I was reading one of my favorite
magazines lately (Duckworks) and someone was dissing
cheap tools and mentioned Ryobi by name. They went on about
how they lost work because they bought a Ryobi tool instead
of investing in a Makita for a big job. Most of you know me
from my tool crib where I test new tools that have come out
on the market.
Before I became disabled, I was a prolific builder
and would tackle any project no matter how big or small. Before
I moved to Oregon, I had a California contractor’s license.
I am a journeyman machinist; I am also a certified welder. I
worked as shop supervisor in many large businesses. I acquired
tools for building steel boats, wooden boats, Ferro-Cement boats
and just plain fiberglass boats. I built barns, houses, decks,
100 foot long steel Algae harvesters, work boats and also all
the plumbing and wiring for their electrical systems no matter
the power source.
I started writing to keep my sanity from coming
from such an active life to being disabled with injuries that
require me to slow down drastically. Instead of committing suicide,
I decided I would pass on some of my experience by writing and
testing tools that my fellow boat builders could use to make
good decisions for their shops. Since I am not dead yet I can
still make myself useful by passing on knowledge from years
of working, fabricating and designing. I even started playing
my guitar again, something I did not think I would ever do.
Since I moved back to my small cabin on the lake,
most of my big tools are still in storage but I will build a
shop for them when I finally am done wrangling with the county
ordinances and the authorities. Now I work out of my smaller
shop testing the tools I write about and building small boats
and other projects.
Now I will get back to the Ryobi tool Question.
Are they just trash or treasure? I have a long list of Ryobi
tools that I have tested. I even have Ryobi tool reviews that
are waiting to be printed and published on this site. Do I think
Ryobi tools are rubbish, of course I do not or I would not take
this step of putting my reputation on the line now. When I want
to review a new Ryobi tool, I pick it up at Home Depot. I get
all of my other tools shipped to me directly from the manufacturer.
That is a good way of seeing that Ryobi is not
sending me an extra special product that someone else cannot
get at Home Depot. I can honestly say I have had one problem
with a tool I tested from Ryobi. When I tested the 12”,
Compound Miter saws
the Ryobi saw had a blade problem. The stock blade that came
with this saw did not turn true. I could only verify that with
my dial indicator mounted to check the blade run-out. I saw
it when I turned the blade by hand but I checked every tool
the same way before I use power on it.
I dismounted the blade drove back to Home Depot
and they took one off another saw for me and that was it. The
exchange took about an hour including my travel time to pick
up a few extra groceries for my wife. My wife Nan does not go
to Home Depot with me anymore. Even with me being disabled and
walking with a cane she cannot keep up with my department hopping.
It was even worse right after a recent operation when I used
their electric carts!
This is Important! Do I consider Ryobi a premium
tool? No, Ryobi tools are made for the armature builder who
cannot afford a Fein sander or a Delta planer but they need
a quality tool with a less expensive price tag. How do I test
Ryobi Tools? I test them side by side with the most expensive
tools like Bosch, Makita, Porter-Cable or Fein. I put them through
rigorous exams and strenuous testing. I have friends that are
eager to help me test these tools. So some of the more rigorous
testing I can watch and get the comments from my professional
friends on their likes and dislikes.
From the article
I have made a few observations, these tools were not bought
in the US. In the US Home Depot carries the Ryobi line and they
have a no questions asked 30-day money back return policy with
Ryobi tools. I have one of the American Ryobi hand planers that
I have been testing. I have used it on Walnut, Rock Maple, White
Oak and Manzanita a very hard western USA scrub tree that has
rich red, purple and white grain.
I have also laminated oak and mahogany with epoxy
as glue and used the Ryobi hand planer on it. In my humble opinion,
it worked as well as the 3 ¼” Makita hand planer
I used before I received the Ryobi planer for testing. It had
enough power to plane every bit as deep as the Makita planer
had. I do know that if you push any power planer too hard they
will get very hot Power planers do not need muscle to push them
they cut very nicely by themselves. You do need power to control
their movement and they are some of the more dangerous power
tools in any shop.
So if you’re a professional craftsman who
is being paid for your services I would recommend a very high
quality tool like Ridgid, Porter-Cable, Fein, Invicta, Cantek,
Bosch or a thousand other tools built for strenuous professional
use. If you are an amateur boat builder and you do want a quality
tool with a super warranty, I have no qualms about recommending
the Ryobi line. I do know that in Europe, Australia, New Zealand
Southeast Asia and Japan different companies are licensed to
produce tools under the Ryobi name that are not the Ryobi tools
we have in the US and Canada. They are not made in the same
factories and they don’t even look like the Ryobi tools
we have here.
I have been trying to get Ryobi of Europe to send
me a few of their 220 volt powered tools that run low amps but
have more power. The shipping of these tools is far too expensive
but they make professional quality tools for Ryobi of Europe.
Their marketing companies in Europe are entirely different from
in the US. Just like the rest of the world. Different companies
are licensed to use the Ryobi name in different parts of the
This makes calling Ryobi a good tool here in the
US very different in Australia. They do not have the same warranty
or even the same tool. I have been using my trusty Ryobi 18
volt drill/driver for two years without any problems. Ryobi
just came out with new drill models that have new high performance
batteries. Some people found that the battery life of the drills
was not as good as they wanted so Ryobi now has a new class
battery that works much better than the older style.
Therefore, I can say this, if those two blokes
had been in America or Canada the Home Depot would have taken
the tools back and replaced their monies instantly. However,
I doubt that if they were in America or Canada they would have
received bad tools. I know that there will always be a bad apple
anywhere so I cannot say that someone in America or Canada will
not get a bad tool. I can and will say they would not be treated
in the same manner.
So I say to my boat building brothers in other
parts of the world that I believe your story. I would hope that
with my reporting your story to my Ryobi representative who
is making sure that the other Ryobi licensed company that will
hear this might effect some change. I do know that in the USA
and Canada Ryobi tools have the best warranty around. So look
at your bankbook and see if that Makita planer is going to bring
the total number closer to zero than your wife would like to
fight about. Now go over and look at the Ryobi planer. They
are not made in the same factory but the Ryobi planer has a
better warranty and if your not going to plane a 500 foot keel
it should do as good a job as the Makita in the US and Canada
for sure. The bottom line is many small time boat builders don’t
need professional tools, that is where Ryobi has the market.
Try one and you will be surprised both in the cost and performance.
Try them in the USA and Canada. If the shipping were not so
expensive, I would send those down under folks some real Ryobi
well made tools to try.
From my tool crib,