Ridgid 18V Brushless Hammer Drill Gets Leaner in Latest Update
Ridgid is revamping their cordless lineup to streamline things, and we have the updated Ridgid 18V Brushless Hammer Drill to run on our Test Track. Can this new, more compact version match up to the performance of Octane and others?
- Faster than Octane on the PTR Test Track
- Significantly lighter and more compact than Octane
- Designed for improved performance with Ridgid Max Output batteries
- Fully compatible with all Ridgid 18V lithium-ion batteries
- Significant drop in torque
- Does not have the tri-beam LED design
New Generation, New Designations, New Battery
With this launch, Ridgid is now targeting 3 distinct levels. Brushed tools cover your entry to the 18V platform while SubCompact brushless tools meet the need for small size and mid-level performance. Their 18V brushless tools, however, offer the highest power and speed. The hammer drill we’re testing today is part of that high-performance line.
With this launch comes a new battery as well—Ridgid Max Output batteries. Right now, they’re available in 2.0Ah and 4.0Ah packs and are significantly smaller than Octane batteries. According to Ridgid, the new 4.0Ah battery offers up to twice the power and three times the runtime of their compact 1.5Ah pack. The batteries also have advanced cooling in the design to improve their overall life.
Not to worry, though, the new batteries are 100% compatible with all your Ridgid 18V tools and your other 18V batteries work in the new generation of tools.
Ridgid 18V Brushless Hammer Drill Performance
There are some significant differences in performance. The 18V Brushless Hammer Drill hits 550 RPM in low and 2100 RPM in high—both are a little higher than Octane. However, it gives up 500 in-lbs of torque, dropping to 800. That’s still a relevant power level, especially for this size, but that’s a big drop.
We tested with the recommended 2P batteries for both sets of tools. That’s a 6Ah Octane battery for the Octane model and a 4Ah Max Output for the Ridgid 18V Brushless Hammer Drill.
If you’re new to the PTR Test Track, here’s what a drill has to accomplish on a 2×4 stud:
- Fasten 20 drywall screws
- Drill 10 holes with a 1/2-inch twist bit
- Bore 10 holes with a 3/4-inch spade bit
- Bore 10 holes with a 3/4-inch auger bit
- Complete a combination of 1-inch and 2 1/8-inch hole saws
Ridgid Octane Hammer Drill Testing
The Ridgid Octane Hammer Drill got off to a sluggish start. Its size and weight made it a little tougher to control when driving those drywall screws at fasteners at high speed.
Its muscle and speed took off from there, melting right through with that 1/2-inch twist bit and spraying chips fast and furious with the spade bit. Shifting to the auger bit, we got to see the smooth side of the drill’s speed and its continued drilling confidence.
The first hole saw didn’t take long and it was able to stay in high gear for the 2 1/8 -inch hole saw.
When the dust settled, the Ridgid Octane Hammer Drill finished in 2 minutes and 41 seconds.
Ridgid 18V Brushless Hammer Drill Testing
The Ridgid 18V Brushless Hammer Drill looked quite a bit faster in the drywall screw section with its lighter weight and smaller size making controlled driving easier.
Making the change to a twist bit and it seemed to be keeping up with Octane just fine. Even with the load increasing for spade bits and auger bits, it wasn’t obvious which one was leading
There was no issue with the first hole saw and it resisted any bind-ups. There were a couple of quick stops, with the larger hole saw, but we were able to keep the hammer drill in high speed.
The 18V Brushless Hammer Drill did indeed get through the drywall screws with a big advantage and gained time with the twist bit and spade bit. It gave up some time with the auger bit, took a little back the first hole saw and was about a second behind on the final hole saw.
Even giving up 500 in-lbs of torque, it finished in 2 minutes and 22 seconds, beating Octane by 19 seconds. At the time we’re writing this, it picked up 5 spots and settled into 5th place overall. That’s a big improvement!
What About Concrete?
Concrete drilling is where Octane’s muscle still holds a noticeable advantage. Drilling 3 1/2 inches deep, we used 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch concrete bits in 4000 PSI slabs to measure the speed.
On the 1/4-inch bits, Octane needed an average of 3.64 seconds to finish each hole. The 18V Brushless model finished more than a second slower with a 4.85-second average.
The gap was similar for the 1/2-inch bits. The Octane model averaged 5.02 seconds while the Ridgid 18V Brushless Hammer Drill took 6.31 seconds.
With a little over a second difference per hole, it’s up to you if the time savings trump the more compact, lightweight design. If you don’t do a ton of concrete drilling, the more compact 18V Brushless model makes more sense.
Ridgid 18V Brushless Hammer Drill Design Notes
Despite the fact that 18V Brushless is the new high-end, this hammer drill is lighter and more compact than its Octane counterpart. The hammer drill drops more than 3/4 of an inch to measure just 7.6 inches in length. It also slims down more than 12 ounces to weigh in at 3.1 pounds bare.
This model moves away from the micro-clutch of Octane and goes back to a more traditional 22-position design. Drill and hammer drill modes are on the same collar.
There’s an LED light on the foot, reversing the tri-beam LED built around the chuck that we liked so much on Octane.
- Standard 2-speed mechanical gearbox switch
- 1/2-inch metal ratcheting chuck
- Reversible belt hook included
Ridgid 18V Brushless Hammer Drill Price
The Ridgid 18V Brushless Hammer Drill runs $199 as a kit with 4.0Ah Max Output battery, charger, and soft case. The bare tool should hit Home Depot stores in May 2021 for $139.
At the time we’re writing, the Octane Hammer Drill isn’t in stock and it looks like they’re phasing out the line completely.
The Bottom Line
Despite being rated with less power, the Ridgid 18V Brushless Hammer Drill showed faster times against its Octane counterpart and moved Ridgid significantly higher up our charts. Octane’s higher torque may still be a better option if you’re constantly up against really tough tasks. But for most of us, the new models offer the convenience of a more compact design without giving up any performance.
What do you think—did Ridgid knock it out of the park? Let us know in the comments below and as always, thanks for reading!
Ridgid 18V Octane Hammer Drill Specifications
- Model: Ridgid R86115K
- Power Source: Ridgid 18V batteries (Max Output recommended)
- No-Load Speed: 0 – 500 / 0 – 2,100 RPM
- Max Impact: 32,000 BPM
- Max Torque: 800 in-lbs
- Chuck Size: 1/2 in.
- Length: 7.6 in
- Weight: 3.1 pounds bare
- Warranty: Lifetime Service Agreement
- Kit Price: $199