Over the last few weeks, I’ve spotlighted several of the competitors that took part in our recent 16-saw circular saw shootout. Be sure to check it out if you missed it – it was a lot of work but a lot of fun. And it yielded a huge amount of data that revealed strengths and weaknesses that can help you snag the best tool for the job. Next up is the Bosch 18V Circular Saw CCS180, the second of two Bosch saws that crossed swords in this grand experiment. Like the first saw, this one has been on the market for a while so I wondered how it would measure up to some of the young bucks. Will the old (blade) guard have to make way for the new generation? We’ll take it for some RPMs in a moment but let’s first check out the specs.
Battery and Motor
About half of the saws in the shootout had brushless motors while some – like the Bosch 18V Circular Saw CCS180 – did not. Brushless motors are relatively new to the industry and offer benefits like longer life and “smart” electronics. It’s no surprise the Bosch has a brushed motor given its time on the market. That certainly doesn’t disqualify it but it’s important to know the motor makes a material difference and isn’t just marketing hype.
The motor’s blade brake stops the rotation of the blade within a second or so of the trigger’s release. Always be sure this is in working order (along with the blade guard action) prior to starting work. A blade that continues to spin after the cut can damage material and bodies.
A Bosch 18V battery powers that motor as it spins its no-load RPMs of 3,900 – which is about average for the competition. The range extended from 2,700 on the Metabo saw all the way to 5,500 on the DeWalt 20V Max. Spoiler Alert! That low end was just too slow for a good cut and although 5,500 – on a 7-1/4-inch blade – is impressive, care must be taken not to burn harder material.
Bosch has about as deep a 18V product line as the best of manufacturers, but one caveat: this saw won’t run Bosch’s brand new 6.3Ah Bosch Core18V battery without housing modification. Bosch plans to produce a version of the Bosch CCS180 with the modification. The company will also replace the housing on existing saws for free. Alternatively, here’s a pro tip: shave the plastic ridge off the back of the saw with a utility knife like I did. Just note that modifying the tool on your own will void the warranty.
About half of the saws in the competition had a 6-1/2-inch blade like this Bosch while the rest had a more traditional 7-1/4-inch blade. The blade is oriented on the left, which was once odd for sidewinders but not any longer. It also features a metal blade guard like any circular saw worth its salt (and safe enough to use). There is no riving knife but, as I’ve mentioned in previous spotlights, it’s not something seen very often on circular saws. Only the Festool HKC 55 Carpenter’s Saw – the oddball in this competition because of its track – sported one. Neither are there bevel stops for the saw’s 50° bevel capacity. Maximum cutting depth is 2 inches at 90° and 1-1/2 inches at both 45° and 50°.
Other Notable Features
Although the Bosch 18V Circular Saw CCS180 has a dust blower, it’s sadly missing a rafter hook and LED work light. It weighs in at 8.37 pounds including the 6.0 Ah, 108 Wh battery I used in the competition. Bosch backs it all up with a 1-year limited warranty.
Before the more quantifiable tests, I cut through dimensional pine to get a feel for each saw. Like a new pair of shoes, I wanted to be sure that I didn’t mistake “different” for “bad”. The grip and trigger rated Good because there a was a bit of an uncomfortable reach to the push-in safety button.
Accuracy, Visibility, Guard
The more objective assessment then began. I tested the cutline marker accuracy and found it to be on at 45° but a hair off at 90° because the kerf overlaps the notch. Since you’re likely making 90° cuts more often, it’s something you’ll want to note. The blade visibility is Good to Very Good although the guard lever tends to enter your sight line. The guard action itself rated Very Good on shave cuts due to the aid of the large outboard lobe.
The Bosch 18V Circular Saw tracked poorly against a straightedge as it drifted left and jammed.
Bevels, Deep Cuts, Speed
The major test for the saw competitors as a 2-inch deep, 4-foot long cut through OSB. Unfortunately, the Bosch doesn’t have a ton of muscle in the deep cutting ability, so you’ll want to take your time if you make any rip cuts. As a side note, it’s tied for the shallowest cutting ability among the 16 saws.
Remember that I mentioned a modification to the housing to accommodate the Core18V battery? Well, once the modification is complete, I found that the Core18V battery prevents the blade from plunging even to the already-shallow 2-inch depth. Any of the other Bosch 18V batteries won’t be a problem, though.
I rate the bevel angle setting just fair to good given its 5° increments, cast markings, and lack of contrast.
The Bosch 18V Circular Saw’s fastest cut across the OSB was 20.13 seconds. This was good enough for 12th place out of 16 saws.
The Bottom Line
In the end, the Bosch CCS180 finished near the bottom of the pack in 13th Place with 32.9 points. As I mentioned at the beginning, it was one of the oldest saws in the shootout and compared to the new kids on the block, it lacks power and has a stingy cutting depth. There were also some cutting inaccuracies.
So how can I summarize this saw? Well, it could actually be a fine trim saw since it’s compact and fairly light. It’s just not ready for big-league framing. It’s priced appropriately at the lower end of the scale – $114.99 – so if you’re already on the Bosch platform and understand its limitations, you could certainly work with it. But given that the Core18V either won’t fit without modifications and then trims off the already-shallow cutting depth after the modifications, we hope Bosch updates this model the way they did in the recip saw category where huge improvements are seen.
Bosch 18V Circular Saw CCS180 Features
- RPM: 3,900
- Max Cut: 2 inches at 90°
- Blade Brake
- Aluminum foot and upper guard
- Spindle lock
Bosch 18V Circular Saw CCS180 Specifications
- Model: Bosch CCS180
- Battery Voltage 18
- Bevel 50°
- Blade Size 6-1/2″
- Dust Blower: Yes
- Electric Motor Brake: Yes
- Height: 11.2 inches
- Length: 13.4 inches
- Width: 8.9 inches
- Max. Bevel Capacity: 50.0°
- Max. Depth of Cut at 45° at 1-1/2 inches
- Max. Depth of Cut at 50° at 1-1/2 inches
- Max. Depth of Cut at 90° at 2 inches
- No Load RPM: 3,900
- Weight: 8.37 pounds
- Includes Allen Key
- Price: $114.99