If you’re looking at picking up some entry-level power tools, then undoubtedly, you’ll want to take a look at the differences between Ryobi vs Black and Decker. Both of these toolmakers are well-known in the budget homeowner tier and manufacture many competing products that stack up quite closely.
While both brands share many aspects of their lineup, they also differ significantly when it comes to performance, warranty, and tool selection.
I’ll break down the differences between these two toolmakers, and help you choose which one is best suited to your needs.
If you’ve spent any time inside a home depot, then you’ve undoubtedly run into this well-regarded budget toolmaker.
Ryobi Seisakusho Co. started off as a Japanese die-cast manufacturer all the way back in 1943. It branched out into manufacturing power tools in 1968, and by 1973 it changed its name to the one we all recognize today – simply Ryobi.
In 1999 the brand was bought out by Hong Kong based TTI (Techtronic Industries Co.), which was the company that had been supplying them with cordless tools. Today, TTI is a megacorp that owns many other tool brands like Milwaukee, Hoover, Empire, Hart and Dirt Devil.
Nowadays, Ryobi is a large company with over 10,000 employees and 12 manufacturing plants around the world. In North America, the company sells its tools through Home Depot as well as Walmart and online sales.
Black and Decker
Black and Decker is an American tool manufacturer or power tools, hardware, home improvement products, accessories, and fastening systems headquartered in Towson, Maryland. In 2010 Black and Decker merged with Stanley to become Stanley Black and Decker.
The tool manufacturer was established back in 1910 as a small machine shop by two industrial tool engineers and designers S. Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker. In the early years, the company made a name for itself with the hand-operated electric drill with a pistol grip and trigger switch.
Over the next few decades, the company expanded to become a major tool manufacturer both in the US and internationally. In 1960, the company acquired DeWalt from American Machine and Foundry.
Then, the company underwent a period of major expansion throughout the 1960s-1980s, where they enjoyed unprecedented success in the outdoor tool, lawn and garden, and home appliance niche.
Ryobi vs Black and Decker Comparison
Both Ryobi and Black & Decker are positioned similarly in the market and target consumers on the lower end of the price spectrum. Both are without a doubt “homeowner” tools, and not intended for professional contractor use.
There is massive overlap between the two brands, as they tend to produce power tools are similar price points, so it’s quite simple to get a good comparison between the two brands.
If we take a look at the respective lineups of the two brands, we can get a good idea of how they stack up against each other.
Ryobi’s tool lineup is actually quite impressive in terms of its tool variety. They offer just about everything you could possibly need for DIY jobs, as well as a rapidly expanding lawn and garden collection, and even some unique tools not made by any other manufacturer.
One interesting point to note about Ryobi is their focus on backward compatibility for their battery systems. That means you can still use your old NiCad batteries with their newer lithium battery tools. All of their 18V batteries are swappable, regardless of generation, which is a major plus if you’re looking for a tool lineup that won’t be obsolete in just a few years.
Black and Decker do not have the same commitment to backward compatibility, so be aware there is a possibility your tools/batteries can become outdated over time.
Black & Decker’s lineup included a wide variety of homeowner tools, lawn and garden tools, workshop tools, as well as a variety of household appliances like vacuums, kitchen appliances, and the like.
In some respects, Black and Decker’s lineup is more extensive, such as their selection of basic drill/drivers, but in others’s lacking. For instance, you won’t find anything in the way of more advanced tools like miter saws or table saws, whereas Ryobi has a solid selection of basic and advanced tools
When it comes to price, both toolmakers offer tools in the lower end of the spectrum. Basic drill/drivers, saws, sanders, and grinders can all be had in the $30 to $60 price range, which is significantly less than premium tool brands like DeWalt, Makita, or Bosch.
Ryobi tends to have a wider variety of offerings at slightly different price points, with a cheap budget option as well as a premium option, and sometimes even a third mid-priced option.
If we take a look at their basic 18V drill drivers, they have a budget-priced option retailing for $30, a mid-priced brushless option selling for $60, and a higher-end compact brushless option retailing for $80.
Black and Decker tends to be more focused on the entry-level homeowner tools and offers little in the way of higher-end tools.
When it comes to overall quality, the consensus seems to be that Ryobi tools are superior quality to Black and Decker. This has been my own experience as well, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with every Ryobi tool I’ve ever purchased or used.
This isn’t to say you should always prefer Ryobi over Black and Decker, as Black and Decker does make perfectly capable entry-level tools. If you’re looking at two tools and have narrowed it down to a Ryobi and a Black and Decker, I’d lean towards the Ryobi.
In my own experience, Ryobi tools perform incredibly well, especially when you consider how little they actually cost compared to the premium brands. With Ryobi, you’re getting a tool that performs 80% as well as a premium brand tool, at half the cost.
That said, Ryobi tools are not designed for heavy all-day use, so if you’re a contractor looking for work tools, you probably want to avoid Ryobi for the tools you use daily.
Ryobi tends to offer slightly better warranties than Black and Decker. They offer a 3-year limited warranty on most power tools, batteries and chargers, and outdoor power equipment as well as a 5-year limited warranty on all 40V Lithium-ion outdoor tools.
Black and Decker offer a 2-year warranty on most power tools and a lifetime warranty on most of their hand tools.
Which Brand Is Best for Me?
When it comes to Ryobi vs Black and Decker, there isn’t one answer for everyone, as everyone’s needs are slightly different. That said, I’d lean towards Ryobi tools in just about every situation other that if you want cheap tools that will only get occasional use.
As both tool manufacturers make tools in the same segment, and Ryobi’s tend to perform better, it’s really a no-brainer to go with the manufacturer offering the better value.
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