Didn’t we just post about the Ryobi 18V brushless cordless belt sander? Oh wait, that was the Ridgid belt sander. This is the neon green version. Err… I mean the Ryobi one, model P450.
There are some similarities, but also some differences.
- 5-position pommel (front) handle
- 850 FPM (feet per minute) max speed*
- Tool-free belt tracking
- Lock-on switch
- Front-mounted motor for even weight distribution
It also looks to have a flat face for flush sanding.
Compared to the Ridgid, the Ryobi doesn’t seem to have variable speed. That’s why I * the “max speed,” above. Ryobi says that the P450 18V belt sander can achieve speeds of up to 850 FPM, but I don’t see any speed controls, or mention of such in the product page.
The platten seems to be the same as on the Ridgid, which has an 18″ x 3″ belt size.
The Ryobi is bundled with an ordinary-looking dust bag, unlike the Ridgid’s AirGuard dust bag. Both have ports for a vacuum or dust collector.
The Ryobi has a 5-position pivoting front handle, the Ridgid has a sliding handle. Both have similar tool-free belt change lever, with the lever style looking to be the only difference.
Ryobi’s is priced at $129, vs. the Ridgid’s $149. But, Ryobi’s lineup is also less expensive to buy into.
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Where’s the Milwaukee version? Hehe, that was a joke – kind of. But seriously, will there be a Milwaukee version? Hmm…
Ryobi and Ridgid “good” and “better” models? It could be a good strategy. Stanley Black & Decker has tried this with their Dewalt and Porter Cable brands, but only a few times. Their tendency has been to design different tools, seemingly from the ground up.
There’s a Dewalt compact router, and a Porter Cable version, with the difference being variable speed and LED worklights on the Dewalt but not the Porter Cable. Now, several years later, the Dewalt kit pricing is lower than Porter Cable’s, although the bare bones Dewalt router is still around $10 more than the Porter Cable.
I’ve seen some cross-branding in Stanley Black & Decker hand tools, but nothing quite “good,” “better,” “best” in a similar sense as these Ryobi and Ridgid sanders.
It seems to me that the Ridgid is aimed at more serious users, the Ryobi at more budget-conscious users and DIYers.
I find the ergonomic differences to be curious. The Ridgid handle slides, but maintains the same angle, while Ryobi’s pivots, changing the angle and position.
Someone once told me that power tools aimed at DIYers are designed with smaller grips. Whether it’s universally true or not, I took it to mean that DIYer-focused power tools are designed with men and women in mind. Power tools aimed at professional use might then be considered as being designed more for those with medium to large hands – or gloved hands.
In addition to the ergonomics, the Ryobi lacks variable speed. Let me ask this, since it’s something I genuinely haven’t thought about before:
Does a belt sander need variable speed controls?
A belt sander is often used for rapid material removal, and belt sanders aren’t known for being very controllable. I’m usually of the mindset that variable speed is better to have and not need than to need and not have.
There’s also the battery ecosystem to consider – Ryobi’s batteries are considerably less expensive.
There’s good to have another option, and quite frankly the tools look different enough that one shouldn’t simply consider the Ryobi to be a cheaper version of the Ridgid. Yes, it’s less expensive, but also different. Sirloin vs. Ribeye. Yes, one is considered better than the other on paper, but take away budget considerations and it comes down to a matter of taste and preferences.
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