Click for Coverage
Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
  • JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

Ryobi Tek4 Tool Blast

Posted in How To on October 1, 2010
Share this

Lithium-ion batteries have all but replaced NiCd and NiMh batteries as our primary choice for a rechargeable battery. The benefits are little-to-no memory effect, slow loss of charge when not in use, and they are lightweight (high power-to-weight ratio)-all of which makes them a great match for a Jeep toolbox. When Ryobi announced its new weather-resistant, shock-resistant tool line based on a common 4V lithium ion battery, we knew we'd found some new gear for our box o' tricks.

Some of the Tek4 tools replaced other models that we had in the toolbox before, some found themselves a new spot, and some of them are less directly Jeep-related than we'd like. Nonetheless, we got the whole lineup and tested them for the past six months on the trail and in our driveway fab shop to give you an honest review of each tool's strengths and weaknesses-reviews that you won't find in any promotional brochure.

All of these tools are available at your local Home Depot and all are offered separately, so you can pick up whichever ones fit your needs. Keep a close eye on our resistance ratings-these are pulled directly from the owner's manuals and we translated them into useable terms. Going into this, we thought all the tools would be waterproof and dustproof. It turns out that while they are all water- and dust-resistant, not all are rated for being submerged.

IP Rating
The IP Ratings can be looked up online, but we'll break it down quickly here:

  • IP=X Y Z
  • X=protection against solid objects
  • Y=protection against liquids
  • Z=protection against shock

All the Tek4 tools have a 5 rating for solid objects, which is the second best and indicates it'll protect against large deposits of dust (think dirt roads after a period of no rain).

For water the following are good guidelines:
2=protected against light rain showers (technically: "protection against dripping water to 15-degrees from vertical")

4=protected against moderate rain showers (technically: "protection against dripping water from all directions")

6=protected against downpours or brief durations under a hose (technically: "protection against temporary flooding") Note: this does not mean it is rated to be submerged, however we have accidentally noticed that brief submersion wasn't an issue.

8=protected against dunking (technically: "protection against deep submersion for an indefinite period of time") Note: we tossed the camera in an above-ground pool for about 24 hours and it did fine.

As for shock, Ryobi just rates all the Tek4 tools as shock proof, and we've dropped all of them with nothing to show for it except for a few small scratches.

Tek4 Digital Multimeter

  • Model Number: RP4020
  • Price: $79.97
  • IP Rating: 54
  • Charger Included: Yes
  • Battery Included: Yes
  • Features: Up to 100 continuous hours per charge, nine measurement modes with professional accuracy, built-in stands, probe storage, hanging hook
  • Pros: Long run time on single charge, pointed probe tips allow for testing wires mid-run, probe caps allow capture of loose wire ends
  • Cons: Only meets resistance rating with cap in extra lead port, somewhat sensitive to dirty grounds when testing voltages
  • Our notes: We never hit the 100-hour rating on the first battery we put in it, and after numerous projects and six months the backlight is still strong. It can test DC and AC current and voltage, resistance, continuity, diodes, and capacitance and includes alligator clips in the package as well.

Tek4 Digital Key Lockbox

  • Model Number: RP-4310
  • Price: $39.97
  • IP Rating: 52
  • Charger Included: Yes
  • Battery Included: Yes
  • Features: Flexible code settings, up to nine months between charges, ability to retrieve the last 10 access attempts, die cast housing stores up to three keys
  • Pros: Manual key override in case of battery failure, impact-, dust-, and water-resistant, wall mounting bracket or doorknob mounts
  • Cons: Directions are contradictory about how to set code-only one in three places have the correct steps, not as water-resistant as we'd want for an exterior-hung application
  • Our notes: We weren't able to fit any Chrysler-based Jeep key in the box. We'd say that if you had a Jeep back to '91, your stock key won't fit. If you are determined, you could trim it so it is narrow enough to go in. Any AMC-era or earlier keys should fit just fine.

Tek4 Laser Distance Measure

  • Model Number: RP-4010
  • Price: $149.00
  • IP Rating: 54
  • Charger Included: Yes
  • Battery Included: Yes
  • Features: Accuracy down to 1/16-inch up to 195ft, charge time of 5hrs, can measure inside, outside, and center to center
  • Pros: Water and dust resistance make for easy cleanup, can easily replace all your tape measures Cons: Easy to switch from one mode to another while in use, sometimes resulting in incorrect measurements
  • Our notes: Great for alignments, as long as you mark the opposite tire with an "X" for consistent aiming; it is also good for quickly double checking measurements on fab projects (such as cages) and makes it easy to check old derelict frames for square.

Tek4 LED 4V flashlight

  • Model Number: RP-4400
  • Price: $19.97
  • IP Rating: 57
  • Charger Included: No
  • Battery Included: No
  • Features: Shines up to 100ft, water-, shock-, and dustproof, included hook for hands-free operation, LED rated to last up to 100,000 hours
  • Pros: Can be submerged, compact for those hard-to-illuminate areas, turn-head switch means that it is less likely to turn on or off unwanted
  • Cons: No battery included means you need to swipe one from another tool; no charger means you need to keep another tool down while waiting for the battery for this to charge
  • Our notes: It served in our M-715 for the six months of our test, as well as being used around the house and other Jeeps. We did notice a slight decrease in brightness over that time period, but it still worked well on one charge right up to writing this story.

Tek4 Professional Infrared Thermometer

  • Model Number: RP-4030
  • Price: $69.97
  • IP Rating: 52
  • Charger Included: Yes
  • Battery Included: Yes
  • Features: Easily tracks max temperature (up to 10 readings), visible red laser pointer provides accurate tracking of what is being measured, range from -4 to 590 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Pros: Easy to change from Celsius to Fahrenheit, min/max button makes access to the 10 readings in memory simple, and a tone announces when a reading has been taken so you don't have to take your eyes off of the target to double-check
  • Cons: Auto backlight not needed and drains power, has issues with shiny objects (such as polished metals, glass, and reflective signs or surfaces)
  • Our notes: Anything outside of a few feet isn't as accurate as it could be. It works very well for testing things around the engine compartment, such as to see if the fuel is getting too hot, the engine is missing, the actual temperature of coolant or automatic transmission fluid (within a few degrees)-without all the wiring and gauges that are usually needed.

Tek4 8MP Digital Camera

  • Model Number: RP-4200
  • Price: $199.00
  • IP Rating: 57
  • Charger Included: Yes
  • Battery Included: Yes
  • Features: 3x optical zoom, waterproof, xenon flash, memo recording for easy note-taking with photo, can shoot 800 photos per charge; includes 1Gb SD card, USB Cable, lanyard, and a soft carrying case
  • Pros: Can be tossed in console with no worries about damage, the lens is completely protected so drops won't damage the lens, great button layout
  • Cons: Shutter isn't as quick as might be needed for action shots- some timing practice will be needed; low-res quality of videos leaves a bit to be desired
  • Our notes: This is another one that makes for a great console-stuffer. We got about three months out of the charge with intermittent use (about 100 pictures). How long it lasts you will vary on flash usage and many other things. If you want a Jeep-only camera, this one should make your short list.

Tek4 Portable Power Source

  • Model Number: RP-4900
  • Price: $19.97
  • IP Rating: 52
  • Charger Included: No
  • Battery Included: No
  • Features: Includes many adapters to go to popular cell phone models, green LED indicates it is actively charging
  • Pros: Can plug into Motorola, LG, Blackberry, and more; good for light rain showers and dust storms
  • Cons: Resistance rating only applies when the top USB cap is on; does not include charger for iPod
  • Our notes: We actually ended up charging our phone in a light rain with no damage to the unit. It also charges an iPod just fine with the iPod's charger, but if the iPod is near full charge, the unit won't recognize it is plugged in.

Tek4 All Play Music Player

  • Model Number: RP-4510
  • Price: $69.97
  • IP Rating: 54
  • Charger Included: Yes
  • Battery Included: Yes
  • Features: Plays MP3, WMA, WAV, and AAC iTunes formats, 2Gb (about 500 songs) built-in storage capacity, intuitive user interface angled for better visibility, built-in-clip, up to 72 hours of run time per charge
  • Pros: Water- and dust-resistant, perfect for in the Jeep or hiking/biking the trails around camp, good volume, shuffle mode works well, included armband and ear buds
  • Cons: Sometimes difficult to get music playing- might be our big hands, might be an over-aggressive power-save mode
  • Our notes: Works fine in rain and dusty/dirty trails- simply rinse dirt off. Don't get the headphones too wet, they will stop working. The most we ran it continuously was on a 12-hour road trip. We tried testing the 72 hours and came close, but it died in the middle of the night while we were sleeping.

Tek4 Motion Sensing Alarm With Remote

  • Model Number: RP-4300
  • Price: $39.97
  • IP Rating: 54
  • Charger Included: No
  • Battery Included: No
  • Features: Remote control and keypad-based arming options, dust- and water-resistant, impact-proof, 12 days continuous scanning per charge, quiet or full-bore look-at-me alarm sounding options
  • Pros: Good range for inside a garage, house, or shed; good for protecting tools and/or unfinished job sites
  • Cons: Too sensitive to use in an open Jeep interior-false alarms galore, remote won't handle the same water intrusion that the unit will
  • Our notes: The unit is perfect for protecting a two-car garage or a shed; we wouldn't use it outdoors or where there are animals, as they would set it off.

Tek4 Self-Leveling Plumb/Cross Laser

  • Model Number: RP-4000
  • Price: $119.00
  • IP Rating: 54
  • Charger Included: Yes
  • Battery Included: Yes
  • Features: Dust- and shock-proof as well as water resistant, 25 hrs continuous use per charge, out-of-level indicator, laser lock, and smart self-leveling feature
  • Pros: Makes it easy to check for square and level on a wide array of fab projects; with long run-time, no need to shut it off while working
  • Cons: Unless you are constantly neck-deep in new fab projects, there might not be many uses for this around your Jeep
  • Our notes: Works exactly as advertised. If using for a cage, you will easily be able to locate the main bars and spreaders, but any interior cage work will need to be done with an old-fashioned level.

Tek4 Audio Plus Noise Suppression Headphones

  • Model Number: RP-4530
  • Price: $69.97
  • IP Rating: 54
  • Charger Included: Yes
  • Battery Included: Yes
  • Features: Auxiliary input for iPod and other MP3 players, 25dB noise reduction, speech amplification technology improves close-range conversations, adjustable external microphones for varying how much noise gets in
  • Pros: Blocks out a good amount of noise, seals well to the head, great sound when used with the Ryobi music player
  • Cons: Not electronic sound deadening, not loud enough with our test iPod, don't fall asleep with them on (we woke up with a headache)
  • Our notes: While these headphones do kill sound, they do it passively, with foam and other sound-absorbing materials. They are not a replacement for electronic noise-cancelling technology. That said, they work through rain storms, quiet the M-715 down to manageable (non ear-ringing) levels, and the cool microphones and volume knob allow conversation without taking them off all the time.

Tek4 4V Chargers

  • Model Numbers: AP4500 (left), AP4700 (right)
  • Price: $27.97 (left), $11.97 (right)
  • IP Rating: N/A
  • Features: The AP4700 on the right is the charger that is included (where applicable) with many of the tools and is rated to charge the 4V battery in 5 hours; the AP4500 is the quick charger, which is capable of charging two 4V batteries in one hour
  • Pros: AP4500 can charge from household current, USB outlets, hand crank, and more-also features a gauge to tell how charged the batteries are
  • Cons: Longer time to charge from some alternative sources
  • Our notes: The Rapid Charger obviously charges faster, but we find ourselves stuffing the tool bag with the regular charger (it takes less space) and a couple of extra fully charged batteries which gives us less down-time.



Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Browse Articles By Vehicle

See Results