through all the trouble to do it. I doubt it has much of an impact on the battery or performance.

Jann Olson

Monday 24th of September 2018

Ryobi makes great products! Thanks for sharing with SYC. hugs, Jann

Barbara Chapman ~ French Ethereal

Thursday 20th of September 2018

Nice mower! I will be looking for a new mower once we get a house this next winter/spring. Thank you for the review and my hubby and I have LOTS of Ryobi workshop tools already ~ nice to know the batteries might all switch around as needed. Love my Ryobi drill, as a side note... ;) Thanks for sharing at Share Your Style #175 this week! I am one of the new hosts this fall and am enjoying getting around to some posts.

Happy fall, Barb :)


Wednesday 19th of September 2018

You had me at the collapsible storage! Nice lawnmower for sure.

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