Review By Wayne Davy  Ryobi Website -


Ryobi CDL1802D
18v Cordless Drill/Driver


By Wayne Davy

Every good tradesperson, woodworker, DIY enthusiast or home renovator needs a solid cordless drill/driver to carry them through their day-to-day tasks. As you probably know, cordless drills can cost anywhere from US$10 up to $250 (and sometimes more). Obviously, there is a quality issue here to account for the wide range of price tags. Most cordless drills are categorized as either for light home use, or for heavy commercial/industrial use. So, depending on your needs, you will usually choose a drill that suits your requirements, and budget.

Ryobi Australia have recently release their Pro Series of tools aimed at the commercial/industrial user, but with a price tag that is very competitive to boot. Today we will take a look at their CDL1802D 18v Pro Series Cordless Drill - The retail price for this drill is AUD$245 and is available in Europe, UK< Australia and New Zealand. So without further ado, let's start drilling the product (pun intended)!

We received the Drill in a cardboard carton resplendent in pictures and details of the enclosed unit. 
The packaging is quite nice, but hey, this isn't art class! Let's crack it open! Opening up the carton exposed a molded plastic carry case with a large Ryobi logo on front and back. Pretty standard for commercial/industrial model tools.  Undoing the clips on the case revealed the following items sitting neatly inside:

  • 1 x 18 volt Ryobi CDL1802D Cordless Drill

  • 2 x 18 volt 1.7 mAh Ni-Cad Batteries

  • 1 x Heavy Duty 1 Hour Charger

  • 2 x Double Ended Screw Driver Bits

  • 1 x Printed Instruction Booklet

  • 1 x Warranty Information Booklet

Fit and finish of all the parts appeared to be very good and we were particularly impressed with the size of the Charger. Our first impressions were very favourable as the Drill and all other parts seemed quite solid.

Features of the Drill
Naturally, we first took a really close look at the drill itself. Upon removing the battery, we were pleasantly surprised by the weight of the drill itself. This is not a lightweight, all plastic unit like others in the class. It feels solid, well balanced and comfortable in the hand. Placing the drill on a set of scales revealed that it weighs in at 2lb 12oz or 1.26 kilograms. The battery weighed 880 grams (1lb 15oz) giving a total weight of 2.14 kilograms (4lb 11oz) by our measurements, although the manual states this as 2.24 kg.

A 13mm keyless chuck is featured on the drill. This is quite common these days, however, the Ryobi chuck is quite a good design in that only one hand is required to tighten and loosen the chuck. This is possible as the drill features a brake that pretty much locks the drive shaft when the drill is off. Just grab the chuck locking ring and rotate in the required direction – you don’t have to hold a spindle lock button or ring as is the case on a lot of the competitor's drills. Nice feature!

Another feature of the drill is a Clutch control that has twenty-four settings, with the twenty-fourth being direct drive. Operation of the Clutch control, like most other drills, is achieved by rotating the selection ring at the front of the drill just behind the chuck release ring. This moved freely with small detent settings present throughout the entire range of movement, a good sign of quality.

Now for driving screws, a reversing switch is a must. Most drills feature this these days. The Ryobi’s selector is one of the sliding, through-type, situated just above the trigger. This enables the User to quickly and easily change the direction of the drill without changing hand positions or using the other hand. This also has another function in that it has a middle position which is a switch-lock preventing accidental starting of the drill. Handy if you have kids or other unwary hands around the place that like to get into touble! We liked the addition of black arrows on the selector making it quite clear as to which position the switch needs to be in to get the desired direction of movement.

Another feature that is very handy for driving screws is the two-speed gearbox. By changing a sliding selector on the top of the Drill from ‘HI’ to ‘LO’, the top speed of the drill is changed from 1300 RPM to 380 RPM. The Ryobi CDL1802D also has a variable speed trigger but, like all others, this only changes the amount of electricity fed to the motor. This means that, at low speeds, a bit of torque is lost.  This is not a problem specific to the Ryobi by any means and selecting the ‘LO’ gearbox setting will result in more torque available, particularly at very low speeds.

  The trigger also had a nice little feature in that it has a rubber insert at the front making prolonged use of drill much more comfortable and helping to prevent finger slip in use.

The handle on the Ryobi is a center design that evenly distributes the weight to the front and back. A rubberised insert is again present and covers the back, most of the sides and also up into the Drill body which will again reducing any discomfort and fatigue from using the drill for long periods and will help prevent damage and shock in tough commercial environments.

Ryobi CDL1802D Drilling Capacity

Timber - 38mm
Steel - 13mm

Maximum Torque Available is 36Nm

Batteries and Charger
Batteries are flat bottomed so that the drill can be placed in an upright position on the bench
and is hard to knock over without a pretty good nudge. They are of the ‘Post’ type with two in-built clips to secure them to the drill. Removing and attaching the batteries (two are included in the kit) was a very quick and easy operation. Both batteries provided are rated at 1.7 amp hours, thereby giving a good amount of power and running time per charge. The batteries themselves are high-quality Panasonic cells which should ensure extended periods of use.

The Charger is a very big unit and is a 1-Hour fast charge variety. We think the main reasons for the size of the charger is that it is an Industrial model and also does not use a separate power pack (unlike others) and has a 'normal' power plug.  Not having another power pack taking up space in the power outlets is a welcome feature. 

Three LED’s are present on the charger giving a visual indication of the state of the charger and battery. The Red LED indicates fast charge, Green means the battery is fully charged and a combination of the Yellow and Green indicating control charge mode which should change to fast charge within five minutes. If the Yellow and Green LED’s stay on for longer (the manual indicates fifteen minutes), then the battery is probably damaged and cannot be charged – again, a handy battery notification feature.

In Use
We commenced testing by driving fifty
(50) 1” galvanised screws into a 2” piece of well-dried hardwood. The first twenty-five screws were driven in at the ‘LO’ gearbox setting without any sign of strain from the Drill. For the next twenty-five screws, we thought we would change the drill to the ‘HI’ gearbox setting and see how she performed. Again, no strain was noticed. In fact, the drill proceeded to bury the screws heads down into the hard timber. Now, we did have a little problem but not with the Ryobi. Placing this many screws in such close proximity to each other led to a bit of cracking in our test piece of timber. 


First Half Score – Ryobi 1 – Timber 0.

Next, we slid the Direction selector on the drill into the reverse setting and proceeded to remove the screws. The drill was still on the ‘HI’ gearbox setting and this is when we struck another problem but, again, not with the drill. During the removal of the first twenty screws we snapped the heads of eleven screws! Time to change to the ‘LO’ gearbox setting we thought. Sliding across the gearbox selector on the top to the drill to the ‘LO’ setting, we then removed the remaining thirty screws with ease and no broken screws this time. Again, no strain on either gearbox setting was noticed.

Second Half Score – Ryobi 2 – Timber 0 - Screws 0.

Ok, fifty screws is only a small test, so we proceeded to use the drill in our workshop for the next week leaving our current drill to get a bit lonely high up on the shelf. After several days of general drilling, driving, hole cutting (with up to 2 ” hole saws) and a bit of spade bit work, the drill was still not showing any sign of slowing down. We finally flattened the battery about halfway through the third day.  This was a pretty good inning and we were quite impressed with the performance and battery life. By comparison, our other 18 volt drill would have ran out of puff not much into the first day, although it is getting on a bit now in age.

So, now we had a flat battery, it was over to the charger. We let the battery cool down for about fifteen minutes after use, which is always a good idea and helps to prolong life and ensure the battery receives a full charge. Sliding the battery post into the Charger caused the Red LED to come to life. Only one hour later our battery was fully charged. Of course during this hour, we were not idle as we had the second battery clipped into the drill and proceeded to complete the jobs at hand.

And speaking of hands, ours were not at all fatigued nor did we have any sore/rubbed areas at the base of the thumb that we have had occur using other drills. We have the rubberized handle and switch to thank for this.

We have heard a few complaints about Ryobi tools in the past but these have been mainly with their handy-man
(budget) series of tools, often strangely expected to perform commercial tasks by their users. Battery life has been an issue on all types and brands of budget drills. With this model aimed at the professional level of the market, Ryobi has needed to up the ante in features, reliability and build quality. After giving the drill a good work out, we do feel that they have achieved the features and build quality elements. However, it is not possible to judge the reliability in such a short time period so we will revisit this review after 6 or more months and give you an update! We are confident at this stage that the CDL1802D will continue to perform well for years to come.

In summary though, we liked the drill very much and thought that it matched or bettered most drills in its class and price range, both in performance and ease of use. With comfort, lots of power, two batteries and a 1-hour Charger, we believe that the Ryobi 18 volt is a good choice and would be a welcome addition to anyone’s tool collection.

Thanks goes to Andrew Miller from Ryobi Australia for
his assistance with this review.

Ryobi CDL1802D Photos
All photos copyright Use without prior written permission prohibited

This is the box to look for
off the shelf :)

The 'Core' components of the CDL1802D package

2-speed gearbox set to 'HI' for
power driving...

...and here it is set to 'LO' to save stripping the screws

Trigger and drill direction switch. Both are comfortable to use and direction switch is easily accessible.

Setting up for a dedicated scrwew driving test. One Ryobi drill, one big box of screws and a nice solid piece of hardwood... Who will prevail?

And away we go... driving a large number of screws into solid hardwood.

Ok, so it doesn't look too pretty, but the Ryobi has performed the task exceptionally well.
Click to enlarge this picture!

Securing shelves is quick and easy with the Ryobi CDL1802D

In reverse setting, and with gearbox set to LO speed, we safely remove some screws form our deck chair, with no damage to the chair itself.

Whether it is drilling, driving, securing, removing or any other task you can think of, we believe the Ryobi CDL1802D represents excellent value for money.

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Reproduction in any form prohibited with express prior written permission. Copyright 2003