Plumbing contractors have a few options when it comes to pipefitting: using solder, using a threader, or using a pro press. All of these options can get the job done, but the cost of each particular option will definitely factor into which direction the plumber chooses to proceed with. Well, today I’ve elected to use what I consider the overall cheapest and best option available—the pro press. Specifically, I’m using the Ridgid RP 240 press tool. This tool connects copper and stainless steel pipe up to 1-1/4″, PEX and multilayer systems up to 1-1/2″, and steel pipe up to 3/4″. It operates on the brand’s compact 12V Lithium-ion battery system and comes with some handy features that I’ll jump into later.
First Things First
The Ridgid RP 240 Press Tool joins the brand’s line of smaller, lighter, and stronger next-gen compact press tools. Ridgid designed this tool specifically for contractors who need to access tighter spaces. Ridgid designed the RP 240 to provides this access without sacrificing the quality of the press. It works on copper, stainless steel, black steel, and PEX. It measures just 13″ long and 9.5″ high, and it weighs 7.4 lbs with the batteries and jaws attached. The RP 240 is roughly 15% smaller and 10% lighter than their previous models. While this model features a pistol grip, you can opt for a standard long grip as well.
Before we really get rolling here, it bears mentioning that you probably shouldn’t throw away your threader. Very seldom do I run a main gas line smaller than 1″ black iron, and the RP 240 can’t tackle that kind of size. Ridgid does make the Ridgid RP 340 press tool that can tackle that kind of load, but it’s a bit bigger and runs on their 18V platform.
Setting Up and Using the Ridgid RP 240 Press Tool
Honestly, setting this new tool up doesn’t take a whole lot of effort. Simply choose the press head size you need, pull up on the locking mechanism, slide the jaws into place, and push the lock back into place. You’re good to go!
Using the Ridgid RP 240 isn’t exactly rocket science either. I’ll use copper pipe for my example since the majority of my work with this tool revolves around copper joining. First, you’ll go through the process of measuring your pieces, cutting them, and reaming them. After assembling the project, you’ll fit the jaws over the fitting, then press and hold the trigger until the tool stops itself. A green check mark will light up on the tool to let you know that the press has finished.
Ridgid has made this tool fairly idiot-proof and has set up some contingency plans for tricky situations. For one thing, the head rotates 180° for easier access into awkward spaces. Or, in case you forget to lock the jaws in place, a red LED lights up next to an illustration of an unlocked set pin. Additionally, if the tool senses that it’s too cold to operate safely, a light will blink next to an illustration of a thermometer. If the RP 240 needs servicing, the tool, or the Ridgid app, will also inform you.
The Ridgid Rp 240 Press Tool has a bright light right above the handle for working in darker locations. Additionally, Ridgid includes a tethering loop at the back of the tool for when you need to work from height.
Safety and Speed
I can’t deny that using a press tool makes joining pipe a whole lot faster. Rather than spending a bunch of time cutting threads into pipe, and potentially spilling cutting oil everywhere, the Ridgid Rp 240 Press Tool has around a 4-second crimp cycle time. It doesn’t require open flames, oil, or airborne contaminants. It really is as simple as cutting your pipe, fitting it all together, and crimping it with the tool.
This tool features the Ridgid Link app for iOS and Android phones and tablets. Like Milwaukee’s One Key and DeWalt’s Tool Connect apps, the Ridgid Link app connects to the RP 240 via Bluetooth. It can count how many crimps the tool has made and sends alerts to your phone when it needs servicing. The app tracks the battery charge, and can even pinpoint where your tool was last seen should it ever grow legs and walk off the site.
The Ridgid RP 240 Press Tool impresses, so long as you don’t ask too much of it. It has a solid, compact build that can get into just about any place you need it to, and it speeds up pipefitting pretty dramatically. It won’t tackle the larger pipes, but if you think of this as a supplementary tool, you won’t be disappointed. There are only a couple games in town for compact 12V cordless press tools. The Milwaukee M12 Force Logic press tool comes to mind. If that matches a good portion of your work week, this can be a time and strain-saver.
Of course, as a supplementary tool especially, the cost might be discouraging. It will run you $1,430 for the tool, two 12V batteries, a charger, and a case. This does not include the crimping jaws, which will set you back at least another few hundred dollars, at least.
The Ridgid RP 240 Press Tool is not cheap, but is it worth the investment? As a professional plumber, I think so. The upfront costs might be a little tough to stomach, but if you crunch all your numbers and benefits, this tool could easily save you money in the long run. It has the potential to cut your fabrication time in half. For plumbers who do a lot of copper work, this tool feels indispensable.
Ridgid RP 240 Press Tool Features
- Ridgid RP 240 Press Tool is 15% smaller and weighs 10% less than the previous Ridgid Compact pistol-grip tools.
- 10% weight reduction plus new compact design and better balance
- Capacity: Connects copper and (stainless) steel systems up to 1-1/4″ (35mm) and PEX & Multilayer systems up to 1-1/2″ (32mm).
- Bluetooth Connectivity to the free Ridgid Link app for cycle count, tool status, battery life, daily press cycles, etc.
- 12V Lithium-ion battery platform delivers more than 140 crimps per charge
Ridgid RP 240 Press Tool Specs
- Power: 12V Lithium 2.5Ah battery
- Weight: 4.9 lbs (tool only)
- Head Rotation: 180° barrel/jaw swivel
- Dimensions (L x H): 13 x 9.5 in.
- Crimp Cycle Time: ~4 seconds
- Lighting: Large LED light for no or low-light environments
- Charge: 140+ crimps per charge
- Model Design: Pistol-grip design for tool balance and ergonomics
- Service Cycle Interval: 32,000
- Copper and Stainless Steel Tubing Capacity: 1/2 – 1-1/4 in.
- PEX/Multilayer Capacity: 3/8 – 1-1/2 in.
- Black and Stainless Steel Pipe Capacity: 1/2 – 3/4 in.
- Warranty: Full Lifetime against material defects and workmanship
- MSRP: $1,762.69