When it comes to power tool brands, there are a couple of brands that almost everyone – whether a handyman or not – knows. Then, there are brands that are less known but that are still well worth considering.
Two of those are Kobalt and Ridgid.
In this article, I will take a look at how the brands compare in terms of their quality and product portfolios among other things. I will also help you decide which – if any – of the two you should go with.
A Brief History of Kobalt and Ridgid
Kobalt is the brand name of a line of hand and power tools owned by the American hardware store chain Lowe’s. Launched in 1998, this brand is relatively new compared to some of the big names out there. Lowe’s has a corporate campus in Mooresville, North Carolina where it employs over 10,000 employees. Kobalt started manufacturing cordless power tools in 2011.
Ridgid, on the other hand, is much older. Established in 1923 in North Ridgeville, Ohio, the Ridgid Tool Company manufactured hand tools, which became popular because of their durability and ease of use. The company moved to Elyria, Ohio, in 1943, and became a subsidiary of Emerson Electric in 1966.
Their signature orange and red colors stands out and makes their products easily recognizable to this day. Ridgid power tools are manufactured by Techtronic Industries which is headquartered in Hong Kong. The same company also manufactures tools for other well-known power tool brands including Ryobi and Milwaukee.
Kobalt vs. Ridgid: Which Offers Better Quality?
Both Kobalt and Ridgid are known for their quality products, although Kobalt is a relatively new brand. On the other hand, Ridgid is an established name in hand tools but has only started manufacturing power tools fairly recently.
Many of Kobalt’s power tools are made by Chervon, a Chinese OEM, while its cordless 80-volt outdoor power equipment is made by Sunrise Global and Greenworks Tools. In general, the red Ridgid tools are made by Emerson in the US, and TTI manufactures orange Ridgid tools in China.
Which Offers a Better Warranty?
All Ridgid power tools come with an automatic 3-year limited manufacturer warranty. Ridgid also offers an industry-leading Lifetime Service Agreement for its power tools as part of a promotional program. Eligible categories for the Ridgid LSA include Ridgid-brand cordless power tools, corded power tools, tile saws, bench and stationary power tools, and pneumatic products.
When you register your tools within 90 days, the Lifetime Service Agreement gives you free parts, free service, and free batteries for life. Parts covered in this warranty include chucks, motors, switches, gears, batteries, and even O-rings, piston stops, and driver blades. Getting these parts replaced is as simple as calling their dedicated helpline and registering a service request. You can also get your power tools repaired or serviced at the nearest service center which can be found online.
Kobalt also offers solid warranties for its power tools. Handheld power tools and lights are covered under a 5-year tool and 3-year battery limited guarantee. Keep in mind that this guarantee does not cover damage due to abuse, normal wear, improper maintenance, neglect, unauthorized repair and alteration, or expendable parts and accessories expected to become unusable after a reasonable period of use.
Any defective product fulfilling these criteria will be repaired or replaced at no charge upon submitting a valid proof of purchase.
Kobalt power tool accessories come with a satisfaction guarantee, while 24V Max brushless power tools have a 1-year risk free guarantee, and a 5-tear tool (and 3-year battery) limited guarantee.
Overall, while both manufacturers offer decent warranties, Ridgid’s Lifetime Service Agreement makes it a no-brainer if your products can qualify for the promotion. If anything fails or breaks down in the future, you can rest assured that the company will repair or replace it.
Kobalt vs. Ridgid : Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
Kobalt has a single 18V cordless drill, but around 40 24V cordless tools including jigsaws, reciprocating saws, circular saws, impact wrenches, and hammer drills. Other than these, Kobalt offers blowers, grinders, fans, lights, rotary cutting tools, and combo kits. The Kobalt product catalog is wider than some tool companies’ but not as large as well that of established names like Milwaukee.
On the other hand, Ridgid offers over 30 different 18V power tools, including wet and dry vacuums, nailers, grinders, circular saws, impact drivers, rotary hammers, blowers, radios, and fans.
Ridgid has a larger variety of 18V power tools compared to Kobalt in terms of specific tool types.
Keep in mind, though, that the difference between 18V and 24V Max tools might not be as large as one would think.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of 12V Tools?
While in the past, Kobalt offered a limited selection of 12-volt tools, that is not the case anymore. In fact, currently, it almost exclusively focuses on promoting its 24-volt cordless power tools.
Ridgid, on the other hand, offers two 12-volt power tools – an impact driver and a drill/driver.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Impact Drivers and Drills?
Kobalt has multiple drills, hammer drills, impact wrenches, and impact drivers in their 24V cordless tool line-up. These are more than powerful enough to handle the average home improvement task or even professional jobs.
Just as an example, one of their top hammer drills delivers up to 26,000 BPM and has a two-speed gearbox, and variable-speed trigger (0 to 550 RPM and 0 to 2,000 RPM) that delivers 650 inch-pounds of torque.
Ridgid has a much smaller variety of hammer drills, impact wrenches, impact drivers and drills. Their top 18V hammer drill outputs 1,300 inch-pounds of torque.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
If you’re a professional looking for a set of tools that will last you a long time and give a trouble-free performance, definitely go with Ridgid, especially if the tools you buy are covered under the Lifetime Service Agreement.
Keep in mind though, that Ridgid has a smaller selection of 24V power tools and more 18V tools.
f you’re a casual user just looking for one or two tools to add to your collection, Kobalt is a good choice too, especially if you need lots of options to pick from.
Both Kobalt and Ridgid are, at least in terms of their origins, American companies. However, they have completely different histories. While Kobalt was started as a private label of the well-known Lowe’s hardware store chain, Ridgid was a tool company from the get-go.
That is not to say that one is better than the other.
In fact, both of the brands are well-worth considering. While you can’t go wrong with either brand, I would lean towards Kobalt if I was looking for regular cordless tools and Ridgid if I was looking for lighter-duty 12-volt tools.