Our Ridgid R3020 review shows this reciprocating saw to be a very versatile performer. It’s a bit more rugged than the Ryobi RJ185V reciprocating saw featured in our reciprocating saw shootout, with some additional features as well. With a powerful, variable speed motor, both linear stroke and orbital cutting action, and the ability to rotate the handle a full 360 degrees of cutting, this saw is ready for any project. There is even an easily adjustable shoe for controlled depths of cut and a lever for tool less blade changes. This isn’t the only tool to feature a pivoting handle, the Porter Cable PCL120CRC-2 12V Cordless Pivoting Reciprocating Saw has this feature as well. Other saws like the newer DeWalt 20V Max Compact Reciprocating Saw forgo the pivoting handle for a more flexible blade holder.
Ridgid R3020 Review – Build Quality
To increase the durability and longevity of the saw, die cast gear housing is utilized. The entire gear housing is covered with a tough grey plastic-rubber material that adds grip and insulation from the gear housing that can sometimes get very warm under a lot of usage. The main handle and motor housing are the regular Ridgid orange color and made of plastic. There is a grey rubber insert on the back of the d-handle for added grip and shock absorbsion. There is even a rubber surface on the trigger to ensure good control.
Ergonomics and Use
Our Rigid R3020 review model came with a heavy duty nylon contractor’s bag that is the proper size for the saw along with three heavy duty wood cutting type blades. For some, a hard case would have been a better choice if it were available because it does a better job of protecting the tool while in storage and in transit.
The saw has a decent heft to it, but it wasn’t overbearing to use in overhead cutting situations. It has good balance and a really nifty ability to pivot the handle to a position that is comfortable for your arm and hand to operate the saw. The pivot action of the handle is very easy to manipulate with a single “thumb-friendly” button located on the top of the d-handle. The pivot action securely locks the handle in 90 degree increments and there is a full 360 degrees of movement. The d-handle is a good size with enough room to easily operate the tool with gloved hands. The rubber covered trigger is stiff and provides great feedback and control over the variable speed motor. The front housing of the saw is completely covered in a plastic-rubber material that aids greatly in the grip.
The shock absorption of the saw, however, left a little to be desired. A lot of recip saws like the Milwaukee 6519-31 Sawzall are shipping with advanced anti vibration technology that uses a flywheel to offset the throwing force of the blade. In some difficult cutting situations we found the Ridgid saw to vibrate excessively, almost to the point of it being uncomfortable and hard to hang on to. This happened most often when we were cutting though some very hard heart pine in a 90 year old house. The other side of this is that the saw always had plenty of power and was always willing to cut on our command. The shoe is easily adjustable for depth of cut by way of a swing down style lever under the front grip. In fact, no tools are ever needed to make any adjustments on the saw. One of the other great features on the Rigid R3020 is the ability to change the saw from orbital action (great for aggressive cutting such as in demolition type work) to linear stroke (better used for cutting hard materials like metal pipes).
Blade changes were the biggest issue we had with the saw. Upon initial use, the blade changes went without trouble but as time went on, the plastic lever that operates the blade holding mechanism appeared to be wearing. It became difficult to fully disengage the blades and it took excessive force to remove the blades out of the holder. We tried to use some lubricant on the mechanism with some success but we feel this is the weakest part of the tool.
Ridgid R3020 Review Conclusion
Bottom line is that the Rigid R3020 Twist Handle Orbital Reciprocating Saw is not your regular reciprocating saw. With a number of really useful features and very manageable size, this saw is a solid performer. The fact that no tools are needed for blade changes or any of the other adjustments is a major benefit. Aside from our trouble with the blade change lever, this saw is a great performer.