June 8, 2015

Ridgid R4040S 8-inch Tile Saw - Review

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Here's a piece of advice: if you're a DIY tile guy...even if you only do a tile project once or twice every few years, you would be doing yourself a massive favor by tossing that little table top tile saw that you have in the garage and investing in a larger model with a sliding tray. The cost difference might sounds like a lot ($100 vs $500), but the ease-of-use and quality of the finished product between the two are miles apart. If you're just installing one bathroom floor and you're never tiling again, fine, get a table top. But if you're doing anything more than that, seriously, seriously consider getting a bigger saw. It makes all the difference in the world and it will save you loads of aggravation.

I'm speaking from experience here. During the full gut/remodel/addition of my house (aka: the Lost Years), I tiled three bathroom floors, two tub surrounds, a shower, and over 550 square feet of basement floor. For the first bathroom and a half, I had an old Masterforce that immediately died on me, so I ran out and replaced it with a Ryobi table top because it was the cheapest thing that looked half way decent. Around that time, Ridgid offered to send on their 8-inch Tile Saw ($500) for testing. Since I still had a boat-load of tiling left to do, I said, "Hells yeah, I'll give that thing a whirl." Turns out it was one of the best decisions I made during the entire renovation. The difference between a real tile saw and those little DIY ones is like night and day. After having used the 8-inch, I can never go back to a smaller one again. It's like learning to walk after crawling.

First off, this Ridgid is actually their mid-range tile saw. They have a table top, a 7-inch stand model, this 8-inch, and a 10-inch (affectionately known as, "the Beast").

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The 8-inch saw has a few parts to it. First, there's the stand. It's a simple thing, like the DeWalt table saw stands. Folds out nice and easy. That's that. Then, there's the tray. This fits on the stand and has a slope and a divider in it to direct water down a main channel and then around and back to the reservoir area with multiple "speed bumps" along the way that hold up bits of tile and sludge. As a last precaution, the reservoir area is divided from the rest of the tray by a filter. Lastly, there is the saw. This sits on top of the tray and locks in with tabs and buckles. This consists of the saw itself and a track system, including the rubber topped platform that slides along it. The depth of cut can be adjusted and the blade has a single bevel, like like a miter saw. It also has a laser for cut alignment that can be activated with a thumb button on the handle.

A small pump is inserted into the reservoir area that takes water and brings it up to the blade once the power is turned on. This soaks the blade, lubricating the cut and keeping the dust to zilch.

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The Ridgid also comes with a second tray that can be attached to the rear of the tool. This catches excess water off the blade and funnels it back into the tray. The main tray has wheels too, so it can be pulled around like luggage.

What these parts all combine to form is an easy-to-use tool with a high degree of accuracy and the ability to handle very large pieces of stone (or very small). Because the tray slides and not the actual tile (like on the table top models), it's much easier to keep your fingers away from the action (and by "action" I mean "dangerous blade"). In fact, it's the safest tile saw I've ever used.

And for accuracy, tile, in general, has a greater margin for error than carpentry, so the laser is particularly handy here. I don't trust them on wood cutting saws, but on the Ridgid "close enough" works 95% of the time, so I actually used it a lot, especially for production cuts like the corners of the shower.

The Ridgid saw is pretty big, but I could still set it up in the bathroom. It's also surprisingly clean. With any tile saw, everything gets a little wet, but this one contains water far better than any table top model I've used, which all left a wet stripe straight up my belly from the water coming off the blade.

Compared to the 7-inch model, the 8-inch saw has a bigger motor is capable of a deeper cut. 9-amp vs 12-amp (making it good for stone) and 2-1/4 vs 2-3/4-inch. Both saws come with Ridgid's whopper of a lifetime warranty, which is just excellent.

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And as a testament to the saws durability, I have to admit that I was caught unawares last winter after I tucked it behind the woodpile one day while cleaning up the shop ("I'll get this tomorrow"). The next day it started snowing and three weeks later, we had received about nine feet of snow. I'm pleased to say that after the burial the saw still works with no problems. It just needed a little hose off and it was good to go. The blade is a tad rusty though, but that's ok.

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You might think that this saw isn't for everyone, but like I said, if you're doing any extensive tiling at all, it will be worth it to set aside the teeny tile saws in favor of this one (or the 7-inch if you don't mind the slightly reduced capability). It's tough to deny the cost of the $100 tabletop tile saw when you're standing in the aisle at Home Depot. I should know, I've succumbed to the lure twice. But it's a different world when you use the larger tool. The accuracy on the Ridgid is great, it's really safe, it's cleaner, and you can just do a lot more with it. I was really impressed with the saw.

At Home Depot

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at June 8, 2015 9:00 AM
Recent Comments

The Rigid is powerful and large, but even the most ambitious DIYer can get by with a saw half the price of the Rigid. Over the years, I have gutted and redone 9 baths tiling floors, walls, tub surrounds and shower pans as well as floors in 3 large foyers, numerous halls, and 4 kitchens. DIY is a hobby. My first tile saw was, like the rigid (albeit smaller), a radial arm design. Years ago, I switched to a QEP 7" portable table saw because there is no arm to get in the way, AND, they are under $200. Lower cost is in large part because the blade is the only moving part. A large reservoir underneath bathes the blade - no pumps, filters, tubes etc. The 20x20" table is large enough for me to trim 24" tiles. It has an attachable ramp for beveling edges, and a laser light cutting guide. Lastly, concern expressed about the Rigid’s protection from its "dangerous blade" is silly. Tile blades are smooth. Embedded microdiamonds and water do the cutting. Bathed in water, you might get a little abrasion if not paying attention, but your pinky would not detach. In fact, I trim 1” mosaics by holding them between my fingers.


Posted by: Tomonthebeach at June 13, 2015 6:02 PM
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