Ridgid Octane Circular Saw Boost Performance with Advanced Design
The Ridgid Octane circular saw is at the high end of the popular budget-friendly pro brand’s lineup. Taking advantage of an advanced motor/electronics package and pairing it with an Octane battery, we tested it head-to-head against other advanced cordless circular saws.
- Solid upgrade from the Gen5X brushless circular saw
- Vac connection port included
- Excellent sightline to the blade
- Excellent handle design and offset
- 0º and 45º notches are slightly off on the shoe
- Guard action hangs on some cuts
- One of the heaviest cordless sidewinders
- No kit option currently available
Ridgid Octane Circular Saw Testing
As we tested our elite group of cordless circular saws in stacked 3/4-inch OSB subfloor, the saws separated into three distinct groups of power level.
Ridgid was in the lowest group, but let’s put that into perspective before you write it off. When you bring in the broader group of cordless circular saws and include the standard models, Ridgid performs quite well.
Ridgid does a decent job of dust and chip removal as well. On its own, the saw keeps your cutline reasonably clear and ejects it down and out the rear of the guard.
If you want a very clean cutting experience, attach the included dust port and connect a vacuum. With even a moderately-powered cordless dust extractor, the saw does an amazing job of removing dust and chips from both your cutline and work area.
Moving onto the accuracy of the saw, we started by checking the sight line straight to the blade. There’s nothing impeding your view at all. Aided by its LED, it’s one of the best in the group if you prefer to watch your blade rather than cutline notches.
For those of us that are more likely to rely on the shoe notches, there’s cause for concern. With a Spyder 7 1/4-inch framing blade, the notches were off at both 0º and 45º. It’s not a ton, but being off by 1/8-inch matters on some cuts.
We noticed a little bit of wandering in the tracking as well, trending slightly away from our rafter square on crosscuts. It’s certainly not a deal-breaker, it’s just not as tight as some of the best saws we tested.
Some shoe coatings create additional friction against material as you’re cutting and slow down your progress. That’s not the case with the Ridgid Octane circular saw. The coating covering its magnesium shoe glides beautifully over surfaces.
The guard action leaves room for improvement, though. Plastic in the lower guard construction, it lacks the design to easily slide over material on some cuts.
We found thin shave cuts to be the most problematic, causing the guard to hang. Depending on your angle of attack, some miter and compound cuts also cause the guard to hang.
You can complete any of those cuts by moving the guard manually with your free hand and the larger handle on it makes that easier.
Of the sidewinders, the Ridgid Octane circular saw in one of the heavier models. It weighs in at 9.5 pounds without a battery and 12.0 pounds with a 9.0Ah pack.
While that’s hefty, we didn’t find that it inhibited our ability to make the cuts we were after and it’s still lighter than all of the cordless rear-handle saws.
We really like the handle design of the saw. Between its design, offset, and Hex Grip overmold, it’s comfortable and secure to cut with.
Ridgid hits all of the major options we expect to find on a high-end cordless circular saw. The only thing it lacks is rail compatibility, which is certainly not a standard feature in today’s landscape.
Ridgid typically targets a compelling price point and at $169 for the bare tool, it’s the second-lowest price model that made it into our advanced group.
The least expensive was Kobalt’s XTR, coming in $20 less.
But this saw is closer in price to the premium brands than their normal offerings. Seven of the eleven saws we tested are under $200.
Still, Ridgid doesn’t offer a kit on this saw. However, we’ve seen frequent sales and deals running at Home Depot to entice you. At the time I’m writing this, none are currently running, so you’ll need to add an Octane battery or starter kit if you don’t already have them.
The Bottom Line
The Ridgid Octane circular saw is clearly a step up from the Gen5X brushless model when you pair it with an Octane battery. It doesn’t reach as high in performance as some of the other brands, though.
Without a kit option to add some value, the current pricing is close enough to some of those other brands to make it worth considering spending a little more to reach the upper tier. Keep your eyes open for sales to kick your value proposition higher.
If you already have Octane batteries, though, this saw is a worthy upgrade to your Ridgid cordless tool arsenal.
Ridgid Octane Circular Saw Specs
- Model: Ridgid R8654B
- Battery Size: 18V
- Blade Diameter: 7-1/4 in.
- Blade Location: Blade Right
- Motor: Brushless
- Max Speed: 5,600 RPM
- Bevel Capacity: 56º
- Max Cut Depth at 90º: 1.8125 in.
- Max Cut Depth at 45º: 2.6875 in.
- Construction Material: ABS
- Height: 9.14 in.
- Depth: 15.32 in.
- Width: 8.98 in.
- Weight: 9.5 pounds without battery, 12.0 pounds with 9.0Ah battery
- Warranty: Lifetime Service Agreement
- Price: $169 (bare tool)
For more information about the Ridgid Octane Circular Saw, visit the Ridgid site by clicking here.