Complete Review of the Ryobi RM480e and RM480ex Including Pictures!

This review was first published on my other site: MyCountryAcre.com

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.

  1. Using pictures I’ll go through each area of the Ryobi RM480e and explain what you get.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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.

Picture Review:

Overview from Ryobi

Ryobi RM480E Steel Frame

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.

Ryobi RM480 size

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.

Ryobi RM480 size

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 from the operator's seat

Ryobi RM480 is just like driving your car. Brake on the left, accelerator on the right and a comfortable steering wheel in between.

Ryobi RM480 seat

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.

Ryobi RM480 rear hitch

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.

Ryobi RM480 rear axle

The Ryobi RM480 rear axle is a steel axle inside a steel tube. The gearbox and brushless electric motor use an aluminum housing.

Ryobi RM480 rear wheels

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.

RM480 Operator's console

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!

RM480 Deck Height Lever

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.

Rear Drum Brakes

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.

Ryobi RM480 Battery Connector

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.

Ryobi RM480 Charger.

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.

Ryobi RM480 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.

Ryobi RM480 Bumper

The front bumper is small but strong

Ryobi RM480 Steering

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.

Ryobi RM480 Headlights

New owners are saying the Ryobi RM480 LED Headlights are quite bright!

Ryobi RM480 Mowing Deck

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.

Ryobi RM480 Mowing Deck

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.

Ryobi RM480 Mowing Deck

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!

Ryobi RM480 Mowing Deck

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.

Ryobi RM480 Mowing Deck

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.

Ryobi RM480e

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.

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Aaron
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Aaron

Would the rm480 pull a lawn roller? Does it have the power a hydrostatic has?

John Stadel
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John Stadel

Hi Paul–In Common Questions #37 you answer “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.” Can you use the bagging blades effectively when NOT using the bagging system or would you suggest switching to the mulching blades?

Brad
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Brad

[in parts due to posting script error] Some comments: I have adapted to cleaning the mower by dropping the deck to the lowest setting and using a high strength leaf blower (ego 580) to clear everything off and make certain stuff is out from the motor housings. Learned the hard way not to rinse with hose as then it clumps and is much more difficult to remove. Then i raise the deck as high as it goes and just use my gloved hand to feel and scrape the clumped grass off the blades and housing – amazing how much can… Read more »

Brad
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Brad

[in parts due to script error on posting] Some comments: Doing the math of amps and current; I’ve calculated that it takes roughly 12.5h to charge dead to full on the 100amp (charger max draw is 8amp, even though it’s 13a out) – which wood make you think <8hr) [time =amphours/amp throughput]. However I have gotten a battery reading of half charge in little as 2hrs on the charger (from the point of it cutting off the mower for low charge). The charge gauge is all but impossible to read in any light, you have to cover it with your… Read more »

Brad
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Brad

[ in parts due to some posting script error] Some comments: I have the EX (100amp) version of the mower. My yard is about 1.5acres of constantly varying terrain – about half 10-15 degree slope. Somehow i got through the very first cut on one charge, but have not been able to again. So it pretty much takes 2, if not 3 charge cycles to finish the property. This depends greatly on the speed I go, and how thick & choking the grass gets. In the thickest of grass (all the rain this summer, only a week between cuts) the… Read more »

Brad
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Brad

Question for you, or any other owner of the RM480e / RM480ex.
I am constantly left with a grass mohawk with this mower, forcing a 50% overlap in cutting, which greatly increases the duration it takes to get the job done (about 6.5hrs). When i line both mulching blades up under the deck, it appears to have an almost 1 inch gap – not the expected blade overlap to ensure even cutting. Does anyone else have this problem? If so, how did you correct it to maximize the cut width correctly? In need of some help here!

Jim Tenhundfeld
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Jim Tenhundfeld

Paul, IS there a way to charge the batteries without plugging it directly into the mower? It would be stored in a shed with no electric and 75′ away from an electrical outlet. Please respond to my email address.

Jim

Ean Gibson
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Ean Gibson

Paul – all of the photos appear to be missing. Is it possible to get them back up for this review? Thanks!

greg Dixon
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greg Dixon

Hi Paul. I wanted to ask about the new Troy Bilt electric mower coming out that is using Lithium Ion batteries. Troy Bilt is touting the quick recharge time and says this mower is the first of its kind. However, the mower appears to be largely based off of their cheapest gas model which can be purchased at the large box stores for around $1000. In the electric form, the price is $2500. Is this unit a good buy or just a good idea that is a bit overpriced in current form?

James Douglass
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James Douglass

Hi Paul. I discovered your website just the other day and I’m so thankful. My home is on a mostly flat 2 acres and I’m thinking about going green with this mower and the benefits are very attractive and I appreciate your comprehensive article. To be perfectly honest, it’s a little bit above my budget and I wanted your option on some good gas alternatives below $2000. Thanks.

Lakeman
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Lakeman

Thanks for your thoughts on this mower. Was curious about this mower and your comprehensive photos and comments have provided enough info to quash my concerns with an electric system and the benefits seem to be more than worth the price tag on this.

Bill+Forman
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Bill+Forman

I’m interested in the Ryobi electric rider but it would have to be stored in and unheated garage in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. This winter it has gotten into the 20’s in the garage. Can the Ryobi electric rider be stored and the battery charged in this unheated garage?

Charles
Guest
Charles

Hi Paul. Love your review of this mower. I have a 2 acre flag lot with about 1.7 being grass. I am considering this mower. Being a flag lot means I have a lot of long straight aways. Also have some mature pine trees along the property lines. Wondering if it makes sense to pursue this Ryobi unit. Some folks online appear to have purchased it for my size lot, and give it positive reviews, but they never state how long it takes them to mow the lawn. With a 38″ deck I am worried that I could finish it… Read more »

Joseph
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Joseph

Hi Paul,

We’re getting close to that time for winter storage of lawn equipment. I’ve never had to store one before (this was my first year in the mowing world). I have a Craftsman push mower, riding mower, and weed wacker. Some suggest running them dry. Others suggest adding a fuel stabilizer and filling up. My questions are:
1) To run dry or not? What would you recommend?
2) If running dry is not necessary, what fuel stabilizer would you recommend to add? Should I fill up completely?
3) Is there any need to drain the oil?

Thanks a bunch, Paul!

David
Guest
David

How long does the ryobi electric ride along mower take to get a full charge from being totally drained?

Terri
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Terri

Hi Paul
I am on the market for a riding mower, love your reviews, would love your thoughts on a couple things maybe? Do you like PoulanPro products specifically the PP105630 30” or the 42″ automatic from the home depot. I am 115lb female with almost an acre lot, and many leaves to clean up in the fall as we butt up to woods…would the 30″ suffice? Thanks! Did research on the Troys ie pony, bronco…and they haven’t been good reviews…

SDY
Guest
SDY

Paul, Your articles are for sure the most helpful for the average guy looking to purchase a lawn tractor, so thank you for taking the time to write them. I am looking to buy a tractor and would like some advice. Use case: mow .5 acre, pull dethatcher, MAYBE plug aerator if I can find the right mower for the right price. It seems like the key to pulling the dethatcher and aerator is getting a quality transmission. I am willing to buy used in the Huntsville, AL area, but pricing the used tractors is not intuitive, nor is knowing… Read more »

Justin
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Justin

Hello,
I am in search of a new riding mower. I will be mowing about 2 acres, half flat and half with a fairly steep grade. I was looking at the Troybilt Super Bronco XP that has a 50″ cut and 24HP Kohler. Do you know how well this mower will hold and stick on the hills? I normally run a bagger as well. Sometimes on the hills, my current mower doesn’t do well if it is pulling me when the grass is damp. Thanks for any help!

Bill Brenner
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Bill Brenner

Paul, Just found your web site and have the wife mad at me because I’m reading your articles, such is life, she’ll get over it. Could not find where to ask the following question, so if it is in the wrong place, please forgive me. I am located rurally near Crockett, TX. Have less than 2 acres to mow and have been thinking about picking up a Husqvarna R220t. the area that I mow is a very sandy loam make up, pretty flat with mostly doggy holes around. (With 5 dogs, doggy holes happen.) I would appreciate your thoughts on… Read more »

Charles Hall
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Charles Hall

Thanks for the comprehensive review Paul. It drives me nuts when product descriptions don’t state what battery technology is used. I think you answered *all* the questions I had about this unit!

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