- Riding Comfort
- Mower Handling and Performance on Hills/Rough Terrain
- Quality of Cut
We are starting to see more and more battery powered lawn mowers hitting the market. There are even some (very expensive) all electric commercial zero turn mowers now. Let’s take a deeper dive into this silent slicer.
The Ryobi ZT480E Zero Turn Mower comes equipped with a very comfortable high back seat on it. I would say it’s not quite as good as a fancy suspension seat (like this) but the next best thing. I even noticed one user say he often found himself sitting in the seat while reading various shop manuals it was that comfortable.
The seat does adjust forward and backward with ease.
Other than that you’ve got a USB charging port, two cup holders, an hour meter and battery level indicator.
Additionally the unit has LED headlights on it so you can keep on mowing in the middle of the night…if that’s your jam.
Engine Battery Pack
This is the 75Ah battery version of this model which is also available in a 100Ah version for a couple hundred dollars more: Ryobi ZT480E 100Ah Mower.
Obviously the biggest concern with an expensive mower like this is how long will the batteries last? The manufacturer states they should last somewhere around 5 years (maybe more.) But I think we can all agree this is a best case scenario, something along the lines of you only use 10-20% of your battery charge each time you mow.
While the real world use life is still too early to tell, the batteries are covered under warranty for 1 year.
Also, it is important to layout the following initial charging tips to help condition the batteries. (Think of this as similar to a break in period on a gas engine – run 5 hours then change the oil.)
This should then condition the batteries and get you the longest life and best results from using them.
As far as winter is concerned you don’t need to remove the batteries. It is recommended to keep the mower on a charger all the time (any time of the year) when not in use. If this is not possible then make sure to charge the batteries at least once a month.
Charging the batteries is as simple as plugging the charge unit into a 110v 15amp outlet and then the other end into the charging port at the back of the mower.
If you do need to replace the batteries you’ll need this part number: LPC12-75
The cool thing is, if you decide you want a little more juice when it’s time to replace the batteries you can just buy the 100Ah version of the battery, part number: LPC12-100
Keep in mind though, there are 4 batteries and at the time of this writing are about $150 each for this mower. So it could cost around $600 to replace the batteries if you had to. (For perspective that’s probably slightly cheaper than if a gas engine failed on you, depending on the model.)
Mower Handling and Performance
Overall mower handling seems to be fine. The Ryobi ZT480E electric mower has 13″ wheels up front and 18″ rear turf wheels in the back. The little bit smaller wheels in the back do seem to lead to more reports of slipping (probably due to the massive torque of the electric motors.) You should not use this mower in wet conditions as this will make the slipping much worse, as would be expected on any mower, however it is especially important to not get the electronic components wet.
As far as power is concerned, you’re good, users reported no problems going up hills of over 15 degrees (definitely not recommended.) On the downhill end there is resistance with the motors so it’s not like you will be free rolling down hill.
The Ryobi ZT480E Electric Mower is quite fast with a max forward speed of 7 MPH and a mow in reverse speed of 4 MPH.
There is an emergency brake in the front that can be used for emergency stopping or also be locked down for parking. Regular braking is handled like most zero turn mowers, through the control bars.
For those of you with a gate, the width of this mower with the grass discharge chute up is 46″ and the width with it down is 51″.
Lastly, this mower is recommended for yards under 2.25 acres.
Quality of Cut
I’m actually quite impressed with the quality of cut on the Ryobi 75Ah zero turn mower.
Even in taller grass, you shouldn’t have much of an issue because the Ryobi ZT480E gives you two options: Low Speed Drive and Low Speed Cut. This will give you more torque to power through those hard to mow spots.
The 12 gauge stamped deck houses two blades that leaves you with a cut that looks clean and crisp. Two anti-scalping wheels help to preserve your lawn.
You have 12 adjustable positions from 1.5 to 4.5″ in 1/4″ increments.
Important to note: DO NOT use water to clean off your deck/mower or underneath the deck. Use compressed air or a leaf blower only.
Still skeptical about the quality of the cut this machine puts out? Have a look at the video below and judge for yourself:
In addition there is a standard garden hitch for towing a broadcast spreader or sprayer. You could tow a trailer but it is not recommended with heavy loads.
This is a pretty slick looking mower. A lot of thought definitely went into the design of it. It is also a bit pricey. You’re going to pay a premium of about $1000 more than a comparable gas engine zero turn.
The biggest advantage of this mower is not having to fool around with getting and storing gas or having to change the oil. If you find those things to be too much of a turn off then this mower is definitely for you.
Something else to keep in mind, if this mower is shipped to you, it will come on a metal pallet/crate and you will need to assemble some items. Watch the video below and make sure you are comfortable with that: