Green with energy: A cordless kit

Ryobi plugs into Li-ion

By Michel Roy

cordless kit

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I’ve recently been using a cordless kit from Ryobi that has really impressed me with its remarkable performance at a very reasonable price.

The Ryobi One+ lithium-ion four-piece kit comes with three cordless tools: a variable-speed, multi-clutch drill; a reciprocating saw; and a 5 1/2″ circular saw. A swivel-head flashlight is also included. You get two 18-volt lithium-ion batteries and a diagnostic charger that charges batteries within an hour, and the whole thing comes in a carrying case. The batteries themselves have an indicator gauge to give you a rough sense of your remaining power supply.

I tried out the various tools, doing a number of home-reno projects, and my overall assessment was very positive. With the drill, I was able to spin a 6″ hole saw to cut seven pot light openings in lath and plaster (a task during which I’ve stalled corded drills before), and then go on to use the drill for a day and a half. With the circular saw spinning the included 18-tooth blade, I was able to trim 2x3s to length more than 300 times before needing a battery change. And the reciprocating saw had no difficulty cutting off a steel doorknob on a defective lockset.

On the downside, I didn’t like the position of the safety switch on the circular saw, which was difficult to depress comfortably. The 5 1/2″ blade, when fully extended, allows just enough clearance to cut through two-by stock, so if your lumber comes extra-thick, you could find it frustrating.

The whole kit sells for around $380, and it seems quite a steal. A kit of heavy-duty contractor tools might be more durable, but those kits come at a much higher price point. If I were a homeowner getting ready for some projects, such as renovating a basement or a kitchen, I think my money might be well spent here. The 18-volt lithium-ion batteries and charger are interchangeable with Ryobi’s existing One+ line of tools, so there’s a whole lineup of compatible tools that you can add, one at a time, to match your needs.

For more information, call 800-525-2579 or visit

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