|Review by ferstler||posted 12-05-2008 08:08 PM||5703 views||0 times favorited||6 comments|
I own two of these (one for each hand; OK, that is a joke), and you can see both in the photo. I obtained one a few years back and picked up the other a few months ago when I was feeling flush. I do not feel so bad about buying two of the things, since together they cost about the same as one such unit from any number of more upscale manufacturers.
These are 18-volt jobs and they are part of the Ryobi One + battery-powered tool catalog collection. This means you can buy the driver without a battery if you already have a collection of batteries. The batteries I use are NiCads, but I wish they were lithiums instead. Well, I purchased them and their batteries before the lithium revolution in Ryobi tools.
First, let me digress a bit about batteries. Actually, I have five NiCad batteries for my several Ryobi hand tools, and have to admit that two of them, after about a year of moderate use, are just about useless. I suppose that is par for the course with that type of battery, and the one thing I am waiting for is for Ryobi and Home Depot to have a sale on Ryobi lithium batteries so that I can begin my replacement operation. As of now, unfortunately, the high price of the lithiums (you can get four Ryobi NiCads for the just under the price of one Ryobi lithium) makes me reluctant to upscale my battery technology. If push comes to shove and the price structure holds I will just purchase more NiCads.
Interestingly (and I may have mentioned this elsewhere in some other review) Home Depot sells an 18-volt Ryobi drill/flashlight combo that includes two lithium batteries and a charger for about $180. When you consider that the outfit is selling individual Ryobi lithium batteries for about $90 each and battery/charger combos for about $110, it is easy to see that only a moron would purchase the two latter packages to get two batteries and a charger. If you opt for the drill/flashlight combo you are essentially getting the drill and flashlight for nothing, plus you still save twenty bucks. Heck, even if you already have the charger and just want two more batteries you can obtain the drill/flashlight combo and basically get the tool and flashlight for nothing. You can then give them to friends or put them in storage for use when your existing drill and flashlight give out. Who on earth runs the Home Depot marketing department? No wonder the company is in trouble.
Anyway, back to the impact driver. Yep, it is a good one, although the thing is pretty heavy, and as I noted the battery has a short and finite life span in many cases. The coupler is a standard ¼-inch job and handles any bit shafts in that size, and of course the coupler has a lock ring to hold notched shafts nicely in place. The unit has a variable speed trigger, delivers 3000 blows per minute at full tilt, and can generate a minimum of 800 inch pounds of torque. It even comes with two bit clips on the handle base to hold spares.
While not blessed with championship power, the driver has the ability to deliver the goods in a serious way with most jobs. It can drive a 3-inch screw all the way into a piece of equally thick pine (supposedly, it can even do this with oak, although I have not tried) with relative ease, and on one job where I was driving 5-inch hex screws into some rafters the thing managed to twist the head off of one of the shafts. (OK, I should have used a larger bit when pre-drilling the holes for the screws.) That ought to be enough power for practical needs.
The main advantage of this driver, compared to the competition, is the price. No doubt outfits like DeWalt and Milwaukee and Makita make drivers that are a tad more robust. However, they cost considerably more and that counts for a lot in days like these when money is tight.