The History Of Pressing At RIDGID

April 10, 2023

What crosses your mind when you hear the phrase “soldering a copper pipe”? For many, it’s not a thought, but a smell. The unpleasantly acrid smell of the melting flux seems to remain forever in the air and on your clothes. To others, it may be the unease of working with an open flame or the apprehension of accidentally igniting nearby flammable material. Thankfully, press tools avoid all these disadvantages. Compared to conventional welding, pressing is a significantly easier, faster, and safer job.

RIDGID entered the pressing technology field in 1999. Today, 24 years after the launch of CT-400, the first RIDGID Press Tool, RIDGID is an important pressing supplier around the world and an undisputed player in the plumbing market. Throughout this time, we worked on refining, tweaking, improving and perfecting all RIDGID Press Tools to always offer our customers powerful, yet versatile solutions to press tubes and pipes.

Let’s have a walk down memory lane to see how the pressing technology evolved over the years and discover the current RIDGID Press Tools Line.  


When it all started…

The RIDGID journey around pressing started in 1999. The CT-400 Press Tool was designed to mechanically press fittings onto the tubing, to create a water-tight and permanent seal. Curious how it worked?

When the switch on the CT-400 was depressed, an internal electric motor powered a hydraulic pump to release fluid into the cylinder of the tool, forcing the ram forward and applying pressing force onto the press fittings. The entire cycle duration was approximately four seconds.

CT-400 allowed a maximum of 20.000 press cycles, after which the machine needed to receive maintenance and recalibration.


How it went…

Over the following years, the pressing journey continued with the launch of some important RIDGID press tools like RP 10, RP 200, RP 210, RP 320, RP 330 or RP 340. RIDGID designers, engineers and testers worked closely to deliver these durable solutions and ensure high quality in every press. All RIDGID tools were tested under the harshest conditions to ensure they will work properly in any job site environment.


Where we are now…

Continuous improvement and development made every generation of RIDGID press tools work harder and smarter than the previous one. All current models are equipped with Bluetooth, so the tools can interface with RIDGID Link, an app that shares valuable insights about the tool.


The 24 kN Compact Press Tools RIDGID RP 240 and RP 241 have been launched in 2017. 25% smaller and 10% lighter than their predecessor, these tools feature an ergonomic design, while their compact profiles allow the user to easily work overhead or in tight spaces, with one-handed operation.

“My favourite RIDGID tool is the RP241 Press Tool. I use it almost every day; it is perfect for one-hand operation, it’s lightweight and it doesn’t get my hand tired.”Petros Vitos, Greece


Launched in 2021, RP 219 is a RIDGID Next-Gen 19 kN Compact Press Tool, providing the user full access in the most confined spaces. RP 219 is lightweight (<2 kg) and features an ultra-slim inline design, as well as a full flexible 350˚ head rotation. RP 219 takes pressing speed to the next level, with a press cycle time of only 3 seconds.


“RP 219 – the best bit of kit I have purchased in years. I wasn't sure how much I was going to use it but after trying it with the copper press fittings, I use nothing else now. The weight and size of this tool are so far ahead of others.”Michael Egan, Longford, Ireland


Also launched in 2021, the 32 kN RIDGID RP 350 and RP 351 Press Tools took pressing to the next level.  The brushless motor technology, combined with an advanced hydraulic system, allows the RP 350 and RP 351 to reach over 100K press cycles without requiring any scheduled maintenance, meaning there is no service interval and no scheduled service downtime. The RP 350 and RP 351 also provide the ultimate user comfort and tool balance for higher performance, higher efficiency and improved safety.


“RIDGID RP 350 Press Tool is an epic tool. I love using it almost every day, it makes my work much faster and easier.” Jack Spitfire, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom


Plus, there's an accessory that makes RP 350 and RP 351 even more valuable. StrutSlayR attaches to RIDGID 32kN press tools to deliver a fab shop quality, burr-free cut in 5 seconds or less. A simple pull of a trigger is enough, StrutSlayR offers a clean, consistent cut with no grinding or sawing sparks!


“We had one of these on demo for a week, we didn't put it through its paces entirely, but it's a great piece of kit. Overall, it quickly cuts a square line, burr-free. No hot works, no noise, no cutting station. 35 years in electrical trade would be happy to recommend this product.” – Guy, Kings Lynn Norfolk, United Kingdom


 At the end of 2022, the RIDGID RP 352-XL was successfully introduced to the market. It is the lightest and fastest (108 mm in only 12 secs) pistol grip XL Press Tool allowing users to press XL-size M-fittings in a single cycle without requiring a second pressing and actuator. RP 352-XL also features the patented QuickSwitch Stroke, allowing the use of standard 32 kN Press Jaws. As a result, there is no need any more for a second press tool on the job site, as RP 352-XL will press smaller sizes as fast as a standard press tool.


“With the RP 352 XL Press Tool RIDGID provides a very good quality/price ratio. I love the RP 352 XL, it is a very intuitive tool, comfortable and easy to handle. Using the RIDGID press rings is easier than I expected." - Giorgio Rinaldo, HVAC contractor, Italy


As the years evolved, RIDGID has become a recognizable and trusted brand for press tools, which will save you time and money by delivering reliable performance, press after press. When you have a long day of pressing ahead of you, make sure to reach for a RIDGID Press Tool; they are comfortable from the first press to the last one.