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Ridgid 18V Cordless Bluetooth Speaker

Ridgid 18V Cordless Bluetooth Speaker (R84088)


The music teacher in the school I work at has a poster in his room that states, “Music is life!” While declaring “music is life” is a little bold, I bring music with me wherever I go to provide my life with entertainment and inspiration. I have been carrying the Ridgid 18V Cordless Bluetooth Speaker (R84088) with me for several months and I have really enjoyed listening to my favorite musical artists on it. If you also listen to music to enhance your day, this Ridgid Bluetooth Speaker is for you.

Physical Footprint

The Ridgid 18V Cordless Bluetooth Speaker is the perfect size for portability and ease of use. It is less than 7 inches in height when a battery is attached and it’s 3.5 inches deep and 4.75 inches wide. I liked that the battery is attached at the bottom of the Cordless Speaker because it provides a narrow, stable, and a well-balanced base.

The Ridgid Speaker has a durable rubber handle atop the unit. The space is large enough to fit 4 fingers inside it when carrying it. The rubber handle is sturdy and I felt I had a good grasp of the speaker when I was moving it from location to location. The handle is also durable enough to be used as a hanging device. On the rear of the Speaker, there is also an integrated nail hook that I found helpful when hanging it from the wall in my shed.

On the left side of the Speaker, there is a USB port that provides charging power of 5 volts DC at up to 2 Amp for smaller USB devices (cord not included). I was pleased Ridgid included a dedicated USB charging port since it came in handy several times when my phone battery was depleted. The charge is not super fast, but it will easily increase a device’s charge during a power outage or when you don’t have access to an electrical outlet. Convenience and peace of mind were definitely achieved with this 2 Amp USB charging port.

The Ridgid 18V Cordless Speaker doesn’t have a water resistance rating, so it is best to keep it away from water sources that could damage it.

Long Lasting Battery Life

Ridgid claims that when paired with a 2.0 Ah Lithium-Ion Battery (AC8400802), the Cordless Speaker will last for 25 hours. I have used my Ridgid speaker for almost 2 months and I only had to charge the battery 4 times. I can listen to it for 6-7 hours each day on a weekend and it still has enough power for another weekend of heavy use. The 2Ah battery I was using consistently achieved 24-25 hours of usage without needing a charge. I have used the Speaker sporadically, as well as for multiple hours at a time, and the battery barely drops in power when using the indicators on the battery as a gauge.

When the battery is almost empty, the Bluetooth control button light will fade on and off and it will alert you by stating “Battery Low”. Those are nice touches so you can replace the battery before it is fully exhausted. It should also be noted that the Speaker will turn off automatically in 30 minutes if no audio has been streamed—this is a nice battery-saving feature.

I am thoroughly impressed by the battery life achieved by this Speaker. It would be invaluable during power outages, as well as on extended camping trips. For those that owned a 4AH 18V Ridgid battery, the good times would be rolling for an even longer period of time!

Extensive Bluetooth Range

The Ridgid 18V Cordless Speaker is a Bluetooth only device. There is no auxiliary input on the unit, so your musical source must be Bluetooth enabled in order to stream music through the Speaker. While I do appreciate the convenience of a 3.5 mm aux input, the Ridgid Speaker has superior Bluetooth connectivity. Ridgid advertises it can remain paired with a device up to 200 feet away. I found this claim to be correct as my iPhone could stream over Bluetooth from more than 180 feet away while outdoors. In my home, I could keep the Speaker on the first floor and travel to the basement and the second floor without it losing the connection to the phone in my pocket.

Since the Ridgid Speaker is Bluetooth only, if you want to listen to radio stations, you need to use an App like Audacy or TuneIn to stream the station. I did this frequently and found the radio steaming experience to be seamless. The Bluetooth connection never dropped the audio I sent to it from radio Apps, as well as Apple Music, Pandora, and Spotify.

Straightforward Controls

The Ridgid Bluetooth Speaker is very easy to operate. There are only 4 control buttons on the front of the Speaker and they are each self-explanatory based on their appearance. The power button gives an audible “power on” alert when the Speaker is turned on, as well as when it is turned off. The Bluetooth button is the only button that illuminates when the Speaker is turned on. In bright sunshine outside, it is hard to tell if the Bluetooth button is illuminated since it’s not very bright and all of the buttons are white in color. However, when inside, it’s easy to tell the unit is on based on the illuminated Bluetooth button.

Pressing and holding the Bluetooth button sets it ready to pair with a device. While the Bluetooth button is blinking, your device can find it by its easily identifiable name—Ridgid Speaker R84088. The Ridgid speaker will always connect to the last device it was paired with. To disconnect a device from the Speaker, just hold the Bluetooth button for 3 seconds.

The only other buttons are the volume down and volume up buttons. There are no indicators on the Speaker in terms of how high or low the volume actually is, so you need to monitor the volume level on your Bluetooth device. I found that there were “25 clicks” of the Volume Up button from no audio whatsoever to the highest volume level on my iPhone.

Excellent Audio Reproduction

You are going to want to buy the Ridgid 18V Cordless Bluetooth Speaker for its ability to reproduce audio. The Speaker has a premium 2-7/8 inch speaker and passive radiators. Ridgid states that it plays 6-times clearer audio than the previous model (R84086).

In all of my testing, I was very pleased with the audio quality of the Speaker. The lyrics of songs were always clear and not muddied. The Speaker produces surprisingly deep bass considering its size. I listened to a variety of music types—rock, alternative, oldies, radio stations, etc.—and the highs and lows reproduced were always pleasing and true to what the artist had originally intended. While the Ridgid Speaker won’t sound like those made by Bose, at the affordable price of $79.00, I was very pleased with the audio quality in my house, workshop, and yard.

At one arm’s length, at “6 clicks” of the volume button it would hit 54-60 decibels.  At “12 clicks” it would reach 74-79 decibels for most Mumford and Sons songs. On several occasions, my wife did come outside to tell me that the music was too loud.  That was pretty impressive considering I rarely had the volume more than “12 clicks”, or essentially 50%.  The Speaker also worked really well when I used it for the audio playback while watching movies on my laptop.

This Speaker might not be loud enough for large work sites, but Ridgid makes much larger radios for that purpose. The R84088 is their more compact and elegant solution!

Final Thoughts

For more than 2 months, I was thoroughly impressed by the Ridgid 18V Cordless Bluetooth Speaker.  I loved its portability, convenience, and audio quality.  I would recommend it for all Ridgid tool owners and music enthusiasts.

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