The company was founded in 1943 out of Japan, producing diecast products for the most part. In 1961 the company began offering a handful of other tools (including printing presses), but it wasn’t until 1968 that Ryobi began to make power tools.
After that everything sort of took off (Japan, anyway).
Responsible for making some of the most innovative new power tools in the Japanese market, it did take a while for things to catch on around the rest of the world. It wasn’t until 1985 that Ryobi broke into the US market, starting up its very own production facility in Shelbyville, Indiana.
Initially, these power tools were offered as a super inexpensive option compared to most everything else on the market, cheap cordless power tools that were never going to cost you an arm and a leg and would (mostly) get the job done.
Unfortunately, though, that kind of approach resulted in quite a few power tools that weren’t anywhere near as powerful, as consistent, or as reliable as professionals were looking for. Ryobi was pretty much relegated to the world of “DIYers” from that moment on – until the late 90s and early 2000s, anyway.
This is when Ryobi started to roll out their now-legendary Ryobi One Plus line of tools, changing absolutely everything.
This is also around when they start to offer lithium-ion options that share the exact same battery (the reason behind the One Plus moniker), helping them to capture a tremendous amount of market share – especially when they begin to partner directly with the Home Depot in the United States.
Today, these cordless power tools can be found on job sites all over the world. They now feature an instantly recognizable neon green color scheme (they used to be dark blue and yellow) and are no longer considered “cheap” options that are going to fail almost immediately after you start using them.
To learn a little bit more about everything that Ryobi tools have to offer, especially when it comes to the One Plus tool lineup, you’ll want to check out the rest of this detailed review.
Let’s get right into it!
Who Are These Tools For?
Right out of the gate, it’s easy to think of these Ryobi cordless power tools to be perfect for entry-level DIYers and homeowners that need cordless power tools but don’t necessarily want to spend the kind of money that really high-end options entail.
That segment of the market is still a huge part of the Ryobi brand, to be sure.
Homeowners and DIYers that need cordless power tools that won’t break your bank account, but cordless power tools that are going to fall apart as soon as they need them, are flocking to the Ryobi One Plus product lineup – and for good reason.
On top of that, though, these Ryobi power tools are especially popular with contractors that need quality cordless power tools without spending an arm and a leg to outfit entire crews or use them on “dirty jobs”.
Nobody wants to hand a brand-new rookie a new set of Makita lithium-ion power tools only to have them beat up and destroyed in record time, it just like nobody wants to dive into a filthy crawlspace or a particularly muddy job with a brand-new set from Milwaukee.
No, you’re going to want to use quality power tools that get the job done but that aren’t going to cost a pile of money to replace if things get a little bit intense and messy.
These Ryobi One Plus power tools are also ideal for anyone (or any contracting business) that wants to keep the same battery technology consistent across all of their tools.
There’s a lot of efficiency in being able to use the exact same batteries in your cordless drill that you use in your cordless circular saw, your cordless reciprocating saw, your job site radio, your work lights, and your routers – as well as all of the other tools that you use on a regular basis.
The whole idea behind the Ryobi One Plus system is that you have the ability to share batteries across the board. This means that every new tool you purchase from Ryobi adds another battery (sometimes two) to your arsenal, helping to keep you charged up and ready to rock and roll no matter what.
This kind of universal battery system is starting to be adopted by other brands throughout the cordless tool world, but no one has gone to the extreme lengths to really integrate this kind of setup the way that Ryobi has.
If you want to guarantee that you can always reach into a box of batteries blindly and pull one out that’s going to work in your drill, your saw, your router, or something else completely, this is the tool “ecosystem” you’ll want to invest in.
What We Like About Ryobi One Plus Tools
The universal nature of the Ryobi One Plus batteries really helps to separate it from the rest of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, there are definitely a couple of other tool companies that are starting to follow suit with what Ryobi has done. But none of them have quite as many tools available as Ryobi does already – and they continue to add new tools to the mix all the time.
In fact, there are nearly 200 different tools that you can use with the same lithium-ion One Plus battery from the folks at Ryobi right now.
We are talking about tools that run the gamut from traditional cordless power tools to audio equipment, benchtop, and stationary tools, yard tools and blowers, chainsaws, cleaning tools, generators, insulators and compressors, lighting solutions, mowing solutions, nails and staples, plumbing tools, pressure washers, trimmers, vacuums, specialty woodworking tools, and so much more.
Seriously. The list is almost overwhelming – and it continues to get larger and larger every time Ryobi comes up with something new!
Another reason to really like everything that Ryobi has to offer is that they have stepped up their quality in a big way.
We talked earlier about how Ryobi tools were always thought of this kind of cheap and kind of flimsy in the early days, but that’s anything but the impression people have of Ryobi tools these days.
Right now, Ryobi One Plus tools are considered some of the most durable and reliable cordless power tools you can spend your money on – especially if you are a professional or contractor and rely on these tools all the time.
Carpenters, plumbers, and fabricators in particular really seem to love everything that the Ryobi system has to offer. Electricians reach for Ryobi One Plus tools all the time, too.
Some of this has to do with the battery technology built right into all Ryobi One Plus lithium-ion options.
These 18 V lithium-ion batteries are very powerful, and while they lack a little bit of the power and “extra juice” that 20 V options offer they are lighter weight and a little slimmer. This means you’ll be able to slide your Ryobi One Plus tools into tighter spots than you would with a larger battery, giving you a little more flexibility on different job sites and projects.
These batteries also have great quick charging technology built right in. You’ll be able to take a 0% battery to 50% in about 45 minutes, maybe 15 minutes longer than it takes batteries from DeWalt – which really isn’t that much longer at all.
On top of all that, the longevity of these batteries compared to most of the other options out there is astounding.
It isn’t at all unreasonable to expect that you’ll still be using the same Ryobi One Plus batteries across all of your tools five years from the date you bought them, all without noticeable degradation, power losses, or charging issues.
Sure, every now and again you’ll get a “dud” that fails faster than you expect. But Ryobi has a world-class customer service and support department that will take care of you quickly.
The warranties on these tools are fantastic and replacing them if they fail is effortless, especially if you have a Home Depot in your local area. Most of the time you just have to bring your Ryobi tool down and ask them for a replacement and they’ll knock it out for you right there, on the spot, with no headache and hassle.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
All in all, there’s really a lot to like when it comes to everything that the Ryobi One Plus platform has to offer.
What We Don’t Like About Ryobi One Plus Tools
On the flip side of things, we can say that the lack of a 20 V battery that works with the 18 V One Plus line is a bit of a disappointment – but not something that we expect Ryobi to ignore for much longer.
People (especially in the construction trade) are frequently demanding more power of their tools and it’s likely that Ryobi is going to recognize this sooner rather than later.
We would anticipate that any 20 V batteries are just a little “longer” than the 18 V lithium-ion options currently available in the One Plus line, making them comparable in all of the currently available tools and everything new in the future.
Some people don’t love the ergonomics on Ryobi tools, either.
We can definitely tell you that the earlier Ryobi One Plus options didn’t review all that well because of how clunky in the hand they felt. But that’s not as much of an issue as it used to be.
There’s definitely been a major leap forward in the overall quality and design of these tools, and now most people find Ryobi tools to be as comfortable (if not more comfortable) than many of the competing options.
- The universal nature of the One Plus battery system is a huge bonus
- Well-made tools that aren’t ever going to break your bank account
- More than 175+ tools available to pick and choose from
- New tools being added to the collection on a regular basis
- Easily available online or through Home Depot
- Great warranty program and customer service
- The lack of 20 V support for the One Plus line is a little disappointing
- Batteries feel cheap and flimsy even if they aren’t
- Battery technology isn’t quite as quick charge capable as some of the competing options
- You’ll need to purchase a bunch of extra chargers to keep all of your batteries juiced as your tool collection grows
As we highlighted a little earlier, there are all kinds of tools available in the One Plus lineup from the folks at Ryobi.
As far as contractor tools are concerned, you are going to be able to get your hands on:
- Cordless drills
- Cordless saws
- Cordless routers
- Cordless job site radios
- Cordless work lighting
- Cordless specialty tools
Landscapers will have plenty of options to pick and choose from, too, including:
- Leaf blowers
- Weed whackers
- Pressure and power washers
- Hedge trimmers
There are also a lot of other tools to pick and choose from, ranging from benchtop and stationary tools to generators and power systems, compressors and metalworking tools, nailers and staplers, vacuums, specialty woodworking tools, and so much more.
The odds are pretty good that if you need a tool for a specific job that you find it somewhere in the Ryobi One Plus product catalog.
The range of different tools that you’ll be able to pick and choose from is unlike anything else on the market today. And with Ryobi frequently adding even more tools into the mix all the time you can be sure that if they don’t have what you are looking for right now they probably will sooner rather than later.
Once again, you’ll also be able to use the exact same lithium-ion batteries across ALL of these tools. Every Ryobi tool comes with at least one battery (sometimes two) and that means you just add more battery “ammunition” to your toolbox every time you get something new.
That’s a huge advantage you simply won’t find anywhere else.
When you get right down to it, your investment in cordless power tools is exactly that – and investment – and should be carefully considered before you jump right in.
You need to know that you are moving forward with a tool brand that you can trust, a brand with a solid reputation, and a brand with all kinds of tools that you’ll actually use later down the line.
Ryobi fits that bill (and then some).
Maybe not quite as “flashy” as something from Milwaukee, DeWalt, the folks at Bosch, or Makita, Ryobi continues to hit homerun after homerun with everything in the One Plus product lineup.
More impressive than that, though, is just how innovative this company continues to be with these different tools. They are always finding new ways to take conventionally powered tools and run them off on 18 V, 20 V, and 40 V batteries that all work in the One Plus environment – changing the way you use tools whenever you have a project to tackle.
While combination kits are hugely successful in the commercial tool world (most people get their hands on a six-piece kit to start their tool collection), the advantage here with Ryobi is that you can pick and choose different tools to add when the need arises.
Grabbing a combination kit is a smart way to start, but then knowing that you can get a chainsaw or a leaf blower that runs off of the same batteries – and that those same batteries are going to work in your combination kit – is awesome.
Mixing in the legendary reputation Ryobi has for customer service just puts this over the edge.
Pretty much every Ryobi One Plus review out there takes great pains to mention just how good their customer service is, and we need to spend the second on that too.
These tools are relatively affordable, but being able to replace them through the Ryobi warranty with nothing but a quick phone call to customer service is a dream.
If you’ve ever had to call the customer service department of other tool manufacturers (won’t name any names) you know how much of a pain in the neck it can be. Sometimes it feels like those companies are intentionally making the warranty process more challenging than it has to be.
That isn’t ever going to be something you feel when working with Ryobi and their One Plus tool collection.
All in all, if you’re going to be spending money on new tools and want to be sure that it’s well invested in “future proof” options that share the same battery technology, Ryobi and their One Plus product lineup is definitely where you’re going to want to focus most of your attention.