This is going to be a very complete review of the Ryobi RM480e and RM480ex electric, cordless, brushless, riding lawn mower. This mower has been getting a lot of press this year and all the Youtubers are stating how fun it is to drive. The new owners are all stating that it’s the perfect mower for them. In fact on on HomeDepot.com it’s getting an unheard of 4.9 star rating. Even Consumer Reports likes the RM480e. But is it the perfect mower for you? Let’s find out if it is capable of replacing your current lawn tractor or small ZTR.
I am going to break this article down into three sections.
This review is over 8000 words so you may not want to tackle it all at once.
Using pictures I’ll go through each area of the Ryobi RM480e and explain what you get.
I’ll list all the reasons why this may be or not be the best mower for you and what to expect from it if you chose to buy one.
Finally, I’ll also go through some common questions that have been asked on HomeDepot.com and explain the correct answers.
Why should you trust my opinion?
I have been writing about lawn tractors, zero-turn mowers and snow blowers at todaysmower.com and movingsnow.com for ten years now and over 20,000,000 people have read and trusted the information there*. I also have experience with electric riding mowers over the years all the way back to the GE Elec-Trak. I currently own the Raven MPV-7100 hybrid mower. As an experienced industrial electrician I’ve also had the training and experience to maintain and understand batteries, electric forklifts, golf carts, and wheelchairs. This combination of experience and training will help me help you to understand the Ryobi RM480 and help you decide if it’s the right riding mower for you.
*based on WordPress Stats.
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 commission from the sale when you use these links.
When you first look at the Ryobi RM480 you will see a lot of plastic. But the plastic is just covers – like the plastic or metal fenders on your car. Underneath is a fully welded, rigid, tube steel frame.
The Ryobi RM480 is about the same length and a little narrower than your typical lawn tractor. Most of the weight is in the rear which makes it very easy to steer and gives it more rear traction than a typical lawn tractor.
The rear tires on the Ryobi RM480 are smaller than the rear tires on a lawn tractor but sized well for the width of the mower.
Ryobi RM480 is just like driving your car. Brake on the left, accelerator on the right and a comfortable steering wheel in between.
The seat on the Ryobi RM480 is not bad. It has a backrest and is padded well. It’s easily adjustable with the lever in front of the seat for short and tall operators. The spring suspension makes it comfortable for the hour or two you will mow with it every week.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the Ryobi RM480’s rear hitch is robust and part of the frame. It will handle your yard cart, dethatcher and lawn sweeper well.
The Ryobi RM480 rear axle is a steel axle inside a steel tube. The gearbox and brushless electric motor use an aluminum housing.
The rear wheels on the Ryobi RM480 are attached to the steel axle using a cast iron hub with four lug bolts. No keyways to line up or steel keys to lose if you have to remove a tire to fix a flat. This wheel won’t rust onto the axle like most lawn tractor rims.
I like this picture from Ryobi better than the one I took. The operator’s console is well laid out and uses commercial grade switches for long life. Everything is right in one place. The console even has a USB port and slot for your phone! Charge your phone and listen to your favorite music using your wireless headphones while you mow!
The Ryobi RM480 has a 12 position mowing height. The lever is solid and lifts the deck easily. There is even a green marking tab you can set to remember the height you cut the lawn. I like to raise the deck when putting the mower inside my storage shed and the tab will help me remember what height I mow at.
The rear drum brakes on the Ryobi RM480 are variable like the brakes in your car so you can use them to keep a constant speed when going downhill . They are fully adjustable for wear using the nut you see in the picture. These brakes are true brakes unlike the tiny disc parking brake found on your lawn tractor.
When you get your new Ryobi RM480 the battery may be disconnected. Flip up the seat and remove the black plastic cover under the seat. Push the two gray pieces together to connect the battery.
When you get the Ryobi RM480 there will also be a cardboard box. Inside the box is the mulch cover and the battery charger. Please read the operator’s manual on where to put the charger.
To charge your Ryobi RM480 plug the black triangular plug into the rider – it only goes in one way. Then plug the charger into a 110 volt wall receptacle. You can use an extension cord but the charger can draw up to 15 amps so you need a 12 or 14 ga cord less than 50 feet long. When the light is green on the charger it is charging.
The front bumper is small but strong
The Ryobi RM480’s Steering is robust and uses heavy-duty connecting rods and links. It has a heavy-duty welded steel axle and a strong automotive type front yoke and axle components. The front axle and steering is much stronger than I expected and better than the other riding mowers on the market. I like this steering a lot and it will hold up to many years of use.
New owners are saying the Ryobi RM480 LED Headlights are quite bright!
The Ryobi RM480 Mowing Deck is a two blade steel cutting deck with metal blades and independent brushless electric motors that power each blade. It is aerodynamically designed to side discharge, mulch and bag well. Consumer Reports has tested the deck and they state it mows very well.
The anti-scalp wheels are adjustable so you can lower them if you have a lot of obstructions that you may catch the deck on. These are not gauge wheels that set the cut height so you don’t have to move them if you don’t want to. The cut height is controlled by the 12 position lever on the left side of the operator’s area. If you have tree roots to go over adjust these so you don’t hit the roots and bend your mower blades.
The Ryobi RM480 Mowing Deck safety discharge cover is zip tied out of the way for shipping. Just cut that zip tie and it’s ready to mow. When mulching you can tie this cover out of the way. I don’t recommend that you remove it!
The Ryobi RM480 Mowing Deck’s motors are covered to keep grass and debris from clogging the cooling fins. On the mowers, I have seen so far the baked on powder coat paint is very evenly and will last.
The mowing blades on the Ryobi RM480 Mowing Deck are standard combination blades. They are a little lighter than the blades you find on many other lawn tractors but their light weight is a factor in making the mower battery last long enough to mow your 2 acre lawn. The blades shown are side discharge/mulching blades. Bagging blades are included with the optional bagger.
Last picture. I like this mower a lot and it would be a great choice for my one acre yard. I know my wife would love it for hauling her landscaping supplies because it’s quiet and there are no fumes from running a gas engine. It’s the right mower for me but is it the best mower for you? Click on the next page button below and I’ll go through a detailed discussion of who the Ryobi RM480 is for.
About Paul Sikkema
Paul Sikkema has been writing about snow blowers, riding mowers and other lawn and garden equipment for over 10 years. Paul does most his writing out in his workshop where he feeds the wildlife and birds in the yard. His goal is to have a red squirrel eating out of his hand.
He spends as much time with his granddaughter as he can.
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