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In Use

Once you’ve got everything unpacked and freed of its cardboard constraints, what’s next? Breaking s#@!, of course! But first you’ll need to install the blade in the saw. It’s simple enough since you don’t need any tools. Just flip up the blade clamp release and slide the blade in. Let go, and it returns to the locked position so you can start cutting.

Well, almost. You do need to fully charge your battery as it ships uncharged. But fear not as it only takes about 30 minutes. Go have a beer or something. (Disclaimer: Don’t drink and demolish.)

We tested with the 24V li-ion packs, which include a built-in LED battery meter that displays remaining charge at the press of a button. The meter reminds me of the ones on Duracell alkaline batteries, mostly because my fingertips hurt just as much from pushing the pressure sensitive button to display the power level. In Ridgid’s defense, this is true of almost all pro-line battery meters.

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Right away, I noticed that the MaxSelect is quite heavy, though not more so than other cordless recips we’ve tested. If you don’t use these regularly, it’s easy to forget that cordless tools are always heavier than their corded counterparts; that battery is heavy. The MaxSelect weighs in at about 7-1/2 lbs without battery, and around 10 pounds with the 24V battery.

It’s quite solidly built — definitely no less substantial than some of the corded heavy duty recip saws I’ve used in the past.

I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled the variable speed trigger. The MaxSelect isn’t as noisy as most recips. Of course, noise level will vary depending on what you’re actually cutting. And speaking of cutting, I did plenty of that, too.

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First up on the chopping block: an old Mercedes alloy rim I had kicking around the shop. I was able to chuck up the metal blade and slice through the outer rim from outside edge to inside edge with little effort. It wasn’t a very fast process — there are better options out there for this particular task — but the MaxSelect plowed right on through the wheel. Afterward the battery still showed over half a full charge.

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Next I tried out the MaxSelect on a more practical project: tearing out some 80-year-old framing around two windows — complete with 3 inch long cut nails. The saw sliced through that solid, old-growth wood like the proverbial hot knife through butter.

And speaking of hot knives, at a maximum speed of 2,500 strokes per minute — with the 24V battery — you only get 1,900 strokes per minute with the 18V — and a 1-3/16” long stroke, the MaxSelect’s blade did get plenty hot. In some of the denser wood you could see the smoke rising. But it never faltered — unlike other cordless tools that tend to get overwhelmed with heavy-duty work. It just kept powering through until it was done cutting — or at least until I was worn out.

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A few of the other features that I liked were the trigger lock, adjustable shoe, rubber grip, and the fact that I could install the blade in either direction. The trigger lock, which you set with your thumb, locks the trigger so you can’t activate the saw when you’re moving it, or changing the blade.

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At first, the adjustable shoe seemed useless — until I ran into a situation where I didn’t want to cut too deep into the wood framing because I’d left the trim on the inside of the windows intact and didn’t want to poke through it into the house. I was able to flip down the shoe release and then adjust the shoe to the depth I needed, then lock it down — all with one hand.

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The rubber grip made the MaxSelect comfortable to use, even under the most violent conditions, without giving you the shakes at the end of the day, and the fact that I could install the blade either cutting upwards or downwards was a Godsend. I could cut in the most convenient direction without contorting myself into crazy positions while still maintaining a firm grip on the saw — and good control of the blade.

Read on to page three for our conclusions.

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4 Responses to Hands-On: Ridgid’s MaxSelect Reciprocating Saw

  1. eschoendorff says:

    I have this saw and I use it more than my corded Milwaukee sawzall….

  2. Crusty Justy says:

    What i’m about to tell you folks just may make you cry! I know I ALMOST did!

    I went to homedepot to check out the tools as usual. And at the maxselect display there were some 79.99 price tags for all the max select tools. I though maybe it was an error so i asked about it. Well, turns out they were on sale on the weekend but they’d give it to me for the price that was up there. So right on i snagged the planer and the caulking gun. When i went to go pay the guy ran up to me and took the tools from me and wrapped them together with tape and handed me a TWO FOR ONE coupon. Talk about heaven! I went back and got two more impact guns and ordered the circular saw AND jigsaw. (the sawzall is in the 24v combo pack) So at the end of the day i had 6 new cordless tools that i can use with my current 18v combo kit and i only paid 270 dollars tax included.

    I was so happy i called my mom!

  3. Working Contractor says:

    This is a bit of a puff review, isn’t it? Three points that are glossed over: Price, weight, battery life.
    The article claims it will “last all day”, but it’s at half charge after cutting through, what, 20″ of aluminum?
    The ‘few more pounds’ is fine for a few cuts, but if you ever have to use a tool for more than ten minutes, or overhead, or cutting upwards rather than down, you will curse the sonofabitch that added a pound and a half of stylish grey rubber.
    Finally, tool companies commonly reduce their tool prices on cordless models to get buy-in for their battery “systems.” The cost is already 30$ more than the (already expensive) corded Rigid model, add battery cost to that and could afford two corded units of a similar quality.
    If you only have two batteries for your drill, saw, radio, flashlight, impact gun, etc, you will ALWAYS be waiting on a charge. Add to that the fact that high strain leads to heat and prematurely wrecks the batteries, and that this is one of the more high strain power tools, and it’s pretty obvious that this is a Tonka toy.

  4. eric says:

    Hey working contractor, did I jiust read that right, “Price, weight, battery life. I own one of these saws, although it is only the 18v version. If you think the price you pay for a tool should detemine if you buy it or not , you’re wrong! It is all in the quality, I have dropped my saw from over 10′ multiple times on varying surfaces, including one drop that killed a DeWalt 18v. (they were on the same scafold that someone knocked over. Weight,, If it’s too heavy for you don’t use it, they sell plenty of smaller less powerfull toy….er um tools that sound just right for you. And finally battery life, your right the batteis suck, but it’s better than literally a mile of tripping hazards on a jobsite, and try rolling up over 400′ of extention cord, that will make you think the saw is “light as a father”.

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