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.