Ryobi One+ 18V Impact Driver review

A powerful impact driver that’s perfect for larger DIY jobs but one that can also withstand the rigours of daily use

T3 Platinum Award
Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Impact Driver Review
(Image credit: Ryobi)
T3 Verdict

With a die-cast front gear housing and 220Nm motor, the Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Impact Driver is tougher than many of its entry-level rivals. Although not quite as brutish as something from Milwaukee or DeWalt, it’s plenty powerful enough for even the toughest of at-home DIY jobs and makes the perfect companion to woodwork projects. The One+ battery system also means you only need one battery to power a whole host of Ryobi tools.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Small and light

  • +

    LEDs to light up work area

  • +

    Magnetic bit or screw holder

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Lacks brand cachet

  • -

    Not powerful enough for super tight bolts

  • -

    Magnetic bit or screw holder is weak

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Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Impact Driver review in a sentence: an excellent value driver that’s plenty powerful enough for driving screws into large pieces of wood and torquing huge bolts with the appropriate bit.

Unlike a standard drill, a compact impact driver features a hexagonal shank, rather than a keyed or keyless chuck for holding bits. This is because they generally develop more torque, which makes them perfect for driving large screws into wood or shocking annoying stuck bolts free with a short, sharp burst of rotational force.

The Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Impact Driver (codename RID1801M) is a great example of its kind, with a neat and compact body, super comfortable rubber grip and powerful 220Nm electric motor, it packs almost four-times the power of a standard handheld drill and features a clever trigger system that allows the user adjust the force of the output easily.

Although not particularly good at more intricate and precise drilling tasks, this could make the perfect addition to the tool box if you find yourself regularly working on larger, wood-based projects. Erecting sheds, fixing fencing or dabbling income carpentry? This is the tool for you and one of the best cordless drills on the market.

Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Impact Driver Review

(Image credit: Ryobi)

Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Impact Driver review: build quality 

Despite the neon green paint job (all Ryobi oils feature this), the One+ 18V Cordless Impact Driver feels like a solid proposition and eschews much of the cheap plastics that many rivals use at this price point (£69.95/$79.99).

The front gear housing is fashioned from die-cast metal to protect the motor and even though the entire mechanism isn’t made out of tough metals, it still feels sturdy enough to handle regular work. Although those using it on-site might want to look towards a company like Makita, DeWalt or Milwaukee for something that is designed to be used day in/day out.

Weighing just 1.6kg with the battery, it is very light and easy to use for longer periods of time. Plus, the massive amount of torque produced bye the motor means your wrists don’t take the brunt of the force like when operating standard drills.

It is quiet, too, and Ryobi has added a couple of neat features to the body in the form of the LED lights and magnetic tray. There is a distinct lack of belt clip, which could bother those who like to swan around wearing a tool belt.

Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Impact Driver Review

(Image credit: Ryobi)

Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Impact Driver review: features

The main specifications read like this: a 220Nm brushed electric motor, keyless bit changes via a 6.35mm (1/4 '') hex drive, 3 LED lights for illuminating the work area and available with a variety of batteries, ranging from 2.0AH to a might 5 AH. Opt for the smallest battery and you can drive around 190 screws before it runs dry. The largest battery can handle 408 screws.

Neatly, there’s a small bit holder just above the batter slot, as well as a magnetic tray, which can hold a number of screws while you work. In the box, you’ll find the drill, one impact bit and one 3/8 inch socket adaptor.

Helpfully, it is sold as a bare drill, so you won’t get a battery or charger, making it good for those with other tools from the Ryobi One+ stable. If this is your first, make sure you get a package with the battery and charger because, erm, you’ll need it.

Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Impact Driver Review

(Image credit: Ryobi)

Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Impact Driver review: performance

Admittedly, I’m no professional builder, but having owned the drill for many months now, I can say that it is a mightily impressive piece of kit for the price and an asset to any tool box. Unlike some of the other drills I own, this impact driver makes mincemeat out of any project that requires driving lots of wood screws andeans you can avoid drilling thousands of small pilot holes.

It effortlessly ploughs into the stuff, while the trigger is intuitive to use, making it really easy to control the amount of force applied. The tri-LED lights works a treat and illuminate dark surfaces from any angle, although it would be nice if those lights came on with a gentle squeeze of the trigger and without the drilling mechanism activating. However, the drill itself feels well balanced and it’s light enough to use for longer periods of time. It’s also fairly quiet.

So far, I’ve used it to repair fences, fasten shelves and hooks inside the shed and even work on hardcore masonry bolts when setting up a weight lifting rack at home. It works just as well when loosening screws or bolts and is a great choice for shocking rusted or stuck bolts. The 2.5 AH battery also seemingly lasts forever and holds it charge really well. Even when not used or charged for months, there’s still plenty of juice when it is called upon. 

The only thing I’d suggest is that the screwdriver bit supplied is a tad soft and is an awkward size, so it pays to invest in a selection of tough, professional-grade bits to avoid stripping screw heads. Ryobi sells a neat 31 Piece Torque+ Mixed Screwdriver Set, which includes hex bits for a variety of bolts. 

Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Impact Driver Review

(Image credit: Ryobi)

Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Impact Driver review: what customers say

One of the most important things to know about a drill is whether it can stand up to a range of use cases, and display good longevity and reliability. Well, the Ryobi One+ either has a large number of unusually hard-to-spot fake reviews bolstering it, or the general public bloody love this drill. It has a 5-star rating on Amazon, with the only notable negative reviews relating to its lack of ability when removing wheel nuts. 

From Ryobi Tools

“This tool puts a smile on my face every time I find something to use it for. I have not found anything that it can't handle yet. I use it even to change the tires on my car. You will need to buy quality bits, this thing will eat cheap bits for breakfast.” - from Ryobi Tools.

“Good tool as usual Ryobi quality but some disappointment. 1. Lights only operate when driver turning. So cannot illuminate work area to help position driver before operating. 2. While trigger is variable speed do not know torque setting when operating. Neither of these points are clear on packaging and I think this misleading.” 

From Amazon UK 

“The magnetic tray provided at the front of the tool as a place to hold bits when they're not in use is ineffective and basically useless because its magnetic force is simply not strong enough to stop the bits sliding around and falling off -- particularly when the tool is in use and there is some vibration.” 

“I have quite a number of Ryobi items and this is my new favourite. What a great piece of kit.

Would thoroughly recommend this as it makes light work of hard jobs. Do invest in some decent impact drill bits though.” 

Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Impact Driver review: verdict 

A solid drill with plenty of built-in performance to tackle some tough tasks. When specified with the largest One+ batteries, it can happily last all day without the need to charge. The LED lighting is a nice touch and the overall build quality, although slightly shy of the more professional-biased units, is good enough to last many years of usage.

The ONE+ battery system is also excellent for those wanting to build a collection of power tools. Just a couple of batteries is enough to quickly and easily swap between drills, drivers, angle grinders, sanders and over 150 more tools. 

Leon Poultney

Leon has been writing about automotive and consumer tech for longer than he cares to divulge. When he’s not testing the latest fitness wearable and action camera, he’s out in a shed fawning over his motorcycles or trying not to kill himself on a mountain bike/surfboard/other extreme thing. He's also a man who knows his tools, and he's provided much of T3's drills coverage over the years, all without injuring himself.