By looking through all the DIY forums out there, you really do get a mixed bag of reviews about Ryobi power and garden tools. Many will advise not to bother buying anything Ryobi and, instead, they recommend a tool that’s five times the price. But the price is the whole reason you’re even looking at buying Ryobi, right?
Ryobi is a good brand and worth buying if you’re a DIY hobbyist or beginner. However, if you’re in the trade and need something that’s going to last you for years to come, then it’s best to buy one of the better-known brands such as Makita, DeWalt, or Milwaukee.
A lot of the terrible reviews you’ll have read online come from posts that are several years old and don’t take into consideration the vast improvement the company has made in recent years.
Ryobi has dramatically improved in the last couple of years, now producing over 125 products all using their improved 18-volt lithium-ion batteries as standard as part of their One Plus system.
Despite these improvements, many industry professionals remain firm in steering well clear of Ryobi, insisting that they’re not even worth their cheap price. So what’s the deal? Here’s our review of Ryobi tools.
Price: The price is probably the main reason you’re considering buying a Ryobi tool, and there’s no doubt you’ll save money. Other well-known brands such as DeWalt, Makita, and Milwaukee tend to be anywhere from 30-50% more expensive than a similar Ryobi tool.
Battery: One of Ryobi’s biggest selling points is the fact that the batteries are interchangeable amongst all their One+ power and garden tools. All their batteries fit any Ryobi One+ product dating back to 1996, and the company claims that they will never change their battery platform in the future.
In recent years, Ryobi has stepped up by switching over to lithium-ion batteries instead of the old nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) technology, vastly improving the user experience.
One+ System: A great reason to buy into the Ryobi brand is their One+ battery system. Now over 25 years old, the improved 18-volt lithium-ion batteries (previously 12-volt Ni-Cd) power every One+ product, and they’re all chargeable from one single type of charger.
This means you don’t need to keep paying out for batteries to go with every new Ryobi power or garden tool you buy, saving you a real lot of money. Just buy the tool body and fit any existing One+ battery you have lying around. The old Ni-Cd are even compatible!
This is much less of a headache as no more trying to dig around for the right battery, that coupled with the fact that you’ll be far more organized. You can say goodbye to that bucket of batteries you have (yes, we know).
Using the same battery for every product will also mean that you’ll keep it topped up as you’ll be using it so often. No more having to wait around for six hours when you finally get up the motivation to put up those hanging baskets your wife’s been nagging you to do for the last six months.
Design: Their lightweight and compact design will really suit the home user. Someone that isn’t used to handling power tools for hours at a time can find them cumbersome. Ryobi has done a great job in ensuring that won’t happen to you.
Warranty: Ryobi’s electric and cordless tool range also comes with a three-year warranty. This is great peace of mind should you commit to buying, and it puts them up there competing with the big boys.
Just make sure you do take advantage of the full three-year warranty. As standard, the products come with a two-year warranty, and you’ll have to visit the Ryobi website within 30 days of purchase to extend that to a third year.
125 products: Ryobi’s range extends to more than 125 products. Their tools range from the essentials to common garden tools, and to the slightly more niche such as seed spreaders and devour floor sweepers. To name a few popular selling items:
- Drill driver
- Hammer drill
- SDS+ drill
- Impact driver
- Impact wrench
- Angle drill
- Miter saw
- Circular saw
- Reciprocating saw
- Tile saw
- RO sander
- Corner sander
Here’s the bit you’ve been waiting for: with so many great features, why the bad press?
Durability: If you’ve ever picked up a Ryobi tool you’ll notice the difference straight away when compared to leading brands such as DeWalt or Makita. Comments such as, “It feels like a toy” are commonplace due to their lack of robustness.
These tools are aimed at the home DIYer or beginner and were never meant to be used by professionals. If you want a workhorse that’ll see you good for the next 10 years, then you’re going to have to pay for it.
Battery: Read through online forums and you’ll see conflicting opinions on the quality of their batteries. The majority complain about the batteries failing within the first year. This leads many to claim that Ryobi is a false economy because of having to replace the battery so often.
However, some say theirs is still going strong 5 years in. The issue with reviews like these is you just can’t rely on people’s expectations of an entry-level tool like Ryobi. Has it been used to death?
Their smaller 1.5Ah battery is definitely one you’ll want to avoid; however, forking out for larger batteries can become costly. We recommend the 4.0Ah battery which is great value for money on Amazon, especially compared to the slightly larger 5.0Ah battery.
Brushed motor: Of the 125 or so products produced by Ryobi, only 27 have brushless motors. This is something you won’t see with the big players who offer modern brushless motors.
Neon green, anyone?
Is the low price worth the gamble?
Shopping around, you’ll find some really great deals, especially with Bosch. They can actually even be cheaper, and I know which I’d rather go for.
Unless you’re really on a tight budget, or you think it’ll only see the light of day once a year, or you want to take advantage of their One+ System, then make sure to shop around.
Really do your homework when comparing, making sure to check voltage size, battery size, battery cell type, product weight, and warranty length.
It ultimately comes down to how much you’re going to use it. If you’re working with the tool day in, day out for eight hours at a time, then your poor little Ryobi isn’t up to the task. You’re going to have to shell out for the likes of DeWalt or Makita which will breeze through an eight-hour day.
If, however, it’s for the occasional job around the house or for the DIY enthusiast that likes to tinker in his shed for a few hours a week, then you can’t go wrong. Be realistic in your expectations.
Buying Ryobi means that you also get the added benefit of their garden and automobile care tools included in the One+ System. These include lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, grass trimmers, tree cutters, tire inflators, hand vacuums, cordless buffers, and pressure washers.
Still unsure? Maybe it’ll just come down to boys being boys: Buying a brand of tool you can get out in front of your neighbor without being mocked. Swung it?
Who makes Ryobi tools?
Ryobi Limited is a Japanese manufacturer making components in the automobile, electronics, and telecommunications industries. Ryobi Tools is owned by Techtronic Industries of Hong Kong, who interestingly also produce Milwaukee and Craftsman tools.
The company was founded in 1943 as Ryobi Seisakusho Co., Ltd, and they started their production of power tools in 1968. Five years later the company changed its name to the current one.
Ryobi tools can be found at a range of different stores throughout the UK. In the United States and Canada, they are sold in Home Depot and online. In Australia and New Zealand, the tools are sold exclusively by Bunnings Warehouse.
Are Ryobi and Ridgid the same company?
Although both are sold exclusively by Home Depot and owned by the same parent company, Techtronic Industries, Ryobi and Ridgid are not the same company.