When I think of Ridgid the first thought that comes to mind is bang-for-the-buck. But I don’t mean I have to settle for something less, they are one of the last companies that I’m aware of where you really just get an awesome product for not a lot of money. I mean, have you ever been using a tool and got kind of pissed off and thought, “man, I wish this thing just had _______ and it would be the perfect tool?” Well, I’m pretty sure Ridgid shares your frustration, because their new Ridgid R4221 12-inch compound sliding miter saw has just about every major feature you could ever want on a miter saw, including the price.
Obviously we’re talking about a full featured, 12-inch dual bevel compound sliding miter saw. Like all its competitors, it has positive stops at all major miter and bevel angles, a 15-amp motor, 4,000 RPM no load speed, crown molding stop, depth stop for dados, etc.. If you’re reading reviews on a 12-inch sliding miter saw you know the features you should expect and this unit has them all. So that begs the question, why buy this one?
Well, because it has some features that just might surprise you regardless of the price point you’re looking at.
This saw is big and at 64 pounds, get ready to break a sweat hauling this beast out of the box. A lot of the weight comes from the large base and slides. It has a substantial footprint compared to some competitors, but that’s been Ridgid’s M.O. with their full-size saws. As a result, it’s capable of milling down large stock, but more on that later.
With the size and weight of this thing, it took me all of about 10 minutes to decide I need to go directly to the nearest Home Depot and purchase Ridgid’s MS-UV miter saw utility vehicle. Check it out at your local Home Depot and you’ll understand why it’s one of PTR’s go-to stands.
The Elephant in the Room
So I mounted the Ridgid R4221 on the MS-UV, plugged it in, and that’s when I ran into a little issue that several other users have experienced. When I pulled the trigger the saw kicked hard, then when it got up to speed it ran choppy (pun intended) which led to a sizable amount of blade wobble. The problem is due to a gear misalignment and Ridgid is aware that some of the bad units made it out to consumers.
Still, in my opinion every company that mass produces anything is going to experience some issues from time to time. That’s just a fact of life. The question is do they stand behind their name and make it right when that happens?
Ridgid immediately sent a new saw out with no hassle on our end aside from letting them know there was an issue.
Miter and Bevel Capacity
As promised, there are surprising features. First up, it cuts a 70 degree miter in both directions! If you install a lot of siding or trim this should help with those tight angles where you might have had to go to the table saw or free hand with a circ saw. This saw will cut a 14-1/2 inch wide, 70-degree bevel in a ½ x 6 cedar clapboard. It’s perfect for 4.5 roof pitch siding and trim installs.
The range is so wide that the sides of the base have to unlock and swing out of the way. This is an industry leading range for miters. An added bonus is that when the supports are swung open they create a generous 37 inches of material support. Pair this with the MS-UV and you only have a small gap where your work piece is unsupported.
Another added bonus of this miter capacity is that even though it’s big, storage is easy. When folded down, the rails are only 20 degrees out of alignment with the body, so when you lock it doesn’t take much room on your jobsite or trailer.
One thing that makes this saw stand out is how easy it is to manipulate the controls. It has positive stops at the major angles for both bevel and miters, but it can also bypass them all. A quick click of the bypass levers for both miters and bevels and you can make major adjustments. Click it again and it will fall into the angle detent. It only took a few minutes working with the saw before I could quickly and confidently move it around to set it up for my next cut.
Chances are if you’re researching a 12-inch sliding saw, you have some bigger stock to get through. The Ridgid R4221 will cross cut a 16/4 board up to 15 ½ inches wide. At 45 degrees you’re good up to 12 inches wide. If you bevel to the left (away from the drive shaft) you can cut a 45 degree bevel 5-1/2 inches thick.
The motor is mounted at a 45 degree angle to give additional clearance for these extreme capacities. The saw’s weight allows it to stay planted under the wide and heavy boards likely to require these kind of angles. The extra tall miter fences also help to accommodate clamping large pieces. It’s clear Ridgid intended this saw for a large cut capacity.
Maybe not surprising, but still worth mentioning, is the electric blade brake. At this price point it’s one of the nice-to-have features that Ridgid could have left out, but didn’t. It’s part of what makes this saw a complete tool. If you’re going to make a saw with the cut capacity that this one has, you need a blade brake.
Pro tip: When you chop a piece of 16/4 stock it leaves a lot of weight leaning on both sides of your blade. A safe carpenter is not going to lift that blade until it stops or you’ll risk binding the work piece. At best you waste stock by having to recut an end to square. At worst you get a violent kickback and end up having to take off your shoe to count to ten. A blade brake allows you to be safe and efficient.
Also in this nice to have category is an LED light that casts a shadow on the saw kerf. Unlike a laser, you’ll never have to adjust it. The dust collection port works reasonably well. With a standard 1-1/2 inch dust collection hose, I picked up the roughly 75% of the dust, which could be better.
The stock workpiece clamp that came with it could be better as well. There’s no quick release to make major adjustments. It’s fine threaded so it takes forever to screw it up and down even a few inches if you’re switching between 2x and 4x material. I’d prefer the clamp from their 10-inch MS255SR, which we decided was one of the best clamps we’ve ever seen on a miter saw. As long as we’re making the comparison, I’d also like to have one of the Diablo blades it came with in a 12-inch size.
For a big saw, the ergonomics are well thought out on the Ridgid R4221 12-Inch Miter Saw. It has a nice balance and getting to the controls is intuitive. Everything from the bevel lock on the back of the saw to the LED light switch right in front of the trigger is easy to reach. I’m not a tall guy, but I could easily adjust the controls with one hand and move it into position with the other. Granted, I’d like to not reach around at all, but the design is sound.
In ergonomics, it’s the little things that kill. There’s nowhere to wrap the cord, so you just kind of find something to twist it around. I also wish there was some sort of quicker release for the fence extension. Due to the extreme miter angles you can achieve, they can get in the way sometimes and you have to back out a set screw to pop them out.
The 6 foot power cord feeds a 15-amp motor to provide all the power you need. I ran this saw through gang stacked 4x material over and over and never got a complaint.
When it comes to accuracy on a sliding miter saw what you’re really talking about is head deflection. That is, when I pull the saw out to the end of the rails how far off my intended angle am I?
This will expose a cheap saw because the rails will bend and wobble with only the weight of the motor and rotating mass. Now I’ve seen guys put a 50-pound bag of thin set on their Festool Kapex just to prove a point, but I didn’t go that far. I used a digital angle finder under normal use and found about .01 degrees of deflection on a 45-degree bevel cut. In other words, good enough for me. If you’re doing high end crown molding, this may not be good enough, but for framing applications and most finish work it’s excellent.
The Ridgid R4221 was close to square out of the box, but after some minor adjustments it was easy to bring into a pretty tight square. I didn’t go nuts here because most people aren’t using a 12-inch miter saw for finish cuts on delicate wood joinery.
When you look at everything you get for $350, it’s phenomenal. Yeah, we had a rocky start with some gearing issues, but with Ridgid’s lifetime service warranty (and more importantly local service centers located at Home Depot so you can actually use the darn warranty) there’s very little risk, and a whole lot of reward.
The Ridgid R4221 12-Inch Miter Saw is an extremely versatile saw and really has it where it counts. It will work for general carpentry and all but the most persnickety of woodworkers. If you need a powerful, accurate saw with high capacity for large and small jobs without paying too much, this is definitely the saw for you.
Ridgid R4221 12-Inch Miter Saw Key Features
- Adjustable miter and bevel detents with bypass allow for quick adjustments to the most common angles
- LED cut line indication and work-light illuminates work to improve visibility and accuracy of the cut
- Powerful 15 Amp motor powers through even the most difficult materials
- Built-in-dust collection port works with common 1-1/4 in. wet/dry vacuum adapters
- Crown stop mounting holes are compatible with common stops and available RIDGID crown molding stop (not included)
- Blade brake stops blade for quicker transitions in between cuts
- Positive bevel crown molding stops at the most common angles; 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 33.9° and 45° left and right
- Positive miter stops at the most common angles 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 31.6°, 45°, 60° and 67.5° left and right
- 4,000 RPM
Ridgid R4221 12-Inch Miter Saw Specifications
- Model: Ridgid R4221
- Power Source: 120V AC
- Motor: 15 amps
- No Load Speed: 4000 RPM
- Blade Diameter: 12 inches
- Max Cross Cut 45 Dress Left: 2 x 12 or 4 x 6
- Max Cross Cut 90 Degree: 2 x 16 or 4 x 6
- Miter Capacity: 70 degrees left and right
- Dust Collection Port: 1-1/2 inch
- Weight: 64 pounds
- Warranty: Lifetime Service Agreement
- Price: $499