We just got back from the WWETT show and the talk of the town was most certainly the new larger FlexShaft. The first 2 versions of the FlexShaft Ridgid launched last year K9-102 ($879) and the K9-204 ($1319) that have been huge successes. We have not seen much innovation in the drain cleaning category for decades, and the FlexShaft in general, really changed a lot pretty quickly. However, the new Full Size FlexShaft K9-306 ($3959) coming this summer, is truly a different animal that will likely change the way Drain Cleaning is done moving forward.
More FlexShaft Power
The first 2 FlexShaft Units were built to run off a standard cordless drill, which was a home run. It keeps costs down, it makes the system totally cordless (on battery platform you already have), utilizes the drill clutch to not over torque the FlexShaft, as well as make the unit very compact and lightweight. Now, throw all of that out the window! The new K9-306 provides a dedicated 1.5HP motor that supplied the power necessary to clean 6” lines, drawl up to 15 amps and keep the chain spinning at 2000 RPMs (Ridgid measures at the chain head). With that power you’ll need more line so it comes equipped with a full 125’ of 3/8” FlexShaft Cable.
What does all this mean? While it loses some of the selling points of the original FlexShafts; such as. not cordless, it’s bulky at 36”+ tall, heavy at 160 lbs and the price jumps right back to what you’d expect to pay for a full size drum machine like a Ridgid K-7500.
Will this new model still be popular? Smart money says abso-freakin-lutely! It retains the important aspects that make it a FlexShaft. You can still run your SeeSnake Cameras right along side this FlexShaft in the line while you’re cleaning. It does an amazing job of cleaning pipe wall to wall (more like jetter results), not just punching a hole through the mess as you get with C-Cutter, then stoppage returns fairly quickly. Also, the FlexShaft’s can go through transitions extremely well ensuring optimal clean even with different size pipes. It just gives better results on so many different applications from kitchen grease to heavy scale to root buildup.
Safety, Cleanliness & Professionalism
FlexShaft also brings a much higher level of cleanliness, professionalism and safety to the application. Keep in mind, these are going to end up on the customers floors in a restaurant, daycare, health care facility, customers new carpet, etc. Having the cable housed inside a nylon sheath that is inside a fully contained drum ensure much less chance of making a mess from being down in the drain (or drains of the last several jobs). As the line is being retracted, the nylon cable can be cleaned as it’s going back into the housing. From what we’ve seen with the smaller FlexShafts these cables also seem to be lasting much longer than traditional drum and sectional cables of the smaller units.
Will it Replace Your Existing Drain Cleaners?
According to Ridgid the FlexShaft models have not cannibalized their other drain cleaning sales, these have mostly been add-on units to the arsenal that simply make certain jobs much quicker, easier and more profitable. Our thought is this new larger FlexShaft K9-306 unit will be a little tougher to swallow as an add-on unit, demanding more room in the truck, more money out of your pocket and fairly similar setup times (at least to a drum machine). It could lead to a 3rd camp Drum, Sectional or FlexShaft. Certainly we wouldn’t expect anything to radically change overnight but as those new users of the smaller FlexShaft systems go shopping for a new larger units, it’ll be very interesting to see what happens.
Ohio Power Tool stocks many different Ridgid Drain Cleaning options in all sizes and types We also service most things Ridgid Plumbing, Inspection and Threading as Central Ohio’s only authorized warranty service center. If you’ve got any questions on Drain Cleaners, SeeSnake Cameras or anything else Ridgid, do not hesitate to give our professionals a call 800-242-4424 and we’d be happy to help.