Our friend Eli Mosely’s favorite response every time I hand him a cordless OPE product is, “cute.” We made him a believer with battery chainsaws and so I met him out at the ranch to repair some fence lines with the Ryobi 40V HP brushless earth auger.
- Familiar gas-style design with Quick Connect pin connection to the bit
- 2 speeds to match the type of hole you’re digging
- Enough power to dig through clay and some roots
- Automatic kickback and overload control
- Kit comes with everything you need to get started
- Can use some additional handle material to keep it from sliding in the back of your truck
- Trigger stick if you get too much dirt built up around it
Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Earth Auger Performance
Ryobi uses a brushless motor to spin auger bits up to 8 inches at speeds as high as 210 RPM. For more control, there’s also a low speed and that’s the mode we spent most of our time in. Ryobi claims to get up to 30% more torque than a gas unit.
With an 8-inch bit, we started drilling a few holes to see what would happen. In both high and low speeds, it dug through that Florida soil with a lot of confidence.
But what about clay?
Florida’s clay isn’t the same as that bright orange soil you find in Georgia. It’s a tan/grey, sticky, wet kind that’s not very pleasant. Even with the thicker soil, Ryobi was able to dig to its full 31-inch depth capacity.
That’s right on the edge of its ability, though. It was consistently engaging the overload protection right as we got to the bottom.
Roots and rocks are an obstacle as usual. We were able to break through roots up to a 1/2-inch or sometimes 3/4-inch, but anything larger than that stopped the bit.
There’s a kickback sensor that helps out when you come across those bit stoppers. It sometimes allowed the handles to rotate around further than we preferred, but it’s effective the majority of the time. As usual, having a competent operator is the biggest key to safety.
Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Earth Auger Runtime
With the question of power out of the way, our next mission was to find out how long the Ryobi 40V HP earth auger would run on a charge.
Ryobi packs the kit with a 4.0Ah battery and that’s what we used for our tests. With a tool like this, the answer to the runtime question is that it depends on several factors.
Let’s start with what we know for sure. In relatively light, dry soil, we can expect to get between 25 and 30 holes running an 8-inch bit to 30 inches deep. With clay, it’s between 20 and 25.
Now for the ifs, ands, and buts. In loose soil, you can push 40 holes on a charge. If you’re only going down, say, 15 inches for planting new landscape plants, it’s reasonable to get 40 to 50 holes.
Of course, you’ll also get significantly more holes when you use smaller bit diameters. 5Ah or 6Ah batteries will extend your runtime as well.
Factor all of that in as you decide how many batteries you’ll need to get the job done efficiently.
The design team did a nice job sticking with a traditional gas auger design and that makes things a little bit easier if you’re used to gas.
On the right handle is your control switch. There are high and low speeds along with reverse.
There’s a foam cover on the left handle. This helps you use your leg for support in controlling the auger when you’re using forward speeds. It also cushions any blows you may get if the bit binds.
You install auger bits with a standard pin-based quick connection, so most any brand of bit is compatible if you want to add other sizes.
The one thing I’m not crazy about is how easily it slides around in the back of my truck. Like many folks, I have a bedliner and there’s just not enough friction to keep it from sliding. I’d like to see some rubberized pads on the handle corners to help reduce that.
On the maintenance side, be sure to wipe off the trigger after particularly dirty days. Our crew allowed too much grime to build up on it and it started sticking.
Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Earth Auger Price
You can grab this Ryobi earth auger from The Home Depot for $299. It includes everything you need to get started: the tool, a 4.0Ah battery, an 8-inch auger bit, and a charger. Backed by a 5-year warranty, it’s a pretty compelling price if you’re thinking about ditching gas or the old manual post hole digger.
The Bottom Line
We’re pleasantly surprised with how capable the Ryobi 40V HP brushless earth auger is across a range of soil types. It’s ideal for digging fence post holes the way we were, and also an excellent choice for planting, setting supports for landscape structures, or even drilling holes for ice fishing.
Ryobi Earth Auger Specifications
- Model: Ryobi RY40710
- Power Source: Ryobi 40V battery
- Speed: 210 RPM (high)
- Max Bit Diameter: 8 inches
- Max Hole Depth: 31 inches
- Weight: 40.2 pounds
- Warranty: 5 years
- Price: $299