Once again Ridgid has come up with something new and innovative for the Fuego line of tools. Next up for the Fuego line is the Ridgid R3100 Compact Jigsaw. At a first glance the Ridgid R3100 looks like a spin-off from the Pekingese breed.
The Ridgid R3100 is very small and compact, weighing in at only 4.4lbs. It is a single speed Jigsaw running at 3000 SPM with only a 1/2″ stroke length. With these specs I'm not sure this is the Jigsaw for everyone. I'm not sure which end-user Ridgid had in mind when they developed this Jigsaw? I personally like to have more control and versatility that a Variable Speed Trigger offers. It's also nice to bring the saw to a stop immediately during those dangerous occasions. I'm not a big fan of the slide switch style, or the location.
The Ridgid R3100 comes equipped with features found on many other saws in it's class. Unlike most other saws, the Ridgid has a one position orbital setting that again limit's your versatility. It's either on/off nothing in between. I like to have some adjust-ability when working with soft or hardwoods, plywood's and MDF. The switch is again, a slide style made of cheap plastic that I don't see holding up over time.
Another feature is the “Dust Debris Management System.” This is a on/off switch that allows the dust to be blown away from the work piece,
or channeled through the 1 1/4″ vacuum port. I only noticed a small change in air flow from the motor through the vacuum port when the switch was on or off. There is always a constant flow of air. It's not a dedicated on or off.
There seems to be two dust port locations, one just above and behind the blade, and the other on the front sides of the base plate. I'm going to assume the switch shuts the port located behind the blade on/off? I didn't notice much of a difference when the switch was on/off. However I did not try this saw with a vacuum.
Since half of the vacuum port run's through the bottom of the base plate, the no-mar plastic base becomes non-removable, only replaceable. If your cutting a rough surface that might scratch the no-mar base, this can lead to marring up your softwood surfaces.
The base plate is also slightly wobbly, and poorly designed. The bevel finder is in a hard to read location, and is not very accurate. That being said, the base plate is much longer and wider than most other jigsaws in its class.
There was however some common sense features that I did like on the Ridgid R3100. Features you don't always find on other manufacture’s tools. I enjoyed the large and long 12′ cord that Ridgid offers on most of their corded powertools. The cord also includes a lighted end so you know if you have power to the cord.
Ridgid also include a nice Velcro strap for when you roll up your cord. The hex wrench is built onto the cord and not onto the tool. This unit also comes with 3 bright LED light's that function, and light up the workpiece very well. I also like the book style, soft carrying case Ridgid offers.
The blade removal is tool-less, and will accept either the U or T shank style blades. The blade grip has a stiff spring that won't allow the blades to fall out very easily. However there is no automatic blade ejection, so you will have to be careful when the blade get's hot.
The Ridgid R3100 comes equipped with a soft start motor which is handy. It won't jump out of your hand at start up. Rather a gentle incline to max speed. It's very smooth, and has very little vibration. It's easy to handle and maneuver with the pistol style grip with the over-mold rubber. However this Jigsaw is obnoxiously loud. The jigsaw does ok through 5/8″-3/4″ Plywood, and really does well on most materials below the 1/2″ thickness scale. I would not recommend using this saw for 1x material.
The Ridgid R3100 has some good features for a very specific group of people. If your one of those people, this saw would be good for you. This would not be my first choice in the $99 range of Jigsaws.
- R3100 Jig Saw
- Hex Key
- 2 Blades 1 basic wood blade, 1 basic metal blade.
- Heavy Duty Contractor Bag
- Operator’s Manual
- Input: 3.0 Amps
- SMP: 3,000
- Stroke Length: ½”
- Blade Type T and U shank blades
- Tool Weight: 4.4 lbs.