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