Drills are probably the most basic and most highly used power tools in most home-renovation and furniture-construction projects. However, finding the right power drill for the job is a bit trickier than it may sound. Not only do you have to think about how quickly the drill bit spins, but also how much torque it delivers to remove material.
Of the seemingly infinite sea of power drills currently available, there’s one brand that has established itself as the go-to company for your DIY needs. This company, as you can probably already assume from the title of this article, is Ryobi – a Japanese manufacturer that caters to DIY enthusiasts and professional contractors all around the world.
Ryobi – The King of DIY Power Tools
Being labeled the unofficial king of DIY power tools is a double-edged sword. Although it’s known by most garage workshop hobbyists as being a reliable brand, it can be off-putting to those who get paid for their work.
That being said, there are plenty of serious hobbyists who would swear by Ryobi and their line of amazing, user-friendly power tools to help in their craft. Plus, it doesn’t hurt the company’s image that their products are easy on the wallet as well, so there’s that you can put on your “why I should get Ryobi tools” list.
Ryobi 18V One-Plus Series
The One-Plus series from Ryobi consists of 125 different cordless Li-Ion power tools, including a wide selection of handy-dandy cordless drills.
The wide selection of One-Plus drills range from light-duty to heavy-duty construction builds. Finding the right cordless drill from the One-Plus series is hardly a challenge, provided that you know what each of them can do and what you expect it to do.
A lot of talk about the Ryobi One-Plus power tools is mainly centered on the fact that they are extremely affordable and thus are not adequate in professional settings. This is hardly the truth, although many of Ryobi’s marketing campaigns do give off the impression that their products are suited for the average handyman. Looking at their cordless drills alone, we can see that some were engineered for basic sporadic repair and construction jobs while others give DEWALT and BLACK+DECKER a run for their money.
So if there’s one thing you should know about Ryobi and their One-Plus series, it’s that a combination of the market’s prejudice and the company’s promotion strategies has labeled Ryobi, a handyman brand rather than a serious competitor in construction.
Best Ryobi Drills
If there’s one line of products of that Ryobi does well, it has to be cordless drills. They have a wide selection of cordless drills from the One-Plus series that will come in handy in everyday home repairs, hobbyist woodworking projects, and even in the most challenging construction jobs. The following are three popular One-plus driver/drills available today.
The first driver/drill we’d like to talk about is the infamous ½-inch P208 which features a sizable ½-inch chuck and a two-speed motor for added versatility. Each speed setting delivers between 0 to 440 RPM and 0 to 1,600 RPM, respectively. The P208 also exerts up to 350 inch-pounds of torque, adjustable with 24 different clutch settings to suit drilling and driving in all sorts of materials. From the speed and torque ratings, we can tell right away that the P208 is not designed for demanding jobs like drilling through concrete or mortar without a bit of resistance.
The light, compact P208 also comes with several convenience features like the magnetic tray for holding spare drill bits and a bright LED light located on the base. The rubberized handle is also a great feature as it improves your grip on the tool when working in tight places.
The One-Plus P208 is a bare-tool kit, so unless you have extra One-Plus 18V batteries and a charger lying around, you’ll have to pick these up separately. Speaking of the battery, one thing we’ve noticed about all One-Plus 18V batteries is that they take quite a bit of time to charge. From 0%, the battery requires upwards of 180 minutes to reach full capacity.
Overall, the P208 is a pretty neat cordless drill that any homeowner and/or hobbyist would enjoy using. This tool is among the weaker end of the drill One-Plus drill spectrum but could come in handy in a wide number of repair and construction scenarios.
The next One-Plus driver/drill is the cordless ½-inch P252, a tool tailored for more demanding material-removal and screw-driving tasks. The jobs that the P208 is unable to do, the P252 can do with flying colors.
Like the previous unit, the P252 has a two-speed motor that delivers up to 400 RPM and 1,600 RPM on the first and second gear respectively, but its superior performance comes from a higher torque rating of 460 inch-pounds that is adjustable using the 24-clutch positions. The P252 can drill and drive screws through denser pieces of wood, metal, and even concrete.
Another thing worth knowing about the P252 is that it comes with a brushless motor. If you don’t know, brushless motors are all the rage since they produce much less heat, resulting in better battery life and a longer lasting tool. If you find yourself in need of a tool to use regularly, you should consider going brushless.
In almost every other regard, the P252 and P208 are practically identical. For instance, the P252 is also a light and compact driver/drill with an oversized, rubberized handle for maximum grip. A bright LED light is available on the base of the unit which shines at an upward angle to properly illuminate your work surface by producing a shadow-less beam.
But just like the P208, the P252 also has some considerable battery issues. Firstly, this is a bare-tool kit, so you’ll need to get the charger and One-Plus 18V batteries separately. And since the P252 uses the same type of battery, it’ll also the same charging problems as the P208. But thanks to its brushless motor, it can squeeze out a few extra minutes of runtime per charge before the battery needs to spend 180 minutes in the charger.
Finally, we have the lightest of the three One-Plus driver/drills – the ½-inch P271. This cordless driver/drill’s two-speed transmission produces up to 400 RPM and 1,600 RPM on each gear, identical to the speed settings of the P252. But unlike the P252, the torque exertion of this tool is extremely limited. At its peak, the P271 exerts up to 340 inch-pounds of drilling torque (24 clutch positions), making it the least versatile of the three.
The P252 and P271 use brushed motors which aren’t necessarily bad if you don’t need to use the driver/drill every day. These units use a modular motor where brushes cannot be replaced, but instead, the entire motor needs to be swapped for a fresh one when the brushes eventually wear down. Fortunately, new motors are inexpensive, but you may want to replace the entire unit in the end.
The P271 shares many of the same convenience features as the P208 and P252, including a large grip, a magnetized base for holding onto spare drill bits, and a compact design that hardly weighs a thing. However, it’s missing an LED light at the base, so make sure you have an external source of light when working in poorly lit areas.
The P271 is a bare-tool kit that doesn’t include the One-Plus 18V battery and compatible charger. The same battery problems that exist in the P208 and P252 are also present in the P271. If you plan on using the P271 regularly, we’d highly recommend investing in multiple batteries to cut downtime to a minimum.
Cordless Drill Buying Guide
Regardless of whether you want to get a Ryobi One-Plus drill, you need to be aware of what sort of specs and features a drill comes with and what the drill is capable of doing. Here’s a quick guide to help you find the right drill to suit your needs.
Drill Size and Weight
Cordless drills are naturally designed to be as compact and as lightweight as possible. The size of the drill should allow you to poke the chuck and drill bit in whatever spaces you’re working in. As for the weight, it shouldn’t cause discomfort, especially when drilling overhead. The weights of these Ryobi One-Plus driver/drills is less than 3 pounds each (not including the battery).
The chuck is the collar on a drill that grabs hold onto the drill bit. A larger chuck generally indicates toughness as larger bits are to remove more material with each rotation. The size of a drill’s chuck can range from 1/4 of an inch to ½ an inch. All three of these Ryobi One-Plus cordless drills have versatile ½-inch chucks for drilling small or larger holes with the correct bit in place.
A basic drill usually has a single-speed motor, but most modern drills – a.k.a. driver/drills – come with two-speed motors with RPM caps of around 300 RPM and 1,000 RPM. The lower gear is used to drive screws at a slower speed to prevent stripping and overdriving, and the second gear is for removing more material in less time. Typically, these units have touch-sensitive triggers that allow you to work as quickly or as slowly as you’d like.
Driver Feature and Torque
Driver/drills are much more versatile than their one-trick counterparts. Drills are used to remove material by creating a hole with a spinning drill bit, but with a driver/drill, the tool will produce a certain amount of torque needed to drive small screws into all sorts of materials.
The clutch is found around the neck of the driver/drill. Each number and found on the chuck is a separate preset that determines how much torque the tool will deliver with each turn of the chuck. Altering the clutch position will help you fine-tune how much driving power the tool can produce. The best driver/drills have 24 clutch positions and a single drilling position for when you want to remove material.
Cordless drills do not draw power from a wall outlet via a power cord. Instead, they rely on rechargeable batteries, which allow the tool to go wherever you need to remove material or drive screws. Although the battery does add a bit of weight to the tool, it’s worth it for the portability that cordless offers.
Apart from the physical size of the battery, take a look at the battery’s voltage a rating. Voltage does not have a direct correlation with power, but rather it indicates how long the tool can run. The Ryobi One-Plus’ 18V batteries are in the mid-range in terms of runtime. Batteries for cordless drills typically range from 12V to 24V.
So essentially, although Ryobi is mainly marketed as being the “average handyman’s best friend,” they have a wide selection of power tools, including cordless driver/drills, built for heavy-duty construction and renovation jobs. You don’t have to look too hard at their One-Plus series to a tool that’ll suit you and your next project best.
In this article, we’ve chosen three Ryobi One-Plus driver/drills to talk about – the P208, P252, and P271. All three are extremely versatile and portable, though their different speed and torque ratings make them adept at different types of drilling jobs. The P252, as the most powerful of the bunch, is tailored to help professional contractors work for longer thanks to its brushless motor. It also exerts the most torque, making it the best driver/drill combo. The P271 is the lightest of the three as should be kept at home to assist you in minor home repairs.
We’ve also thrown in a brief guide that’ll help you in finding the right cordless drill. A drill relies on speed to remove more material with each turn of the drill bit, but if you’re going to get a driver/drill combo tool – such as the P208, P252, or P271 – then you’ll need all the torque you can get to drive long screws through thicker workpieces.