Are Corded Tools Really for “Purists” and Luddites”?

Cordless power tools seem to be taking over the market in a big way these days, and their corded counterparts seem to be fading away. That’s what some would have us believe.

Corded power tools are certainly not going the way of “vinyl”, nor unlike “vinyl” are they making a comeback. They never went away in the first place.

This review will be looking at probably the 6 most highly regarded corded circular saws currently available. The cadidates were drawn from other saw reviews and the line up is as follows:

♢ Makita HS 7601J.

♢ Bosch Professional GKS 190.

♢ DeWalt 110V 185mm Compact Circular Saw.

♢ Einhell TE-CS 18/ 165 Circular Saw.

♢ Evolution Power Tools R185 CCSX Multi Material Circular Saw.

♢ Black & Decker CS1250-GB.

So, which one of them is the best?

The Makita HS7601J

Makita is one of the most respected power tool brands on the market today, and have a range that caters from the absolute novice to the seasoned professional. The HS7601J is firmly aimed at the experienced DIYer and professional.

Included in this particular package is everything needed to get started and the Mak Pac carrying case.

The HS7601J weighs in at a staggering 7.9kg, a real heavyweight! However, it is an extremely well balanced machine that despite its weight is surprisingly easy to handle and control, minimizing the very frightening “kickback”

While “kickbacks” and the saw blade getting jammed are facts of life. Makita, by making the HS7601J that little bit heavier, has reduced the risk of “kickback”and by modifying the cutting blade slightly has also reduced the risk of blade jam. Making the need for a riving knife more or less redundant.

Equipped with a 1200W motor able to deliver 5200 rpm and supplied with 190 mm diameter tungsten carbide tipped cutting blade, the Makita HS7601J corded circular saw with its large base plate (300mm x 130mm) really means business.

With a maximum cutting depth of 66mm at 90 degrees this corded saw cuts through most woods with ease. The cutting depth can be very easily set too, with just a flip of the thumb lever at the rear, again saving time.

While like all corded circular saws in this review the Makita HS7601J has a bevel capicity from 0 to 45 degrees, witha maximum depth of cut of46mm at 45°.

The bevelling gauge on this corded saw is notched so that quick and accurate setting is possible, saving time and also money if the user is a professional.

While the Makita HS7601J comes with a rip fence or cutting guide, for those longer straight cuts which are tricky to do, it’s fully compatible with Makita’s cutting track, making those long straight cuts possible all the time.

With all circular saws, there is a real risk of serious injury and this corded circular saw is no exception. To make sure that such happenings are kept to a minimun, the HS7601J circular saw comes fitted with a two button safety catch so it can not start accidentally.

The mandatory bladeguard also helps with accident prevention and perfectly complements the very quick acting electic brake, which stops the blade in a couple of seconds.

For the undecided, these two features make the Makita HS7601J worth having a second look at.

Changing the saw blade is made a little more difficult as the HS7601J doesn’t have a spindle lock. However, the motor housing has been designed to be flat ended, supposedly to make blade changing easy, admittedly that might be so, but with circular saws of this size fitting a lock on the spindle would make more sense.

A hex wrench is also supplied for blade changing.

The Makita HS7601J comes complete with a very sturdy carrying case which is big enough to store not only the circular saw itself, but the blades nozzle and cord without a struggle, As one user said, “it’s big enough for everything and it makes a great seat when you get tired”. A testament to its strength!

The circular saw’s soft grip handles are not only ergonomic but they really reduce the vibration from cutting and the motor to hands and arms.

To keep the cutting line visible and to minimize saw dust the HS7601J has a dust extraction port and 38 mm nozzle for vacuum extraction.

For peace of mind the Makita HS7601J is covered by a 3 year warranty, if the circular saw is registered with Makita UK .

For its size this circular saw is extremely quiet, at only 87dB. Ear protection is still advised though.

There’s no doubt that the HS7601J is one of the best corded saws available , does have a couple of little disappointments.

It seems to be an eternal point of debate, but it always arises with corded power tools. The cord is almost always too short. This saw comes with a 2 metre cord, which means an extension is necessary..

As touched on earlier, it is quite mystifying why there was no spindle lock included in the design.

The closest that the Makita HS7601J could cut a skirting board was 30mm.

Pros:

■ Despite its weight, the HS6701J is well balanced and easy to handle.

■ 1200W, 5200 rpm motor

■ 190 mm TCT blade supplied as standard. With cut depth 66mm at 90°

■ 2 button safety catch, to prevent accidental start up.

■ Bevelled maximum cut depth of 46mm at 45°.

■ Very quick acting electric brake.

■ Covered by 3 year warranty.

■ Quiet operation.

■ Extremely sturdy and large “Mak Pac” carrying case included. Everything fits in without a struggle.

Cons:

■ 2m cord. Too short.

■ No spindle locking facility for easier blade changing.

The “Bosch-Blue” Bosch Professional GKS 190 Corded 240V Circular Saw.

Bosch have set their sites on the very serious DIYer and professional market with the GKS190 circular saw.

This no lightweight saw. It weighs in at a robust 4.7kg making fully able to tackle more advanced DIY projects as well as on site work.

Despite its weight, the GKS190 is well balanced and with soft grip ergonomic vibration reducing handles, makes for easy use.

The fan cooled 1400W motor provides 5500 rpm, enough to turn a 190 mm TCT blade with a depth of cut of 70mm at 90 degrees, making cutting most types of wood effortless.

The toolless blade changing feature makes for a quick sawblade change and is easy to use.

Bevel capicity for the Bosch GKS190 circular saw is from 0° to 56°, with a cutting depth of 48mm at 45 degrees, all made easy by the settings being notched on the tilt slide. This possibly one of the GKS190’s best features.

With circular saws of this specification, it’s common practice to have enhanced safety features and the GKS190 has gone some of the way down that road. Apart from the mandatory blade guard, the Bosch GKS190 has a 2 step safety catch to stop accidental start.

As required by law the GKS190 is fitted with a bladeguard.

However, the very big disappointment with this circular saw is that Bosch did not see fit to include an electric brake. Other saw reviews have also highlighted this, and this ommission could be classified as a design flaw.

The GKS190 circular saw has a large alloy base plate with a woodchip deflector and blower to get good clear cutting line visibility. The GKS190 does have a saw dust extraction port and vacuum cleaner adapter for better all round cutting visibility. A hex spanner as well as a rip fence or cutting guide are supplied with this circular saw.

The legendary “L Boxx” is also included with the Bosch GKS190 ensemble, but it is a tight fit to get everything to fit on despite its moulded interior.

As with all Bosch products, the GKS190 is covered by a 2 year warranty, which is automatically extended to 3 years if the saw is registered on www.mybosch.co. uk within 28 days of purchase.

Unlike any other circular saw under test the GKS 190 has a long 4m cord. A cord that’s long enough!

While the Bosch GKS190 has many good points and undoubtedly may be one of the best circular saws available the one very big negative point which was mentioned earlier was there is no electric brake. This is something that Bosch should look at.

Unfortunately the GKS190 is incompatible with any Bosch cutting guide rail.

The closest to skirting that this circular saw can cut is 35mm.

While the “L Boxx” is extremely sturdy, it is very hard to pack the GKS190 with its cord and blades into it.

Pros:

■ Powerful 1400W motor capable of delivering 5500rpm.

■ Supplied with a 190mm TCT blade.

■ Tool free sawblade changing. Very quick and extremely to easy to do.

■ Maximum cutting depth of 70mm at 90°.

■ Bevel capacity from 0° to 56°, with maximum depth of cut of 48mm at 45°.

■ Comfortable ergonomic handles that reduce vibration to hands and arms.

■ 2 step safety catch to prevent accidental start. Vital for such a powerful circular saw.

■ Notched settings on the tilt guide,

■ Saw dust extraction port and vacuum cleaner adapter for clear visible work area.

■ Wood chip deflector and blower allows clear visible cutting line.

■ Rip fence/cutting guide and hex wrench supplied.

■ 2 year warranty which automatically extends to 3 years if the saw is registered on line within 28 days of purchase. Added peace of mind.

■ “L Boxx” carrying case is included.

■ 4m cord. A sensible length at last.

Cons:

■ Complete lack of electric brake. A must for such a powerful circular saw.5

■ In compatible with Bosch’s guiderail.

■ Although supplied, the “L Boxx” is prrhaps too small for the GKS190 saw, its accessories and cord to be packed away easily.

The concisely named DeWalt 110V 184mm Compact Circular Saw.

The DeWalt 110V circular saw is an “on site” saw, which means that it is first and foremost aimed at the professional, hence the 110V rating. However, it is ideal for the DIY enthusiast.

The DeWalt 110V is designed to operate off 110V, and as such will not work off the UK 240V system. So a 240/110 “step down” transformer is essential.

The DeWalt 110V weighs in at 3.7kg, certainly not the heaviest circular saw in this review, but for its weight, it is as its description says, compact.

With its 1350W motor that delivers5500 rpm comes with a 24 tooth184mm blade, it’s fully capable of cutting through most types of wood with its cut depth of 65mm at 90 degrees.

The Dewalt 110Vii has a bevel capacity from 0° to 48° with a maximum cut depth of 42mm at 45 degrees. Which given its market position is certainly no great shakes, but still respectable.

The visibility of the cut line was clear due to two features one of which would rank as the best one on this circular saw. As with many saws of this type the DeWalt 110V uses a dust blower to remove saw dust and small bits of debris away from the cutting line, so that it is visible, along with a sawdust extraction port in the blade area.

DeWalt has very cleverly made the inner guard “cut away” so not only is the cutting line visible but the operator’s line of sight is clear as well, it just shows that “hi-tech” is not always the provider of the best solutions. Further cut guiding comes from the included rip fence or cut guide.

The mandatory blade guard is fitted as part of this saw.

For that extra peace of mind the DeWalt 110Vcc comes with a 3 year warranty.

The DeWalt carry case that ‘s included in this ensemble is extremely robust and everything (apart from the transformer) fits inside it with ease. However, the DeWalt carry case is not stackable, a minor detail.

While its cutting performance was certainly very good, the DeWalt 110V circular saw did have some disappointments. The biggest disappointment was that there was no electric brake on this circular saw, which was surprising given the power of this saw.

There was the usual safety catch on the trigger of this circular saw, but unlike its competitors, DeWalt did not fit a 2 step safety catch on the trigger to enhance safety and reduce the chance of an accidental start.

Pros:

■ 1350W motor delivering 5500 rpm.

■ Dust and debris blower to give good visibility to cutting line.

■ Cut away inner guard to maximize operator’s line of sight to cutting line.

■ Maximum cut depth of 65mm at 90° and 42mm at 45°.

■ Extremely robust carry case included.

■ Relatively compact and lightweight.

■ 3 year warranty for peace of mind.

Cons:

■ “Site work” tool designed to work off 110V. Unable to work off the UK 240V system unless a step down 240/110V transformer is used.

■ No 2 step safety catch to minimize accidental starts.

■ Complete absence of electric brake. While not necessary on a mini circular or on a cordless circular saw; an electric brake should be considered “a must” on circular saws of this size and power.

■ Its price. Not the best circular saw for those on a budget.

The multi-talented all rounder: Evolution Power Tools RI85CCSX Multi Material Circular Saw and Track (combination pack).

The Evolution R185CCSX circular saw is for “site use” and is designed to run on 110V, and will not work on the UK 240V unless a “step down” transformer is used.

This circular saw has a 1600W motor which has the power to turn a TCT 185mm sawblade that can cut through a range of materials from wood with embedded nails, right through to mild steel.

Like every circular saw in this review the R185CCSX is aimed at the professional artisan as well as the serious DIY enthusiast. Consequently this corded circular saw is not compact and lightweight.

The R185CCSX weighs in at 5.1kg, but having said that, it is a very well balanced machine, and with its comfortable, vibration reducing, ergonomic soft grip handles this circular saw is easy to handle.

The maximum depth of cut is 64mm at 90 degrees (59mm when track mounted) which allows the saw to cut through quite substantial materials besides just wood.

There is a bevelling capacity from 0° to 45° with a very impresssive cut depth of 47mm at 45° (the same when mounted on the track) given that the cutting blade is quite a modest 185mm in diameter.

Bevelling or tilt angle is easily set up with the clearly marked scale and wingnut mechanism.

Moving on to the base plate and cutting area of the Evolution R185CCSX, the cutting line is always clearly visible thanks to a saw dust extraction port at the rear and a channelled blower dispersing debris, chippings and saw dust away from the cutting indicators on the base plate.

When it comes to safety Evolution have made sure that they’ve made the R185CCSX as safe as it can be. Equipped wiht a 2 stage safety catch for minimizing accidental starts and the mandatory blade guard, Evolution have gone a little bit further

The R185CCSX is fitted with an electric brake which stops the sawblade in 0.4 seconds. It is pretty quick, and one of the best features of all the circular saws in this review.

For those shorter straight cuts, the R185CCSX comes with a rip fence / cutting guide which simply fixes into the base plate.

For complete peace of mind the Evolution RS185CCSX comes with a 3 year warranty.

The price is certainly a good deal, for those on a strict budget, this circular saw is worth taking a look at.

This is a story of 2 parts when it comes to this circular saw. While the operation of the saw itself is great, it’s another area that lets the side down.

There is a lot of noise made about the 1020mm length cutting track that comes with this circular saw.

The track is supplied in 3 sections of 340mm length aluminium which are joined together with connector bars and a hex wrench, giving the saw a guide track to make long straight cuts. Although the idea is commendable, the reality was not.

Most complaints about the Evolution R185CCSX stem from this piece of equipment.

Invariabley the aluminium sheeting was extremely thin and more often than not, warped. When the sections are in a such a state, to get the circular saw to fit onto the cutting track is an almost impossible task.

If lucky enough to get a union between cutting track and circular saw, beware of the saw jamming at the joints! It is quite simpley easier to parallel cut with a straight edge than to suffer jams and warped aluminium.

Evolution should look at the problem of its cutting track, as it puts them and the R185CCSX in a less than favourable light.

It’s unfortunate that the Evolution is designed for “site use” and runs on 110V as opposed to the UK 240V system. It really is vital that a 240/110 “step down” transformer is used, which is an added expense.

No carry case or bag to store the saw and track is included.

The next disappointment was not about the R185CCSX circular saw itself, nor its accessories, but its customer services, which does play a vital role in business today.

Evolution’s customer services department was not rude or unpleasant to deal with, it was the lack of product knowledge which actually let everything down. Again, it might be in their interest if Evolution takes a look at this side of their business.

Pros:

■ The price. Extremely good value for those on a budget.

■ 1600W motor, powerful enough to turn a multi material cutting blade of 185mm diameter.

■ 2 stage safety catch to stop accidental starts.

■ Superfast electric brake. Stops the sawblade extremely quickly. An excellent safety feature for a circular saw of this size and power.

■ A cut depth of 66mm at 90° and 47mm at 45°. Impressive results from a 185mm diameter blade.

■ Saw dust extraction port and blower to keep cutting line as well as saw area clearly visible.

■ Well balanced with ergonomically designed handles for comfort and reduced vibration in arms and hands.

■ Rip fence / cutting guard included.

■ Complete peace of mind with a 3 warranty.

Cons:

■ 110V design means that without a 240/110 transformer the R185CCSX circular saw will not work on the UK 240V system.

■ The guide track included was unimpressive, warped aluminium parts that were difficult to fix together to get the circular saw to cut straight long lines.

■ Customer service department seriously lacking product knowledge.

The Black and Decker CS1250L-GB Circular Saw.

One of the best budget brand names, Black & Decker has thrown its hat into the ring with this corded circular saw, the CS1250L-GB firmly aimed at the serious DIY enthusiast, rather than the professional.

However, CS1250L-GB is not your typical amateur or starter level mini circular saw. It is powerful, heavyweight circular saw . Weighing in at 4.47kg, it has the weight and power to cope with “kickback”.

The saw is well balanced and easy to control.

The CS1250L-GB has a 1250W motor which provides 5300 rpm to turn a 190 mm diameter tungsten carbide tipped saw blade.

The maximum cutting depth of this corded circular saw is a satisfactory 66mm at 90 degrees and bevell maximum cutting depth of 50mm at 45 degrees.

While certainly nothing outstanding, these cutting depth values show that the CS1250L-GB is a saw to look at if “budgets” is the watch word.

Black & Decker have included a 2 step safety catch to stop accidental starting, along with the mandatory saw blade guard. However, depite the size of the sawblade, Black & Decker have not included an electric brake on this circular saw.

Looking at the cutting area, around the cut line is kept clear by a sawdust extraction port and uniquely amongst all the circular saws in this review , the Black & Decker CS1250L-GB has a laser fitted to show the line of cut clearly and very accurately.

While some saw reviews may see this as a gimmick, the laser ensures clear visibility every time and must be the best feature of this circular saw.

There is a rip fence / cutting guide supplied to allow parellel straight cutting.

The Black & Decker CS1250L-GB is covered by a 1 year warranty

While a solid performer the CS1250L-GB is not the best circular saw on the market. It is, as far as circular saws go, worth having a look at.

Pros:

■ equipped with a 1250W motor capable of 5300 rpm

■ A 190mm diameter TCT blade included.

■ A depth of cutting of 66mm at 90° .

■ Bevel capacity with a maximum depth of cutting of 50mm at 45°.

■ 2 step safety catch to prevent accidental starting.

■ covered by 1 year warranty.

■ On board laser showing cutting line very clearly and accurately.

Cons:

■ Complete lack of electric brake .

■ No carry case or storage bag included in the ensemble.

Which is the best budget corded circular in the UK?

While all the saws under review are all extremely highly rated. The one budget circular saw that offered the best features and quality in the UK is

Makita HS7601J Circular Saw with MakPac Case.

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