Is Ryobi a Home Depot brand? Not exactly. Ryobi is a Japanese manufacturing conglomerate. They introduced a line of power tools in 1968. In 2000, they sold their international tool operations to TTI and licensed their name to them. They retained the rights to make and sell Ryobi tools in Japan. They sold the Japanese tool business to Kyocera in 2018.
In North America, Home Depot and TTI have an exclusive agreement to sell Ryobi branded tools at retail only at Home Depot. The situation is different in other parts of the world.
The de facto Home Depot brand
Home Depot has an exclusive agreement with TTI to sell both the Ryobi and Ridgid brands of tools. But both Ryobi and Ridgid are brand names owned by someone else and licensed to TTI. So one could argue Home Depot has an exclusive only on those brand names when it comes to tools. One could also argue the effect ends up being about the same.
This agreement is the entire reason Hart power tools exist. Walmart wanted something comparable to Ryobi to sell alongside Black and Decker, so TTI dusted off that brand for the purpose. The Ryobi and Hart lines have incompatible battery systems and a different color scheme, but are otherwise very similar.
Ryobi is intended to be a consumer grade power tool line to compete with Black and Decker. The two main selling points for Ryobi are the large number of tools in their lineup and their battery system. The batteries have a dated appearance, but that’s the selling point. They haven’t changed their battery system since the 1996.
So if you find an old Ryobi cordless tool secondhand and the battery is dead, you can still get a battery for it.
Now, some of Ryobi’s batteries leave something to be desired, so I have some tips on Ryobi batteries. The short version is don’t buy their cheapest low end batteries. Buy knockoffs from eBay instead. They won’t be any worse, and they cost a third as much.
I’ve had good luck with their high capacity batteries.
As for the tools, they are fine for household use. I started out with their 18v string trimmer the same year it was introduced, probably sometime around 2008. It still works fine. The battery it came with was underpowered and only lasted a year or two, but when I bought a high-capacity battery for it, it’s been fine ever since.
The North American loophole
There is a loophole in the exclusivity agreement. Home Depot sells refurbished Ryobi tools online, but they aren’t the only one to do so. You can also buy refurbished Ryobi tools from Direct Tools Outlet and from Amazon.
But the argument whether Ryobi is a Home Depot brand really comes down to semantics.