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Ridgid Brushless vs Octane Drill and Impact Driver Video Review

Ridgid revamped their cordless tool lineup to streamline things, and we have their new 18V brushless drill and impact driver to run on our Test Track. Can these new, more compact tools match up to the performance of Octane and others? We decided to pit Ridgid Brushless vs Octane in a head-to-head showdown. Even better, we grabbed both their impact drivers and drills to test these two lines against each other.

With this launch, Ridgid Brushless replaces Octane by targeting 3 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 and impact driver we’re testing today are part of that high-performance line.

In this Ridgid Brushless vs Octane test, we run the Octane and 18V Brushless hammer drills through our classic drill test track. It features drywall screws, a ½-inch twist bit, 10 holes with a spade bit, and 10 more with an auger bit. Finally, two tough hole saws on the back end to finish the course. As for the impact drivers, their course includes the same drywall screws, a self-tapping bit test, drilling with a twist bit, wrapping it all up with 10 quarter-inch ledger screws. Has Ridgid taken the next big step with these new 18V tools? Will Octane leave them in the dust and retain its Ridgid crown? Find out in this episode of PTR Time Trials!

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Full Transcript

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 and impact driver we’re testing today are part of that high-performance line. 

Despite that designation, these are lighter and more compact than their Octane counterparts. 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. 

The impact driver’s reductions aren’t as dramatic, but still worth noting. It’s about a 1/4-inch shorter and loses a little over 4 ounces to hit 2.3 pounds on our scale. 

There are some significant differences in performance, too. 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, and it might take its toll on the Test Track. 

Like Octane, the 18V Brushless Impact has 3 speeds and hits 900, 2000, and 2900 RPM. It gives up just a touch of speed to Octane in High and Medium speeds and spins a little faster in Low. It also drops some torque—but just a little bit. This model is rated for 2300 in-lbs—only 100 in-lbs lower than the Octane model. 

Testing Ridgid Brushless vs Octane Drills

Getting back to the matter at hand, we’re testing with the recommended 2P batteries for both sets of tools. That’s a 6Ah Octane battery for the Octane models and a 4Ah Max Output for the 18V Brushless tools. 

The Ridgid Octane Hammer Drill is getting off to a sluggish start. Its size and weight make it a little tougher to control when driving smaller fasteners at high speed. 

Its power is showing, though, as it’s melting right through with that ½-inch twist bit—that was quick! The chips are flying fast and furious with the spade bit, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down in the least. 

Shifting to the auger bit, we get to see the smooth side of the drill’s speed, and there’s no surprise to find it still in High speed. 

Onto the first hole saw and…well that didn’t take long! Confidently staying in high gear for the 2 1/8 -inch hole saw, and it’s through with a very good time! It’s going to take an impressive effort for the new 18V brushless hammer drill to overtake it. 

And there it goes chasing down Octane. It’s looking quite a bit faster in this first section with its lighter weight and smaller size making controlled driving easier. 

Making the change to a twist bit and really laying down a quick time through that section. Could there be an upset in the making? 

Even with the load increasing, it looks like it’s keeping Octane in its sights through our spade bit section. I can’t tell which one was faster. 

On to the auger bit now and it’s a similar story. Might be a little faster… maybe not… either way, it’s confidently working through. 

The first hole saw is on its way through and resisting any bind-ups. It’ll lose whatever advantage it gained if it can’t stay in high through the end, though. There’s a little bind-up but no gear change. There’s the breakthrough!

Testing Ridgid Brushless vs Octane Impact Drivers

Alright, let’s take a breath before we move onto the impact driver and see where things stand. The former Ridgid flagship—the Octane Hammer Drill—finished in 2 minutes and 41 seconds. 

The 18V Brushless Max Output 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 to pick up 5 spots and settle into 4th place overall! 

Alright, now that we have the Test Track switched out for impact drivers, Octane is kicking things off again, steadily moving through the drywall screws without any trouble. 

Unsurprisingly, it’s having an easy time with the self-tappers, though its bulky head seems to be getting in the sightline of those small screws.

It’s pretty quick through the twist bit section and starting to impact a bit more. The more an impact driver has to impact when drilling, the slower it goes. 

Now into the final section where Octane can show off more of its muscle. It’s not the fastest we’ve seen, but certainly confident. That’s nice work, and I gotta say how much I love those tri-beam LEDs. Let’s see if the 18V Brushless impact driver can keep up. 

Driving in those first screws, the 18V Max Output Brushless looks fast despite a lower top speed. It’s not even starting to impact and acting more like a drill in this section. 

Switching over to a nut driver bit for the self-tapping screws and making short work of that. It didn’t sound like it impacted there, either. 

Starting the… HOLY SUGAR PLUM FAIRIES that was ridiculous! Do we have any slow-mo of that shot? I’ve never seen an impact driver drill that fast with a ¼-inch twist bit. 

Finally impacting in the final section and moving through it well. This is going to be a great time. Could Ridgid actually challenge Makita for the number one spot?

Well THAT certainly got my heart rate up. Gracious. Alright, let’s check out the results. The older Ridgid Octane finished in 2 minutes, 25 seconds. But what about the slightly less powerful and slightly slower Max Output impact?

2 minutes flat—that’s 1 second slower than Makita and just shy of the track record on the PTR impact driver Test Track!

Let’s unpack that for just a second. We went back and did some followup tests and sure enough, this impact driver didn’t have to start impacting until the final test. That makes it one of the most versatile models available since it can handle lighter drilling and driving more like a drill before acting like an impact driver should when the load increases.

Despite both tools being rated as having less power, the new Ridgid 18V Brushless hammer drill and impact driver both showed faster times against their Octane counterparts and moved Ridgid significantly higher up our charts. Particularly for the hammer drill, Octane’s 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 these new tools out of the park? Let us know in the comments below and as always, thanks for watching!

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tillamook tim

I’ve been building houses and working on houses for 50+ years. My tool collection exceeds 250k counting the Kioti TLB. I’ve owned every top of the line tool made, I bought not one but two Weka stone drills and have ever bit made for them times two. I own more just in pump jack scaffolding than most professional own in tools. And I say this, Ridgid tools may not be the fastest or even the strongest but the ridgid warranty makes them the best. Back in the day senco fixed our nail guns for free but we paid a price… Read more »

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