As you might be aware, Ryobi LINK is the brand’s Home Depot-exclusive modular tool box and workshop storage system.
The Ryobi Link system launched in late-2021, expanded with new accessories in mid-2022, and then additional tool box and accessories were announced in late 2022.
Many pros, contractors, and tradespeople use Ryobi cordless power tools and accessories, as the brand offers numerous versatile solutions that fit certain gaps in users’ tool needs.
But are any pros out there using Link system tool boxes yet?
In a recent social media post (embedded below), Ryobi says:
Roll into the jobsite with RYOBI LINK Mobile Storage.
Their video shows a worker rolling a Link tool box combo through the dirt and into an unfinished residential jobsite.
This has me wondering if any pros are using Link tool boxes in such a manner yet.
Some of you are likely to say something along the lines of “hahaha, no way, never.” Okay, but why? Aesthetics? Pricing? Brand image?
Objectively speaking, their pricing is a bit high, both in comparison to competing brands’ and for what I would expect from Ryobi.
However, the specs and functionality seem reasonably competitive.
To be frank, I see Ryobi Link as a consumer and DIYer storage and organizational system. But that doesn’t mean it’s not used by pros. If pros are using Ryobi tool boxes, I’m curious to hear about their experiences.
How have the tool boxes held up, and why did you choose Ryobi Link over other brands’ modular tool box and storage systems?
Personally, I don’t expect to see pros rolling up to jobsites with Link system tool boxes, but that could potentially change. What would it take, aside from lower prices? Van and truck mounting accessories? Solutions missing from other brands’ tool box systems?
Here’s Ryobi’s “roll into the jobsite” post:
How about the Rigid I mean Klein boxes coming soon?
Klein? Haven’t seen any yet.
Look in the Packout Hangout & Organization Nation group on Facebook.
Whenever I buy plastic junk with build-in fail points (short plastic hinge-pins)I like it to have a more elite sounding brand name: Seriously, I’m jealous when dudes roll up with their packout or tough boxes but you know they will all be in the landfill in 10 years—anr there for the next 10,000. Plumbers in Minnesota have used Huot made part boxes for a long time—metal—heavy but a box might last your career.
Ryobi doesn’t have the cool factor, but it seems like they would work otherwise. Prices seem high to me too though.
I have small and medium ryobi tool boxes as a mobile auto tech I liked how easy they latch and unlatch and lid action. I was gonna get the hand truck but my work got us all Milwaukee packout 2and 3 drawer tool boxes. They are fine. I think very competitive. I feel the Milwaukee is a little more durable but neither have failed me.
I have no horse in this race and I’m sure they’re just fine as daily pro storage. But I doubt many are using them and I’d guess it boils down to image (and cost).
Maybe if it says “Ryobi,” the thieves will move along. There’s your added value.
That low hanging snark aside, I would love more storage that I can wheel out of the basement and into the back yard. At this point in time and price, however, I think Milwaukee has its hooks in me. I’m surprised that there aren’t more bundles to really get people locked in on a brand for more than batteries.
Newcomers to Milwaukee’s Packout system can configure their own starter bundles whenever there are “buy more, save more” or “free with purchase” promotions.
I have found Packout to be better than ToughSystem, L-Boxx, Ridgid, and other systems for workshop storage towers, due to being able to pull boxes apart from the apart as opposed to the sides.
For a mix of workshop/basement and mobile storage, the new Ridgid rolling tool box’s removable dolly handle is convenient as you can attach it to any XL tool box. They need more accessories, such as a 4-wheel dolly.
I’m interpreting “due to being able to pull boxes apart from the apart as opposed to the sides” as meaning “apart from the front”. I tend to load them “backwards” in the van and “forward” in the shop, so I have to move the stack anyway to get them apart as the front of the stack is against the wall.
I have Milwaukee and Ridgid boxes; started with Ridgid and still use them, but Milwaukee is the everyday use stuff. A Ridgid dolly would be great, followed by drawers.
As for the dolly, this was posted almost 5 years ago and we’re still waiting.
The Ridgid Pro Gear lineup is limited based on what Home Depot can and will place in stores.
Wait you can do *what*? I just want to be able to put a packout cooler on the bottom of a stack while retaining a collapsible handle. (not a tradesman… Just a hacker with enough $ but major organization struggled and being able to do a tailgating/camping kit would be *nice*, and Milwaukee has by far the best stackable cooler). If ridgid makes a cooler of that calibre… Hmmm…
I agree that there may be some situations where this may effect the professional perception of a worker to clients or (general) contractors that matter. Not a huge consideration for most situations and probably varies greatly based on local market. If we’re talking about a $200 or less cost difference for a pro it may be something worth considering.
Craftsman tradestack also has the button on the front. It’s really an amazingly easy and smooth latching system. Plus they come with converter plates that let you put tstak/versa stack on top… I love their 2 drawer boxes too.. I have 3 of them and left them out in the rain and everything inside was bone dry. However they don’t lock like Milwaukee drawers, they just snap in closed and you have to lift the grip button to open them. For me that’s not a deal breaker, but I know some people need to be able to lock everything.
Never seen on a job. Lots and lots of Packout hard cases, Klein and Husky soft bags/totes.
I haven’t seen the Ryobi stuff in the wild but that doesn’t mean it’s not working out for others. I like the new Ridgid system especially for the price and my specific needs
Cant say Ive ever seen ANY Ryobi in commercial construction. Dewalt, Milwaukee, and every once in a while Makita.
If you’re a small contractor bidding on jobs, this is going to cost you many times over on clients’ perception.
Ryobi is heavily and deliberately marketed as a DIY and homeowner brand. The ‘Ryobi-nation’ is built on the premise that tools are accessible and projects are achievable by anyone. To introduce Ryobi green at the start of a project, for anyone familiar with the brand, is at some level going to send the message that you are doing a job they could have done themselves.
And that psychologically affects the type of scrutiny they may bring to your work, and what they are willing to pay.
It’s not very different from showing up in a clean shirt vs. a muddy one. Or a polo shirt vs. a t-shirt from the local bar.
…and a Milwaukee they also saw in the same aisle at Home Depot doesn’t?
I don’t know that I buy that.
So you’re saying a mechanic that uses snapon wrenches is better for their customers than one that uses all icon wrenches?
I tend to look at how someone uses their tools, and that not all of their tools are brand spanking shiny new, than the specific brand
I agree. I’m a Ryobi user, while my sons in law both have DeWalt and Milwaukee. If a contractor showed up at my house with Ryobi, I might actually feel happy to see that someone else thinks I bought quality tools, LOL. But I think for the average homeowner, they aren’t going to notice the difference or pay attention to the brands onsite, just the cool tools and how they’re used.
Perception is a little like smoke & mirrors. Word of mouth on job satisfaction if probably worth more. The tools in the boxes probably speak louder than what toolbox their in. Just noticed Festool has a sustainer xxl-337 $125.00, it’s over 31” . Neat for longer items!
Perception is different than illusion.
Clients who are perceptive are often very attuned to details, and are willing to pay a premium for people who get the details right.
Even when I come recommended and a job has been decided over the phone, there are people who still put me through a soft interview upon first meeting.
You or I might not care what color box the tools come in, or for appearances in general, but many do, and they often hold the purse-strings.
The Ryobi stack looks fun, but I don’t want to be that kind of fun when it comes to discussing my compensation. The Ridgid Pro Gear or Husky Connect systems are much more practical in that regard.
31″ systainer! It looks very sci-fi. Although they are sturdier than they look, I know how this would end for me. Someone from my team would drop it on a curb or send a stack of plywood into it.
I know Fred has mentioned here a few times about customer perception. Like keeping their work vans up to date, rather than showing up in a rusted out vehicle. But it seems these Ryobi toolboxes are like carrying a Micky Mouse lunchbox around. I don’t think their quite on that level.
The customer barely knows what tools are, thats why they’re hiring someone. I’ve never had a customer look in my van and go “Ah this guy has the wrong brand tool boxes I’d better hire someone else” lol
Most of my clients are fairly knowledgeable.
Some truly skilled folks will work forever out of buckets. They don’t necessarily get paid what the guys who roll up with Systainers get paid.
I think the only people who care about the brands are the people using them. 99% of homeowners contracting someone out to do work won’t give a shit or even know the brands involved, the work done is what determines referrals.
I do see some landscaping workers using ryobi leaf blowers around where I live but it’s not a majority, and I’ve never seen the ryobi toolboxes around.
Blocky is wise. I know it’s the craftsman, not the tool, that makes the job, but my subconscious says “Milwaukee is better”.
Clients don’t care one iota what brand power tool is being used.
Anyone claiming they do is lying to themselves and everyone else.
Well, I have been a client, and you can bet I will check what tools the contractors have. I have a couple o friends that also do, and tell me, “I can’t believe this guy is a pro and uses XXX”.
Then all the HGTV or DIY shows, how many on this board check what they use….and why do you think the brands like Milwaukee or Dewalt, or other brands pay the users of shows to exclusively use their tools?
Because some people check, and care.
BTW, I do believe that those, like myself, that check and care are a small percentage, but for sure, we are out there.
My mom uses them!!!!
She has 3 sets like in the pic and rolls them into craft shows selling homemade baked goods. In 2022 she did 130k gross sales.
Not sure if that is considered professional use?
Very cool. Imagine what she could pull in delicious sales.
Professional is when you make money so that’s pretty awesome, maybe not what Stuart had in mind but in my mind definitely counts!
The Thin Man
Josh, here’s an idea. Buy your mom a set of Milwaukee packouts and see if she makes more money in 2023. (Just kidding, but on the other hand…)
The big question is why you would buy them: They’re a new entrant into the market and aren’t significantly cheaper than other options (many of which have available at a significant discount at one point or another) and anyone who’s been working in the trades for X years has been hauling tools to the jobsite for X years. Many people who are attracted to modular, stacking systems have already invested in one with some other brand’s colored plastic.
The “lego style” connection could be cool, no the other hand, I can imagine that if there’s just a bit of give in the plastic – whether from an over-stuffed box, heat or whatever else, it might create issues that you don’t have with Toughsystem, Ridgid, etc. systems.
That’s what I want to know too. I can see hypothetical benefits for wall-to-truck-to-jobsite users, but I don’t know if any pros are actually doing that.
I might be really wrong about this, but wall-truck-jobsite makes me think of “prosumer,” someone that does enough stuff on their own to have fully outfitted workshop and often finds themselves helping out friends/family, etc. Then the tools are at home most of the time but occasionally make it out to the wide world.
Some videos of “pros” hauling them around mud pits makes marketing sense – “see – real pros use them” – the same way ads for a GMC SUV say that it’s “professional grade,” even if 90% of the sales are for people hauling kids to practice.
I would use them, if you have milwaukee deep pockets, go-ahead. I like to keep most of my money I make. Not to change the subject but u really like the tough built products, less money well constructed, lifetime warranty and the pouch system is spot on. I am a electrician.
I actually saw some one the jobsite today. First time.
My coworker bought the three box set from Home Depot about 3 months ago. They have more internal volume than my packout, but that’s because the plastic is very thin in comparison. He’s already had to repair and re-attach the handle, and the wheels are starting to come loose. To be fair though, he isn’t easy on his tools.
These Ryobi boxes would be more than enough for a DIY’er or someone who doesn’t move them around too much (kept in the truck or van for storage), but they don’t hold up very well to everyday usage and abusage.
I forgot to mention, I’m a commercial electrician.
I use the large ryobi box without the wheels. Especially good for flying with the quick latches and a hoke for a padlock (i use zipties incase TSA neess to inspect)
The Rigid 2.0 should dominate all the value storage systems. It’s got great quality, solid construction and innovative features.
None of the packout systems make any sense for me. There is such a limited amount of places where this is a good method of moving tools. I pretty much want to have a trailer with a ramp that I’m not going to work out of. Not a van because if I just need a tool out of a box I’m going to have to move the stack around to access the one with the correct tool. Dang things all look alike as well so it would be easy to forget which one has the tool you need. I need the job site to be easy to roll in and out of. Limited mud depth on the jobsite, reasonable entryways. Preferably without too much crap in the way. I sure as heck don’t want to haul a full stack up multiple sets of stairs. I’m also going to want the site to be secured at night, because it’s not worth dragging this much crap back to the truck every day. Frankly, I’ve never seen a job site where they make sense.
If you have a ramp on your vehicle, a few different pack outs with drawers, and a good labeler, they can be decent. I’ve seen some pretty sweet setups from local cabinet and finish carpentry guys. In the end there are ups and down to every system. The Milwaukee pack outs get real heavy quick moving the up stairs (first hand knowledge).
Brother makes a great labeling machine. Or, use tape and a marker.
On our crew, I bought rigid, other dude pack out, other guy Ryobi. We use them everyday, professionally. My opinion of Ryobi is surprisingly high, mostly because of the cordless nailers. But the link system feels cheap. It was also the only system to miserably fail: handles and wheels broke off, latches failed.
Skip it dudes.
My wife and I own a commercial mechanical contacting company. We are heavily invested in Milwaukee tools and by extension the Packout system. I’m not seeing a compelling reason to switch to the Ryobi system at this time. Everyone on our crews really likes the Packout boxes and they have proven to be very durable. I’d have to see some long term data for the Ryobi boxes to consider spending the prices they are asking for them.
I have yet to see any Ryobi boxes or tools at any of our job sites.
The main reason I see for mke tools to be a strong motivator to use packout is the couple packout tools (vacuums and lights). Outside of that it seems more like branding and aesthetics. Milwaukee’s system does seem objectively superior in most categories except price but I dont really see using their tools as a primary reason to pick their system.
The reasons to use Packout become fairly clear in our profession. Cost isn’t an issue, we pass operating costs to our clients during the bidding process. We have tried every other option except for Systainer, and none performed as well or lasted as long as Packout. In reality, if a client or general contractor observes our crews “wasting” time fighting with a toolbox instead of working on our project scope, that would certainly cause some questions no matter what color our tools are. In short, we have had great success with Milwaukee tools in general and that is our primary reason for us to use Packout. Packout is not perfect, but it does seem to be the best for our needs. It may sound a bit silly, but if we are working on a large, high dollar value new construction project for a hospital complex, every little detail matters. Including how we transport tools to the jobsite.
Also, if you purchase enough Milwaukee tools through our HVAC wholesalers, you get substantial discounts. We pay less for a full Packout stack than we would pay for a comparable Rigid or Ryobi solution through HD.
Our tool brand choice has never been about prestige, it is about what works the best for our given trade, lasts the longest, and keeps our crews productive.
Conversely, it seems like most of the steel stud framing crews on jobsites are using DeWalt tools and storage solutions and that seems to work for their individual needs.
I can’t comment on what residential contractors are using as we haven’t worked any residential projects in years.
I see lots of Ryobi in construction (resi and commercial). Yet, I don’t see any Ryobi tool storage. I use Ryobi tools, but I’d spring for the Flex Tool storage or save and buy Hart storage system. Ryobi is just at that awkward point where it’s too expensive to be a deal but offers nothing special. The lack of options stink too. Where are the drawers, clear top organizers, or a bottom box I can sit on?
All in all, I love the tools, the bang for the buck is high. I came Milwaukee fuel to Ryobi and haven’t looked back. I’m hoping Ryobi has HP version similar to Flex or Milwaukee.
Nope, no Ryobi here in NE Texas.
My personal opinion is that a real professional will use the tool that best suits them. Not everyone needs to be able to kick their boxes off a roof or light on fire to prove their professionalnessism. If you need a box that’s easy to find in even the brightest or darkest light, is cheap and holds stuff, why not ryobi. Tools are disposable.
I am a tradesmen-carpentry, drywall, painting, framing, some HVAC, and electrical work. I use the 3 pack Ryobi link rolling set along with all the Ryobi ONE+ HP tools. I gotta say I only have had one latch break on me- that was my own fault from over packing the damn thing but other then that it has held up just fine! I mean, it does get to be pretty heavy with all the tools I lug around, so I need help if IAM getting it upstairs or downstairs lol but I think the bonus benefit of using them is that I can really really use the hell out of these tools and put a heavy beating on them without being worried about going broke if I need to replace something. The HP tools are right up their with DeWalt and Milwaukee (IAM not saying better by any means) but for real- the price difference compared to damn near the same speed of work, you can’t beat it!
Don’t get me wrong, if IAM doing any sort of light duty hanging of lumber I’ll grab the Milwaukee fuel 12v for how compact and strong it is, but any heavy duty stuff my Ryobi ONE+HP Impact hangs with DeWalt and Milwaukee just fine.
Just wanted to add my two cents since I def do get looks all the time from other crews that look at me like IAM crazy for rolling into the jobsite rocking all green and everyone else is totally invested thousands of dollars into their overpriced ←(my opinion) packout gear when mine cost me $250 and does the same damn thing as their setup.
I just can’t wait for Ryobi to release their link 2 drawer toolbox I saw a preview of! It def does suck having to go through your whole damn box to find something all the way at the bottom of it :/ be much better to have drawers to pull out and find things much faster and be all around much more organized with the whole setup. Just like packout gear, Ryobi needs to go all in with more options for the link setup and I think more people might actually decide it could be worth while investment after all, if you don’t have an extra $900 to start out with collecting a packout kit .
If Ryobi released a rolling bottom box that was a drawer, it would have a lot of people looking again.
This is what blocky was saying about perception. If you show up on a job site with other tradesman, and they think you’re crazy for choosing the Ryobi, even though you may be great at what you do, will one or more people not think of recommending you because of perception? If you’re known and have a good reputation, it might not matter.
I guess it depends on where in the country you are. Just about every electrician here has the Ryobi portable bandsaw, flooring guys have Ryobi battery miter saws, finish carpenters have the nailers, and the general contractors have a mix of all brands including Ryobi. I’d saw about 15-25% of the power tools on the job site (resi and small commercial) are Ryobi.
Where I work we have trades people (mostly electricians, plumbers, and steamfitters) working all over the campus indoors and outside. So, I’m talking about commercial and not residential. Some of them are employees and others are contractors. Almost always their tools and especially their tool boxes, carts, chests, ladders, etc. are spray painted with their initials (either their own or their company) in some hideous pink or lime green color. Nobody seems to care what tool brand anyone is using…just get the job done…do it right…don’t get hurt…go home to family.
I think I’d be more interested in Ryobi’s Toolblox Tool Cabinet System (which is NAINA, and possibly not available anywhere now); at least it’s different, not a me-too system.
I’ve never seen any pros in my orbit using ryobi anything, excepting the cordless finish nailers.
I see plenty of pack out stuff around.
Some of the previous posters are correct, in my view, about image perception. Some folks don’t notice or care, but usually customers that have a lot of money aren’t foolish…else they wouldn’t have as much money.
Maybe the ryobi boxes are good, maybe not. Brands that are the cheapest on the shelf at a big box, like Hart at Walmart, would not be the professional image that I would want to present.
Probably depends on a person’s clientele and how they want to portray their business. The boxes might be fine, but I wouldn’t use them in my company. Just one guy’s opinion. They might work fine for a commercial or new construction person. Occupied residential remodeling, especially in the higher end, is a different world, much of which revolves around professionalism, cleanliness, appearances and high end vacuum cleaners.
I think all of the comments are valid.
Not all customers, but some might NOT think highly of the Ryobi boxes rolling up to their place. Likewise with the tools themselves, I think Ryobi tools are quite good and have some, but there is a stigma and some customers may look at either the boxes or tools and think less of the contractor.
For co-workers, I would say that the construction trade has a bit more “testosterone” than a typical office job. Again, not all, but some might see Ryobi boxes (or tools) and think this guy or gal is a cadet.
In the auto shops, the Snap On guys stand tall and firm, because they believe they have the best. Meanwhile others in the shop look at the Snap On guys and behind their backs comment on the debts they have or how much more they could have had, not spending on Snap On.
So it goes both ways. There is perception and there is stigma is there, by some co-workers, and some customers.
I’ve tried them in the store, and they seek too flimsy. The cost is a bit high for the quality.
Then again that’s what I see in their tools. They are good for homeowners or light use DiY set ups. But I need a power tool that will perform to the highest standards each and every time I grab it. That goes for my tool storage.
Don’t get me wrong, I have owned a few green Ryobi tools in the past, but they were for home use. At that time, the tools I used on the job were either yellow or red. Now it’s only big red, for good reason. Pay now instead of paying again and again later.
They may be ok for some people, and that’s OK.
Everything looked fine adult ryobi boxes except price base price is like 20-25% higher than it should be
Why buy ryobi boxes when for the nearly same price I can get tough system or packout
The only reason Ryobi Link exists is to serve as a foil to Packout. The high prices of Link make Milwaukee Packout look more like a bargain. Consumer psychology 101. Typical HD shopper will think “why get Link when I can get Packout for just a few bucks more?” So they get Packout, and think they made off like bandits, all while it’s actually TTI making off like bandits.
No. That’s like saying Ryobi 18V only exists to make Milwaukee M18 look better.
Well, you’re right, because Ryobi 18V was around for over a decade before “Milwaukee M18” was even an idea scribbled on a whiteboard in a corporate boardroom.
So just had to come in and comment. Was driving down the street this morning I saw a contractor unloading a Ryobi tool box stack from his truck and rolled it across the road in front of me. It was a double stack with what looked like either a mini chop saw or maybe a track saw laying on top of the box.