This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. What do you get when you cross an evil robotic giant squid with the power of Ryobi’s 18-Volt ONE+ platform? You get a tool that cuts chains, bolts, locks, fencing and metal rod up to 3/8″ diameter (1/4” for hardened steel) with the press of a button. All while making you feel like you’re wielding some sort of video game energy weapon. The Ryobi 18V bolt cutter makes butter of what could otherwise be a tiring job.
A Few Quick Numbers For You
Medium to soft materials: 3/8”
Hard materials: 1/4”
All Ryobi 18V ONE+ batteries.
Approx. 2 seconds from full open to completely closed.
Bare tool: 5.2 lbs.
With 6Ah Lithium+ HP battery pack: right around 7 lbs.
Cuts per charge:
Hundreds, potentially (depending on your battery and material hardness and thickness).
Battery not included.
Operation Snip Snip – Ryobi 18V Bolt Cutter
The Ryobi 18V bolt cutter is sold as a bare tool, compatible with all Ryobi 18V ONE+ batteries; we tested it with the 6 Ah Lithium+ HP that The Home Depot sent us. Ryobi says it’s intended to replace 14” manual bolt cutters, but I think that’s a bit of an undersell. It easily cut a few things that I had to really work for with my 24” bolt cutter.
Not only does the Ryobi P592 power through bolts, chain, metal rod, chain link fencing, locks, wire shelving and more, but the lack of splaying arms means it can get into tight spaces you could never reach with standard bolt cutters. For some applications, this alone makes the tool worth consideration.
Ryobi 18V Bolt Cutter – A Cut Above
Operation is as simple as it gets. Squeeze one trigger to open the jaws. Squeeze the other to close it. At first, the jaw action felt a bit slow. But after using it for a while, it wasn’t so bad. Even “slow” – when dealing with some of the larger bolts and chain – it’s faster than me struggling with the largest bolt cutter I own (24 inch).
I find myself using metal rods and pins for all sorts of projects and repairs. So I never toss usable rod – threaded or not – into the recycling bin. The 18V cutter was used to convert a tangle of discarded store display hooks (ranging in thickness from 1/8″ – 3/16″) into easy-to-store project rods (about 70 individual cuts) in a little under 10 minutes. So the speed is no big deal.
First Person Cutter – Get A Grip On Your (Metal) Rod
The jaws do a great job of biting and holding on, even with hardened steel. I never had to chase around any loose material I was trying to cut. The instant of separation, however, is different. With any jaw-style bolt cutter, the thicker and harder the material, the more prone it is to becoming a dangerous projectile.
Many softer or smaller materials will barely become shrapnel at all. Just be careful; keep yourself, others and your fine China of the line of fire. And wear eye protection.
The Ryobi 18V bolt cutter can be used one-handed, but you’ll find it rather front heavy. A two-handed grip is often the way to go. With a battery pack installed, the tool is well balanced at the forward grip located behind the jaws.
Chain Chop You Don’t Stop – Lock Chop You Don’t Quit: Hit It!
I tried the cutters on a variety of chain, bolts and metal rods. Steel, aluminum, brass… all cut rather well. You may need to adjust the jaws a tad if you plan to cut material under 3/16” thick (more on that later).
Chain can be tricky to cut with a manual bolt cutter because you can’t “choke up” on it and still keep only one side of a link within the jaws. And cutting with the tip only makes it more difficult – especially with thicker gauges – because of decreased leverage. But even the mechanical disadvantage of cutting 5/16” chain farther from the fulcrum doesn’t seem to faze the Ryobi P592 one bit.
Not to get too la-di-da-di on you, but I couldn’t resist another quick rap reference:
Same Bolt Cut – Different Cut Difficulty
After cutting a handful of things, I began to wonder if it’s just a gimmick. It’s been a while since I’ve cut a thick piece of steel with my manual bolt cutters. So I whipped them out to remind myself what it’s like. I suddenly had flashbacks of past bruising caused by wedging one arm of the cutter against my ribs or thigh while pulling the other with both hands and all of my might.
I can assure you; it’s no gimmick! I was able to cut right through 5/16” grade 8 bolts with no problem. I’m a person of average strength, and manually cutting 5/16” – 3/8” steel rod and bolts with 24” bolt cutters is hard work! It’s the difference between lifting a tennis ball and a bowling ball.
To The Max! Cutting 3/8” Bolts With Ryobi 18V Bolt Cutters
Since the Ryobi 18V bolt cutter is rated for soft steel up to 3/8”, I decided to push it a bit with a medium hard 3/8” bolt. The threaded part cut with moderate effort, but I had to keep nudging the “close” trigger until the bolt cried uncle.
You won’t bust the thickest rods and bolts in one go. To get through the tougher jobs, cut as deep as it will go, then open the jaws and twist the bolt 90°. Now, bite the spaces between the original scores and complete the cut. This extra step only added 4-5 seconds to the job. And really, it was still a lot easier and faster than I could have done manually.
Not only am I slightly smarter than a grade 5 bolt, but with the Ryobi P592 18V cutter, I’m also stronger than one! Take that, Mr. Foxworthy!
Read Me! – The Value Of Those Boring Instructions
Tool reviewers are just like you: we want to jump right in there and play with the awesome toys we get ahold of. We want to see firsthand what they can do. But I always make it a point to first yawn my way through the entire instruction manual; the English segment, at least.
Drudging through monotonous pages of silly-small fonts, walls of warning boxes and incoherent, mentally taxing structure is part of my job. It’s why I keep eye propping toothpicks and pots of coffee within arm’s reach.
To present the most informed opinion I can, I read the literature, check out the manufacturer’s website and consider other people’s experiences and criticisms. I also watch every review video I can find. On the user/reviewer end, there is one somewhat misleading criticism I’ve come across at least a handful of times – that the jaws “don’t close all the way and won’t cut thinner material”. But is it true? This deserves a closer look.
Gaping Maw? Naw – Close That Yap Gap!
Page 6 of the instruction manual tells you how to adjust the jaws, because, as they word it: “with use, the jaws may develop a gap that would result in incomplete cuts and should be adjusted.”. But for some reason, the Ryobi 18V bolt cutter comes from the factory with a gap of around 1/32” or more already there between the closed jaws.
I had the same initial experience as many others: straight out of the box, the tool would only dent (not cut) 1/8” thick chain and steel rod, and some wire slatboard pegs. But know that the jaws can be adjusted closer. I performed the adjustment early on and it made a world of difference. I can only speculate that, perhaps, it’s a trade-off to maximize leverage/power when cutting thicker material (though that’s pure conjecture and it didn’t seem to matter either way).
Pseudo Crisis – Averted
I’d like to see these ship factory-aligned to a tighter gap. But if yours doesn’t cut 1/8” material, don’t sweat it; it’s a simple maintenance adjustment you can knock out in a minute. More of my time was spent trying to find a wrench that fit the lock nuts (verdict: none) than actually tweaking the jaws. Geesh!
One final caveat: past a certain point, the closer you adjust the jaws, the more they skew out of parallel. I found a happy medium and adjusted mine so that the tips just touch each other. You can make them tighter – so that the throat of the jaws come even closer together under pressure – but that would cause undue wear. The cost would outweigh any benefit.
Time To Cut This Off – Ryobi 18V Bolt Cutter
I know Ryobi is proud to be professional tough. But I can also see this tool finding its way into many tinkerer and DIY’er workshops. The more I use it the more I want to use it. And if the jaws ever become worn or damaged, they can be replaced. Compared to the old fashioned way, the Ryobi P592 18V bolt cutter is a real pleasure to use. This is a professional quality tool that we can all find a home for!
Buy the bare tool for $99
I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with Home Fixated in sponsored content. As a part of the sponsorship, Home Fixated is receiving compensation for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are our own words. This post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.