Monday 18 August 2008
Scott Teagle hammers into this budget-conscious Ryobi impact drill
First impressions of the EID-100 are of a robust and stylish design incorporating many of the added-value features now being introduced through the Ryobi ranges.
With its excellent heat conduction properties, the aluminium gear housing should prolong the lifetime of the gears, while other features include an impact mechanism designed to drive screws and lag bolts without stripping, a 2-speed transmission and 24-position clutch for high-torque applications, and 1/2in single-sleeve keyless chuck with spindle lock for quick and easy bit changes.
The chuck combines grooved jaws and ratchet action to secure the bit confidently so I was never in fear of the bit slipping. The spindle lock for the chuck is flush to the case but still far easier to use than a chuck key.
There's a useful spirit level, and the comfortable GripZone handle is smartly placed to encompass the entire rear of the drill and a little on top - just where you like to place your hands when a certain degree of pressure is required - so the drill feels balanced and secure. A small concern though is that the GripZone surrounds three ventilation spots, which need to be kept clear during sustained use to avoid overheating.
Livetool indicatorOne of Ryobi's latest innovations, the Livetool Indicator, consists of a blue light that illuminates whenever electricity is going to the tool. Along with the drill bit storage in the auxiliary handle, I found this verging on the gimmicky - if anything was to be stored in the handle I would like to see a torch or screw/wall plugs - but others may welcome these features.
The variable-speed trigger is smooth and responsive; if you find it too responsive I recommend setting the speed dial to the low/mid range and using the lock to keep it constant.
The 2-speed gearbox can be used for initial drilling on metal or other skid-prone surfaces and also for general screw applications. I was keen to use this impact drill on a few rusting screws on my historical vehicle but found that the EID-100 is not the best in tight spaces; even with the auxiliary handle removed, the gear selector knob has a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time - definitely a drill to use in unrestricted spaces.