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In September I picked up the Ridgid R9601 X4 18-Volt Hyper Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill and Impact Driver Combo Kit (3-Tool) with Radio set so I could do some work on my friend’s cabin up in the Olympic Peninsula where we had no power. I was attracted to the set for its compact size, price and the knowledge that Ridgid is a solid brand. So I must say I had higher expectations for these tools so right away they were up against some powerful scrutiny.
The Stats: Provided by Ridgid
The RIDGID 18-volt Compact Drill and Impact Driver Combo with FREE Radio has best- in-class torque for the most demanding applications and a FREE radio!!! With free registration, this tool is covered for life. FREE batteries. FREE parts. FREE service. FOR life. Includes: R86008 Drill, R86034 impact driver, charger, 2 R840085 1.5Ah Lithium-Ion batteries, 2 bits, R84084 radio, bag, auxiliary handle assembly, 2 belt clips and operator’s manuals. See below for more details.
$1· Compact drill features a 4-pole open frame motor delivers 535 in. lbs. of torque in a more compact size and a 1/2 in. single sleeve ratcheting chuck that securely holds bits during high torque applications
$1· Compact drill also has a 2-speed transmission for matching the right power to the task
$1· Impact driver delivers an industry leading 1,750 in. lbs. of torque to handle the toughest applications and features a one-handed quick-load bit holder
$1· Both drill and impact driver feature hex grip micro-texture for secure grip and maximum user comfort and grip light, which engages light independently of trigger to illuminate the work space
$1· 18-volt radio is 100 percent compatible with all RIDGID 18-volt batteries and features 3 different modes: AM/FM and auxiliary input
$1· Hyper Lithium Ion batteries are built for high performance with best-in-class run-time, life and extreme weather performance
$1· RIDGID now offers over 25 bare tool options that are all compatible with RIDGID 18-volt slide pack batteries
My first test was one of aesthetics, comfort and ergonomics. I have smallish hands so some of the larger drills feel large in my hands, these felt comfortable in my hands and I like their look and feel. The weight was definitely less than my other cordless drills which is a good thing because I am fighting with arthritis and the heavier drills lessen my stamina and make it so I cannot keep them working for all that long.
Next: I started out with a new fresh charge on both batteries and locked in a Philips bit and with a box of 8 gauge 2" screws I locked a 2" piece of oak into my Rockwell Sheetmaster and started screwing. The battery stopped after 30 minutes of continuous driving, 162 screws down in both a straight down and angled direction. Of course a 30 minute non-stop session may seem short life but it is not really bad in my opinion and with having 2 batteries this is a good amount of potential work load. I am timing the recharge from dead so we will see how fast you can be back to work.
Next I chucked in a 1" forstner bit and locked down a fir 4x4 to do some drilling. Slapping in the 2nd battery also with a fresh full charge I started drilling down to a depth of 3/4" (the top of the drill blade for easy consistency) and this time it managed a 13 minute burn and drilled a total of 103 holes. I used what I would consider normal pressure and the drill kept up until it stopped completely. 13 minutes? okay that was a fast drain but 103 holes is pretty respectable. Of course longer would have been nice, but that’s pretty good work for a cordless of this price point.
The I put the battery into the charger and it reached a full charge in less than an hour. This is a typical recharge time, less than some and longer than others but a good recharge time in my experience.
Next I picked up the impact driver and chucked in a hex driver and started the next endurance test driving in ¼ in x 2” lag bolts. Driving them down all the way into a fir 4x4 I managed 64 before the battery stopped. One of the features I like in this system is the way the battery simply stops when it is drained. It does not slow down progressively as it is drained. The sensor in the batteries detects when the charge is down to far and shuts off. The power of the impact driver was impressive and it easily drove the lag screws deep into the wood if I let it.
On the batteries there is a set of lights that indicated the level of charge making it easy to judge how much of a charge is left.
Another feature I like is the built in lights. It is located in the base of the drill and shines up at an angle to illuminate the work area. A lot of cordless drills I have used have the light built into the main body pointing straight at the drill point. I really don’t notice any benefit to the light being in the base but in turn I don’t see any deficient in the positioning of the light in the Ridgid drill set either.
Finally I turned to the radio. Included as a “Free” gift (I am always skeptical about free things of course).
This small jobsite radio features a 4” speaker, retractable antennae and a built in auxiliary plug so you can attach a phone or other portable player like an iPod or other MP3 players. There is an elastic band on the back that can hold your player but it is too small for my cell phone which is oversized but it does fit my ipod classic and holds it in place. The sound of the player is a little tinny as I expected with a speaker this small but it is decent enough to enjoy and is loud enough to fill my small shop with music. I set the player to a comfortable sound level and with a fresh battery I left the player on to see how long it would play and finally turned it off at 2am after running it for over 14 hours so I think it will play on for longer but for this review 14 hours is a good test on it’s longevity for these purposes.
The whole kit comes in a very attractive canvas carry bag that appears well built and should last a good while.
I registered my purchase online on the ridgid site to take advantage of their lifetime warranty offer and it was a smooth process that required I register my information including the kit#, serial numbers from each part and the receipt number from the purchase, Since I bought this directly from home depot I didn’t need to send in the receipt and upc code from the box they simply confirmed the purchase and updated the registration with the lifetime warranty.
Overall I am very pleased with this kit and the performance of the different parts. These drivers now have a prominent place in my shop and I can easily recommend them to you. I do believe every shop needs some of these types of drivers and this is a good set to put into your shop. Yes there are better cordless sets but at this price point I feel the Ridgid set is an excellent investment for the home shop woodworker. I look forward to using them.
Remember: “Everything I ever really needed to know, I learned in shop class”