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Ridgid R8653B Review

This tricked-out saw has every ease of use feature but it lacks a bit in cutting power
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Ridgid R8653B Review
Credit: amazon.com
Price:  $150 List
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Manufacturer:   Ridgid
By Nick Miley and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Dec 19, 2019
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 13
  • Cutting - 50% 7.4
  • Ease of Use - 30% 7.6
  • Battery - 20% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Ridgid R8653B is a suped-up saw. It checks every box in our ease of use evaluation including positive bevel stops, easy blade removal as well as accommodating simple and effective adjustments. Heck, this saw even has an LED cutting light. The only thing that kept this saw from earning an award is its touchy motor which tends to shut off if pushed too hard in a cut. That said, this is a sweet saw with a long-lasting battery and a manageable price.
REASONS TO BUY
Great adjustment and setting features
Decent battery life
Cutting light
REASONS TO AVOID
Inconsistent cutting performance
Slightly underpowered motor
Heavy

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Ridgid R8653B
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $150 List
$149.98 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Bottom Line This fully-loaded saw makes cut adjustments a breeze, but the motor power leaves something to be desiredThis premium saw glides through wood like none otherThis 7 1/4" saw boasts professional level power and accuracy in a cordless formatIf you need to make lots of cuts on a single charge, then the Kobalt is the ticketA competent, affordable saw that is a great choice for non-professional users
Rating Categories Ridgid R8653B Milwaukee M18 Fuel... Milwaukee M18 2631-20 Kobalt KCS 6524B-03 SKIL CR540601
Cutting (50%)
7.4
10.0
9.7
8.3
5.3
Ease of Use (30%)
7.6
7.0
6.4
5.6
5.9
Battery (20%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
10.0
9.0
Specs Ridgid R8653B Milwaukee M18 Fuel... Milwaukee M18 2631-20 Kobalt KCS 6524B-03 SKIL CR540601
Blade Side Right Right Right Right Left
Blade Size 7-1/4" 7-1/4" 7-1/4" 6-1/2" 6-1/2"
Brushless Motor? Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Blade Brake? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bevel Positive Stops? Yes No No No No
Estimated Linear Feet of 3/4" Plywood Cut per Charge 304 ft 248 ft 298 ft 360 ft 324 ft
Measured Weight w/o Battery 8.4 lb 8.9 lb 7.7 lb 6.6 lb 5.8 lb
Measured Max Depth of Cut w/ Framing Blade 2-3/16" 2-1/2" 2-9/32" 2-3/16" 1-15/16"
Average 6x12" Cross Cutting Time 6.3 sec 3.4 sec 4.2 sec 3.9 sec 6.6 sec
Rafter Hook? No Yes Yes No No
Battery Used in Testing 5 Ah 5 Ah 5 Ah 4 Ah 5 Ah

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Ridgid R8653B sets the bar for stacking the most convenience features into a single saw. These conveniences include positive bevel stops, an LED cutting lamp, and some of the best adjustment levers we've seen. Far from being gimmicky, these features actually go a long way to improve the accuracy of cuts and make the saw more enjoyable to use. Our only critique is that, given that the Ridgid is a 7 1/4" saw, it could benefit from an increase in power to make the most demanding cuts more smoothly.

Performance Comparison


ridgid r8653b
Credit: Austin Palmer

Likes


Ridgid did a lot to solve, or at least to address the complaints that we have in the user interface of other saws. Above all, we like the bevel and depth adjustments on this model. The bevel adjustment is easy to operate as it is lever-actuated, and the lever can be disengaged from the set-screw to slide into any position. This makes tightening/ loosening much easier. The lever can then be moved again to hide it from view. The cutting depth lever uses the same system to the same effect.


We also like the effectiveness of the sightlines on the saw. Two open-end notches — one for the 90˚ blade position and another for 45˚ bevel — at the front of the shoe make guiding the blade into a cut very easy. Finally, the positive stops for the common bevel angles are really nice. Just release the set lever, rotate the bevel until you feel the click and then set the lever. That's it.

ridgid r8653b - this saw has amazing attention to detail, especial in the shoe. the...
This saw has amazing attention to detail, especial in the shoe. The bevel design is among the best we've seen.
Credit: Ian Pearman

Dislikes


The main problem with the Ridgid is that it lacks power, or at least it acts like it's underpowered. When pushed into a deep cut, the saw will often shut itself off. This response is the product of the motor's limiter — an overload prevention device that is common to all the saws we have reviewed.

ridgid r8653b - despite the 7 1/4" blade suggestive of a powerful motor, it is...
Despite the 7 1/4" blade suggestive of a powerful motor, it is relatively sluggish when cutting.
Credit: Ian Pearman

However, the Ridgid seems a bit more touchy in this regard. Additionally, the saw seems more labored when cutting than other 7 1/4" saws that we've tested. These power issues — as well as the saws hefty weight — kept the Ridgid from claiming any awards.


Value


While this saw has tons of great design features that make working with it straightforward and effective, we feel that the lack of power to drive its 7 1/4" blade makes it a so-so value. For the same price, one can get a cordless circular saw with some real cutting power.

Conclusion


The Ridgid R68553B has numerous ease-of-use features that make it one of our favorite cordless circular saws for the uninitiated. In particular, the adjustments for depth and bevel are effortless to get right. However, the Ridgid lacks power, and that is a real problem on a 7 1/4" saw. This model should have been equipped with a motor that would drive its big blade through the toughest of cuts. That said, the saw is still quite capable and worth a look if the ease of use features outweigh the somewhat underpowered motor.

Nick Miley and Austin Palmer