Ryobi vs. DeWalt: How Do Their Drills Compare?

Ryobi vs DeWalt drill

In this article, I provide an in-depth comparison of DeWalt vs. Ryobi drills and dive deep into each brand’s reputation, product offerings, performance, warranty, and price.

I also reveal the most common customer complaints about each brand so you have a clear understanding of both the pros and cons.

By the end, you will know exactly what to look for in a drill and have all the facts you need to decide between Ryobi and Dewalt.

If you’re just looking to quickly compare the price of Ryobi and DeWalt drills, both are available on Amazon at these links: DeWalt drills, Ryobi drills.

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Let’s dive right in. Select a link to jump straight to a section:

Ryobi vs. DeWalt: Quick Summary

I bought my first house a couple of years ago and quickly realized that I needed a quality household drill to tackle projects such as hanging blinds, installing new door hinges, and putting together furniture.

After hours of research across several brands, I was able to narrow my options down to DeWalt and Ryobi. Both manufacturers have a long history and reputation for making high-quality power tools, including high performing yet affordable household drills.

So what makes them different?

Differences Between Ryobi and DeWalt

  • Reputation: Ryobi is known for making professional quality tools at prices most homeowners can afford while DeWalt is known as the premium power tool brand preferred by professionals.
  • Number of Drills: DeWalt offers 77 different types of drills with unique features and varying levels of power compared to Ryobi’s selection of 27.
  • Speed: DeWalt’s 12V drill can reach higher speeds with a maximum RPM of 1,500 compared to Ryobi’s 12V drill which has a maximum RPM of 600.
  • Torque Control: Despite lower max RPMs, Ryobi’s 12V drill has more torque control with a 22 position clutch compared to DeWalt’s 15 positions.
  • Battery: While the battery performance is virtually the same, DeWalt’s drill comes with two batteries, you only get one with Ryobi.
  • Warranty: Both brands offer a 3-year warranty but DeWalt also includes one-year free service, and a 90-day money back guarantee.
  • Price: DeWalt drills are generally more expensive than Ryobi. You can compare their current prices on Amazon using the links below:
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Ryobi vs. DeWalt: Comparison Chart

 Ryobi 12V DrillDeWalt 12V Drill
ReputationAffordable power tools for personal usePower tools for professionals
Products Wide range of tools including drills, saws, lighting, sanders, nailers, inflators, and staplers. Fewer options compared to DeWalt. Wide range of power tools: drills, saws, sanders, demolition hammers, grinders, air tools, nailers, dust management etc.
Number of Drills2777
SpeedOne speed setting: 0 to 600 RPMTwo speed settings: 0-400 RPM, and 0-1,500 RPM
BatteryOne 12-volt battery includedTwo 12-volt batteries included
Weight/Size3.5 pounds, 7.1 inches long2.4 pounds, 7.5 inches long
Torque22 position clutch (more control than DeWalt)15 position clutch (less control than Ryobi)
WarrantyThree-year manufacturers warranty. View on Ryobi.comThree-year limited warranty, one-year free service, and a 90-day money back guarantee View on DeWalt.com
DownsidesBattery does not last with heavy use. Chuck often becomes loose and bit falls out. Battery does not last with heavy use.
PriceVaries by seller (Check Price on Amazon)Varies by seller (Check Price on Amazon)

So which drill did I buy, Ryobi or DeWalt? I’ll get to that at the end. The more important question is, which drill should you buy? Well, the short answer is, it depends. Read on to get more details about the similarities and differences between Ryobi and Dewalt so you can decide which brand is best for you.

Reputation

DeWalt makes high-quality power tools that are the choice of professionals.

Ryobi makes pro-quality tools at affordable prices geared toward homeowners.

DeWalt has a strong reputation for producing high-quality power tools. That reputation comes from a long history that started in 1923 when Raymond DeWalt founded the company in Leola, Pennsylvania. In 1949 DeWalt was bought by American Machine & Foundry Co., Inc. and in 1960 was sold to Black and Decker.

Today, DeWalt remains a subsidiary of Black and Decker. Although an American brand, DeWalt produces most of its products overseas. Dewalt positions themselves as the brand that produces professional quality power tools that are built to last.

Ryobi is a Japanese company that was founded in 1943. Besides power tools, Ryobi also manufactures printing equipment and builders hardware. In the US, their power tools are sold exclusively at Home Depot or online.

Ryobi is known for high quality yet affordable tools. Their target market is homeowners and DIYers who don’t want to spend a fortune on tools they will only use once in a while. Even though their products are less expensive, the quality and performance are very similar to DeWalt.

Product Options

DeWalt and Ryobi offer a range of power tools including drills, accessories, and equipment.

DeWalt has almost anything you can think of for a builder or contractor including saws, sanders, air compressors, grinders, nailers, and staplers. You name a power tool, they make it.  

DeWalt Power tools

Ryobi’s product portfolio is a bit more limited but still covers a gamut of tools and equipment like saws, surface prep, garage door openers, staplers, inflators, landscaping equipment, and much more. 

They both make a wide range of drills that vary in power from small automatic screwdrivers all the way up to 60-volt stud and joist drills.

Ryobi offers 27 different drills while DeWalt has a whopping 77 on their website. Both brands have a drill for every possible project that requires a hole drilled, nail punched or hardware fastening. Ryobi and DeWalt’s most popular household drills are the cordless 12-volt (Links to check out on Amazon: Ryobi, DeWalt) and cordless 18-volt (Links to check out on Amazon: Ryobi, DeWalt).

Ryobi vs DeWalt drill

The question remains, which one is best for you?

It all comes down to performance, warranty and price. Let’s first look at performance.

Performance: Minor Differences in Speed, Weight, and Torque

When it comes to the performance of a household drill there are several aspects to consider such as speed/power, battery/voltage, size/weight, clutch/torque, and accessories.

To compare apples to apples, we are going to look at the 12V Cordless Drill/drivers from both Ryobi and DeWalt. These are the most common household drills used for standard projects around the house.

Speed/RPM: DeWalt Offers More Control and Higher Speeds 

The speed of a drill is measured in RPMs or Rotations Per Minute. For a household drill, you want between 300 and 1,500 RPMs. Higher speeds are best for drilling holes and lower speeds help avoid stripping screws.

The Ryobi 12V cordless drill can go from 0 to 600 RPM, which is a great range for all projects.

The DeWalt 12V cordless drill has 2-speed settings which gives you better control. The low-speed setting goes from 0-400 RPM and the high speed goes from 0-1,500 RPM.

With DeWalt, you get more control over the speed and a higher RPM which can help with drilling holes into hard materials.

Battery/Voltage: Battery Power Is the Exact Same, DeWalt Comes With Two Batteries

Cordless drills typically run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and this is true with Ryobi and DeWalt.

Voltage refers to the size and power of the battery. The higher the voltage, the more power. Drills with a voltage of 12 or 18 are more than sufficient for most homeowners.

The DeWalt 12V cordless drill comes with two 12 volt lithium ion batteries and a battery charger.

Battery life is highly variable based on what you are using the drill for but on average it will go for approximately 2 hours of continuous use and takes about an hour to recharge. The second battery ensures you never have to put a project on hold while your battery recharges.

The Ryobi 12V cordless drill comes with only one 12 volt lithium ion battery. It charges in about 40 minutes and can hold a charge for two years. Battery life is very similar to DeWalt, about 2 hours depending on the type of use.

In terms of the battery and voltage, DeWalt and Ryobi are virtually the same. The one major difference is the fact that with DeWalt you get two batteries. If you go with Ryobi, you can buy an extra battery from Home Depot or Amazon.

Weight/Size: DeWalt’s Drill Is a Pound Lighter Than Ryobi’s

One of the biggest factors, when I was determining which drill to buy, was the ease of use and handling.

When I use my drill, most of the time I’m standing on a ladder or a chair and bending in all sorts of directions. I needed a drill with enough power, but one that was also easy to maneuver in small areas and control with one hand.

The Ryobi and DeWalt 12V drills are both compact and built for small spaces. Ryobi’s weighs 3.5 pounds and is 7.1 inches long. DeWalt’s is a pound lighter at 2.4 pounds and 7.5 inches long.

Both are small, light and easy to handle in tight spaces.  

Clutch and Torque: Ryobi Provides Greater Torque Control (22 Position Clutch vs. 15 Positions)

First off, what is a clutch on a drill and why should I care about torque?

All drills have a clutch that controls torque, which is twisting power.

The clutch is located directly behind the chuck (clamp that holds the drill bit) and has a series of numbers around it.

Ryobi Drill labeled

You can adjust the clutch to your desired torque; the higher the number, the more torque gets delivered. The whole point of the clutch and adjusting the torque is to achieve the proper depth when driving screws into wood or other materials. The clutch prevents you from over or under driving so you can avoid striped screws that are buried in the wood or screws that stick out above the surface.

In general, you want to go with higher positions for the most power and lower for more frangible jobs.

Ryobi provides more torque control with a 22 position clutch compared to 15 positions on the DeWalt drill.

Accessories: Both Drills Come With Standard Features Such as LED Lights and Belt Clips

Ryobi:

  • LED light built into the base of the drill
  • Belt clip
  • One 12V battery
  • Battery charger
  • One double ended bit

DeWalt:

  • LED light mounted on the barrel
  • Belt clip
  • Two 12V batteries
  • Battery charger
  • Bag to carry the drill

Below is a side-by-side look at each drill’s belt clips and LED lights (Ryobi left, DeWalt right):

Ryobi vs DeWalt belt clips

Ryobi vs DeWalt Drill LED light

Warranties: DeWalt Provides Better Protection with a Money Back Guarantee

The DeWalt drill comes with a three-year limited warranty, one-year free service, and a 90-day money back guarantee. See the manufacturer’s site for more details.

The Ryobi drill comes with a three-year manufacturers warranty. See the manufacturer’s site for more details.

Price: DeWalt Power Tools are More Expensive Than Ryobi’s

In general, DeWalt products are significantly more expensive than the same type of products made by Ryobi.

As I mentioned before, DeWalt is considered the professional brand of tools while Ryobi is geared more towards homeowners and professionals are more willing to pay more for higher quality and performance.

To get an accurate comparison of the current prices between Ryobi and DeWalt, use the links to Amazon in the chart below to compare drills and a few other products across each brand.

 RyobiDeWalt
12V Cordless DrillCheck PriceCheck Price
18V Cordless DrillCheck PriceCheck Price
18V Cordless Hammer DrillCheck PriceCheck Price
Automatic ScrewdriverCheck PriceCheck Price
18V Reciprocating SawCheck PriceCheck Price
18V Cordless Circular SawCheck PriceCheck Price
18V Cordless JigsawCheck PriceCheck Price

Most Common Complaint: Battery Life

Before deciding which drill to buy it is important to know what consumers complain about the most. Despite having overwhelmingly positive customer reviews, no products are perfect and DeWalt and Ryobi drills are no exception.

The biggest complaint with DeWalt is about the battery. Some heavy users say that after 2 years the battery won’t hold a charge for more than a few minutes. A smaller percentage of customers report that the chuck malfunctions often. Lastly, a common theme is that the LED light built into the drill gets blocked by the chuck and, therefore, is useless.

Most of the Ryobi complaints are made by heavy users, which is not surprising since Ryobi is designed for lighter household use. Similar to DeWalt, a very common complaint about Ryobi drills is that the battery dies after a year and it won’t hold a charge. Others complain about the chuck loosening and causing drill bits to fall out during use. Lastly, some complain that the drill is simply not powerful enough for their needs.

All of these complaints are completely valid, however, as I mentioned, I have not experienced these same issues with my drill.

Ryobi vs. DeWalt: Which Drill Should You Buy?

DeWalt and Ryobi are well-known, respected power tool brands. They both make really high-quality drills that are affordable, simple to use, and will get most household projects done with ease. So which one should you buy?

With DeWalt, you get a brand that is trusted by the pros, it comes with two batteries, a generous warranty, a service contract, and a money back guarantee.

Ryobi offers a more affordable drill that is comparable in terms of power and performance, however, it only comes with one battery and no service contract or money back guarantee.

After all the expenses that come with buying a house and moving, I decided to go with the Ryobi drill. I use my drill primarily for small projects that don’t require professional grade tools so going with the less expensive option made the most sense for me.

If you are planning to use your drill for more heavy duty projects and are willing to invest a little more, I would recommend DeWalt.

If you’re leaning towards DeWalt, I highly recommend checking out Milwaukee as well. Their drills are very similar to DeWalt in quality, performance, and price. Check out our recent comparison of Milwaukee vs. DeWalt to learn their similarities and differences and get all the details.

Now you know what to look for in a household drill and have all the information you need to make the best decision for your needs. To read dozens of reviews and learn more, both drills are available on Amazon at the links below:

Thank You for Reading Our Comparison of Ryobi vs. DeWalt!

We hope our review of these popular household drills helps you make the best decision for your needs. 

Have you had a different experience with Ryobi or DeWalt drills? Do you agree or disagree with our review? Are there any other power tool brands that you think are better than these? Please let us know in the comments section or contact us directly, we would love to hear your feedback.

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