Easy to use with decent battery life. I am extremely pleased with this product and would highly recommend it.
I bought this snow blower for snowfalls under 6". I have a large two-stage snow blower that I use for larger snowfalls. I wanted to try a cordless snowblower and decided to give the Ryobi a try. I decided to buy the Ryobi snow blower because I own several of Ryobi's cordless products and have been very pleased with the performance and customer service.
Set up took less than 5 minutes. Simply attach the snow chute and expand the handlebar and it is ready to run. The batteries take about 3 hours to charge using the included charger. The included batteries do fit the 40 volt battery chargers I've acquired through other Ryobi product purchases. This certainly comes in handy when it comes to recharging.
Performance was better than I had hoped. In fact, the power and battery life exceeded my expectations. The first snowfall was about 4" of heavy, wet snow. I was concerned that the Ryobi snow blower would bog down but decided to give it a try to see how it performed. I was able to clear my driveway (about 75') in less than 10 minutes. The Ryobi snow blower threw the heavy, wet snow about 6' to 8' which was plenty far enough to clear the driveway. I experienced no clogging of the chute nor loss of power. I was able to push the snow blower at a comfortable pace with no extraordinary effort. The second snowfall was about 5" of light, fluffy snow. The Ryobi snow blower handled this snowfall with ease. It threw the snow about 12' with no clogging of the chute.
The batteries last about 35 minutes on full charge. That is plenty of run time for me to clear my driveway and sidewalk. I did try using my 40 volt 4.0ah batteries from my leaf blower and weed trimmer to see how they would perform. I got about 25 minutes of runtime off of two 4.0ah batteries. I figure that gives me about an hour of runtime off of the two 5.0ah batteries I received with the Ryobi snow blower plus the two 4.0ah batteries I own for other Ryobi 40 volt products. That is plenty of runtime for my purposes.
I did a lot of research before buying the Ryobi snow blower and would like to share my thoughts on some key considerations.
1. Performance. I have read comments criticizing the power of this snow blower. I think it is important to consider the winter conditions where you live, and whether this will be a primary snow blower or a secondary unit. I live in Minnesota. To me, a two stage snow blower is a must have for a Minnesota winter. Comparing this snow blower to my Ariens two stage snow blower is an unfair comparison. However, the Ryobi snow blower compares favorably to gas-powered single stage snow blowers that I have used. I thought the performance was every bit as good as I would have experienced with a gas-powered single stage snow blower.
2. Battery Life. The two 5.0ah batteries that are included with the Ryobi snow blower will give about 35 minutes of runtime. If you believe it will take more than 35 minutes to clear your sidewalk and driveway then you either need additional batteries or a gas-powered snow blower. For me, I wanted ease of use (see below) and am willing to trade runtime for quick start.
3. Ease of Use. I think this is the most under-rated aspect of the Ryobi snow blower. Slide the batteries into the snow blower and press the start button. That's it. My decision to buy a battery-powered snow blower was in part due to my prior experience (and frustrations) starting a gas-powered single stage snow blower. There is no gas mess. No long pulls on the starter cord. No fiddling with the choke. Simply press the start button and you are ready to clear snow. The ease of use with the Ryobi snow blower is exactly what I was seeking.
4. Build Quality. This is a quality product. The blades are substantial, a combination of metal and thick rubber. I have no concerns about the blades bending or losing bite. The chute lever moves effortlessly and feels rugged enough to stand up to years of use. The handle is plastic, but feels strong enough to stand up to routine use. I did have to tighten the handle when setting up the unit. The instructions describe how to do this and the necessary tool is included in the instruction packet. The LED lights on the front of the unit are bright and give this snow blower a nice look.
I am very pleased with the Ryobi snow blower and would highly recommend this unit.