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Ryobi Tek4 Tool Blast

Ryobi Tek4 Multimeter
Pete Trasborg
| Brand Manager, Jp
Posted October 1, 2010

Lithium Tool Test

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.


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