If you are looking for some great power tools, hand tools, and more, there are probably a few brands that you have a close eye on. Well, of course, not all brands are made the same. Some are indeed better than others.
One specific brand that you might be interested in is Ryobi, one of the leading Japanese tool manufacturers. In this article, we will take a closer look at this brand – including its history, product portfolio, and the types of people it’s suitable for.
Ryobi is indeed a fairly old company, one that first founded all the way back in 1943, right in the midst of World War Two. It was founded in Japan by a man named Yutaka Urakami. When it first started out, Yukata had the company focus on making a variety of die-cast products for a number of industries.
Quite quickly, the company’s reputation began to increase, and by 1961, Ryobi started to manufacture full-scale printing presses. In that same year, in 1961, due to the rapid expansion of the company, Ryobi Seisakusho was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange as a publicly-traded company.
By the year 1968, Yutaka Urakami and other leading members of Ryobi Seisakusho realized that there was quite a void in the Japanese power tool market. They also realized that there was a very high demand for new, modern, and functional power tools. With that in mind, the company pivoted and began manufacturing an assortment of power tools. In 1973, Ryobi Seisakusho simplified its name to Ryobi, the brand as we know it today.
At this time, Ryobi manufactures a plethora of goods for many sectors, and this includes automobile components, electronics, printing equipment, builder’s hardware, and power tools, among others. On an interesting side note, in 2014, Ryobi signed an official partnership deal with the German football team, Hertha Berlin.
Something that can be a bit confusing or misleading about Ryobi Limited is that while Ryobi does technically own its products, the power tools (and some other products) are actually licensed out.
Two main lines from Ryobi, Ryobi Power Tools and Ryobi Outdoor Equipment, while still owned by the brand itself, are actually both licensed to Techtronic Industries. It is actually that company, not Ryobi, that manufactures and sells Ryobi-branded tools and outdoor equipment. Interestingly enough, Techtronic Industries is the same parent company that also owns Milwaukee, AEG, Hoover US, Dirt Devil, Vax, and Homelite.
Keep in mind that in North America, Ryobi tools are sold primarily over the internet and through The Home Depot home improvement stores. Ryobi is at this time a fairly large company, one with close to 10,000 employees and roughly 2.25 billion dollars in annual revenues.
Ryobi Tool Quality Overview
The first important thing to note about Ryobi tools is that they are generally seen as being somewhere around average or above average. The general consensus is that while Ryobi products may not be as high end as from some other brands out there, they are generally still quite good.
Most people would agree that Ryobi tools are definitely more than suitable for light repair work, small building tasks, for smaller home repairs and renovations, for amateur craftsmen and carpenters, and for other such uses.
Now, some people do not like Ryobi tools for heavy-duty, daily, and professional use, but it does really depend on individual people, the specific industry, and the specific tools in question. While the consensus is that Ryobi tools are not the best for heavy-duty and daily use, such as for professional tradesmen, some people do still use them as such.
What can be said about Ryobi tools is that they are mostly middle of the line, with some higher-end products being available too. However, what’s also important to note is that people are quite happy with the fair prices that Ryobi products are sold at.
While Ryobi tools are definitely not the cheapest on the planet, they are also far from being the most expensive, and this is what makes them a popular choice among home repair and DIY enthusiasts, hobbyists, craftsmen, as well as for people just starting out in various professional trades. In other words, here you get decent or better than average tools for very reasonable prices. It’s generally seen as a consumer-oriented brand, but professionals can use it as well.
One of the most popular power tool lines from Ryobi is the 18V One+ Cordless line. This is a special line of cordless power tools, ones that can all use the same 18V One+ lithium-ion battery. In other words, Ryobi features literally dozens of tools in this line, and they can all be powered by the same battery.
This convenience factor is a big selling point among many homeowners, hobbyists, and even professionals alike. Stay tuned, as we will be covering Ryobi’s product selection in greater detail in the product portfolio section later on in this review.
When it comes to tool quality, something that you want to know is where the products are manufactured. Now, what is interesting to note is that up until the later 1990s, most Ryobi tools were actually manufactured in the USA, which allowed for very high tool quality.
However, over the past two decades, Ryobi has moved the vast majority of product manufacturing to China. The reason why Ryobi moved most of its manufacturing to China is likely due to the fact that the tools, both power tools and outdoor tools, are licensed to Techtronic Industries, a Hong Kong-based behemoth that owns and operates various production facilities all throughout the Chinese mainland.
Another important note here is that Ryobi does operate 12 different production facilities in six countries across the world. However, most are located in China, the majority of those outside of China are in Global South countries, and one single production facility is located in the USA. That one facility in the USA, however only manufactures a small number of accessories, but no actual tools.
With that being said, the general consensus is that for China-made tools, Ryobi products are pretty good. When compared to other Chinese made tools, they are seen as being some of the best. Therefore, although they may not be high-end tools or anything super fancy per se, Ryobi products are more than acceptable for general use.
Something that can also be said about Ryobi is that the warranties which this brand offers are pretty good, especially considering that they are relatively affordable tools. For one, all Ryobi power tools are covered by a two- or three-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Moreover, the majority of the hand tools feature limited lifetime warranties. Most of the outdoor equipment from Ryobi features a five-year warranty.
All in all, considering that the prices of these products are very reasonable across the board, these warranties are actually quite comprehensive.
Ryobi Product Portfolio Overview
Next, Ryobi has plenty of tools and products available for purchase. Right now, we want to take a look at Ryobi’s product portfolio across a variety of sectors.
One of the most impressive product categories that Ryobi offers is its comprehensive lineup of cordless tools, particularly the 40V tools and the 18V One+ lines. For one, let’s keep in mind that these batteries are both very powerful and long-lasting, some of the best in the world.
However, the really impressive part about both of these lineups is how versatile they are. In other words, whether we are talking about the 40V or the 18V One+ line, both allow for the same batteries to be used for many different tools.
For example, the 18V One+ lineup features over 175 different tools that can all use the same exact battery. This is of course very convenient, and it includes a wide array of products including quite literally everything from blowers and trimmers to drills, saws, routers, and so much more.
When it comes to the more powerful 40V lithium-ion battery system, there are over 40 different tools that this single battery can be used for, mainly larger tools that require plenty of power.
All in all, Ryobi has a great selection of cordless tools and outdoor equipment, particularly across these two battery systems.
Ryobi does also offer a pretty decent selection of corded tools across the board, however, the selection of corded tools is not nearly as good as that of its cordless tools. Once again, those two battery lineups we talked about above earlier are extremely popular and cover most people’s needs.
That said, Ryobi does still offer a decent selection of corded tools including drills, drivers, impact drivers, various saws, and much more, as well as outdoor equipment too.
Personally, we would stick with Ryobi’s cordless tools, simply due to their versatility and convenience, as well as a wider selection too, but the corded tool selection is not too shabby either.
Power Tools Overall
Here, we don’t want to focus on the distinction between corded and cordless tools, but on the selection of power tools overall. The bottom line here is that Ryobi does offer a very wide selection of power tools across the board.
Ryobi has tons of drills, drivers, impact drivers, impact wrenches, all kinds of saws, routers, and more. Ryobi also excels at offering a huge selection of woodworking tools as well. When it comes down to it, in terms of all power tools, corded and cordless, Ryobi does have a massive selection.
You may also like Ryobi for its huge selection of outdoor lawn and garden equipment. At this time, Ryobi offers a very wide variety of blowers, sprayers, chainsaws, cultivators, trimmers, mowers, pressure washers, and even snowblowers too.
Something that does however need to be said here is that the vast majority of Ryobi’s outdoor equipment is cordless, not corded, and yes, they usually all use either the 40V system or the 18V One+ battery system. We do think that these battery systems are super convenient due to their interchangeable nature.
You can find a variety of Ryobi drain augers, PVC cutters, pinch clamp tools, transfer pumps, crimp ring pressing tools, various accessories, and more. It’s not the largest selection of plumbing products out there, but the products are seen as being fairly high in quality.
To finish things off here, we do also want to mention that Ryobi also produces a plethora of accessories for its power tools and outdoor tools, it offers many lighting solutions, hand tools and measuring instruments, misting tools, generators, cleaning equipment, inflators and compressors, and even more.
Is Ryobi a Good Brand?
All in all, Ryobi is a perfectly fine brand to go with for all of your needs. Now, it may be geared more towards regular consumers, DIYers, and hobbyists, but that said, many professionals do also use their tools.
The fact of the matter is that with Ryobi, you get a great selection of products across many categories, the warranties are really good, and tool quality is pretty decent as well. In addition to that, Ryobi products are reasonably priced too.
Simply put, Ryobi may not be at the very top of the power tool food chain, but it’s definitely far from being at the bottom too.
How Does Ryobi Compare with Other Brands?
If you are not convinced Ryobi is the right brand for you, make sure to also read my detailed comparison putting it side by side with other popular brands:
Ryobi Product Reviews
Finally, if you are looking for specific tools, go through the product reviews below:
- Best Ryobi Impact Drivers
- Ryobi P238 vs. P239 Impact Driver Comparison
- Ryobi P239 Impact Driver
- Ryobi P320 Brad Nailer
- Ryobi P421 vs. P423 Angle Grinder Comparison
If you are looking for an all-around good tool brand with good selection, great warranties, good quality, and affordable prices, we would definitely recommend checking out exactly what Ryobi has to offer.