I tend to like the budget brands more than other woodworkers do, and I’m not sure why. Why they aren’t liked otherwise, that is. They are better than their price would suggest, as long as you don’t treat them like a subcontractor borrowing your tools would do. They are homeowner grade, which I would posit that also makes them hobbyist woodworker grade. There is absolutely nothing wrong with their drills and drivers, for sure.
Ryobi is where I started out, with their 18v One+ lineup. While I don’t use many of the tools outside of the yard tools and drills much, there are a couple I use almost all the time – the radio and the fan. I think I mentioned the fan a while back, in that it finally got a hybrid update where it could be used with a battery or a plug. I thought that was an innovation well worth the purchase of a third version of the fan, although that hasn’t happened yet.
The other product, the radio, also has received it’s third iteration. This time, it joins the other tools in the lineup with the now-standard lime green paint job they switched over to a few years ago. What caught my eye though was the inclusion of Bluetooth.
The display and buttons are but the slightest bit different, and the batteries for both play (18v) and memory (2 AAA) are the same, as is most of the functionality. Adding Bluetooth though is a game-changer for me. My area is served by a radio station that losing signal about when the sun goes down, so late evening woodworking prospects mean I have to change channels, or use my phone. With BT, I can stream whatever I want to from my phone, or probably even house over to the radio for streaming. It also has a 3.5mm port and a USB port, which can also charge stuff like my phone. I’d have to see if I could hook up my Zune to the USB port and play through that as well. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do with the old radio, perhaps I’ll keep it around for awhile. I don’t really need it now, though.
The Ryobi 18v One+ radio with Bluetooth can be found at Home Depot for $39.99. This is not a paid-for or otherwise promotional post.