The new Ridgid Octane 18v tools and batteries are coming to Home Depot stores. These larger capacity battery packs promise more power and longer runtimes. We took apart some of the new battery packs to see what sets the new system apart. We also compared tools and batteries to non-Octane Ridgid products.
What is Ridgid Octane?
Essentially, Ridgid Octane is an extra layer of communication between the tool and the battery. When you pair a Ridgid Octane battery with a Ridgid Octane 18V tool, the tool tells exactly what the battery is connected to. If both the tool and the battery are registered as Octane – the power available to the tool will increase.
why it works
Standard Ridgid cordless tools have built-in fail-safes. For example, batteries have a function like a governor, allowing only a certain amount of current to be drawn to protect the battery pack. This avoids potentially abusive power consumption.
With the new communication system, the buffer to protect the "dumb" battery is unnecessary. The battery now knows exactly what tool is connected. It can also determine how to most efficiently power its particular torque curve.
Electronic communication not only allows Ridgid's current brushless motors to demand more power, it also gives them the ability to use larger brushless motors. You'll soon see the Ridgid MegaMax — a multi-head tool with a larger brushless motor, similar to cordless lawn mowers in use today.
Ridgid saw a 65% increase in performance when you established a connection between the Ridgid Octane tool and the battery. The automatic assumption is that they decide to move to 20700 or 21700 Li-Ion cells. However, it is not.
According to Ridgid, the 18650 battery is at least one step ahead before needing to be replaced with a larger battery. Keeping with your current battery means you won't see as much of a price difference as you would with other manufacturers. While there may be some changes to the package itself, the performance gains will mostly come from communication capabilities.
UPDATE: Ridgid does seem to be switching to newer 21700 cells in its 3Ah octane battery pack — at least based on our assessment of the pack's internals and cell size. Check out the Ridgid Octane 3Ah battery open:
Ridgid Octane batteries are available in 3 sizes: 3 Ah Compact, 6 Ah Standard and 9 Ah High Capacity. Maybe those numbers go up when Ridgid jumps across rows to bigger cells.
There is also Bluetooth communication in each battery. A dozen features follow. One of my favorites is Battery Status. Not only do you get feedback on the health of your battery, but you can also see a countdown while charging—telling you exactly how long it will take to get back to 100%.
Read more about batteries here:
Ridgid 18V 9.0 Amp Hour Bluetooth Battery
The current Ridgid Octane 18V line of tools includes new brushless reciprocating saws and Octane grinders, Octane jigsaws, and Octane impact drivers and drills. That will soon change as MegaMax begins to expand. Find new tools like a full-size rotary hammer with 1300 inch-pounds of torque. Obviously, this is just the beginning.