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Ridgid includes everything you need to handle all your drill/driving needs.
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Ridgid 12 Volt, 3/8" Drill-Driver #R82001

Compact, Lightweight Powerhouse

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

   Ridgid's 12Volt, 3/8" Drill-Driver, born from their long history of building contractor tools, brings solid versatility to the home woodworking shop at a very reasonable price. Ridgid's sensibility in design means this drill-driver has all the features you need and none of the "for show" gimmicks we often see intended to camouflage shortcomings in materials or manufacturing.

Initial Impressions

   The fit and finish of the Ridgid R82001 are very good, emerging from the included case in perfect condition, ready for charging and use.
   The design of this tool demonstrates Ridgid's focus on use and function. Though pleasing to the eye, the Ridgid R82001 is a solid performer that is comfortable in use. The ratcheting key-less chuck makes on-the-job bit changes fast and tool-less.
   The Ridgid R82001 is surprisingly trim in size and weight, features that equate to comfort and control.

Instructions

   The multi-lingual (English, French & Spanish) user manual is clearly written and provides all necessary information to use and maintain the Ridgid R82001 properly. The only problem noticed in the documentation is a parts list that identifies the parts by number only. Names of the individual parts can be very helpful to getting the right ones the first time should the need arise to order them.

Case

   The included carrying case has formed spaces for hauling all of the components from job to job. While the case secures and protects the contents from damage, it has enough room to close it without parking the truck on the lid. The molded case has a large flip-out carry handle and metal buckle-style latches that make sure it doesn't open by itself on the way to work.

Though slim appearing the motor makes full use of the high-torque setting of the slider switch on top.
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Motor Power

   A top-mounted slider switch changes the Ridgid R82001 from the #1 position, drilling speed (1300 RPM max) to the #2 power (380 RPM) setting that generates a very stout 350-in-lbs of torque. Both speed ranges make full use of the variable-speed trigger.
   The motor brushes are not readily accessible and the accompanying documentation makes no mention of brush replacement by the user. However, the technology of modern DC motor brushes has all but eliminated the need for regular replacement anyway. Should the need arise, a Ridgid service center is the best bet to get the job done right.

Batteries & Charger

   The Ridgid R82001 kit comes with two 12 Volt, NiCad battery packs designed for quick refreshing on the included charger. The batteries look a little odd because

The slide-in connection is different than most but works very well. The charger is fast, taking only 20 minutes to refresh a battery pack.
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the slide-in connector looks different than the plug-style commonly used by other manufacturers. The slide-in connector works very well and features a lock that secures the battery in the proper position on the drill. A pair of side-mounted buttons release the battery pack from the drill and charger.
   A nice feature of the battery packs is a rubber-like bottom that keeps the drill from sliding or marring surfaces when set down. This may seem like a minor feature, but it could prevent inadvertent damage to a nearly finished project.
   The included charger is designed specifically for these batteries and brings them to full charge, one at a time, in approximately 20 minutes. A series of lights on its face indicates charging progress. The instructions even include recommendations for charging excessively hot or cold batteries, something that can be important when working outdoors or in unfinished spaces.

Chuck and Clutch

The clutch works very well and allows controlling the considerable power to handle small to very large fasteners. The chuck tightens securely with one hand.
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   The 3/8"-capacity, ratcheting chuck makes one-handed bit changes fast and easy. A rubber-like insert on the chuck ring lets you get a firm grip to tighten bits securely the first time. I found it easy to tighten the chuck sufficiently to use a 1 5/8"-diameter Forstner bit in oak without slipping.
   The instructions show how to remove the chuck with a single Allen wrench should cleaning become necessary.
   A 24-position clutch can be set to accommodate virtually any fastener size that may be encountered. The settings are effective and repeated very well in our testing. The clutch ring also has the rubber-like covering that offers a good grip and large, clear markings that are easy to read from all positions.

Trigger and Selectors

   The Ridgid R82001 features a true variable-speed trigger that works very smoothly and allows gradual speed changes. Unlike some triggers I have encountered, the Ridgid R82001 version makes turning the bit very slowly to align it to a fastener very easy.

The variable speed trigger is accurate and comfortable to use.
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   The reversing button located above the trigger is easy to reach and operate. It also doubles as a safety, locking out the trigger when positioned in the center of its travel. This is a handy feature that helps prevent accidentally starting the drill and wrapping up your pants leg in the process!
   A large, positive feeling slider switch on top of the motor housing changes the two-speed transmission from the drilling to power ranges. The slider is recessed slightly, making it difficult to change accidentally. I have owned other drills that seemed to change power ranges at will, occasionally with bad results when driving smaller screws.

Grip and Balance

   The grip on the Ridgid R82001 is nicely designed and makes using this drill/driver a pleasure. While the grip is surprisingly slim, it fits the hand very well and feels nicely balanced.

The shape and angle of the grip makes drilling/driving in all positions comfortable and controllable.
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   The grip has a rubber-like insert wrapping around the rear edge that feels almost tacky. This gives a very secure feeling of control, especially when drilling at odd angles.
   Weight distribution on the Ridgid R82001 is very good and felt comfortable at all use angles encountered.
   A metal lanyard loop is built into the base of the grip so the drill can be secured to the operator when working on ladders or in awkward positions. A clip-in bit retainer below the grip lets you carry a different or spare bit.

In the Shop

   I began testing the Ridgid R82001 by driving every size and type of fastener I could find in my shop. It handled everything from #4 brass wood screws to 4"-long 3/8" lags with ease. Following this initial stress test the Ridgid R82001 was used as the primary drill/driver in my shop to handle all those tasks. Its performance never left me wanting.
   Not so long ago, the 12-volt battery pack would have been a concern. Modern battery technology means this lightweight battery has lots of use time without the weight of additional cells that can make a drill/driver tiring to use. Throughout our use, the Ridgid R82001 felt comfortable with no sensation of fighting balance even at some rather awkward angles inside a cabinet.
   Quantifying battery life is very difficult primarily because everyone uses his or her tools differently. The freshly charged 12-volt battery lasted through several days of moderate to heavy use before needing a recharge.
   Since new NiCad packs usually build more capacity after being charged several times, we can safely consider the charge life experienced in the NewWoodworker.com shop to be at the lower end of their actual capacity range.
   The clutch and variable-speed trigger make installing even small brass screws without damage easy. When gobs of power are needed, move the range selector to the high-torque position and hang on. The Ridgid R82001 has plenty of power to drive large wood screws and lags making use of the clutch in these situations a good idea.

Conclusions

   The Ridgid R82001 is a well built, reasonably priced drill/driver with all the capabilities the average woodworker needs. Battery life is very good and the fast charger makes the two included battery packs more than capable of handling life in your shop.
   The Ridgid R82001 is a comfortable, lightweight drill/driver that will keep you happy while getting over not having to drag an extension cord around the shop anymore. With a street price of $119.00 (8-19-04) adding the Ridgid R82001 to your tool collection won't break the bank either!

Ridgid Tools are available at Home Depot stores or on-line at www.homedepot.com.

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