Ryobi 18V One+ PBLHM101 Hammer Drill Review

Ryobi PBLHM101 Angle 5

Quick take

The Ryobi 18V One+ PBLHM101 Hammer Drill offers solid drilling performance for the price, includes a hammer mode, and beats many budget models with the chuck’s build quality. It also has a brushless motor. However, it is incredibly underpowered for demanding driving tasks and is bulky, like most hammer drills. It’s a good option if you want to stick with the Ryobi platform. But there are competitively priced alternatives that are more powerful when jumping to another brand than team green.

Brand Ryobi
Platform 18V One+
Motor Brushed
Speeds 2
Torque in-lbs 515.0
BPM 28,000.0
Clutch settings 22
Chuck size 1/2"
Same as N/A

Global rankings

18 models tested

TestResultRank
Drilling speed (sec.)14.67
Driving speed (sec.)26.716
Torque (in-lbs)515.07
RPM1,930.08
Bare weight (lbs)2.9812
Drilling Noise (dBA)92.114

Editorial opinion

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Editorial rating

3.74 / 5 stars

Pros

  • Solid drilling performance for the price
  • Includes a hammer drill
  • Brushless motor

Cons

  • Underpowered for demanding driving tasks
  • Moderately large footprint
  • Short battery warranty

Recommended configuration

PBLHM101K2

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

Series lineup

Model #PlatformAction ModesMax Torque (in-lbs)Review
Ryobi PSBHM0118V One+Drill, hammer400.0Full review
Ryobi PBLDD0118V One+Drill only750.0Full review
Ryobi PBLHM10118V One+Drill, hammer515.0Full review

Lab results

Drilling speed

Drilling speed total time (drill mode, sec.): 14.6
Drilling speed average time (drill mode, sec.): 2.9
Drilling speed total time (hammer mode, sec.): 11.6
Drilling speed average time (hammer mode, sec.): 2.3
Hammer mode speed improvement: 20.5%

The PBLHM101 turned in impressive results compared to the budget competition in our drilling speed tests, which are designed to push each drill to its limits. It had enough speed under load to clear chips from the hole but didn’t launch chips out like high-end, more powerful drills, which completed our tests around 10.0 seconds.

The hammer mode is reasonably effective and improved drilling speeds by 20.5%. Other effective hammer modes improve speeds in the range of 20.0% to 33.0%

Compare drilling speed test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 26.7
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 5.3
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 25.8
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 5.2

The video above shows that the PBLHM101 isn’t geared to drive big structural screws quickly. It is incredibly underpowered in these tasks compared to most 18V drills. This drill is the only 18V model in our Summer 2023 test fleet where we had to drop to the low setting for added torque to complete the driving speed test.

It’ll finish the job finishing wider gauge lag bolts than we tested, but expect it to be slow and bog down frequently.

We further tested the PBLHM101 with various driving tests using #6, #8, and #10 screws to ensure it capably performs for more common driving tasks. It has no problems driving these screws into dense materials.

Compare driving speed test results

RPM

Ryobi PBLHM101 RPM Chart

Max RPM speed 2: 1,930.0
Max RPM speed 1: 472.0

The PBLHM101 has a moderately low RPM output compared to most hammer drills in our test fleet. This theme holds in the low setting, explaining some of its underperformance in our driving speed tests.

Compare drill RPM test results

Torque

Advertised max torque (in-lbs): 515.0
Advertised max torque (ft-lbs): 42.9

The PBLHM101’s 515.0 in-lbs of advertised torque is a bit of a letdown when put up against other 18V hammer drills, which offer upwards of 1,000.0 in-lbs or torque output.

The limited torque profile was most noticeable in several of our heavy-duty tests that attempt to understand performance at the top of a drill’s range. The PBLHM101 shut down in several instances when boring wide holes, requiring us to drop a gear for added torque to finish the job. More powerful models also bind up, though less frequently, but still finished the job in the highest gear.

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.

Compare drill torque

Chuck

Ryobi PBLHM101 Chuck Closeup

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

The PBLHM101’s all-metal chuck is one of the best designs and build quality across budget drills in our test fleet. The metal knurled chuck sleeve is particularly premium and helps lock in bits easily.

Critically, the chuck also doesn’t loosen throughout usage, which can’t be said for all drill chucks. The three jaws ratchet closed when tightening and locked down on bits.

Motor & BPM

Ryobi PBLHM101 Drill Modes

Motor type: Brushed
Action modes: Drill, hammer
Advertised blows per min. (speed 2): 28,000.0
Advertised blows per min. (speed 1): Not advertised
Variable speed trigger: Yes
Kickback control technology: No
Trigger draw length (in.): 0.375

One standout feature at this price point is that Ryobi included a brushless motor, which is more durable than dated brushed motors standard in cheap power tools.

Two action modes disengage the clutch for unfettered torque output. The drill mode is ideal for drilling versatility and driving big fasteners. The hammer mode improves speed when drilling masonry and thick lumber.

28,000.0 blows per minute isn’t a high hammering rate, but the hammer mode effectively improves speed in demanding tasks. In the drilling speed section, we discuss the hammer modes speed improvement.

There is no kickback control technology like some of the best Milwaukee drills include. Including this advanced feature would reduce the risk of wrist injuries when binding up.

Compare drill motors

Clutch & speed settings

Ryobi PBLHM101 Clutch & Speed

Speed settings: 2
Clutch settings: 22

A two-speed gearbox runs the drill in a low or high-speed setting in both the action modes and all clutch settings.

22 clutch options are comparably high, allowing you to precisely fine-tune the torque profile to the driving task at hand. Admittedly, 22 settings are more than most people will use in practice.

Compare drill clutch and speed settings

Charging time

Ryobi PBLHM101 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 modestly 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.

Compare drill charging test results

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

The PBLHM101 has a slight forward handle lean that orients the head properly when preparing to drill and when exerting pressure. Some drills also have an upward-sloping head, allowing for a more aggressive positioning of the drill when rolling your wrist forward for more power.

While a belt hook is mountable on either side of the base, one isn’t included in the box, unlike most other drills. There is also no onboard bit holder or magnet to hold fasteners, which is typical for most drills, but unlike the onboard design some Ryobi impact drivers include.

Weight

Ryobi PBLHM101 On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 2.98
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 3.94
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs): 4.56
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): Not tested

The PBLHM101 is heavy for a drill, though reasonably light compared to other hammer drills. We frequently experienced hand fatigue when using the PBLHM101 in repetitive tasks.

We tested different battery configurations since the working weight can differ meaningfully from the bare tool weight. We recommend combining the PBLHM101 with Ryobi’s 18V One+ 2Ah battery for a good balance of drilling performance and weight in a lightweight setup.

Pair the PBLHM101 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

Footprint

Ryobi PBLHM101 Footprint1
Ryobi PBLHM101 Footprint2

Max height (in.): 9.125
Max width (in.): 3.125
Chuck to back length (in.): 7.500
Base length (in.): 5.375
Base width (in.): 3.125

No hammer drill is compact, and the PBLHM101 is moderately large. Notably, the tip-to-tail length is long, it’s tall in the bare form and with a battery, and the head is bulky. The footprint does limit the tight areas it can fit into, as demonstrated by our clearance tests below.

Compare drill footprint test results

Drilling clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 9.000
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.375
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 7.250

The PBLHM101 is not the drill of choice if you frequently need to use a drill in restricted spaces. The tip-to-tail length is long, limiting the tight corners it can fit into and vertical boards it can sandwich itself between. No hammer drill shines our clearance tests, though the PBLHM101 finishes near the bottom of the fleet across all three tests.

Compare drilling clearance test results

Auxiliary arm

Ryobi PBLHM101 Auxiliary Arm

Auxiliary arm: Yes

The PBLHM101 includes an auxiliary handle to control recoil and enhance stability during heavy-duty drilling tasks, improving user safety. The handle is easy to attach and remove just behind the chuck and can be mounted on either the right or left side.

Noise

Ryobi PBLHM101 Noise Chart

Max no-load noise (dBA): 85.1
Max drilling noise (dBA): 92.1

The PBLHM101 is loud under loud. We measured the noise output when drilling under load in the hammer setting. The dBA output rivals the sound profile of an impact driver, which also generates enough noise to be harmful with prolonged exposure.

Compare drill noise test results

Light

Ryobi PBLHM101 Light Wall
Ryobi PBLHM101 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

There is a single LED located in the base that shines upward. While the light is sufficient, we prefer light designs near the head and point straight forward. This alternative design more accurately illuminates the intended area in certain situations.

There are no advanced light features, such as a spotlight mode or the ability to turn off the light, as some of the best Dewalt drills offer.

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.

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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