The perfect circular saw?
Fuego 6 1⁄2-in. Compact Circular Saw
■ Manufactured by Ridgid
■ 800-474-3443; www.ridgid.com
■ Cost: $120
At first glance, the Fuego might be mistaken for one of those small saws that are built for specialty use. But this 6 1⁄2-in. saw can go toe-to-toe with every 7 1⁄4-in. circular saw that I’ve ever used.
With this saw, I’ve cut compound miters in wet 2x12s, plowed through three layers of 1⁄2-in. sheathing, ripped bevels through long lengths of 2x stock, and cut stair stringers from 1 3⁄4-in.-thick LVLs without detecting any lesser performance than what my higher-amped 7 1⁄4-in. saws provide. I’m no engineer, but my guess is that performance like this in a smaller tool probably has something to do with the blade’s 6100-rpm rate, which is faster than my other saws.
In addition to passing all my power tests, the Fuego packs a few bonuses as well. First, because the depth-adjustment lever is on the outside of the body and because the white-on-black numbers on the depth scale are easy to read, I can accurately adjust depth of cut without having to move my hand from the grip. Detents every 1⁄8 in. between 1⁄4 in. and 3⁄4 in. make depth adjustments even easier. The cutting depth is impressive for a 6 1⁄2-in. saw: 2 1⁄8 in. at 90°, 1 5⁄8 in. for a 45° bevel, and 1 1⁄2 in. for a 50° bevel.
Also, the blade guard retracts without my help when I’m making miter and bevel cuts across 2x stock, and the saw has a clear line of sight. I also like the 12-ft.-long power cord, which doesn’t get snagged when I’m ripping 8-ft. sheathing.
Even though the Fuego is smaller than a 7 1⁄4-in. saw, the handle and non-slip grip provide enough room even for a gloved hand. Factor in the light weight (8 lb.), and this saw feels like an extension of my hand, allowing for more control and less fatigue.
The icing on the cake is Ridgid’s lifetime service agreement, which includes free service on normal wear items like brushes, gears, and the cord. I really don’t see how I could improve on this saw.
Photo by: Krysta S. Doerfler