Ridgid 18V SubCompact One-Handed Reciprocating Saw R8648 Review

Ridgid 18V SubCompact One-Handed Reciprocating Saw reduces weight and improves performance

One-handed reciprocating saws are popular among the 18v/20v max ranges as they are a lightweight alternative that makes lighter cutting jobs more convenient. The Ridgid 18V SubCompact One-Handed Reciprocating Saw features some useful upgrades over its previous Octane model.


  • Excellent cutting speed with 3200 SPM
  • Lighter and faster than Octane
  • Swivel shoe
  • Lifetime service contract

The inconvenients

  • Finger shock can be uncomfortable
  • Higher vibration levels than some options
  • The front handle section is wide

Performance of the Ridgid 18V SubCompact One-Handed Reciprocating Saw

When you’re looking for a new reciprocating saw, there are a few key things to look for that will give you a good idea of ​​the saw’s performance. Stroke length and speed determine the number of linear inches the blade will cover in one minute. Ridgid’s 7/8-inch stroke length is standard for this class of saw, but its 3200 SPM is much higher than most full-size reciprocating saws.

Cutting through EMT and PVC, the speed of the brushless motor is impressive and the variable speed trigger is a must on some cuts. Even though the 7/8-inch stroke length is best for cutting thin-walled materials, it also did a good job of cutting 2×4s with an aggressive low-TPI blade. This makes it more versatile than many models that seem to take forever on material more than about 1/4 inch thick.

Ridgid 18V SubCompact One-Handed Reciprocating Saw Review

However, we noticed more vibration than models such as the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall. The good thing is that you get a pivoting shoe on this model, so it’s easier to keep it engaged on round material and keep those vibrations to a minimum.

Ridgid 18V SubCompact One-Handed Reciprocating Saw Design Notes

The weight of the tool is noticeably front-heavy and cannot stand on its battery. However, its bare weight of 3.9 pounds is significantly lighter than the Octane model we used previously. Additionally, the lighter Max Output batteries also contribute to a significant drop in weight. The 2.0 Ah battery that comes in the kit brings the total to 4.9 pounds.

Ridgid 18V SubCompact One-Handed Reciprocating Saw Review

The textured rubber overmold runs the full length of the tool covering both the top and main handle sections. This provides a better grip as well as additional drop protection. The front casing is quite large and even large hands may struggle to find a natural-feel two-handed grip.

To input

Our biggest complaint is the molded plastic finger that sits directly under the trigger. Like a pebble in your shoe, it rubs the inside of your index finger and is not comfortable. Other hand sizes may not find it as irritating as we do, and gloves certainly help lessen the friction.

Finger Choil

Additional Highlights

  • LED light illuminates dark workspaces
  • Variable speed trigger lets you cut easier for increased precision
  • Trigger lock switch helps prevent accidental starts
  • Tool-less arbor mounted blade clamp

Ridgid SubCompact Vs Octane 18V One-Handed Reciprocating Saw

Ridgid R8648 Ridgid R86448
Stroke rate 3200 SPM 3000 SPM
stroke length 7/8 in. 3/4 in.
Weight (bare) 3.88 pounds. 4.6 lbs.
Tool length 14 in. 15.98
Type of engine brushless brushless

Ridgid 18V SubCompact One-Handed Reciprocating Saw

The Ridgid 1R8648 retails for $139 as a bare tool at Home Depot. For $179, you can get the kit with a 2.0 Ah maximum output battery and charger.

Ridgid backs this saw with its Lifetime Service Agreement when you sign up within 90 days of purchase.

The essential

Our only hesitation in recommending the Ridgid 18V SubCompact One-Handed Reciprocating Saw is the finger under the trigger. Give it a squeeze before bringing it home to see if it’s going to be a problem for you. If not, the saw’s impressive cutting speed and weight reduction over the Octane model make it worth adding to your cutting arsenal.

Ridgid 18V SubCompact One-Handed Reciprocating Saw Specifications

  • Model: Ridgid R8648
  • Power Source: 18V Ridgid battery (maximum output recommended)
  • Weight: 3.88 lbs (bare), 4.88 lbs. (with 2.0Ah MaxOutput battery)
  • Stroke rate: 0-3,200 SPM
  • Stroke length: 7/8 in.
  • Warranty: 3 years and lifetime service contract
  • Price: $139 (naked)
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