Ridgid recently launched a new 18V cordless track saw, and I don’t see it as a serious competitor to offerings from Festool, Makita, and Milwaukee.
A couple of readers have asked for my thoughts, and I’ve been having a hard time seeing it as a compelling competing option.
The way I see it, there are two types of track saws – premium models and budget-focused alternatives.
To me, it seems like the Ridgid tries to look like a premium model, but it falls short and has more in common with budget value-focused models.
To start, the tool-only SKU, R48630B, comes with 2x 27.5″ track sections, 2x connector bars, and a track clamp. This gives you an effective 55″ track.
There’s also a bundle that comes with a 60″ track.
Or, you can buy the 60” track later for a little more money. The track comes with 2 connectors. Why?
There’s no escaping buying the 27.5″ track sections as part of the basic tool-only SKU. Like the Ryobi track saw that’s made by the same company, the tracks are presumably split to lower packaging size and shipping costs.
That’s annoying. What if I just want only the uninterrupted 60″ track?
So to get just the 60” track, you have to pay for the 27.5” tracks anyway, and also 4 track connectors.
Premium brands have bundles, but they also sell track saw components a la carte, so that you spend money only on what you want.
The saw has a 6-1/2″ saw blade size. And… what’s the arbor hole size so I know which blades will fit? Ridgid doesn’t list this in their Home Depot product listing, and there’s no listing on Ridgid’s power tools website, only a thumbnail image with greyed-out “coming soon” text.
So Ridgid doesn’t offer replacement blades, and doesn’t make it clear which replacement blades one can get. The user manual isn’t available online.
That’s not a big deal, but it’s again very different from what the big track saw players do. They all offer speciality and replacement blades, but also provide details so that you can source alternatives that will fit.
As this saw has a built-in riving knife, compatibility is going to be specific and important. Even if users know the arbor hole size (usually 20mm for 6.5” track saw blades), the kerf and blade thickness is also important. Some track saws are compatible with standard thickness blades, others are compatible with newer-style blades that are thinner to help manage performance and conserve battery life.
What happens when (not if) I need to replace the anti-splinter rubber cut strip? Ridgid doesn’t look to have any replacements. Yet?
Different brands’ tracks have different anti-splinter strips, and it’s best to buy ones designed for those tracks.
Other brands have such parts available at their many tool dealers. When Milwaukee launched their cordless track saw last year, replacement anti-splinter strips were available from the start.
Which Ridgid 18V batteries are a good fit for the track saw? Ridgid only offers this as a bare tool. Maybe the 5Ah would be okay?
Makita’s cordless track saws are powered by dual 18V batteries or a 40V Max battery. Dewalt has their FlexVolt track saw. Milwaukee has High Output batteries for theirs. Festool has dual 18V cordless track saws that can operate on one battery in a pinch.
Is the Ridgid saw going to be underpowered?
Ridgid has been answering compatibility questions in their Home Depot product page listings, saying that their track saw and tracks are only compatible with each other. If that’s true, it’s very discouraging.
The Ridgid saw starts at $399 for the tool-only and 2x 27.5” tracks with connector rails. Adding a battery (which one?) and charger will add a bit to the price.
The design seems to have all the right features in all the right places.
But track saws are rarely standalone tools. Premium track saws are part of larger ecosystems with blade options, supporting accessories, and replacement parts.
The Ridgid doesn’t look to have any of this. Will they? When? Without a supporting ecosystem of accessories, add-ones, and replacement parts, it’s just another consolation product – a cheaper alternative for when you haven’t saved up enough yet for a Festool, Makita, Bosch, or Milwaukee.
There is a strong market for less expensive cordless track saws, but with compromises and potential frustrations down the road.
I’d consider the Ridgid as a potential upgrade from Home Depot’s Ryobi track saw, or models from brands like Kreg and Wren. But when you can get Dewalt at competitive pricing, or spend just a little more on a Makita kit, the Ridgid offering loses a lot of its appeal.
We’re talking about a $399 tool-only saw that comes with split guide rails, and you have to source a battery and charger separately.
So if you want to know what I would do, I’d skip this one and either go with a less expensive option, or spend more and go with a brand that has better accessory, add-on, and parts support.
A few weeks from now, Makita will almost surely have new or returning promos or discounts on their 18V X2 and maybe also XGT cordless track saws. Unless you’ve already bought into Ridgid’s 18V system, saving you the expense of a battery or charger, Makita’s options offer much more.
I debated whether to sugar things, but readers asked, and this is my opinion.
Some of you might say “well, why didn’t you test it first before forming an opinion.” Okay, let’s say it performs as well as a 36V x2 model, or 40V Max and 60V Max track saws, which I doubt. That won’t change much of what I said above.
Corded and cordless track saws and their guide rails aren’t like regular circular saws; your business with the brand won’t end after they sell you on a saw and track.
Milwaukee launched their M18 cordless track saw with blades, replacement parts, and accessories from the start.
Ridgid has what, one size of split-length track – which everyone must buy as part of the tool-only SKU – and a single size of 60” track saw, with which you also get more track connectors that you might not need. That’s disappointingly paltry.
I can understand the business reasons behind this. But if I were shopping for a new cordless track saw, Ridgid wouldn’t be on my shortlist for purchase consideration.