A good impact driver for the money

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Review by ferstler posted 12-05-2008 08:08 PM 6604 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A good impact driver for the money No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I own two of these (one for each hand; OK, that is a joke), and you can see both in the photo. I obtained one a few years back and picked up the other a few months ago when I was feeling flush. I do not feel so bad about buying two of the things, since together they cost about the same as one such unit from any number of more upscale manufacturers.

These are 18-volt jobs and they are part of the Ryobi One + battery-powered tool catalog collection. This means you can buy the driver without a battery if you already have a collection of batteries. The batteries I use are NiCads, but I wish they were lithiums instead. Well, I purchased them and their batteries before the lithium revolution in Ryobi tools.

First, let me digress a bit about batteries. Actually, I have five NiCad batteries for my several Ryobi hand tools, and have to admit that two of them, after about a year of moderate use, are just about useless. I suppose that is par for the course with that type of battery, and the one thing I am waiting for is for Ryobi and Home Depot to have a sale on Ryobi lithium batteries so that I can begin my replacement operation. As of now, unfortunately, the high price of the lithiums (you can get four Ryobi NiCads for the just under the price of one Ryobi lithium) makes me reluctant to upscale my battery technology. If push comes to shove and the price structure holds I will just purchase more NiCads.

Interestingly (and I may have mentioned this elsewhere in some other review) Home Depot sells an 18-volt Ryobi drill/flashlight combo that includes two lithium batteries and a charger for about $180. When you consider that the outfit is selling individual Ryobi lithium batteries for about $90 each and battery/charger combos for about $110, it is easy to see that only a moron would purchase the two latter packages to get two batteries and a charger. If you opt for the drill/flashlight combo you are essentially getting the drill and flashlight for nothing, plus you still save twenty bucks. Heck, even if you already have the charger and just want two more batteries you can obtain the drill/flashlight combo and basically get the tool and flashlight for nothing. You can then give them to friends or put them in storage for use when your existing drill and flashlight give out. Who on earth runs the Home Depot marketing department? No wonder the company is in trouble.

Anyway, back to the impact driver. Yep, it is a good one, although the thing is pretty heavy, and as I noted the battery has a short and finite life span in many cases. The coupler is a standard ΒΌ-inch job and handles any bit shafts in that size, and of course the coupler has a lock ring to hold notched shafts nicely in place. The unit has a variable speed trigger, delivers 3000 blows per minute at full tilt, and can generate a minimum of 800 inch pounds of torque. It even comes with two bit clips on the handle base to hold spares.

While not blessed with championship power, the driver has the ability to deliver the goods in a serious way with most jobs. It can drive a 3-inch screw all the way into a piece of equally thick pine (supposedly, it can even do this with oak, although I have not tried) with relative ease, and on one job where I was driving 5-inch hex screws into some rafters the thing managed to twist the head off of one of the shafts. (OK, I should have used a larger bit when pre-drilling the holes for the screws.) That ought to be enough power for practical needs.

The main advantage of this driver, compared to the competition, is the price. No doubt outfits like DeWalt and Milwaukee and Makita make drivers that are a tad more robust. However, they cost considerably more and that counts for a lot in days like these when money is tight.

Howard Ferstler

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342 posts in 4975 days

6 comments so far

View oldskoolmodder's profile


802 posts in 5135 days

#1 posted 12-05-2008 09:26 PM

Thanks for your review on Ryobi tools!

I’ve had an 18v cordless for over 6 years,a nd the batteries crapped out at the same time, after 5 of those years, so I went without the Ryobi cordless for over a year, until I Finally got a new drill/circular saw with the newer one+ batteries. Thankfully, the one+ batteries work just fine with my older combo set. I’ve not used the Lith/Ion batteries yet, but I do know that Lith/Ions sometimes have a short life as far as holding charges. The Ni-Cads for my older set, actually held a full charge for around 6 months while I was out of the Country, so I’m happy with Ryobi.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View NedB's profile


659 posts in 5021 days

#2 posted 12-05-2008 10:45 PM

A buddy of mine loaned me his driver for most of my shop building project (working in short bursts of a couple of weekends in a row over a year plus, he’d loan it, then take it back, etc…) it is on my ‘short’ list of want that tools.

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

View trucker12349's profile


92 posts in 4940 days

#3 posted 12-06-2008 12:32 AM

I also have invested in some 18v cordless tools from ryobi and I am perfectly happy with them. I just bought a combo pack with a drill/driver, 5 1/2 inch trim saw, charger and two batteries for just $109.00 on sale. Now my wife wants to know what tools I want for x-mas. I am ging to get the planer from ryobi and maybe the angle grinder. The saw cut thru a piece of 1” plywood without any trouble today.

View bobdurnell's profile


317 posts in 5352 days

#4 posted 12-07-2008 05:17 PM

I still like my corded drills and screw gun but I must admit I use the Ryobi impact drivers the most now. I have two, one for drilling the countersink and pilot hole and the other for driving the fastener. However, I will only use the lithum ion batteries. Now you can by just the batter and not the charger. Santa has given me three and I plan to ask for more. The only drawback is the weight of the units when compared to the Makita or Hitachi of similar nature. One can’t complain about the price. Thanks for the review I always wanted to add my two cents about a tool.

-- bobdurnell, Santa Ana California.

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3 posts in 3443 days

#5 posted 12-16-2012 11:36 PM

where are you getting 800 in/lbs from

the Ryobi P230 has 1200 in/lbs

and the current model P236 has 1600 in/lbs

IMO Ryobi gives the big names a run for the money

i am more then pleased with everything Ryobi

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 4975 days

#6 posted 12-20-2012 06:50 PM

Poster, sorry to be late in responding. Anway, the owner’s manual that came with both of my P-230 models says 800 inch pounds.

It may be that Ryobi decided to be a bit more optimistic about the unit’s performance with their posted internet specifications as the competition ramped up their own specs. Puffing up specifications is SOP for a lot of consumer-product industries.

Actually, 800 is probably enough for practical use. I once was driving a 7/16 inch lag screw into a solid pine rafter board and the wrench twisted off the head. I have also done similar things with some long philips-head screws, which makes the case for pre-drilling the holes.

Howard Ferstler

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