Ryobi Brushless 20 in. Walk Behind Push Lawn Mower review

Last Updated on May 1, 2023 by Dave Farquhar

After a good experience with a smaller model, I bought a larger 20-inch Ryobi lawn mower. This is my Ryobi Brushless 20 in. Walk Behind Push Lawn Mower review.

Overview of the Ryobi Brushless 20 in. Walk Behind Push Lawn Mower

Ryobi Brushless 20 in. Walk Behind Push Lawn Mower review
The Ryobi 20 inch push mower isn’t a high end mower by any stretch, but it’s capable and I find it mostly delivers on its promises.

This model normally sold for $299 when I got it, but I picked one up on sale around Father’s Day for $249. Today the regular price is closer to $230. It is a basic battery-operated lawn mower. It’s not self propelled, and only uses one battery at a time. There’s a storage compartment for a second battery, but it’s only for storage. You have to physically swap the batteries to use the second one.

Note this mower uses Ryobi’s 40 volt battery system. It’s compatible with other 40 volt Ryobi tools, but unlike the smaller mowers, it’s not compatible with Ryobi’s ONE+ 18 volt system that smaller power tools use. You can’t get the power a 20-inch mower needs with the smaller 18-volt batteries.

The Good

Like other electric mowers, the 20 inch walk behind model starts easily. Just hold down the safety lever, push a button, and the motor comes to life. It’s a welcome relief from dealing with hard-starting gas mowers. To me, the ease of starting alone is reason enough to buy an electric mower. That first cut of the spring when the mower just starts without a fight is nice.

It’s also much quieter than a gas mower, so you can mow early in the morning when it’s cooler without waking the neighbors. If that’s not practical, it comes with LED headlights to help you mow at dusk. The noise pollution may or may not matter to some people, but my neighborhood is noticeably quieter as more people are adopting electric mowers.

The mower throttles itself based on how thick the grass is. You can feel it varying the power as you go through thicker, denser grass. You can feel it fight you a bit in the denser grass. Resist the temptation to try to power through it. When you feel that, the mower is telling you to slow down. It felt weird at first but felt fairly natural after a few cuts.

Adjusting the height on this mower, like most electric mowers, is simple. There’s one lever that adjusts all four wheels at once, easily.

Ryobi advertises this mower as being appropriate for a quarter to a half acre. My yard is a bit over a quarter acre, and I find I can generally cut the yard on a single charge and still have some battery power left, as long as I start with a fully charged battery. And I’m able to get it done in about 45 minutes, which is comparable to how long it takes me to mow it with a gas mower. I don’t have half an acre to test it on, but for a quarter to three eighths of an acre, it seems to be fine.

To self propel or not self propel

Other reviews I read on the Ryobi brushless 20 in. walk behind push lawn mower were mixed on the lack of a self propel feature. Some people say the mower is light enough to not bother. Others say they wish they’d bought a higher end model that is self propelled. You certainly get a better workout with this mower than you will with the self propelled model. Neither my wife nor I have a problem pushing it, but I did find it takes a little getting used to. After the first cut with it, I wished I’d gotten the self-propelled model. After the third cut, I’m fine with the push version.

You do pay a premium for the self propel feature, so you have to weigh that into your decision.

The not-as-good

This mower, like most electric mowers, will tend to clog and bog down if you mow on the lowest setting. You’ll be much happier with it if you keep the height at level 2 or higher.

And it’s a basic mower. It doesn’t mulch the grass as fine as a dual-blade electric would. If you bag, you probably won’t care. But there will be times it will leave visible clippings behind when mulching.

Ryobi mowers have a safety sensor that cuts off the motor if you don’t connect the bag or insert the mulching plug. If the bar that snaps into the mower deck comes loose, this triggers the sensor. Keep that in mind if the mower cuts out on you. There are Youtube videos that show you how to defeat this sensor, but this mower has a five-year warranty. If the sensor gives you trouble, make Ryobi fix it if it’s still under warranty. It’s not worth voiding your warranty over.

The mower can also cut out like that once the battery starts to run low. So before you spend too much time messing around with other stuff, check the charge on the battery. Even if it still says one bar, it may not have enough power to run the mower anymore.

And while this mower has LED lights, they don’t light up much. They light up just enough in front of you to make it a bit easier to keep going straight. That’s about it.

The mower can give you starting trouble, but that’s almost always an easy fix. Three years in with this mower, it gives me less trouble than a gas mower ever did.

Ryobi Brushless 20 in. Walk Behind Push Lawn Mower: In conclusion

Overall I like the Ryobi brushless 20 in. walk behind push lawn mower and I give it a positive review. It’s obviously a better value if you can get it on sale, and the same goes for its self-propelled sibling. Obviously if you need a mower right now, waiting for a sale that only happens a couple of times a year isn’t practical. But if you’re thinking about electric and have a mower that’s working, it’s worth waiting to see if it goes on sale around Memorial Day, Father’s Day, or Independence Day. Those are the times of year that lawn mowers tend to go on sale.

The price difference between it and a gas mower is narrowing, but it’s worth it even if it costs more because it will last longer. It has a five-year warranty, and since it has a brushless motor in it, there’s no reason to believe it can’t last 10 years or more. You’ll just need to sharpen the blade once a year and probably replace the battery at least once. If you buy a comparably priced gas mower, it will give you problems within five years, sometimes sooner. Even with the Ryobi’s faults, it’s all minor compared to a gas mower. Not having to change the oil and not having to strain my arm on the pullstring is worth the minor issues.

I was impressed with this mower’s 13-inch sibling, which is small and incredibly light. But if you have a quarter acre or more, the Ryobi brushless 20 in. walk behind push lawn mower is more practical. If you need an electric replacement for a basic gas-powered mower, this is a good one to get.

If you have a steep hill, I like the smaller 13-inch version for that. It will take more passes because it’s not as wide, but it’s light, so it will be easier to control on a hill.

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