What’s orange and black and ready to rock and roll? The new line of RIDGID handheld cordless and corded power tools, as well as their stationary and benchtop offerings. The impressive line of 35 tools was unveiled in Chicago on August 11th after what the principal companies involved called a “two-year secret development program” code named Zap Tools.
Many of us in the woodworking tool orbit were wondering what was going on with RIDGID; in fact, rumors were even circulating that Emerson might be going out of the woodworking power tool business. It is apparent that we were far wrong. The new line is a combined effort of Emerson Professional Tools, the owner of the RIDGID brand, and OWT Industries, a wholly owned subsidiary of TechTronic Industries. (TechTronic Industries is the parent company of the Ryobi power tool brand.)
Now, before you get the idea that these are Ryobi tools dressed up in new outfits, you should know about the research and development that this team went through to get to where they are now. In a daylong presentation that included hands-on sessions with the product and video interviews with the designers, RIDGID representatives explained their goal of creating “best in class tools.” They benchmarked the competition, created multiple prototypes and rejected anything that did not meet their strict design requirements. Created with the professional user in mind, the tools will be sold not only at HomeDepot, but also at a developing network of industrial tool sales outlets.
I was able to try out many of the new saws, drills and sanders, and must say that I was pleased to find them to be solid, full-featured tools. While there are things that you cannot determine in just a few minutes of use with each tool, there were none of the surprises or little annoying quirks that you would expect to find with poor quality offerings.
The scope of the tool rollout was truly impressive. The only real void in the line is the lack of a router, which RIDGID spokesperson Jeff Drake said is definitely in the works.