Evolution-R185-CCS-Circular-Saw-Review

Evolution R185 CCS Circular Saw Review

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Sheffield based tool firm Evolution have been in the DIY game since 1992. Specialising in multi-material saw blades that can cut through just about anything you can throw at them, they’re loved by plenty of handy people all over.

The Evolution R185 CSS is the successor to the highly popular Rage 1-B. It’s lighter, more powerful and features the same impressive cutting capabilities. It’s probably one of the best budget circular saws on the market right now, with a big reputation to uphold.

Evolution R185 CCS Circular Saw At A Glance

Evolution R185 CCS Circular SawEvolution R185 CCS Circular Saw
Design
2.5
Performance
3
Power
2
Noise
2
Safety
4
Value for Money
3
Overall
2.75
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  • Power
    Mains - 1600W
  • No-Load Speed
    3900 rpm
  • Blade Diameter
    185mm
  • Blades Supplied
    2 X 20 TCT
  • Cutting Depth @ 90°
    64mm
  • Cutting Depth @ 45°
    40mm
  • Bevel Capacity
    60°
  • Weight
    4.3kg

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How I Tested The Evolution R185 CCS Circular Saw

Seeing as this saw comes with Evolution’s legendary multi material TCT blade, I thought I should use it on a few different materials. It’s this saw’s ace in the hole and what sets it apart from the other circular saws on my list. As good as the Makita and Bosch saws are, you can’t use them on metal unless you buy a separate blade.

The first tests I performed were on standard constructional softwood timber. I made a series of cuts at 0 and 45°, then upped the ante by doing the same with some hard English oak I had seasoned in my attic.

The next test was making a series of rip cuts in some thick softwood board. Cutting along the grain is always harder to do, and it was an opportunity to see how well the rip fence performed as well. Then I set the depth gauge to 40 mm, made some cuts, and compared the gauge to a trusted ruler to see whether I could trust the scale.

The last test that was reserved for the Evolution saw alone, was cutting through some mild steel. This was to see whether the Evolution blade was up to the task, and to gauge both the noise and comfort levels.

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The Results

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Design

2.5

It’s only a little thing, but once you’ve taken the Evolution R185 CCS Circular Saw out of the box, it doesn’t quite fit back in again. It’s delivered without the blade, so once you’ve installed it, the saw is a bit too tall for the packaging. Seeing as this saw isn’t supplied with a case, it’s really annoying that you can’t use the cardboard box as a case.

Also, in this era of trying to use less plastic in packaging, I was disappointed to see a whole load of polystyrene packing in the box. Compare it to Bosch or Ryobi’s clever use of moulded cardboard, and Evolution could be doing more to reduce single use plastics.

One place that this saw puts the rest of the competition to shame is the maximum cut depth. At 0° you can cut all the way down to 64 mm, and at 45° down to 40 mm. That’s significantly more in comparison with the DeWalt DCS391. If you need to tackle big timbers, this saw is unbeatable.

The blade sits on the right side of the motor. I’m not a huge fan of this as it means you can’t use a roofing square to make quick parallel cross cuts. Especially when the motor is as big as this, a right handed user needs to peer over the motor to see the cut line.

If you’re a left handed user, you might be annoyed that the safety thumb switch is on the left of the trigger. I can’t quite work out why Evolution have made a saw for right handers only that has the blade on the right side of the motor. Odd, to say the least.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t fit my roofing square under the monster 1600 Watt motor. Making quick parallel cuts is almost impossible as there’s not enough clearance under the motor. If you’re planning on doing a timber framing project, these quick parallel cuts are so handy to be able to do.

The main trigger grip feels nice with my nitrile gloves on. There’s plenty of grip even without them on and it sits well in the hand, which is vital thanks to the weight of this big saw. The front handle is a bit disappointing though, it’s just hard ABS plastic without any added grip. It’s fine when you’ve got gloves on but without them it’s not so comfortable.

All the adjustable parts including the bevel and heigh adjuster have little plastic cam levers. They’re solid enough, but there’s a little bit of play in them even when locked off. I don’t know if this will affect it over time, they might work themselves loose. When you compare them to the more premium saws like the DeWalt DCS391, they’re a bit cheap feeling.

One thing I really like about this saw that blows the rest of the competition away is the range of bevel degrees you can choose from. You can set the bevel on this saw to a massive 60°. This is incredibly useful if you want to build triangular objects.

Moving on to the baseplate, this is where I think Evolution have let themselves down. It’s a huge and heavy cast aluminium shoe, but the casting isn’t great and there’s a rough texture on the surface. I’m not sure if this is to make it more durable but compared to the rest of the saws on my list it doesn’t slide very easily.

The baseplate has a rough texture to it, and it didn’t seem very flat. After using it a few times the high spots on the shoe were getting marked already. It just didn’t slide smoothly enough. The silky smooth baseplate on the Makita HS7601J is much easier to slide across the surface of timber in comparison.

To add to the problem with the baseplate, it lacks an angled front lip to help it slide over obstructions. When rip cutting some rough softwood board, the whole saw got stuck on a blob of dried up paint. Any of the other saws on my list would have slid over it without any issue.

The cable protector, the rubber boot sleeve that comes out of the body of the saw, isn’t quite long enough. It doesn’t really help to stop the cable from crimping close to the saw, which could shorten its useful working life.

There were also quite a few marks and scratches on both the bevel adjustment and depth gauge, straight from the box. This doesn’t mean that all Evolution saws are going to have these faults, but there’s an obvious quality control issue somewhere.

A final good bit of design from Evolution is in the dust extractor port. You get a decent reducer attachment alongside the part that fits into the saw itself. It should mean that this circular saw will fit a wider range of dust extractor systems than any of the other ones on my list.

Performance

3

Evolution-R185-CCS-Circular-Saw-performance

My first impression of the Evolution R185 CCS Circular Saw is that it’s an absolute monster! It tore through 38 mm thick CLS like it wasn’t there. It was easy to adjust the bevel and made nice and clean 45° cuts. I even tried out the bevel at 60° to put together a triangular picture frame. It was all very easy when working with softwood.

There was a fair bit of tear out when working with the constructional timber. It left a lot of ragged fibres on the end of the cut, which would need cleaning up if you were trying to do anything with precision. In comparison with the Makita DHS680Z, I know which saw I’d want to use for second fix work!

I was actually quite surprised at how difficult it was to push the big Evolution saw through the English oak timber I had set up for the test. I honestly expected the saw to power through it, but it took more persuasion than perhaps necessary. I was under the impression that this heavy saw would be the most powerful one.

Again, I suspect it’s down to the blade. The teeth are relatively small, and if they’re designed to work on multiple materials then they might not be fine-tuned for optimum cutting timber. I suspect that the multi-material blade is a good all-rounder but not ideal for any particular job.

Ripping through some thick softwood board wasn’t particularly difficult but seeing as the saw got stuck on a blob of dried paint, it took longer than it should have. Compared with the DeWalt DCS391’s lightweight blade guard, the heavy one on the Evolution took a bit of persuading to open up. I just had to push harder with this saw than a lot of the competition.

When it came to judging how accurate the depth gauge reads, I was amazed! Out of all the circular saws on my list, the Evolution was the only one to get 40 mm spot on. I think that’s rather impressive considering this is a budget saw compared with some of the competition.

Power

2

Evolution-R185-CCS-Circular-Saw-power

The Evolution R185 CCS Circular Saw has got, by far, the largest motor out of all the ones I’ve tested out. The 1,600 Watt power plant is big, bulky, and counts for a lot of this saw’s weight. This massive motor spins up the large 185 mm TCT multi-material blade to 3,900 rpm. That’s a lot slower in comparison with the Makita HS7601’s 5,200 rpm.

As I found out when dealing with the hard English oak timber, I was forced to push this saw much harder. I’ll put it down to the multi-material blade. There are just 20 teeth on it, and they’re much less aggressive than the DeWalt DT1209 for example.

I would like to see how powerful this saw could be with a swapped out blade that works well in just timber. I’m not that impressed by a saw that does plenty of jobs, but not one job well on its own.

Noise

2

The electronic brake stops the blade much faster compared with the Makita or Bosch corded tools. From full rpm it stops dead after just less than four seconds. It means that even though there’s some over run noise, it’s a lot less to deal with compared with the competition.

When it’s running this is an incredibly loud saw. Even under no load, it’s punishing. Compared with the cordless circular saws I’ve tested out; they feel like they’re whisper quiet. I wouldn’t dream of using a circular saw without proper PPE, but even with my British Army issue Peltor ear defenders on, it’s a bit too loud.

Rated to 105 dB, this saw is as loud as a helicopter flying close by. That should give you an idea of what you’re dealing with. This isn’t the sort of circular saw that your neighbours will like you for using on a Sunday morning.

Safety

4

Evolution-R185-CCS-Circular-Saw-safety

There’s something to be said about big heavy tools. You’re less likely to try out dangerous manoeuvres and keep them down on the bench. Even though there’s a fair amount of plastic on this saw, Evolution have used metal where it counts. The saw guard and blade housing are made from aluminium, so it makes you feel confident during use.

Even though this is a corded circular saw, you get a generous 3 m of cable to play with. You’re not quite as likely to stretch a long cord out and trip over it, and there’s less need for extension cables. It’s still not quite as safe as a battery operated saw though.

Value for Money

3

Even though prices fluctuate, the Evolution R185 CCS Circular Saw is less than half the price of one of the more premium circular saws I tested. The Makita DHS680Z might be a lot lighter and more accurate, but if you’re on a budget it’s just not an option.

This saw cuts through timbers without complaining. It’s even got the most accurate depth gauge according to my unscientific tests. You can even cut through metal without shelling out for a new blade. So, for that reason, it’s quite good value for money.

However, if I was planning to use my circular saw all the time, or I wanted a saw that I could confidently pass down to my grandchildren, I’d save up a bit more cash and get the Makita HS7601.

Overall

2.75

Evolution have carved out a good name for themselves in the DIY sphere. Their blades are well liked as the average user doesn’t want to swap it out each time they need to cut a different material. It does well at the basic jobs of crosscutting timber and can cut a serious size bit of wood as well.

The problems I had with this saw overtook the depth of cut though. I found this circular saw much more difficult to use compared with the competition. It’s heavy, the motor sticks out like a sore thumb and it makes an absolute racket, even under no load.

It’s well priced compared with the more premium saws on my list, but I would honestly save up for a machine that was better finished and could cut through timber a lot cleaner.

Evolution R185 CCS Circular SawEvolution R185 CCS Circular Saw
Design
2.5
Performance
3
Power
2
Noise
2
Safety
4
Value for Money
3
Overall
2.75
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