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Last year I reviewed RYOBI’s line of 24v outdoor power tools, and liked them all very much. This year they have released the bigger brothers to last year’s models – the 40v monsters. Now back then I had what could only be described as a “perfect” experience with the 24v string trimmer – eventually having to be incredibly nit-picky to find any flaws in its operation and design. This was easily the best string trimmer I’ve used in a long while. I was able to find a few issues though, but none were big enough to stop me from giving it top accolades; mere small annoyances really – so was RYOBI able to keep things next to perfect while taking care of those small issues, or did they make a mistake by trying to fix what wasn’t broken? This beauty can go where lawnmowers can’t and if you’re planning to buy one then first check our shopping guide for best electric mower to bring home the best one to complement your string mower. While you’re at it, take a look at the best cordless drill to make even more of your tools electric.
Just like before, the RYOBI 40v String Trimmer is made by Homelite under the RYOBI name, and as such it uses the same bright as hell lime green color that is associated with the RYOBI name. Maybe it sounds silly, but I actually like the bright green coloration more than some of the colors of my other tools – especially for outdoor tools. It is just a personal preference though, and isn’t reflected in the final rating. Another thing that is the same is that no one else in my house seems to understand how a string trimmer works – even when it is as simple as an electric one – which has left me to be the one doing all the trimming yet again.
Related: Check out this Ryobi 24V hedge trimmer review
That bit aside, let’s delve into what is different, shall we? For starters, the robust 40v battery is a huge improvement over the old 24v model. Now with the one I reviewed last year, I was able to do my small yard (remember it took me about 45 minutes to do it) on one charge, but couldn’t do much more. With a ramped up battery, I had to ramp up the yard size – taking it from my urban city yard to the rural yard of my in-laws, a respectable three quarters of an acre in size. Now I know what some of you are thinking – an overall larger size doesn’t mean that many more weeds that you can’t get with a lawnmower – right? Well their entire lawn is surrounded by a fence that a mower can not get under. Top that with a garden island in the middle of the back yard plus a shed and swing set for the grand kids, and you can see that I had plenty to keep me busy.
I was able to run the 40v String Trimmer for about 90 minutes before having to switch to another battery, which impressed me to no end. Not only that, but I didn’t complain about it getting heavy the whole time despite the fact that the batteries are in fact heavier than the 24v ones (seems common sense there). There are a few different things that I feel cause this to happen – one had to do with better weight distribution. The 24v model was decently sized, but it was not balanced well when the battery was inserted. The 40v model is a good deal longer though, and has the weight spread out better as a result. The second reason I think I didn’t notice the increased weight, is because the battery holster is perfectly positioned that you can rest your elbow on it while running the trimmer. I am not completely sure if this was intentional or not, but that takes most of the weight off of your wrists and puts it on your biceps and triceps – muscle groups more designed for a workout than your wrists. There is a place on the trimmer to hook up a shoulder strap, but one isn’t included for some reason – I don’t know how much of an effect it would have on further reducing weight strain, but it probably wouldn’t hurt. The last big difference I noticed it that the trigger is now a safety trigger, requiring you to pull a trigger on the bottom and on the top of the handle at the same time. This makes the trimmer a bit safer in case you forget to put it away when done with it.
Related: Visit our Snapper XD review and keep your lawn looking snappy
There are still a few other features that remain unchanged from the 24v version. Things like the fact that you do not have to “bump” the bottom of the string trimmer to get more string out and the easy switch from trimmer to edger are right there like last time. I really thought these were great in the 24v version, so I am especially glad that they didn’t remove them for no reason. While the overall size of the 40v trimmer is bigger than the 24v one, it still splits apart in the middle for easy transport and storage. The String Trimmer has a nice quick disconnect – just a few turns and it is all taken care of. There is one final thing that is mostly unchanged, which is the charger. It might have a different shape to handle the larger 40v battery, but it still takes a ridiculously short amount of time to charge a battery from dead to full – they say ninety minutes, but in my experience it took more like seventy.
The Bottom Line: Just like before, this is as perfect of an experience that I have had with a string trimmer – only now it is bigger, badder, and longer lasting than ever before.
Like all other RYOBI tools, you can pick up a 40v String Trimmer of your own at the Home Depot for $169.00 – I think the Home Depot’s website needs updating though because it is not listed on it (even though the String Trimmer is available in stores).