Well, as the title points out, the future really has arrived in the form of this gnarly set of battery operated bolt cutters from Ryobi. The most shocking part of the entire story: The Home Depot will trade you one hundred American dollars for one of these tools….and it works like a champ : ) I wasn’t a true believer when I saw this tool coming up for review but now that I’ve gotten to beat on it a little bit I can tell you I’m totally on board with reaching for this set of cutters the next time I need to cut through a piece of chain, bolt, pad lock, or any other round material I can stuff in it’s jaws. Here’s what I learned about it:
At 16-1/2” inches long and about 7 lbs in weight, it’s no small tool and feels a bit like a mini-ordinance launcher in your hand. At that point it’s not hard to keep a hold of with the ultra grippy texturized rubber that’s overmolded throughout the entire body of the tool. Ryobi simplified the trigger mechanism by giving you two directional buttons for opening and closing the jaws keeping you in positive control of the closing action.
Speaking of, lets take a closer look at these jaws on this cordless bolt cutter. The jaws are made from forged steel which undergo a custom heat treating process to increase the surface hardness of the blade material. Ryobi doesn’t share with us the exact hardness of the jaws but it’s safe to estimate them somewhere around the high 40’s on the Rockwell C scale.
Ryobi recommends not cutting anything above 3/8 of an inch but you may get away with cutting soft 1/2” if you’re patient with the cut. If you’re cutting 3/8 stock, Ryobi recommends sticking with a softer grade alloy and steering clear of hard material such as a grade 8. However, it will handle 1/4” hard materials just fine.
So how’s it cut??….actually, it cuts pretty darn well. I cut a variety of materials to get an idea of the cutting power of these little jaws. Take a look at the materials down below:
- 7/32 Zinc J bolt – No problems at all. One pass separation.
- 1/4 -20 Zinc Bolt – No problems at all. One pass separation.
- .190” Stainless Ring – Slower than previous materials, grunts, but cut in one single pass.
- 1/4-20 Grade 8 – Grunted, stalled slightly just before ultimate failure.
- 5/16 Hard Steel Pad Lock – (~40-45 HRC) – Surprisingly well! Grunted once, stopped the motor, squeezed again, jaws cut material on second squeeze.
- 3/8-16 Zinc Bolt – Required stepwise cut. Squeeze trigger until jaws stopped, release, repeated twice until the jaws fully parted the material.
So you probably get the idea here. If you plan to employ this tool for some medium to light duty metal cutting on something like metal shelving, bolt tails, light duty chain and so on, chances are it will perform perfectly for your needs. Occasional pad lock cutting for someone who owns a storage building facility would fit pretty well in the operational range of these electric cutters but you may be getting close to it’s limits. Finally, if you’re interested in cutting something like rebar in a production or job site capacity, you may need to look into something with a few more buck-wheats as the motor will not be able to push through it….something tells me a big brother option is on the horizon however…
Two more things worth pointing out are the replaceable jaws and the work horse of a battery that powers this rig. Working this tool as a replacement bolt cutter for your company or business is probably gonna require replacing the jaws at some point along the journey. Ryobi has you covered here with replacement jaws available through Ryobi. Simply remove the stockers by backing out the two 1/4” bolts which hold the jaws in place, slide in a new set, and you’re back in the race. Following all of the material I cut up to this point, the only physical damage I can see is superficial in the paint and shows little to no real deformation at all.
On the other hand this 6.0 Ah battery is one you can push until you’re little hearts content and may very well outlive you and I both. This battery is optimized for the entire line of Ryobi ONE+ products and features a built in fuel gage so you’re always one button away from understanding the current charge level. With the 6.0 Ah battery installed, Ryobi reports a working potential of over 200 cuts per charge with this particular tool.
Thanks for stopping by to learn a bit more about this fun new tool from Ryobi; I really appreciate it. This review was provided in support of the ProSpective Campaign sponsored by The Home Depot. They supply the tool and I supply an opinion. The links in this review are affiliate links and provide a small kick-back to the website which helps to keep the wheel turning. Regardless, I genuinely appreciate your support.