Review By Dean Bielanowski  Ryobi Website - http://www.ryobi.com.au


Ryobi EID600VK and EID8102VK
Corded Hammer Drills

 Review

By Dean Bielanowski

Just like every workshop needs a cordless drill, every home should have a corded hammer drill. There is always at least a few drilling tasks to be completed in and around the home, and certainly many in the workshop also. Whether it's drilling pilot holes to hang curtain rails or blinds, drilling holes for fixing stormwater downpipe holding brackets to masonry walls, or just drilling dowel holes, a corded drill is a useful item around the home and shop. And while I'm an advocate of a good cordless drill and the freedom it offers the user, a corded drill is equally handy if your cordless battery dies halfway through a job. Another plus for corded drills is that they are generally a little cheaper than their cordless cousins, so they are more affordable to more people.

Today we will look at a couple of budget-priced corded drills from Ryobi. These drills are some of their standard line options (not Professional Series), so they are aimed at the home handyman and DIY enthusiast, with price tags to match. Let's see how they rate on a price vs performance study.

Ryobi EID600VK Impact Drill
This is the smaller of the two impact drills and has less features, but it also has a lower price tag of just AUD$59.00. It comes shipped in a plastic molded case with a variety of drill bits included (standard twist bits, brad-point bits, and some masonry bits). These are probably better than your average standard included bits you find in some cheaper kits, except perhaps for the brad point bits. I'm not sure why but they don't seem to drill very well at all. They might not be as sharp as the twist bits included, or their manufacturing may not have been as precise as it should have been? Don't expect to get the drill bits back into their case holdings easily either. They are wedged in there quite tight from the factory! Some go back in without too much trouble but others require a fair bit of effort. The black and white user manual is also found in the case. It will give you all the basics you need to use your drill safely and correctly.

Power-wise, the EID600VK sports a 600W motor onboard. Not the biggest you will find in an impact drill, on the smaller side in fact, but this tool is not designed for high power, heavy duty users. It may lack the power to drill dense materials when using a wide diameter bit, but for your everyday small-scale drilling tasks, it is more than adequate. The drill has a no load speed range of 0 - 2,700 revolutions per minute. Tool weight is 2.2kg, which is not too bad for a corded hammer drill. It's light enough for extended use without experiencing too much user fatigue.

The trigger is a familiar design. Your standard push-button style trigger with a speed adjustment wheel onboard and the forward/reverse direction lever located just above it. This trigger design is found on many corded impact drills. The speed adjustment wheel on this model however provides a solid, more definite adjustment, i.e. when you turn the wheel, it "clicks" into the next setting better than some other cheap corded drill speed adjustment wheels, which feel like they "slip" between settings as you rotate the wheel. The forward/reverse lever is pretty self explanatory. Set it to the left, and the drill chuck rotates clockwise for drilling, set it right and it rotates anti-clockwise. There is no middle setting however that would lock the trigger like you find on most cordless drills. Lateral to the trigger is the trigger lock button. When you depress the trigger and power up the drill, you can push this button and lock the trigger in the ON position, which is handy for extended drilling tasks, saving you having to constantly squeeze the trigger as you drill. The trigger itself does allow some degree of variable speed control, but you should use the speed adjustment wheel on the trigger for more precise control. Lower speeds offer more torque, while higher speeds offer less torque. Hence, lower speeds are better for starting pilot holes or screwing in fasteners, while higher speeds are best suited for drilling tasks.

Note that certain materials, like metals and plastics do require lower speeds, as do larger diameter drill bits. Always set your speed correctly depending on type and size of drill bit used and the material you are working with. If you are planning to do a lot of screw driving with a drill however, we would recommend a specific driving tool. Cordless drivers have adjustable clutches to prevent over-driving, and the chuck stops rotating as soon as you release the trigger. With many corded drills, once you release the trigger, the chuck continues to rotate until it comes to a stop, providing the potential to over-drive fasteners, making them less effective in some cases, or damaging your material. It may be possible to avoid overdriving with use of the depth gauge rod mounted to the front handle, although this is primarily used for helping determine drilling depth. The depth gauge rod can be moved forward and back and is locked in place by twisting the front handle, and loosened via the same mechanism also. It is most useful when drilling holes to the exact depth for all types of masonry anchors, or for pilot hole drilling for driving fasteners into wood.

The front auxiliary handle provides the grip for your second hand to hold and stabilize the drill in use. You can loosen it and rotate it around to the most comfortable position for the drilling task at hand.

Rubber overmolds cover the main handle and extend up over the top-rear section of the drill. They provide additional user comfort and a more slip-resistant surface, improving safety. The top of the drill is ergonomically shaped to allow you to grip the body between your thumb and index finger (see photo), and the rubber overmolds extend forward from there. It's a comfortable grip grasping the drill up top once you have the trigger locked for extended drilling. The drill body is mostly hard plastic construction. It is durable, but also a reason for the lower tool price.

A 13mm keyless chuck sits upfront which is large enough to hold all your standard sized drill bits. If you have a drill bit that needs a larger chuck, then you are going to need a larger, more powerful drill too! Tightening and loosening the chuck requires two hands. One pressing the yellow spindle lock button on the side of the drill aft of the chuck, and the other to spin the chuck either way to loosen or tighten it. I'm not a great fan of spindle locks. I prefer the one piece, one handed ratcheting style chucks as featured on some of the Ryobi Professional Series and One+ Series drills, but for this price tag, you cannot expect all the luxuries. The chuck jaws are solid and hold drill bits very well when properly tightened, no slipping bits so far anyway.

On top of the drill is the hammer drilling function switch. It is a two position switch. Either leave it at the default setting for standard drilling tasks into wood, metal or composites or switch it over to the hammer function, marked by a small hammer symbol, to engage hammer drilling which provides a combination of normal drilling rotation with chuck "rattles". I call them rattles because hammer drilling seems to have a rattling sound to it. But these high speed blows delivered by the drill in this mode make masonry drilling much quicker and simpler. The EID600VK can deliver up to 43,200 blows per minute. Also on top is a bubble level to help align the drill for horizontal drilling, or to deliberately drill at an angle if needed.

The rated drilling capacities for materials are listed as follows:

  • Steel: 8mm

  • Masonry: 10mm

  • Wood: 20mm

We tested the drill on many different materials. Our results were pretty much what was expected. If you push the drill beyond what it is capable of, it will not perform satisfactorily. Use it in its comfort zone, for light duty drilling tasks, and it performs very well indeed. With all drills, using quality drill bits greatly improves performance. I own several other cheap corded drills (the ones I usually loan out to the relatives) and I have to say that Ryobi performance-wise is similar. The Ryobi does seem to be slightly better built than my other budget drills, with emphasis on the more accurate speed adjustment dial, and the overall ergonomics and balance of the drill in the hand. There is also less chuck runout on this model. For the asking price of AUD$59, it would make a perfectly good drill for your light duty home or woodworking tasks. I have a dedicated corded drill in my shop for use with the Kreg K3 Master pocket hole system to drill pocket holes for joinery. The EID600VK suited that task fine when we tested it with this application too. If you plan to do more metal or masonry drilling, you might want to consider the larger, more powerful EID8102VK model reviewed below.

My overall opinion is that this model offers good value for money. It's not a heavy duty Makita, and its not a rotary hammer, but it will do the job for all your light duty drilling tasks' around the home and in the shop.

Ryobi EID8102VK Impact Drill
The EID8102VK is a heavier duty impact drill. I guess you could consider it the bigger brother to the EID600VK as it it is larger, more powerful, and has additional features, but still retains many of the same features as the smaller model. Some features I will not go into detail about because they are the same as those on the EID600VK which I have already covered above. This model also ships in a molded carry case with a similar assortment of drill bits included.

Let's start with the power aspect. This larger drill offers a 810 watt power supply. It offers enough power for anything up to medium duty drilling operations. Drilling capacities are, as a result of the larger motor, also more generous. The listed capacities for the EID8102VK are as follows;

  • Steel: 10mm

  • Masonry: 13mm

  • Wood: 25mm

The increase in drilling capacity is close to being linear in respect to the increase in motor size. The larger motor offers a little more torque also at lower speeds, which is always handy to have, but you must consider overall drill size and weight. This drill weighs in at 2.8kg, which is 0.6kg heavier than the smaller model but still a respectable weight for a hammer drill.

The drill features the same 13mm keyless chuck and trigger design (with trigger lock) as the smaller model, as well as the same bubble level, front handle with depth gauge rod, ergonomic design at the rear of the tool, and the same rubber overmolds for comfort. In fact, the biggest noticeable difference is found between the motor and the chuck. A longer metal casing section holds a two-position speed setting to control the drill's 2-speed gearbox. This setting offers a wider range of drill speeds not available on the EID600VK. At speed setting 1 the drill is capable of 0 - 1,100 RPM. At speed setting 2 .the drill offers a range from 0 - 2,800 RPM and these speeds are additionally adjustable via the wheel on the trigger. So why does it need 2 speed settings if the EID600VK offers a similar total speed range of 0 - 2,700RPM? Well that's a fair question. In theory you could use the smaller drill to get the same speed needed for the task by pushing the trigger a certain distance in. I guess the advantage of having a 2-speed drill is that it is easier to guesstimate a chosen speed setting if you know the exact limits of each speed settings range. The same rules apply for torque with this model. At the lower speed setting 1, more torque is available for drilling with wider diameter drill bits, or for fastener driving. At higher speeds, the drill is more suitable for drilling with smaller bits, or for wood drilling, but it offers less torque.

On top of the unit is a selector switch for normal drilling mode and impact/hammer mode. The only difference between the switch on this model and the one above is that on this drill, it is designed as a flip lever rather than a slide switch. Each switch setting is symbolized appropriately. In impact mode the EID8102VK can deliver up to 44,800 blows per minute on the high speed setting, on low speed setting the maximum impact count is around 17,600 impacts per minute.

So, apart from the more powerful motor and the speed selector switch, both drills are similar in features, but slightly different in specification. Sound-wise, both drills would be safe to use without ear protection at arm's length. While no specific data is available in the manual on decibel rating of the tool, I doubt it exceeds the 85 decibel limit considered safe for the human ear without ear protection. I am fairly familiar with how loud 85 decibels sounds, and the drills don't seem to be close to that limit. Interestingly, the larger EID8102VK model with the more powerful motor does not seem to be considerably louder than its smaller brother.

In use the EID8102VK performs quite well. There is minimal chuck runout, so bits run true when secured properly in the chuck. There is enough power for most DIY and medium duty trade drilling tasks, so unless your engaging in some serious drilling, this drill should do the job ok. Sharp drill bits are the key with power drills, after all, it is the drill bit that does a lot of the work.
The drill is comfortable to use, not a lot more to say.

I did mention above that corded drills do not make ideal fastener driving tools, but this does not mean you cannot use them to drive screws, bolts or other fasteners. You can of course use it to drive screws, it just takes a little more care, and when using large diameter fasteners, like hex head bolts for example, you may run out of the torque needed for fine driving depth control that a dedicated high torque driving power tool can offer. Despite this, for all your general woodworking or fastener driving tasks, the drill handles the task well, just be careful not to use too fast a speed and overdrive the fastener.

For the retail price of AUD$89, the EID8102VK delivers good performance. Often with corded drills, you get what you pay for, but if you do not specifically need a high power drill for your tasks at hand, you can get away with a cheaper corded drill if you are on a budget. Is the EID8102 worth the extra $30 over the smaller model? Well, if you don't mind the extra weight, then I say go for the larger model, simply because you are always best to have too much power than not enough, especially when you can adjust the power as needed down to levels provided by the smaller drill anyway. A corded drill is a handy item to have in the workshop or around the home. If you were to only require a corded drill for woodworking in the shop, the smaller EID600VK model might suit better. It's more compact and a little easier to manuever around the shop and hold at angles for various drilling needs. I use the smaller EID600VK for my dowel and pocket hole drilling tasks in the shop. It works just fine for these, but when it comes to masonry or larger diameter drill bits, the more powerful EID800VK certainly comes in handy also.

If your budget is limited, so are your choices. Sure, we would all love the latest Bosch, Makita or Panasonic drill available, but if you only have "X" amount of dollars to spend, then you have to find the best drill priced within your budget and go for that. I'm not saying these Ryobi models are the best available in their price range (I haven't tested/used every corded drill out there!) but they are worth adding to your list of potential candidates.

The Ryobi Australia website can be found at www.ryobi.com.au
In the USA, the Ryobi website is at www.ryobitools.com

Ryobi Drill Photos
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The EID600VK in plastic molded case with drill bits.


The EID600VK Impact Drill.


13mm chuck with yellow spindle lock button visible.


The sliding switch for normal and impact drilling modes, plus the bubble level on top of the drill.


The depth rod with etched markings and front auxiliary handle.


Drill trigger with black adjustable speed wheel, yellow trigger lock button and black forward/reverse lever.


The EID8102VK ready to go.


A shot of the included drill bits.


The Ryobi EID8102VK.


The chuck exhibits surprisingly little runout.


The speed selector switch provides more precise speed control.


The hammer drilling flip switch on top of the EID8102VK.


The black and white manual provides all the basics for safe and proper operation.


The EID8102VK in use drilling anchor holes for downpipe brackets.


Grasping the drill by the housing. The ergonomic design and rubber overmolds provide a comfortable grip.


Drilling wood, metal or masonry, the Ryobi corded impact drills offer good value for money in the budget tool price range.

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