Review Roundup: Ridgid MEGAMax, Bosch Paddle Bits, Diablo Recip Blades

This review was created as part of a paid affiliate program with the Home Depot.

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My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to construction, framing, electrical and renovation, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.

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First- let’s chat about Bosch Spade/Paddle bits:

On products like these, I like to run an initial test, and then report back after months or even years of hard use on how they hold up. I put these to the test drilling holes in a walnut scrap board to create lathe chisel organization, interested to see how quickly they cut and how bad the blowout would be on a semi hard wood like walnut without a backer board. The brand new bits cut cleanly and quickly and there was minimal blowout.

I tried again making a hanger hole on a walnut cutting board with similarly acceptable results. Obviously, without a backer board, a little blowout is inevitable, but it was pretty minimal, certainly better than other paddle bits I’ve used, and easily fixed with a router and roundover bit, a step I was intending to do regardless.

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The real test though was the hundred++ holes drilled in the studs of the tiny house as we ran electrical wire. The bits held up great even as they heated up from use.

Any time you’re using threaded paddle bits, you’ve got to be careful because the bits have a major tendency to want to grab in the wood and take your arm for a ride, and those can be real (literal) wrist breakers. The safest way to use the bits in a hand held driver is to cradle the driver against your torso while drilling so if it does grab, there’s a stop. Better to get the wind knocked out of you a bit than to snap your arm.

The manufacturer claims the full thread tip, the contoured paddle design and spur and reamer tips allow the bit to cut 10x faster than a conventional paddle bit. While my tests aren’t nearly scientific enough to assign a number to the increased cutting speed, it is definitely noticeable.

These bits retail for $19.99. Would I buy them? Absolutely. They are a great value for the dollar. They cut fast and clean and should have a significantly longer lifespan than their similarly priced “competitors” which aren’t worth the steel they are produced with.

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The coolest feature of the Ridgid MEGAMax is that you can switch from drilling function to cutting function by switching out the heads. After the holes were drilled for electrical in the tiny house, we switched to the reciprocating saw head and in went the Diablo blades.

 I’ll be honest, testing these Diablo recip-saw blades couldn’t have come at a better time…

because between doing demo work in my metal shop, working on the Tiny House, and building a chicken coop, I had more use for a reciprocating saw these past three months than ever before in my life. These blades have actually held up shockingly well, though having used and abused Diablo blades in most of my tools since I started building seven years ago, I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve said before and will say again that Diablo blades are my go-to blades because of price point and durability. I don’t have much more to say about them aside from the fact that I made it through all three builds with just three blades- no small feat. Most of the recip saw work I was doing wasn’t in clean, fresh wood, it was in heavily nail and bolt infused boards. The only time I actually had to replace blades was when I kinked them from trying to cut too close into a corner (which happened twice and I have the busted knuckles to prove it).

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So now let’s talk about the Ridgid MEGAMax, the Reciprocating Saw Attachment, the Rotary Hammer Attachment, the Right Angle Drill Attachment, and the Ridgid 18v 6AH Octane Battery System.

  • My favorite features at a glance:

  • Trigger lock for continuous use

  • Customizeable head placement

  • Cordless Rotary Hammer Drill attachment

  • Variable speed trigger

  • Safety lock

  • Easy blade change twist lock on the recip saw attachment

  • LED light illuminates dark working conditions

Ridgid toes the line between providing tools for personal and professional use really well. This tool is a perfect example of that. You’re getting WAY more power out of a tool like this than, say, an 18v drill motor, but I’d also argue that this is one of those tools that is far better suited for a professional user. It’s powerful, but that power from a battery operated unit comes at a pretty big price- the weight of the tool. There are a lot of places on the farm I need tons of power but I can’t get electricity, so this tool has come in extremely handy when I needed to drill bracket holes in pier blocks, secure locking bolts in concrete while building barn stalls, etc. Using a rotohammer to drill concrete without a cord is a pretty incredible thing. The right angle drilling attachment is a nice feature, but again, one probably far better suited to the professional user rather than a weekend warrior or DIYer. I don’t really love the reciprocating saw attachment. Not because it’s not quality, but simply because most of the reciprocating saw use for my projects is done on ladders at awkward angles, and often above my head. I’m pretty strong for my size, but even for me, that weight is pretty tough to wield away from my body or above my head for any length of time at all.

 

Plus, with the incredible power you’re getting from the newer, smaller 18v single purpose tools in the Ridgid toolkit, (like my favorite battery powered recip saw) there are few operations I can think of the average homeowner facing that this tool would be better suited to accomplish. All that said though, if you are already on Ridgid’s battery system and you want to invest in a multi-tool with monster power, I think this is a solid investment. One of the things that really sets this multi-tool apart from its competitors is the inclusion of the new Ridgid Octane battery technology. The tool is able to communicate with the battery depending on which head you are using so the battery can deliver the proper amount of power for that particular head. Pretty mind blowing stuff. Along with the ability to replace the heads of the MEGAMax depending on which operations you’d like to complete, you can also change the orientation of each of the heads for maximum comfort and convenience in use. That comes in handy when trying to get into tough spots and when working at weird angles.

SO. With all that in mind, the bare tool with three heads retails for $287.00 Add a 6ah Battery ($129) and Charger ($79) and you’re looking at $495. Would I buy it?

If I was already on the Ridgid battery system and I had need for battery powered rotary hammer, (which I was and I did), I’d buy the bare tool and rotary hammer attachment at a much easier to swallow $218 price point. If I were looking at starting fresh with the Ridgid system just for this one tool, and didn’t have a specific project in mind for it’s use, I’d definitely say the average weekend warrior would be much happier investing in a brushless drill/driver combo kit (I like this one on the Ridgid battery System, and this one on the Milwaukee battery system) and smaller, dedicated reciprocating saw (read my review on the Ridgid here).

 

 

Posted on September 30, 2018 and filed under Tool Reviews.