Bosch-PKS-55-Hand-Held-Circular-Saw-Review

Bosch PKS 55 Hand-Held Circular Saw Review

Written by:

DIY Garden is reader-supported. If you click through using links on this page, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Bosch hardly needs an introduction when it comes to power tools. One of the biggest names around and loved by DIYers all over the place, their range of tools is incredible.

Sitting firmly in their “green” line of affordable DIY level tools, the Bosch PKS 55 Circular Saw is a capable corded circular saw that feature a few of Bosch’s premium features like their CutControl guide and ultra-comfortable grip.

It’s not the list powerful corded circular saw on the market, but for the DIYer there’s enough grunt for almost any task around the home or garden. I’ve tested out how this saw performs when cutting through different types of timber

Bosch PKS 55 Circular Saw At A Glance

Bosch PKS 55 Circular SawBosch PKS 55 Circular Saw
Design
5
Performance
3
Power
3.5
Noise
3
Safety
4
Value for Money
4.5
Overall
3.8333333333333
CHECK PRICE →
  • Power
    Mains - 1200W
  • No-Load Speed
    5600 rpm
  • Blade Diameter
    160mm
  • Blades Supplied
    1 x 18TCT
  • Cutting Depth @ 90°
    55mm
  • Cutting Depth @ 45°
    38mm
  • Bevel Capacity
    45°
  • Weight
    3.9kg

Back To Contents

How I Tested The Bosch PKS 55 Circular Saw

To make a fair comparison between the best circular saws available right now, I tested them all against the same pieces of timber. Starting with some standard constructional timber, I made a series of cross cuts at . I then performed a series of cuts at 45° to test the motor strength and how easy it was to adjust the bevel.

Moving on from the standard CLS that you’d use to frame a structure, I performed the same tests on some English oak I had milled up a couple of years ago. Much harder than constructional timber, it would prove to be a bigger test for a circular saw.

Next up was a test to push the saw to its limit. Rip cuts are much harder to make in timber as they follow the grain. It was also an excuse to see whether the included rip fence was any good.

And lastly, a test of engineering quality. To see how well the saw was set up from the factory, I set the depth gauge to 40 mm and made a series of cuts into my oak timber. After checking the depth with a trusty steel rule, I would know if the gauge was to be trusted.

Back To Contents

The Results

DIY Garden is reader-supported. If you click through using links on this page, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Design

5

Bosch-PKS-55-Hand-Held-Circular-Saw-design

The first thing I did with this Bosch PKS 55 Circular Saw is take it out of the box. I’ve always liked Bosch boxes; they’re covered in useful information. But what I really liked was on the inside. In the place of piles of polystyrene was a clever moulded cardboard insert. Not only is it better for the environment, but it held the saw tightly in the box. A good start!

If you’re familiar with Bosch tools, you’ll know what the colour scheme is all about. Bosch “green” tools are aimed squarely at the DIY market as opposed to the “blue” professional power tools they make. What’s the difference then? This saw isn’t designed to be used on a building site. The motor isn’t massively powerful, the maximum cut depth isn’t enormous and there are more plastic moving parts than what you’d find on one of Bosch’s more expensive “blue” tools.

Don’t be put off though, because Bosch have used their more than a century of experience to create a reliable budget level circular saw. The rear grip has a nice, rubberised texture that makes it easy to hang on to with or without gloves on, and the front handle is a large “T” shape that keeps everything very stable.

I was also please to see a chunky double sided safety switch. I’m right handed, but if you’re a lefty then working a single button safety can be difficult and sometimes dangerous. It’s little design touches like this that stop left handers from needing to perform hand acrobatics just to get the saw blade spinning.

At first, I wasn’t sure about the bright red plastic guide piece on the front of the shoe, but it turns out the be Bosch’s patented CutControl system. Instead of just a simple notch cut into the front edge of the baseplate, you also get a rectangular portal behind it. Inside the portal are sharp arrows on the front and back that point to where the cut line will be at either 0 or 45°.

CutControl is an incredibly simple but rather clever way to make sure you’re staying on the cutline. Instead of relying on a single notch, you can line up the notch and two arrows for a much more accurate view. Using this system to follow a pencil line is so much easier than on any of the other circular saws I’ve tried.

Moving backwards from the excellent CutControl system, the baseplate on this circular saw is massive! Measuring 287 x 153 mm it extends out quite far on the saw blade side. This adds to the overall stability of the tool. It wouldn’t be so good if you were trying to get into a tight space, but that’s what the jigsaw was invented for anyway.

There’s something hiding in the baseplate that will upgrade this saw from a freehand tool to a precision tool. There’s a trench running the length of the shoe that corresponds to Bosch’s guide rail system. It’s an optional extra, but a lot more affordable than a standalone rail saw.

Weighing in at just 3.9 kg, I’ve got no complaints about the weight of this saw. Aimed at DIYers, it doesn’t need to be the beefiest heavy duty saw, but it’s not so light that it feels like a flimsy toy. Sure, the bevel adjustment handle is plastic, but it doesn’t slop compared with the levers on the Evolution saw.

Compared with the other circular saws on my list, the PKS 55 has a small diameter blade. I noticed this quite a lot when making cross cuts as it was the saw that wanted to wander the most. The bigger the blade is, the straighter the cut. The maximum cut depth at is just 55 mm, which is something the bear in mind if you want to cut things like fence posts.

On the plus side, the guide fence supplied with this saw is excellent. It’s got measurements marked along its length and the guide rail is the longest of the ones I tested. This made it feel extra stable when performing a rip cut. The only problem I found is that when you tighten down the adjustment knob, it makes circular marks in the metal. After a while this could obscure the measurements.

Another clever little feature is found on the dust ejection port adapter. The black plastic hose attachment is shaped like an elbow, meaning you can direct the dust away from you easily. It’s even better when paired up with a dust extraction hose as you can direct it away from the saw more efficiently.

The depth gauge is cast into the saw guard and the measurements are also painted on. They’re easy to read and won’t ever rub off. It’s another premium feature on this budget friendly saw.

Performance

3

Bosch-PKS-55-Hand-Held-Circular-Saw-performance

Cross cutting through the CLS at wasn’t a problem. The blade sang through the wood, but unfortunately it didn’t pass the roofing square test. The 1,200 Watt motor body doesn’t leave enough clearance for the square to fit underneath. Well, it just about fits if you set the blade depth to just a few millimetres, but that’s not going to help you cut through thick timbers.

45° bevel cuts proved a little more taxing on the motor, but there wasn’t much slowdown I’m pleased to report. The 160 mm diameter blade is on the small side and will only cut a maximum depth of 38 mm on a 45° bevel.

The problem with cutting CLS was the amount of tear out and the rather ragged finish the blade left on the end of the timber. There were lots of shaggy fibres left on the edges that would be fine for rough framing work, but unacceptable for anything else. Comparing this finish to what’s left by saws like the Makita DHS680Z is noticeable.

The same problems were found when I tackled the English oak. Where most of the circular saws I tested out left a wonderfully smooth surface, the Bosch blade left radial marks and a few jagged fibres on the edges. This isn’t a premium professional saw, but I would expect better results with a brand new blade. What this means in the real world is you’ll spend more time getting a workable finish compared with the best circular saws.

It’s a good thing too that it was stable, because I was forced to push the saw quite hard when ripping through softwood. I’ll put this down to the blade size, as the 1,200 Watt motor should be powerful enough for these sorts of jobs.

Now for the final test of engineering tolerances and accuracy. I was aiming for a 40 mm deep cut using the depth gauge, but got half a millimetre less at 39.5 mm. The nearly 3 mm wide kerf was pretty enormous as well, especially in comparison with the Makita DHS680Z.

Power

3.5

Bosch-PKS-55-Hand-Held-Circular-Saw-power

This Bosch PKS 55 Circular Saw is powered by a 1,200 Watt brushed motor. This spins up the 160 mm blade to a maximum speed of 5,600 rpm. As it’s a corded saw, there’s no need to worry about batteries or chargers to get this saw working. The 2.5 m power cable isn’t quite long enough for big rip cuts, but it’s fine for most DIY jobs, and a has a long flexible rubber boot to protect where it meets the saw.

The included Bosch Speedline wood blade is fine for making crosscuts in timber and does the job well and without complaint. I wish the same could be said for rip cuts, as it took more force than I expected to push the saw through the wood.

In comparison, the mighty Makita HS7601 has the same size motor but can do a lot more with it. It’s not always about the size of the motor, but the quality of the tool it powers.

Noise

3

Putting out 103 dB, this saw makes a similar level of noise to a low flying jet. It’s rather loud, and I wouldn’t dream of using it without ear defenders. Once you’ve got ear defenders on though, it’s fine to use for extended periods of time.

One of the issues that you’ll notice with corded saws compared with their cordless cousins is the electric brake. All circular saws have an electric brake of sorts that helps to reduce over run, but in comparison corded saws take ages to slow to a stop.

What this means is the saw makes noise for a longer time in comparison with the DeWalt DCS391 for example. Once I took my finger off the trigger, it took seven seconds to come to a dead stop.

Safety

4

Bosch-PKS-55-Hand-Held-Circular-Saw-safety

The safety issue shared by all corded power tools is that you’ve got something trailing behind you that can get snagged. This means you’ve always got a portion of your mind focussed on something other than where the cut is going.

The blade cover is made from cast aluminium, so it should hold up well against the normal knocks and drops that tools get. There’s nothing flimsy about this saw, it feels robustly made and should last well.

One thing that makes this type of saw less safe than a battery operated one with an electronic brake is blade over run. When you take your finger off the trigger on this saw, you need to wait for the saw blade to stop turning, whereas an electric brake stops the spin immediately. This isn’t an issue when the blade guard is in place, but if you’re halfway through a cut and something goes wrong, the blade is still spinning.

Value for Money

4.5

Sometimes it’s hard to avoid getting bogged down by details. I’m comparing six of the best circular saws available on the UK market, from professional carpenter level tools to affordable DIY kit. For most of us on the DIY end of the scale, this is a whole lot of saw for the money.

It might not give quite as fine a finish as the Makita DHS680Z, but you’re also spending less than half the money. And you don’t need to worry about batteries either! If you want to accurately saw through timber and you don’t need to use the saw all day, every day, this is a very good choice.

Overall

3.8333333333333

After using the Bosch PKS 55 Circular Saw for several weeks on a variety of projects, I’ve grown to like it more than I thought I would. It might not have the biggest or most powerful motor, but it boasts clever features that I wish the more expensive saws on my list had.

The CutControl feature makes it easier to follow a cut line than any of the other saws on my list. It could do with a work light to make things a bit brighter, but for a budget saw it does enough. For the home DIYer who doesn’t want to overspend on a reliable tool, it’s one of the best circular saws you can get.

Bosch PKS 55 Circular SawBosch PKS 55 Circular Saw
Design
5
Performance
3
Power
3.5
Noise
3
Safety
4
Value for Money
4.5
Overall
3.8333333333333
CHECK PRICE →

Back To Contents

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

Related Articles
Scroll to Top