April 28, 2010

Ridgid 12-Volt Lithium-Ion JobMax Combo Kits - Review

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By far the most interesting tool we've seen this year is the Ridgid JobMax. The principle here is pretty simple: create a universal power handle, stoked by a 12-volt drill, and then create any number of interchangeable heads that can click on to it. The end result is an entire JoBox worth of tools that's capable of fitting into a ShuBox. Ridgid has released two different JobMax kits, each with a different selections of heads and they were nice enough to send some samples our way so that we could check them out. We've had them for over a month now and we've used them at work and in the shop. We've used them for big things and little things, complicated things and easy things. And we've finally come to our verdict...

Out of the boxes, we immediately noticed two things about the JobMax: 1) it's bigger than we thought and 2) it's heavier than we thought. From the picture, we assumed the tool would be the size of a medium flashlight, but with an accessory head on it, the tool reminds us more of the large perp-beating Mag-Lite that that cops use.

The business end of the power handle consists of a little star shaped gear with a plastic sheath on it. Ridgid supplies each kit with a replacemnt sheath, so we can probably expect some sort of life span on the first one. The handle also has an LED that shines towards the head of the tool.

ridgid_jobmax_orientation.jpg ridgid_jobmax_orientation_2.jpg

Clicking the heads on and off of the power handle is easy enough. To attach a head, just slide it on until the side tabs click in and to take it off, just press the tabs and remove the head. The tool is built in such a way that each head can sit in any one of four positions in relation to the handle. This is great for tight spots and something that we utilized quite a bit.


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At the moment, Ridgid's arsenal consists of an oscillating tool, a right angle drill, a right angle impact driver, an auto-hammer, and a 3/8" ratchet head. All of the heads, save the right angle drill are sheathed in a molded rubber casing, one that we can attest takes a beating nicely as well as give the tools a slick look and feel.

With the accessories attached to the base, the connection point has a slight wiggle to it. At first, we were a little disappointed with this, but we honestly forgot about it once we started using the tools. Because Ridgid put all of the gearing in the individual heads, as opposed to spreading it into the handle, the heads are also very weighty and give the JobMax a top-heavy feel that unbalances the tool in the hands. The worst offender of this is the right angle impact driver. Again, this didn't prohibit us from using the tool, but it did cause some strain after extended use, particularly when compared directly to the non-jobmaxified tools.

ridgid_jobmax_w_milwaukee.jpg

But these are minor, fussy gripes, the big picture is that the JobMax is pretty awesome. Having this much tool in one bag is really fantastic. The load in the back of our truck went from 'overstuffed,' to 'room for the lunchbox' in about 30 seconds. And the tools are powerful too. Like we said, they're a bit heavy, but there is none of that gimmick feel about these items. The power handle with the right angle drill on it works just like a right angle drill, the power handle with the auto-hammer head on it acts just like an auto hammer. It's all quite an achievement and in a very short period of time, we've come to depend on the JobMax in our day-to-day life. It's pretty rugged too. The weight of it, in a way, isn't a bad thing, as it indicates a seriousness about the innerds of the tool.

ridgid_jobmax_2.jpg

Of the heads, the oscillating tool is the most interesting. The JobMax doesn't have a variable speed dial, but it does have a variable speed trigger, so unlike any other oscillating tool on the market, the speed can be controlled on the fly. It didn't take long for us to really appreciate the ability to have this kind of control. Other than that, the accessory heads are relatively basic without any notable features.

So if you're looking for convenience and portability, it's going to be tough to beat the JobMax. From where we stand, it's not only a great idea, but a fantastic execution as well. Yeah, the tools are a little heavy, but that's a small trade-off for having five great tools in one small duffel bag.

Ridgid has opted to release this tool in two kits with additional heads available as stand-alones. One kit consists of the power handle, the right angle impact driver, and the ratchet head ($179 - more info at Ridgid). The second includes the power handle, the auto hammer, the oscillating head, and a 12-volt cordless drill ($199 - more info at Ridgid). It looks like you can get which ever set suits you best and then purchase individual heads which are about $40-50.

At Home Depot

Read More in: All Reviews | Cordless | Lithium-Ion | Oscillating Tools | Power Tool Accessories

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at April 28, 2010 5:25 AM

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Recent Comments

My jobmax fails intermittently and unexpectedly. I can wiggle the attachment to get it to work but only intermittently. I read somewhere that it could be a dirty contact so I tried compressed air where the base connects to the attachment. I bought this at Home Depot and I hope they are standup about replacing it.


Posted by: Reuben at December 28, 2011 10:15 PM

Emerson Electric which manufactures Ridgid, along with other brands as well as some Craftsman products used to be a quality place now it you always hear about switches that take months to get! Not right at all. Too bad.


Posted by: spike at December 6, 2011 3:53 PM

dis not goode tol it break and now I wait many mnay mohnths for tol to be fixeded. You full the sheet!


Posted by: bhuta at December 6, 2011 3:48 PM

My job max failed after 5 months (switch). It has been at the service center 2-1/2 months waiting for a replacement switch. This is my 1st bad experience with rigid tools. Wish I had bought the SoniCrafter instead.


Posted by: doclink at June 8, 2011 5:43 PM

I purchased a new Ridgid Jobmax, extra battery, and all accessories in August 2010. I loved this tool. Then in September it quit working. Ridgid instructed me to send it to my nearest repair facility. After a month I call the repair center and they told me they were waiting on a replacement switch assembly. I contacted Ridgid and they told me the switch assembly would not be available until January 2011. I will be without this tool for over three months and Ridgid was not willing to send me a replacement. That is the last Ridgid tool I will ever buy.


Posted by: Delwin Burton at December 12, 2010 10:35 AM

Home Depot just released a "Super Pack" of the jobmax. It has all 5 heads with it + 2 batteries for 239$ CDN.


Posted by: Moneyman at October 31, 2010 1:05 AM

I Purchased two kits; one with the oscillating head and the impact the kit with right angle drill, auto hammer and impact wrench. Sure like the idea of having all that in such a small package. There is some weight to the heads which suggests metal gears so this is a good thing.
So...I have all this and since I got the two kits I have two power bases and four batteries.

Guess what. I am going to return them all and I'll tell you why.... Whenever a moderate amount of pressure is applied to the tool the unit shuts off no matter what combination of batteries/power bases is attached. Is this low voltage protection? Perhaps overload protection? Sure was no heat being produced that could have caused it! Being the fact that I got the two combo kits I have eliminated the possibility of it being a defective kit, I think. This is a major bummer and a thorough disappointment. This problem first occurred while using the oscillating tool. Customer standing over me looking at me, then my tool as I am running out to the van to get a hand saw. Then while using the driver with a 5/8th spade bit and going through some 3/4" shelving every time the drill would stop and I would have to wait 8 to 10 seconds before the unit would come back to life. I am not exerting extreme pressure or using continuously for long periods of time. Major bummer and since I essentially have two kits and this happens with both I think that I can safely say that this must be some sort of overload protection??

one word: refund.


Posted by: Brian Simmons at May 20, 2010 8:15 PM
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