Here’s Why This Professional Contractor Thinks Ryobi Cordless Power Tools Are a Good Route to Go

Lyle Ellerbee

My career as a 50 year old carpenter spans an interesting period in the development and innovation of cordless power tools. I started out in the field just as Skil and a few others were coming out with the first 6-something volt models that we pros might now consider cordless, powerless and worthless but back then they were something we had to have. We were ignorant to the future then and only knew the freedom from cords they provided and what little torque they mustered made the world of hardware installation a better place to be.

Then Makita charged the cordless scene with the awesome power of 9.6 volt power and kept coming out with one new tool after another. In the course of a few years I acquired most of the tools they offered and within the course of a few more years my crew and I wore them all out and I soon replaced them with the next brand that took the market to the next level. Compared to Dewalt’s 18-volt line of tools, our worn out blue Makitas seemed like old play toys. By this time everyone was in the game from Milwaukee to Dewalt but once you invested in one brand you pretty much had to stick with them because of the initial investment. One charger and a couple of batteries took care of ten different tools and so we just remained in the Dewalt line rather than spending a small fortune to switch and kiss all the old tools goodbye.

But just a year ago all my Dewalt batteries and chargers seemed to finally tire out all at once and I had the opportunity to consider getting into a new line. I had often seen the Ryobi line at Home Depot and was attracted to their affordability and vast array of tools. I was skeptical of their relative cheapness and thought that there must be some problem with them since they were so much less than other choices.

Then I hired a carpenter who had several Ryobi tools and I asked him what he thought and he said he did not have any problem with them and so I bought a package that included a drill, sawzall, circular saw and flashlight. They cost something like $150 to $200 less than the other brands and so I jumped in and gave them a try.

I use the my Ryobi drill everyday and I see no difference between it and my old Dewalt. I am not a researcher or writer for Consumer Reports and this is not an article about comparing all the brands and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. I have owned just 4 brands of cordless power tools and borrowed a couple more from time to time and so I guess I don’t know all there is to know about what is out there. But I do know Ryobi is about as inexpensive as they come and they offer a great selection of tools, and furthermore I have learned they do the job day in and day out.

For the do-it-your-selfer, I would simply advise to go Ryobi because of price and performance. As a professional trying to make an honest dollar with the tools I buy with my hard earned money, I have no stake in promoting Ryobi beyond looking like an expert after you heed my advice and discover for yourself that I know what I am talking about.

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