My First Experience With Ridgid Tools
If there's anything I hate more than unboxing videos, it's long winded reviews. Why can't a person just get to the point and share an opinion of a tool I'm looking to research online right? It's maddening. First, a little backstory, then I'll deliver on the promise of a legit opinion.
So the story goes, my father and I are what you might call hobbyists. We like to make stuff. It's not a job, we don't do it for a living, but we've always got a project we're working on, so we've always borrowed tools from each other to get things done. That came to a head during the pandemic. I was locked in my house under a mandatory quarantine, and he needed his miter saw. Being up there in age, I didn't want to expose him to a virus I might have had, so I called an audible... I ordered my own miter saw to his local home improvement store, and he picked it up and used it until we could swap out last week. It was a brilliant maneuver.
Since we don't typically have duplicate tools, we often buy accessories for each others because as we share them, they benefit both of us. A few years ago, while Sears was going out of business, I bough a little miter saw stand for his miter saw. Saw mounts on brackets, brackets attach to stand, it's a good system. So good in fact, when we made plans to swap miter saws, he told me he'd like to have my miter saw stand since it's set up for his saw anyway. He's my pops and my bro, say no more, it's his... but now I have this new giant miter saw and no place to put it.
Last summer, I invested in a portable table saw. It's mounted to a rolling cart, it collapses down into a decently light package and stores upright. I like it. They also make carts like this for my miter saw, but there's a catch... The reviews on the matchy-matchy Dewalt saw cart are abysmal. The one with the stellar reviews is more than I'm willing to pay, but there's one right in the middle with great reviews and a good price on sale for Fathers Day. It's also made by Ridgid, a brand I've never owned before, so I have no idea what to expect. Being the level headed analyst at heart, I knew of the companies shenanigans when it comes to those worthless "Guaranteed For Life" batteries, but I felt comfortable trusting the thousands of five-star reviews on this particular tool. How wrong could the masses be right?
I order it online, pick it up, and start the assembly on it that same day. It's mostly put together in the box, only requiring a handful of fasteners, wheels, stops, a handle, and the physical saw bolted in place to start using is. I'm not gonna lie, the instructions that came with this tool cart are garbage. It's easy enough to figure out if you're mechanically minded, but not everybody is as competent as you and I. Regardless, I get the naked cart put together and can't resist the urge to play with it.
It works like a dream.
It collapses and folds back up effortlessly. The big wheels make it roll over obstacles with ease, solid rubber tires won't ever need patching, and that boring gray color has grown on me. All in all, it's a solid piece of kit with one glaring failure of manufacturing... the bolts that attach you tool to the brackets are extremely cheap.
If a company is going to go through all the trouble of legally copying a $400 design to offer it for half of that, why is it they choose to go ultra-cheap on the four most important pieces of hardware on the entire cart? I have this massive 12" dual bevel sliding miter saw that has to weigh at least sixty pounds, the cheapest carriage bolts in China aren't up to the task.
How do I know? I snapped the very first one off with minimal pressure. I'd show you the picture if I didn't have a shop moment in which I relocated that broken bolt to a different part of the shop with authority and maximum velocity. Pure garbage.
No worries though, a quick trip back to Depot, two bucks in hardware, we're in good shape now.
So what's my opinion on my first venture into the store-brand tool I've bought? It's a good tool that suffers from the poor decisions of leadership. Saving a dollar or two per unit across half a million units adds up to real dollars to bonus the guy making all the wrong decisions. I fixed it up no problem, but I shouldn't have had to. I'll still recommend it to others, it's a fantastic stand... but that recommendation will come with a disclaimer about the cheapy hardware.