Source: TOOLS OF THE TRADE Magazine
Publication date: April 14, 2011

By Tim Uhler

Ridgid R3210


The R3210 handles and operates exactly the way an inline saw is supposed to. The motor is smooth and powerful, the bevel gauge is easy to read and adjust, and the depth mechanism operates smoothly. I particularly like that the guard never snags – not even when I'm shaving a sliver-sized piece off the end of a jack rafter. I also appreciate the lit plug, which glows when there is power to the saw. It's a small detail – but we get a lot of rain in winter, so the power trips a lot on our job sites; the plug lets us know instantly if the power is still on.

All in all, I like everything about this tool except the base plate. The plates on most other saws are thick and heavily ribbed; this one is thin and only lightly contoured, making it more likely to bend in a fall. In fact, we've used this model before and the plate did indeed bend. And it wasn't a fluke. For this review we dropped all of the saws several times from a 4-foot height; the Ridgid's base plate is the only one that bent.

Skil SHD77M


Like every West Coast carpenter my age and older, I learned on a Skil inline saw. Those old saws were real workhorses, but about a decade ago they began to be outclassed by the new models entering the market, which had a lot more features. In recent years, Skil has updated its saws – and it shows. The SHD77M is as smooth and powerful as its competitors and has better features than its predecessors. It will bevel to 51 degrees and has an upgraded guard that retracts without snagging. In addition, the base plate has been stiffened by the addition of a rolled edge.

There are a couple of things I wish the company had changed, though: The grip is still made from hard plastic (it's not rubberized), and the forward handle is skinny and less comfortable to grasp than the more substantial handles on other models.

The SHD77M is one of several inline saws from Skil. When Bosch bought Skil, most of the product line was reoriented toward DIYers, but the wormdrives were so popular Skil continued to make them for the pro market. The company still produces some older designs, too, including a 13-amp model (HD5860) with an 8-1/4-inch blade.

Tool Test: Inline Circular Saw Specification Chart