Pros: Good design and construction, good price, great warranty
With a new shop came the desire to replace a few of the older and less efficient tools in our portable tool arsenal. Our chief candidate was the drill in a set of cheap cordless tools we had acquired in a closeout sale. While shopping at Home Depot we came across a sale on a Ridgid combo kit that had a drill. Home Depot had one available for test and after trying it we brought a package home.
Ridgid 18V Compact Drill and Impact Driver Combo R9600
The combination set we picked includes a drill, an impact driver, two 18 volt Lithium batteries, a charger, a case, a removable belt hook, and a removable handle that adds stability when using the drill in tough conditions. There were also instruction manuals and registration materials. All of the tools and the canvas bag are the bright orange and black trademark of Ridgid. Ridgid is an exclusive brand selling through Home Depot. This set of tools carries a 3 year warranty with only a receipt and a lifetime warranty if you go through the effort of registering it. Even the batteries are covered. We will try to detail each component of our Ridgid combo kit.
The drill in this kit (can also be purchased separately) is smaller and lighter than the one it replaces. With the compact 18 volt battery installed it is well balanced. The drill has the usual features of a drill/driver. The two speed switch is on the top and slides easily between positions. The variable speed trigger drives the 535 inch-pound torque of the four pole open frame motor to no load speeds of 0-450 or 0-1650 rpm. The handle has soft grip material that is not slippery. Even with the more compact size my big hand fits it well. The real improvement for us is the ½” capacity chuck that easily tightens and loosens with one hand. You know it is tight when you hear the ratcheting sound. Even the smallest bits hold well. The 24 position clutch works smoothly and well. In the drill position, marked with a drill bit picture, the drill will stop rather than break the clutch loose. There is a white LED light on the lower housing which can be turned on independent of the trigger to light the drilling area. It turns on automatically when the grip is held and stays on a short time after the grip is released. It comes with an on-board double-ended bit, a removable belt hook, and a removable handle for those tough drilling jobs.
The impact driver mirrors the light, compact design features of the drill. It is only 5 3/4“ long before the bit is installed, making it one of the shortest in its class. Its four pole open frame motor produces 1440 inch-pounds of torque at its ¼” hex chuck. The chuck is easy to use and will accommodate any of the myriad types of ¼” hex bits, nut drivers, etc. The handle is the same soft grip material as its drill companion and the LED to illuminate the work area is also controlled with a grip switch. The trigger adjusts the speed of the chuck from 0 – 2400 rpm and 0 - 3100 impacts per minute. It comes with a Phillips bit. It is noisy in use, but boy does it get the job done, particularly on things like stuck bolts or nuts. We often have a pilot drill chucked into the drill/driver and a Phillips or square drive bit in the impact driver.
Lithium Battery Charger
The charger is the same orange and black color. It has lights to indicate ready to charge (power on), charging, too hot to charge, and fully charged. It produces 18 volts with enough amperage to charge the compact battery in 20 minutes. The battery can be left in the charger to keep a full charge until needed. We were surprised at the 20 minute time, but we have never had to leave a discharged battery in even that long before full charge is achieved.
18v Lithium Battery
This set comes with two 18 volt lithium batteries. Both are partially charged from the factory. The instruction manuals indicate they should be charged before first use. We couldn’t wait to try the tools out so both were used before being charged. It hasn’t seemed to harm them. These batteries are trademarked as Hyper Lithium Ion. They are said to have up to 50% more work time and up to 50% longer life. They also operate down to 44 degrees. We like these batteries. They are easy to install, have lights to indicate charge state, and do recharge quickly. Work life is quite good. Another advantage of Lithium batteries is their ability to hold a charge for a long time. We don’t grab the tool after a few weeks of disuse and find the battery discharged.
Work Site Case
Since these tools are mostly used in our woodworking shop area, the case is stored with the extra parts and manuals. It is good quality canvas with strong stitching and a good zipper. The handles are easy to use. Both tools and the charger fit easily into the case.
In case you missed the implications of this review so far we will clearly state that we like these tools and most Ridgid tools we have ever had. They are designed to compete with top name brand tools from DeWalt, Hitachi, Bosch, Milwaukee, and others. They are just as good in both specifications and use as these tools, are at a little lower price point, look good, work well, and have an awesome warranty. These two Ridgid tools are a joy in use and look good on the shelf. Particularly with the sale, our choice was easy.