Ryobi and Kobalt are two of the most popular power tool brands going around. Even though neither brand is particularly high-end, they are not the cheapest either. This means that Ryobi and Kobalt are desirable choices for anyone looking for a mid-range power tool brand.
However, this also means that it can be quite hard to pick between these two brands since, on the surface, they can seem quite similar. Hence, in this Ryobi vs. Kobalt power tools comparison, we will discuss the key traits that distinguish the products offered by these two brands.
Ryobi vs Kobalt Power Tools:
1) Combo Kits:
Both Ryobi and Kobalt offer a combo kit consisting of four tools. If you are interested in DIY or residential woodworking, these kits can prove to be a good starting point.
Kobalt’s combo kit contains a charger, LED light, circular saw, and power drill. The power drill is quite a high-quality tool, and can even serve as an impact driver.
The circular saw is also pretty decent. However, the blade is only 6.5 inches (instead of the standard 7.25 inches) – which is something that you should remember when buying it. As for the LED light and charger, we will let you decide if they constitute as ‘tools’
The Ryobi combo kit, too, comes with four items – an LED light, a reciprocating saw, circular saw, and power drill. This kit also contains a charger, but Ryobi does not consider it a separate tool.
Since the Ryobi kit comes with four tools in addition to the charger, it certainly provides better value than its Kobalt counterpart.
The two brands are particularly well-known for their lawn equipment offerings, such as lawnmowers. Both Ryobi and Kobalt offer an electric, battery-powered lawnmower, which is what we will be focusing on in this section.
Ryobi’s lawnmower is extremely easy to maneuver and operate, and comes with a brushless motor. You can adjust the cutting height to seven distinct levels. Besides, if you buy a few separate accessories, you can even use the lawnmower for mulching.
Equipped with a 40V battery, a fully-charged Ryobi lawnmower can be used for 48 consecutive minutes. However, fully charging the battery takes around four hours.
The Kobalt mower, meanwhile, is more expensive than its Ryobi counterpart – sometimes, the cost can be twice as high, depending upon where you are buying the product from. The Kobalt lawnmower is also slightly bulkier, but this size difference between the two mowers is pretty much negligible.
The primary difference is in terms of the charging time – compared to four hours for Ryobi, the Kobalt lawnmower takes only around 30 minutes to hit a 100% charge.
This charging time is one of the shortest across the lawnmower market. Also, once fully charged, the Kobalt mower can be used for 80 consecutive minutes – another point in Kobalt’s favor.
Like Ryobi, Kobalt also offers a brushless motor.
3) Miter Saws:
The sliding compound miter saws offered by the two brands seem almost identical from the outside. For this reason, they also serve as excellent comparison tools.
In terms of miter saws, the key aspect which distinguishes Ryobi and Kobalt is the product warranty. Ryobi offers a 3-year manufacturer warranty, while Kobalt’s miter saws come with the company’s standard, five-year warranty.
Since the products are pretty similar in terms of physical traits and other features, the length of the warranties might sway you towards Kobalt. But, other than that, there is pretty much nothing that separates two sliding compound miter saws.
Ryobi vs. Kobalt – Overall Reputation:
In general, Kobalt’s tools tend to be somewhat better than Ryobi’s. However, this is not a given, and you should not assume that a Kobalt product will always be better than a Ryobi.
In terms of price, Ryobi seems to have the edge over Kobalt, even though the two brands do have a lot of products with very similar prices. However, when it comes to the more expensive items, the price difference becomes more prominent in favor of Ryobi.
In general, though, both the brands are mid-tier, and market their tools to the typical homeowner who does not want to spend hundreds of dollars on a single drill.
Kobalt’s power tools are made either in China or in Germany. With time, you can expect more and more Kobalt power tools to be manufactured in China. However, the newer tools will be manufactured by Chevron tools, a company based in Germany.
In the past, Ryobi made all its tools in the USA. Currently, though, the company has 12 facilities spread across six companies. The USA only has one of these facilities, which makes it safe for us to assume that most of the company’s products are not made in the USA.
This US plant only makes the accessories for some of the company’s tools, and none of the power tools are manufactured in the USA. Just like Kobalt, Ryobi has also moved the majority of its production to China – a trend that is likely to continue in the coming years.
Ryobi’s tools, in general, hold up better and stronger than those of Kobalt. In addition, even if a Ryobi tool breaks down, the company offers its own warranty – which is not something that can be said for Ryobi.
As far as design is concerned, the two companies are pretty much indistinguishable. Both the companies have the edge in different design aspects.
Our Final Thoughts:
All in all, it is quite hard to rate one of these brands over the other. Kobalt offers a stronger warranty (and better products, in some cases), but is also slightly costlier. On the other hand, Ryobi is the better choice for buyers looking to get the best prices on higher-end tools. This is why we conducted a Ryobi vs. Kobalt power tools comparison – to compare the two brands tool-by-tool.
At the end of the day, both these brands are good options for an average homeowner or DIY enthusiast, and the deciding factor will probably be your personal preference.
To read other such comparisons between leading power tool brands, please feel free to check out the blog section of our website.