Ryobi tools have been on the market for many years, and
they offer the general home DIY enthusiast, woodworker,
metalworker or crafter a range of tools at very competitive
prices. From time to time, Ryobi have also released specialist
Professional tools designed to meet the demands of everyday use.
Their latest range of power tools is not a lot different from
others in their range, except for an improvement in safety
features, namely the inclusion of new "Live Tool" indicators
which are designed to further help prevent accident or injury
from accidental startup or other electrical hazards.
The Live Tool Indicator
I'm not going to
go into detail about the indicator, simply because their is not
a lot of detail to go into. Each of the tools reviewed below
features a "Live Tool" Indicator. This is simply a blue LED
light that illuminates when the tool is connected to a live
electrical circuit. It is a visual indicator to alert the user
that the tool is plugged in and power is available to begin
work. While it won't totally prevent accidents from happening,
it is a very welcome addition to the tools as it provides
another level of safety via the visual LED alert light so users
know whether the tool is "live" or not. This is also handy when
changing out cutting bits with the tools, such as grinding
discs, router bits or drill bits. The last thing you want is to
accidentally hit the trigger while you have your hands clenched
onto a grinding disc fitting it to the tool, as an example. It
may sound silly, but it DOES happen! The same goes with changing
out router bits and drill bits (although drill bits are the
least damaging of the three). Regardless, being able to quickly
identify whether the tool is plugged into a live circuit is
helpful in preventing accidents and injury, and any safety
feature added to a tool is a welcome addition in my opinion. In
some outdoor situations involving bright sunlight, it can at
times be difficult to see the "LiveTool" light without having to
shield the light with your hands to provide a shadow. In shady
areas outdoors or under
artificial light however, like in a workshop or indoors, the LiveTool indicator is much easier to see.
So with that part taken care of, let's take a look at all
the new tools in the range featuring the new "Live Tool"
Ryobi EID550RE and EID750REN Impact Drills
I will review these two models together as, for the most part, the
operational features and design are very similar. Some of the
specifications are different, and I will make note of these.
Firstly, the EID550RE is not as powerful as the EID750REN
drill. The EID550RE features a 550W input. You probably do not
want to go any lower than this in terms of power. 550 watts
should be enough power for general drilling operations around
the home, and is suited to the home handyman, or handywoman of
course. For woodworking, it provides enough power for most
boring needs. In use I found it handled drilling in wood with
virtually no problems. Having sharp drill bits makes it slice
through wood easily. When attempting to drill metal, again, it
handled the task reasonably well with sharp, quality metal
drilling bits, but with blunter bits you could hear the motor
struggling at times. This is not unexpected as drilling metal
requires sharp bits and using blunt bits on any drill would put
some strain on the motor. And of course, blunt bits and metal
just don't really work together. In masonry drilling, the drill
handled well for smaller diameter holes, but was put under a bit
of strain with wider holes. Ultimately, the drill did the job
without any noticeable damage, and to be fair, it performed the
tasks well using bits up to the sizes specified in the manual,
so it did perform as per specs. The EID750REN drill features a
more powerful 750 watt input and that extra 200 watts does make
a difference. It is handy to have that little extra in the power
department to make drilling quicker and easier with a little
less strain on the motor. I used both drills for a variety of
home and project tasks, including a large re-roofing project of
a patio, fixing down a small shed, and drilling numerous pilot
holes for a number of woodworking projects.
Left: The EID550RE kit.
Middle: Variable speed dial, trigger and forward/reverse
Right: EID550RE ready to go!
Left: The "LiveTool" indicator on the EID750REN
Middle: Both drills have a similar shape and design.
Right: Onboard bit storage built into the handle... nice!
In terms of features, these drills conform to your standard
corded drill design. You have a trigger on the handle with an
adjustable speed wheel
(0 - 2,700 rpm on the EID550RE and 0 - 2,800 rpm on the
to adjust rotational speed for the specified task - drilling wood
usually requires faster speeds, metal lower speeds. There is
also a trigger lock button that allows you to lock the trigger
on for extended drilling tasks (usually masonry or metal
drilling). Each drill
has a forward/reverse rotation switch conveniently located just
above the trigger for ease of operation. Up top, there is the
sliding switch to change between standard drilling and impact
drilling mode (for masonry). Both drills can around deliver
around 44,000 blows per minute max. Both models also feature a
360 degree rotate-able auxiliary handle with removable depth of
drive adjustment rod. Interestingly, on the 750 model, the
auxiliary handle also doubles as a drill bit storage
compartment. Unscrewing the bottom cap of the handle reveals a
small drill bit holder where 5 or so drill bits can be
conveniently stored. This is very handy when using the drill to
mount common objects around the home requiring smaller drill
bits. Both drills feature comfortable rubber overmolds on the
handle and rear of the drills.
The drill chucks are also slightly different between
the two models. The 550 uses what I call a two-piece chuck. I.e.
you hold the inner "ring" of the chuck firm while you move the
outer part of the chuck to loosen or tighten the chuck jaws
around the drill bit. The 750 model has a spindle lock button on
the underside of the drill body to lock the spindle from
rotating while you loosen or tighten the chuck. It's personal
preference really as to whether you like one or the other. I
prefer the spindle lock version, but that's just me. The only
other noticeable difference is that the 750 model features a
bubble level at the rear of the motor housing. This comes in
handy when you want or need to drill a level hole, or perhaps to
drill an angled hole too. The 550 lacks this feature.
Both tools ship in plastic molded cases, come with printed
and some starter bits to get you going. The 550 model provides 5
twist drill bits while the 750 model is supplied with 3 twist
drill bits, 5 masonry bits and 2 double-ended screwdriving bits.
The supplied bits are in fact quite sharp, but they did seem to
dull a bit faster than good quality high speed steel bits.
Still, they are ok to get you going.
As mentioned, we tested both drills in a variety of
situations and gave
each a fairly good workout. I'd recommend to grab the larger 750
watt version of the two if you had to make a choice between
them. The extra power comes in handy with masonry and metal
drilling. If you only needed a drill for woodworking, the
smaller 550w model would probably be ok, plus it's a little
lighter and a little smaller in physical size (good for overhead
work). Note that these drills are primarily designed for home
use. They probably won't outlast a good industrial duty drill,
but their price tags are far less also - just AUD$49 for the 500
watt model and AUD$69 for the 750 watt model. I've had several Ryobi
corded drills before and had good luck with them. I'd expect the
same good service from these models too. As long as you look
after them and don't work them beyond their capacity, they
should work for you. They are backed up by a 2-year warranty
too, so you have that extra piece of mind, plus a 30-day
satisfaction guarantee if the drill doesn't live up to your
expectations. In a nutshell, these
drills seem fine for general purpose use around the home and in
the woodworking shop and are reasonably good, basic corded
drills, with the new Live Tool Indicator feature to boot.
Ryobi "LiveTool" Grinders
Ryobi offer several (six to date) grinders in the LiveTool
range encompassing various disc sizes and motor ratings. We
tested four from the range, the models tested as follows:
- EAG95100 - 100mm 900watt Angle Grinder
- EAG75115C - 115mm 750watt Angle Grinder
- EAG8012C - 125mm 800watt Angle Grinder
- EAG1518GSP - 180mm 1500watt Angle Grinder/Sander/Polisher
The two other models not tested include a 125mm 850watt
Grinder/Sander kit and a larger 230mm 2200watt angle grinder.
The range offers a tool to suit most regular grinding tasks, and
user's budgets. Each tool features the "LiveTool" indicator of
course, as well as a very useful tool-free adjustable blade/disc
Left: The EAG95100 Grinder.
Middle: Disc change tool has a neat housing right inside the
Right: Tool-less guard clamp allows rapid moving of guard to
Adjustable Blade Guard
Most angle grinders are generally the same in terms of
design and function. Many grinders require a tool of some type
to be able to adjust the guard that protects the user from
sparks and debris. This new range of grinders from Ryobi
incorporate a handy tool-less guard movement system. By adding a
clamp (like a cam-clamp) to the collar of the guard that fits
around the shaft body of the grinder, the user can quickly
release the clamp, move the guard to the required position for
best protection and the re-apply the clamp to lock the guard in
place in its new position. In use this works very well, and
surely beats having to pull out a screwdriver to loosen a guard
screw all the time. One downside to the clamp system I noticed
during use was that it can sometimes get in the way of making a
full depth cut. It protrudes a little from the end of the
grinder and in situations where you might need to make a full
depth cut (say when cutting thick metal or tube or when cutting
masonry) you lose a little bit of depth capacity because of the
clamp. You can work around it however and use the side where the
clamp isn't obstructing, or use the grinder in a position where
it will not be a problem. I really only found it an issue when I
was trying to make full depth cuts into masonry with a diamond
blade fitted. It didn't really present a problem in any other
tasks personally. I think it's a small sacrifice to make on
those rare occasions to save the time you save by being able to
move the guard easily most times you use the tool.
Another neat feature of these grinders is the inbuilt tool
storage. The handles on these models will hold the blade
changing tool so it's difficult to lose or leave behind. It's
always right there ready to go when you need it. It simply
slides in and out of the body of the handle. As long as you
remember to put it straight back in the handle after using it,
it's almost impossible to misplace. It's a simple and convenient
way of storing the blade changing tool. Thumbs up here.
Left: Each grinder comes in its own plastic molded case with
a grinding wheel to get you started.
EAG8012C 125mm model with standard fare power button. Note the
LiveTool indicator (not illuminated).
Other common features to all grinders
As you would expect, all of the grinders feature multiple
handle position holes. The 100mm and 125mm grinders mentioned
above allow you to screw the handle either to the left or the
right of the forward metal casing. The 115mm and 180mm grinders
have a third handle position option on top of the front casing
as well, adding more flexibility and comfort options to the
Each grinder features a spindle lock button that is pressed
to lock the spindle to allow blade/disc changes to be made
safely and easily. Pretty much standard fare on angle grinder
designs. Nothing special here.
Each grinder also comes with its own "Ryobi" branded
grinding disc of a size to suit each particular unit. Finding
replacement discs shouldn't pose to much of a problem as each
tool uses pretty standard sized bores for the discs or diamond
blades you can mount onto it. I have outlined the specs for each
tool in the table below.
All grinders come supplied with a molded plastic carry case,
and black and white printed user manuals.
||M10 x 1.5
||M14 x 2
||M14 x 2
||M14 x 2
||1500 - 6500
You can easily spot the differences in specifications from
the table listed above, but there are other design features
between the models that the table doesn't outline. Firstly, the
100mm and 125mm grinders are similarly designed with regards to
the body shape and power switch. They feature a traditional
cylindrical grinder body with a basic push slide switch to turn
them on, and a rear release catch (at the back end of the
switch) which is pushed to release the switch and turn the
grinder off. On the other hand, the 115mm and 180mm grinders
feature a slimmer "handle style" grip at the back end of the
grinder. I find this type of design much more ergonomic and
easier to use, plus they feature Ryobi's GripZone
rubber overmolds for better grip and control.
Left: The EAG75115C 115mm Angle Grinder.
Right: This model features a useful rotating back handle to
ensure comfort at any grinding angle.
What is perhaps most important on these two grinders is that
the handle portion of the grinders body can actually be rotated
left or right 90 degrees in comparison to the forward body
casing. This means you can twist the handle grip (and the power
switch) around to a more comfortable user position depending on
the angle the grinder is being used. This allows a greater deal
of comfort and less user fatigue. This is not a new feature to
grinders, others in the past have offered this handy feature,
but it is good to see these two particular grinders are loaded
up with it. A release button is pushed to allow you to rotate
the handle body either way, or back to "center again" and the
positions positively click into place. There are power triggers
on these two grinders, coupled with a power-on lock button, as
opposed to the standard slide switches on the previous two
models mentioned above. Which you prefer is personal preference
The largest, most powerful, and heaviest of the grinders
tested was the EAG1518GSP. It deserves a separate mention as it
not only offers your standard grinding/cutting options, but also
comes with a woolen bonnet for polishing
applications in the kit. Because of the numerous uses this tool
offers, it also comes with a feature none of the other three
tools offer - variable speed. The variable speed control dial is
located on the top of the handle. Six speed settings are offered, delivering from
1500 - 6500 RPM rotational speed. For polishing applications,
speeds 1 to 3 are used. For sanding, speeds 3 to 5 are most
suitable, and for grinding or cutting, speed 6 is the ideal
setting. This is a very useful tool and has enough power to
handle even more heavy duty grinding tasks. Because of the larger
disc size, it allows much faster cutting of metal materials too.
The downside is that it is much larger physically than a 100mm
grinder, and about 50% heavier too.
EAG1518GSP 180mm model.
Middle: Note the extra handle position on top of the main body.
Right: Adjustable speeds for use as a polisher, sander, or
Left: The 180mm grinder also features the rotating handle.
Right: A grinding disc and polishing pad/bonnet are included as
In terms of performance, which grinder is best suited to the
task depends on the task itself. Obviously, for heavy duty metal
grinding of thicker materials, the 180mm grinder is best suited.
For small scale cutting/grinding work, or where tight space is
encountered or for overhead work, the smaller 100mm or 115mm
grinders may be more suitable. In terms of power, each
offers more than enough for your average grinding needs. I have
an el-cheapo "no-name" 500w grinder I have owned for about two
years now and even though you can bog it down with deliberate
pressure, such pressure on a workpiece is not even needed for
efficient cutting and grinding. You let the blade or disc do the
work without forcing the tool into the cut. While 500w is
manageable for most tasks, it's always good to have that little
extra under the bonnet. 800w or 900w is certainly adequate for
your average needs. Naturally, if you are using a grinder every
day in heavy trade conditions, you might want something larger
or more powerful. In terms of durability, I cannot offer comment
at this stage, given that I have only used the tools for about
10 weeks. Hopefully in 12 months time I will re-visit and update
this review with further comments on this aspect. However, I can
say that there have been no problems or faults so far within the
test period to mention. In fact, I seem to have very few problem
with many power tools I use and own. The bottom line is to keep
them properly maintained and to use them within their limits
specification wise to ensure a good working life. Sure, you get
the odd lemon here or there, but thankfully I have been able to
avoid this in most instances with power tools in the past. Treat
them well, and they will treat you well!
Overall, I'm quite happy with the design and performance of
these grinders. They certainly function to a level that is
reasonable with regard to their specifications. While their
design and feature elements have been seen before in other
grinders, the inclusion of some of them in this range is
commendable given the price range and target market for these
items. I used the tools to grind metal, cut metal and cut
masonry and in each application there was a successful result.
The grinder is a relatively simple tool to use in principle, and
not overly complicated, but it's definitely a handy one to have
around the home or workshop. Naturally, the big 180mm grinder
was my favorite, mostly because it has the largest range of
features and the ability to perform other tasks
(sanding/polishing) right out of the box with no need to buy any
Ryobi "LiveTool" Jigsaws
As of time of writing, there are a total of 3 jigsaws in the
Ryobi range featuring the "LiveTool" indicator. All three
jigsaws feature a very similar D-handle type design, but they
each have their own slight differences.
- EJS500LL 500watt
- EJS500QK 500watt
- EJS700QK 650watt
Stroke Per Min
0 - 2,600
0 - 2,600
600 - 2,600
Wood (cut capacity)
Requires Hex Tool
To begin with, the EJS500LL is the most basic of the three
tested. It features a 500 watt motor and is the only one of the
three not to come supplied with its own molded carry case. It
comes in a box with a standard saw fence, manual and wood
cutting blade. As with most cutting accessory inclusions, the
blade is of average quality. Sharp yes, but not premium quality
you can buy off the shelf at the local hardware store. It is
adequate to get you going making wood cuts however. The jigsaw
accepts Bosch-style shank blades. Pretty common and easy to find
replacements. If you are in Australia, or can buy P&N
brand jigsaw blades locally, I suggest you grab some. They are
excellent quality blades and will fit all three jigsaws reviewed
here. Blade changes on this model jigsaw requires a hex wrench,
and one is included in the kit bag along with the blade and
Left: The EJS500LL model. The lowest-priced saw in the range.
Middle: Standard power controls. Note the illuminated "LiveTool"
indicator on the handle.
Right: A tool is required for blade changes on this model.
The EJS500LL provides a pendulum cutting action with three
stage settings. Depending on the type of material and how
aggressive you wish to cut will depend on which setting you
choose. There are many variables to consider which I wont go
into, but test cutting on a scrap piece of material first will
help choose the best setting for the material and blade. The
pendulum action setting switch is located on the lateral edge of
the tool. Down below is a fairly standard metal base, which can
pivot left or right to make bevel cuts with pre-notched settings
at 15, 30 and 45 degrees either way. There is also a handy
anti-splintering notch cut into the base to help prevent chipout
common with jigsaw cuts. In use it works ok, but controlling
chipout when using a jigsaw is tough at the best of times
without using a zero-clearance sub-base, or something to similar
effect. You will also notice the dust-extraction attachment in
the photos. This locks into place between the saw base and the
main tool housing and the outlet actually extends right under
close to the blade, however, it tapers down to quite a small
opening. At the connection end, the attachment measures 1.5
inches (outside diameter). I hooked my vac up to this port and it managed to
remove most of the finer material expelled during a cut. My
opinion is that the opening near the blade is just a little too
small to be really effective. There does seem to be clearance
there to have made it a little wider for more efficient
extraction. On the flip-side, reading the manual gives the
impression that this accessory might be used to blow air toward
the blade (i.e. with your vacuum in reverse cycle mode) to blow
chips and debris away from the cutting blade allowing a better
line of sight? So, I tried it, and it works very well. However,
I would only recommend this when being used outdoors as the
blowing action sends lots of dust airborne and, in a closed area,
that can present an unnecessary exposure issue. Regardless, this design
seems much better in principle than other dust extraction
methods employed on other jigsaws where the dust is supposed to
route through the jigsaw body and out the back, but hardly any
dust ever seems to take that path!
Up top you have
"GripZone" rubber overmold grips for comfort
and control, plus a standard trigger-type switch with a lock-on
button for continuous power. On the trigger itself is a speed
control dial to allow you to adjust speed depending on material
being cut. For softer material or softwoods, a faster setting is
usually preferred, whereas harder material or metal might
require a slower speed. For all intensive purposes, this model
is an entry-level jigsaw, designed for the odd jigsawing tasks
you may have around the home or in the workshop, and it is
priced accordingly at just AUD$49.
The 500QK model is pretty much exactly the same as the 500LL
model bar one difference. The 500QK offers a tool-less blade
change mechanism. The hex key screw on the 500LL model is
replaced with a tool-less lever mechanism, which when lifted up,
allows the user to insert or remove a blade. When inserting a
blade the blade is held in place after the Quick Release Lever
is lowered (it springs back down). Both the 500LL and 500QK
models are otherwise identical in shape, design and
specification as far as I can tell. The 500QK model is priced at
AUD$69. So the tool-less blade change function will cost you an
extra $20 for the privilege. Is it worth that much? Well, if you
plan to use this tool a fair bit, then I would say yes. It's so
much quicker to change a blade with this mechanism rather than
undoing and re-tightening a hex screw with each blade change.
The 500QK model is, in my opinion, fairly priced as an entry
level jigsaw with a handy tool-less blade change feature.
Left: The EJS500QK. Basically identical to the 500LL except
for the tool-less blade change.
Right: Look mum, no tools needed!
Spend a further $20 and for the total sum of AUD$89, the
EJS700QK jigsaw can be yours. Unlike the previous two models
reviewed, this model offers several different features, and
better specifications. To start with, it offers a more powerful
650W motor. This is enough grunt for woodworking tasks, and mild
steel cutting tasks as well (up to 8mm thickness in
steel/metal). The extra power will come in handy in the harder
woods or if you plan on cutting thicker materials of 2 inches or
more, otherwise 500W seems to complete the task well enough with
good quality blades. However. it is always handy to have that
little extra if and when you need it! A larger 20mm
stroke length, as opposed to 16mm on the other two models
improves the spec list. Another interesting feature on this
model that is not often found on other jigsaws are the twin LED
worklights installed at the front of the machine just above the
blade cutting area. In shady areas or dim working conditions,
these LEDs cast a handy light beam onto the cutting area to
provide better visibility during the cut. The EJS700QK features
the same tool-less blade change mechanism as found on the
EJS500QK. The same standard metal fence is included.
Left: The EJS700QK offers the best value for money.
Middle: Tool-less blade change, two LED lights and 4 pendulum
settings to boot!
Right: Main controls with variable speed dial moved to the
Also down below, you will notice a bevel lock lever. This is
unique to this Ryobi model, and is not a common feature found on
many lower priced jigsaws. This bevel lock lever offers a
tool-less base tilt function. Simply release the lever and you
can tilt the base through 45 degrees both ways, and lock it at
any position within that range simply by engaging the level lock
(pushing it) back into its lock position. Very nifty and
extremely quick and easy to use. A similar dust extraction port
is provided and seats itself under the saw body close to the
cutting blade. The dust connector on the 700QK has a slightly
larger opening near the blade than the previous two models,
plus, it has the added feature of an onboard blade storage area
built into the bottom of the dust connector itself. This area
can store about 3 blades, 4 if you squeeze them in and it has a
flip close door to keep them held securely - a handy addition,
as long as you don't forget where you hid those blades away!
Up top the controls are slightly different on this model.
The variable speed control has been moved off the trigger and
onto the lateral edge of the tool. It offers a speed range of
600 - 2,600 RPM via the dial. The top handle and around the
speed dial is covered with the "GripZone" rubber overmolds for
added user comfort and slip protection. The 700QK also offers an
extra pendulum action setting. There are settings 0, 1, 2 and 3,
as opposed to just 0, 1, and 2 on the lower-priced models.
Left: The EJS700QK with the bevel lock lever shown.
Middle: Handy storage for up to four blades onboard the 700QK.
Right: A nice collection of wood and metal cutting blades to get
you going with the 700QK.
In use I found the 700QK to be as good performance-wise as
the previous models mentioned. Of course, the performance of all
three models may not rate up against a high-end Makita or
Festool jigsaw, but the end result was just about the same when
it comes to the cut. There was a little vibration in all three
models, as with most jigsaws, but nothing I could label as
excessive. Performance on the whole was very acceptable given
the price tag of each jigsaw. Of the three, the 700QK was the
most appealing to me. Not because it has the most features, but
simply because at just AUD$89, it offers many useful features
you simply don't find on some of the competitors offerings for
the same cash investment. And if the saw itself was not a good
deal, Ryobi throw in a selection of 15 blades to get you
started! These are of above average quality in regard to default
blade inclusions with tools, but as mentioned above, they won't
match or outperform a high-end blade from P&N or Bosch, or
similar. But they are very well suited as a beginner set and
will get you through many cuts before you need to go out buying
replacements. As a complete package, the 700QK with all its
features, and of course the LiveTool indicator too, in my
opinion, offers excellent value for money. It is well worth the
extra dollars over the base models, plus it just looks better
too (if that counts for you). If you don't own a jigsaw
yet, this would be the one to kick-start your collection.
Ryobi "LiveTool" Router
The only router so far to emerge with the "LiveTool"
functionality from Ryobi is the ERT1250VN model. The router
packs a 1250W motor onboard, which is powerful to handle all
handheld routing tasks and most table-mounted ones too, except
for say, full depth raised panel cutting. Power controls are
found on the right handle (if viewed from the "front" of the
tool) and comprise a standard push switch on the front of the
handle, with a switch lock on top of the same handle. The switch
lock allows power to be constantly applied once switched on
without the need to hold the trigger in continuously. The router
offers electronic variable speed from 14,000 RPM up to 31,500 RPM via the
speed control dial on the front of the tool. Simply dial in the
speed you need depending on depth of cut and the diameter of the
router bit you are using. I.e. larger diameter router bits
require a slower speed.
Left: The ERT1250VN Router.
Middle: Electronic Variable Speed dial and depth adjustment
Right: Main controls and depth locking lever.
You can load both 12.7mm (1/2") or 6.35mm (1/4") router bits
into this router. To use the smaller 6.35mm bits, you will need
to use the supplied collet adaptor/reducer provided with the package.
Being able to use both sized shank router bits offers
flexibility and maximum use of your router bit collection in a
single tool (if you happen to have a collection of both 6.35mm
and 12.7mm bits already). A large yellow spindle lock button will hold
the spindle steady while you loosen the collet to remove a bit,
or to tighten it after installing a router bit. It seems a
little easier to use than some spindle lock buttons which you
need to depress below the surrounding surface of the body.
The ERT1250VN has a plunge depth capacity of 55mm, which is
about average for many routers, give or take 10%. Plunge action
is relatively smooth. Not the best I have ever come across, but
certainly not the worst either. It gets smoother the more you
use the tool and learn how to handle and plunge it for best
effect. The columns are protected by flexible rubber,
compressible/expandable covers designed to prevent dirt and
debris getting onto the posts and affecting plunge travel later
on. They seem to work fine so far. Regular maintenance of your
tools is the key to keeping them all in good working order of
course. A standard fare plunge lock lever is located near the
power controls in easy reach of the user, unless you have very
small hands. In addition to the standard plunge function and
locking lever, the model is also capable of fine height
adjustment. By using the fine height adjustment rod and
inserting it into the router via the quick release button and
locking anchor (an all tool-less process) you can turn the knob on
the fine adjustment rod to raise or lower router depth in
smaller, more controlled amounts. Nothing revolutionary about
this feature, many routers offer this feature in a similarly
implemented way, but few routers under $100 offer it, and the
ERT1250VN retailing for AUD$99 is one such router. Again, the
value for money options seems to be flowing nicely in the "LiveTool"
range of tools. In addition to the range of depth adjustment
options, the router has a stock standard depth stop bar/
multi-depth turret and scale system. This allows you, in free
plunge mode, to plunge to a pre-determined depth set up by the
user each time to router is plunged downward. This is great for
plunge routing tasks where multiple cuts need to be made at the
same depth, say for mortice routing. Or, you can implement the
multi-depth turret to make deep trenches in multiple passes,
which is safe to cut and places less load on your tool and
router bits, keeping them sharper.
Left: The fine adjustment rod installed.
Middle: Depth stop turret and rubber sleeves protecting plunge
Right: The accessories included in the kit.
The ERT1250VN weighs in at 4.5kg. It's a solid router, fairly
large in physical dimension, but not unwieldy at the same time.
It is certainly much easier to use for handheld tasks than my
Triton 3HP router, which is a big beast of a thing, and now
permanently resides under my router table.
Included accessories range from a parallel routing fence, for
making cuts parallel to a workpiece edge, to a router template
insert (one size only) to a set of 8 common 6.35mm shank router
bits including two straight cutting bits, a wider straight bit
for rabbeting or dadoes, a small cove cutting bit, a dovetail
bit, two sizes of roundover bits, and a small roman ogee bit.
Quality wise, they rate amongst your average inexpensive set
bits from the hardware store, but again, they will handle quite
a few cuts before going dull, but they are best used on
softwoods as opposed to harder timbers.
In use, I was quite happy with the performance
of the router, especially given its price tag. It has many nice
features and runs smoothly for a tool of its retail value. The
fence is basic in design but fairly solid, and attaches easily
to the router via two twist knobs on the base. Again, it's not
the best router in the world, but you cannot expect it to be for
the money you pay. Apart from the undersized dust collection
port, which had trouble keeping the cutting area free of chips
on occasion, all other features seem to gel well together to
give an overall ease of use for the operator. The router is
quite comfortable to grip and hold and fairly easy to maneuver
around. I would have liked to have seen a few extra template
guide inserts thrown in, but again, the low price tag probably
discourages this. It is difficult to find aftermarket template
guide kits to fit Ryobi routers too, so this might be a
consideration if this is going to be your one and only router in
the workshop, but if not, the ERT1250VN offers an inexpensive
alternative as a second router, or a primary router for basic
routing tasks. As always, if you can get your hands on one from
a retail outlet and look it over before you purchase, I always
recommend to do this where possible. The ERT1250VN will get
ongoing use in my workshop.
Ryobi "LiveTool" Heavy Impact Drills
Models EID1000RE and EID1150RE
I call these drills "heavy" impact drills only
to differentiate them from the two impact drills reviewed above.
These models reviewed here are simply more powerful, larger in
physical size and designed slightly differently. Again, I will
review them together as they are quite similar to each other,
bar a couple small physical differences and spec ratings. Let's
take a look.
0 - 1,000 RPM (low setting)
0 - 3,000 RPM (high setting)
0 - 1,300 RPM (low setting)
0 - 2.880 RPM (high setting)
0 - 16,000 (low setting)
0 - 48,000 (high setting)
0 - 20,800 (low setting)
0 - 46,080 (high setting)
Both drills are roughly of the same physical
size and shape, a noticeable difference being the forward metal
casing at the front of the EID1150RE as opposed to the plastic
forward body casing on the EID1000RE. This metal casing probably
contributes to the EID1150RE being slightly heavier in net
weight. Both drills feature the "LiveTool" indicator of course,
located at the lower end of the operating handle (see included
photos for the illuminated indicator).
Motor capacity on both models is more than
adequate for most types of bits that will fit into the chuck.
900+ watts should be plenty for all your basic drilling needs.
If you are bogging down a 900W+ drill during a drilling
operation, either you are forcing your drill too hard, using
bits that are way too big for this sized/rated drill, or your bits
aren't as sharp as they should be. Check all those factors first
before you go blaming the drill itself! Speed settings on these
models are in the average ranges for a corded hand drill (0 -
3,000 RPM seems to be the normal range). Both drills feature a
2-speed gear box and have the option to set up for low speed or
high speed drilling via the turn knob on the side of the drill
body. Position "1" will deliver speeds in the low speed range
(as shown in table above) whereas setting to position "2"
enables the higher speed range (again, as shown in above table).
For smaller diameter bits, drilling speed generally needs to be
faster. For metal drilling or very dense hardwood drilling,
speeds are usually set slower, while higher speeds can be used
for softer woods. As a side note, the marketing blurb claims
that the EID1150RE model features a "heavy duty" 2 speed
gearbox, whereas this is not mentioned on the EID1000RE.
Left: The EID1000RE.
Middle: Bubble level, black gear box setting and yellow impact
Right: 13mm metal chuck!
Regular drilling mode or impact drilling mode
can be selected via the switch on top of each unit. In impact
mode, the drill chuck "hammers" rapidly as it rotates. This is
often why these drills are referred to as "hammer drills". This
rapid impact mode is designed for drilling into masonry
materials, and its effectiveness cannot be denied. Whenever you
are drilling masonry, switch to this mode and chuck up a masonry
drilling bit. Masonry drilling is generally a bit louder than
regular drilling because of the hammer action, but it shouldn't
be overly difficult, as long as you regularly clear out your
drill hole of dust as you go. Both drills performed well in my
masonry drilling tasks, which involved a lot of picture hanging
to a brick wall, and concrete drilling to fix Dynabolts to hold
down a small garden shed I recently added to the house.
Each drill features a 13mm heavy duty keyless
metal chuck. A spindle lock button located on the underside of
the body will lock the spindle to allow you to tighten or
release the chuck jaws to hold/release a drilling bit. The chuck
itself seems to be of good quality, and no drill bit slippage
was evident. This should be the case with a new/near new chuck
of course. I visually observed for any drill runout on the chuck
with each drill. There is little noticeable runout visually,
both drills running quite true (which means more accurate sized
and cleaner drill holes).
There is a standard plastic auxiliary handle
on both tools, coupled with a depth rod adjustment feature which
is fairly standard in design. Twisting the handle releases it
and allows you to rotate it to a position that is comfortable
for each particular drilling job and tighten it back down again.
And, as with the EID750REN model reviewed above, both drills
here feature onboard drill bit storage incorporated into the
auxiliary handle, however, only smaller sized drill bits can fit
in the holder (up to 6mm diameter).
Left: The EID1150RE with metal forward casing.
Middle: Regular and impact mode switch and gear speed selector.
Right: Rubber overmold grips, trigger and LiveTool indicator
Power controls are relatively straight forward.
You will find a forward/reverse switch just above the trigger.
The trigger itself offers variable speed function depending on
how much you squeeze it. And onboard the trigger itself is a
speed dial wheel. However, on these dial wheels, there are five
regulated speed settings, labeled A through to E. The
combination of dial speed selection, trigger squeeze and gearbox
speed setting options makes it relatively easy to set a speed
required for each different drilling task. It's all very
straight forward, as it should be.
The standard rubber "Gripzone" overmolds cover
most of the handle and rear of the tool, encasing a dual
directional bubble level to allow accurate horizontal and
vertical drilling to be achieved. The rear of the drill body is
also ergonomically designed to allow a comfortable grip when
applying force to the drill (don't apply too much of course). It
is handy when hammer drilling, as the drill tends to vibrate and
jump around a little more than with regular drilling.
No need to go hunting for drill bits...
Price-wise, the EID1000RE lists at AUD$99
while the EID1150RE kit retails for AUD$129. Both kits come
shipped in a plastic molded case with an assortment of drill
bits. Their are 13 bits in the EID1000RE kit and 15 in the
EID1150RE kit - a mix of brad-point drill bits, masonry drill
bits and regular twist drill bits. The brad point bits are not
too bad in fact, quite sharp and very useful. The masonry bits
also are useable. The twist bits however are a little dull for
my liking, and they didn't retain their edge too well. Grab some
Sutton or P&N bits and you will notice the difference.
Nonetheless, the twist bits can be sharpened if you have a good
sharpening jig for a grinder or small diamond files, and after
being touched up, they can cut quite well indeed.
Overall, both drills again performed
adequately for their given price tags. The EID1150RE feels a
little more solid in the hand though and is probably a little
better built internally as well given its higher price tag. It
would get my recommendation between the two. I think a corded
drill is one area where you can get lucky and find a good tool
at a budget price. I mean, I have had a $12 corded drill for
years and it has given me great service. Another "cheap" drill blew up
a few months after purchase. You can get lucky sometimes.
Regardless, the Ryobi tools come with a 2-year replacement
warranty and 30-day money back satisfaction guarantee, so you
are afforded good protection with your purchase.
The Ryobi Australia website can be found at