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Jack of too many trades..
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601 Posts
I started out with a B&D cordless drill and minisaw back in 1999 and then was upgraded to a 9.6v Dewalt driver, which was later stolen from my garage. At that point, all I could afford was Ryobi, and so I went all-in on the blue One+ 18v set. I only got rid of that set last year when i cleared out and donated all of my unwanted shop tools. I actually went with Ryobi yard tools (because they use the same 18v batteries as the household tools) but I upgraded to the 40v set and now I have a mower/blower/trimmer that all use the same 40v batteries. Those 40v tools are awesome, but I wouldn;t buy Ryobi tools for my shop again.

As many have said, they are usually fine for homeowners/DIY people, but I've experienced several of their design and performance deficiencies.
Here is my experience/complaints
  • The under-powered hammer drill, weak plastic body, lack of drilling power, lack of mass... all made drilling into concrete a major challenge
  • The jigsaw with a round-shaft arbor that "drifted" out of alignment so that the blade ended up at a slightly pointing at a different angle - different from the direction of the tool. That arbor couldn't be adjusted back to a true position. I tried several times.
  • A multi-tool that lacks interchangeable tools ends for the multitool. Rigid multitool parts do fit but the Ryobi tool was underpowered if using rigid multitool ends and using one of these is what caused its motor to overheat and burn up. BTW... the Rigid version has a safety feature that shuts down the motor before it overheats.
  • A brad nailer/pin driver only worked when held against a completely flat surface (i.e. not suitable for nailing crown or installing in narrow places)
  • A weak-sauce mini circular saw - way too weak to make more than a couple cuts in nothing harder than a FSP 2x4. I rarely ever used this thing.
  • A dust-buster vacuum with "evercharge" that aparrently kills batteries (seriously, two of the batteries I left in the tool can no longer take a charge). The vacuum is great, but I don't risk leaving batteries in it.
  • Flashlights whose bulbs were discontinued and are NLA (you have to order knock-off from Amazon.com)
  • General "cheapness" in design. Only really obvious when you start using other branded tools (rigid, makita, milwaukee, dewalt) of your put your tool through some hard projects.
I got a lot of use out of my Ryobi woodworking tools, but I was very happy to be rid of them. Because they come from the same major manufacturer, and because my deceased father in law left me a couple Rigid 18v tools, I've more recently gone with Rigid for my replacements. They are not that different and in some cases (e.g. multi-tool attachments), they share the same form factor. The Rigid tools are simply better designed, but even these are not quite the rugged professional quality that some prefer.

I will say that I've learned not to bother with those multiple tool sets unless I need those tools specifically. I've only replaced my old Ryobi tools as-needed and I will probably never replace some of the tools that I used to own (e.g. jigsaw, cordless circular saw).

All the good points have been made. -Ryobi is affordable, accessible, and usually adequate for most users, but they are not really tools for job-site professionals.
IMHO the only really good reason to stick with them is after you have invested in their batteries (I still have 8 of them) and that just about economy of batteries and charging.

I still keep a few 18v Ryobi tools around the 18v blower/trimmer/chainsaw/vacuum as backup tools. I still have Ryobi corded belt sander, but only because I don't have a need for something better yet.

Ultimately, it's about what you want to do and what you can afford. It's Ryobi for a lot of people
 

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Jack of too many trades..
Joined
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601 Posts
I hear you on the manufacturers. It was no coincidence that Rigid Multitool attachments fit the Ryobi multitool (and vice-versa). I do think it all comes down to the idea of whether the tool is adequate for the job. After that, it's an "in-for-a-penny, in-for-a-pound" sort of situation with the batteries.

WRT prestige... look no further than Festool, or even "Big Green Egg" grills. I may not be poor, but I'm also not that rich. If you're buying those things, there's a good chance it is a conspicuous display of wealth.
 

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Jack of too many trades..
Joined
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601 Posts
The Ryobi batteries are exactly the same trap as the Dewalt. Unless it's around Christmas time, you can expect to drop about $100 per large cell 18v battery. Buddy of mine worked for Bostitch and he tells that all the cordless tools are next to free because the companies make their money off the batteries.

There's always something to be said for standarization. What I'd really like to see are quality, reliable, well-engineered universal batteries, not unlike the AAA/AA/C/D/etc., but for power tools. I know that there are adapters made "overseas" but I'm not sure I trust off-brand stuff like that. I think any discussion about cordless tool quality and value proposition is always going to be hung up on the cost and shape of the batteries.

I'm saying that as tool user and not just a someone who works in the field of standardization.
 
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