Ryobi has expanded their rotary tool lineup recently, with a new 18V One+ HP brushless rotary tool, model PBLRT01B, being one of the biggest surprises.
I had quite a few “I didn’t think they’d do that” moments when first looking over the new Ryobi cordless rotary tool.
To start off, Ryobi says that their 18V brushless rotary tool delivers 2X more power under load, which sounds reasonable for a more premium tool with brushless motor.
They also advertise their precision handpiece with durable aluminum construction. The metal handpiece with knurled grip looks to be a major highlight.
It’s hard to tell from the product images, but the new aluminum handpiece looks to be a nice size. The handpieces features a 1/8″ collet size.
From the product images, the Ryobi battery, motor, and controller unit can be hung from a vertical support, similar to the default nature of higher-end flex-shaft tools by Foredom and others.
Ryobi shows off the new brushless rotary tool being used for a wide range of tasks, including wood carving.
The main appeal of a flex-shaft rotary tool like this is that the big weight – in this case the battery, motor, and controls – are removed from the handpiece. Yes, you have to contend with a shaft, but a good handpiece is going to be more nimble than a one-piece rotary tool.
Additionally, flex-shaft tools means you can have a more powerful motor than one-piece rotary tools.
Key Features & Specs
- 1/8″ collet size
- Variable speed
- 1,000 to 25,000 RPM
- 36″ shaft length
- 40pc accessory set
- 4X faster accessory changes
- Aluminum handpiece
- Integrated hanger
- Compatible with foot pedals
Although Ryobi doesn’t show it very clearly, the base unit is said to have “foot pedal capabilities,” which implies that you can connect standard foot pedals for hands-free power control. It’s not clear if a foot pedal allows for variable speed control or simple on/off control.
Lastly, it looks like Ryobi has adopted a Dremel EZ Lock-like interface for their new cut-off wheels.
Price: $149 (tool-only)
This looks to be a huge step up from Ryobi’s new and existing cordless rotary tools.
You get a brushless motor, a base station with built-in speed control and foot pedal compatibility, which will be a big deal to some users. The tool also comes with a robust-looking aluminum-bodied handpiece.
Let’s talk about the speed range, which goes from 1,000 to 25,000 RPM. Most handheld rotary tools top out at 35,000 RPM, and so it might be strange to see a lower max speed on what’s supposed to be a more premium tool.
The average rotary tool on the market today, such as from Dremel, might operate at 5,000 to 35,000 RPM. Here, you don’t get to as high a max speed, but you get a much lower minimum speed. For context, Foredom’s SR series motor, which is their go-to flex-shaft tool motor, operates at up to 18,000 RPM.
In other words, 25,000 max RPM should be okay. That you can take the motor speed as low as 1,000 RPM could be the bigger deal.
The downside of a flex-shaft rotary tool is that it’s not very portable. Ryobi’s cordless brushless motor and control unit definitely changes things a but, but this is more of a “bring your work to the tool” type of hobbyist, crafter, and maker product.