Ridgid 18V Compact Cordless Band Saw Delivers Smooth Operation in a Lightweight Form
The Ridgid 18V Compact Cordless Band Saw (R8604B) answers the call from electricians and MRO crews for a compact portable model. From the reactions we’ve seen, they’re pretty excited. We’ve been cutting EMT, steel stock, and even rebar to see just how excited they should be.
- Variable speed dial (320 – 680 SFPM)
- Rafter hook
- Smooth cutting operation at all speeds
- Good handle and pommel ergonomics
- Good value at $179
- Lifetime service agreement with registration
- Shoe adjustment requires a tool and a couple of minutes (two screws)
RecommendationRidgid really needed a cordless portable band saw and they delivered. The cutting performance is right where it should be, the design is great for the overhead work you need a compact model for, and the price is right for Pros on Ridgid’s 18V battery platform. The only hang-up is a somewhat clunky shoe adjustment, but we think that’s a minor issue on what’s a very successful design overall.
Ridgid 18V Compact Cordless Band Saw Design
Variable Speed Dial
Ridgid checks off most of the right boxes with the design of its portable band saw. We were definitely happy to see the variable speed dial. A lot of guys and gals cut at the fastest possible speed in every material, but we prefer to dial it in based on what we’re cutting to get the most out of our blade life.
While the handle placement and angles are pretty well in line with what other portabands have, they’re worth mentioning. The main handle has Ridgid’s typical contoured handle with Hex Grip overmold. The pommel has a good size to it as well. Overall, it’s a very comfortable design to hold and the saw balances well around the handle placement.
It’s also lightweight enough to make your overhead work easier. Bare, it’s 7.9 pounds. We’ve been using it primarily with a 3.0Ah Octane battery that only brings it up to 9.4 pounds.
There’s a lock-off switch, but it’s not spring-loaded. With no other safety around the trigger, if you leave it in the “on” position, it’s ready to go as soon as you pick the saw up.
You have two positions to work with on the shoe. You need a 2.5mm hex wrench (stores in the handle) and a couple of minutes to take the screws out and change spots. We’d prefer something a little easier, but this is a minor issue when you look at the big picture.
Ridgid Portable Band Saw Additional Features
- Tool-free blade change
- Lanyard holes
- Rafter hook
- LED light
Ridgid 18V Compact Cordless Band Saw Performance
Ridgid opts for a brushed motor on this model. We always like having a brushless motor’s longer runtime, power, and life, but this is one of the tools you can build effectively while sticking with brushed technology.
That motor turns the saw’s 32 7/8-inch blade between 320 and 680 feet per minute. These proved to be very effective rates in the materials we were cutting using the stock bi-metal blade.
Cutting PVC and softer, thinner metals, we stick closer to the top of the range and drop down to lower speeds with thicker, harder steels.
From PVC and EMT to steel stock and rebar, we experienced smooth, fast cutting with the stock 18 TPI blade. Of course, you can change that out to dial in the best combination for the materials you cut most frequently. We find that 18 TPI is a good middle-ground for most folks, though.
Your capacity tops out at 2 1/2 inches. That’s plenty to get you through most electrical and MRO needs along with a chunk of what plumbers run into, particularly on residential jobs.
We mentioned that the Ridgid 18V Compact Cordless Band Saw doesn’t have a brushless motor earlier, and the price is where we see the benefit of that call. Sold as a bare tool, you’re looking at $179. That’s $100 less than Milwaukee’s 2829 brushless compact model (3 1/4-inch capacity).
Ridgid Cordless Portable Band Saw: The Bottom Line
Ridgid really needed a cordless portable band saw and they delivered. The cutting performance is right where it should be, the design is great for the overhead work you need a compact model for, and the price is right for Pros on Ridgid’s 18V battery platform. The only hang-up is a somewhat clunky shoe adjustment, but we think that’s a minor issue on what’s a very successful design overall.
Ridgid 18V Compact Band Saw Specifications
- Model: Ridgid R8604B
- Cutting Capacity Height / Height under Guide: 2.5 in.
- Maximum Blade Length: 32-7/8 in.
- Blade Width: .5 in.
- Depth: 15 in.
- Height: 7 in.
- Width: 9 in.
- Weight: 7.35 lbs.
- Warranty: Lifetime Service Agreement
- Price: $179 (bare tool)