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Ridgid R4512 table saw a best value

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Review by EllenWoodHead posted 03-03-2020 06:31 AM 3960 views 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Ridgid R4512 table saw a best value No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I was using a DeWalt 745 portable table saw for some years, and was happy with it. It’s a little 10” jobsite saw, and it did everything I asked: rough cuts, fine cuts, bevel cuts. It cuts fast and clean, and I love the rack-and-pinion fence. When I set the fence at whatever measurement I want, I get that exact cut. It has two downsides: the miter slots are junk. They’re plain slots, not T-slots, and they are sloppy. The other downside is no dust control. This is a messy little beast, and if you connect it to a dust vac the blade still spits tons of crud right at you.

I decided I wanted a bigger saw, with a bigger table and better dust control, and it had to be 120V. My garage is powered by a whopping 30-amp subpanel (thanks a lot previous homeowners), and I don’t need a more powerful saw in any case.

Table saws have advanced a lot since I was a wee lass. I know some oldtimers pine for the old saws that weigh more than a Toyota Tacoma and have no safety features, but heavy and massive isn’t always better. There is something to be said for engineering. The last big table saw I had was an old Craftsman contractor saw, with the motor hanging out the back, over 300 pounds of iron and steel. I was pleased to see how many new saws are hybrids, with the motor inside a housing. This is great for dust control, and they’re easier to move—my old Craftsman had warning stickers all over it DO NOT LIFT HERE so I never moved it.

After a bit of shopping online It didn’t take long to realize that there isn’t a lot of difference between a budget saw and the cool expensive saws like Powermatic. (Which are pretty and you can give me one for my birthday.) As a hardcore tool nerd of course I want the spendy elite stuff, but it seemed to me it wasn’t necessary, and a budget saw should be fine. I discovered the Ridgid R4512 at orange borg, and the Delta 36-725 at blue borg. At the time the prices were the same, $599. I figure that the borg buying power enabled those low prices, because the next comparable saw up the price chain was a Grizzly at $899.

As always, reading customer reviews provided entertainment but not much useful information. Fortunately I was a lurker on Lumberjocks, and bless you all for providing so much great information and reviews.

The Ridgid and the Delta are nearly identical in features and functionality. I almost bought the Delta because its mobile base lets down gently, it goes SIGHHH and whispers to the floor. The Ridgid goes BANG. But I like the fence on the Ridgid better because it has T-slots, which I use all the time. Also, the Ridgid has a lifetime warranty. They’re rather vague on what it actually covers, but it sounds good.

I spent a good four hours assembling it, an hour of which was cleaning off the packing grease. Installing the fence rails was the most time-consuming part; I took it slow and finicky, and got them perfect on the first try. It has split rails, rather than single-piece rails like on higher-end saws, so there is the potential for them to misalign at the joints. But mine snicked together just right.

Everything is adjustable on this saw, and I mean everything: trunnions, fence, rails, riving knife, blade alignment…just study the manual, it’s all in there. My saw was perfect out of the box except for the fence, which needed a bit of tweaking. I adjusted it so my rip cuts are a hair wider at the back of the blade, a bit of cheap kickback insurance. I really like this fence, just slide it in place, lock it down, and start cutting. No muss no fuss.

I’ve cut everything with this saw: maple, oak, walnut, softwoods, new clean wood, old salvage wood; miter, bevel, rip, cross-cut, all manner of jigs, and never a problem. With a good blade I get glue-ready joints. The table is cast iron and almost perfectly flat, just a tiny hair concave. The wings are stamped steel, but I don’t care because as long they don’t bulge upwards it doesn’t matter what they’re made of.

I’m always reading how big heavy saws are safer for cutting sheet goods because they’re more stable. The Ridgid weighs about 225 pounds. I’ve cut a lot of 3/4” plywood without a hint of instability. (Except in the operator.) Of course I use proper materials support, because duh.

The 4” dust port is directly below the blade. My little 1HP Grizzly dust vac pulls down most of the dust that would otherwise be flung out from the blade. I want to try a more powerful vac to see if it captures even more.

The riving knife and blade guard are quite nice, easy to adjust and easy to remove and replace. The included miter gauge is basic, but good quality. The blade height and bevel wheels are cast aluminum, and I confess I would like something shinier and weightier for just because, but it’s not necessary.

As a hardcore tool nerd I usually want bigger and better, but this saw is perfectly satisfying. I doubt that it will be an heirloom saw to pass down to my heirs, but I don’t care. They can buy their own stuff.

I know some people have had not such good experiences with this saw. Ridgid’s phone support is pretty good, and I think most problems could be solved with careful attention to adjusting the saw correctly. It’s all in the manual.

-- "wood" and "good" rhyme, but not "food"




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EllenWoodHead

159 posts in 430 days



15 comments so far

View smitdog's profile

smitdog

469 posts in 3159 days


#1 posted 03-03-2020 02:59 PM

Great write-up, thanks for sharing! I liked your comparisons with the Delta and why you chose the Ridgid in the end. I’m an “old arn” type but I like new tools too! The one thing I do hate about this price point is the split rails for the fence, but I understand the trade-off to keep the price down. Glad you were able to get your rails to line up right. One thing that I like about the Delta is that you could replace the split rail with a longer solid tube if you wanted. Impossible on the Ridgid since it has the custom extruded aluminum rail. Still a heck of a lot of saw for $600!

-- Jarrett - Mount Vernon, Ohio

View EllenWoodHead's profile

EllenWoodHead

159 posts in 430 days


#2 posted 03-03-2020 05:20 PM

It is a lot of saw for $600, and so is the Delta. When I was shopping I got derailed into researching what affects the retail pricing, and was surprised at how large a factor it is. Container shipping is so cheap some chicken growers, to give one example, save money shipping their slaughtered chickens overseas to be cleaned and packaged, and then shipped back for retail. A lot of science goes into designing packaging to get maximum bang for the buck. The Ridgid and Delta both fit into a single box optimized for container shipping. The manufacturing cost of a single-piece rail is about the same as the split rail, it’s the shipping cost that favors the split rail.

Another factor that affects table saw prices, IMO, is the collapse of Sears and the Craftsman brand. I sure do miss the Sears tool department, they had everything, and actual knowledgeable clerks.

-- "wood" and "good" rhyme, but not "food"

View Chris Cook's profile

Chris Cook

336 posts in 3335 days


#3 posted 03-03-2020 11:03 PM

I have this saw and used it for about 6 years before upgrading to my current saw. It is a great value. There’s been a lot of cross-talk about fence alignment and blah blah blah, but I found it to be a great saw for the price! Like I said, I still have it and may give it to my son, but I have no plans to sell it.

Good write up

-- Chris, "all we are is sawdust in the dust collector""

View Redcloud's profile

Redcloud

38 posts in 3392 days


#4 posted 03-03-2020 11:11 PM

Nice review, Ellen! I am glad you like it and hope to get mine in tip top operating condition, like yours. I sent you a PM earlier today.
Excellent read!

View EllenWoodHead's profile

EllenWoodHead

159 posts in 430 days


#5 posted 03-04-2020 12:36 AM



Nice review, Ellen! I am glad you like it and hope to get mine in tip top operating condition, like yours.

- Redcloud

So I had this great mental flash: Dr. Redcloud, in his white lab coat and crazy hair, stands over the body of his orange patient yelling “LIFE! I GIVE YOU LIFE!”

-- "wood" and "good" rhyme, but not "food"

View RCCinNC's profile

RCCinNC

497 posts in 1380 days


#6 posted 03-04-2020 01:12 AM

OK Ellen, that last comment was a little weird…which means you and I are definitely on the same page ; ). Your humor is one thing that made your review so great! Like Smitdog, I’m also an “old arn” guy, but it’s nice to see that great quality can be found at a reasonable price point. Next time someone asks me about a decent $600 dollar cabinet style saw I’ll show them your review.
Well done! Enjoy your new toy!

-- Live to putter...putter to live!

View jmhallrn's profile

jmhallrn

6 posts in 448 days


#7 posted 03-04-2020 01:31 AM

That was a thoroughly enjoyable write-up. I have had this saw since early 2017. It was my present to myself (with the wife’s consent) for passing my national certification. I have been very pleased with it. My rails were perfect the first time. I’ve had to readjust my fence once. If I use a dial indicator I can get some deviation at the rear of the blade when raising or lowering the blade. My experience has been that this does not have any appreciable effect on my finished cuts, though.

View EllenWoodHead's profile

EllenWoodHead

159 posts in 430 days


#8 posted 03-04-2020 02:27 AM

Thanks RCComNC and jmhallrn! I learn a lot from reviews here, and enjoy contributing my $0.02.

-- "wood" and "good" rhyme, but not "food"

View Redcloud's profile

Redcloud

38 posts in 3392 days


#9 posted 03-04-2020 05:37 AM


It’s ALIVE!! ;)

Nice review, Ellen! I am glad you like it and hope to get mine in tip top operating condition, like yours.

- Redcloud

So I had this great mental flash: Dr. Redcloud, in his white lab coat and crazy hair, stands over the body of his orange patient yelling “LIFE! I GIVE YOU LIFE!”

- EllenWoodHead


View douglbe's profile

douglbe

374 posts in 5015 days


#10 posted 03-04-2020 01:12 PM

Good to see Rigid is still holding up the quality. I have a previous version of this saw and have used it for 15 years, absolutely love it. I have had to do very little realigning, this thing holds true for a long time. Wish you many years of enjoyment.

-- Doug, Reed City, Michigan

View TheBeej418's profile

TheBeej418

12 posts in 456 days


#11 posted 03-12-2020 02:55 AM

Thanks for the review!

I had to triple check the review date – where are you that this saw is offered for $599? It’s been $749 since I started looking some time last year.

-- Brian, Nashville, TN

View EllenWoodHead's profile

EllenWoodHead

159 posts in 430 days


#12 posted 03-13-2020 08:21 PM

Hi Brian, I bought it two years ago.

-- "wood" and "good" rhyme, but not "food"

View richarddorr's profile

richarddorr

5 posts in 396 days


#13 posted 03-14-2020 05:33 PM

I’ll have to look at one of these

View stevejack's profile

stevejack

231 posts in 374 days


#14 posted 04-27-2020 04:33 AM

You are very lucky to get on that wasn’t trash! MINE was a mistake.. My Miter slots aren’t even straight

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

1755 posts in 2703 days


#15 posted 04-30-2020 04:03 PM

Curious, how totally different from the earlier ones. I have a TS3660. No quality problems. Iron wings, but with the motor out the back, took some doing to make it into a hybrid for dust collection.

I see several of the newer contractor saws have the motor internal. Makes me wonder if they are all the same.

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