New Ridgid Octane 18v tools and batteries have made their way to Home Depot stores. These larger capacity battery packs bring the promise of greater power and longer run-time. We cracked open some of the new battery packs to see what makes the new system different. We also compared both tools and batteries to non-Octane Ridgid products.
What is Ridgid Octane?
Essentially, Ridgid Octane is an additional layer of communication between the tool and battery. When you pair a Ridgid Octane battery with a Ridgid Octane 18V tool, the tool tells the battery exactly what it is connected to. If a tool and battery both register as Octane—the power available for the tool increases.
Why it Works
Standard Ridgid cordless tools have built-in fail-safes. For example, the battery has something similar to a governor that only allows a certain amount of current draw to protect the pack. This avoids potentially abusive power draws.
With the new communications system, the buffer zone that protects “dumb” batteries isn’t necessary. The battery now knows exactly what tool is connected. It can also determine how to power its specific torque curve most effectively.
Not only does electronic communication allow Ridgid’s current brushless motor to ask for more power, but it also gives them the ability to use larger brushless motors. One that you’ll see coming soon is the Ridgid MegaMax – a multi-head tool that boasts a bigger brushless motor similar to what cordless lawn mowers are currently using.
Ridgid is finding up to 65% greater performance when you make the connection between a Ridgid Octane tool and battery. The automatic assumption is that they decided to move to 20700 or 21700 lithium-ion cells. However, that’s not the case.
According to Ridgid, there’s still at least one more step 18650 cells can get to before needing to change to larger cells. Staying on the current cell means that you won’t see as big of a price difference as you do with other manufacturers. While there may be some changes to the pack itself, the performance boost is primarily coming from the ability to communicate.
UPDATE: Ridgid did seem to make the switch to newer 21700 cells in its 3Ah Octane packs—at least based on our evaluation of the pack’s internals and cell size. Take a look at the Ridgid Octane 3Ah battery opened up:
Ridgid Octane batteries come in 3 flavors: 3 Ah Compact, 6 Ah Standard, and 9 Ah High Capacity. Perhaps those numbers will bump up at the point Ridgid makes the jump to larger cells across the line.
There’s also Bluetooth communication in each of the batteries. More than a dozen functions come along with it. One of my favorites is the battery status. Not only do you get feedback on the battery’s health, but you can also see a countdown while you’re charging—telling you exactly how much time it needs to get back to 100%.
Read more about the battery here:
Ridgid Octane Tools
Right now, Ridgid Octane 18V tools include a new brushless reciprocating saw and Octane grinder, Octane jigsaw, and Octane impact driver and drill. That will be changing soon as the MegaMax starts expanding. Look for new tools like a full-size hammer drill that boasts 1300 inch-pounds of torque. Apparently, that’s only the beginning.