A workshop filled with cordless power tools is also a workshop filled with battery chargers gobbling up outlets and power strips. Ryobi’s new USB Lithium cordless power tool system trades proprietary chargers for USB-C ports on the battery themselves, allowing them to share the chargers your phone, tablet, and laptop use.
The 4V, 2.0Ah lithium-ion batteries feature a built-in LED so each one reports their charging status while plugged into a USB-C cable. The batteries can’t be used to charge a mobile device through that USB-C port nor do they provide enough kick to power cordless tools you’d use on larger construction or carpentry projects but are instead designed to power a new line of tools geared towards home maintenance or craft and hobby projects.
The $20 batteries are designed to power a new $60 Dremel-like rotary tool delivering 5,000 to 25,000 RPM, a $70 power carver that looks like a rotary tool but instead uses chisel-shaped tool heads that move back and forth with a millimeter of travel 14,000 times per minute that promise to really step up your whittling game. Those are joined by a $60 power cutter with a self-sharpening blade that looks like an upgraded version of those cutters designed to easily tear open plastic blister packaging, but can handle various thin materials including cardboard, carpeting, rubber, and leather. And finally, there’s a cordless powered screwdriver called the Twist Driver featuring a mid-handle pivot that converts it from an inline to an angle driver.
There are currently no details on run times, charge times, or when the new USB Lithium will be available, but they’re expected to arrive sometime this spring, and will exclusively be available at Home Depot’s brick-and-mortar stores as well as through the company’s website. The tools and the batteries also don’t appear to include USB chargers, but after years of smartphone ownership, you can probably find a few of those floating around a drawer somewhere.