This Ryobi is not perfect, but it’s certainly good and in some ways, almost as capable and more useful than a heavy duty corded saw. I am judging this in comparison to two other corded miter saws I also own, a 10” and a 12”. My 12” corded saw is a (heavy) brute, and will power through the toughest wood species and larger dimensions without hesitation – but it is big, heavy and corded.
For the money, this Ryobi is a good value and great alternative to a corded saw. The other cordless miter saws I see on the Home Depot site cost more than this product, and all have less than the 36-volt combined battery power capacity of this unit (I compared prices of all products without the battery). This comparison suggests that Ryobi gives you more tool for the money. I’ve owned the Ryobi for a short period of time, and from all outward appearances the saw is fabricated of quality material and reflects a thoughtful design, instilling confidence that it will survive many years of medium-duty service. The Home Depot site information and product packaging indicate it carries a 3-yr. warranty. The owner’s manual provides no warranty information, but an online search suggests the warranty will cover most any defect not caused by abusive use.
It takes a couple extra seconds for the blade to come to full speed, but this is a minor inconvenience in my opinion. And the batteries provide surprising power, comparable in many respects to my corded saws. Cutting 4 x 4 PT lumber at a 90-degree angle was a breeze, and it slowed down ever so slightly when set at a 22.5-degree miter angle cutting against a larger wood surface. The dual rail slide made it easy to glide the saw head to achieve accurate cuts with laser-guided assistance. The saw is limited to a 4” cutting height for molding placed in a standing position against the fence, before contact with the saw fence restricts further movement. However, it was both easy to set and to cut miters and bevels – the miter table rotation and bevel pivot adjustments were smooth, and the scales were easy to read.
The saw comes equipped with a general purpose 40-tooth carbide tipped blade that functions well enough when new, but for more serious work I will probably replace it with a higher quality blade. There are also many additional features typically found on higher-end saws, such as positive (and variable) miter stops, fixed and sliding fences, locking knobs/buttons to fix the saw slide and blade storage positions and to lock the spindle (for blade changes), a laser guide, blade (changing) wrench storage, dust collector bag, workpiece clamp, and more. The laser guide is activated with a trigger squeeze and remains lit for about 20 seconds following trigger release, meaning no fear of running down the batteries for forgetting to turn off the laser light. The base was a tad smaller and less robust than the one found on my 12” corded saw, but it was wide enough to be stable; it can (and probably should) be secured to a plywood base using the holes in the four machined steel legs for additional safety and stability.
The saw packaging states that it is capable of over 800 cuts per charge, which seems like a crazy long capacity to me. Still, if you’re like me you might not always remember to remove your battery for a recharge, so when you begin working the next time you might be operating on a partially charged battery. So, I was curious if the run time could be extended by using a single battery for small cuts, so that the second battery could be allowed to charge -- but the saw will not operate unless batteries are present in BOTH ports. It would be good if there was an option to run the saw with one battery, because sometimes even having some power available expedites completion of a job, rather than sitting through down time waiting for a battery to charge. In this case, if you want to continue work production when one battery runs dry, you will need a third spare battery, so that you can continue working while (at least) one battery is charging. I happened to leave both batteries in the ports overnight and the next day, one was almost dead (showing one bar), and the saw did not start-up. I replaced it with another and it worked fine.
About the only substantive thing that I found disappointing was that the saw blade electric “brake” is very slow to respond to a trigger release, in fact, it made many additional revolutions after the trigger was released. As compared to my corded saw which has a similar feature, the Ryobi electric brake functions poorly – I would not count on this feature to help prevent an accident or minimize injury –more so because the sliding capability of the saw extends the reach of the saw blade toward the operator.
Finally, the user manual, though compact is quite comprehensive. Although the saw operation is largely intuitive, I perused the manual and found it covered practically everything you might encounter using the saw, including an angle/pitch measurement reference for cutting compound miters (though I’ve developed my own method for this).
In summary, eliminating the need for a power cord is a clear advantage, but also at 34 lbs, the saw is 13 lbs lighter than my 12” stationary saw, and yet it has a larger horizontal cutting capacity due to the sliding saw feature. These advantages will make this a “go to” saw when ease of portability, greater cutting capacity and quick and efficient set-up are desired. If you’ve ever hauled a 50-lb corded saw up two flights of stairs, and then hunted for a power source with extension cord in hand, you know what I mean – this saw solves that problem and I would recommend this fine product to a friend looking for a good light-to-medium duty saw.
Accurate, All In One, Durable, Easy to Use, Good Size & Weight, Light Weight, Powerful
poor blade braking, requires dual battery to operate