Ridgid JobMax Cordless Tools Review

Ridgid JobMax Close Quarters and General Purpose Cordless Combo Sets

By now you’ve probably heard all about Ridgid’s new modular JobMax cordless power tool system. Featuring a universal handle and interchangeable tool heads, the JobMax system is designed to be versatile and affordable. But how well do the tools actually function?

We’ve been reviewing the JobMax system for some time now, and have come to a conclusion – it’s pretty darn awesome. Not only do the tools usually perform as well as other brands’ standalone components they’re downright versatile. This review sums up our general opinion of the JobMax system and will springboard into individual reviews later on.


Power Base Handle

Ridgid JobMax Power Base Handle

The heart of the JobMax cordless tool system is the Power Base Handle which houses the battery, motor and variable speed trigger.

Individual tool heads can be connected to the power base handle straight on, or rotated at 90°, 180° and 270° angles. We really came to appreciate the 4 directional head positions when working in very tight or cluttered areas.

The ergonomics of the power base handle are pretty good and the reversible variable speed trigger is large and easy to toggle. Without a tool head attached to the power base handle, its trigger locks, preventing accidental power-drain during transport or storage.

There is a noticeable shift in balance when tool heads are attached to the power base handle due to the weight of the tool heads’ metal encased transmission and gearbox. One hand operation is thus less than perfect, but doable.

12 Volt 3/8″ Drill Driver

Ridgid 12 Volt Cordless Drill Driver

Technically this is not part of the JobMax system, but is bundled in with Ridgid’s general purpose JobMax combo kit. The driver is a bit chunky and heavy but is pretty well balanced with a slight tendency to lean forward.

It features  a 3/8″ chuck, a 2-speed gearbox (0-320 and 0-1300 RPM), and 17 clutch settings + drill mode. The clutch adjustment was a pleasure to use with the dial positively clicking in at each setting.

Overall the drill/driver is an impressive general purpose workhorse and outputs a whopping 240 in lbs of power, but it does lack the compact size and ergonomics of current generation drill/drivers.

Multi-Tool Oscillating Head

Ridgid JobMax Oscillating Multi-Tool

Ridgid’s oscillating tool head is just right. It comes with a few sanding and cutting accessories to get you started, and has a near universal adapter that accepts Bosch and Dremel branded accessories. It’s well balanced, relatively compact and lightweight. Coupled with the power base handle’s 4-angle head and variable speed trigger, this is one JobMax tool that get easily go head to head with competitors’ standalone multi-function tools.

Auto-Hammer Head

Ridgid JobMax Auto-Hammer Head

Ridgid’s version of the auto hammer is very bulky and a bit larger than other auto hammers on the market. It also seems to be a bit more powerful than the other versions when it comes to driving larger nails, but it’s also just as loud.

3/8″ Right Angle Drill

Ridgid JobMax Right Angle Drill

Ridgid was going for “ultra compact” when they designed this right angle drill head. It features a 0-550 RPM gearbox and no adjustable clutch. The drill worked fairly well, but it couldn’t quite match Milwaukee’s RA drill which offers greater speed (0-800 RPM) and a clutch.

3/8″ Square Drive Ratchet

Ridgid JobMax Square Drive Ratchet

This is another JobMax tool head that Ridgid designed just right. It looks a little bulky but it’s actually quite compact and doesn’t have too much trouble reaching into tight areas. The ratchet is driven at 0-220 rpm, and I was pleasantly surprised at how versatile the tool was. This was easily my favorite JobMax tool attachment.

Right Angle Impact Driver

Ridgid JobMax Right Angle Impact Driver

One-handed operation of this tool just isn’t possible given the weight of this tool head. I haven’t used the right angle impact driver too much, but from what I’ve seen so far it’s a VERY nice driver. While most of the other tool heads feature a nice textured grip, this one has a soft rubbery sleeve that’s even more comfortable. Best of all, the RA impact driver is extremely compact.

The general purpose and right angle combo kits are still available, and we’ve noticed a full selection of individual tool heads available at Home Depot for those that want to build their own combo kits.

Additional Ridgid JobMax Coverage via ToolGuyd
Buy Ridgid JobMax via Home Depot


  1. rob says

    This has to be one of the cooles tool sets around, problem is they seem a bit late to the market. Craftsman Nextec have been around for a while, now add in the right angle impact from Craftsman and it’s hard to justify the expense of the Ridgid 12v if you already have a nice set of Nextec tools.

  2. uthscsaedu says

    I think this set is more versatile. I don’t think nextec has the impact driver, ratchet, or right angle drill.

    They seem well made when I play with them in the store. I like the displays that they have.
    If they had a combo set with the stuff that I personally want I would go for it.
    Or a flat price for 3-4 tools of your choosing.

  3. bill says

    Unfortunately, they don’t appear to sell this combo anymore. I kept waiting for them to get it in stock in stores. Which I was told would be “just a few days” more times than I can remember. Only to find that r92234 is not even available on their website anymore. The only combo I see now is the Close Quarters System r82234, which is the rt angle drill, the ratchet and the hammer. A far less useful combo for me.

  4. says

    Bill, if the general purpose set is due to hit the shelves again, I would expect that Home Depot is stockpiling supplies for the upcoming holiday shopping rush. If you still cannot find it then, you should still be able to buy the Power Base Handle and the hammer head separately, but it won’t be as cost efficient if you need to buy the pistol-grip driver as well.

  5. Eric says

    Sorry, forgot to mention what attachment…

    Does the impact driver have enough torque and power to be able to use it for the car like changing tires?

  6. says

    You won’t be able to change tires with an air ratchet or its electronic counterpart; you’ll want a nice long breaker bar and brute force or an impact wrench, electric or pneumatic. I have a Milwaukee 120v plug-in model that retails at around $150-180 that I use every day and it keeps me happy, but there are more economical options around. Hitachi, Kawasaki, Craftsman and a few other brands have reasonably-priced options for the hobbyist in electric and cordless impact wrenches. Most small compressors like the CH pancakes posted a couple days ago struggle at best to keep up with am impact wrench or air ratchet, so if you’re not prepared to invest in a good, stationary semi-permanent air solution you’ll do best with electric.

  7. john wallace says

    I bought this tool when I started shopping for an oscillating tool to clean up some tile grout and caulking. I also bought the right angle drill drill attachment. The tool comes with a life time warranty and battery replacement. Pleased with the quality and construction. I like the canvas tool bag which is big enough to hold everything.

    What I can tell you so far. Battery’s charge quickly. Handle does not get too hot when you use it for extended periods of time. The adapter that comes with the tool to use with Dremel and Bosch accessories because the HD store did not stock the Ridgid accessories. Did a great job removing old grout using Dremel accessory. The right angle drill did a job on the studs when I had to reroute some wiring. 1/2″ copper pipe was no issue for oscillating saw attachment.

    This tool is a great addition to my toolbox.

  8. Clay Cook says

    I like getting a new tool. I was excited about buying a 12V Jobmax multi-tool starter kit, at Home Depot, but I was sure disapointed. I bought it on 4/12/11 and returned it for a full refund on 4/13/11. I charged the battery up and tested it out, w/2 different heads. #1 The battery went dead very fast and #2 the battery jammed in the tool, and I could not get it out, to recharge it. I took it back and DID NOT want another one! I am a plumber and have used Ridgid tools for many years and they are usually very good tools. This tool was not up to the quality standards, that i have been used to w/ Ridgid tools. It seems like since they started making the tools in China, they have lost of durability?? Clay

  9. todd says

    I bought two of these units the first part of April. I was in the market for such a tool and my brother told me about seeing the jobmax at HD. I went and checked it out and it looked good and the concept was great. So I bought two of them for the simple fact that they were giving you a free extra toolhead with each set you purchased. It also only came with one battery. Which by itself cost 40.00 and an extra attachment cost 50.00. So why not through down the extra 10.00 and get an extra charger and power handle too. Because at my area HD the whole sets 99.00. Anyway I broke my own rule and made a impulse buy. What I mean is normally I check out any item that I consider a major purchase online before laying out the cash for the item. Well I did it in reverse this time and when I looked the jobmax up online I found some very uncomplimentary reviews. Most with the same issue the tool would stop functioning mid job. Not because of a battery running low but like the switch was shorted out or something. Well I hoped for the best and the first outing with the tool there were no issues but the next time I went to use it low and behold the same issue as in the reviews bared its ugly head. I wasn’t putting the tool under any load just sanding some paint and it just stopped. I moved it around and sometimes it would work and other times it wouldn’t. I took everything back to HD. The return process was like the Spanish Inquisition. I had my receipts but when Rigid had me register my tools for there lifetime warranty they had me cut the UPC’s off the boxes and mail them in. The guys at HD had never heard of such a thing and the wife and I had to stand around there for a half hour or more until the manager finely realized how pissed I was getting and remembered that was what Rigid required for there lifetime warranty to be in effect. What also pissed me off was I had to explain to him why I bought two tools. Like I had to have a reason. Anyway good concept poorly executed maybe if they come out with a corded version or a second gen. cordless I might try it again maybe? Pretty sad customer service HD. With times as hard as they’ve been and money so tight. Taking good care of your few customers has to be a priority. Wouldn’t you think? So a word to the wise avoid this one until improved!

  10. Scott says

    Just thought I’d mention this in reply to Todd’s comments. If you read the Jobmax Power Handle owner’s manual, it explains on page 9 under Battery Protection Features that, “During some applications, the battery electronics may signal the battery to shut down, and cause the tool to stop running.” I would guess this feature has been the biggest reason for a lot of the returns I’ve seen at our local HD (I am just an observant and inquisitive customer.) I also purchased one of the returned units and it works perfectly but it does do exactly what you described which, as stated in the owner’s manual, is a normal feature to save the battery on this unit. It does this only when under a load when the battery is low. A quick charge in the 30 min. charger gets you back up and running in short order. The purchase of a second Li-Ion battery is well worth the cost. I love this tool! I have the multi-tool attachment and the impact driver attachment.

  11. Craig says

    A response to Todd & Scott’s comment: I’ve had the same problem, however, a fully charged battery doesn’t help. It seems to be a toss-up: either you get a unit with this problem or not. I have two batteries, and swap them when necessary, but once this problem arises, I usually give up. It takes only a very small amount of load to trigger the problem. I recently installed a door, and use the jobmax to cut off the cedar shims. I was half way through the second shim when it gave up. Usually it works again after a few hours rest… I will take mine back and try another unit.

  12. Larry says

    Purchased this multi system in March, 2010 form HD. Used enough to have to charge batteries several times. Initally charged quickly and worked great, except occasional dead spot as mentioned in earlier reviews. After a couple of months and what I would call little use, one battery would not charge at all and the other would only be useful for several minutes after charging. It took months for Service Dealer to get replacments. He replaced charger and both batteries. Both lasted one full charge of use and refuse to work the tools over serval minutes after the 2nd charge. Getting in touch with Ridid on the phone is not something they seem to want you to be able to do. Want you to do all correspondence online. Took everything back to Home Depot with receipt. Manager gave me great Customer Service and gave me full credit even tho the
    UPC number was no longer in their system. I loved this system and think if i could find the same package deal in a corded system, it would be awesome. But have no faith in any type of batteries at this point.

  13. don holden says

    I received a job mate starter kit for Fathers day. I haven’t used it until Oct, 11th,2011. I use this tool for both home and work, only problem, ”it doesn’t work’ I used the dry-wall cutter, it starts and then stops. The trigger no matter how many times u squeeze it, won’t keep it going. You have to keep squeezing and squeezing, it starts stops, then won’t go. The battery is fully charged, now I have to take it for service. Don’t buy at H.D, they just say take it to a service company. Time is money, The dry-wall was only 1/2” thick, the tool was a disapointment for sure

  14. Rob says

    I have seen these reviews for this unit but thought i would give it a shot. I purchased the combo unit along with the impact, right angle head and the new jig saw attachments. I used the cutting blade to cut out about 48″ of drywall to access some electrical but before i got thru the first cut the unit stopped. (About 15 secs) The trigger would not engage. So back to HD… I decided to trade it out with the corded version and keep all the attachments. The very next morning, i was on the job site and opened the box, took the power head out, attached the jig saw head to cut out the back of a cabinet for an outlet and before i even took the wire from the packaged power cord i noticed the trigger would not even depress. I moved the direction switch from F/R but did not change anything. Sp this corded unit was used zero seconds and did not work. Back to HD and returned everything. Probably spent more 1/4 tank of gas. I love Ridgid, 90% of all my tools are Ridgid but I must say they really screwed this up.

  15. says

    Did you try to reseat the attachment onto the JobMax handle? There is some sort of safety that prevents the trigger from being pulled if the tool head is not fully attached to the JobMax body all the way. If it is off by even a little, the tool won’t turn on. A good smack to the top of the tool attachment will usually do the trick.

  16. Jon D. says

    Battery Fix for 12v battery!

    After reading tons of negative reviews about ridgid battery becomes defective or charger not charging properly, here is a simply remedy to jump start dead battery. Had this jobmax for over a year and the charger and battery was stolen from a job site. Bought a used item on eBay labeled for parts on non working. From my electrical knowledge, I tested this item and found out what’s wrong with it. Here are the steps: Disassemble the battery housing and take out the three li-ion battery pack. Use a multimeter and check the continuity of the battery, it should register from 3.6 to >9.75, anything <3.6v is considered not operable because from internal cell damage. Plugged in the charger, use a multimeter on the contact point + and – should register 14.5v, this means in good order. Use any 12v trickle charger to jump start the dead battery pack. Do it for 10secs on 2amp and 10secs on 10amp, repeat twice or three times. You will notice that the battery pack had been charged. Use it under load with any attachment and it will discharged right away. Now place it on the charger and wait 1hour to fully charge. Charger will say its fully charged but its not, this is because the silicone diode being shorted from the battery pack. My guess about this common problem is the fact that is MADE IN CHINA. Now that the battery pack is revived you can recharged it up to 85% of its capacity, this is because of the diode being bypassed. Enjoy your newly revived 12v battery. Mine still holding its charge after 100 recharges!

  17. Chip Henry says

    Just know this, that your tool is only as good as your warranty. I tried to return some ‘lifetime’ tools for repair, and they only listed one item in the tools group- the charger. They intend to not honor the warranty. When I pressed to speak w/ someone higher up in the chain of command, I was put on hold for a very long time, then put into a voice mail that somebody went to lunch, wasn’t in to take my call. Just be aware that you’re buying a tool that may not get warranty. This will apply to the same tools manufacturer which makes Milwaukee, Rigid, and Ryobi. In my case it was Rigid. I was an early adopter.

  18. northman says

    I love the ‘China’ remarks that always surface on sites like this by all the rubes. Trades/self proclaimed diys have to be the most out of touch segment on the planet. They still call miter saws ‘Chop’ saws. Get with the evolution rubes. Also, battery tech seems to be getting more expensive with lesser quality. Go with corded when you can…nuts to the batteries.

    • says

      Yea, I know, right?! And then there are the guys that seem to only write in to complain about the guys that remark about country of origin.

      Everyone is entitled to share their opinions, as long as they don’t disparage other readers or commenters.

      Anyways, lithium ion battery tech doesn’t seem to be getting more expensive with lesser quality, at least from what I’ve seen. But, all li-ion cells have limited lifetimes; battery packs are essentially consider to be wearables. Go corded when you can is a great general recommendation.

  19. Rick Thomas says

    Batteries Batteries. Ridged knows they have a problem, They “UpGraded” to a New Battery and It’s a POS too! I bought a 120 volt plug-in Ridged so I can use the Tool with all the Attachments. It’s a great tool now, just not cordless. I spent $160 on batteries and another $100 on two chargers, not to mention trips back and forth to HD.

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