May 30, 2007

Ryobi HT230 229-Piece Rotary Tool Kit - Review

Rotary tools are on the rise and we couldn’t be happier about it. We’ve been using them for a while now and are constantly blown away by how versatile they are. Depending on the bit, you can sand, grind, drill, cut, and polish, and they are capable of handling wood, metal, and just about every other material under the sun. To do good work, you have to be detail-oriented, and rotary tools are just the thing for that last pass on a job to make every last detail perfect. Cut-out tools, like the Roto-Zip, are extremely handy and useful, but to deal with projects that need more finesse than power, you need one of the little hand-held models. And Ryobi has just entered the fray with their 229-Piece Rotary Tool Kit.

Just opening the box, we were stunned. We’d seen the picture, but seeing it in person is still impressive. Ryobi has crammed 229 pieces into a medium-sized plastic case. Everything is laid out in an easy to see way and bits and attachments are grouped with like items, making the case itself is a feat of spatial engineering.

rotary_flex.jpgThe tool is light and comes with 1/16”, 1/32” and 1/8” collets. The bits change out with an easy to use arbor stop and a little wrench that comes with the tool. The cord is 6’ long (we love this) and the tool has a range of 10,000 to 35,000 RPM. It has a comfortable grip and is easy to hold in both the ‘pencil’ grip and the ‘gun’ grip.

Our one complaint with the tool itself is that Ryobi chose to display the speed via digital readout as opposed to the more traditional thumb dial. The problem is that this digital readout resets each time you turn off the tool, so if you finally get the right speed for the task at hand and, for some reason have to turn the tool off, when you turn it back on, it’s automatically reset to the lowest speed. This is a minor inconvenience, but, as we see it, an unnecessary one. We understand Ryobi’s point on making the speeds easily readable (the dial reads from 10 to 35, in relation to the RPM), but it’s a hassle to keep resetting the speed if you’re spending all day on a repetitive task. Overall though, it’s a solid little tool with a nice amount of power (1.5 amps), but, as far as this kit goes, the tool itself is just the beginning.

Also included in the kit is a 3’ flex shaft complete with a telescoping tool hanger. The flex shaft is simple to attach and the hanger clamps easily to your workbench. The bit end of the shaft is very comfortable and we were able to maintain perfect control over the tool using this attachment. The kit also comes with a cut-out attachment, turning the tool into a lightweight Rotozip perfect for putting holes in sheetrock.

And then we get to the bits (this is where things get really out of hand). The set includes:

  • Orange 120 Grit Aluminum Oxide Grinding Wheel Bits (6x): 5/8” x 3/8” (2x), 3/8"x 1/2” (2x), 3/8” x 3/4” Parabolic Shape
  • Green 120 Grit Silicon Carbide Grinding Wheel Bits (4x): 25/32” x 3/16” (2x), 13/32” x 1/8” (2x)
  • 3/4” Wire Circle Brushes (3x): Nylon (1x), Brass (1x), Stainless Steel (1x)
  • 3/16” Wire Cup Brushes (4x): Nylon (1x), Brass 5/8” (1x), Stainless Steel (1x), Brass (1x)
  • 1/4” Diameter Drum Sander Mandrel (1x)
  • 1/2” Diameter Drum Sander Mandrel (1x)
  • Green Rubber Polishing Bits (4x)
  • 15/16” x 1/64” Cut-Off Discs (36x)
  • Polishing Compound Vial (1x)
  • 15/16” x 1/32” Cut-Off Discs (72x)
  • Pink 220 Grit Aluminum Oxide Grinding Wheels, 3/4” Diameter (6x)
  • Felt Polishing Wheel, 1/2” Diameter (4x)
  • 7/8"x 5/32" Rubber Emory Wheel (1x)
  • 1/4” x 1/2” Sanding Drums (17x): 60 Grit (9x), 120 Grit (8x)
  • 1/2” x 1/2” Sanding Drums (17x): 60 Grit (9x), 120 Grit (8x)
  • Green 180 Grit Aluminum Oxide Grinding Wheels, 3/4” Diameter (6x)
  • Silicon Carbide Dressing Stone (1x)
  • Cloth Polishing Wheel (1x)
  • Diamond Cut-Off Wheel (1x)
  • Felt Polishing Wheel, 1” Diameter (1x)
  • Felt Polishing Drum (1x)
  • 1 1/4” Diameter Fiberglass Cut-off Wheels (5x)
  • 1/8” Screw Mandrel (1x)
  • 1/8” Shank x 1/16” Mandrels (2x)
  • 1/8” Shank x 3/32” Mandrel (1x)
  • Wood Handle Parts Cleaning Brush (1x)
ryobi_cutout.jpgYep, all of that is in there, and that’s the real glory of this kit. The tool itself is good, but having all these bits and attachments to play with is just great. If you are totally new to the idea of the rotary tool, without question this is the place to start. By spending an afternoon with the kit, you’ll be able to get a handle on how useful these little tools can be and you don’t have to shell out a ton of money on individual bits. Even if you are familiar with rotary tools and already own one, this is still a good option, due to the fact that you get so much more than just the tool and that it is in a compact, easy to carry case. Using this kit, it’s impossible to resist the urge to play around with all of the different bits and attachments.

To top it all off, the 229 Piece Rotary Tool Kit retails for just a hair under $50. At this price, the kit is a steal and we can't think of any reason why you shouldn't own one.

At Home Depot

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at May 30, 2007 6:55 PM
Recent Comments

I have been looking for this tool like crazy. It's on the Ryobi website but I can't find it anywhere. I've looked in stores, I've looked on websites, but I can't find anyplace that I can buy it. Can anyone make a suggestion? Perhaps a link? I would really like to get one of these in my hands.

Posted by: Peter Rebholz at December 26, 2008 5:21 PM

Tim, thanks for the comment. We've also run across the sticking button issue, but with us it's just been a stick and nothing to the extent that you had to deal with. Hope the second one works out better.

-Tool Snob

Posted by: Tool Snob at July 9, 2007 4:34 PM

Thanks for your review on the Ryobi Rotary tool kit. I received one for Fathers day and couldn't wait to use it. I soon ran into two problems. The first time I used the cut off wheel, the screw holding it to the shaft broke as I tightened it. I thought ok, maybe I'm new to this and I'm a little too rough, fortunately there was a second shaft in the kit, so a quick replacement and I was back at the job. As soon as I ran the speed up to do the cutting job I needed, it worked fine for a while, then the + button got stuck in the down position and I could not get it above the lowest speed. No amount of fiddling with screwdrivers and other small tools would free it. The Wife is taking it back today to exhange it for a new one.
I do share your opinion that the speed adjustment needs to lock in at the speed you set it at when you turn it off to make an adjustment to the piece you're working on. I think that is a major fault with this tool.
All in all though, with all the extra goodies in this set and the price it is at, I think this is a good deal, especially for someone like me who is new to rotary tools.

Posted by: Tim McGahuey at July 9, 2007 8:03 AM

Home Depot just placed this kit in the clearance section. I was lucky enough to get the last one.

It's a great kit for a great price. Just as good as a Dremel.

Posted by: FloridaDIYer at June 6, 2007 3:08 AM
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