Ryobi has just come out with Phone Works, a new line of smartphone-connected testing and layout tools.
Ryobi Phone Works modules connect to your iOS or Android phone through the headphone jack and can be controlled through the free app.
There are clear advantages to some of the Ryobi Phone Works tools, such as the inspection camera and infrared thermometer, as they make great use of smartphones’ built-in cameras and large LCD displays.
Other tools, such as the noise suppressing earphones, offer interesting and useful functionality that you don’t often see in standalone tools.
Many of the tools come with smartphone mounting clips, and are powered using standard AA or AAA batteries.
We have samples of all the new Ryobi Phone Works tools, and will be testing them out shortly. For now, here’s a rundown of the different tools Ryobi has launched as part of the Phone Works system.
Ryobi Phone Works Inspection Scope
The Phone Works inspection camera (ES5000) features a 3-foot submersible and flexible cord with an LED work light, and it can be used up to 10-feet away from your smartphone. The scope captures images and videos straight to your smartphone.
Ryobi Phone Works Noise Suppressing Earphones
The noise suppressing earphones (ES8000) have a noise reduction rating of 30 dB, and meet OSHA safety standards. There is also a microphone that allows you to make calls when wearing the earphones. Not only that, the microphone can be used to record sound and noise.
The app allows you to selectively block noises up to 82 decibels and amplify sounds you need to hear – such as conversations and alerts.
Ryobi Phone Works Infrared Therometer
Ryobi’s Phone Works IR thermometer (ES2000) has a temperature measurement range of -22°F to 662°F, and can use your smartphone’s camera to create temperature overlays.
In a way it’s similar to the Flir TG165 imaging thermometer and Fluke VT04 visual thermometer, but it uses a visual image – instead of IR – for targeting and measurement logging.
Ryobi Phone Works Moisture Meter
The moisture meter (ES3000) can be used with the Phone Works app to take simple moisture measurements, but it also offers the ability to track moisture content over time. You could also compare measurements to location-based humidity ranges.
Ryobi Phone Works Stud Finder
The stud finder (ES5500) works to locate studs under drywall up to 3/4″ thick, and can find stud centers with 1/8″ accuracy. There is also a built-in stud marker that can be operated one-handed and with a push of your finger.
Ryobi Phone Works Laser Distance Measurer
The Phone Works laser distance measurer (ES1000) can be used to make length, area, volume measurements, and can also be used with indirect and continuous measurement modes. The App combines measurement data with camera images for handy reference. Accuracy is 1/16″ at 90 feet.
Ryobi Phone Works Laser Level
The laser level (ES1600) can be used as a crosshair level, as it utilizes your smartphone’s built-in sensors for precise level detection. It can also be used to make angular measurements, which can be overlayed on top of images taken with your smartphone’s camera.
Ryobi Phone Works Laser Pointer
The laser pointer (ES1500) can be used to project a simple dot, or as a level with horizontal and plumb level modes.
Inspection Camera: $100
IR Thermometer: $50
Noise Suppressing Earphones: $20
Moisture Meter: $30
Stud Finder: $20
Laser Distance Measurer: $80
Laser Level: $40
Storage Case: $20
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
More Info(via Ryobi)
The pricing and data recording on the inspection camera and maybe the IR thermometer make them interesting, but otherwise I’m not seeing much usefulness here over standalone devices. If they don’t use the phone’s battery I see no advantage at all, and what happens five years down the line when a compatible series of smart phones is long gone?
No advantage are you serious?? I can skip multiple steps getting info to a customer with a setup like this. The cam. is a great idea. recording temps and keeping them on a phone great idea.. keeping all your data on one device is a way better setup then on a bunch of standalones that cant access the net easily…
And if by some magic smart phones evolve in the next 5 years( I am sure they will) But really who cares?? Does that make the current device not usable??? My current phone can still connect to wifi(thats not going anywhere fast)… Used smart phones are cheap to free so you can dedicate one to this platform if needed..
The headphones seem to make good use of the smartphone. I’m really interested to see how those perform.
interesting, pretty cool idea, phones are everywhere so why not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Exactly. As someone who has multiple test and measurement tools that take up space, I can definitely appreciate the compact size aspect of the lineup.
But also, the app allows the tool to utilize the display and computing power of smartphones we already have. The inspection camera is $100, but standalone units with built-in color displays and both image and video capturing modes are priced considerably higher. Having a separate smartphone to handle display, image capture, and things like that allows the Phone Works tools to be smaller and less expensive.
I’m not tech savvy…at all…would you need a full time internet connection for the app to work?
I can see these ideas going pretty big.
I don’t think so.
The price is sure right! I don’t think things like laser distance measures and levels work well in this application. Between having to leave your phone somewhere for the level or the bulky packing it becomes for the measure. Also if you only have 1 phone you can only use 1 at a time. With levels and measures that isn’t always the case. Also for only a few more bucks you can get good stand alone options.
IR Cameras, Inspection cams, moisture meter are great applications. Most phone screens are WAY better then any screen used on a tool. I’d love to see more brands do this. Using the lighting connector would expand the abilities of the tools well beyond the basics. Fluke Connect is another one working on this tech.
I need a new stud finder. I’ll try it!
The stud sensor for $20 seems to be pretty good quality. I have one of those ones sold at Home Depot for $20 and this seems like one they sell for hundreds. I’ll try this and the headphones out. Cool Stuff!
Why not indeed… but I hope they market these tools better then their Tek4 line. I see a couple of potential items and a couple of clunky ones but the moisture meter is very interesting. But a dusty cardboard display unit at HD is not going to sell these tools. It’s going to take a lot of marketing…
Fun looking toys. I could not expose my phone to the daily grind though, regardless of the protective case. Purchasing a used phone or firing up an old kitchen drawer BB may be an option worth investigating.
I use my smart phone for estimating hvac systems every day. The laser distance meter and infrared thermometer are perfect for me. I just put an order through for them, I hope they work as good as they look!
hmm..practical or gimmick? maybe good for diy but on the field is a diffrent story. I doubt many people want to have tthere smartphones out and about (depending on wether or not these attachments work with cases to protect your phone if it falls with these devices on it. kinda like accidently dropping your new dewalt drill
Everyone walks around with a very powerful, general purpose computer in their pocket but all we seem to use them for is sending messages and playing games. I’d love to see more stuff like this.
This is a great point. I just got rid of a drawer-full of old iphones (AT&T had a promotion where they gave you $200 in credit for every 4, 4S, or 5, and $300 for a 5S). However, I try to keep at least one old iPhone in case something happens to one of ours.
I could see using an old phone, and could also see using something like an iPad for a larger image (if you can even do that).
I’d love for these things to work well. I’m a huge ryobi fan and hope the best for these things.
I just purchased the moisture meter and am completely thrilled. I have needed one for awhile as I am a wood turner and need to know the moisture content of the wood. I didn’t want to spend two or three hundred dollars for a unit and when I saw this for thirty dollars I figured I wouldn’t be out much if it didn’t work. It does an incredible job and is very accurate. I definitely recommend this product.
How did you get it to work?
Just got my laser measure, very very poor implementation. Worked 2 times that I tried, always indicating no battery (tried 4 sets, to no avail) its a software problem. Implementation is awful. Laser takes 3+ seconds every time to take a measurements. My Fluke measure fires as often as I want. Annoying laser safety message always pops up.
This is what I was hoping for (and video demos indicated it would do) be able to take a photo and shoot that measurement. All recorded together, so I could just walk around a site and fire and photo without having to write it all down. Also tried just to record a measurement to a note, which the software allows you to select, but you have to manually enter the dimension. What is the point? Peck away at a tiny keyboard. Nah, will stick with a real measure and just write it down. This could have been a godsend for site surveys, but instead its a return to send. Oh, I only got it to work 3 times anyways, because it did not recognize the brand new batteries I put in it.
How could you not tie the camera or notepad to the device! That would be the whole point of a laser measure…..the killer app is a laser measure that photos and/or records every time you shoot a measurement. That is, when it works and doesn’t think the batteries are dead, or pops up the umpteenth laser warning….aargh. Back to pen and paper and my Fluke measure.
Has Ryobi delayed delivery of these things or something? Practically every Home Depot in South Florida claims to have about 3 of every phone works tool in stock on their web pages, but no one in the stores can actually find them. I wanted to get the infrared thermometer.
I didn’t see a display at my local Home Depot either. My guess is that they’ll be put out in a week or maybe two for the holidays.
Just picked up the Ryobi laser level… multiple failures recognizing the device with an iPhone 4 before the two finally managed talked to one another. Looks promising but the laser refuses to stay on, constantly cutting in and out at infrequent intervals. Issue with phone, the level or software… not sure which one but it’s been frustrating thus far
Ryobi tech confirms that an issue exists with the Phone Works app and iPhones (at least regarding the laser level). iPhone users might want to approach these items with caution for the moment.
I really like this concept. So far the reviews for the stud finder at homedepot.com are a mixed bag, with some glowing and some dismal. It would be nice to see a pro review of these tools to see if the implementation provides a functional tool at a competitive price.
I have an iPhone 6 and I purchased the moisture meter and the noise reduction headphones yesterday. Both do not work well with the phone at all. They cut in and out, plus most of the time it says it can’t make a connection with the device. I’ve only gotten one decent reading from the moisture meter and the headphones don’t seem to have any noise canceling qualities whatsoever. I’m really disappointed because I wanted them to work, but for some reason they’ve dropped the ball when it comes to the iOS. Come on Ryobi let’s get it together!
The headphone noise cancellation is a total joke. TOTALLY WORTHLESS.
The also don’t stay in your ears, bad shape, and heavy on the outside of the ear.
Designed to suck, lol.
I have an HTC One M8 and I purchased the inspection camera, stud sensor and laser pointer. The only pproduct that works correctly is the laser pointer. I have been a Ryobi tool buyer and user for over a decade. The inspection camera is junk and the stud finder cannot connect with my phone. No matter which item I use and no matter how new the batteries are, the icon says the batteries are dead.
These are junk and I will be taking them back for refund and purchase stand alone products.
BAD BAD BAD – you can’t use the devices unless you register with them – and they have already been hacked !!! What happens when your working in a site with no cell service – very very bad idea.
I just received one of these as a gift … it refuses to register the device, and then you can’t use it. This seems like a terribly bad idea.
Save yourself time and frustration. Buy a different laser measurer.
Two wasted hours later and app is still unable to even register device as app will not ‘recognize’ device. Un-installed app, reinstalled it, Phone is up to date (iPhone 6, tried new batteries, etc). FAQ’s assume that these initial set-up steps have been completed with no recourse if you have are unable to complete them.
Worse than worthless.
They need to put an express warning on the packages saying this will not work with certain phones because not enough juice comes from the headphone jack. I have powerful enough phone spec wise, but it seems not enough from the jack. Which is stupid. They should be totally self powered. Luckily it was only the stud finder.
Very frustrating. The Infrared Thermometer will not connect with my iPhone 6. The device shows activated but the iPhone will not detect it when I plug it in. I’ve stopped all apps, powered off then powered on the iPhone and still nothing. I’ve deleted the app and reinstalled it and still nothing. I’m not getting a response from my email to Ryobi support.
And the packaging is the worst ever!
Update to my earlier post. I’m returning this item before my 90 days are up! There have been two iOS 8 updates and one Ryobi update and I still cannot get the device to connect. I did get a response to my email. Tech Support sent me a replacement that they said connected to their iPhone 6 but it would not connect to mine. A phone call to Tech Support took me through the same troubleshooting checklist to no avail.
Don’t waste your time with this one.
You have to plug in the temp sensor and hold the volume up key, because the phone automatically turns the volume down, (safety feature for earphones). the unit communicates through sound mostly…so I believe…I had same problems as everyone else…now I plug it in, open the software and hold the volume up..no problems…I just bought the inspection scope..doesn’t stay connected…when I figure that out I’ll post it. Oh using LG G3 btw…wish me luck
Think im gonna try my luck with the stud finder. Based on the reviews here it sounds like these tools are gonna be discontinued faster than the Tek4 line LOL. As absolutely brilliant and powerful as the One+ line is, its hard to believe they could mess this and the Tek4 line up so bad. Granted it seems like all the anger is from iphone users.
Ne fonctionne pas, avant d’acheter vérifiez si ‘App est disponible. Ils disent que mon téléphone est compatible et ce n’est pas le cas. Belle attrape!
Doesn’t work, my phone is compatible but App is not available
I purchased the laser measure lastnight. Thinking this is gonna be an awsome tool. I am a roofer and instead of getting out the ladder and measumeasuring I could just point and shoot! Imagine the time saving quotes!
Unfortunately I will ne returning today. I have a Zte Maxx Phone running 4.4.2 KitKat and it is incompatible with the software! Imagine that! A NEW product line comes out and its not compatable with the NEW (yr old) smartphone systems……
RYOBI, Im disappointed in you 🙁
Did you ever get it to work. I have the zmax pro as well and cannot get the laser level to work, very disappointed!
Slower that an tape – at the speed of light!
Laser Distance Measurer is completely useless – response time ranges from 15 – 45 secs to take a single measurement. Somewhat fun as a laser pointer – toy – not a tool
I bought the ES3000 moisture meter and after many failed attempts to connect with my Android it finally decided to work. Once. I didn’t really trust the readings it gave me.
Today I try to use it and it won’t recognize the device and always gives a dead battery indication even after three new batteries.
DO NOT BUY. It is a waste of money.
Ryobi inspection scope won’t work ! Brand new
Well I bought the moisture meter thinking it would help me with my bowl turning and tables I make. I should have read the revues first. This thing is total crap. It wont connect and when I plug it in to my LG Phoenix 4 the app connects it as the laser pointer. The original post for this thread is Oct. 2014 that is almost 5 years ago. I can’t believe they still have these on the shelves in Home Depot. This is total negligence on Home Depot as well as Ryobi. If I knowingly wasted peoples time and money by selling garbage to them I would be out of business before I could blink. DO NOT BUY THIS CRAP. They have had 5 years of complaints and still are selling them without doing a single thing to remedy the issues. I will never buy another Ryobi tool in my life not that I own any others because I always thought they were made poorly…well it turns out I was right.
Their ES2000 Infrared thermometer will not be recognized by their own Phone Works app no matter what you do. Total waste of money.