Before I launch into this, I need to say I am no handyman or any sort of expert on power tools. I’m like lightning with a hammer as I don’t strike twice in the same place and while I fervently believe in the “measure twice, cut once” wisdom, I can measure a million times and still stuff up the cut.
I’ve been finding an increasing need to use power tools these last few years; and cordless ones where possible given I’m usually out in the boonies when their use is required.
I made a mistake with a cordless drill purchase a few years ago by going cheap – and that’s exactly what I got. It was barely up to the job and the battery started failing very quickly. In the end, I just avoided projects that required a lot of drilling.
I wound up with another useless lump of plastic, metal, circuit board and toxins mocking my cheapskate ways and pointing out my hypocrisy at times on environmental issues. I’m thinking of mounting it on the wall by my desk to act as a permanent reminder about some purchase decisions.
Knowing that another drill purchase was unavoidable, I decided to actually consult someone who knows a bit about them this time around and not to focus so much on price (gulp).
The helpful fellow at the hardware store recommended the Ryobi One+ range, which has been around for a while. While he rattled off specifications that didn’t mean a great deal to me, the immediate benefit I could see was a single battery system that can be used with dozens of tools, instead of having a different battery and charger for each tool.
From an environmental viewpoint, this saves substantially on resources and subsequent pollution that go into making chargers and batteries. I think it makes a quite a difference, particularly if you have a dozen different power tools all using different systems.
The range Ryobi offers with One+ is impressive. Aside from the drill, there’s a circular saw, angle grinder, impact driver, finishing sander, orbital sander, jigsaw, reciprocating saw, rotary hammer, planer, torches, spotlights and other various drills – all able to use the same battery and charger. In the USA, there seems to be an even bigger range with 50 One Plus tools all up including a string trimmer, hedge trimmer, chainsaw, miter saw – well, I’ll leave it at that; you get the idea.
I wound up purchasing the drill kit, which was reasonably priced and came with a charger and 2 batteries.
I really didn’t know what to expect from it, but I was pleasantly surprised when I had to drill dozens of holes into sheet metal of varying thicknesses and diameters in a single session – using old low quality drill bits. The drill didn’t struggle at all and the battery still had charge left afterwards.
Maybe that doesn’t sound particularly stunning to experienced handyfolks familiar with these sorts of tools; but my other drill wouldn’t have drilled 6 similar holes before starting to fade, even when new.
The system doesn’t feel cheap either – it all seems solidly constructed and unlike my last drill’s charger, this one has indicators for charging state and ceases charging when the battery is full.
Recharge time for a battery is under an hour, which is great if you have a solid amount of work to do, particularly with the second battery in the kit. Recharging is a little sweeter and greener for me as the electricity is generated by a solar panel.
It’s an 18 volt system and the batteries are lithium-ion – so they should have a long life and at the end of their life, they can be recycled. Batteries in various capacities are available.
I’m not particularly pushing Ryobi One+ (and I certainly haven’t been paid or otherwise encouraged to write this brief review) – it’s just that it’s the only system of its kind I am somewhat familiar with. Perhaps there are other similar systems around.
If you’re looking to replace power tools though, give this type of system some consideration.
Another point to bear in mind with other single-battery-multiple-tool systems should they be available is to check if the company that makes them has a history with the range – and a future. Otherwise in a few years down the track when you need to replace batteries or want to buy a tool that is available now and isn’t then; you’re pretty much back to square one.