So we go from the military-grade Hummer H1 to the Mazda Miata of saws! My apologies to those who don’t know about cars, but the Skilsaw reviewed previously and this Ryobi ZRP506 ONE Plus are very different beasts indeed.
The first difference is the size of the blade! This Ryobi has a 5 and a half inch blade, whereas most popular circular saws run 6 and a half. The question again boils down to what you’re looking to use it for. The Skilsaw is heavy, and using it all day would make even the biggest construction worker sweat. The Ryobi is super lightweight, but it won’t cut through a 2×4 piece of plywood if that piece of plywood is ”standing tall” on its short sides. The Ryobi just isn’t big enough to do that job. It’s also not big enough to cut into a lot of wood at 45 degree angles. To use a golf expression, the Ryobi just ”doesn’t have enough club.” But it’s cordless, easy to wield, and can sneak into a lot of small spots. So this thing is basically a Go-Kart in saw form. Cool.
Brand and Model History
Ryobi is a Hong Kong owned brand that’s part of a giant international conglomerate called TTI. TTI owns a whole bunch of brands, including Craftsman, Ryobi, Milwaukee, Hoover, Dirt Devil and a bunch more. Honestly, it’s like the brand doesn’t even really matter sometimes.
This is a small machine, made in China, like 60 or 70 percent of the items on this list. The other 30 or 40 percent are made in the US, or in Mexico, or Mauritius, or who knows where. These days actual data, like online reviews and sales figures, show a lot more about a brand than a name on the side of a machine! So let’s look at some of those numbers and actually break down the usability and quality of this device…
- Laser guided cutting system called Exactline Laser Technologies. It’s not a necessity by any means, but it’s nice to know where you’re cutting. This thing gets it done.
- Small size for good maneuverability and better handling.
- Strong motor for the size of the unit.
- Makes clean and aesthetically pleasing cuts.
- Left side cutting style mimics pro-style tools, though it may take some getting used to for non-construction people.
- Small size keeps it from being able to do a lot of work. Self-explanatory basically, but yes, don’t make this your only saw unless you really only intend to use it for small ‘around the house’ projects.
- Battery powered instead of AC powered, so it doesn’t have a lot of power. In a lot of ways honestly this is a positive. A guy online talked about how he bought this to shape and cut the tops of thin boards he nailed up to make a picket fence. That’s exactly the type of stuff this thing was designed to do.
- Batteries run on 18v, not 20v like many other tools.
This Ryobi kind of gets a bum rap. It can’t cut 2×4’s if they’re not laying down on their smaller, easy-to-cut side. People complain that you have to hold your hand extremely steady to make clean cuts. I mean, it makes sense; a tiny, battery-powered engine pushing a small sawblade that’s doing it’s absolute best to chew through a big piece of wood isn’t going to be the easiest tool in the world to guide. Lots of people are overusing this device. You don’t take a small Ford Focus to run the Baja 1000. You don’t try and carve a turkey with a butter knife. Using the Ryobi on anything other than really thin, soft wood, and maybe things like PVC pipe or sheetrock is just asking for trouble. But this saw is for trimming things. Making small onsite repairs. It’s a hobbyists’ tool.
It’s basically the exact opposite of the saw we profiled in the entry right before this one, but it is a nice little saw, and for what it’s trying to do it does very well. If these types of jobs sound like what you’re needing a saw for, then this device has validity for you. It only costs around $50 usd, so it’s not like you’re losing a lot of money on the deal anyways. Sometimes a mouse is better than a cat.
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