Bosch GKS18V-25GC Circular Saw Review

The takeaway: We test many circular saws at Popular mechanics, and Bosch’s battery-powered GKS18V-25GC is as close to perfect tool form as anything we’ve seen. It’s a nimble cutter. But the good news gets better when you slide it along its aluminum accessory rail. You don’t need any special shoes or mounting hardware. Lay the track on the plank or plywood and slide the GKS18V-25GC like a locomotive dropping along the rails. The resulting rip or cross section is table saw accurate. Truly. We’re almost talking about glue line precision, and that’s with the factory 24-tooth blade that the saw is equipped with.

  • Blade: 7.25 in.
  • Battery: 8Ah
  • Weight: 11.6 lbs.

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    Features galore

    Some chainsaws are of the dedicated plunge type. Simply put, they’re designed to work on one track only and won’t cut until you press down on a spring mechanism and slide them forward. Since the GKS18V-25GC is designed to work alone and with a Bosch track (and several saw tracks from other manufacturers, the company says), it needs a conventional way to increase or decrease its depth of cut, which ranges from 0 to 2.5 inches.

    Adjust the depth of the saw by pushing down and up on a spring-loaded latch that controls the position of the shoe.

    Staff

    To control the depth of cut, the GKS18V-25GC has a thumb latch just above the trigger. Move the latch forward and press down and the saw shoe drops. To fine-tune the position of the shoe, simply hold it with one hand while pressing the latch. When the shoe is where you want it, release the latch. And the amount of blade exposure under the shoe is also where you want it.

    Several other features position this saw firmly as a tool for this digital age. An “Eco” setting reduces power for light cuts while preserving battery life. The GKS18V-25GC has six speed settings to match the material: select a low setting to cut after cut in thin plywood, or switch to full bore (and blade depth) to cut construction lumber. A battery life reading tells you how much charge you have left.

    bosch circular saw
    An LED display shows you the power setting of the saw, as well as the remaining battery charge.

    Staff

    To be able to

    Bosch claims this battery-powered saw packs the same punch as a corded model. In some ways, that’s true. You will definitely find that the GKS18V-25GC compares very favorably when cutting plywood. We cut everything from paint grade birch plywood to 1⁄2 inch OSB and CDX. The saw went through. The story got a little more nuanced when we made cuts in the lumber. We did extensive testing by driving through and even tearing through Douglas Fir (our standard test material). We found the Bosch nimble and quite powerful. Still, it has a thermal shutdown to protect the saw’s battery and circuitry. If you really push down on the saw as hard as we did, it will shut off. Conclusion: You’re unlikely to (need or want) to use this saw for framing a house, and it’s much more versatile than your typical 15 amp corded side winder (with the motor on the side of the blade) saw circular.

    Down the track

    This Bosch shines beautifully when you mount it on its saw rail. The one the company sent for our testing is 5 feet 3.5 inches long and just under 6 inches wide. The track has a rubber flap on one side that you cut off when you make the first cut. Subsequently, the saw blade fits so tightly to the edge of the rubber flap that it cuts without leaving a splintered surface (in carpentry, this is called zero backlash). Two non-slip rubber ribs allow you to simply lay the rail on the plywood and roll the saw on the rail. Bosch sells a number of accessories to trick this setup, such as clamps designed to hold the rail to the workpiece without interfering with the cut, and ways to join two rails end to end.

    bosch circular saw
    Mounted on a sliding aluminum accessory rail, the GKS18V-25GC cuts with almost the precision of a table saw.

    Staff

    The verdict

    With its ease of use and versatility, the GKS18V-25GC is sufficient for most people. But is it as powerful as a corded saw in all circumstances? No. And we agree with that. It’s still among the best we’ve tested.

    Circular saw GKS18V-25CB14

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    Elizabeth J. Harless