Pro Tools Reviews
Hitachi continues its impressive run of tools with the all-metal RipMax. If you do a lot of framing and have room for a corded tool, this one really works beautifully.
Overall Score 4.4 Pro Tools
It can be easy to forget about corded tools given the ever-expanding world of cordless tool capabilities. Even though we might be headed toward a jobsite with no cords, we’re not there yet. Corded tools still have a place. In fact, many of the most muscular, fastest, and hardest-working tools still require you to be within a cord’s reach of an outlet. And if you set up your workflow efficiently, that’s ok… that’s how we did it for years, anyway! It seems like that’s what Hitachi had in mind when they created the Hitachi RipMax Pro Circular Saw. Designed for out-and-out power and speed, the RipMax’s specs look like it’s been drinking the protein shakes and hitting the gym. But, I’ll reserve judgment until I get to push this saw to its ripmax.
Hitachi is a Japanese conglomerate that really needs no introduction. What you may not know, however, is that less than a year ago, private equity firm KKR purchased Hitachi Power Tools. The Pros are still optimistic that Hitachi tools will continue their outstanding performances from the most recent generation. With new freedom for the power tool division to grow and innovate, we expect good things as they transition to the Metabo HPT brand. The aggressive nature of the RipMax, however – in contrast to what could have been some run-of-the-mill offering – gives me some hope!
The Hitachi RipMax Pro Circular Saw features a 15-amp motor, which has become an industry standard for professional circular saws. What isn’t industry standard, however, is the no load RPM. The Hitachi boasts a quite speedy 6,800 of them! Undoubtedly, this is supposed to aid in the cutting speed and is the basis of the “RipMax” nickname.
The comparable 6391-21 from Milwaukee clocks in at 5,800 as does Ridgid’s R3205, while the DeWalt DWE575 comes in slightly lower at 5,200. Now, Hitachi claims that the RipMax makes a 40% faster cut than the leading competitors. Calculating simply by no-load speed, that sounds a bit high. It’s a skosh over 17% at 5,800 RPM. Still significantly faster and, to be sure, the Milwaukee and Ridgid are at the high end of the scale already.
Body, Blade, & Housing
An all-metal body suggests that the RipMax intends to stay on the job for a long time. It also suggests that the saw might be a bit heavier than it’s competitors, too. That turns out to be the case: it’s 11.2 pounds whereas the Ridgid mentioned above is 11 pounds, the DeWalt at 8.8, and the Milwaukee at 10.4. At least two of those weights diverge widely! Generally, light is better – no surprise there – but we’ll reserve judgment until we test it. The stamped aluminum base with reinforcing rib aims to match the durability of the housing. Likewise, Hitachi makes the levers from stamped aluminum as well. The obvious upgrade will be to drop some weight with magnesium construction in a different model.
The saw comes equipped with Hitachi’s own branded 7-1/4-inch VPR Framing Blade with 24T. It all adds up to a saw that’s built to chew up some lumber and frame up as much as you throw at it. Let’s check out the technical capacities.
Cut and Bevel Capacities
The Hitachi RipMax Pro Circular Saw plunges to a maximum depth of 2-3/8 inches at 90° and 1-27/32 inches at 45°. The aluminum base allows the saw to bevel to 55° with positives stops there, and also at 0° and 45°.
These specs are pretty close to the competitors I’ve mentioned previously, with cutting depths at 90° within about a 1/4-inch, and bevel cuts within a degree or two. The exception here is the Milwaukee, which bevels to 50° max.
Other Notable Features
Hitachi included two noteworthy dust control features on the RipMax. First, the blade guard funnels a lot of the sawdust through a channel at the top and, presumably, off to the right of the work area. Secondly, a dust blower on the front of the blade guard keeps the cut line clear of sawdust. Of course, there will still be a significant amount of dust particles in the air. Most of us will never do it, but it’s a wise practice to wear a mask around so much dust. I know, I know, some readers will probably have to snuff out that cigarette before putting the mask on to protect their respiration. If you’re lucky, I might include some more jokes.
Hitachi designed a handle about a 1/4-inch thinner (by the company’s estimation) than the competition for an easier grip. At the same time, the trigger is wider than previous models. There’s also a cord hook to route the cord out of the way depending on what side you cut from. Finally, for easier blade changes, a hex wrench stores away onboard. Now, let’s build some stuff!
It just so happened that PTR contributor Adam Spafford needed some soffit and fascia work done (among a couple other small tasks in advance of a house repaint). It was a good warmup for the RipMax, but it didn’t take long to see that it was simply not a fair fight. This beastly powerful saw didn’t break a sweat on that thinner material.
Fortunately, I had a much larger job scheduled right after I was done at Adam’s. Actually, it was one of those jobs that looked small at the beginning – but quickly grew larger as we learned more about it. My customer’s house and detached garage were built in such a way that the rainwater from the garage roof funneled directly at the house (with no gutter)! Well, it only took a few years of rainy Florida summers to create rot inside a wall of the home. You didn’t have to be an architect to predict that. As I did the tear out, I found that the water had even run around the corner, calling for a much more extensive reframing than we had originally thought.
With that kind of work ahead, I had plenty of opportunities to put the Hitachi RipMax Pro Circular Saw to work. Well, the saw chews through wood so fast that the sawdust practically pours out of it. To that end, the dust blower works quite well to keep the sawdust away from your face, but there’s no getting around the fact that sawdust will fill the air. But, that’s ok – it’s evidence that this saw just blasts effortlessly through cuts and works like a champ.
Be sure you’ve got a high-quality, sharp circular saw blade. The Hitachi RipMax Pro Circular Saw’s power and no-load speed won’t be worth a hill of beans if you’re using an inferior or worn out blade. You’ll optimize the RipMax’s potential by caring for its business end.
I Saw It
As I suspected, the Hitachi RipMax Pro Circular Saw feels a bit heavier during the cut, but not so much that I don’t want to use it. Now, I know you can find poorly-made heavy saws. But, I get a different sense about the RipMax – the weight suggests a tough, quality build. And, like heavier worm drive saws, you can use the weight to your advantage when cutting at a downward angle. Also, because of its weight, it will not be as prone to wobble during the cut. You can just let the saw do the work!
I found the handle and trigger to be quite comfortable in my right hand. The auxiliary front handle is comfortable too, if unremarkable. The blade orientation debate – which really has more to do with personal preference – rages on. But, regardless of what “side” you’re on, the cutline visibility is satisfactory on this blade-right sidewinder. The bevel adjustment works smoothly. I really like the stamped angle scale marks because they won’t wear or peel off. The scale is easy to read, too. The same goes for the measurement markings around the base.
The Bottom Line
You can certainly find a lighter circular saw than the Hitachi RipMax Pro Circular Saw, but I’m not sure you can find one with as much muscle. For framing, I’d venture to say this tool is the ticket. It chews up and spits out – literally – anything in its path. Yes, it’s a departure from the everything-cordless universe, but if you’ve got a lot of framing to do and set up your workflow efficiently, it’s hard to go wrong with the RipMax. It’s built to last – and outwork – your other circular saws!
Hitachi RipMax Pro Circular Saw Features
- Powerful 15 AMP motor provides an impressive 6,800 RPM no-load speed
- Improved motor design delivers up to 40% more cutting speed
- Dust blower function- clears the cutting path of dust debris
- Bevel capacity of 0 – 55°, with positive stop at 0°, 45°, and 55°, with a cut capacity of 1-27/32″ at 45°, and 2-3/8″ at 90°
- Durable aluminum base with scale for durability and accurate cuts
- Slim handle grip for easy handling and comfort
- On-tool blade hex bar wrench storage for quick and easy blade changes
- Unique cord hook repositions the cord for cutting convenience
Hitachi RipMax Pro Circular Saw Specifications
- Model Number: C7UR
- Amperage: 15
- Arbor Size: 5/8
- Assembled Weight: 11.2 pounds
- Bevel Capacity: 55°
- Blade Location: Right
- Blade Material: Steel and Carbide
- Blade Type: 7-1/4-inch 24-Tooth Premium Framing/Ripping Blade
- Blade Wrench Included: Yes – Stored on Tool
- CSA Certified
- Cord Length: 84 inches
- Dust Port
- Manufacturer Warranty: 5 years
- Cut Depth @ 45°: 1.84 inches
- Cut Depth @ 90°: 2.38 inches
- Maximum RPM – No Load: 6800
- Net Tool Weight: 11.2 pounds
- Price: $147.00