From their introduction in the 1950's, reciprocating saws have been a common tool on remodeling sites, as they are known for their ability to cut a wide variety of materials, thus reducing the amount of time necessary to complete the demolition portion of the remodel. Reciprocating saws typically require two hands to operate, not only due to the design of the handles, but also due to the power and action of the saw.
While this is acceptable for many demolition tasks, in some instances these large hand-operated saws are too cumbersome to use. In response to many contractors who have asked for a smaller reciprocating saw, Ridgid has delivered a compact option. The Ridgid R3030 One-Handed Fuego Reciprocating Saw is a much smaller, light-weight reciprocating saw that doesn't need two hands or a lot of room in which to operate.
Tool Features and Specifications
The Ridgid R3030 Reciprocating Saw shouldn't be confused with a full-power traditional model (such as their Ridgid R3002), but for smaller jobs, it's hard to beat. The Ridgid R3030 has the following specifications (compared to it's bigger brother, the R3002):
Both models feature a variable speed trigger, no-load speed of 0-3500 RPM, and include a wood cutting blade, a bi-metal cutting blade (in the case of the smaller R3030, two different bi-metal cutting blades), a tool bag and an operating manual.
The one-handed R3030 also features:
- 1/2-inch stroke length (as opposed to 3/4-inch on the larger R3002)
- 120-volt, 4-amp AC motor (120-volt, 9-amp on the R3002)
- ergonomic grip
- weight of only 4 pounds (7 pounds for the R3002)
Just like the larger saw, the one-handed R3030 features a tool-free blade change mechanism that makes changing blades very quick and easy. One simply needs to twist the chuck and the blade mechanism releases its grip on the blade, allowing the user to slide out the existing blade and slide in a new one.
The blades can be inserted with the teeth facing either up or down for ease of use.
Additionally, the smaller R3030 includes an LED light on the tip of the tool body to illuminate the work surface, which is quite helpful when working in tight spaces where light may be limited. One aspect of this feature I'd like Ridgid to consider would be for the light to come on with a slight squeeze of the trigger without activating the tool's motor. This is common on some cordless drills and impact drivers with LED lights on the tip, as it allows the user to align the blade or bit before beginning to complete the operation.
I appreciate the externally accessible brushes on this model (which would allow for future brush replacement without opening the body of the tool) and the long AC cord, but the illuminated electrical plug found on the larger R3002 would be a welcome addition to the one-handed version as well. A minor consideration, but if one is working in darkened quarters where an LED light is helpful, a lighted plug would also be helpful.
Using the Saw
Since the Ridgid R3030 One-Handed Fuego Reciprocating Saw is rather unique for those who have operated traditional reciprocating saws for a while, using the one-handed saw will be a little different. Of course, whenever working with power tools, be sure to read and follow all of the safety precautions outlined in the Operator's Manual that comes with the saw. This includes wearing safety glasses to protect your eyes, as a cutting with a recip saw can generate a lot of debris. It is also advisable to wear proper clothing for the task at hand.
Because the design of the R3030 body is shaped more like a multitool than a traditional reciprocating saw, users may find that the angle of the handle will take some getting used to. Using the one-handed R3030 might be a bit cumbersome for making demolition cuts with a long blade through a wall (cutting studs and sheet rock simultaneously), especially when those cuts require cutting curves. A full-sized recip saw would likely be a better choice in these instances.
However, for jobs in tight quarters, like cutting a piece of conduit or pipe in an attic or a crawl space, the one-handed R3030 is ideal. Woodworkers who like to have a reciprocating saw around the woodshop will likely find that the smaller model will handle their needs quite comfortably, whether they need to make a rough-cut of wood in a workpiece before cleaning it up with another tool, or perhaps they need to separate two fastened pieces of stock by cutting the fasteners in the joint to separate the pieces before tapping the fasteners out of the wood with a nail set.
In conclusion, the Ridgid R3030 One-Handed Fuego Reciprocating Saw isn't an ideal fit for everyone. I don't believe that Ridgid is trying to make it a one-size fits all tool, but for those who need a smaller option to the traditional