The darling of the set is the 18V 1/2″ 2-speed drill/driver. It feels light and comfortable, yet includes all the bells and whistles we’d expect on cordless rigs, such as two-speeds (high/low), a brake, a half-inch keyless chuck (which is plastic but still worked well), a multi-setting clutch, and direction reversal.
It also features a level on its the spine near the rear and a “mag tray” — a magnetic screw holder on top of the foot. Rated at 1,600 RPM in high with no load and with a maximum torque of 330 in-lbs, this drill/driver squarely fits the DIYer niche.
But what about that 330 in-lbs rating? Since manufacturers don’t provide the RPM at which they take these ratings, they’re essentially meaningless. Sometimes manufacturers fudge ’em up a bit, selecting a slower speed to make a wimpy driver sound like a brute. Is this the case with the Ryobi?
In short: no. We didn’t put the drill on a dynamometer, but then neither will you. Instead, we selected a big-ass screw from our bin — one big enough that most drill/drivers couldn’t drive it — and gave it a go with the Ryobi and a couple of the other drills we have around the shop or in testing. As you can see from the photos below, the Ryobi finally gave up the ghost with about four threads remaining — a performance very similar to Craftsman’s C3 19.2V NiCd drill/driver (five threads, rated at 420 in-lbs, and recommended by us and Consumer Reports) and Craftsman’s 20V li-ion drill/driver (three threads, rated at 500 in-lbs). Milwaukee’s V18 drill/driver (rated at 550 in-lbs) drove the screw clean in.
Note: Is this a scientific test? We feel it’s more a practical test. We essentially did what you’d do with the tools: we ran them at different speeds, cajoling them into driving the screw as far as we could. We didn’t, however, engage the hammer mode on any of the drills.
The first thing we noticed about the 5-1/2 inch circular is that the blade is on the left like a worm-drive saw.
Other features include a guide shoe, blade wrench storage, spindle lock button — no more holding the blade with a glove! — a depth adjustment up to 1 3/4″, and bevel adjustment up to 45 degrees. This circular saw is rated at 4,200 RPM with no load and will cut a depth of 1-9/16″ at 0 degrees or 1-1/8″ at 45 degrees.
Read on to page three for more unboxing.