This is not a brand I would have ever expected to have in my shop, but...

From my Twitter stream, on April 30th 2014:

@RIDGIDPower I appreciate the follow, but have come to associate Home Depot with low quality and cheap, so am unlikely to become a customer.

And, surprising me, they engaged! We sent email back and forth, their rep offered to send me a battery powered tool combo kit with a drill, impact driver, and radio. I actually declined, on the basis that I didn't need another set of chargers and batteries in my shop, but by that point the box was in the mail.

So: Awesome points for engaging on social media! In this world of auto-DMing bots, this shows a dedication to brand quality that's impressive.

And: They gave me free stuff! It's hard to be too critical...

They gave me the RIDGID ZRR9601 18v drill+driver+radio kit

The RIDGID brand appears to be the Home Depot house brand, manufactured by TTi, who also makes AEG (a European brand with the same colors as RIDGID), Milwaukee, Ryobi, and various other brands.

My impression after a few sessions in the shop screwing around with these tools is that RIDGID is targeted at the mid-range homeowner or low end contractor, carpentry rather than furniture building. Which is quite a bit better than my original impression before I held the tools.

I was surprised. I expected house brand cheap, but this is a totally serviceable drill which didn't burn out when I cranked down on that hole saw with it. I was going to note that I'd save my lunch pennies and buy a Festool, but then I had the hole saw experience and realized that as cool as the whole interchangeable chuck thing is, when you're in the midst of disaster sometimes reconfiguration isn't a good thing.

If Home Depot were close and convenient and a preferred vendor, I'd totally consider RIDGID for some of my tools. If I were good enough at record keeping to manage my receipts, the RIDGID Lifetime Service Agreeement would probably be worth it in batteries alone!

There are a few little design elements that I think are what separates this class of tools from the next tier up, but this as the drill and driver that I let neighbors borrow, that's my backup when I'm drilling with large bits under difficult circumstances, it's served me well so far, exceeded my expectations for it, and may grow on me over time.

Thanks, RIDGID, for exceeding my expectations!

Category: Woodworking