Ridgid Gen5X 5 Tool Kit Review
I can confidently say that this is going to be the best brushed motor general contractor's kit that you can find. If you want something better, you'll need to look at brushless motors and higher price points.
The Ridgid Gen5X 5 Tool Kit won’t hit stores for a couple more weeks, but we’ve got everything you need to know about the new tools before you head to The Home Depot to pick up yours! We reviewed the Ridgid X4 Kit when it was launched back in 2011. We contended that Ridgid might be the best kept secret in the tool industry with its high performance combined with attractive pricing. Then there’s that lifetime service agreement that includes replacement batteries. In a cordless world where new models are released every year form many companies, the Ridgid X4 Kit was still our pick for the pro level combo in our annual Christmas Gift Guide.
With a kit that’s already at the professional level, we’re really excited to see what the Ridgid Gen5X 5 Tool Kit brings to the table. We’re going to take a look at the improvements over the X4 Kit as we go and compare it to the kind of performance that we expect as professionals.
The Ridgid Gen5X 5 Tool Kit features what we now consider to be the standard general contractor’s combo kit: Drill/driver (hammer drill in this case), impact driver, circular saw, and reciprocating saw.
Ridgid Gen5X 5 Tool Kit
- Ridgid Gen5X 18V Hammer Drill/Driver
- Ridgid Gen5X 18V Impact Driver
- Ridgid Gen5X 18V Reciprocating Saw
- Ridgid Gen5X 18V Circular Saw
- Ridgid Gen5X 18V LED Work Light
- (2) 18V 4.0 Amp Hour HyperLithium Batteries
- 7-1/4″ 24 Tooth Circular Saw Blade
- 6″ 10 TPI Wood Cutting Blade
- Side Handle for Hammer Drill
- (2) Screwdriver Bits (Flat/Phillips Combo and Quick Connect Phillips)
- (3) Belt Clips
- Contractor Bag
Ridgid Gen5X 18V Motor Technology
The biggest news is the new Ridgid Gen5X motor that has been included in the new line of 18V tools. It’s a permanent magnet motor, which is often associated with brushless motors, but Gen5X isn’t a brushless system. All that they’re telling us right now is that the engineers have done a great job maximizing the batteries, switches, and motors to deliver the additional performance.
We can interpret that to mean that there have been improvements across the board. Batteries have been improved, likely through the chemistry inside the housing. The motor has been improved. The electronics have been improved. It also means that they are likely protecting some trade secrets in how they did it, which I am completely okay with. Regardless of what we can speculate, all the tools have some significant performance increases to talk about.
Ridgid Gen5X 7-1/4″ Circular Saw
- Model: R8652
- No Load Speed: 3700 RPM
- Blade Size: 7-1/4″
- Max Cutting Depth at 0 degrees: 2-7/16″
- Max Cutting Depth at 45 degrees: 1-27/32″
Likely the most obvious upgrade from the Ridgid X4 Kit is the Gen5X Circular Saw. Previously a 6-1/2″ blade diameter, the Gen5X is now a full 7-1/4″ size. There are a few changes to the saw aside from the size and internal workings. Bigger saw, more weight. That really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Measurement etchings have been added to the front and right sides of the shoe. The grip for your left hand is also a little bit smaller. Ergonomically, this feels a little more natural than the previous model.
One of my favorite features from the X4 saw has returned: the detents on the bevel adjustment. You’ll still get positive stops at 15, 22.5, 30, 45, and 56 degrees (50 on the X4), taking the guesswork out. Ridgid has also kept the easy to use adjustment levers for beveling and depth of cut. Once released, the Ridgid Gen5X Circular Saw can be adjusted more easily than most saws that I’ve used in the past. The overall physical design of the saw and placement of features largely remains unchanged from the X4.
The no load speed is down to 3700 RPM from the 5000 RPM we enjoyed in the X4. However, power has been transferred from speed to increase the torque making for a much more confident cut in high stress applications. Using the same high stress OSB test that I did in our 7-1/4″ Circular Saw Shootout, the Gen5X Saw was over 50% faster than the X4 in stacked OSB. It took the X4 27.94 seconds to make it through the 4 foot cut. It also experienced several instances of bind up before I got a successful test. The Gen5X took just 13.64 seconds, and the difference in torque was very apparent.
Ridgid Gen5X Reciprocating Saw
- Model: R8642
- No Load Speed: 0 – 3000 SPM
- Stroke Length: 1-1/8″
- Orbiting Action: yes, with on/off switch
There are some significant changes in the performance specs on the Ridgid Gen5X Reciprocating Saw. The maximum speed is down from 3600 SPM to 3000 SPM. However, the stroke length has been increased from 3/4″ to 1-1/8″. That in and of itself should add to the cutting efficiency. On the outside, the most noticeable changes are in the ergonomics. The forward grip has been replaced and now offers a slightly more natural grip with a better feel around your finger tips and heel of your hand. There is also a slight, but noticeably improved change to the rear handle.
The shoe adjustment is smaller on the Gen5X. While it’s nice that it isn’t as bulky, it’s a little tougher to lock and unlock the the X4. The X4 clicks in and out of place, giving it a more confident feel. The shoe itself retains it’s three locking positions or free pivoting feature. Ridgid has also turned the Orbital Action switch 90 degrees so that it now locks in left and right instead of front to back. This is a welcome change as that switch was a little awkward to flip on the X4. They’ve also given it some white markings to more easily tell which mode you are in. The saws are very similar in length, but the Gen5X Reciprocating Saw is a little heavier.
Like the circular saw, the Gen5X Reciprcating Saw seems to have traded some of that no load speed for additional torque. In really pushing this saw through nail embedded wood, it took more effort to get the blade bogged down. Similarly, when using the same amount of down force on both saws, the Gen5X was 42% faster than the X4.
In nail embedded wood, the Gen5X also enjoyed a significant time savings. It certainly seems that the redistribution of power and increased stroke length more than make up for the decrease in no load speed. I noticed the vibration in the Gen5X was also better compared to the X4. This is likely due to the increased stroke length combined with the decreased speed. I didn’t do a full run time test between these two models. However, after completing the test cuts, the Gen5X had drained its battery less than the X4 according to the LED indicators.
Ridgid Gen5X Impact Driver
- Model: R86035
- Motor Speeds: 3 speed
- No Load Speed: 0 – 1000/0 – 2000/0 – 2750 RPM
- Torque: 2000 inch pounds
- Impacts: 0 – 3200 IPM
- Chuck: 1/4″ Hex
The really big deal on the Gen5X Impact Driver is it now has a 3 speed motor. I absolutely love this feature and have been wanting this to show up with Ridgid since parting ways with my beloved Milwaukee M18 Fuel Impact Driver. With the variety of tasks that I complete, I really appreciate being able to split the power between speed and torque with multiple settings. Okay, so that’s not the only big deal. The Ridgid Gen5X Impact Driver also has more power… a lot more power! Speed, torque, and impacts are all up. Torque sees the biggest improvement at over 40% higher than the 1400 inch pounds in the X4.
Ergonomically, you’re not looking at much difference other than a slightly better grip. The collet has changed design, though I don’t notice much difference there. You can still push the bit in without having to pull out on the collet and it still features a slight spring assisted ejection. I love that they’ve moved the LED lights to surround the chuck. For my money, this is a major improvement over the base mounted LED from prior.
For performance, it’s hard to compare the Gen5X to the X4. This is mainly due to the fact that the Gen5X has a 3 speed motor. If I need more torque, I go to low speed. If I need more speed, I go to high speed. To try and least have some kind of comparison, I decided to see what each impact driver could do driving 3″ lag bolts into pressure treated wood. Both performed very well. By being able to switch to higher torque, I was able to divert the power where it would be the most effective.
It was enlightening to see that the X4 needed to start engaging its impact mechanism almost immediately, like other impact drivers I have used. The Gen5X did the same in 2nd and 3rd speeds. In the high torque position, it drove the bolt nearly halfway through before it engaged the mechanism. Even when it did, the impact driver did not have to make use of it’s full impacting potential to continue driving the bolt.
Ridgid Gen5X Hammer Drill/Driver
- Model: R8611503
- No Load Speed: 0 – 450/0 – 1600 RPM
- Torque: 780 inch pounds
- Beats: 0 – 7200/0 – 25,600 BPM
- Chuck: 1/2″ carbide locking jaws
When it comes to performance enhancement, Ridgid did just one thing with the Gen5X Hammer Drill: increase torque. The speed and beat frequency are the same. Torque has been improved by 215 inch pounds. Like the impact driver, the Gen5X Hammer Drill now has LED lights surrounding the chuck instead of angling off the base. The teeth of the chuck have been designed slightly different to be even more effective at preventing bit slippage.
One feature that may catch some people by surprise is the clutch. There are over 100 clutch settings on the hammer drill. If I counted correctly, there are 115. Is that overkill? Some users will say yes. What this really means is that you’ll be able to dial in your depth of drive extremely precisely. Don’t let the number intimidate you. It’s numbered by 20’s with a larger mark every 10 and two smaller ones in between.
With an increase in torque being the biggest performance spec increase, I went to one of my favorite drill/driver stress tests: hole saws. Hole saws can suck the life out of a battery in a hurry and I wanted to see how the increase in torque would affect drilling speed and run time. I skipped over the traditional bi-metal blades and went to my 2-9/16″ Pro TCT Hole Saw from Spyder (Tungsten Carbide Tipped). These hole saws rip through wood much faster than traditional hole saws, but they are also easy to bind up when you put a lot of down force on the drill.
The X4 made it through the 2x pressure treated lumber in 18.42 seconds; more than respectable. The Gen5X shaved an additional 1.5 seconds off of that in 16.91 seconds. I don’t ever recommend intentionally binding up a drill due to the risk of injury. For the sake of the test, I did just that with the hole saws to get a feel of whether or not the difference in torque was readily noticeable. It was. The Gen5X told my arms that it clearly has more torque.
Ridgid Gen5X 5 Tool Kit LED Work Light
There isn’t a lot to compare with the LED Work Light included in the Ridgid Gen5X 5 Tool Kit. The X4 simply is a different kind of light. The new one has a spot beam more like a traditional flashlight. The previous model could be rotated to provide either a spot beam or be diffused to fill more space. The good thing for me is that each of them have good uses, so you’ll find both models in my tool box.
A rotating head on the new light allows you to direct the beam in a variety of angles. Aside from that, there’s not a whole lot to it. Ridgid mounted the light on the same handle as the impact driver and hammer drill, which I like. The trigger switch clicks the light on and off. According to the specs, you can expect to get 40 hours of run time off of a 4.0 amp hour HyperLithium Battery.
The throw features a bright center spot that easily illuminated the other side of the house. I don’t have specs to share on the actual output or throw distance. However, I was casting light on objects more than 30 feet away with ease. You can reasonably expect an effective working throw of somewhere around 50 feet, perhaps more. One of the more fun things that I discovered is that you can turn the light on momentarily with a partial push. For the geek in me, that means the ability to send messages by Morse Code or just simply confuse the random passer by.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
All of the tools in the Ridgid Gen5X 5 Tool Kit still have the Hex Grip overmolding which I am a huge fan of. All of them have also had minor tweaks ergonomically that have made small, but noticeable differences. I’m thoroughly impressed with the improvements in power on all of the tools. The redistribution of power and torque to get better performance out of the two saws is excellent. I love, love, love the fact that the impact driver is now paired with a three speed motor.
I’m glad I was the first one to get my hands on the Ridgid Gen5X 5 Tool Kit when it showed up. Most of the time, I’m pretty happy to let the other guys have first dibs on the cool stuff that comes out. This kit simply takes Ridgid to the next level. Honestly, I didn’t think Ridgid would be able to show this kind of improvement in what was already a high performing kit without going to brushless motors. I can confidently say that this is going to be the best brushed motor general contractor’s kit that you can find. If you want something better, you’ll need to look at brushless motors and higher price points. What may be the most impressive feat in the Gen5X kit is that you get a ton of performance increase at the same exact price as the previous generation. Seriously, who else does that?
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