Ryobi 18V One+ PBLDD01 Vs Milwaukee M18 2801-20

Ryobi PBLDD01 Angle 5

Ryobi PBLDD01

Quick take

The Milwaukee M18 2801-20 is the better overall drill. It is lighter, more compact, drives long screws and lags faster, and has a better warranty. It is a fantastic way for DIYers and homeowners to get into the coveted Milwaukee ecosystem without breaking the bank. The primary advantages of the Ryobi 18V One+ PBLDD01 are improved torque, which results in less bogging down in demanding drilling tasks, and the lower price.

Brand Ryobi
Platform 18V One+
Motor Brushless
Speeds 2
Torque in-lbs 750.0
BPM N/A
Clutch settings 23
Chuck size 1/2"
Same as N/A
Brand Milwaukee
Platform M18
Motor Brushless
Speeds 2
Torque in-lbs 500.0
BPM N/A
Clutch settings 18
Chuck size 1/2"
Same as N/A

Editorial opinion

Rating

3.22 / 5 stars

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Homeowner-ready performance at a reasonable price
  • Brushless motor

Cons

  • No hammer drill functionality
  • Short battery warranty
  • Bulky and moderately heavy

Rating

3.90 / 5 stars

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Reasonably lightweight with a narrow footprint
  • Great driving speed
  • Brushless motor
  • Long warranty
  • All-metal chuck

Cons

  • No hammer drill feature
  • Low max RPM slows performance in some tasks

Global rankings

18 models tested

TestResultRank
Drilling speed (sec.)16.810
Driving speed (sec.)24.114
Torque (in-lbs)750.05
RPM1,924.09
Bare weight (lbs)2.8110
Drilling Noise (dBA)80.93
TestResultRank
Drilling speed (sec.)19.012
Driving speed (sec.)10.67
Torque (in-lbs)500.08
RPM1,601.014
Bare weight (lbs)2.406
Drilling Noise (dBA)85.37

Recommended configuration

PBLDD01K

Includes (2) One+ 18V HP 2Ah battery

Lab results

Drilling speed

Drilling speed total time (drill mode, sec.): 16.8
Drilling speed average time (drill mode, sec.): 3.4
Drilling speed total time (hammer mode, sec.): N/A
Drilling speed average time (hammer mode, sec.): N/A
Hammer mode speed improvement: N/A

The PBLDD01 has enough muscle to tackle demanding drilling jobs without bogging down or binding up. It was also fast enough under load in our test to quickly clear chips from the hole, explaining some of its speed performance.

Our drilling speed tests are designed to explore the upper range of a drill’s limits. Admittedly, the PBLDD01 won’t be pushed to these limits with regular use around the home and for the most common tasks. But it’s good to know that you won’t need to reach for a different drill to finish the job in a pinch.

We also tested boring various holes in different widths with several forstner, spade, and auger bits. The PBLDD01 starts slowing down considerably once boring holes 1/2-inch and wider but breezes through drilling smaller holes, which most homeowners will use a drill for.

Compare drilling speed test results

Drilling speed

Drilling speed total time (drill mode, sec.): 19.0
Drilling speed average time (drill mode, sec.): 3.8
Drilling speed total time (hammer mode, sec.): N/A
Drilling speed average time (hammer mode, sec.): N/A
Hammer mode speed improvement: N/A

The 2801-20 isn’t powerful enough to take the drilling speed crown in demanding tasks. But it is more than capable of finishing any job we threw at it without bogging down.

Our drilling speed test is designed to understand the upper limits of a drill’s capabilities, including learning when to drop down a gear for more torque and the speed when boring wide holes.

We didn’t need to drop down to the low setting to finish drilling a 1/2-inch hole in three stacked 2x6s, and it sustained high enough RPMs throughout the drilling depth to sufficiently clear chips.

The primary advantage you get moving from the mid-tier of power to a higher tier is improved speed throughout the depth of the hole bored, not so much being able to complete a task a mid-tier drill couldn’t handle in a pinch.

But consider that the 2801-20 doesn’t include a hammer drilling feature, which is helpful when drilling masonry efficiently and speeding up drilling deep and wide holes in lumber. Upgrade to the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill if you anticipate using a drill frequently for these tasks.

Compare drilling speed test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 24.1
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 4.8
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 24.0
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 4.8

The PBLDD01 is slow for an 18V drill when driving structural screws and big lag bolts, though it did complete our driving speed lab test without needing to drop a gear for additional torque, which occurs occasionally with budget drills.

While not represented in our standardized lab results, we also tested driving several length lag bolts and common #6, #8, and #10 screws. The PBLDD01 has enough power to finish most lag bolts we threw at it, but we found ourselves frequently dropping a gear to finish the job. It had no problem driving common screw sizes and lengths.

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Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 10.6
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 2.1
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 8.8
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 1.8

The 2801-20’s drilling speed is more impressive than its drilling performance in our tests. We found that it capably and powerfully finishes big lag bolts and other structural screws, such as the GRK RSS screws used in our driving speed tests. The 2801-20 delivered results that were right up there with far pricier flagship models.

Critically, the 2801-20 completed our heavy-duty driving speed test without dropping a gear into the low setting for increased torque.

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RPM

Ryobi PBLDD01 RPM Chart

Max RPM speed 2: 1,924.0
Max RPM speed 1: 489.0

The PBLDD01 isn’t designed to be the fastest drill in light-duty tasks or at the upper end of its range, as our RPM tachometer tests revealed. A higher RPM output would improve its drilling and driving speeds in certain situations.

Compare drill RPM test results

RPM

Milwaukee 2801-20 RPM Chart

Max RPM speed 2: 1,601.0
Max RPM speed 1: 519.0

One letdown in specific scenarios is the 2801-20’s comparatively low RPM output in the high setting. This drill doesn’t quickly set screws into wood, leading to us occasionally fumbling a few screws. Faster drills drive a screw so it grabs onto wood easier.

Interestingly, we found with our contact tachometer that the 2801-20 has moderately high RPMs in the slow setting. While we didn’t test how the RPMs are sustained under a heavy-duty driving load, expect that the 2801-20 will outpace some other drills when gearing down for extra torque in select scenarios. Expect that this performance nugget also won’t be noticed by many and isn’t a game-changer.

Compare drill RPM test results

Torque

Advertised max torque (in-lbs): 750.0
Advertised max torque (ft-lbs): 62.5

The PBLDD01 has a moderately high maximum advertised torque at 750.0 in-lbs and vastly outperforms other Ryobi drills. The torque output, combined with the RPM performance under load, predominantly explains why the PBDLDD01 binds up less frequently and sustains faster speed than other Ryobi models tested.

Note: We don’t currently test drill torque in-house, as we do for impact drivers using a torque meter. The torque commentary discussed here relies upon both advertised torque specifications provided by manufacturers and practical insights learned from performance in our various drilling and driving tests.

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Torque

Advertised max torque (in-lbs): 500.0
Advertised max torque (ft-lbs): 41.7

Note: We don’t currently test drill torque in-house, as we do for impact drivers using a torque meter. The torque commentary discussed here relies upon both advertised torque specifications provided by manufacturers and practical insights learned from performance in our various drilling and driving tests.

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Chuck

Ryobi PBLDD01 Chuck Closeup

Chuck size: 1/2″
Chuck sleeve material: Knurled metal

We appreciate that the PBLDD01 includes an all-metal chuck with metal knurling used in the chuck sleeve. Many cheap drills opt for plastic parts, reducing the build quality and creating a less premium feel.

The chuck also works well in practice. We didn’t run into situations where the chuck inadvertently loosened throughout testing. Instead, the three-jaw chuck locks well onto bits and holds them in place.

Chuck

Milwaukee 2801-20 Chuck Closeup

Chuck size: 1/2″
Chuck sleeve material: Metal

The all-metal chuck is an excellent feature of the 2801-20 that is certain to improve durability with extended use compared to models that use plastic for the chuck sleeve.

We were also impressed that the three-jaw chuck locked onto bits tightly and didn’t loosen inadvertently throughout testing. Lesser drill chucks need frequent re-tightening as they loosen up when drilling and driving repeatedly.

Motor & BPM

Ryobi PBLDD01 Drill Modes

Motor type: Brushless
Action modes: Drill only
Advertised blows per min. (speed 2): N/A
Advertised blows per min. (speed 1): N/A
Variable speed trigger: Yes
Kickback control technology: No
Trigger draw length (in.): 0.250

Ryobi builds solid tools at a budget price point while still offering features more commonly found in higher-priced drills. That theme holds true with the PBLDD01, which includes a brushless motor, improving the motor’s longevity and efficiency over dated brushed motors.

The motor powers only a single drill mode setting. When the set ring is positioned in drill mode, the clutch disengages for unencumbered torque output.

Unlike its sister drill, the Ryobi 18V One+ PBLHM101 Hammer Drill, there is no hammer drill functionality. Not including a hammer drill limits the PBLDD01’s versatility and performance, especially when drilling masonry and thick lumber. In most scenarios, we recommend choosing a hammer drill, especially since they tend to cost negligibly more than a standard drill.

The PBLDD01 doesn’t include kickback control technology to reduce the risk of wrist injuries when the drill binds. Some of the best Milwaukee drills include kickback controls to minimize injury risk.

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Motor & BPM

Milwaukee 2801-20 Drill Modes

Motor type: Brushless
Action modes: Drill only
Advertised blows per min. (speed 2): N/A
Advertised blows per min. (speed 1): N/A
Variable speed trigger: Yes
Kickback control technology: No
Trigger draw length (in.): 0.375

The 2801-20 is not a hammer drill, so its drilling features are naturally limited to only a drill mode that disengages the chuck for unfettered torque.

Including a brushless motor was the right call at this price point, even knowing brushless motors are mostly table stakes in anything but the cheapest drills. While we haven’t tested the motor’s long-term durability, brushless motors offer better efficiency and durability than their brushed counterparts.

No kickback technology is included with the 2801-20, which is expected at this price point. You’ll need to upgrade to a flagship Milwaukee drill to get features that reduce the risk of wrist injuries when the drill binds.

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Clutch & speed settings

Ryobi PBLDD01 Clutch & Speed

Speed settings: 2
Clutch settings: 23

The PBLDD01 includes a standard two-speed transmission that runs the drill at a low or high speed in any clutch setting and single drill mode.

The 23 clutch settings are also more than many drills include, allowing you to finely tune the torque output to the task at hand.

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Clutch & speed settings

Milwaukee 2801-20 Clutch & Speed

Speed settings: 2
Clutch settings: 18

The 2801-20 has a two–speed transmission and 18 total clutch options to fine-tune the torque output for precision driving. Two-speed drills are standard, allowing you to operate the 2801-20 in the low or high-speed setting in any clutch setting and drilling mode.

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Charging time

Ryobi PBLDD01 Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Ryobi 18V One+ (PCG002)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 49.0
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): 117.0
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time per Ah (min.): 26.9
Fuel gauge: On battery

The 18V charger included with most Ryobi kits (model PCG002) charges batteries moderately slower than other brands.

Our tests took 49.0 and 117.0 minutes to charge a Ryobi 18V One+ 2Ah and 4Ah battery, respectively. Several other brands we’ve tested take approximately 20 minutes per Ah, whereas the Ryobi charger takes at least 24.5 minutes per Ah.

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Charging time

Milwaukee 2801-20 Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Milwaukee M12 & M18 Multi-Volt (48-59-1812)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 41.0
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): 98.0
Charging time per Ah (min.): 20.1
Fuel gauge: On battery

The Milwaukee M12 and M18 multi-volt charger (model 48-59-1812) included in most kits is reasonably fast at charging batteries, including to beat out team red’s most frequent adversary, Dewalt. It takes 41 minutes to charge an M18 2Ah battery and 98 minutes for a 5Ah battery, or approximately 20 minutes per amp-hour.

Milwaukee’s 48-59-1812 charger charges multiple battery voltages in one, conveniently saving space in your shop if you have several M12 and M18 ecosystem tools.

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Design & ergonomics

Stands upright (no battery): Yes
Stands upright (w/ battery): Yes
Grip material: Rubber overgrip
Magnetic holder: No
Bit holder: No
Belt hook: No
Lanyard compatible: Yes

Design & ergonomics

Stands upright (no battery): Yes
Stands upright (w/ battery): Yes
Grip material: Rubber overgrip
Magnetic holder: No
Bit holder: No
Belt hook: Yes
Lanyard compatible: Yes

Weight

Ryobi PBLDD01 On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 2.81
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 3.77
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs): 4.39
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): Not tested

The PBLDD01 is moderately heavy for an 18V drill in its bare form and with a battery.

We tested different battery configurations since the working weight can differ meaningfully from the bare tool weight. We recommend combining the PBLDD01 with Ryobi’s 18V One+ 2Ah battery for a good balance of drilling performance and weight in a lightweight setup.

Pair the PBLDD01 with Ryobi’s 18V One+ 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved drilling performance if weight is less of a concern.

Compare drill weight test results

Weight

Milwaukee 2801-20 On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 2.40
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 3.34
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs): Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): 4.01

The 2801-20 is light for an 18V drill, weighing in at 2.40 lbs in its bare form. Fitted with a battery, this drill retains its lightweight status, perfect for reducing arm, wrist, and hand fatigue with prolonged use.

We tested different battery configurations since the working weight can differ meaningfully from the bare tool weight. We recommend combining the 2801-20 with Milwaukee’s M18 Red Lithium CP 2Ah battery for a good balance of drilling performance and weight in a lightweight setup.

Or pair the 2801-20 with Milwaukee’s M18 Red Lithium XC 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved drilling performance if weight is less of a concern.

Compare drill weight test results

Footprint

Ryobi PBLDD01 Footprint1
Ryobi PBLDD01 Footprint2

Max height (in.): 9.000
Max width (in.): 3.125
Chuck to back length (in.): 7.250
Base length (in.): 5.375
Base width (in.): 3.125

The PBLDD01 is reasonably large when measured in most orientations. The height is taller than average, and the tip-to-tail length is also extended. The size limits the spaces it can fit into and makes the PBLDD01 feel less nimble in hand than some drills.

Compare drill footprint test results

Footprint

Milwaukee 2801-20 Footprint1
Milwaukee 2801-20 Footprint2

Max height (in.): 9.125
Max width (in.): 3.125
Chuck to back length (in.): 6.625
Base length (in.): 4.625
Base width (in.): 3.125

The 2801-20 casts a reasonably thin shadow from behind and isn’t overly large in any of its dimensions, giving it a svelte feel in hand. Many other drills that have come through our lab are bulkier and less agile.

The appearance and feel are primarily a result of its moderately short tip-to-tail length and narrower-than-average head.

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Drilling clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 8.625
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.500
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 7.000

Since it is a reasonably large drill, the PBLDD01 doesn’t fit well into tight spaces. Notably, the tip-to-tail length limits how well it fits between two vertical boards and into corners.

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Drilling clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 8.125
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.375
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.675

The 2801-20 is moderately narrow and competitively short from tip to tail, explaining some of its performance in our clearance tests designed to uncover how well each drill in our test fleet fits through narrow spaces and into tight corners.

The 2801-20 performed well in our interior width and top-edge clearance tests. In practice, this means the 2801-20 fits reasonably easily between two vertical boards and when drilling close to a top edge when its head is obstructed, such as drilling under a shelf.

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Auxiliary arm

Auxiliary arm: No

The PBLDD01 doesn’t include an auxiliary handle to control recoil and enhance stability during heavy-duty drilling tasks. But we don’t see this as a downside. The PBLDD01 isn’t designed to tackle the heaviest-duty drilling tasks, such as drilling wide and deep holes in masonry or wood, where an auxiliary handle is helpful.

Check out the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill or Makita 18V LXT XPH14Z Hammer Drill if you want a more powerful drill with an auxiliary arm.

Auxiliary arm

Auxiliary arm: No

The 2801-20 doesn’t include an auxiliary handle to control recoil and enhance stability during heavy-duty drilling tasks. But we don’t see this as a downside. The 2801-20 isn’t designed to tackle the heaviest-duty drilling tasks, such as drilling wide and deep holes in masonry or wood, where an auxiliary handle is helpful.

Check out the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill, Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2903-20, or Makita 18V LXT XPH14Z Hammer Drill if you want a powerful drill with an auxiliary arm.

Noise

Ryobi PBLDD01 Noise Chart

Max no-load noise (dBA): 79.3
Max drilling noise (dBA): 80.9

The PBLDD01’s maximum noise output under load is lower than many models in our test fleet, especially when compared to hammer drills. Still, most drills approach the dBA output where prolonged exposure can cause damage, including with the PBLDD01.

Compare drill noise test results

Noise

Milwaukee 2801-20 Noise Chart

Max no-load noise (dBA): 82.8
Max drilling noise (dBA): 85.3

Drills without a hammering functionality tend to be quieter under load than a hammer drill, which is the case with the 2801-20. It is moderately quiet when drilling compared to other models in our test fleet.

Compare drill noise test results

Light

Ryobi PBLDD01 Light Wall
Ryobi PBLDD01 Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light location: In base
Light positions: 1
Customizable light settings: None
Light count: Single LED
Light active time (sec.): 15.0

The PBLDD01’s work light is sufficient but isn’t designed as well as other drills. The single LED bulb is located in the base and shines upward. We prefer lights that are located near the tip and point forward since they are more versatile and always illuminate the work surface directly in front of the drill.

There are no advanced worklight features. Some of the best Dewalt drills include several advanced light features, such as a Spotlight mode and the ability to disable the light when pulling the trigger.

Light

Milwaukee 2801-20 Light Wall
Milwaukee 2801-20 Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light location: Near trigger
Light positions: 1
Customizable light settings: None
Light count: Single LED
Light active time (sec.): 15.0

A single LED work light is positioned just above the trigger, sufficient for most lighting needs when operating this drill. Some Dewalt drills include advanced features, such as a spotlight mode and the ability to turn off the work light when pulling the trigger.

Warranty

Tool warranty (years): 90 day
Battery warranty (years): 3

Ryobi offers an exceptionally long three-year warranty on its drills. However, Ryobi’s battery warranties don’t come close to matching the length provided by most other manufacturers. Ryobi has a 90-day battery warranty, whereas other manufacturers commonly offer two to three years of coverage.

Warranty

Tool warranty (years): 2-3 (depends on model)
Battery warranty (years): 5

Milwaukee stands behind the durability of its drills with exceptionally long warranties. The 2801-20 has a five-year warranty, which is among the longest offered by any manufacturer. Milwaukee’s M18 Li-Ion batteries have two or three-year warranties, depending on the specific model.

Picture of Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton is the founder of DIY Gear Reviews and a recognized expert in the home and DIY space. He has over 200 bylines covering topics such as power tools, hand tools, and woodworking. Nathan is the strategic director for DIY Gear Reviews, deciding everything from the content covered to designing the testing methodologies for lab-tested reviews. He can be emailed at nhamilton@diygearreviews.com.

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