5 Best Ryobi Tools

Walk into a certain orange home improvement store and you'll be confronted with a sea of green.  The orange store in question is Home Depot and the green is Ryobi.  Since the early 2000s, Ryobi has been a major provider of power tools to Home Depot, and it's hard to avoid its end aisle-promoted products.  

While not all products have gained traction--TEK 4, where art thou?--this Anderson, SC-based brand has slowly been innovating over the years, finding its way into residential workshops and even gaining some contractor acceptance.  Which are the best Ryobi tools?  Well, funny you should ask...

  • 01 of 05

    Nail and Deliver:  Ryobi P330 18V ONE+ Angled 15 Ga Finish Nailer

    Ryobi Airstrike Nailer
    Ryobi Airstrike Nailer. © Ryobi

    Nail this fact into your head:  it's tough to hand-nail trim board.  I'm aware that trim has been nailed by hand for centuries.  But time moves ahead, and often in good ways.  Modern power-driven nailers allow you to smack a nail into trim in one decisive strike, without the wobble and bounce associated with repeatedly hand-hammering a finish nail into lightweight trim.  

    Of all the numbers in this Ryobi tool's name, the important one is this:  15.  This 18V cordless tool, operating from the ONE+ platform, drives substantially heavy finish nails that are 15 gauge.  As Fine Homebuilding reminds us, 15 gauge is the magic number because it allows you to lengthen the nails up to 2.5 inches.

    Even though officially a finish nailer, its 2.5" long nails unofficially allow for light structural work, too.  Recently, I slapped up a few light-weight cedar fence boards temporarily with the P330.  Contractors may turn their noses up at this product, but who cares?  This is more for the homeowner who would never think of buying into an air compressor system yet needs a nailer with some muscle.

  • 02 of 05

    Shock and Awe:  Ryobi 18V ONE+ Dual Power Worklight

    RYOBI 18V ONE+ Dual Power 20 Watt LED Worklight Back Side
    RYOBI 18V ONE+ Dual Power 20 Watt LED Worklight Back Side. © Lee Wallender

    I love this thing so much, I've been carrying it around to show off its intense, clean white light to anybody that will give me their time.

    I'm convinced that someone on the Ryobi product development team was fired for incorporating a 120V power option, along with the expected 18V ONE+ battery pack.  Nowadays, it's downright seditious--unpatriotic even--to give customers freedom of choice.

    One off-note:  the gremlin-infested on/off switch has a mind of its own.  Otherwise, this is a truly inspired product.  I would even consider buying it again if my manufacturer-supplied model ever dies.

  • 03 of 05

    Bringing Down the House:  Ryobi One+ 18-Volt Cordless Reciprocating Saw

    Ryobi Reciprocating Saw
    Ryobi Reciprocating Saw. © TTI/Ryobi

    Congratulations, old standby:  you're still ripping down walls after 4 years of ownership.  Ryobi's 18V ONE+ reciprocating saw isn't the most powerful on the market, but it handles well, balances perfectly, and cuts smoothly for a recip saw.

  • 04 of 05

    Dependable Driver:  Ryobi ONE+ 18V Compact Drill

    Ryobi 18V Cordless Drill
    Ryobi 18V Cordless Drill. Lee Wallender; Licensed to About.com

    Though another drill has supplanted the Ryobi ONE+ 18V Compact as my "daily driver," this light-weight green beauty still remains in my tool box for smaller spaces or for those acrobatic moments I have to reach high to counter-sink a drywall screw.  I've used the same unit for years and it's still going strong.  Sure, it will protest when you attempt to drill or drive into tough substances, like concrete and some hardwoods.  But that's when you bring in the heavy guns, such as your corded drill or hammer cordless drill.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Finishing It All Off:  Ryobi 18 Gauge ONE+ Brad Nailer

    Ryobi Cordless 18 Gauge Brad Nailer
    Ryobi Cordless 18 Gauge Brad Nailer. © Lee Wallender; licensed to About.com

    Ever tried to hammer in short, thin finish nails?  Your fingers feel unbelievably fat when handling nails less than 1 inch long.  An 18 gauge nailer is just what you need.  The advantage of these smaller nailers is that they won't split thin trim such as quarter-round or the tapered parts of crown molding.  Adjust the Ryobi 18 Gauge ONE+ Brad Nailer's depth so that the nail or brad head is flush with the work material, and there is no need to fill nail holes--just paint right over it.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.