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Small spenders take note: Ryobi has added lithium-ion power to their low-buck One+ system, dramatically increasing the line’s potential and raising the bar significantly for affordable cordless power tools. You’ll find several combination sets on store shelves now — all featuring the new batteries plus a retina-burning, high-visibility green color scheme.

For today’s test, we snagged a four-piece set — the “Ryobi One+ 4-PC Lithium Power Tool Kit,” which includes a charger, two batteries, a drill/driver, a reciprocating saw, a circular saw, and a worklight. Wondering just what $300 buys you in a four-piece li-ion combo? Read on past the jump to find out.

UNBOXING

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The first thing that you’ll notice when unboxing the kit is that the tools and the bag are day-glo green. Laugh if you like, but they should be easy to find even in a dark tool shed, or even with the absence of all light in the solar system. You know — whichever happens first.

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The nylon bag features hard side inserts and feels quite sturdy — like it’ll withstand plenty of abuse. Its internal compartments separate the tools (including the charger) like cafeteria food. Better yet, Velcro strips hold the compartments together, which means you can detached them to open up the entire bottom of the bag or re-arrange them however you’d like. A handy tip: pay attention to the way the tools come out of the bag. If you intend to store all the tools in the bag, the best arrangement for fit (read: the only arrangement for fit) might not be obvious at first when you try to put them away.

We also quickly noticed that the new tools’ grips are uber-comfortable. They feel right for frequent use and fit in the hand extremely well. The circular saw and worklight look a little funny without battery packs attached, but then thats not how you’ll use them. The circular saw and drill/driver both feel light and quite comfortable.

Batteries And Charger

The kit’s 18V batteries seem like standard fare, but the charge tester on the batteries is first -class. The button is big and easy to push even while wearing gloves — unlike many manufacturers’ (cough, cough, Milwaukee) — and the batteries’ three-color indicator makes reading charge a snap: green for full, orange for low, red for charge now.

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Another quick unboxing thought: the li-ion powerplant isn’t just all about go-power. These batteries will hold their charge on the shelf much longer than NiCds — a boon for weekend warriors who might use the tools once-a-month before dropping them back in the bag.

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And if you happen to own any existing One+ tools, the new kit’s charger will charge both li-ion and your older NiCd batteries. We also appreciate the charger’s easy-to-read status indicator with explanatory chart attached right on the front.

Read on to page two for more unboxing.

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11 Responses to Hands On: Ryobi One+ 4-PC Lithium Power Tool Kit

  1. Mel says:

    Are the new batteries interchangeable with the old tools/ old batteries with new tools?

  2. Zathrus says:

    Mel – yes, they are. New tools, old batteries or old tools, new batteries, it doesn’t matter. That’s one of the big selling points of the One+ line.

  3. Jordan says:

    I bought the drill/flashlight combo. I’m quite happy with both. The drill replaces an old DeWalt 14.4v whose NiCd battery will not hold much of a charge and it has been next to impossible to find a replacement battery for it (This was one of the very first 14.4v to come out. 12v was the standard then, and DeWalt subsequently changed to the XRP battery line).

    I find the drill very easy to use and I’m happy with the upgrade in power and reduction in weight. The 18v LiIon is lighter than my NiCd 14.4v. I’d recommend it to anyone.

  4. Michael says:

    I just left Home Depot and bought this set. Street price was 159.00, but was on sale for 129.00. Brought it up to the register, and it can up for 159.00. Had to have the manager verify the display, and he marked it down to 129.00.

  5. tim white says:

    Hi, I just wanted to let everyone know that I love the Ryobi cordless tools. I have used all of them and I use the drills every day all day long. I own about fifteen right now and use them in my business. I have used them for over ten years and two are still around from way back then. I drop them all the time from two to four feet and my carbide bits break or bend and the drills and batteries still work. I have only managed to put a small crack in one battery all these years and that battery still works. I have beat the hell out of these tools and I am amazed at how they hold up so well. I use them for drilling through 1/32 and 1/16 stainless into bullet proof glass and under that is plywood, also for driving screws into the holes. The batteries last for a long time and they hold a charge well for a about 3-5 years with the way I use them. I can’t wait to go out and get a few of these new ones–I hate the color-the blue is much better-but I will wait until more of the eight drills purchased five years ago wear out. My only complaint is that they need wider bases under the batteries so they don’t tip over as easily but I could spend five minutes and make a base to fit over the battery but I am lazy. I don’t own stock in the company or sell these and I am not paid in any way by them to say this stuff. I just want people to know that their cordless drills are no joke. I use the lighter 14 volt drills for everything repetitive but the 18volt drills are good for most other stuff. My brother is the one who uses the 12 volt or is it 9, it is tiny but he just needs it for drilling holes in wood. thanks, tim…

  6. KevinB says:

    I have 3 18 volt Ryobi Drills, good bang for the buck, especially the old 3 speed hammer drill. No matter how many times I see these green things, they just look ugly, I’m still wondering why Ryobi didnt just stick with their blue color scheme.

  7. Gary Menzel says:

    how much is this item

  8. Gary Menzel says:

    How much is the ryobi set

  9. Ron says:

    Are there generic 18V Lithium Ion battery packs available for these Ryobi tools? If not, does anyone know where I can buy individual Lithium Ion batteries to convert my old NiCd pack to a Lithium Ion Pack?

  10. Tim says:

    Just picked up this 4 piece kit, for $199 at Home Depot. The one with out the two saws, meaning drill, 2 batteries, charger, light, small bag, was $99. They are on clearance, since the new auto speed drill came out.

    Ron (last post in this list) if you are reading this might want to go pick up that $99 kit. And no generic Li-ion batteries as far as I know. And if you do go Li-ion, you will need the new charger as well, as the old chargers do not work with the new batteries.

  11. Tim says:

    Oh I should also say, the new lime green charger works with both battery types….

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