Ridgid R8653B Review
Pros: Great adjustment and setting features, decent battery life, cutting light
Cons: Inconsistent cutting performance, slightly underpowered motor, heavy
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Ridgid R68553B has numerous ease of use features that make it a good saw 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