RIDGID Gen5x R8643 Reciprocating Saw Review

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Gen5x Reciprocating Saw – Model R8643


Manufacturer: RIDGID
Model number: R8643
Power source: 18 Volt
Weight: 12lbs

RIDGID is releasing a new 18V Cordless Reciprocating Saw in 2018 and we recently got our hands on it to use in our cordless reciprocating saw head to head where it did very well against the competition. Since that testing we’ve been further evaluating this new saw on the job site. Scheduled to be released in early 2018 this new Gen5X reciprocating saw with new 6.0 Ah battery pack has been very impressive.

RIDGID R8643 Specifications and Features

  • On/Off Orbital Action – Orbital for faster wood cutting and non-orbital for metal cutting applications
  • Open Shoe Design – Provides increased visibility while cutting
  • OCTANE Tool – Connect to a HYPER OCTANE battery pack for optimal performance in heavy duty cutting applications
  • Brushless Motor Technology – offers 50% more runtime, offers more power and has a longer motor life
  • 1-1/8″ stroke length at 3,100 strokes per minute
  • Sight Line Blower – directs debris away from the cut line
  • Adjustable Shoe Plate – Tool free and easily adjustable to maximize blade life
  • Grip Light – Engages LED light independently of trigger to illuminate your work space
  • Tool Free Blade Change

Jobsite Performance

We used the R8643 during a recent bathroom demolition job to remove several areas of rotted wood framing so we could reframe the damaged walls. Over the years several 2×4 studs under the shower window have become rotted due to poor window installation. The R8643 saw was comfortable while cutting side to side instead of your standard up to down motion.  The RIDGID R8643 made quick work of the nail embedded 2×4 framing. The 3,100 SPM cutting speed and orbital action made demolition very quick and the saw is very comfortable with little vibration and did not bog down.

The LED light illuminated the work area really well and RIDGID offers a separate light trigger allowing for illumination without having the blade in motion. Being able to see the illuminated work area prior to engaging the motor is a nice safety feature. The LED lights are very bright.

We put the RIDGID R8643 through several controlled tests during our Cordless Reciprocating Saw Head to Head which were representative of recip saw tasks that many trades use. One of the tests was a severe power test that included cutting through a large wood beam embedded with nails.

  • 3/4″ Gas Pipe – This test is relevant specifically to plumbing and heating contractors. We used new 6″ Lenox 14TPI blades designed for thick metal and took the average time for 5 cuts. The R8643 averaged 4.4 seconds per cut.
  • 1/2″ EMT Conduit – In this test we simulated a task that electricians perform on a regular basis. We used new 6″ Makita 14TPI industrial bi-metal blades and took the average time for 5 cuts. The R8643 averaged 0.71 seconds per cut.
  • Nail Embedded Wood – Here we nailed four (4) 2×10 joists together and then installed five (5) 16d nails in each 2×10 for a total of twenty (20) nails. So for each cut we plowed the blade through four nail-embedded 2x10s. This simulates heavy-duty demolition cutting for carpenters, remodelers and general contractors. We used a new 9″ Milwaukee AX carbide-toothed 5TPI blade designed for nail-embedded wood and took the average time for 5 cuts. The R8643 averaged 42.3 seconds per cut



Ergonomics is an important category that we feel plays an important role in the tools you choose.

Hex-Grip Molding

RIDGID’s rubber over-mold is extremely comfortable to the hand. RIDGID has their patented hex-grip molding that prevents the rubber from becoming slick over time. Also another nice rubber mold feature is the front blade guard which prevents your support hand from accidentally sliding forward while in use.

Balance and Vibration

Weighing in at roughly 12lbs the R8643 is slightly heavier than the other saws we tested (average weight was 6.83lbs), it is very well balanced and comfortable to use in tight spaces or overhead. The variable speed trigger and reduced vibration are also key features that will reduce user fatigue.


RIDGID is also stepping up their battery game by coming out with HYPER OCTANE batteries. They will be available in 6.0Ah as well as 9.0Ah. Launching sometime late January or early February RIDGID will also have Bluetooth connectivity for users to get information about the battery pack.  We will definitely be reviewing these batteries and Bluetooth app once they hit the market!


Overall Impression

If you are carrying the RIDGID platform this reciprocating saw is a great addition that will not break the bank. It is rugged, well balanced and can withstand the wear and tear of the jobsite. In our recent Reciprocating Saw Head 2 Head this saw finished  2nd overall out of the 10 saws we tested.

How Much and Where to Purchase

The RIDGID R8643 is scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2018 we are estimating that this saw will price as follows.

  • Bare Tool – $149.00
  • 6.0Ah Battery Pack – $129.00
  • Charger – $79.00

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About the author

Scott Arnold

Contributing Editor Scott Arnold is the owner of Scott Arnold Remodeling LLC out of Waltham MA. Custom decks, fireplace makeovers, kitchens and bathrooms, Scott enjoys the frame to finish concept. Scott will share his perspective on tools as carpenter and remodeler here and on AConcordCarpenter.com

@scottarnold34Scott Arnold

All posts by Scott »


  1. Spencer

    I just received my ridgid brushless 8643 and opened it up. Due to this review and what I saw as the listed spec on their website the first thing I did is weigh it. How did you guys get your 12 lb weight? With the battery I get 9.1 lb and without the battery pack it’s about 6.5

    1. Fred Zuckerman

      Where did you buy it?

      1. Todd Fratzel

        It’s not in stores yet..should be anytime now though. This was an early release that they sent us for the testing.

        1. That’s weird. I have an 8643 brushless that I bought at HD store #2101 on December 11th.

  2. Spencer

    Just updating previous comment— I bet the 12.56 list weight is the Saw + the 2 batteries its sold with… I’ve also just realized your test unit was a 6ah and its sold with two 4ah’s so that could be part of it as well if yours was just unit+battery.

  3. Jorge

    I know it’s a year later, but with a current sale, you’re able to get this saw, 9 Ah octane battery, and charger for $200, far less than the almost $360 at the end of the article, and with a larger battery as well.

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