Ridgid 12V Li-Ion JobMax Multi-Tool Starter Kit

In theory this appears to be a practical and convenient system - buy a single tool body, and then purchase separate, task-specific components as you need them. 


Ridgid 12V Li-Ion JobMax Multi-Tool Starter Kit

The core of the new Ridgid JobMax Multi-Tool system is a battery operated power handle onto which various tool heads can be attached. It's somewhat similar to Black and Decker's Multi-Sander - a single body that has interchangeable sanding options.

The Ridgid JobMax system is available in two formats, as a Starter Kit (which I tested) and a Promo Kit. A power handle, and one or more tool heads come with each kit (see the table below). Ridgid has chosen not to sell the power handle separately, though you can purchase any of the heads individually. I also tested the four tool heads.

Components:Model #$$
Starter Kit (includes *)R82235119.00
Promo Kit (includes **)R82234179.00
Multi-tool head *R822340439.99
Drill head **R822340249.99
Impact driver head **R822340149.99
Ratchet head **R822340349.99
Auto-hammer headR82340549.99
12V Lithium-Ion natteryAC8200849.99
Starter kit (less the power handle)
The multi-tool head snaps onto the power handle
The Starter Kit includes the power handle, a multi-tool head, several accessories for the multi-tool head, an adapter that enables you to use Dremel and Bosch multi-tool accessories, a 12 Volt lithium-ion battery, charger, an extra gear cover, wrench, storage bag and instruction sheet.

The power handle measures 8-1/2" long and is about 1-3/4" x 2" wide at its narrowest point; if you have small hands you might fit it a bit awkward to hold. A soft rubber coating does make for a comfortable grip. It operates on a 12V battery, and generates up to 20,000 strokes per minute. Only one battery comes with the kit; a second battery sells for $49.99. Nice to have a 30-minute battery charger, especially if you only have one battery. There isn't an on-board power level indicator, which I've come to really like; you can tell at a glance whether you're likely to have enough power to finish a job. 

The trigger is quite large, making it easy to grasp if you're wearing glovers. Without a tool head attached, the trigger automatically locks-out; there is also a manual trigger lock that you can use when a tool head is attached. On a conventional drill/driver you manipulate the forward/reverse switch with your thumb; on the R82235 the switch is located near the bottom of the tool just below the trigger, making it awkward to move the switch with your pinkie finger.

Drive gear (with cover installed) at the top of the power handle
Latches hold the various tool heads onto the power blade
Just above the trigger is a bright white LED light, which should come in handy when working in dim lighting conditions. There is a little rubber cover over the gear drive shaft, which helps reduce noise. I assume that this is a wear item, as Ridgid includes a spare. At the head of the power handle are two spring loaded latches that hold the various tool heads onto the handle. The tool heads can be positioned in one of four directions. I didn't find this feature overly useful, but perhaps if Ridgid add more tool heads to this system it will prove useful.

Multi-Tool Head
The Starter Kit comes with a multi-tool head (R8223404), which easily snaps onto the power handle. The head functions identical to the Fein Multimaster or Dremel Multi-Max. Ridgid has its own unique shoe design, but includes an adapter that enables you to use either Dremel or Bosch accessories. Good thing it does, as Ridgid doesn't appear to have any other accessories than the three that come with the tool.

Changing accessories is easy, and they can be positioned a full 360° on the tool head; a very nice feature, particularly when working in tight spaces. A clamping screw holds the accessories in place very securely. My only minor complaint is that there is no on-board storage for the hex key. The R8223404 is fairly light in weight, so when installed on the power handle it doesn't alter the balance of the tool overmuch.

I used the tool to cut some trim work and sand a small frame. I found it easy to manoeuvre, there was ample power, and the results were satisfactory. Particularly with this tool head I would have preferred a separate variable speed switch on the power handle, rather than a variable speed trigger. With a separate switch I find it much easier to maintain a constant rate of speed.

Sprocket hub on the tool head into which the drive gear fits
The shoe on the multi-tool makes accessory changeover quick
A clamping screw holds accessories in place
An adapter can be placed on the shoe enabling you to use Dremel or Bosch accessories
There are four other tool heads that attach to the power handle. Due to the design of the handle, each of these tools is, effectively, a right angle tool. Apart from the Ratchet Head, all the tool heads were quite heavy (about the same weight as the power handle itself), causing the resultant tool to be top heavy.

You pretty well need to use two hands to effectively manipulate the tools. By the way, the Starter Kit comes with a nice soft side bag, but, if you purchase any additional tool heads, you won't be able to fit them in the bag.

Drill Head (R8223402)

The 3/8" capacity drill head is 5-1/4" long, extending the overall length of the tool to 13-1/4". It enables you to more easily work in tight spaces than does a conventional drill/driver, but bear in mind that you really have to use both hands with this tool. The R8223402 has a variable speed from 0 to 550 RPM, and a decent 120 in/lbs of torque, but doesn't have a clutch.

It's reasonably quiet, from 80 to 92 decibels (min to max speed, no load). I was able to drill 45 3/8" x 1-1/4" holes on a single battery charge. The power handle was quite warm by the time the battery petered out. I wouldn't use the R8223402 for precision drilling, but for everyday general purpose drilling and screw setting, it's quite capable. Nonetheless, I think a more compact 12V drill/driver is much more convenient and easier to manipulate.

Impact Driver (R8223401)

The Impact Driver has a 1/4" hex quick coupler, which makes bit changeover quick and easy. It delivers from 0 to 2,000 RPM and 0 to 3,100 impacts per minute, with a generous torque rating of 650 in/lbs. The tool head is covered with a soft rubber overmold which makes it comfortable to hold, and helps absorb some of the vibration when the tool is in use.

I was easily able to sink 5" lag screws in spruce studding. I found the R8223401 quite competent, and again, the main issue is that you need to hold the tool with both hands when using it, which I often found inconvenient.

Ratchet Head (R8223403)

The 3/8" square drive Ratchet Head is considerably lighter than the Drill Head or Impact Driver, making this tool more amenable to one handed use, which is very convenient when assembling machinery, as it leaves one hand free to stabilize loose components. At the top of the tool head is a forward/reverse switch, which I found odd, as there is a forward/reverse switch on the power handle. 

The R8223403 has a variable speed of 0 to 220 RPM and delivers a hefty 250 in/lbs of torque. The tool comes with a 1/2" ratchet adapter. I had no problem removing and installing nuts and bolts up to 3/4". If you do any amount of auto work then this is a nice tool to have, as it enables you to reach tight spots under the hood, the dashboard, and the undercarriage, not normally accessible with an impact wrench.

Auto Hammer Head (R823405)

The Auto Hammer Head delivers up to 3,600 blows per minute, and has a 15/32" magnetized nose that ostensibly sinks 3-1/2" common or finish nails. Put your hearing protectors on, this tool is supersonic loud - I measured it at 119.5 decibels (under load). I found that the magnetized nose doesn't hold small nails, nor finishing nails of any length, very well - they tend to flop at an angle to one side. I ended up tapping the nails in place with a hammer, and then completed the nailing with the R823405.

It does sink nails fairly quickly in softwood, though not nearly as quick as with a manual hammer. Fairly often the nails were driven in at an angle; you need to keep both hands on the tool, which means that you can't hold the nail steady as you're driving it home. You can retract the nose to drive the nails flush. This tool might appeal to someone who has difficulty swinging a hammer, or for those occasions when you're working in a confided space. However, I really can't seen much of an advantage over using a manual hammer.

The new Ridgid JobMax Multi-Tool system lacks the power and features for job site work. In my view it's best suited for avid DIYers, homeowners, and hobbyists who are looking for an extendible tool system. The value of this system will obviously be enhanced if Ridgid brings new tool heads to market. A combined power handle and tool head makes for a heavy tool, that requires both hands to use, which might pose a constraint for people with small hands, or for those with arthritis or who have manual dexterity problems.

  • 12V lithium-ion power source
  • 1 - 20,000 SPM
  • Tool-free quick connect interface
  • 4 directional head positions
  • LED light
  • 3 year warranty, lifetimeservice agrement
  • Includes: R8223404 multi-tool head, R86048 lithium-ion battery, R86049 30-minute charger, spare drive gear cover, wood/metal cutting blade, segment saw blade, sanding pad, 5 pieces of sandpaper, universal multi-tool accessory adapter, Allen wrench, heavy duty contractor bag, operators manual
MODEL #R82235

Carl Duguay, October 2010
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