Complete Review of the Ryobi RM480e and RM480ex Including Pictures!

 

Common Questions About The Ryobi RM480e and RM480ex:

1. What is “some assembly required?”

Ryobi has created and posted an assembly video on YouTube. It is very easy and uses just a few hand tools. Most owner state it takes 45 minutes if your rider is delivered in the crate or 30 minutes without the crate. If you opt to pick it up at your local Home Depot it should be already assembled. If it is assembled at the Store make sure you get the cardboard box which includes the battery charger.

Basically the only assembly required is to attach the steering wheel/column, plug the battery connector (just one connector), connect the safety switch connector to the seat and attach the seat to the mower with two shouldered screws. If you do not have a torque wrench as suggested in the video, tighten the nut with a wrench to the point of initial resistance and then continue to tighten about another 1/3 revolution so that the nut is securely attached to the steering assembly.  Another little not. Back it off the crate per the instructions. Be sure you let it charge fully – 8-10 hours – before your first mow.

2. How do I get this to My House? 

The Ryobi RM480e can be purchased online or at your Home Depot store and taken home with a trailer. You may purchase it online or in the store and have it delivered to your home. Home Depot currently shows free delivery. You may also purchase it online and have it shipped to your home in the crate. If you buy online and have it shipped to your home, there will be some minimal assembly upon delivery.

3. Who Repairs This and How?

For service and repair: RYOBI has approximately 1800 Authorized Service Centers across the US. Call Ryobi customer service center can help you find the one closest to you: 1.800.860.4050.  At this time it looks like you are responsible for getting the mower to the repair center.

4. What does rust-resistant deck mean? What is it coated with? Is this mower made mostly out of steel? 

The mowing deck is a stamped deck and made from 12 gauge steel. Rust resistant means it has a powder coat finish applied. Powder coat is a process where the metal is cleaned of all oils and contaminants. It is them electrostatically sprayed with a colored powdered poly paint.  That powdered paint is them baked on to create a very durable finish that is very hard to chip and won’t flake off.

The second picture in the picture review on page 2 shows the full metal frame of the Ryobi RM480.  The mower is made mostly of steel and the plastic you see on the outside is like the fenders on your car. Your car fenders are there more for looks (and aerodynamics) than for structural integrity.

5. Specs state a 38.5″ width with a 38″ cutting deck which I presume is the shipping width (with the deflector chute folded up). What is the overall width with the deflector chute down in the operating position?

I don’t have an actual number because I’m at work, but the deflector shield sticks out about 10″. You can fold it up if you need to go through a gate or something.

6. What are the crated dimensions?

The crated dimensions of this unit are: 46” wide X 63” long X 38.5” tall.

7. How long is the mower on it?

This question is hard to answer. Most people ask who wide the mower is so they know if it will fit through a gate or doorway. The cut is 38 inches wide. The mower deck with the plastic side discharge up is about 41 inches wide. So it will go through a 48 inch gate easily. With the discharge down it’s about 51 inches. How long is the mower deck? If you are going to take the deck off and store the it separately the front to back length would be about 24-26 inches.

8. Mowing speed?

When the blades are spinning (engaged) The Ryobi RM480 has a top speed of 5 MPH but I’ll guess that the normal mowing speed is like that of other lawn tractors – about 3-4 MPH.  With the deck turned off the Ryobi RM480 will tool around your yard and over to the neighbor’s at 8 MPH! That 2.5 MPH faster than your neighbor’s lawn tractor!

9. Are there rebates ​on this mower since it’s environmentally friendly?

“Going Green” rebates and allowances are usually distributed through your local government so it would definitely be worth checking on.

10. Any plans to make provide attachments for use the year around ? Specifically such as a snow blade?

Not at this time

11. What is the horsepower? 

The Ryobi RM480 uses 3 independent brushless motors that deliver max torque and power to the deck motors and the transmission.  Electric motors operate differently so trying to compare the available power/torque of the brushless motors to a gas engine is very hard. Users have stated that the mower deck motors and the transmission drive motor provides all the torque needed to deliver all of the power and run-time to mow your lawn. In fact, owners are stating is has more than enough power for the 38 inch cut.

12. It states “up to 2 hours of run time or 2 acres”. Do you get those times with the included 75 AH batteries or only if you upgrade to the 100 AH batteries.

Consumer Reports just reviewed the Ryobi RM480e with the 75 AH batteries  and stated they got the two hour run times during their testing. They also rated it the best of the “rear engine rider class” and “very good” for the areas they test. Subscription required: http://www.consumerreports.org/products/lawn-tractor/ryobi-r48110-388396/overview/

13. Battery maintenance? Are the 75 AH batteries that come with this mower maintenance free, or standard old school lead acid that need to be topped off with distilled water every now and again? I didn’t see anything in the manual about the batteries except they are Ryobi 75 AH lead acid and how to change them out.

These lead acid batteries are maintenance free. They are a sealed gel type battery so you never have to check them or add water.

If you want to get the most life out of these batteries here is an article on the subject:  5+ Ultimate Electric Riding Mower Battery Care Tips

14. How many amps does it draw when charging?

The charger for this lawn mower is rated at a 13 amp max current so any 15 amp 110 volt outlet will work. The charger will be warm/very warm to the touch when in operation.

15. What is the charge time for the batteries? Is this a quick charging unit?

Page 16 and 17 of the use and care manual states the charge time is “overnight.” The manual also suggests that you leave the mower plugged into the charger when you are not using it. The charger not only charges the batteries but also maintains (peak charges) the batteries so they are always ready to use.From a practical standpoint these are deep-discharge sealed lead acid batteries and quick charging them can greatly shorten the life.

16. Is it possible to purchase multiple batteries and switch them out for longer cut times to avoid waiting on recharge?

Hi, Robert- thanks for the question. While it’s possible to change the batteries out, it is more for long-term maintenance than for swapping out during each use. The 75Ah batteries that come with model RY48110 will get you up to 2 hours of straight cutting time which equates to 2 acres of grass. If you require more run-time than that, we sell the 100Ah version (RY48111) which will get you up to 2.5 hours of cutting time or 2.5 acres of grass. We hope this helps!

16. Why is the warranty on the 4 batteries only 1 year? Is that their expected life? Would this mean that I should expect to by 4 new batteries every year? What is the cost of a replacement battery?

Most batteries are only warrantied for one year because the life is very dependent on how the owner treats the batteries. If you don’t take care of them they may only last 2 years but with a few simple habits you can easily get 5-8 years before they have to be replaced.

This is an excellent article on how to maximize the battery life. It more or less follows the same advice that’s in the manual, but gives the “why” behind it. If you want to get the most life out of these batteries:  5+ Ultimate Electric Riding Mower Battery Care Tips. If you follow the hints in the article and the charging procedures on page 16 and 17 of the Operator’s Manual I expect you should get 4-6 years of use.

Replacing the batteries every 5 years is less expensive than properly maintaining and running a gas rider over the same period of time.

For replacement, there are a number of different sealed lead acid batteries that will work with the riding mower. The replacement should be AGM, sealed, maintenance free lead acid battery. The riding mower is powered by 4- 12V lead acid batteries. The replacement cost per battery can range from $150-$200.  My understanding is Home Depot will carry replacements in the future.

17. If delivered from the store is it already charged at all? Would it be delivered to the end of my sloped drive(2 cars deep) or the top? I want to make sure I can get it in the garage to charge overnight.

The battery does have some charge – probably more than enough to complete any driving you’d like to do, but the instructions are pretty clear on charging it fully before any mowing tasks. If the mower does not move at all when you get it there is a plug under a panel under the seat that needs to be connected.

18. Are these Lithium Ion Batteries?

It’s a mistake to dismiss this mower because of the battery type. Here’s why:
While lithium batteries are better in cars and even portable appliances the differences diminish in mowers and tractors. The main benefit of lithium’s is their weight to power ratio. What this means is that for a given weight lithium batteries supply more power. This does not mean that lithium batteries are more powerful. Power in batteries is measured in Ah (amp/hours). What this means is that the battery can supply a specific power (watts – amps x volts) for a measured period of time (hours). So if a lithium battery has say 100Ah and an AGM (absorbent glass mat) battery has 100Ah they both are capable of supplying the same amount of power. The difference is that the lithium batteries are smaller and lighter but both give the same results.

Mowers and tractors don’t care about overall weight, in fact they get better traction when they are heavier so the heavier battery is actually a plus in this type of machine.

What is an AGM battery? This is a lead/acid battery with a big difference! First it is sealed so no acid leaks out and you never need to add water. They can fly on airplanes and are safer than lithium batteries. The batteries in mowers has another difference, they are deep cycle. That means they can withstand discharges better that the battery in your car that starts your engine which can put out a lot of power for a very short period of time.

Treated correctly and charged properly they will last a long time. Not as long as lithium batteries though. Here’s why. Battery life is measured in cycles, how many times it can be charged and discharged. and lithium wins in this category but for a big price they cost 3 to 4 times more than sealed batteries. So in the end it evens out, you spend less for the battery but it doesn’t have as long a life. To get the longest life try to never let the batteries discharge below 50%, 70 or 80% is better. Battery life is also dependent on how deeply the batteries are discharged, so the number of cycles a battery will last drops with deep discharges.

Bottom line:  AGM batteries like in the Ryobi mower are a very good design choice. Lithium batteries are great batteries in many ways but in mowers that don’t have weight restrictions their added expense is just not justified.

19. Are the batteries shipped with the mower or separate ?

The batteries are shipped installed in the mower.

20. Does this mower mulch? Is there a mulching option? Does this mower come with mulching blades?

The mower comes equipped with combination mulching – side-discharge blades. The Ryobi RM480 is also shipped with the mulch plug.

A bagging kit (with bagger and high lift bagging blades) is also available separately.

21. If you are using the mulching plug, is it okay to remove the side discharge cover?

It’s not recommended.  The hardware that mounts the cover is a pin that uses a press on cap.  (You should be able to find a replacement cap at any hardware store.) In addition, the cover is spring loaded and the spring is very difficult to install. However, it is hinged, so you can raise it up if you need to store it in a smaller space or move it through a narrower gate. Most owners use a rope or bungee strap to hold it up with the mulch cover in place. That allows you to mow from either direction thru/near obstructions – narrow paths, gates, trees, flowerbeds, etc.

22. How difficult is it to remove the mowing deck to replace the blades and clean the under side?

Removing the deck is easier than most lawn tractors because the deck is smaller/lighter and there are only four hairpin cotter keys, and two electric connections that pull apart. No belts to route or belt keepers to loosen and reinstall.

Your owners manual shows you the steps on page 22.

23. Can I remove deck and drive only tractor ?

The deck is removable for cleaning and blade changes.

24. Is the mower deck hard to clean and how do you clean it?

The deck is not hard to clean but the procedure is a little different from what we have been telling you to do to clean a lawn tractor deck for the last 10 years. Why? About 10 years ago the industry switched to sealed bearings on the deck. Those bearings were sealed well enough that many brands started to include the deck washing port where you hooked up a garden hose and used water to clean the underside of the deck. It worked well IF you cleaned the deck each time you mowed. The water pressure was low enough that it usually didn’t force water into the bearings, ruining them. By the way, never use a pressure washer on any deck, especially ones with sealed bearings or a deck with electric motors like this one. Even though they are sealed – they are not sealed that well! You will accidentally force water into them and they will quickly fail.

So, to clean this deck. What I state here pretty much follows the Ryobi RM480e operator’s manual. Clean the topside by wiping it off with a rag or brush. You can also use a vacuum or leaf blower to blow the debris off. I suggest cleaning the underside when you sharpen the blades or replace them. You only have to remove four pins and disconnect the electrical plug. The deck slides right out from under the riding mower. You may want take pictures of where the pins go with your cell phone before you disconnect the deck.

Remove the blades. Even dull blades can cut you if you accidentally slip. Use a plastic scraper and a shop vac to clean the underside. I have an old kitchen spatula (pancake flipper) and a boot brush that works really well. If you use plastic you won’t scratch the paint causing corrosion later on. It doesn’t have to be perfect – just get the big chunks. That’s it! Install the blades, slide the deck under the rider, connect the pins and electrical plug. The whole process will take you less than 20 minutes the second or third time you do it.

25. How does it handle tall grass? I assume it’s not as good at cutting really tall grass as gas-powered ones.

The Ryobi will cut tall grass just fine but please remember riding lawn mowers are designed to cut your lawn – not the field out back or the garden/paddock you haven’t mowed all year. It’s understandable how one might think an electric mower couldn’t handle tall grass as well, but we’re confident that it can. This unit is powered by 3 independent brushless motors that deliver max torque and power to the deck motors and the drivetrain. The mower uses the torque of these electric brushless motors to deliver all of the power and run-time the customer will need. Thanks again for your interest, and we hope this helps!

Works just like a gas-powered riders.

26. What is the max slope?

The rider has a lot of weight in the rear compared to a conventional lawn tractor so it will climb slopes up to 15 degrees better than most lawn tractors. The Max Slope for using the Ryobi RM480 is 15 degrees.  Page 36 of your operator’s manual has a diagram to help you determine your max slope.

27. Hi, I bought my RM480e two weeks ago, used it twice and love it. However, the parking brake on my unit does not work. The brake itself works fine but not the parking handle. It probably needs an adjustment. Where are the instructions for adjusting the parking brake?

To use the parking brake push all the way down on the left foot pedal then lift the red parking brake handle. If the brake will not set the brakes may be adjusted to tight. The operator’s manual show you how to easily adjust the brakes.  This is another great feature of the Ryobi RM480. The brakes are real brakes and you can use them just like the brakes in your car. Most lawn tractors have just a parking brake and you can’t feather the brakes to stop slowly or adjust them.

28. Can this fit through my 3 feet-4 inch fence gate?

Yes. Raise the discharge chute up and it will go through. Drive slowly because it will be close.  With the discharge chute lifted up, the width of the deck is 37 inches. Your gate is just wide enough to fit, at 40 inches.

29. Tow behinds Any products like aerator, dethatcher, or seeder coming soon?

Most lawn tractor attachments from all the manufactures that hook up to the rear hitch and has wheels to pull it around will work. Lawn Sweepers, Yard Carts, Dethachers, Spreaders, etc.  I would limit aerators to 40 inches or less and put no more than 2 cinder blocks on the aerator for weight.

Manufactures include, Agri-Fab, Brinly-Hardy, Craftsman, Cub Cadet, John Deere, Ohio Steel, Polar, OxCart, Precision Products, Midwest Products, and many others.

30. Can it tow a trailer? I have a small steel wagon that is capable of being towed behind a lawn tractor and was wondering if this was capable of towing it. The Wagon is rated to 1200 lbs but is really too small to get anywhere near that and I was wondering if this could pull it.

Yes it has a hitch plate in the rear. Be realistic though and only tow a small yard cart with garden tools or a bag or two of mulch/dirt.  Total towed weight must not exceed the weight that you can safely control the mower.

31. I have less than an acre but a good-sized hill , how will this mower perform on large hills ?

The operating manual states NO MORE than a 15 degree slope. Many other factors go into how it will handle including wet grass, loose dirt, ruts and bumps.The area you can mow on one charge will be reduced by driving it up and down a hill.

32. Can the cruise control be set at any available speed, especially a very slow speed?

The cruise can set at any speed as long as you’re on level ground or traveling uphill. There is no engine braking so will not control the speed if you’re traveling downhill. The mower will accelerate downhill and does not return to the set speed until you encounter an uphill or level-ground condition. If the brake is applied (just touched or fully) at any time, the cruise is disengaged.

33. Do the headlights offer enough light to mow at night?

They should be plenty bright to allow you to mow at night. And it’s quiet enough not to bother the neighbors!

34. Does the mower CUT in reverse?

Yes, There is a reverse mode option button on the control panel. When this button is depressed, the customer is able to mow in reverse until the mower is turned off or the button is depressed again turning off the reverse mode option.

35. What is the top speed and turning radius?

The top speed for this mower is 8 MPH without the blades in use and 5 MPH when mowing. The turning radius is 16”.

36. Does it Vibrate

The easy answer is no. There is no gas engine vibration or vibration from spinning pulleys and v-belts. This riding mower will also be quieter than a gas powered rider. I own an electric riding mower with a 46 inch deck and there is no vibration from the spinning blades. I am going to assume that this 38 inch will have no vibration either. Be aware the speed control is a foot pedal. If you have problems with having your knees in one position for long periods of time the foot control may be a problem. Yes, there is cruise control but that is only good for open areas that you are mowing. Most of the time you will still be using your right foot.

37. Do I have to switch blades to go from mulching to bagging? I see there are both mulching blades and bagging blades, but does one set of these blades work better if I want to mostly mulch but occasionally bag?

Yes, I strongly suggest that you switch to the bagging blades when you’re bagging. If you use the mulching blades for bagging they will not have the throw required to get the grass into the bagger and fill the bagger with grass clippings. The mulch blades may work for dry leaves in the fall but don’t be disappointed if they work poorly.

Where to buy:

The RM480 is available exclusively at The Home Depot here are the links to read more and buy. I do make a commision from the sale when you use these links.

Ryobi RM480e, 38 inch, 75 AH Cordless Electric Riding Mower Model # RY48110 (about 2 hours run time)

Ryobi RM480ex, 38 inch, 100 AH Cordless Electric Riding Mower Model # RY48111 (about 2.5 hours run time)

Available Accessories:

Ryobi 38 inch 2 bin soft bagger for RM480e and RM480ex Cordless Electric Riding Mower Model # ACRM001 Note: Bagger comes with bagging blades

Ryobi 38 inch bagging/side discharge blades (2) for RM480e and RM480ex Cordless Electric Riding Mower Model # ACRM003 Note: The bagger comes with bagging blades

Ryobi 38 inch mulching/side discharge blades (2) for RM480e and RM480ex Cordless Electric Riding Mower Model # ACRM002 Note: Mower comes with these blades and a mulching cover.

Hi, I’m Paul Sikkema. Don’t know me? Check out this About Page or my LinkedIn Profile. #mycountryacre

If would you like to buy from your local dealer or store that I don’t link to but still want to support My CountryAcre just click on the following link and buy anything you need. I’ll make a small commission from the sale. Buy at Amazon. MyCountryAcre.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and we get a commission on purchases made through our links.

References:

https://www.ryobitools.com/outdoor/products/details/rm480ex-electric-riding-lawn-mower

https://www.ryobitools.com/electric-riding-mower/

https://www.ryobitools.com/landscapes/how-to/rm480e-ryobi-riding-mower-assembly-guide

7 Comments

  1. SDY June 27, 2017
    • Paul June 27, 2017
  2. Justin June 22, 2017
    • Paul June 23, 2017
  3. Bill Brenner June 18, 2017
    • Paul June 20, 2017
  4. Charles Hall June 7, 2017

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