Ridgid 18v 6½” Circular Saw Review
Ridgid 18v 6½” Circular Saw (model R8656B)
I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I never owned a 6 ½” cordless circular saw until I received the Ridgid 18v 6½” Circular Saw to review. My work partner Ed and I were skeptical of the saw, particularly because Ed had previous experiences with 6 ½” cordless circular saws that were underwhelming. The smaller saw with a smaller blade and smaller batteries translated into smaller performance. Thankfully, this new Ridgid 6 ½” saw was different.
The Ridgid 18v 6½” Circular Saw follows a similar layout and design to other 6 ½” cordless circular saws I have handled in the past, with a left-blade configuration that is extremely common for the blade size. Personally, I love left-bladed circular saws because they offer a nice sight-line to the blade for right-handed users. The base plate on the saw is a full 5” wide and plenty long enough to engage the work surface. The over-molded top handle feels comfortable and substantial, and the levers to change blade height and bevel are easy to access and adjust. There’s even a rafter hook for slinging the tool onto the side of a sawhorse or nearby 2x framing member.
Features and Benefits
The Ridgid 18v 6½” Circular Saw is packed with all sorts of features that you might find in a larger 7 ¼” sidewinder circular saw. Ridgid advertises the following on its website:
- Lightweight Design. Heavyweight Performance.
- Pair with MAX Output batteries for maximum power
- 5,000 RPM
- 30% Lighter Weight when compared to RIDGID’s R8657 Brushless 7-1/4 in. Circular Saw
- 27% More Compact when compared to the R8657 Brushless 7-1/4 in. Circular Saw
- 50° Bevel Capacity cuts the most common angles
- 2-1/4 in. Depth of Cut
- Lightweight and Durable Magnesium Guard stands up to the toughest job sites
- LED Light for improved visibility in low-light situations
- Accepts 1-3/4 in. and 1-1/4 in. vacuum hose attachments
The Ridgid Subcompact Circular Saw has some impressive stats for its size. They are as follows:
|Maximum Cut Depth @ 90 Deg.||2-1/4 in|
|Product Height (in.)||7.56 in|
|Product Depth (in.)||12.91 in|
|Product Width (in.)||8.86 in|
|Bevel Capacity||50 °|
|Product Weight (lb.)||7.5 lb|
|Maximum Cut Depth @ 45 Deg.||1-5/8 in|
|Blade Diameter (in.)||6-1/2 in|
|Power Tool Features||Depth Adjustment, LED Light, Variable Speed|
|Maximum Speed (rpm)||5000|
On The Job
I quickly found that the Ridgid 18v 6½” Circular Saw was a welcome addition to the job site. The first job I used the subcompact saw on was framing a garage. What better place to test a circular saw than a framing site. The compact design was light and nimble. …so light that it could hang off a toolbelt while walking around the job. The OEM blade from Ridgid was somewhat underwhelming, so after only about a dozen or so cuts through 2×6 lumber I decided to swap the blade for a new Diablo from Freud. This definitely improved cut quality.
When paired with a Ridgid 18-volt, 4 Ah lithium battery, the saw has decent power and runtime. I managed to make 55 crosscuts on 2×6 SPF framing lumber with one battery. I think this is respectable considering the size of the saw and the battery. The Ridgid circular saw had no problem cutting “tough” building materials such as pressure-treated sill plates and ¾” OSB sheathing.
After the framing was complete on the garage, I started to see where this subcompact saw really shines – making quick cuts at different places around the job site. I loved grabbing this subcompact saw for pre-cutting long lengths of trim lumber to bring them to a miter saw station, cutting small furring strips for our rain screen, and even breaking down waste to better fit in a burn pile or dump trailer.
Room For Improvement
I don’t have too many gripes about the Ridgid 18v 6½” Circular Saw. None of my gripes are deal breakers, nor do they prevent me from grabbing the saw when I need or want it.
The blade guard and its handle feel light-duty to me, but after a ton of use it has held up with no issues. I honestly thought it would break, but it hasn’t. The base plate of the saw is a bit thin, so running the plate against a speed square as a fence requires the user to handle the saw with a little more diligence. The dust port is oriented directly facing the user. At times, depending on what I’m cutting, this results in a ton of sawdust ending up in my tool belt. The blade depth indicator is a little tough to read as it is a relatively small arrow on an already narrow piece of steel. Positive stops for bevel adjustment would be nice but are really only a convenience when making repetitive adjustments between 0 degrees and 45 degrees.
The Ridgid 18v 6½” Circular Saw is great. I use the saw all the time, as does my new apprentice. While this saw probably doesn’t have a full-time position on a framing site, I would darn near consider it a “must have” for a remodeler, general contractor, DIYer, or homeowner. Compact. Light. Easy to use. What else can you ask for?
Ridgid Ridgid 18V SubCompact Brushless Cordless 6 1/2 in. Circular Saw
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