Tool Talk #3: My Ryobi 18v Cordless Tools

Well over half of the emails sent to me are on the subject of tools. I have no objections to responding to them but I thought it would be beneficial to start a video library of sorts to briefly touch on what I think of a particular tool or set of tools. These won’t be in depth tool reviews as I know very few people are interested in that kind of thing and I really don’t want to go over all the details. Instead I’ll just focus on the things I like about the tool, things I don’t like about the tool, and would I buy it again. I have a huge list of “episodes” that can be made and plan on releasing one per week. Hopefully this will be helpful to some people.

Ryobi 18v Cordless Tools

Specifications found here:

I did not purchase these tools out of pocket but I did not get them for free. I received this set in June 2014 as payment for work done with a third party company who has a business relationship with Ryobi.

What I like:

  • The kit is convenient. But I suppose that is something that every battery powered tool kit has in common.
  • I haven’t had any major issues with the 18ga brad nailer. It’s my favorite tool of the bunch. It has jammed a couple times but so has every other nail gun I’ve used. Not a problem, clear the jam and continue.
  • The oscillating multi-tool has a really handy feature to remove the tool head and rotate it 360 degrees in 90 degree increments.
  • The 6 bay charger is something that I wish all tool companies would offer. I really like the convenience of it.
  • The larger, extended use batteries last a while. Even when using the circular saw.

What I don’t like:

  • The reciprocating saw has an anti vibration handle but I’m not sure it does anything. Much more vibration is felt using this tool than my older corded Black & Decker reciprocating saw.
  • The two original batteries feel like they are losing their charge more frequently than I remember and have noticeably less power than my larger batteries when used in the impact.
  • The circular saw laser is not accurate at all. I have no clue if this is adjustable but I really don’t care if it is. I’ve never payed much attention to a laser on any circular saw.
  • The jigsaw base wiggles no matter how tightly it is secured. With the same blade, the cut quality isn’t as good as my Bosch corded jigsaw. But because I never use a jigsaw for finished cuts I always reach for the more convenient of the two, the battery powered one.


Would I buy my Ryobi 18V tools again?

An overall thumbs up or thumbs down regarding this kit is hard to say for me to say. In my experience, even with the dislikes stated above (except for the battery loosing it’s life after a year and 3 months), all of the tools still complete the task they are being used for. Would I buy them again? That’s a two sided answer, yes and…maybeI acquired the tools as payment for work I did for a third party company that has a business relationship with Ryobi. My bill for the work done was less than the retail value of all these tools so when they were offered as payment it made sense for me to accept the offer. So knowing what I know now, yes I would repeat that particular deal if I had to go back in time and do it over as at that time I didn’t have the shop budget to purchase a new set and since then I’ve used them quite a bit. BUT…would I purchase them outright? That’s where the maybe comes into play. If I am in the position to invest the amount of money needed for all of these tools on a brand new cordless tool set I can’t sit here and tell you that these are the ones I would buy. If I were in that position I know I would to go to a store where I could interact with and test a few different options and choose from that experience. Because I did not do that I can’t say say yes or no to these being the tools I would choose. I know that’s not the direct answer you’re probably looking for but for this particular situation it simply is what it is. Hopefully the information provided, other than my final decision, is able to be of value to someone.



  1. I like my Ryobi tools ok. I’m a beginner so I didn’t know what to look for anyway. Now I’m trying to figure out table saws !

  2. Ryobi should be a sponsor. Two reasons: you are a GREAT spokesman, and they are GREAT tools.Can’t imagine they wanting anything less.

  3. Thanks Jay for this tool talk. I have been trying to decide on a 18v cordless set for a while and you made up my mind on further looking beyond the Ryobi brand. Enjoying your tool talk series.

  4. Have one of the original (blue) combo kits, and I tend to be rough on my tools. I would recommend them to any DIY. Great tool for the price.

  5. I have some Ryobi too.
    Random orbit sander ros 300 – shitty as it can be, vibrate, lots of dust and finally I have the aluminum base fallen apart on day 5.
    Circular saw laser working the same with and angle holding – it doesn’t. Sold it for half the price.
    Router .. well i’ll place it in the table and buy bosch palm one for handwork.
    And planer it works fine bur have nothing special and feels much cheaper bosch green I tried in some time.

    Will i buy Ryobi again?


    Bought some Metabo after Ryobi.. and fell in love)

  6. The oscillating tool is the same as a Ridgid. The attachments are interchangeable. I bought the Ridgid ratchet head for my Ryobi and it is an exact fit. My guess is because they are both built for Home Depot by the same company.

  7. I have both ryobi and ridgid cordless , I got the 5 PC Ryobi half off it was missing a battery . The biggest factor for my purchase of the Ryobi products is the price but when I can afford it I’ll go with all Ridgid for the LSA warranty. Thanks Jay Bates

  8. I’ve been disappointed with the batteries. They will overheat, and shut down when making tough cuts. They leak their charge much faster than other brands of Li-ions, and they’re very hard to charge in cold temperatures. The multi-battery charger is a must if you have the kit.

  9. Ryobi has a 3 year warranty on the batteries. I had one die outright that was replaced at no charge. I’m not sure how it works with draining batteries, but you might want to check…

  10. I’ve decided that, for me, the best way to go is Ridgid thru HD. The tools function flawlessly and how can you beat the lifetime warranty on everything?

    I have three shops … Portland OR, Boston MA, and Richmond VA … and I have had at least five different tools at each for over five years [at home, the stable houses nine tools … I don’t like changing bits in a middle of a job so I’ll have a couple impact drivers and a couple VS drills at the assembly table].

    [And the newest X5 Brushless … I just had to buy them along with the shop blower.]

    In all that time, I’ve had one warranty claim … for a 4.0Ah battery that was left in the tool, outdoors in the rain, for a week. [The tool worked fine with another battery.] I simply went into the local HD and switched it out!

    Yes, you pay considerably more for Ridgid, and for Ridgid thru HD, but to me it’s worth it. Granted they don’t offer as wide a variety [yet].

  11. I’ve been using Ryobi for a few years now and find them very good. For the price, they are a good value and hard to beat. Are they the best, no, but for what I use them for they are great. I have driven in hundreds of screws with the impact driver with no complaints. I also have the multi-tool, grinder, drill, light and fan. All of them work hard for me.

  12. Hi I have a set of these tools, For the price you cant beat them. They were the first to go with multi tools one battery systems which still like now every one has the same thing. But i have found all the other brands are quit a bit more expensive and when you want several tools it adds up very fast. I think i have spent maybe 400. and have jig, ricp and circ saws three drills i impact nailer 6 station charge and 2 single chargers as well as 8 lithium ion batt. all that in dewalt would be 700 or so. keep up the good work. Paul

  13. Jay I think the stuff you are doing is outstanding. Besides the wood working, the social networking of it all is really amazing. I have been researching some tools on line and your information kept popping up everywhere so I had to check it out. Congrats on the process of purchasing your home and the establishment of your shop. The whole evolution was extremely interesting. I like your honest reviews and like you say, who cares about numbers and such, what people want to know is if a tool does a job or not and the quirks with them. Regarding Ryobi tools, I have found them to work ok, but for the price they can’t be beat. I work out in the field and I discovered my good tools were being stolen long before they ever wore out. While I do have lots of Dewalt stuff, I primarily use the Ryobi as their Batteries can be had on special sales for 99$ for two 4 ah lithium and one can have multiple drills/tools for cheap. “several size bits at once” and if one walks it doesn’t hurt as much. And I am finding out, now after several years, the cheap Ryobis are still kicking it.

    I did want to ask you one question, and that is about your miter saw. I saw that it is a 12 in Ridgid compund slider. I just bought the same model at HD on close out for $299. I know its the same as there is no other made with as big a table and the molded in handles. Just wanted to get your “real world” usage feedback. Bosch, Festool and Dewalt make some excellent saws but they are approaching $700. If you get a chance I would love to hear any little tidbits you would be inclined to share.

    Anyway, keep up your incredible work and I look forward to following your stuff closely,

    Best Regards, John Ebell

  14. I have the nailer and love it. I’ve driven 1-3/4 nails with no problem. For me it is more convenient than my air powered nailers when only driving 20-25 nails. I like my driver & drill as they were less money than some of the name brands and serve me well. The drill is slow on low, but works great with the clutch for driving screws when away from the shop & I have only one tool. Keep up the tool reviews. Thanks John S

  15. I really like my Ryobi tools Also. I did stop using the 6 space charger after finding that I was staring to have batteries failing long before they should. Then I started reading about other people having issues with the charger also. Being it only charges one battery at at time it was not that big of a deal to stop using it. I have 4 of the single fast chargers and on a make shift charging stations next to my cabinet where I keep all of my Ryobi tools. I to have thought of other brands but as long as my ryobi keep performing the way they do I have no reason to change.

  16. this vis was just in time. I saw it 2 days before Thanksgiving and BLACK FRIDAY. I was going to buy the circular saw. now I’ll do more shopping before I buy.

  17. I bought a Ryobi tool kit years ago (it was blue and used NiCad batteries) but I liked the One+ approach. I have upgraded to the lithium batteries and newer tools. The tools are adequate and it would be expensive to change brands.
    I like my brad nailer. I recognized yours as a Ryobi when I heard it on your video.
    I have had several battery failures but none within the warranty period.
    I agree with your praise and criticism of the tools.
    I chose the corded Ryobi jigsaw over the cordless. It has lots of power but the plate is flimsy (as you said).
    It would be nice if the 6-port charger had a way to charge the 4V TEK4 batteries. Maybe I will pull out the soldering iron and make an adapter.
    Any brand you choose will have strong points and weak points. Choose a brand with weak points you can live with.
    Keep up the good work.

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