So you want to screw some stuff, eh? No! Not like that guys! Get your minds out of the gutter, we’re talking about the new Ridgid Gen5X Impact Wrench! Anyway, brushless tools have been making their way into the retail world from most of the major power tool manufacturers for a few years now. They are the driving force to slowly move the masses away from corded and pneumatic tools and over to the world of cordless.
With each passing year, consumers expect more features, runtime, and power from their major brand of choice. Until recently, Ridgid’s presence in the heavy-duty realm of 1/2″ impact wrenches wasn’t really in the field of being a fierce competitor with the likes of Milwaukee, DeWalt, or Makita. Their first offering showed up under the model R86010B, an 18V brushed motor turning out 325 foot-pounds of torque with one gear maxing out at 2900 RPM.
As Tim the Tool Man Taylor used to say, “MORE POWER!” Maybe I’m dating myself with that reference but at least most people agree with me! One of the engineers at Ridgid must have been binge watching all 8 seasons of Home Improvement as their latest offering with their new mid-torque Ridgid Gen5X Impact Wrench sure checks off that box. With 450 foot-pounds of torque, a brushless motor, and 2600 max RPM, Ridgid seems to have their Red, Yellow, and Teal competitors directly in their sights. Of the three, only the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Mid-Torque Impact Wrench can truly be compared as it shares the same torque rating. Where Red falls behind is in the motor speed, maxing out at only 2400 RPM.
So the question is if it’s good enough for tradesmen and general contractors or if Ridgid going to play second fiddle to the others?
Ridgid Gen5X Impact Wrench Resume`
- Model: Ridgid R86011
- 4 Mode Settings: 0 – 1300 RPM, 0 – 1900 RPM, 0 – 2600RPM, Auto Mode 0 – 2100 RPM
- Impact Rate: 3500 IPM
- Max Torque: 450 ft lbs
- Weight: 3.8 pounds bare, 5.6 pounds with 5.0 aH battery
- Brushless motor
- Auto mode prevents overtightening
- 1/2″ ring anvil
- Die-cast gear box
- 3 LED Tri-Beam lights with individual illumination button
- Lifetime Service Agreement
- $118.96 (bare), $159 (4.0 aH kit)
I should mention it’s a pretty good deal, asking only that you empty your bank account in the amount of $149 for the bare tool and $10 more for a 4.0 aH battery and charger. Pricing is still TBA in Canada, but expect it to land somewhere around $179.99 CAD for the bare tool.
The gears are housed in a die-cast gearbox, which helps the tool maintain a good balance and speaks to how Ridgid is targeting Pros. The other thing that I really like about this tool’s feature set is the ability to turn on the light independently from the rest of the tool with a paddle switch near the bottom. Press that switch and it will stay on for roughly 12-13 seconds. From a durability standpoint, I’m not sure how well it will hold up to daily abuse. Given how solid the rest of the tool is, I don’t see it being a problem.
How does it feel in your hand?
Out of the box, it’s smaller and lighter than my coworkers were expecting. That kind of first impression is what gets Pros like us to pick up a tool in the first place, so that’s a win. In reality, the impact is shorter but thicker than the previous model and is slightly heavier.
One thing I’m a big fan of is the Hex Grip overmold across the Ridgid cordless tool platform. It helps the tool feel at home in your hand, and you never feel as though you’re going to lose grip of it. If you’re like me and wear gloves 95% of the time when using an impact wrench, you probably won’t really notice the grip. Ergonomically though, Ridgid has again upped their game as the tool feels like a natural extension of your arm no matter what you’re using the tool for.
How much does this thing weigh?
The Ridgid Gen5X Impact Wrench as a bare tool weighs in at 3.8 pounds, which isn’t too bad. Factor in a 5.0 aH battery, which comes in at 1.75 pounds, and you get a tool that weighs about 5.6 pounds. That’s right in line with what you see from Milwaukee and a little heavier than DeWalt’s less powerful model.
How about using it?
First things first, the anvil and hog ring has a solid build that engages and disengages very easily. I recently bought a new set of impact sockets and when using them, there is no play in the anvil at all. There is some in my old sockets, but you expect that with the wear they take over time.
The first job on tap was cutting lengths of cast iron with the Ridgid 42878 Model 238-P soil pipe cutter. It handles that with ease on every setting except Auto (more on that later).
Next up was working on my wife’s car, removing her all-season tires to install her winters. One complaint I hear about the X4 impact wrench is that people are unable to remove lug nuts from their SUVs and trucks. I can tell you the Ridgid Gen5X Impact Wrench makes quick work of lug nuts as you really only need a maximum of 200 foot-pounds to remove lug nuts on an automobile.
Let’s talk about those settings
Mode selection is at the top of the tool and is easy, even with gloves on. I did a number of tests with the Ridgid Gen5X Impact Wrench on each setting and here is what the averages work out to.
- Mode 1: approximately 80-83 foot-pounds
- Mode 2: approximately 170-175 foot-pounds
- Mode 3: approximately 300 foot-pounds
- Auto: depends on many factors, never over 40 foot-pounds
The A mode, or auto mode, will fasten a bolt up to the point when the tool starts to impact and then stop. The foot-pounds that Ridgid delivers will depend on many things like what type of nut or bolt you’re using it on. It will also depend on if you used lube on the fastener, whether its aluminum or steel, even how much battery power you have left.
That means that this setting is great for more “sensitive” applications where you need to achieve a specific amount of foot-pounds as this setting doesn’t seem to ever go over 40 foot-pounds. Just get everything set up with the impact and finish it off with your torque wrench without having to turn it as far.
Wait a second, didn’t you say this thing was rated at 450 pounds of torque?
Yes, it is! But that is 450 foot-pounds of nut busting torque when removing nuts and that is going to depend on many factors like bolt size, exposure to weather and so on. At the beginning of this review I compared the Ridgid Gen5X Brushless Impact Wrench to the Milwaukee Fuel M18 Mid Torque Impact Wrench, so I’ll draw on the comparison once again. While the Ridgid has 450 foot-pounds of nut busting torque, the Milwaukee claims to have up to 600 foot-pounds. Think what you will, but with the higher RPM, the Ridgid will outperform the Milwaukee in speed driving tests.
Just simply using this mid-torque impact wrench makes me very interested to see if Ridgid decides to enter into the high-torque impact wrench class next (DO IT!).
The new Ridgid Gen5x Impact Wrench is a solid new addition to the Gen5X line as well as the class in general. It’s a mid-size torque wrench that will handle 90% of anything you’ll need for an automobile and most of what you’ll need on the jobsite.
The tool is a reasonably comfortable unit to use for a long period of time and when paired with a 5.0AH battery, will go all day long. It’s powerful and matches up with Ridgid’s claims. While this tool isn’t perfect and could use one or two minor adjustments, if you’re in the market for a mid-torque impact wrench, this might just be the perfect fit for you.
For many tradesmen in my neck of the woods, Ridgid is the company you go to for hand tools and specialty equipment but not always for cordless power tools. From this experience, I can say that contractors north of the border may be changing their tune. A lifetime warranty on parts and service doesn’t hurt to have either.