The Best Electric Chainsaws in 2024 - Electric Chainsaw Reviews

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Battery-powered electric saws are light, quiet, fast, and ideal for fall and winter cleanup. Long Reach Battery Chainsaw

The Best Electric Chainsaws in 2024 - Electric Chainsaw Reviews

The fastest and easiest way to clean up a tree or limb brought down by a fierce autumn or winter storm is by using a battery-powered chainsaw. Click in a charged battery and get to work. So long as you keep its chain sharp and bar oil in the reservoir, you’ll make quick work of dicing up that wood.

This simplicity stands in direct contrast to the exacting maintenance protocol required for gas-engine chainsaws. You have to store one of those with ethanol-free, two-cycle engine mix or by mixing a preservative with its fuel. And you need to run a gas-engine chainsaw at least several times a year and keep it tuned with a fresh spark plug and air filter. If you do that, you’ll be rewarded with a saw that starts easily and runs reliably. Skip any aspect of that protocol and you have a finicky piece of power equipment that will likely fail you when you need it most.

There’s no substitute for the hard-charging torque of a properly tuned and well-maintained gas-powered saw, particularly for big woodcutting jobs. But for cleaning up fallen limbs, landscape maintenance, and tree pruning, battery chainsaws are more than up to the job. And chances are you already own a string trimmer or other cordless tool that uses a battery that can power the chainsaw. What’s more, professional-level tools compare very favorably with gas-engine saws when it comes to power.

Take a look below at quick info of the best chainsaws from our testing. Then scroll down for buying advice and in-depth reviews of these and other models.

Pro-duty electric saws powered by a battery are expensive, costing in the range of $300 to $400 on average with the most heavy-duty models costing two to three times that amount. A mid-duty model is likely to cost about $250, and an inexpensive one suitable to handle the occasional downed tree limb is going to run you roughly $150 to $200.

However, an inexpensive electric chainsaw is not going to churn through a pickup truck’s worth of firewood in a morning. Our top-tier professional saws can make more than 100 cuts (the best will do more than twice that amount) through a 6-inch-diameter hardwood log. Other electric chainsaws that we would classify as professional, but are not as effective as our top performers, produce 40 or 50 cuts. A homeowner-duty saw will make 20 to 30 cuts through the same log.

The longer your cutting session, the more wood you expect to cut. And the more frequent the sessions, the more electric chainsaw you need to buy. Really, it’s that simple.

There are many differences between a gas-engine chainsaw and an electric chainsaw powered by a battery and motor. The latter is noticeably quieter. Gas-engine chainsaws are loud—about 105 decibels; a cordless chainsaw is roughly equal to a corded electric circular saw, at about 100 decibels. (You still need hearing protection for both, though.) As for weight, cordless electric chainsaws are equal to or a couple of pounds heavier than their gas-engine equivalents. A fueled 50-cc gas-engine saw, with an 18-inch bar, weighs 11 to 12 pounds. The cordless chainsaws we tested weigh anywhere from 11 to about 14 pounds. For small jobs, a cordless chainsaw may be faster than a comparable gas-engine model, because you don’t have to take the time to add fuel. Just push in a charged battery and go. On the other hand, gas-engine saws excel at big jobs: timber felling for lumber or firewood, storm or disaster cleanup, and tree removal.

Both types of saws require bar oil and a sharp chain. That means knowing how to hone that chain, and you’ll need at least one spare in case you get the saw’s nose into the dirt or hit a nail buried in the log.

We ran our test saws through a truckload of hardwood logs (ash, white oak, locust), each about 6 inches in diameter. We charged each saw’s battery, strapped a log onto a saw buck, and proceeded to rapidly and repeatedly cut test discs (or “cookies,” as they’re called) by pivoting the saw through the log. The test exposes vibration, stalling, hesitancy, and lack of trigger response. If the saw has a low threshold for thermal cutoff to protect the battery and circuitry, that will shut the saw off. Rapid repeat cuts through hardwood generate a lot of internal heat in the tool, both from current flow and in the chain drive. For a handful of these saws, we used them to cut up trees felled by storms. (For these saws, you’ll see the disc count marked as N/A.)

We found the RY 40580 to be a good, fast-cutting saw, with an ability to hang in there during difficult cuts without tripping the thermal overload switch. You can be confident in its ability to handle the yard work you need to do. We particularly appreciated several of its features, like its long bar reduces the amount of stooping you do to get at wood you need to cut, Also, it’s equipped with a chain brake—not merely a front hand guard—to protect you against kickback. Finally, its rapid charger is four times faster than a standard one. You can do a lot of cutting with this saw, take a rest break, and put sufficient charge on the battery to cut some more. We found that it leaks oil while not in use. But there are steps you can take to reduce that, such as storing the saw without bar oil and turning down its adjustable oiler.

Two side-saddle, 20-volt batteries (4-Ah each) supply the hefty side-mount motor on the WG385. It looks, feels, and cuts like a solid little saw, as its disc count more than amply illustrates. Other features we like are its crisp chain brake, large bar-oil reservoir, easy-to-grip oil cap, tool-free chain tightening, and well-located button to help you quickly determine how much charge is left. If you’re invested in Worx 20-volt and 40-volt power tools, this chainsaw would make a sensible addition to your arsenal.

We've worked for decades with Stihl products and we know the company well enough to say that it isn't given to over statement, but when it told us about this saw and how proud they were of its cutting performance, we knew we had to try it. We're not disappointed by what we've found. If you're looking for a battery-powered chainsaw that has broken into the ranks of gas engine performance, this saw has come closer to that elusive goal than anything we've seen to date. With a 20-inch bar, this is a professional-duty saw capable of bucking firewood, limbing, and storm cleanup. The Stihl has pro-duty torque and pivots quietly and neatly through any cut. We also liked the saw’s vibration dampening and appreciated its thrifty oil use, owing to a feed mechanism, bar and chain design that cuts oil consumption significantly (Stihl says the design cuts oil use by fifty percent compared to a comparable gas engine saw). A battery-conservation button helps you increase run time, using three power levels. The lowest cuts battery drain to the minimum while the mid setting is about right for most cutting. The highest setting permits eagerness in full bar-length cuts.

One of the better buys in outdoor power this year is this potent 42-volt chainsaw from Husqvarna (note, the retailer classifies this as nominally 40-volt, but Husqvarna lists its battery at 42 volts). It’s a reliable wood producer, we found. It doesn’t churn through wood with quite the speed that Stihl’s saw does, but that’s no indication of a lack of performance. This is a great, easy-handling saw with plenty of wood-cutting torque, tool-free chain adjustment, and two power output settings accessible by a button on top of the saw. Use the low-speed setting for limbing and cutting small trees. Use the high-speed for felling or to buck the trunk into firewood lengths. We used the low-speed setting to produce the impressive number of "cookies" or test discs shown in the chart nearby. In all, this is a great saw and our tests, entirely in hardwood, verify that fact.

Echo’s chainsaws have a long track record of strong performance in our tests, and the company’s newest 56-volt cordless model steps into line with its forebears. We went to work with it on a gigantic downed cherry tree, a mess of tangled limbs, vines, and partially-flattened undergrowth. We sawed away at everything from limbs at shin level to those that were above our head, holding the saw as high as we were able, wood chips raining down on us. The Echo held its own. Especially on the high cuts, we were grateful for its light weight. Speaking of which, with the overhead work planned, we inserted the company's 2.5-Ah battery, not the 5-Ah battery that it comes with; with the smaller battery, the saw weighed 13 pounds. But more than weight, we appreciated the saw’s torque and vibration-free cutting particularly in large wood, when the 18-inch bar was nearly completely buried.

Our experience with battery-powered chainaws indicates that the Ridgid is located firmly in the center of the pack, a perfect saw for homeowners who have invested in Ridgid's 18-volt platform or a contractor who has the occassional chainsaw job to deal with and needs a competent saw at a good price. The Ridgid fills the bill nicely, with a decent disc count in our test, lightweight, a functional chain brake/hand guard, and vibration-free cutting.

DeWalt fans will not be disappointed with this saw. It’s a powerful cutter, and the cookie count doesn’t convey how enthusiastically it goes about its work, thanks to the great big motor and an equally massive battery to provide the needed current. It’s an easy saw to use, with excellent battery access and visibility. The tool-free chain tightening further improves our opinion of it. Our only dislike is the thumb-activated safety switch, which is too stiff.

With this Makita, you get a compact saw that exhibits outstanding fit and finish, in line with the company’s other power tools. Consider that, at its widest point, the saw is only 5.5 inches across. Sure, others produced more cookies, but they’re more than 2 inches wider; bulk and weight add up the longer you use any power tool. We also like the XCU07PT’s crisp chain brake, its sensibly located power switch at the front of the handle, and a bright, well-placed battery gauge that you can read even in harsh sunlight. If you’re already invested in the company’s 18-volt power tool platform, get this saw. No, it didn’t have the guts of the Echo or the Milwaukee. But it’s adequate for landscape maintenance and a whole lot lighter than those other saws, by about 3 pounds.

The CS1604 puts out impressively little noise and boasts a large dial to tighten the chain. It can zoom through even large-diameter hardwood logs, and it comes with a five-year warranty. A couple of words of warning regarding user-friendliness: The filler neck for bar oil is narrow and easy to overfill, and the cap isn’t tethered to keep it from getting lost or rolling around in the dirt.

Contractors who are fully on board with Milwaukee’s 18-volt platform will appreciate this stubbornly powerful tool that runs on the same batteries as its drills and other saws. It cuts viciously, and we pushed it as hard as we could. You get a saw that speeds through the log, cut after cut until its battery is done. And you also get a little more convenience than the other guys. The big red machine is equipped with onboard storage for its scrench (screwdriver-wrench). The tool clips into a compartment on the bottom. The downside is that if you really try to produce firewood with this saw, you’ll quickly wear the bar out. We did, and that’s exactly what we found. But maybe that’s okay. We produced a shed full of wood in the process.

This was the only self-sharpening saw in our tests. To use this feature, called PowerSharp, you run the saw and simultaneously pull the red lever. It’s easy and incredibly fast, producing a razor-sharp chain in seconds. All of the saw’s other features were likewise designed for speed and ease, from oil filling to chain tightening.

About two cut discs per volt is a good metric for cordless chainsaw performance, and the CS40L412 got there easily and rapidly. It made one neat slice after another. That disc count and its rapid performance shouldn’t really come as a surprise. This is a reasonably hefty power tool, with a 40-volt motor. With the bar-oil reservoir topped off, it weighs about 12 pounds. We’d classify it as a light to medium-duty firewood cutter or as perfectly adequate for landscape and trail maintenance, and it’s certainly adequate to deal with the occasional downed tree or limb. Saws in this class are equipped with a chain brake (this one is), not just a hand guard, and a large bar-oil reservoir. Given its performance, we think it could use a slightly more aggressive bumper spike (the spikes are rounded off), but that’s a small complaint. At least it has one, which is more than we can say for many mid-duty cordless saws. Our other observation: tool-free chain tightening? No. You’ve got two bar nuts and a slot for a screwdriver.

One of the most remarkable chainsaws we’ve tested recently is the little GTA 26, a 10.8-volt model weighing about 3 pounds with a 4-inch guide bar. It’s built for pruning and woodworking, yet it’s surprisingly capable and can punch well above its weight. How far above? Up the street from our office, an 8-inch-diameter tree limb snapped off and fell across a sidewalk, completely blocking it. It took just 15 minutes of work to cut through the tangled chest-deep mess using this petite saw. The biggest limbs it hewed through were the 6-inch-diameter branches coming off the trunk of the main branch. And in the course of the work, we tackled a number of spring poles that were bent under tension. The saw is so light, you can hold a branch in one hand and saw it with the other. When the work was done, we tucked the saw, its battery, a pair of work gloves, and safety glasses in a small tool bag (designed for a cordless drill) and walked back to the office. A number of pedestrians out on their lunch break strolled through the newly restored path, branches heaped up on either side of it. The tool is so quiet, the walkers seemed unaware that a chainsaw had just cleared the way.

The DeWalt is a smooth-cutting saw that is effective for one-hand and two-hand pruning. With approximately a 5-inch cut capacity, we think it should work well for rough-and-ready cuts on pressure treated lumber for landscape construction. The DeWalt gets high marks overall but we're not happy with its non-removable nose guard (you could probably remove it by drilling out the rivet heads on a drill press and with careful use of a right-angle grinder and maybe a die grinder). The guard is clumsy and seems to be the product of liability lawyers and not the engineers who have designed the saw. We get it. All it takes is one lawsuit and somewhere, somebody decides that the saw needs a non-removable nose guard. We'd rather see the guard removable, of course, because there are times in landscape maintenance and shrub removal when it's going to cause the saw to get hung up.

Ryobi's little tool is a decent little pruning saw and it's very agile with a 2-Ah battery, which is what we used in it to run the cookie (test disc) test. But feel free to slide in any size battery, if you need run time. Given that this saw is so light weight, you still have plenty of head room in terms of adding weight (with a larger battery) and the saw will still not be too heavy. The saw cuts with a bit more vibration than other saws, particularly more expensive ones.

We were very pleasantly surprised by the Hart. Typically, we don't associate Walmart with high-performance power tools, yet this saw is a respectable wood cutter offering speed of cut, smoothness of cut, and control of it. Furthermore the number of discs it produced was quite respectable. You can do a decent amount of work with this saw with just one battery. The saw is conventional in other respects, so if you're familiar with a gas engine saw, you should feel at home with this saw. It has two bolts securing its bar, a functional chain brake, and a large bar oil reservoir.

Denali is a new brand on the power tool scene but we were pleasantly surprised at the newcomer's performance in the disc test. Yes, it was louder and it vibrated more than other saws, but for people on a tight budget and need a power saw to deal with downed limbs, landscape cleanup, or producing burn material for the fire pit, we see no reason that the Denali will not serve. Despite its low cost, you get the complete kit (saw, charger, and battery), tool-free chain adjustment, and a functional chain brake, not just an immovable hand guard. That's a lot of saw for the money, and even more so when you consider the cut capacity afforded by a 12-inch bar.

One way to look at this little 20-volt saw is that it’s the kid brother to some of the larger chainsaws above. It appears that the brand intended it as much for carpentry and fence building as it did for yard cleanup, since Craftsman equipped the CMCCS620M1 with a pair of bubble levels (picture topping posts level to the ground, for example). The saw is small (it has a 12-inch bar) and light, weighing just 10 pounds with its 4-Ah battery. We didn’t do any carpentry with it, and you’re not going to use this saw for firewood production, but we did some general yard cleanup on fallen branches and found that it has enough oomph to get the job done.

Roy Berendsohn has worked for more than 25 years at Popular Mechanics, where he has written on carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical, woodworking, blacksmithing, welding, lawn care, chainsaw use, and outdoor power equipment. When he’s not working on his own house, he volunteers with Sovereign Grace Church doing home repair for families in rural, suburban and urban locations throughout central and southern New Jersey.

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The Best Electric Chainsaws in 2024 - Electric Chainsaw Reviews

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