Ryobi ZRTSS101L Review – 10″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Ryobi ZRTSS101L
Ryobi ZRTSS101L

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Our Rating: 8.1/10
Type: Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Blade: 10"
RPM: 5000
Motor: 10 Amp

Compare Specs. With Other Miter Saws

The Basics

The Ryobi ZRTSS101L (Amazon.com link) is one of the more affordable 10” sliding compound miter saws with single bevel capability on the market. Other than the obvious versatility, this saw’s best selling point is the price tag. This tool boasts 5000 RPM no load speed which allows it to be a workhorse that can cut through a variety of materials. It is important to note however, that this is not a precision machine. Even if you upgrade blades and pull out your most clever rigging, this saw is not going to afford you the accuracy required of anything close to detail or finishing work.

At 43 pounds, it has decent portability for a SCMS and it seems built solidly enough for daily use, though how long it is designed to hold up is probably reflected most unbiased through the weak warranty. For a saw that struggles with accuracy, a lack of durability really limits its value in a hardworking industry. One great aspect of its design however is the electric blade brake which works well, stopping the blade in seconds.

Miter Sliding & Angling:

The blade slides well enough but just how long the feel will remain smooth is up in the air. I will admit, I may have an overly-critical eye when it comes to smooth and exact cuts but I have to say that it required ample concentration and entirely too long for me to slide with this saw and make cuts that I approved of.

As far as mitering is concerned, this saw does a poor job locking into as well as remaining locked into the desired angle. The detents (of which there are 9) are not very firm and therefore it is easy to knock the blade into them or out of them even with the system ‘locked’. To set the angle, you must hold it steady and as you tighten the locking screw it has a tendency to change the angle by a degree or two. This is totally unacceptable for the serious carpenter.

Bevel Adjustment:

The beveling capabilities can be described in one word: basic. The ability to bevel to 45° to the left does increase the versatility of the TSS101L. But while it is easy to read the angle indicator, this doesn’t necessarily help ensure your specific angle because the lock system is just as poor as with the miter. The best table saws bevel a little beyond the half square and have some sort of detents. While able to facilitate an assortment of different projects, Ryobi’s saw is not going to increase the quality to the extent it can the quantity.

Bonus reading: customer reviews on Amazon.com.

Unique Features

Exhaust Collection:

This ‘feature’ is minimally effective. It is about what you would expect for the price of this saw, which means that they probably should have just left it off. Even if the exhaust did direct sawdust well (which it absolutely does not), the bag would need to be changed every 5 cuts because it is so small. I am actually kind of glad it didn’t work because it could’ve been more hassle than helpful.

Exactline Laser Alignment System:

The Exactline Laser Alignment System is a really poor guidance system. I had to calibrate it as soon as I got it, which is to be expected. But if I wanted to use it consistently, then I would have to recalibrate it all of the time as well as wipe sawdust off of it every 5 or 6 cuts.
Table Extensions:

In order to provide us with a little extra support, Ryobi included table extensions with this model. They are actually more support than extension, but made of solid wiring they can be useful when working with long boards and no rigging. Personally though, I would prefer to make my own supports than attach and use these because they are pretty limited and even with them attached you are likely going to have set something up to aid the balance anyway.

Fencing and Clamps:

Out of courtesy, Ryobi includes a work clamp with brackets. A nice gesture, but you are likely better off with your own setup here as well. It is important to note that when you bevel you will need to set them up on the left hand side. You will also need to remove the right side fence because it gets in the way too. I might as well note here that when I first got the saw I had to adjust both the fences to line up with each other.

Weaknesses

If you haven’t already picked it up, the weakness of this saw is precision and consistent accuracy. A real pro could make this saw into a serviceable tool because it can fill the power requirement for most jobs. But in order to make this thing reliable, it takes real effort, skill, and mostly importantly, patience. The features advertised as making your job easier are of poor quality and add little to the utility of the saw as far as professional work goes.

Practical Uses

The ZRTSS101L is a great starter saw for the new DIYer looking to explore different angle cuts. This saw can help you develop your knowledge of different aspects of carpentry work but it isn’t going to help anyone with experience to increase their quality of work. I suppose it could be a back up table saw for a framing crew but you wouldn’t want it as your number one choice unless you only build decks and garages. This is not a saw well equipped for finishing work whether you are a professional or a do-it-yourselfer.  See if it’s available on Amazon.com ans if it is, take a look at the price and see if it fits your budget.

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