Ridgid’s entry in the Black Friday 2018 $99 cordless drill/driver kit deal competition is their R861162SB special buy. The drill is advertised as providing “the power of a full-size hammer drill in a compact and lightweight size,” and Ridgid also says that this drill delivers “best-in-class” torque.
We bought one for review, to see how Ridgid’s $99 cordless drill combo stacked up against the others.
Ridgid’s R86116 brushless drill has been the center of holiday season drill kit deals in the past, but I believe this is the first time that it’s being offered with (2) Li-ion battery packs at the same $99 pricing.
Here’s what you get – the drill/driver, an auxiliary handle, removable belt clip, (2) 1.5Ah battery packs (with fuel gauges), and a charger. There’s also a double-ended screwdriver bit that’s clipped to the bit holder at the rear base of the drill.
The auxiliary handle required assembly, which took barely a few seconds, and I also attached the belt hook to avoid losing it.
- 750 in-lbs max torque
- 0-500/0-2000 RPM
- 0-6,500/0-26,000 BPM
- 1/2″ chuck
- Micro-clutch with 100+ settings
- 7-1/2″ length (measured)
- Weighs 4.72 lbs with battery, aux handle, and included screwdriver bit (measured)
- LED light with independent switch
- Bundled with (2) 1.5Ah batteries
- Bundled with R86092
On the back of the drill you’ll find Gen5X branding. (Someone asked about this.)
The Ridgid R86116 18V brushless hammer drill has a 3-position switch, for toggling between hammer drill mode, screwdriving and fastening mode, and drilling mode. The benefit of a switch like this is that you can set the adjustable clutch and then go back and forth between drilling and driving without having to turn the clutch wheel back and forth each time.
Speaking of the clutch wheel, it offers 100+ micro-positions, allowing you to dial-in the perfect torque setting. It’s not quite smooth to turn, but I also can’t see anyone having difficulty with it.
At the lower-end of the torque range, I had a little trouble dialing in the clutch for driving in #6 x 5/8″ screws into softwood (pine 2×4). This is a tricky test, and most drills do the same thing. Too little torque, and it won’t fully drive the screw flush. Too much, and it’ll strip out the threads. Pre-drilling and countersinking the head would be the better way to go.
But, with a little more control on my part, it passed the test.
I can’t speak as to whether the 100+ position micro-clutch is better than the fewer settings in other cordless drill/drivers. It’s different. I was worried that having so many unmarked positions could hurt repeatability, but since there are so many different sizes of screws and fasteners, and many different substrates and work materials, you’ll need to rely on trial and error each time anyway.
In other words, it’s an interesting distinction, but one that I feel neutrally about.
The direction selection switch works without difficulty.
The speed selector switch is also easy to slide back and forth.
Is the Ridgid R86116 powerful for its size? Absolutely. It completed all of my quick-test scenarios with speed and efficiency.
- 1/8″ twist drill
- 1/4″ twist drill
- 1/2″ self-feeding spade bit
- 3/4″ self-feeding spade bit
- 1″ self-feeding spade bit
- 1-1/2″ self-feeding spade bit
- 1-1/4″ self-feeding auger bit
Even up to a 1-1/2″ self-feeding spade bit, the Ridgid simply bored through the test material (pine 2×4) like it was nothing.
The drill bits have a max speed of 1500 RPM. I only tested the 1/2″ size at both high and low speed settings (500 and 2000 RPM), and it was impressively fast, with no hiccups.
For the larger bits, the auxiliary handle is a must, as the drill has enough to power to cause soreness or even bodily damage should a bit bind up and cause the drill to kickback and twist your arm.
From smallest to largest spade bit, the drill simply plowed through the wood.
With a 1-1/4″ self-feeding auger bit, the drill bound up at break-through, but completed the hole with a second press of the trigger switch. This happened twice.
Even with my largest bits, the Ridgid brushless drill had power to spare. It completed each series of tests quickly and efficiently, with perfect results.
I did not test its hammer mode yet.
- #6 x 5/8″ self-drilling wood screw (Philips #2)
- #8 x 1-1/4″ self-drilling wood screw (Philips #2)
- #10 x 2″ self-drilling wood screw (Philips #2)
- #10 x 3-1/8″ self-drilling wood screw (Torx T25)
- 1/4″ x 3″ self-drilling lag screw (3/8″ nutdriver)
As mentioned, some fine-tuning was required to perfectly drive in #6 x 5/8″ screws, but the Ridgid didn’t fare any worse than other tools of this class. Those are small screws, this is a powerful drill. Even so, it could do the job, just requiring a little added care. For those screws, the clutch was set to 16 (out of 100+), meaning that the drill should be capable of even lower-torque tasks.
All the other fastener-driving tests (into pine 2×4) went smoothly and quickly. Compared to a slower drill/driver, such as the Craftsman V20 cordless drill, the Ridgid’s added speed and power is extremely noticeable.
Even driving in 3″ self-drilling lag screws didn’t seem to be a challenge. I was able to fully drive in Spax 1/4″ x 3″ lags with the clutch set to ~90.
Since my testing was largely aimed to get a feel for how well the Ridgid performed compared to other $99 cordless drill kits of the season, I didn’t have enough materials on-hand to test it with even larger fasteners and more challenging work materials.
But, from what I was able to test it on so far, I can easily conclude that it’s a fast and powerful drill, with striking advantages when tested side-by-side against some other holiday season specials.
Another Nice Touch
The LED worklight is nice touch, compared to the single small LED that a lot of cordless drills still feature. The light is located at the base of the drill, and it has an independent trigger switch at the lower part of the handle grip. The light turns on with the drill, of course, but that independent trigger switch allows you to activate it separately, without pulling the main trigger switch.
It seems convenient to be able to have a burst of illumination when you need it. And if you don’t? Simply ignore it. That secondary switch is there if you need it, and easy to ignore if you don’t.
- Power: 5/5
- Speed: 5/5
- User Experience: 4/5
- Value: 5/5
On paper as well as in my experience, this IS the most powerful cordless drill/driver in its class of compact cordless drills and hammer drills. And by its “class,” I would define that as brushless drill/driver kits priced at $150 or less, maybe even $200 or less. Bring up the Milwaukee M18 Fuel drill/driver or hammer drill, or other premium-priced pro offerings, and things change.
$99 is a very good value for what you get.
The Ridgid R86116 is a highly capable cordless drill, and the R861162SB is a great deal at $99. The 1.5Ah batteries last a good while too, and it’s very convenient that there are (2) of them in the kit. Past “special buy” kits offered a single 2.0Ah battery.
I docked the drill a single point in the “user experience” category because I have never loved the adjustable clutch. It does what it’s supposed to, but I prefer the more traditional feel of other adjustment wheels.
I’ve tested the Ridgid R86116 cordless drill before, and it has always left me with good feelings. But this time around, it really stands out against other cordless drills in the same price range.
I wouldn’t really call it a “compact” cordless drill, though, based on the fact that it’s so powerful it needs to be bundled with an auxiliary handle. Size-wise, it compares to Milwaukee’s latest M18 Fuel drills, but also some brands’ 12V-class drills.
It’s fast, powerful, and it plowed through medium duty tests that make lesser drills cry for mercy. If you’re looking for a cordless drill kit this holiday season, this is an incredibly capable model and a value-priced package deal.
There are reasons to go in a different direction, however. For light-to-medium duty tasks, a more compact and lightweight drill might be a little more pleasing to use. Or maybe you want to buy into a different brands’ cordless power tool platform.
But if you need a powerful cordless drill, and either don’t care about the battery platform or are specifically interested in exploring Ridgid’s other cordless power tool options, this might be the best choice for you.
Some users know exactly what they’ll use a tool for when they buy it. But many don’t, and for such users the drill’s power and hammer drill functionality is a big selling point, as they can come in handy later on, when unforeseen tasks and applications come up.
There are more powerful drills out there, maybe even ones that can deliver faster application speeds. But, certainly not anywhere close to this price range, at least not in my experience.
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
The sample featured in this review was purchased at retail pricing.