I have been testing out Ryobi’s Whisper-Series cordless leaf blowers, and they are in no uncertain terms the quietest cordless leaf blowers I have ever used.
Oh, they’re quiet blowers? That must mean they are weak and barely functional blowers, right? Wrong. In fact, that sentiment couldn’t be any more wrong – they are both highly capable and comfortable to use.
I have been using the Ryobi 18V blower, above, and 40V Max blower, below.
While not the most compact blowers I’ve used, that could be forgiven due to the quietness, at least partially made possible by means of foam dampening where the blower tubes connect to the motor housing.
Ergonomically, both of the Ryobi blowers are comfortable and easy to use.
Here are specs for both models:
Ryobi 18V Whisper Blower (P21100VNM)
- 18V battery
- Brushless motor
- 110 mph max air speed
- 410 CFM max airflow
- 54 dB noise level
- Weighs 7.2 lbs
Ryobi 40V Whisper Blower (RY40470VNM)
- 40V battery
- Brushless motor
- 125 mph max air speed
- 550 CFM max airflow
- 59 dB noise level
- Weighs 10.4 lbs
Ryobi describes the 18V blower as the industry’s quietest.
I was using both models again the other day, and my wife’s reaction pretty much sums things up – WOW, that really is whisper-quiet!!
How Do They Compare?
From the specs, the Ryobi 40V blower can attain a higher max air speed and airflow, and it’s a little noisier – but still extremely quiet.
Both models have a “turbo” button. They are quiet in normal operation, and just a little less quiet when turbo mode is activated to achieve maximum blowing performance.
The turbo mode seems to be more effective with the 40V model than the 18V, delivering a more noticeable increase in motor performance as well as noise level.
In addition to being quieter, the character of the operational noise is less jarring and shrilling than other blowers I’ve tested.
The lower noise betrays the performance of the blowers, but not for long. The quieter noise level might at first give the impression that the blowers wouldn’t be very powerful, but that soon changes to a sense of disbelief as they push piles of leaves across the lawn and driveway.
I have been struggling to declare a favorite. The 18V model is lighter, a little more compact, and quieter, while the 40V model is more powerful. While the Ryobi 18V and 40V cordless blowers have very similar geometries, I have found the 40V model to be balanced a little differently to where it is a tad easier to move around with. The handle also allows for a little adjustability.
The 18V blower seems better suited for periodic and lighter cleanup tasks, and the 40V blower for longer cleanup tasks that also require greater power.
Price-wise, the 18V kit is $169, and the 40V kit is $199.
The Ryobi 40V blower has a battery that works with their other 40V cordless lawn and garden power tools, and the 18V has a One+ battery that works with their other wide selection of cordless power tools and accessories.
Both kits include chargers and 4.0Ah batteries, This means the Ryobi 40V model has a 144 watt-hour battery, and the 18V a 72 watt-hour battery. In addition to being more powerful, the 40V blower is also going to have greater runtime.
I was hoping that a clear favorite would emerge. There is a size and performance difference between the two blowers, and enough distinction for normal users to lean one way over the other. So far, I really like using both, and am unable to recommend one over the other – they both receive my extremely strong recommendation.
I have found that I prefer using the 18V blower a little better, but have been using the 40V model quite a bit more in testing, because of its slightly better balance and higher power.
I suppose the blower a customer might choose will depend on whether they want a tool that’s compatible with their existing 18V batteries, or if they want the 40V tool for greater power and performance.
One more thing I liked about both blower kits is that the chargers hardly take up any space.
Last weekend, when I tried once more to resolve my sentiments towards the blowers, there was a near-deafening noise level outside, from 2 or 3 people around the neighborhood moving leaves around with gas engine blowers. I would say that everyone was looking my way to see how quiet the Ryobi blowers were, but they’re so quiet that I doubt anyone noticed or even heard me over others’ gas engine noise pollution.
Ryobi claims to be the #1 cordless lawn & garden brand, and with tools like these it’s clear to see why. Both provide quiet and very capable user experiences.
This is the first time I have ever used Ryobi cordless outdoor power tools, and it has left me with a very positive impression.
I’ll be testing both models a bit more, but so far I’ve got nothing negative to say about either of them.
Price: $169 for the 18V kit, $199 for the 40V kit
Buy Now: Ryobi 18V Kit via Home Depot
Buy Now: Ryobi 40V Kit via Home Depot
i love my 40v blower. def worth the money even if it means an “new” battery line that needs to be dealt with. highly recommended.
I bought the 8″ chainsaw polesaw to clean up overhead branches – for a saw that goes on sale for under$70 at times, it’s a remarkably nice tool for that sort of work. I think you’d enjoy giving it a try too. Lots of reach, you can choose how long it is by using or skipping the middle section, and enough power to make it through the sort of branches you should use a pole saw for quickly.
The One+ hybrid blower I’ve used for years is really more of a driveway broom than a real leaf blower. I ended up buying a 2 cycle backpack for actual leaf cleanup with a wooded property. With a ~75 mph speed difference, I suspect the same issue would exist with these quieter blowers. They’d be nice for shop cleanup though!
Agree with all. My 18v Ryobi is a great sweeper, but I have to break out the Husqvarna backpack if I really want to take care of the leaves.
I tested the 40V on semi-wet leaves all clumped up by the drive, and it handled it far better than I expected. The 18V would have worked, albeit slower and closer.
That’s partly what took me so long with these, I had to wait until I could see how well they handle actual work.
I wouldn’t expect them to replace a backpack blower, any more than a handheld gas engine blower could.
I have the Ryobi P2109 blower I use for cleaning the patio (for which it works fine). A relative was using the gas powered walk behind blower I would normally use to blow down the yard last weekend so I used the little blower for a bit and well that was mostly pointless. Think the 40V might make a good add on.
This is one of those products that, while I’m sure has reasonable claims, would be better served with a detailed video comparison in a Project Farm youtube style presentation. Quiet, ok but how do they actually compare in real world blowing to other products on the market to substantiate those claims of sound and speed?
If there’s enough interest, I’ll consider picking up airflow testing equipment.
Speed-wise, they seemed comparable to the Dewalt blowers I have at my disposal. I haven’t done testing against EGO yet.
I’ll hold onto these samples for a while longer and see what kinds of comparisons I can work on after Thanksgiving.
I bought a decent anemometer on Amazon for $33 recently. Been trying to improve my 4″ dust collection piping in my shop. It’s very eye opening to see real values (or at least relative values) of actual improvements. I’m sure the same would be for the blowers.
I think a practical test is probably more helpful that a instrumented test. At the end of the day what matters is how it works in different conditions compared to a gas powered handheld model or other comparable cordless models. The question most will ask is how much compromise in performance do I need to sacrifice, if any, to get something quieter. A video would work better here than pics or a write up.
I say this having a lot surrounded by mature trees. I started with a gas powered handheld unit, eventually added a wheeled 8hp blower to make quicker work blowing things to the tree line. Neither was good at cleaning and distributing the mess in the grass created by chainsawing downed trees and neither is good for removing wet leaves glued to the ground suffocating my fall overseeding projects. Also when I’m dealing with fungus in the lawn, it’s helpful to have a blower that can quickly dry out the grass blades and get some air circulation around the crown of the grass. The wheeled blower makes the problem worse by blowing it sideways folding the grass over promoting fungus, the handheld is too slow when you need to cover 1000sf sections. This fall I did a bunch of research before adding a backpack blower to the mix. It is very efficient in tasks the other two cannot do well (haven’t used it for the fungus mitigation, but I have used it on really wet grass and leaves, which tells me what I need to know). It wasn’t the top rated model, in fact in some reviews, people didn’t rate it well compared to other models, and the specs were lower. But I’m finding it very efficient at difficult tasks in my usage. It would have been really helpful to find this kind of task oriented review. Granted, it would be a collection of subjective observations. I understand it gets less clicks than the typical “3 way shootout” or a test with a massive pile of dry leaves, but that’s the difference between click bait and actual useful content. Project Farm is a great example. I think he tries to strikes a balance, but leans toward practical data over practical subjective observations.
Hope they can satisfy the politicians in Naples (FL): https://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/local/2020/10/21/naples-leaf-blower-noise-regulations-approved-but-go-into-effect-2021/3677638001/
I have the 18v brushless 12” chainsaw and string trimmer- both work really well for occasional use. The string trimmer isn’t great- but for edging and cleaning up small areas I have no regrets. The chainsaw really surprised me. I bought it for storm cleanup, but I find myself looking for tasks to use it on.
I have the leaf blower pictured and although it’s not the most powerful model (based on some YouTube reviews I’ve watched), I love it. Bought it because I also have the same mower. 10/10 would recommend buying again, especially as Home Depot seems to frequently put them on sale.
Do you think the 40v is better than the Milwaukee M18 blower? The specs aren’t to far apart.
This is my question as well. The M18 is certainly quieter than a gas one but nowhere near silent.
I’ll need to get back to you on that, although I’m not sure when I’ll be able to do the comparison.
I have the old 40V Ryobi model and I like it alot. 18V/20V isn’t enough for me in OPE, especially in blowers, 56V/60V is too much (more than I need and more expensiv). Ryobi 40V hit the sweet spot for me.
This is a nice new blower, I just have no need to upgrade. It has a modest power increase over mine and it is quieter but I don’t like how bulky and tall it is (base to top of the handle). Overall Ryobi is the best bang for the buck in the 36V/40V OPE category in my opinion.
The problem with the 40v blower is that it’s heavy
A little bit. But the 18V isn’t featherweight either.
I found I ended up liking the balance of the 40V a little better, despite the weight.
Man, Ryobi has alot of blower models. Or has had, I guess.
My Dad has both of the older ones, but I sent him the link to this one in case he wanted a more powerful one.
I have a handful of these ryobi 40v outdoor tools and I find them all to be much better than expected. I think the best of the bunch is the string trimmer. I can find little difference between it and a gas powered one.
Now that these exist, it’s time to A) tack a brochure to my neighbor’s door, and B) talk to the city council about a noise ordinance.
There’s a guy across the street and 2 doors down, far enough away that I really shouldn’t be able to hear his leafblower. But I can, partly because it’s apparently the loudest model ever made, and partly because he puts about 9 hours on it every weekend.
I might just give him one of these for Christmas.
Any more feedback from using these two blowers?
My corded blower is about shot and I will be in need of a one soon.
I already have 4 Ryobi batteries for lights, fans, and some more special use tools.
Thinking I might try the 18v model.
So far, I’ve got not complaints.
I did move them to temporary storage while I clean up shop, and these will likely be donated later in the season after a bit more testing.
The 18V model is a little limited, but in the same way as other brands’ 18V and 20V Max models.
My most-used blower is Dewalt’s 20V Max model. Their nozzle attachment narrows the blowing path and increases the airspeed, but what’s important to me is the updated ergonomics and battery mount geometry compared to the older model.
If that Dewalt wasn’t available to me, I think the Ryobi would serve my needs just fine. The 40V Max model does bring a lot more power to the party, though.
If you’d be buying the kit, I’d say maybe step up to the 40V Max kit. If buying the bare tool since you already have Ryobi 18V batteries, and you care more about a smaller and lighter weight blower than max power, the 18V bare tool might be the better option.
I like the handle of the 40V Max model a little better, but overall if I had to choose one over the other for a quick light duty task like blowing dry leaves across the driveway, it would be the 18V.
Home Depot has a good return policy. If you choose one model and it doesn’t suit your needs, be careful with the unboxing and give it quick use. If it doesn’t meet your needs, you could return it and try the other model.
Matt the Hoople
I’m in the same boat as Jim. Spring is here and the old blower is no more. I am already invested in the RyobI 18v as well as the Dewalt 12 and 20v platforms. Adding yet another battery/charger doesn’t seem to make sense. Plus I already have a RyobI 18v string trimmer. If I buy a RyobI 18 volt, I’ll probably still get the kit cause it’s $30 extra for a 4ah battery and a charger. That’s almost free in my book. Haven’t looked at the Dewalt but may. Was trying to keep to one battery platform for the lawn tools. Maybe I’ll get the 40v and when the trimmer dies, upgrade that. Decisions, decisions. Maybe I’ll buy one of each and do my own head to head to head and return the losers. Wouldn’t be the first time:)
Matt the Hoople
Ok. So I couldn’t decide between the 18v whisper and the 20v desalt. The 40v was out cause it would be my only tool. I already have an 18v Ryobi string trimmer which is adequate and I use a riding mower as my primary so don’t se investing in another 40v tool any time soon as they seem limited to outdoor tools at the moment. If Ryobi were to come out with a 40v SDS hammer drill or worm drive saw or something fun like that, I would consider. I digress. So… bought the 18v whisper and the 20v desalt. The dewalt claims about 10% increase in cfm and speed (125mph/450cfm for the dewalt vs 110/410 for the Ryobi). Not really enough to matter in my book.
What I thought would steer me to the Dewalt is that it has a slider type thumb switch that sets a fixed speed. I figured this would be useful in reducing trigger finger fatigue. In use,however, I found myself not using it. If I were simply blowing leaves across the lawn for 20 minutes, it would be good. For my uses which are cleaning the garage, blowing leaves off of the cars, sweeping the driveway and cleaning the back porch, I found use of the variable speed to be more beneficial.
In terms of power/capability…the two are very close. In my uses, there’s no difference really…except for the noise level. In this case, the Ryobi is the clear winner and the one I’m keeping. The shrill of the Dewalt is enough to drive me bonkers and I found myself wanting to don hearing protection even for a three minute job. As for the Ryobi, I can use it inside my garage without any discomfort whatsoever. The Ryobi is hands down the winner when more power isnt required although it did fine blowing a ton of old leaves out of the flower beds.
I honestly don’t think this to be a fad. I hope all companies take notice and we see a whole slew of quite blower options in all colors over the next couple of years.
Thanks for the report Matt.
I’ve been using the 18v model since early May and I’m very satisfied with it.
I use it in Arizona so I can’t speak to how well it will work on real grass, but it cleans leaves and debris off my astro turf and 1/2” rock yard very well.
I love the variable speed for its ability to “corral” the debris in a corner for pick up. It also works well for cleaning my garage shop. YMMV.
I can get about 20 min of use out of a fully charged 18v battery. Just fine for a small yard like mine. Having 5 batteries total makes the run time a nonissue, at least for me.
I know this is resurrecting an old post but I thought it might be helpful if someone is looking for a review.
Thanks – definitely appreciated!
You missed the 40 volt RY40401 Whisper series blower and it’s various model numbers. 730 CFM, 190 mph, and 57 dB. I have the RY404100VNM kit with two 4 ahr. batteries and a rapid charger. I haven’t used it on leaves yet, but it did clear my patio, driveway, and sidewalks of 1″ of snow the other day. Even with a 7.5 ahr. battery mounted, it was still well balanced and easy to use for an extended period of time.