The new Ridgid Octane Reciprocating Saw advances Ridgid’s offering in this class on several levels and is still technically part of the Gen5X line of cordless tools. One of the biggest changes is the “Octane” designation this saw is getting. You may have caught wind that several manufacturers have new 18V batteries able to deliver more power and are developing tools around that ability. Octane is Ridgid’s development. When you pair a 3.0 Ah, 6.0 Ah. or 9.0 Ah Hyper Octane battery with an 18V Octane tool, you’ll see the benefits of the increased power. The new batteries are also Bluetooth compatible to give you some tracking, control, and diagnostic options. With that, let’s take a closer look specifically at the Ridgid 18V Octane Reciprocating Saw
For Ridgid’s Gen5X kit, the reciprocating saw has been the last brushless holdout, following the brushless circular saw last year. Better runtime and longer motor life are a couple of the benefits you can look forward to, though it does come at a higher price than brushed motors. You can read more about brushless motors below. https://www.protoolreviews.com/news/brushed-vs-brushless-motors/18990/
Ridgid’s Gen5X reciprocating saw was the only model in our shootout to include orbital action on the saw and it made a big difference in our wood cutting test. Ridgid keeps the feature on their Octane model. How much does orbital action help? Take a look for yourself! https://www.protoolreviews.com/buying-guides/what-is-orbital-action/35905/
Nearly every cordless reciprocating saw will come with an LED work light. Ridgid goes for something a little different by place it below the blade instead of above it. Does it make a difference? It doesn’t light up as much of the area below the blade to help line up your cut, but it does an effective job of lighting the area during the cut. Given the choice between the two, the top mounted light is my preference. Ever want to kick the LED on without running the blade? Ridgid lets you with a light trigger below the main trigger if need a little extra light lining up your cut.
Sight Line Blower
Because reciprocating saws are primarily demolition tools, most either don’t have or don’t make a big deal about sight line blowers. For what it’s worth, Ridgid includes one to help keep track of your cut line better. It’s not going to be a huge help on vertical or overhead cuts, but it is a nice addition for other horizontal cuts.
- Variable speed dial
- Rafter hook
Better battery technology is moving the cordless trend toward bigger motors with better performance that comes with a significant weight cost. Milwaukee’s new M18 Fuel Super Sawzall is a good example at more than 12 pounds with the battery. Ridgid seems to buck the trend by keeping the footprint smaller and the weight down to just 8.3 pounds with the 6.0 Ah Hyper Octane battery. Even with the 6.0 Ah battery, it’s 0.1 pounds lighter than the previous Gen5X model we tested in our shootout. As far as general ergonomic design goes, the shape and overmold placement don’t change much. It feels compact and easy to control next to some of the newer saws we’re testing.
Our standard speed test is a cross cut through 2 x 12 PT with five 16D nails embedded in it. 10 pounds of weight hang around the saw to provide the same amount of downforce every time we run it. The Ridgid Octane made its fastest cut in 12.24 seconds with an average cut speed of 12.86 seconds. That’s a very respectable time, especially for a saw that’s as lightweight as this one. That’s no surprise as the 3100 stroke rate is about the best you’ll find and its 1-1/8″ stroke length is near the top. For many applications, the lack of a variable speed dial doesn’t matter much. However, when you’re cutting through thicker metals like rebar, you need to slow down the cut to get the most efficiency out of your blades. The trigger is variable speed, but I had a hard time keeping the speed consistent through 5/8″ rebar. On the positive side, the Octane is pretty easy to feather to get a smooth start to the cut in thick metal. There’s an average amount of vibration you’ll feel during the cut. There are a couple of cordless models that do a better job, but there are far more that give you more vibration.
The Ridgid Octane Reciprocating Saw runs $104.99 as a bare tool. Keep in mind you’ll need to pick up Hyper Octane batteries to get the most out of the saw. Those will run another $129 (single 6.0 Ah) to $159 (two 6.0 Ah pack). Bosch’s GSA18V-125 has a $299 bare too price and Milwaukee’s new M18 Fuel Super Sawzall will set you back $399 as a kit with a 12.0 Ah battery (there’s no bare tool option). If you can forgo the brushless motor and/or orbital action, you can find some lower prices, but you’ll lose out in performance.
The Bottom Line
When you look at the overall feature set and performance, the new Ridgid Octane Reciprocating Saw finds the sweet spot in value with its $149 price tag. You can get better performance and a couple more features for more than double the price or drop the brushless motor and/or orbital action to pay less. Either way you look at it, Ridgid sticks to their reputation of giving you a lot of bang for your buck.
Ridgid Octane Reciprocating Saw Key Features
- Brushless motor technology delivers over 50% more runtime, more power and longer motor life
- On/off orbital action for faster wood cutting (orbital) or for metal cutting (non-orbital) applications
- Open shoe design provides increased visibility when cutting
- Sight line blower directs debris away from the cut line for increased visibility
- Tool-free adjustable shoe allows user to easily adjust the show to increase the life of the blade
- Grip light engages LED light independently of the trigger to illuminate work space
Ridgid Octane Reciprocating Saw Specifications
- Model: Ridgid R8643B
- Motor type: Brushless
- Length Of Stroke: 1-1/8″
- Strokes per minute: 3,100
- Weight: 6.76 lbs (bare), 8.46 lbs (with 6.0 Hyper Octane battery)
- Warranty: 3 years with Lifetime Service Agreement
- Price: $104.99 (tool only)