When it comes time to replace your old miter saw, you want to be sure that you’re upgrading to something worthy before you spend your scratch. You may have seen the Ridgid R4221, which made our list of best miter saws, and noticed it has some impressive features, but you might not be sure if those extra touches are worth the investment.
In our complete Ridgid R4221 review, we’ll go through everything you need to know about this dual-bevel sliding miter saw including its specs, capabilities, pros, and cons. We’ll even address the notorious blade wobble issue.
By the end of this review, we’ll help you decide if this saw belongs in your shop or if you should leave it on the big-box store shelf.
General Overview of the Ridgid R4221
The R4221 is a 12-inch dual-bevel sliding compound miter saw from Ridgid. It’s powered by a 15 amp motor that’s mounted at 45 degrees and spins at 4,000 RPMs when unloaded.
The dual-slides allow the R4221 to crosscut a 2×16 board and will cut a 45-degree miter on a 2×12. Where miters are concerned, the R4221 has a range of zero to 70 degrees and bevels up to 45 degrees to both the left and right. It comes with a hold-down clamp, crown molding stops, a dust collection bag, and a 12-inch, 60T blade.
The Ridgid has a number of impressive features. To start, this saw has a swing-out table design that allows the miter angle to be positioned far further than any other saw on the market.
There is also an LED light on board that produces a shadow cut-line to judge your cut alignment. Finally, the R4221 blade-brake system helps to make cutting a series of boards a safer and quicker procedure.
Here’s how it works in action.
Capabilities and Specifications
There is no question that the R4221 has the capability to get the job done.
Contractors and homeowners will both enjoy its range of features and innovative design. If the miter range and shadow cut line aren’t premium enough, it also has a huge cut capacity and a powerful motor. These features alone add up to make it a versatile job site saw.
But we’re going to go further and explain everything the Ridgid has to offer.
Type of Cuts
The R4221 is equipped to make nearly any cut you can think of. Its huge crosscut and miter capacity will make quick work of the widest boards. There’s a crown molding setting in the rear that will lock the saw in the perfect position for trim work to allow for a far more accurate cut.
The Ridgid also features a depth-stop that’s easy to engage, allowing you to cut dados and rabbets without having to head to the table saw or take out your router.
Bevel and Miter Features
The Ridgid’s miter capability is really this saw’s best feature.
By unlocking the wings on the table and swinging them out of the way, you can rotate the blade up to 70 degrees to both the left and right. Along the way, there are miter detents at 0, 22.5, 31.6, 45, 60, and 67.5 degrees.
It’s also capable of bevels up to 45 degrees to both the left and right, with locking detents at 0, 15, 22.5, 33.9, and 45 degrees. Between those wide ranges and the multiple detents, this saw is incredibly versatile.
The Ridgid will tip the scales at around 64 pounds. While that’s not a light tool, there are other saws on the market with less cutting capability that weigh far more.
It’s an overbuilt saw with quite a few features, so it’s easy to see how it packed on the pounds. That being said, at this weight, this saw may find itself relegated to first-floor use on most job sites while the crew hauls a lighter model to the second deck.
Dust Collection System
When it comes to dust collection, the R4221’s setup is pretty rudimentary. It comes with a dust collection bag that connects to the back of a chute.
That chute begins as a small funnel, placed behind the saw blade at the base of the blade shroud. This funnel is too far from the actual flow of sawdust, making this system barely effective. Repeated cuts will leave the ground covered in sawdust while your collection bag is hardly powdered.
As far as sliding compound miter saws go, the Ridgid is fairly compact. When set up, it’s around 39 inches from front to back, and side to side measures around 22 ½ inches. The overall height is right around 20 ½ inches as well.
One of the most impressive aspects of the R4221’s 70-degree miter capability is that its slides are nearly parallel with the bed when locked in storage mode. It takes up less space from front to back than saws with far less cutting capability.
The R4221 features an easy to use depth-stop in order to create dados and rabbets, as well as slowly working your way up to really intricate cuts.
There’s a small plate behind the handle that you can flip into position to stop the blade from plunging through the workpiece and quickly flip it back out for a full depth cut. The depth can be adjusted by turning the threaded bolt until the blade stops at your desired depth.
LED Work Light and Cut Indicator
The R4221 features an LED work light that allows you to see your workpiece when lighting may not be ideal.
While it’s great to be able to see, that LED also creates a blade shadow on your workpiece that can be used as an incredibly accurate cut indicator. The LED shadow line is far more accurate than an adjustable laser, so it’s no wonder this feature has been catching on with other manufacturers as well.
We would be remiss if we didn’t take the time to address the issue these saws are known to suffer from: blade wobble.
There are hundreds of complaints and reviews all over the internet of buyers running their saws for the first time and noticing a chattering noise, a vibrating handle, and less than perfect cuts. These are valid complaints that document actual issues that Ridgid is aware of.
If you purchase an R4221, be sure that the blade is installed correctly and check it for blade wobble immediately. If your saw is affected by this issue, you should contact Ridgid right away and allow them the opportunity to make good while taking a bad product out of circulation.
Pros and Cons
While the Ridgid R4221 Miter Saw is a great tool, no tool is perfect. Here are a list of some of the pros and cons we discovered through our review.
- The innovative table allows for a wide miter range of up to 70 degrees to the left and right.
- It features an easily adjustable depth-stop for cutting dados and rabbets.
- The LED worklight and cut indicator make accurate cutting an easier task.
- It has the ability to crosscut a 2×16 and miter a 45-degree angle on a 2×12.
- The dust collection system is nearly useless.
- It won’t be easy to move around at 64 pounds.
- The blade wobble is an unacceptable flaw that may cause you some grief.
The blade wobble issue didn’t affect every saw and the unaffected R4221s were accurate right out of the box.
The fence does take some setting up but once it’s locked in place, it’s very secure and squares up with the table nicely. The bevel angles, miter angles, and detents are spot on. Also, the slides are well machined so your blade won’t skip during your cut.
Ultimately, the accuracy of these saws depends on whether the saw suffers from blade wobble or not.
There aren’t a lot of safety features on this Ridgid. The handle isn’t ambidextrous and there isn’t a safety switch. This can make it uncomfortable for some left-handed users to operate, and anytime you’re uncomfortable, there’s a greater safety risk.
Two safety features that this saw does have are a blade brake and an excellent blade guard. The blade brake will quickly bring the blade to a standstill after a cut in order to keep you safe and allow you to raise the saw back up sooner. The lower guard completely covers the blade when the saw is in the up position, but it’s also crystal clear so you can see your workpiece through the guard, and that deserves recognition.
Before any operation, be sure to have a good understanding of miter saw safety.
With all of the complaints about the blade wobble issue, there were rumors that these saws were selling for next to nothing. We’re here to tell you that’s just not the case. While they do occasionally go on sale, you’re going to spend somewhere in the ballpark of $550 at a local big-box retailer.
If you’re able to find a sale like we mentioned, you could really make out. Some of those sales include a Ridgid folding miter saw stand. That stand retails for more than $200, so anything less than $700 for the pair should be considered a good deal.
There are a lot of things to like and dislike about this saw. The table design is revolutionary and the wide miter angle is unmatched. On top of that, the LED cut indicator is outstanding.
However, you can’t forget that this saw will spew sawdust all over your shop. Factor in that so many of these saws were prone to inexcusable blade wobble and it becomes a hard call.
As much as we’d like to jump on the bandwagon and write the R4221 off for good, we can’t help but like and recommend this saw.
We think for the price, the features and capabilities are worth risking getting a saw with the wobbles. The R4221 gets our recommendation for anyone looking for an innovative, feature-rich, highly capable saw for their shop or job site.