Third up in our series on metal cutting saws is the Evolution Rage 2. Like the Rage 3, this model pulls triple duty covering metal, wood, and PVC cutting, though its design and feature set certainly make it look more like a metal cutting saw than anything else. Like any tool designed for multiple uses, we have to ask if it’s trading off versatility for the performance it might see as a single material saw.
The 15-amp motor spins at 1450 RPM, so you could really put anyone’s cold cutting blade on there, like Diablo’s Cermet II Steel Demon. But Evolution’s advantage is really in their multipurpose blade. The 36-tooth, 14-inch blade doesn’t have the look of a traditional blade. It’s in the seemingly strange design that the versatility of materials comes into play.
So understanding that the blade is the key, we want to know if we should just buy an Evolution Rage blade and slap it on another saw or if there’s real value in getting the machine with it. It’s not often we start a review by talking value, but it seems like a good place to start this time. Let’s face it, if it really is just about the blade, there’s no point in going on about the machine.
The Rage 355 14-inch blade runs roughly $70. We’ve seen prices dip as low as $190 on the Rage 2, so you’re paying about $120 for the machine. That’s a really low cost of entry for a cold saw. With the value question answered, it’s pretty clear we should keep going.
Bringing in Jon Bucklew of Seventeen20 furnishings is always a good idea when we’re looking at metal cutting and wood finishing tools. The very first thing he wanted to see was the quality of the fence. It’s solid, but not as stout as we are used to seeing on the higher end of the class.
Miter adjustments can be made up to 45 degrees to the right. You’ll need to use the included hex key to make the adjustments, just keep it close – there’s no on board storage for it.
Holding material requires the fence on one end and the clamp on the other. It matches the fence in terms of quality as you’d expect and here’s where we see the first differences between entry level and high end saws. The adjustment wheel itself is metal and the knob itself could benefit from a bit tougher design (it’s plastic), though the threaded rod moves very smoothly. We’re also used to having a quick clamp mechanism to easily set the clamp – something you won’t find here.
One advantage Evolution offers is a slip on round material accessory for the clamp. If you are cutting larger diameter material, it’s a nice touch.
The blade guard is an interesting design in which the blade edge is covered all the way around. The guard splits in both directions as the blade is lowered. It’s a little on the stiff side compared to the smooth action of other guards we’ve used. However, it holds itself in place to give you use of both hands during blade changes.
Handle and Trigger
The handle of the Evolution Rage 2 isn’t your typical horizontally oriented style. It’s a vertical pistol grip and I’ve heard people that love it and others that hate it. It all depends on how high your working height is. The higher up you work, the more uncomfortable it is for your wrist at the top, but it quickly comes down to a natural position as you follow through.
The handle design also allows for the trigger to follow the pistol grip design. A simple thumb button is well-placed to override the trigger safety. Though the trigger didn’t have any negative effects on the operation, I’d still prefer a traditional horizontal handle/trigger mechanism.
Depending on your applications, the table can be a make or break feature for you. The Rage 2 is value-focused, and you can see it in the table. It’s fairly lightweight and thin compared to what you’d expect to find in a production shop. While we didn’t suffer any stability or flexing issues, there will be some users that see it as too light-duty for their professional use. The lighter weight does lend itself consideration for those needing a portable jobsite saw though.
Evolution Rage 2 TCT Multipurpose Chop Saw Specifications
- Model: Evolution Rage 2
- Motor: 15 Amps
- Blade Diameter: 14″
- No Load Speed: 1450 RPM
- Mitering Range: 45 degrees
- Weight: 45 pounds
- Warranty: 3 years
- Price: $225 (Amazon)
Our secret project is well underway (which is how we got started on this series to begin with) and without giving away too much information, the Evolution Rage 2 got to chew on angle iron, rebar, and wood for our testing. If you’ve ever used an Evolution multi-purpose blade to cut wood, you already know that it’s ridiculously efficient. Having had the experience ourselves, it was really the metal cutting we wanted get a better look at.
Cutting power was decent. We had other saws (including Evolution’s EvoSaw 380) sitting right next to us, so we know it can get better, even within Evolution’s own lineup. If you’re moving from the high-speed abrasive world, even this entry level cutting on a cold saw is going to change your life. It’s much faster with far fewer sparks and doesn’t generate the heat high speed saws do.
Accuracy is an area where I saw many complaints online. One user claimed his blade was “several degrees off from square.” Our saw wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t that far off either. It’s certainly within our acceptable limits for general metal cutting tasks.
When it comes to cutting results, they were good as well. There was very little burr left on our cuts. As with any metal cutting saw, we saw better results by slowing down to let the blade and motor work near top speed.
Pro Tip: Take your time making cuts with a metal cutting saw, particularly near the end of the cut. You’ll leave less burring and extend the life of your blade.
Don’t expect production shop level performance and accuracy from a tool that’s pretty close to DIY pricing. The Evolution Rage 2 is going to be a solid bet for users looking for a low-cost entry into cold cutting metal saws and are willing to make a few trade-offs to get it.
Pros that need a saw for occasional use and can tolerate a little flexibility in the accuracy will find the Rage 2 appealing. If the multi-purpose cutting nature of the saw sounds good, but you’re going to be using the saw every day, Evolution has other models that would likely be a better fit.