Ridgid Planer Reviews,
Ridgid R4330 and R888
Note: The Ridgid planer models reviewed below have been discontinued. The R4330 has been replaced by the R4331. I will be compiling a review on the new Ridgid R4331 soon.
There were previously two planer models available from Ridgid, the R4330 benchtop planer and the R888 cordless hand planer. Both are fairly well regarded by many woodworkers, although there are a few points you need to be aware of before purchasing.
Ridgid is known for their professional-grade tools and equipment, but some of their woodworking tools are more mid-level machines. Their woodworking planers fall into this category. They provide good quality at a lower price than the full-fledged professional equipment. Both of their woodworking planers are eligible for the Ridgid Limited Lifetime Service Agreement, which is basically a lifetime warranty on parts and labor!
The R4330 Ridgid planer is a benchtop planer with a 13" width capacity and a 6" height capacity. It fits into the class sometimes called "lunchbox planers" because they are shaped somewhat like a traditional metal lunchbox. The Ridgid R4330 thickness planer has a 3-blade cutter head with quick-change blades. The blades have dual edges, so they can be reversed when they become dull. It comes with infeed and outfeed extension tables to provide support for the workpiece and help prevent snipe.
The Ridgid R4330 has a 15 amp motor that provides a 10,000 RPM no-load speed, for 30,000 cuts per minute. The feed rate is 26 feet per minute, and you get 96 cuts per inch. The Ridgid benchtop planer is designed to be portable, and has on-board blade/tool storage and weighs 73 lbs. It has the Ind-I-Cut depth gauge that measures the cutting depth before each pass, and eight Repeat-A-Cut depth stops to help you plane multiple boards to a consistent thickness.
Reviews on the R4330 Ridgid planer range from average to good overall, depending on where you look. Amazon shows an average rating of only 3.2 out of 5 stars, with 19 total reviews, although at least three of those are actually of the previous 2-blade model, the TP1300LS.
The Ridgid R4330 thickness planer fares much better on the Home Depot website, garnering a 4.0-star average with 44 owner reviews. CPO Tools gets even better ratings on their reconditioned model, with 4.8 stars from 11 reviews. LumberJocks has two reviews averaging 4.5 stars, and a number of other owners that are happy with it. This Ridgid planer won the "Best Value Award" in Fine Woodworking Magazine's 2010 Tool Guide comparison test of portable thickness planer models. WOOD Magazine also gave it the "Top Value" award in a 2010 test of eleven different benchtop planers.
SawmillCreek has a bunch of happy owners, but a few with bad experiences also. Various forum comments on Ridgid's benchtop planer are:
- I find the cut to be extremely smooth and with extremely little snipe... - Juan
- ... it is a great thickness planer for the money... - Bill
- I, for one, love it. It does everything I ask it to do without getting fussy with me. And it leaves a very good surface as long as you take shallower cuts as you near your final thickness. - Paul
- I have also had great results from the Ridgid R4330. The knife changes are indeed very easy. - Mike
- I love it! I have used it to do a lot of dimensioning of oak, cherry and maple... So far no problems. Blade changes are super easy... It takes about ten minutes. For the price, the Ridgid planer can't be beat... There are others out there with more power but are significantly more expensive. - John
- I recently got the Ridgid R4330 and I couldn't be happier with it. The only complaint I have is that the dust collection hood can be a pain to remove and replace, but I don't do that often. After properly adjusting the extension tables I have no problems at all with snipe. - Alex
The most common problem owners had with the Ridgid benchtop planer is that some folks have trouble getting the screws out to change the blades. The bolt heads or the provided allen-head wrench will strip out. A couple of owners saw this in the reviews, and before using the tool they removed the screws and applied graphite or anti-seize compound to them, and then they didn't have any issues getting the screws out later. Several other owners said that they used a small impact wrench to jar the screws loose and get them out.
Another issue a few owners reported on the R4330 Ridgid planer is that the thickness adjustment wheel rotates to a different dimension during use, due to the lack of a cutterhead height lock. One owner fixed this by tightening the idler gear on the chain in the bottom of the planer, which added some tension to the height adjustment mechanism.
There were also a few isolated instances of motor and belt failures, but those should be covered under the warranty or Lifetime Service Agreement. There were occasional reports that the feed rollers would not pull the wood thru the machine, but that can often be helped by waxing the table and extensions, roughing up the surface on the drive rollers, and connecting an adequate dust collection system.
As with many woodworking planers, some owners reported an issue with snipe. However, through trial and error, a large number of Ridgid planer owners were able to adjust the infeed and outfeed tables to minimize snipe to an acceptable level. Like many other precision woodworking tools, adjustments are just part of the game, and rarely will you buy a precision power tool that is set up perfectly out of the box.
One thing to be aware of: there is a note in the Ridgid R4330 owners manual that really needs to be a little more prominent and should show up earlier. In the section about how to replace the blades, it tells you to remove the dust hood for access. Then it says:
"NOTE: The cutterhead lock will engage when the head is rotated. Do not operate thickness planer without the dust hood in place or the planer will be damaged."
I found a thread in a forum where one owner said the cutterhead was seized when he first turned it on. He took it back to the store, and the store manager opened several boxes, plugged the planers in and turned them on. They also were "seized". One forum reader posted the note above from the owners manual, but the original purchaser never responded.
I would be willing to bet the store manager didn't take the time to install the dust hood before "testing" the units, though I can't be sure since the original poster didn't respond. Anyway, that note should be more prominent, and you shouldn't have to read all the way to page 25 in the manual to find it! There probably ought to be a warning label about that on the planer also.
At any rate, the majority of Ridgid planer owners are very happy with the machine, and most of those that are not simply had a defective part. Or they tried to operate the machine without the dust hood!
NOTE: If you are looking at mid-level portable planers, the Dewalt DW734 has really good reviews and is about $25 less than the Ridgid at the time of this writing.
If you are in the market for a hand planer instead of a benchtop planer, the Ridgid R888 cordless planer gets terrific reviews. It is an excellent value if you happen to already own any of the Ridgid MaxSelect cordless tools, because it will use the same 18V or 24V batteries you already have. The R888 does not come with a battery or charger, but they are available separately.
The handheld Ridgid planer has a spiral 2-blade cutterhead that is 3-1/4" wide and will take up to a 1/16" deep cut (per the owners manual - the Home Depot website says 1/8" max cut depth). It has an automatic "kickstand" which flips down when the tool is not in use, to keep the blades from touching the work surface. You can also use it to make rabbet cuts up to 1/2" deep. The cordless R888 hand planer comes with a blade wrench, edge/rabbet guide, and dust bag.
Home Depot's website currently has 26 reviews of the cordless Ridgid planer, and they average 4.9 out of 5 stars. All 26 reviewers would recommend it to a friend. Some comments from the reviews:
- Another Ridgid tool, and another pleased customer... I have owned quite a few cordless hand planers, and have yet to find one that matches the quality in the Ridgid. This performs just as good as any corded planers that I have owned, and owning a construction company for 30 years, I have owned them all. The Ridgid planer has all the power you need when running off 18V, and a full days stamina when using the 24V with this unit. - JMIL
- It is lightweight, easy to use, and produces minimal dust. Its smaller size allows you to get into tight areas. - Sparky
When digging around on the forums, I found very few complaints on the cordless hand planer. The only common issue is that a number of owners were having trouble locating replacement blades. At the time of this writing, I found the blades listed several places online, but you might want to make sure you can find them before purchasing the cordless Ridgid planer, and maybe go ahead and get an extra set or two.
Overall, both Ridgid planer models are good quality, reasonably priced tools for the hobbyist on a budget. The 3-year warranty and the Lifetime Service Agreement should give you peace of mind about your purchase. You can get information on the current Ridgid planer R4331 at RIDGID.com.
If you are looking at benchtop planers and are willing and able to spend a little more, the Dewalt DW735 is currently considered to be the benchmark in this category. The Delta 22-590 also gets great reviews.
As always, I recommend downloading and reading the owners manual before you buy. That can sometimes save a lot of headaches and give you a much better understanding of the tool's capabilities and limitations, whether you are buying a Ridgid planer or any other power tool.
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