18V vs 40V Tools? (Ryobi Examples)

Ryobi is one of the brands that offer a choice between 18V and 40V tools. The higher capacity batteries promise better performance. They cost more and they aren’t as popular at the moment. But are they worth it?

If you’re a Ryobi fan you know the new line of 40V tools is constantly growing. There are at least 50 Ryobi tools to consider with the 40V system. But the brands are made for home users rather than for contractors or professionals. Is there any reason to ditch the 18V batteries for the 40V batteries?

18V vs 40V Ryobi – Which are Best?

Both 18V and 40V batteries are very good for Ryobi power tools. At the moment, there’s more experience with 18V batteries which still makes them the proven power system for your best Ryobi power tools.

Available 18V batteries

  • 2Ah
  • 4Ah
  • 6Ah

Available 40V batteries

  • 4Ah
  • 6Ah
  • 5Ah

Performance

Performance is a category won by Ryobi 40V batteries. With longer-lasting power and enhanced performance comparable (if not better) than gas tools, you’d see this system in place for some of the toughest jobs such as clearing snow from the driveway, mowing the lawn, blowing leaves, or cutting wood. All of these jobs have appropriate Ryobi tools to do properly.

Of course, the 18V battery system is still going strong at Ryobi. It performs well at a low cost which is all that most people need at the moment.

Compatibility with Ryobi tools

18V Ryobi batteries win the compatibility contest. There are more than 200 Ryobi tools on the market that support 18V batteries and this ensures you can do just about any job around the house with these affordable 18V batteries.

40V batteries aren’t compatible with as many Ryobi tools. There are just over 50 Ryobi tools that work with the 40V system which means it would be complicated for a dedicated user to justify a full upgrade to the new battery system.

Limitations of both 20V and 40V batteries

While the batteries themselves are very good, there are plenty of limitations in using them. For example, new Ryobi mowers with 2 batteries only come with 1 charger. You need to buy a separate charger for your second battery. Even if you get the strongest 40V batteries you’d still need to pay extra for the charger.

Replacing batteries seems to be a chore when they break. 18V batteries are easy to replace. 40V batteries sometimes take more than 10 days to replace, which can be troublesome when you’re in full gardening or DIY season.

Both of these battery systems represent different approaches to what is an affordable brand. This is the main issue the marketing Ryobi team currently has.

The brand is known as highly affordable. But the 40V batteries aren’t affordable at all. So why would a person buy 40V Ryobi tools and not go a step above 40V Makita tools?

Durability

There are insufficient data to represent how long 40V Ryobi batteries last. However, we know for sure 18V batteries last a lot. Both of these come with a 3-year warranty so there should be no worries here. Sure, there are a few instances of 40V batteries failing within a year and some delays in shipping replacements. But all of those who had some sort of issues with a 40V Ryobi Drill or a 40V Ryobi trimmer eventually had their batteries replaced.

When to get 18V, 40V, or gas-powered tools?

  • 18V Ryobi tools – ideal for small DIY jobs

Made for quick jobs around the house and durability, affordable 18V batteries are what make Ryobi a great brand. But even 18V batteries have different performance results.

How is a 4Ah battery different from a 1.5Ah battery? A 4Ah battery lasts up to 3 times as much as a 1.5Ah battery, both of an 18V system. This means you pay different prices for 4Ah 18V batteries compared to 1.4Ah 18V batteries. 6Ah 18V batteries are considered high-performance. They’re specifically made to power brushless tools to their best performance.

A powerful 6Ah 18V battery cost almost as much as a 40V battery (Ryobi sells 6Ah 18V batteries at the same price as 4Ah 40V batteries).

  • 40V Ryobi tools – ideal for intense use

Even if the price is similar, the fade-free performance of 40V batteries is recommended for daily use of power tools. You can use this battery system for just about any serious job around the house.

While you can’t use 40V batteries on 18V tools and 18V batteries on 40V tools, you can upgrade your tools if you’re after a more intense use or if you’re more into hobby DIY projects than simply only using tools when something is broken around the house.

20V vs 40V batteries are similar to 18V vs 40V where higher voltage results in increased performance and better battery life.

  • Gas-powered tools – best for demanding jobs

Gas lawnmowers are superior to Li-Ion 40V lawnmowers. Made to last longer they are typically designed for all sorts of abuse. Battery-operated tools aren’t ideal for larger lawns, anything beyond 2-3 acres. This is where a gas-powered lawnmower is going to prove more efficient. The idea is some large jobs can’t solely rely on battery-powered tools at the moment, even if those batteries are better than old batteries.

Final words

Ryobi 18V batteries are an affordable way of getting into cordless power tools. 40V batteries from Ryobi have a performance similar to gas-powered tools, specifically with uninterrupted performance. While performing better, 40V batteries are compatible with fewer tools and they’re also more expensive than 18V batteries.

FAQ

Are Ryobi 18V and 40V batteries interchangeable?

No, 18V batteries aren’t interchangeable with 40V Ryobi batteries. High-capacity 40V batteries are larger and Ryobi doesn’t build dual voltage tools. 18V batteries only work with 18V tools and 40V batteries only work with 40V tools.

Will Ryobi batteries fit DeWalt?

No, Ryobi batteries don’t fit DeWalt tools as they’re smaller. DeWalt batteries don’t fit Ryobi tools either. The only way to interchange the batteries is by using a battery adapter. These battery adapters are not currently made by neither Ryobi nor DeWalt.