The chainsaw is probably one of the handiest and valuable tools you have in your shed. A chainsaw can significantly reduce any manual work involved when it comes to landscaping around the home. As more powerful and feature rich models of electric chainsaws are produced they have quickly begun to replace the traditional gas powered models that many have relied on for decades. Electric models for home and professional use are engineered to pack the same type of power you can expect from a gas powered chainsaw.
The first chainsaws were invented in the early 1800s and were used primarily as a surgical tool. The chainsaw wasn’t widely used in the logging industry until the mid-1920s when the first gas powered model was patented. Over the years, the gas powered models have dominated the market because of the amount of power they have to offer while electrical models were mainly used for light tree trimming and landscaping. These days, some models of electric chainsaws do possess a respectable amount of power and feature a lower price and minimal maintenance needs that make them attractive to many consumers.
Electric models are divided into corded models which are powered from an electrical outlet and cordless models that run on batteries that are rechargeable. The corded chainsaws are usually more powerful, but more and more companies are producing battery-powered models that are packing serious power.
Electric Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide
The main disadvantage to a corded chainsaw is obviously the cord itself because the cord restricts the user’s movement, not to mention it also restricts them to an area within a hundred feet of an outlet, so these corded models cannot be used in a remote area. Even with the use of a heavy-duty extension cord to provide more range, electrical resistance can cause the model to be underpowered, which in turn affects performance. In areas that are heavily wooded, the cord can also become tangled in the surrounding vegetation. When using this type of chainsaw, the user will have to be careful to avoid slicing through the extension cord, which can be problematic when cutting limbs up high in a tree. But the most powerful models of electric chainsaws are corded and they’re definitely considered the best choice for bigger jobs.
Now when it comes to cordless models, the lack of the power cord will provide the user with some much-needed flexibility, but these cordless models can also be limiting in some ways. Because of their lower power capabilities, many of these models are best suited for trimming smaller trees and shrubbery, but some are able to cut trunks and limbs that are more than one foot in diameter. For certain applications, the lower amount of power can also be considered an advantage. Because a cordless model produces less noise than a corded model or a traditional gas powered saw, they’re the go-to type when it comes to early morning yard work. They’re also favored for cutting up wood indoors.
The batteries that are used by these models will limit the amount of time you have to cut, but some models can run up to an hour, depending on the thickness of the wood they’re cutting through.
Most manufacturers use a lithium battery as opposed to the NiCad batteries of the past because lithium batteries can provide a longer charge and can be recharged even when the battery hasn’t been completely discharged, unlike NiCad batteries.
An electric model is usually classified according to the amount of power. These classifications include light-duty, mid-range or professional grade. A light-duty model might not get the job done when it comes to thicker wood, but most users don’t require professional grade power. A mid-range model is probably the best compromise for most users as it’s able to handle a thicker diameter of wood but also features a lightweight design like most of the light-duty models.
Like the standard gas powered chainsaw, an electric model is usually equipped with a ton of features that are designed to enhance usability and safety. Electric chainsaws don’t need to be revved up like a gas powered model. Most manufacturers have equipped electric models with a soft start function, which causes the saw’s motor to slowly build power, allowing the user to adjust more easily. Automatic bar oiling is another common feature you’ll find on this type of chainsaw. The constant friction between metal parts that occur when a chainsaw is in use requires continual lubrication and helps to prevent damage or breakage to the chain. Manually lubricating a chain will take constant monitoring and can be a hassle when you’re up high. Saws that are equipped with automatic bar oilers will keep the chainsaw well-oiled automatically. Models with this type of feature will include a small oil gauge window that allows you to monitor the oil level. Kickback protection is another must-have feature and it’s provided by a chain catcher, chain brakes or anti-kickback chains. A chain catcher is a metal shield that stops broken or derailed chains from flying at the user. A chain brake is either automatic or manual. Manual brakes are used for safety when changing position and automatic chain brakes are activated once kickback has been detected. Most models of electric chainsaws are equipped with anti-kickback chains, which prevent kickback should the chain catch. Many manufacturers have minimized the amount of vibration that’s transferred to users by including foam handles, bushings, and springs. Reduced vibration works to prevent user fatigue, which is considered a major cause of accidents.
If you’re looking for an electric model, you should carefully consider your power needs and comfort needs against what you can afford. Depending on your personal cutting needs and your strength, you’ll probably do well with a light-duty or mid-range model. Cost can vary greatly depending on power capabilities, corded or corded, extra features and battery life. You can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $600 for a dependable model. Never be fooled thinking the higher price means a better quality model. The best model for you will depend on your yard needs. Many of the models we have reviewed here are affordable and high-quality and can meet a range of user needs, so research carefully.
Makita 5012B Commercial Grade 11 3/4-Inch 11.5 amp Electric Chain Saw
Husqvarna 455 Rancher 20-Inch 55-1/2cc 2-Stroke Gas-Powered Chain Saw (CARB Compliant)
Husqvarna 965030290 455 Rancher Chainsaw Kit, 18-Inch
Compact and light weight (9.5 lbs.) for easy operation
Reliable and durable performer
High speed action (5,500 FPM chain speed) for fast cutting
Durable poly-carbonate housing
Special sprocket inside the end of the chain bar for smooth chain action
Large hand protector in front deflects flying chips
Built-in overload protector
UL listed and double insulated
11-3/4″” Guide Bar
Lightweight 11.5 Amp electric chain saw
Features 5500 feet-per-minute chain speed for high-speed cutting
Durable polycarbonate housing ensures long tool life
Built-in overload protector; special sprocket inside the end of the chain bar for smooth chain action
11 3/4-inch guide bar; weights 9-1/2 pounds; 1-year warranty
The x-torq engine technology reduces fuel consumption up to 20-percent and emissions up to 60-percent, Low vibration
Facilitates cleaning and replacement of the air filter
Allows for easier starting and reduces the risk of engine flooding
Centrifugal air cleaning system removes larger dust and debris particles before reaching the air filter
20-Inches long 55-1/2cc 2-stroke gas-powered chain saw; CARB complaint; this results in reduced air filter cleanings and improved engine life
3/8-Inch Pitch and 0.58-Inch Gauge
Side-Mounted Chain Tensioner
Inertia activated chain brake
GreenWorks GCS80420 Electric Chainsaw Review
The GreenWorks GCS80420 chainsaw is equipped with an eighteen-inch bar and a DigiPro brushless motor and a 2.0 AH battery with 144-watt hours. This is a model that’s packed with a ton of features and enough power to tackle even the toughest job around the home. Equipped with a built-in oil level indicator that allows you to monitor the chainsaw’s lubrication, this model can hold up to two ounces of oil. This model also features a fast charge which allows the battery to completely charge in as little as half an hour. The built-in LED light indicator will alert you once the battery has been fully charged. This model is able to handle both big and small jobs around the home but is not recommended for professional use. Some consumers noted that this chainsaw was able to easily slice through branches that were fourteen inches in diameter. Just keep in mind that this model also has a reputation for stalling out if you push it too hard. Greenworks is one of the biggest companies around that produces reputable and powerful models of electric chainsaws. Purchasing a model from a company with a reputation for quality can give you confidence that their line and the GCS80420 is a type of chainsaw that can be used dependably and one that has a lot of power to offer.
Makita 5012B Electric Chainsaw Review
The Makita 5012B electric chainsaw is a powerful 11.5 amp model that features a lightweight design which works to minimize user fatigue and allows you to work longer without muscle strain. This is a double insulated chainsaw that features a hand protector, which helps to deflect flying debris, preventing user injury. The chainsaw’s housing is made from the nearly indestructible polycarbonate, which helps to significantly reduce the overall weight of this model. Equipped with a twelve-inch guide bar, this saw can easily slice through trees and shrubs. The 5012B weighs in at just thirteen pounds, allowing for improved maneuverability. The overload protector is a safety feature that prevents damage to the chainsaw in the event of a power surge. Many consumers who used this power tool stated that it felt about fifty percent lighter than the average gas powered chainsaw. This is also a chainsaw that’s built to last, with a design that incorporates a number of metal components for improved longevity and quality. Makita is a company with a reputation for producing some of the best models of chainsaws and power tools on the market, so it comes as no surprise that this power tool is a consumer favorite and one that can provide the type of power that you need when it comes to jobs big and small. Keep in mind this saw operates at an impressive sixty miles per hour, so safety glasses are recommended in order to protect your eyes from fast flying debris.
Oregon 40 Volt MAX Electric Chainsaw Review
The Oregon forty volt max electric chainsaw is equipped with a fifteen amp engine and the innovative Power Sharp built-in self-sharpening feature, which ensures that you’ll always cut with the sharpest chain possible. The fifteen amp motor packs a lot of power and has the ability to cut wood measuring in at sixteen inches in diameter. Because this company is the only one that offers the self-sharpening feature they remain at the top of their class, receiving nothing but positive consumer feedback regarding this feature. To use Power Sharp, simply pull the level a few times and you’re done. This chainsaw is equipped with a built-in safety switch that turns the chainsaw off as soon as the user takes their finger off the trigger pad. The tool-less tensioning system allows you to quickly adjust the chain without the use of an Allen wrench and without the fear of overtightening. The built-in extension cord feature works to prevent the extension cord from coming loose as you cut. This chainsaw must be used with an outdoor approved twelve gauge extension cord. The eighteen-inch bar and chair include reduced kickback for user safety. Perfect for both beginners and professionals this is a model that can be used for a variety of jobs because it actually has a lot of power to offer, even though during operation it’s relatively quiet. Once you get used to working with a corded model that has this much power, using an extension cord will no longer be an issue.
Black & Decker LCS1020 Electric Chainsaw Review
Black & Decker LCS1020 electric chainsaw is our top rated product and it received a perfect five out of five-star consumer rating. This chainsaw features a lightweight design and twenty-volt lithium battery. A cordless saw, you’ll enjoy the freedom of movement as you thin trees or work on shrubs. A seven-pound chainsaw, the LCS1020 is significantly lighter than most models of electric chainsaws and gas powered models. The comfortable wrap around bale handle, combined with the overall weight of this model allows you to easily work in the yard for several hours without risking muscle fatigue or arm strain like you typically would with a gas powered chainsaw. The battery can reach a full charge just after an hour. Most consumers reported an average use of thirty minutes per charge. We recommend purchasing an extra battery, that way if you’re working on a big job you won’t have to wait around for the battery to charge in order to finish. The included tool-free blade tension system allows you to quickly and easily tighten the chain in seconds.