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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.