Ryobi vs Dewalt Cordless Drill: Which one should you choose?


Both Ryobi and DeWalt are respected for providing top-notch tools for the market. However, there are quite a few differences between them and the choice you make is quite important when you consider the various implications it might have. We are going to be discussing some of the differences between these two companies, as well as what advantages the cordless drills from each company can offer.

This will hopefully help you make the right choice in this regard. We will be comparing Ryobi and DeWalt in five categories: drill speed, battery life, portability, torque, and price.

Drill Speed

Judging a cordless drill based on drill speed is a little tricky. Speed isn’t the only thing that matters, after all you also need to take control into account.

Some drills offer excellent speeds and drilling power but they tend to be hard to control as well. This is a major downside which makes the high speeds rather worthless.

DeWalt has ended up being the clear winner in this regard, as the Black & Decker subsidiary has managed to provide truly high-quality drills that are clearly meant for professionals rather than at home DIYers and hobbyists.

Ryobi drills generally only have one speed setting. This allows the RPM to go up to 600 which is generally enough for at home usage. DeWalt, on the other hand, usually offers dual speed settings. The slower setting allows the RPM to go up to 400, whereas the faster setting goes up to 1,500. Hence, you get the best of both worlds here. The slower speed setting in DeWalt drills can suffice for at home usage, and you have the option to switching to a much higher RPM if you have professional projects that you need to complete.

Battery Life

This is a category where both DeWalt and Ryobi performed admirably well. Both Ryobi and DeWalt offer lithium ion batteries, the industry standard for cordless drills. A 12V battery is generally sufficient for various at home and professional uses, and both Ryobi and DeWalt have a selection of cordless drills that come with 12 volt batteries. Battery performance is comparable as well, with both DeWalt and Ryobi products coming with batteries that last around two hours with continuous usage.

There are a couple of key differences between the two, though. Ryobi boasts much faster charging times. After the battery has been drained, it will take around forty minutes to fully charge. This can be positively compared to DeWalt drills which generally take close to an hour to fully charge.

However, the second difference between the two is that DeWalt generally offers two batteries with its drills. The spare battery can be enormously useful since it would facilitate continuous work as all you would have to do is switch the spent battery with the spare and get right back to it. It all depends on what matters more to you.

You can find out more about cordless drill batteries in this article.


Both weight and size need to be taken into consideration here, and DeWalt and Ryobi have both managed to do reasonably well in this category.

DeWalt managed to do a bit better since its 12 volt drill is about a pound lighter than the one Ryobi is offering. This means that DeWalt drills are going to be somewhat easier to use. Overall DeWalt’s 12V drill weighed about 2.4 pounds, which is significantly lower than the 3.5 pounds that Ryobi’s cordless drill weighs.

This can make a real difference while you are undertaking significant projects that might require a lot of time investment, and a pound less in your drill can greatly increase the amount of time that you can continuously work for.

Ryobi does win in the length department, though. It’s a little over 7 inches long, about half an inch shorter than the DeWalt drill. This is less beneficial than a lower weight, though.

With all of that said, both DeWalt and Ryobi offer lightweight drills that are compact and portable, DeWalt just manages to exceed expectations by offering a cordless drill that is somehow less than 2.5 pounds. Ryobi’s drills, though marginally heavier, are still decent in this category.


Torque is a term that refers to the power with which a drill can twist in one direction or the other. You would usually have some kind of a clutch that you can use to control torque.

How much torque you use would determine how deep you would be drilling your screws, and having maximum control over this sort of thing is essential if you want to make sure that the drilling is precise and effective. Ryobi manages to beat DeWalt quite soundly here since it offers a lot more options when it comes to controlling torque.

With DeWalt, your clutch lets you choose between 15 torque options. You get 22 with Ryobi. A common problem that a lot of users face with DeWalt drills is that they often have to compromise on torque. You just can’t get the most precise setting, and the extra 7 settings that Ryobi offers you in its 12V drill are a big part of why some people prefer using Ryobi over all others. Torque isn’t everything, but having more control over it can certainly help you do your work with a lot more confidence and control. This is one thing might make Ryobi more suitable for professional use than DeWalt.

If you’re in the market for good quality high-torque drill, we wrote an article on the 5 best high-torque drills where we review and handpick the best ones for you to buy.

Value for Money

This is another tricky question to answer. On the surface, Ryobi does seem to be cheaper. This might give it more value for money for some people. However, while DeWalt is certainly more expensive, it offers an assortment of features that can potentially justify this high asking price. DeWalt’s drills are more powerful, slightly more portable and have a more convenient battery situation thanks to the spare battery.

That said, for those that aren’t look for professional grade power, DeWalt might not be all that great of a choice. What’s more is that Ryobi manages to offer more control at a lower price, so this is a win-win for a lot of buyers. Since the price for a Ryobi is lower, you can just buy a spare battery thereby making part of DeWalt’s appeal somewhat less pertinent.

This makes the decision a bit of a tie although we are leaning in favor of DeWalt to a certain extent. The extended warranty pushes things a bit further into DeWalt’s court. Both companies offer a three year warranty but DeWalt goes a step further with a 90 day money back guarantee.

The accessories might be what make DeWalt the winner of this contest. Both drills have LED lights but DeWalt’s are better placed since they are on the barrel so you can aim it more effectively. Ryobi doesn’t give you a carry bag with its drills either, though it does give you a double ended drill bit free of cost.

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Overall, we feel that we are leaning towards DeWalt, but bear in mind that this is in no way a decisive victory. Ryobi has some great offerings too, and it falls just short of the win in our comparison.

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