The RIDGID R3205 is a good 7 1/4-inch circular saw – it has a balanced design that is comfortable to hold, and it is powerful enough to rip through 2x material and plywood without issues. However, it has some design flaws that keep it from being the best.
This circular saw comes with a 10-foot cord, which is longer than those on any other product we reviewed. Although you'll use an extension cord more often than not, a long cord allows you to make quick cuts with a nearby outlet when a cord isn't readily available.
At 11 pounds, this is one of the heaviest saws we reviewed. The lightest was the Black & Decker CS1015. However, the additional weight is barely noticeable because of the evenly balanced motor. As with most sidewinder saws, the RIDGID R3205's blade is located on the right-hand side, which means most of the weight is located just in front and below the handle, making the tool quite easy to maneuver.
The saw has a poorly designed spindle lock, which makes removing the blade frustrating. Most circular saws use a spindle lock button that you press to remove the bolt that secures the blade to the drive shaft. The RIDGID R3205 has this, but it takes some time and patience to get it to engage so you can remove the sawblade. This is unlike every other saw we reviewed with this feature – other models’ spindle locks make blade replacement almost effortless. The R3205 comes with onboard tool storage, so you can keep the hex key needed to remove the blade on the saw itself.
The RIDGID R3205 has a maximum cutting depth of 2 3/8 inches, which is plenty deep enough to handle any 2x material without issue. You can adjust the saw’s cutting depth, which can make the tool more efficient and safer, and it can help create tongue-and-groove cuts.
As with all circular saws, you can make bevel cuts. However, this tool can create bevels up to 56 degrees, which is better than many models we reviewed. When set at a 45-degree bevel, the RIDGID R3205 cuts at a maximum depth of 1 3/4 inches.
This power tool uses a strong 15-amp motor that produces up to 5800 rpm, so it can rip through projects quickly and cleanly. During our tests, the saw had no difficulty cutting through different materials. However, we found that the lower blade guard didn't rise as smoothly as those on other saws we reviewed, making the tool feel slightly awkward at the beginning of a cut.
There are some features we look for in the best circular saws that the RIDGID R3205 doesn’t have. For example, it doesn’t come with a rip fence, which would allow you to make multiple, identical cuts without measuring each piece of wood individually. It also doesn’t have an electric brake, which stops the blade automatically when you take your finger off the trigger. In addition, it leaves out a laser guide, which helps you make straight, accurate cuts each time you use the saw.
The RIDGID R3205 is a good circular saw with great balance, an effective dust chute and raw power. It is capable of ripping through materials, but we did notice that the lower blade guard can be a bit of a nuisance while cutting, though this is a minor issue. This tool has a poorly designed spindle lock, which means it takes some effort to replace the blades. Still, this is a powerful saw that can handle whatever projects you have.