Ryobi Whisper Series Leaf Blower Review 2023

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Nothing makes me happier than working in my yard — planting, pruning, plucking, pulling. I never shy away from heavy lifting, like digging deep holes for new bushes or dropping large bags of mulch. But there’s one arduous task that always stops me in my outdoor tracks — leaf blowing.

It’s my husband who has historically tackled this chore. Not because I don’t want to, but at almost 30 pounds, our backpack-style gas leaf blower was just too bulky and awkward for my small 5’2″ frame. I attempted to use it on different occasions, but ultimately the job of blowing leaves and debris always ended up in the hands (err, on the back) of my husband.

Frustrated I couldn’t use this cumbersome yard tool, and recognizing owning a gas-powered blower makes me part of a bigger environmental problem (in my state of New Jersey, several towns have ordinances that prohibit the use of gas-powered leaf blowers due to their noise and emissions), I began my search for a battery-operated blower that wouldn’t lose its charge quickly, didn’t require a ton of maintenance, and wasn’t difficult to operate. When a friend, who does an extraordinary amount of due diligence every time she makes a big purchase, suggested the Ryobi 40V Brushless Whisper Cordless Battery Jet Fan Leaf Blower, I was all ears. Especially after she described this cordless electric blower as a game-changer.

After testing, I have to agree with her assessment. This is one of those tools you didn’t know you needed — or didn’t know you needed to update — until you do. Here’s why it’s the best leaf blower for our family and the most popular tool in my shed.

Design and setup

The various parts of the Ryobi Leaf Blower displayed in a grid on a lawn.

The included pieces consist of the blower, a nozzle, two batteries, two tips and a charger. The whole unit weighs under 10 pounds

Colleen Sullivan/Insider

It takes less than five minutes to assemble the blower out of the box because it comes with so few parts: the blower, a nozzle, two nozzle tips, two batteries and a battery charging station. At 9.7 pounds, this blower is light enough to grasp in one hand (I’m a righty and can easily operate it using my left arm). The battery is positioned behind the handle, rather than under it, which keeps the unit balanced when holding.

My old gas-powered leaf blower ran on a mix of gas and oil. During my research, I discovered a typical gas leaf blower burns just 60% of its fuel, with the rest of it spitting into the atmosphere. With this battery-operated blower, there’s no need to play chemist. Once charged, the electric blower starts up with just a push of a throttle. I don’t miss the multiple start up steps my old machine required — from dealing with a primer button, choke lever, throttle trigger and starter cord. 

There’s a variable speed trigger and turbo button option to control the output of air. You can dial it back when you’re working in delicate areas like blowing leaves out of mulch beds or hit the turbo button when clearing wet, matted leaves. There’s also a cruise control lever that allows the user to operate the blower without holding the switch trigger, preventing finger fatigue.

Another helpful feature: to reduce air velocity and increase air volume, you can slice the nozzle tip along one of the cut lines, according to Nicole Durden, senior merchant of outdoor power at The Home Depot. “Using a scissor, cut the line closest to the end of the nozzle for a smaller increase in air volume and the line farthest from the end for an increase in volume,” said Durden.


A person in fall attire walks along a sidewalk holding the Ryobi Leaf Blower.

The Ryobi’s portability makes it easy to keep walkways clear.

Colleen Sullivan/Insider

All leaf blowers operate under the same principle — a motor drives the fan blades which rotate at a high rate of speed. The fan blades draw in outside air and push it through a nozzle, creating the flow of air. Leaf blowers are rated by their cubic feet per minute (CFM) and miles per hour (MPH). “The higher the CFM, the more leaves and grass you’ll be able to blow at once,” says Durden. “The higher your leaf blower’s MPH, the further the distance it can push debris.” 

The Ryobi blower has 730 CFM and can generate air speeds of 190 MPH with the speed tip attached or 145 MPH without it. “To put it in perspective, Ryobi’s 730 CFM delivers more power than a 27CC gas blower which has, on average, 500 CFM and its MPH at 190 is right up there with nonprofessional gas blowers,” said Durden.

The tips of the Ryobi leaf blower on a lawn showing the lines where you can cut the tips to reduce air flow.

The tips can be trimmed to reduce or increase air volume.

Colleen Sullivan/Insider

While I’ve found the Ryobi just as effective as a gas leaf blower at removing leaves, its electric design comes with several advantages. The first is that it’s better for the environment. One study found running a gas leaf blower for an hour creates the same number of emissions as a 1,100 mile drive. So it’s no surprise that many states have banned or limited the use of gas-powered leaf blowers. Unlike my old gas blower, which released unhealthy emissions into the air, this electric blower is only a little less environmentally friendly than cleaning the yard with a rake.

It’s also less noisy. There’s nothing worse than listening to the grating whine of a gas leaf blower while you’re trying to work or unwind in your home. Gas leaf blowers have powerful motors that can reach over 100 decibels. The buzzing can travel long distances and penetrate walls and windows. The Ryobi leaf blower taps out at about 57 decibels; a comfortable enough level that you don’t need to wear ear protection while using it.

A person in fall attire walks in a yard holding the Ryobi Leaf Blower.

Blowing the whole yard is a bit of a workout, but the blower comes with two batteries so you can do it all without recharging.

Colleen Sullivan/Insider

The Ryobi also has a few more technical advantages that make it a pleasure to use, like its advanced motor. 

Blowers come with either a brushed or brushless motor. Traditional brushed motors create more heat, resulting in a slower and less efficient blower. A brushless motor, like the Ryobi’s, uses an electronic magnetic field to control the motor, resulting in more power and a longer battery run time, said Durden. 

It also comes with a backup battery. Having an additional battery on hand allows you to double the work time in your yard. Each fully charged battery lasts 120 minutes on low, 75 minutes on medium, and 30 minutes on high. Using the turbo charge, you can expect your battery to run about 19 minutes before conking out. Recharging takes about an hour — a light conveys the battery charging status and also lets you know if the temperature is too hot or too cold to charge.

A person in walks on a pathway holding the Ryobi Leaf Blower.

This leaf blower is compact enough to easily pull out for other yard maintenance tasks like clearing dirt off the walkway.

Colleen Sullivan/Insider

Because it’s so light and easy to use, I’m constantly pulling this blower out of my shed to clear dirt off my walkways, driveway and porch. I also use it to blow out the debris that falls between the cracks in on my decking, remove sand off beach chairs and buggies, and propel the sticks and leaves in my gutters (no chance you’d catch me climbing a tall ladder with a clunky gas-powered backpack blower on my back). In the winter, I use it as a snow blower, clearing powdery flakes from my driveway.

Unlike a gas blower, you can transport this electric unit in your car without having to worry about gas leaks and smelly fumes. To store, I simply rest it on a shelf slide in my garage or hang it from the handle using a u-hook. It’s important to disconnect the battery pack before storing to prevent draining over time and so it’s ready the next time you want to use it. Lithium-ion batteries can hold a charge for several months between uses, but you should never store or charge the packs in temperatures less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit or more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Warranty and rebate

The blower and its parts have an impressive five-year manufacturer’s warranty and a 3-year manufacturer’s battery warranty — longer than both my car and appliance warranties. There are hundreds of rebate programs offering discounts to customers when they purchase battery-powered outdoor power equipment. Since Ryobi is an exclusive brand to The Home Depot, you can visit the store’s rebate center to search for products that offer rebates.

Cons to consider

Using this blower is comparable to playing with a toy, you’ll want to clear everything in sight, which is why I wish the battery lasted longer. My advice is to avoid hitting the turbo button unless absolutely necessary, as doing so drains the battery faster. Having a neck strap for those times when you’re blowing your whole yard would be a welcome add-on, but I’ve learned to appreciate the bicep workout. For the same reason, this also isn’t going to be the blower for you if you have many acres to clear. It’s best for medium to small yards.

The bottom line

A person in fall attire walks in a yard holding the Ryobi Leaf Blower.

I’m right-handed but can easily hold this lightweight blower in my left arm.

Colleen Sullivan/Insider

If you don’t live on acres and acres of property that require hours and hours of leaf clearing, this blower is well worth the investment. While you can buy the parts separately, I highly recommend opting for the set. Sold separately, a single battery costs $169 and a charger will set you back $179, for a total of $348. The set retails for $329 and you get the blower, two batteries, a charger, a nozzle and two tips.

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