Best Product – Reader Question: New Ridgid 12V Cordless Power Tools in 2020?

A reader wrote in with a good question, asking if Ridgid will be expanding their 12V Max cordless power tool lineup.

Jan (thank you for writing in!) asked:

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Do you know if Ridgid is going to expand their 12 volt line to include other tools similar to what DeWalt, Milwaukee and Makita have? I called Ridgid customer serviced they didn’t have any information, but said they usually find out once the product has been launched, not before.

Short answer: I haven’t heard anything about any new Ridgid 12V Max cordless power tools, and I am not optimistic that we’ll see any new tools anytime soon.

What follows is the “long answer,” where I go through why I think this.

Ridgid has a couple of 12V Max cordless power tools – we’ve posted about some of them here. From that category list, it looks like the last addition to the lineup (or at least the last addition that we wrote about) was Ridgid’s 12V cordless palm impact driver, and that came out 4 years ago, back in January 2016.

Ridgid has never really focused on 12V Max cordless power tools. Ryobi has a couple of lower-voltage tools, and has had a 4V-class platform in the past, but their focus is on the One+ 18V platform.

It’s important to talk about Ridgid and Ryobi in the same light because Ridgid 12V Max and 18V and Ryobi 18V cordless power tools are all designed and produced by TTI North America. Additionally, both brands’ cordless power tool systems are exclusive to Home Depot in North America.

12V-class cordless power tools are great, but 18V-class tools are far more popular.

So, there are a lot of factors at play here. Does the functionality overlap with what Ryobi offers in their 18V lineup? Can a tool be engineered to be compact, powerful enough, but also priced to sell?

How many tools will be produced? How many will need to be produced to justify the R&D, production, and marketing expenses?

If Home Depot has a section of shelf space they can give to new Ridgid or Ryobi products, will they fill the tools with 12V-class cordless power tools, or Ridgid One+ and Ridgid 18V offerings?

History has shown that expanding the Ridgid 12V Max line is not a focus for TTI or Home Depot. We can only guess at why that is. It could be that my understanding and attempt to guess at the explanation are off, but the trend has remained.

Milwaukee has a huge M12/12V-class cordless power tool lineup. Makita has been growing theirs, and Dewalt recently poured renewed efforts into their 12V Max lineup with modern brushless-motored Xtreme Subcompact tools.

The reasons for Milwaukee’s continued M12 development don’t need to be touched upon. Makita is expanding theirs because there’s room for competition, and they’ve filled several needs that Milwaukee doesn’t offer. Makita also brings unique innovations to the mix.

Dewalt is expanding their 12V Max lineup because… well, I’m not sure. But, if you ask my opinion, it’s made possible by their retail exclusivity arrangement with Lowe’s. Without the in-store and holiday promotional placements at Lowe’s, Dewalt might not be refocusing on 12V Max right now. Those tools are also available at online dealers, but when talking about Lowe’s and Home Depot in-store placements, that’s a sizable quantity of tools that the brand can justify R&D, production, and marketing around.

Dewalt Atomic 20V Max is at Home Depot, 12V Max Xtreme Subcompact at Lowe’s. This to me explains the interest and new efforts into 12V Max, which Dewalt hasn’t done much with in quite a few years.

What might prompt TTI North America to pour new efforts into Ridgid 12V Max?

But not only that, can Home Depot sign off on it? Remember, Home Depot is the customer here. You and I, we’re end-users.

Home Depot has displays up featuring Milwaukee M12 tools, and I’ve seen Makita 12V Max CXT displays as well. Then there’s of course different 18V and 20V Max displays and promotions.

If Ridgid were to come out with new 12V Max tools, what might we see? Well, we’d have to see competitive “core” tools, such as drills, drivers, impacts, and what-not. Innovative solutions and problem-solvers might be appreciated, but will an end-user be likely to buy a unique tool if there’s poor selection of core tools to choose from?

Any of these new Ridgid tools would need promotional displays where they’d be noticed. Otherwise, they’ll just sit on a bottom shelf and eventually be clearanced out to make space for something else.

Is Home Depot likely to give an end-cap or even quarter pallet floor display to Ridgid 12V Max? Maybe during holiday seasons, when we might see a drill and impact driver kit as shown above, or an oscillating multi-tool kit.

I wouldn’t describe Home Depot’s cordless power tool range as crowded, but I don’t think there’s room for Ridgid to expand their 12V Max lineup.

Keep in mind that this is my opinion as I try to analyze and understand 10 years of Ridgid 12V Max cordless power tool trends and developments.

Ridgid 18V cordless power tools fit neatly into a “better” category, between Ryobi (good-better) and Milwaukee (better-best), with these generalizations also translating to price.

Where would Ridgid 12V Max fit in, between all of Home Depot’s current cordless offerings?

For us to see any new Ridgid 12V Max tools, Home Depot has to order them, and I don’t see that happening right now.