Ridgid 8-inch Wet Tile Saw
Ridgid 8-inch Wet Tile Saw
The Ridgid 8-inch Wet Tile Saw (model R4041S) is a tool that all Type 2 (skilled DIYers) and Type 3 (general contracting pro) tradespersons will want. Both of these trades types do tile work from occasionally to several times a year. In fact, this saw has received praise from many Type 4 (production pro) tilers, many of whom rely on it. While it’s priced closer to the DIY market, it performs near to pro expectations, making it a no-brainer option for a wide spectrum of people who engage in tile setting. (Reviews of earlier models on this site and ToolBoxBuzz are here, here, here, and here.)
Ridgid currently actively markets three tile saws: a 7-inch bottom-mounted saw, and an 8-inch and a 10-inch top-mounted saw (older models of Ridgid tile saws may still be available in some places). This saw is the newer version of the R4040S, which won praise from across the trades spectrum.
Ridgid R4041S 8-inch Wet Tile Saw Specs
- 12 Amp (1.2 hp) / 4400 rpm Motor: for cutting natural or manmade tile and pavers
- Drop gate allows users to lower the table fence enabling unlimited rip-cut capacity
- Oversized Cut Capacity: 24 in. rip, 18 in. diagonal, 2-3/4 in. deep, can cut up to 5 in. wide extra-long backsplash or threshold material
- Removable Water Tray: captures overspray and water from larger tiles
- Aluminum Miter and Rip Guide: Straight and miter cuts from 0° to 45⁰ left and right
- Cast Aluminum Frame
- Heavy Duty Cast Aluminum Arm
- Folding Stand: Tool-less height adjustment and scratch-resistant feet
- Laser sight
- Power switch can be locked
- Lifetime Service Agreement with registration within 90 days of purchase
- Includes: (1) R4041 Tile Saw, (1) 8 in. Diamond Cutting Wheel, (1) Hex Wrench, (1) Cutting Wheel Wrench, Splash Guards, (1) Folding Stand, (1) Miter Guide, (1) Adjustable Rip Fence, (1) Water Pump with Filter, Water Trays, and Operator’s Manual.
- 49 pounds
- $584 at The Home Depot
Changes to This Saw
The R4041S differs from the earlier R4040S, as far as I can tell, from a functional point of view, mainly in that the frame doesn’t clip into the tray, and there are no wheels on the tray so that the combined frame/tray assembly can be rolled around, and there’s no white light on this model. But certainly, the most important new feature is that the rear gate can be dropped below the sliding table’s surface, making for an unlimited rip-length capability (see image below).
I understand these changes. While being able to roll around the frame attached to the tray, storing it with the wheels on the ground can be problematic. As far as the ability to clip the frame to the tray, it’s hardly necessary – the frame sits securely in the tray by gravity.
A white light may be useful if 1) you’re set up in an unlit area, and 2) you’re pushing to get that last hour or two in at the end of the day. But these are not common occurrences and there are many inexpensive ways these days to illuminate a work area.
The most important new feature on the R4041S, however, is that the gate at the rear of the sled (against which you might normally register your workpiece) drop out of the way so that you can accommodate essentially an unlimited length tile (presumably for ripping) – more on this feature below.
Why This Saw?
The Ridgid 8-inch Wet Tile Saw is a top-mounted saw. A top-mounted saw can do everything that a bottom-mounted saw can do (especially the R4041S with its droppable fence) and offers a typically smoother path through the blade due to the sliding table. Bottom-mounted saws don’t usually have a water pump to spray water directly onto the blade as it cuts – they usually have a reservoir on the bottom through which the blade travels to cool it down. Also, usually, they are lower powered than top-mounted saws.
This is not to say that bottom-mounted saws don’t have a place in construction (and Ridgid makes a good one). They can be quite handy for working with small-format tiles. I even know of at least one large commercial construction project (a new office building) where a couple pallets of them were delivered to the jobsite for the tiling crews to use. (At the end of the project the general directed the laborers on the job to discard the saws; a lot of workers on that site went home with perfectly good tile saws that day. This never happens on the jobsites I’m on!)
Tile saws typically come with 7-, 8-, or 10-inch wheels. While even a 7-inch wheel will cut most common tile with depth to spare, a 10-inch wheel may be useful for cutting thicker pavers or hardscaping material. A small diameter blade will deflect less but a larger bladed saw usually has more power. This particular Ridgid 8-inch Wet Tile Saw is the smaller diameter top-mounted tile saw they currently offer, but it’s still more than sufficient for most non-hardscaping materials.
Finally, why a tile saw rather than the simpler, less messy, and less expensive tile cutter? Well, while tile cutters are simpler they are more difficult to use, at least at first. In any case they generate more waste (ruined tiles) over the course of a job than a saw will. That may be OK when you’re using easily available tiles, but if you’re installing hand-made artisan tiles with a months-long lead time, waste is to be avoided at all costs! A tile saw is intuitive and easy to use for anyone who’s familiar with a wood-cutting table saw…which is pretty much everybody. Also, saws tend to make cleaner cuts than a cutter. Finally, there are things that a tile cutter can’t do (notches, for example) and for which you’ll need a saw. Most pros have both tools but if you can only have one, it has to be a saw.
Unpacking and set up is easy and fast. The required 6mm hex key is included, as well as the blade arbor wrench. It’ll actually take you longer to check and set the squareness of all the components than it will to set the saw up (for this you’ll want a small speed square and a regular framing square). These are not difficult tasks, but you definitely want to take the few minutes required to do them so as to get perfect cuts. The only potentially confusing thing is adjusting the vertical play of the tray – see the section below on suggestions for details.
The Ridgid 8-inch Wet Tile Saw is intuitive and ergonomic to use. The tray, once adjusted, moves smoothly. The saw bevels easily. Plunge cuts are straightforward, even without a spring return. The drop gate is a welcome feature, allowing rip cuts of any length.
The rip fence locks into place quickly. The miter gauge does too, and is really three tools in one: a short rip fence, a stop block, and a miter gauge.
The tray surface isn’t rubber (if it is, it’s very hard rubber); it’s more like plastic with just a bit of tack to it, and it works well. Tiles stay put when you’re cutting them, but can slide about when you ask them to. This is really a well-designed feature.
Controls are easily reached during operation. The power switch can be locked – a handy feature to prevent unauthorized access if you leave the saw on site overnight. The water pump comes on when the saw is powered up. The over-spray tray captures most of it (in fact, look at the picture below. You can see the water captured by the over-spray tray, and no water on the ground!).
All-in-all, the ergonomics of this saw leave nothing to be desired.
Using The Ridgid 8-inch Wet Tile Saw
There are a couple ways to measure cut-length capability. Ridgid specs a 24-inch capacity (with the tray partially off the rails). If instead, you measure the distance from the rear gate to the blade with the tray’s three rollers maintaining contact with the rails, you get 20-inches. And as mentioned, dropping the rear gate and locking the table in place allows you to rip any length material (using the rip fence, presumably), just like a wood-cutting table saw. This is a great feature, allowing an installer to rip floor planking or any long tile pieces.
It’s true that with any saw the quality of cut can vary with the blade chosen. For all my evaluation and use I used the factory-supplied continuous rim blade, just to keep the number of variables to a minimum. As I indicate below, this blade did an outstanding job with most materials; any improvement I’d have obtained from a “better” blade would have been impossible to see. (This is the same phenomenon I’ve observed in testing wood-cutting saws: the factory blade generally does just fine.)
The one material the factory blade didn’t cut with absolutely zero viable chips was some inexpensive porcelain floor tile I had on hand. You can see the cuts in artisan ceramic tile (green), ceramic floor tile (tan), porcelain floor tile (type 3, white), and 1-inch paving block (very well cured, red) below. Nothing to complain about there. If I needed even cleaner cuts in the porcelain, I’d just use a different blade.
In terms of power, the Ridgid 8-inch Wet Tile Saw had more than enough to cut all the tiles with me going as fast as I felt comfortable. I had to slow down for the well-cured 1-inch block to about 75% of my max comfortable speed, but I’d probably be using the more powerful Ridgid 10-inch saw for hardscaping materials in any case.
Plunge cuts were uninteresting and unremarkable (that’s a good thing!). The saw performed here exactly as you’d expect and hope.
I had slim hopes for the laser, assuming I wouldn’t be able to see it in sunlight anyway. But in fact, I could (not brightly, but distinctly). Lots of tradies don’t like laser sights, and many do. If you don’t like them, just don’t turn them on! I have the same feeling about them on tile saws as I do on wood saws. Most of the time I ignore them, but every now and then they are really useful. The laser on/off switch is on the right side of the saw handle (see below).
The rip fence and miter gauges work well and are truly useful. Many pros don’t use guides, preferring to simply follow a line, while many others do. I think you’d be silly to not use one when they can help, and these included guides are a functional accessory.
Nothing made by man is perfect. However, I have three non-major suggestions for improvement regarding the Ridgid 8-inch Wet Tile Saw.
The folding stand is convenient to use and store, but it has some side-to-side play as is inherent in a scissors-type stand. However, that play almost all goes away once the tray and frame are attached to it, and in use you don’t really notice it. If this bothers you though, there are any number of saw stands on the market that could be adapted to this saw, although they probably won’t fold up as compactly. You could also just set the saw on a piece of exterior plywood or OSB with cleats on the top to capture the saw, and cleats on the bottom to drape over sawhorses.
Second, the instructions on adjusting the table vertical play are confusing. These are found in the “To Adjust Sliding Table” section of the manual (page 27 of manual #998000160, rev 03, 6-12-20). If you aren’t familiar with this style of tile saw, you really have no idea what this adjustment does, nor the fact that the adjustments work because the bolts that are adjusted are spring tensioned from below. Also, the fact that you need a 3mm hex key to make these adjustments would be useful to know ahead of time. Admittedly, this is a minor, if confusing, point.
Third, the current table lock positions place the bottom edge of the saw either a) pretty much to the rear of the table, or b) very much in front of it. I’d like to see a table lock position that positions the bottom of the saw right at the front of the table. This would allow you to use lock the table there and make the best use of the rip fence to rip long cuts.
It’s a sign of the popularity, among the skilled DIY and pro crowd, that there are hacks for improving, customizing, and personalizing the Ridgid 4041S Wet Tile Saw online. You know you have a winner on your hands when people spend the time and energy to customize it! To my mind, the R4041S has earned its reputation as a go-to wet tile saw for occasional and full-time tile setters.