Skip to content

Kobalt 40V Mower vs. RYOBI 80V Mower: Which One Wins?

When it comes to electric lawn mowers, two of the most popular options on the market are the Kobalt 40V and the Ryobi 80V. But which one is the right choice for you? In this article, we‘ll dive into a detailed comparison of these two mowers to help you decide.

Kobalt 40V vs Ryobi 80V: At a Glance

Let‘s start with a quick side-by-side look at the key specs:

| | Kobalt 40V | Ryobi 80V |
|Mower Type |Self-propelled walk-behind|Riding (zero turn or tractor)|
|Best For |Yards up to 1/2 acre|Yards over 1/2 acre|
|Cutting Width |20-21 inches|30-54 inches|
|Height Range |1-3/8" to 3-3/4"|1-1/2" to 4-1/2"|
|Battery |40V 5Ah lithium-ion|3x 80V 10Ah lithium-ion|
|Runtime |Up to 30 min|Up to 90 min|
|Grass Management|Mulch, bag, side discharge|Mulch, bag, side discharge|
|Price |$300-$400|$5,000-$8,000|

As you can see, these mowers are quite different. The Kobalt is a walk-behind suited for smaller yards, while the Ryobi is a much larger and more expensive riding mower for properties over a half-acre. Let‘s take a closer look at how they compare.

Mower Type and Best Uses

The Kobalt 40V is a self-propelled walk-behind mower. This means it has a motor that drives the wheels forward, so you don‘t have to push it yourself. Self-propelled mowers take most of the effort out of mowing, but you still have to walk behind and steer.

The Kobalt‘s relatively compact 20-21" cutting deck makes it nimble and easy to maneuver around obstacles. It‘s a great choice for small to medium sized yards up to about a half-acre. The self-propelled drive also helps it handle moderately hilly terrain.

On the other hand, the Ryobi 80V is a riding mower that comes in both zero-turn and lawn tractor styles. Zero-turns have a pivoting front axle that allows them to make tight turns, while lawn tractors have a steering wheel and can be easier to drive.

With cutting decks ranging from 30-54", Ryobi 80V mowers can cover a lot of ground quickly. They‘re designed for large yards over a half-acre. However, riding mowers can struggle with very hilly terrain, so they‘re best for mostly flat or gently sloping ground.

Cutting Capability and Adjustments

The Kobalt 40V has a respectable cutting height range from 1-3/8" up to 3-3/4". This allows you to choose the ideal length based on your grass type and the time of year. The single-point adjustment lever makes it easy to change heights on the fly.

With its 20-21" steel mowing deck, the Kobalt cuts a medium-sized swath. It should be able to handle most common residential grass varieties as long as the lawn is not too overgrown. The brushless motor provides reliable power and efficiency.

Ryobi 80V mowers boast an even wider cutting range, from 1-1/2" to 4-1/2". The extra height on the top end is helpful for keeping grass longer during the hot summer months. Most models have an easy dial or lever for quick adjustments.

The expansive 30-54" decks on Ryobi riding mowers are built to cover large areas fast. The zero-turn models use dual blades while the tractors have a triple-blade system for finer mulching. With their hefty 80V power plants, these mowers slice through thick grass with ease. However, you may need to mow slowly or make multiple passes in very dense vegetation.

Battery Power and Runtime

This is one of the biggest differences between the two mowers. The Kobalt runs on a single 40V 5Ah lithium-ion battery, while the Ryobi uses three 80V 10Ah batteries.

The Kobalt‘s battery provides up to 30 minutes of runtime, which is enough to mow about 1/3 acre on a single charge. Recharge time is about 2 hours. For most small yards, one battery is plenty. However, if you have a half-acre or more, you‘ll probably want a second battery to swap out so you can finish in one go.

Ryobi‘s 80V mowers get a big boost in power and stamina from their trio of batteries. With up to 90 minutes of runtime, you can cover 1-2 acres or more without stopping. The batteries take about 4 hours to recharge, but you may be able to finish in one session without swaps.

Both mowers use energy-efficient brushless motors. However, the Ryobi‘s higher voltage gives it an edge in thick grass and yard debris. The 80V batteries also tend to last a bit longer before you need to replace them (about 5 years vs 3-4 for the Kobalt).

Grass Management Options

Whether you prefer to mulch, bag, or side discharge your clippings, both the Kobalt and Ryobi have you covered. You can easily switch between modes by closing/opening the side chute or attaching/detaching the bag and mulch plug.

The Kobalt‘s 40V motor and 20" deck do a decent job of mulching leaves and grass into small pieces that decompose quickly into the turf. For the best cut quality, it‘s best to mow when the grass is dry and not overly tall. In thick grass, the Kobalt tends to leave some stragglers.

Ryobi 80V riding mowers are mulching machines, thanks to their wider decks and beefier motors. The zero-turn models shred clippings with dual cross-cutting blades, while the tri-decks on the tractors produce an even finer mulch.

The mowers‘ larger size also translates to bigger bag capacity – up to 3 bushels vs 1.8 for the Kobalt. So you won‘t have to stop and empty as often when bagging. The extra airflow from the 80V battery additionally helps propel clippings out the side chute when discharging.

Durability and Build Quality

The Kobalt 40V mower has a durable 20" steel deck and a sturdy steel frame. Users report that it feels well-built and substantial. The wheels have ball bearings for smooth rolling, and the self-propelled transmission is reliable.

However, some parts like the height adjustment mechanism and battery cover do feel a bit flimsy compared to higher-end mowers. There have also been some reports of electronic issues and defective batteries, especially in older models. Kobalt does back the mower with a 5-year warranty though.

Ryobi‘s 80V riding mowers are beasts, with rugged 12-gauge steel decks, heavy-duty front axles, and thick tires. The overall construction feels very substantial, as you‘d expect for the price. Most parts are metal rather than plastic.

The zero-turn models use commercial-grade hydraulic transmissions for responsive handling. Ryobi backs these mowers with a 3-year warranty for residential use. Based on user feedback, build quality and reliability are top-notch.

Price and Value

There‘s a huge difference in cost between these two mowers. The Kobalt 40V sells for around $300-$400, while Ryobi 80V zero-turns and tractors range from $5,000-$8,000+.

Obviously, these tools are in completely different classes. The Kobalt is an affordable option for average homeowners with small to medium yards. It provides good cutting performance, easy maneuverability, and enough power to get the job done.

On the other hand, Ryobi‘s 80V mowers are major investments best suited for large property owners with acreage to maintain. The high price gets you a mower that‘s built like a tank, with raw cutting power and expansive decks to make quick work of the lawn.

So which one is the better value? It really depends on your needs. For a small lot, the Kobalt is a solid basic mower at an economical price. But if you have a big yard and the budget to match, the Ryobi will serve you well for years with its top-tier performance and build quality.

Recent Innovations and Future Outlook

Both Kobalt and Ryobi have made incremental improvements to their mowers in recent years. The latest Kobalt models have an extra inch of deck width and a beefed up 5Ah battery (older ones were 4Ah). They‘ve also redesigned the handles and controls for better ergonomics.

On the Ryobi front, they‘ve introduced new zero-turn models with faster top speeds and tighter turning radiuses. They‘ve also launched mowers with USB charging ports and LED headlights for nighttime cutting. Some models now have fabricated (welded) decks that are even sturdier than the stamped ones.

Going forward, we expect to see further advancements in battery technology from both brands. This could come in the form of higher amp-hour capacities for longer runtimes, or faster charging systems to minimize downtime. More efficient motors and smarter power management could also help squeeze more performance out of existing voltages.

Another trend is the integration of connected technologies. Imagine being able to monitor your mower‘s battery level and maintenance needs from your smartphone. Or using GPS to set up auto-mowing routes and track your mower‘s location. While we haven‘t seen these features yet from Kobalt or Ryobi, it may only be a matter of time.

Finally, as production scales up and competition increases in the electric mower space, prices should start to come down. This will make higher-performing mowers like the Ryobi more accessible to average consumers. Economies of scale will also help Kobalt pack more cutting power and battery life into their mowers while keeping costs low.

The Verdict

So, which mower wins in the battle of Kobalt 40V vs Ryobi 80V? Honestly, it‘s not a direct competition since these mowers are in different size and price classes. But here‘s the bottom line:

  • If you have a small to medium yard (up to 1/2 acre) and want an affordable, easy-to-use electric mower, go with the Kobalt 40V. It offers good cutting power, smart features, and enough runtime for most suburban lots.

  • On the other hand, if you have a large property (1/2 acre or more) and want the ultimate in performance, build quality, and mowing efficiency, step up to a Ryobi 80V riding mower. Yes, they‘re expensive, but they‘re built to tackle big lawns with speed and precision.

At the end of the day, both of these mowers are solid options within their respective categories. The key is to pick the one that best fits your yard size, terrain, and budget. Whichever one you choose, you‘ll be getting a reliable, eco-friendly machine that will keep your lawn looking tidy all season long.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does the Kobalt 40V battery last?
A: The 5Ah battery provides up to 30 minutes of runtime and takes about 2 hours to fully recharge. Battery life expectancy is 3-4 years with regular use.

Q: Can I mow wet grass with the Ryobi 80V?
A: It‘s always best to mow when grass is dry, as wet clippings can clump and cause uneven cutting. However, the Ryobi‘s powerful 80V motor can handle some moisture if you have to mow after a light rain or morning dew.

Q: Are electric mowers as powerful as gas?
A: In general, electric mowers are slightly less powerful than equivalent gas models. However, high-voltage mowers like the Ryobi 80V come very close to gas performance. Electric motors also provide more consistent power and torque throughout the RPM range.

Q: How often do I need to sharpen the blades?
A: For both the Kobalt and Ryobi, it‘s recommended to sharpen the blades after every 25 hours of use, or at least once per mowing season. Regular sharpening will help ensure a clean cut and healthier grass.

Q: Can I use these mowers on hills?
A: The Kobalt 40V can handle slopes up to 15 degrees thanks to its rear-wheel drive. The Ryobi 80V riding mowers are best for mostly flat ground, but can manage gentle hills with a 10-15 degree grade. Always mow across the slope, not up and down, for stability.