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Ryobi BT3100 vs. Ridgid TS3650

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  • Ryobi BT3100 vs. Ridgid TS3650

    Hi Everyone,

    Well I know the 2 saws are not in the same category, but please humour me. Has anyone owned both of these saw? What are your opinions of both? I would really appreciate any input.

    What I like about both:

    Ryobi- Pros:
    - Price...$249.00 at home depot right now - Major Selling point and reason for my interest
    - Seems capable of accuracy
    - Does not take up much room
    - Can use the leftover $$ to buy more tools
    - SMT

    - Seems a little cheap.... plastic...etc.
    - Have to buy accessory kit (another $100) to get miter slots to use standard
    table saw accessories
    - Aluminum... not as durable as cast iron... can't use magnetic accessories
    - SMT... while a nice feature it also seems like it could be a nightmare to adjust
    - While it seems capable of good accuracy it also seems to need a lot of up-keep on the alignment end

    Ridgid TS 3650- Pros:
    - Build quality (cast iron- herc-u-lift)
    - Can use standard table saw accessories
    - Adjustment/alignment should hold longer

    - Price-Needs a rebate
    - Heavy to move around
    - Some seem to have arbor problems from what I have read

    Look forward to your input!


  • #2

    Funny that you should ask. About 1.5 years ago I was looking for a new table saw and so was my friend. Long story short he ended up buying the BT3100 and I got the TS3650. Since then he has been pretty happy with what he has and so have I. Basically boiled down to what we got used to. However, since he has been stopping by on occassion he is more and more happy with my saw due to accessories and such that I can put on my saw and use that he cannot. Although he really likes having the built in option for the router. But I can do the same on the TS3650 and am looking at doing so sometime soon by adding in another wing.

    He is also cramped for space so his BT3100 is pretty well sized for what he has available. Also he does not use it very much and just for some small and simple projects. I have used mine for some larger things and he complained a great deal about cutting large stock on his smaller saw, the lack of mitre slots (which can be added later if he wants as you pointed out), table space and quality, and SMT. He has had some issues with the SMT.

    I guess my opinion would be to first say think about how much you are going to use it and to what degree. I would not buy the BT3100 for serious woodworking and furniture making. If you plan to only do small and simpler things and do not require the larger table space and quality of a better saw (IMHO) then go with the BT3100. But if you want something that will most likely last longer and is of better quality for doing more detailed and serious craftsman work then I suggest you go with the TS3650.

    I believe that by now all the saws that are being sold most likely do not have the arbor problem and that has been resolved, so I would not worry about that. I would consider more about the ease of movement with the hurculift vs. caster wheels, tablespace, pressed AL, and fence alignment. My buddy is constantly re-aligning his fence after he moves it and that would drive me crazy. But if you want to save some money and do not plan to use the saw too often then the BT3100 might be the better choice. I have used it and it is a decent saw. I just don't feel it is nearly as accurate as my TS3650 and I am much more comfortable and happy with mine. I am really glad I went ahead and spent the extra money then to buy the TS3650 after using that BT3100 and won't look back.

    The last thing I will say is that there are many BT3100 users out there that seem just as happy. Just my $0.02 worth.....

    Still enjoying all 10 fingers!


    • #3

      Thanks for the is appreciated. Right now I am leaning towards the TS3650. I like the idea of spending more time "woodworking" rather than "saw tweaking" the BT3100. Especially since I know the saw will have to be moved often.... I want RELIABLE accuracy, which I think the TS3650 will give me. Sure it will take up more room, but it will save me the frustration of realignment every time I move the saw out of the way.



      • #4
        I just recently sold my BT3100 to get the TS3650. There were two reasons for this decision; the first was the size of the table top and cutting large stock. The second was no matter how much wax I applied to the aluminum top I ALWAYS got streaks marks on my wood, this was very frustrating. Both are good saws but I decided to purchase a larger saw to accommodate my needs.


        • #5
          Originally posted by kmw
          Ridgid TS 3650- Pros:
          - Build quality (cast iron- herc-u-lift)
          - Can use standard table saw accessories
          - Adjustment/alignment should hold longer
          - Better Fence and Rail System
          - Can Safely Handle 8" Dado Sets
          - Stronger Motor Which Can Be Run On Either 110V or 220V
          - Better/Safer Blade Guard
          - Wider Cutting Capacity

          - Price-Needs a rebate - What doesn't?
          - Heavy to move around - Moving it around is a one handed job after the Herc-u-Lift is installed.
          - Some seem to have arbor problems from what I have read - The arbor situation was corrected last year in April or May. There should be very few if any of the 3650's left on the shelves with this problem.
          - Factory Supplied Blade
          10 Characters
          I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


          • #6
            I'll throw my two cents in as well. Two months ago I was faced with the same decision. You can go to the BT3100 forum and search for the threads regarding the same topic. If you have the money, the 3650 is the way to go IMHO.
            I got a 20% HF coupon and found one of 3 local HDs that would honor it. My 3650 was $439 or something like that.

            The herculift base is killin. If you go to the BT3100 forum, you'll find a lot of satisfied guys using their 3100. Here you'll find the same regarding the 3650.

            Once again, I was doing the exact same comparison just a while ago and I got the 3650.

            Hope that helps!
            Stay well and play well.


            • #7
              I used to have the B3100. I t was a great saw for me at the time. Loved the SMT and I added a Miter slotted table accessory. The router insert was also a great thing except for one thing. The rings inserts in the router table did not fasten in and one day the uplift from the router pushed the insert up and into the the whirling bit and sent all around the shop just missing my head as well as other things. The saw itself was put through some heavy work and did fine, however the new ones are much lighter and cheaper, not the saw mine was. Anyway I have had my TS3650 now for almost 3 years and would not trade it. Very reliable saw.


              • #8
                Thanks Everyone,

                Thanks to everyone for throwing in their opinions! I think it is worth it to save the extra $$$ and go with the TS3650... I think I will be happier with it in the long run. Thanks again.


                ps. one more pro in the ts3650's favor ... draws 13amps instead of 15 like the bt3100


                • #9
                  Originally posted by BadgerDave
                  10 Characters
                  "Did you put the yellow key in the switch?" TOD 01/09/06


                  • #10
                    I'm another who had the Ryobi. I had a BT3000 for a few years, and bought the 3650 in November.
                    I won't say anything bad about the BT, it served me well and I built a lot of furniture with it. I did grow frustrated with the lack of space in front of the blade and the SMT.
                    I also got lucky and had a HD that accepted the HF 20% coupon, but would have gotten it eventually anyway.
                    I have since added a Woodpecker custom router extention on the right between the rails with a Woodpecker QuickLift. For me this makes a nice woodworking 'system'.
                    Since having the 3650, I would not go back to the BT.
                    Poplar Branch Wood Crafts


                    • #11
                      Both of these saws are capable of good work. Both are good values for their price ranges IMO, but they're in two different classifications, with different grades of materials used for their construction. Neither is perfect, but I think you'll find more shortcomings with the BT. Not only in size and weight, but in the reliability of the small plastic parts, and sometimes not so small parts. The Ridgid is essentially a lifetime saw...some of the BT's will go 12-15 years but the odds are against it. The issues of noise, table size, and learning the alignment system of the BT seem bothersome to me...others do well with it. Most wwers step up from a saw like the BT to a saw like the 3650, as opposed to the other way around, and the vast majority are very pleased once they realize what they've been missing. You could probably get used to either one, but for me there's just something that feels right about the stability of cast iron.


                      • #12
                        My neighbor went the BT route about 2 years ago and my brother grabbed one about a year ago. My brother liked his at first but has had some difficulty keeping it in tune lately. He's also recently had some small issues with a broken part on the fence. In Ryobi's defense they were pretty good about sending a replacement part. My neighbor has had what seems like an endless stream of nagging problems from belts breaking to the switch sticking on to trouble with the blade raising mechanism, and has also never quite figured out how to set it up to stay dead seems a bit finnicky to me but it does work. He's never been overly pleased with it but is concerned about sinking any more money into a saw and is getting discouraged. He's gotten some good advice on the 3100's website to help with the problems, but he's also gotten some stiff resistance whenever he's expressed his disappointment in the saw and mentions reasonably priced alternatives. He's had people there tell him that the saw is better than anything else for 3x the cost, so I think he's a bit confused about what to do. I haven't yet witnessed anything from teh BT that'd lead me to believe it'll compete with the better contractor saws, although for $250 it's at least as good as others in that price range. I've got a GI 50-220 that's been great and he's impressed with it too. I've tried to explain to him that a decent $400 to $500 contractor saw like the Ridgid will be closer in performance to the GI than the Ryobi but he's heard so much propoganda that he's not sure what to think at this point. I will say that the Ryobi takes up less space.

                        From what I've seen of the Ridgid saw in my cousin's shop, there's really not much of a comparison in my mind. There's just more power, heft, and space to it, plus it's alot quieter and most of the parts are beefier. If I were you I'd try to save a bit more money and see if I could get a 10-20% off deal on a Ridgid or something comparable to it.