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I was skeptical of how useful an impact driver would be in the wood shop. Turns out it is very handy!
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Ridgid #R82233 Right Angle Impact Driver

12-Volt cordless driving power for the shop

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

Like some of you, I was a little skeptical about impact drivers in a woodworking shop. After thrashing the Ridgid's new #R82233, 12V, right angled impact driver, I have to admit seeing the light. If you drive large screws, lags or use virtually any other type of threaded fastener, the impact driver makes installing or removing them a much easier task.

The Kit

The Ridgid #R82233 comes with the driver itself, a 12V rechargeable battery pack, fast charger, a #2 Phillips bit (quick change) and a heavy-duty carry case.

Battery & Charger

A fast charger and one 12V battery pack are included in the kit.
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A 12-volt battery pack may not seem like a lot of power in today's big voltage market but is sufficient for normal shop needs. The battery pack has Ridgid's push button release mechanism and keyed latch system that makes installing the pack easy and very secure.

The Rapid Max charger included in the kit freshens used 12V batteries in about 20 minutes. It also handles Ridgid's 14.4V and 18V packs with charging time running about 30 minutes for those.

The charger has a pair of lights; red and green that show charging progress. A chart on the front of the charger explains the various light combinations with a more detailed explanation in the instruction manual.

Impact Driver

The long paddle-style trigger makes controlling the 0-2,200 RPM and 700 in lbs of torque easy in all positions.
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The Ridgid #R82233 feels substantial in the hand, a sensation no doubt bolstered by it's approximate 4lbs weight and 15" overall length, battery to tip. The body is just over 2"-diameter and features a rubberized strip along the back to increase grip and comfort.

A large paddle-type trigger controls the 0 to 2200 RPM (no load) speed and 700 in lbs or torque. The impact range runs from 0 to 3,100 BPM (Blows Per Minute). While there is no slip clutch, the impact system does not engage until the fastener encounters resistance during fastener installation or removal.

The 1/4" quick coupler accepts all standard bits with this shank and greatly extends the usefulness of this tool.
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The top portion of the Ridgid #R82233 is made from a heavy casting which houses the impact and angle drive systems. A rubberized cover surrounding the top prevents marking wood or other surfaces during use. The angle drive head is surprisingly compact and allows getting the Ridgid #R82233 into relatively small areas.

The only other control on the Ridgid #R82233 is a push button direction switch located just below the grip area.

In the Shop

During evaluation, every type of fastener in the shop was driven and removed repeatedly with the Ridgid #R82233. As you might suspect, the biggest problems were encountered driving small screws as the available torque in this tool makes it easy to overpower them. The Ridgid #R82233 likes bigger fasteners and with a nominal pilot hole, has no problem seating ¼" by 4"-long lags or the largest wood screws.

The variable speed paddle is easy to control which is a good thing considering the power this impact driver generates. Starting, driving and seating medium to large fasteners is easy to control with minimal "skipping" of the bit in Phillips-type screws.

The angle drive, combined with the overall length of the handle makes controlling the Ridgid #R82233 rather easy. However, the weight can be a little tiring when held in odd positions for any length of time. Fortunately, the Ridgid #R82233 drives fasteners so quickly that is not a frequent problem.

 

The slim profile of the Ridgid Impact Driver and its angled head make getting in surprisingly small areas easy.
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While the Ridgid #R82233 tightens screws, lags, nuts and bolts easily, it really shines when removing stubborn fasteners. The impact action breaks stuck fasteners free much better than even high-torque drill drivers. The angled head enhances this as it allows applying pressure to the handle area to keep the bit or socket firmly in place to transmit all of the impact force to the fastener.

I had a hopelessly stuck, large-diameter Philips screw in my bench vise that had resisted all other attempts at removal. I snapped in a large Phillips bit and the Ridgid #R82233 walked the screw out without a whimper.

The tool-free ¼" quick coupler accepts most common bits with this type of shank. Aside from changing bits quickly, this feature makes the Ridgid #R82233 compatible with all of the quick connect bits and drivers you may already have.

Conclusions

I had given up on getting this screw out without drilling. The Ridgid Impact Driver walked it right out the first time!
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The Ridgid #R82233 is a surprisingly powerful tool despite the 12V battery pack. A single charge seems to easily handle a normal days use for this type of tool. The tough construction means the Ridgid #R82233 is as durable as it is capable.

With a street price of $169.00 (8-17-2005), the Ridgid #R82233 represents an economical way to add the power and versatility of an impact driver to your tool collection. The angle drive head insures you will find many ways to use this tool in your shop and home.

Ridgid tools are available at your local Home Depot.

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