The folks at Ryobi are nothing if not prolific. With over 100 tools in their 18V ONE+ lineup, they have a tool or accessory for just about every occasion. Recently, Ryobi has been incorporating the more efficient – and more expensive – brushless technology into more cordless tools, like their ONE+ belt sander, impact driver, and sliding compound miter saw. By “upping their game” with the more expensive technology, it seems Ryobi wants to increase their appeal to pro and serious DIY users. The latest addition to the brushless lime-green lineup, scheduled to hit the shelves any day now, just arrived for us to evaluate. Join us as we screw around with the new Ryobi ONE+ Drywall Screw Gun.
The efficient brushless motor, combined with Ryobi’s 18V Li-Ion battery, lets you do a lot of untethered screwing. According to Ryobi, the Ryobi ONE+ drywall screw gun, aka the Ryobi P225, is able to drive up to 3,000 screws on a single battery charge.
The gun is relatively lightweight; without the battery, it weighed only 2 lbs. 4 oz. on my scale. With the 4.0 Ah battery, which makes it somewhat more useful, it came in at 3 lbs. 14 oz. And for anyone used to using a corded screw gun, it’s eerily quiet. Here’s the complete list of features and specs, followed by a short promo video from Ryobi:
• Operates with any 18V ONE+ battery
• Brushless motor provides corded performance with cordless convenience
• Adjustable and removable nose cone for increased accuracy
• QUIETDRIVE technology eliminates noise in between driving applications, while prolonging battery charge during use
• Variable speed trigger with lock-on feature: 0 – 4,700 RPM
• New and improved MAGTRAY magnetic holder for convenient placement of screws and bits
• New, innovative fastener-free belt clip easily mounts to either side of the tool for convenience
• LED light illuminates the work area and remains on after trigger is released
• GRIPZONE overmold with improved micro-texture for optimum grip and user comfort
• Tool weight 2.25 lbs.
• Capable of driving up to 3,000 screws per charge
The Ryobi ONE+ Drywall Screw Gun Joins The Cordless Club
Hanging drywall is hard work. It’s even harder – and more dangerous – when you’re using a corded screw gun to attach it. Working all day with a long extension cord draped over your shoulder, frequently while on stilts or a ladder, makes for an exciting work environment. Throw in an assortment of other workers hustling around, and random obstacles like ladders, sawhorses and compressors…what could go wrong?!
The ability to ditch that extension cord makes a huge difference in how productive – and safe – you can be. No schlepping in the extension cords, untangling them, fighting over outlets, tripping over them all day, and cleaning it all up at day’s end. Since many drywall installers get paid by the piece, this increased productivity translates into greater personal wealth. Or at least getting you done and outta there faster.
The major tool makers have all introduced a version of the cordless screw gun. With improvements in brushless motor and Lithium Ion battery technology, the tool geniuses finally got to the point where they could produce a cordless drywall screw gun that was as good as – or better than – corded models.
That was certainly the case with Milwaukee’s M18 drywall screw gun, which we reviewed about a year ago. It was lightweight, powerful, and had a very impressive set of features. Whoever designed the Ryobi ONE+ drywall screw gun was obviously impressed, because the Ryobi gun shares many of those features. One of the most useful is QuietDrive, or in Red-speak, Auto Start Mode. More on that shortly; let’s delve into the features.
A Closer Look At The Ryobi ONE+ Drywall Screw Gun
Getting the Ryobi ONE+ drywall screw gun set up is fast and easy. To insert the bit, just grab the nose cone and pull it off. Insert the bit holder into the chuck, push a bit into it, and push the cone back into place.
Being able to set the correct depth for your drywall screws is important. The screw head should be slightly below the surface of the drywall. Adjusting the depth of drive is simple and fast to get dialed in with the Ryobi ONE+ drywall screw gun. The nose cone is clearly labeled for deeper/shallower settings, and it’s easy to twist. After trying a couple of test screws, I had the depth set just right, and it stayed locked in throughout our testing.
The gun’s weight isn’t bad at all, even using Ryobi’s largest 18V battery, the 4.0 Ah P108. If I was going to be hanging drywall all day, especially for overhead work, I might think about swapping in a compact battery; the Ryobi ONE+ drywall screw gun will operate on any Ryobi ONE+ 18V battery. But since I’m fond of being able to walk upright at the end of the day, large quantities of drywall and I will be keeping a respectful distance, so for the moment the current battery can stay.
The requisite LED light on the Ryobi ONE+ drywall screw gun is actually useful when working in underlit areas. In other words, on most job sites. The light stays on for just under 20 seconds when the trigger is released. Over the top edge from the light, in the center of the base, is a little magnetic screw-corral zone, dubbed the MAGTRAY. It’s a handy spot to throw a few screws for a quick job, or to keep an extra bit or two, but I imagine production workers will stick to their usual method of screw dispensing.
Speaking as one who has, on more than one occasion, lifted a sheet of drywall into position on the upper half of the wall, only to realize the screw gun is on the floor ten feet away, the reversible belt hook is a small but essential feature, too. Conveniently, it’s just wide enough to let you hook it over the edge of a piece of drywall. And you don’t even need a screwdriver to install it – just squeeze the sides together, and pop it in.
The handle on the Ryobi ONE+ drywall screw gun has a good bit of rubber overmold, and is fairly comfortable to hold. There’s also rubber overmold in the wraparound groove near the top of the gun; more on that in a moment.
The variable-speed trigger is large, and easy to control. The gun has the traditional directional switch just above the trigger; push it left for forward, right for reverse, and to the center to lock the trigger.
The Zen Of The Ryobi ONE+ Drywall Screw Gun
As those who install drywall for a living can attest, it is generally NOT a quiet, soothing task. As I mentioned, many hangers get paid per piece, and they want to do anything they can to speed up the process. With corded guns, this often involves locking them in the full-on position, so they don’t have to squeeze the trigger and wait for spool up on every screw. As you might guess, this can be a tad noisy, especially if there is more than one hanger at work.
The Ryobi ONE+ drywall screw gun can be locked on, too, by simply squeezing the trigger and sliding the lock button up. There’s a much better alternative, though. Using the QuietDrive feature, the motor is locked in the ON position, but it doesn’t run until the bit presses the screw against the drywall. When the tip is removed from the drywall, the motor stops immediately.
Since the motor is locked on, the user doesn’t have to depress the trigger. This means the gun can be held in whatever position the user finds most comfortable, including with the web of skin ‘twixt thumb and forefinger nestled into the groove on the top rear of the gun.
The QuietDrive feature is simple to engage. Push the little QuietDrive button on the base, and a small blue light comes on. Depress the trigger (the motor won’t run), and slide the lock button up. To disengage, just pull and release the trigger, and push the QuietDrive button. Along with preserving the tranquility of the jobsite, the QuietDrive feature provides much better battery life than you’d get by locking the tool in the ON position, all while giving the user get the same instant driving action. Win-win-win!
Up Against The Wall – And The Ceiling – With The Ryobi ONE+ Drywall Screw Gun
I got a chance to put the Ryobi ONE+ drywall screw gun to work on a renovation I’m working on. I had several sheets of drywall to hang on the walls, and a small section of ceiling to do. I slid in a fresh battery, made sure the screw depth was adjusted right, and got to it.
I am NOT a drywall pro (just ask anyone who has seen my taping skills in action), but I’ve hung a lot of drywall over the years. Until recently, I’ve used a corded screw gun for the task, and suffered through the noise. What a huge difference using a cordless gun; no noise between screws, and almost no noise even when the screws are going in. Take a listen:
The Ryobi ONE+ drywall screw gun drove the screws in very quickly, both in standard “squeeze the trigger” mode and in the QuietDrive mode. I guess that’s what 4,700 RPM will do for you. I used the gun mostly in the traditional position, but I also ran several screws in while holding the gun in the upper-grip area. Let’s just say that I would need a bit more practice to perfect that technique, but drywall pros would probably get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Ready For Some Free Range Screwing?
As I may have mentioned, hanging drywall is a tough job. I’m all for anything that can make it easier and faster, not to mention safer and quieter. The new Ryobi ONE+ drywall screw gun certainly falls into that category, and at its low price point ($99 suggested retail, available only as a bare tool), I think a lot of pros and serious DIYers will be interested. For anyone already on the ONE+ platform, it’s a pretty cheap way to up your game. For anyone not on the platform, Ryobi offers a number of battery/charger combo packages, and you can often get an even better deal by buying a tool combo kit that comes with a battery and charger.
The Ryobi ONE+ drywall screw gun has an impressive list of features, and the overall build quality seems very good. It worked very well in our testing, and got excellent battery life; after running roughly 200 screws, the battery gauge still lit up all four bars Ryobi is confident enough in the tool to back it with a three-year limited warranty. It’s also covered by a 90-day risk-free guarantee, so you can see for yourself just how tranquil YOUR work site can be. The Ryobi ONE+ drywall screw gun will begin shipping to all Home Depot stores during the first week of April, 2018 – and it’s available now for a mere $99 for the bare tool!