Whether you’re a landscaper, a contractor, a homeowner who completes DIY projects, or you work with wood in any capacity, a chainsaw is an absolute must. This tool features a motorized saw with a collection of sharp teeth that are attached to a chain. The mechanics of this tool allow the chain to rotate, which in turn rotates the sharp teeth, allowing them to move along the edge of the chainsaw’s blade.
Chainsaws are primarily used for activities that involve cutting wood, such as pruning or removing limbs from trees, cutting down trees, felling and splitting trees to create firewood, and other landscape-related projects; however, they can be used for a variety of other tasks that require cutting items that would be gruelling with a manually powered axe.
In a hurry? Our best electric chainsaw recommendation is:[amazon box=”B00N8PQCE2″]
If you are in the market for a chainsaw, there are two main options to consider: electric powered and gas powered. The majority of people who are thinking about buying a chainsaw tend to opt for the gas-powered variety. In fact, many people don’t realize that electric chainsaws are even an option.
There are several benefits that an electric chainsaw offers, and depending on how you intend on using the tool, it may be the better option for your needs. Since this tool is an investment and you want to ensure that it suits your needs, it’s a wise idea to have a firm understanding of the options that are available to you; hence the reason why we create this electric chainsaw buyer’s guide.
To learn more about electric chainsaws, including their advantages and disadvantages, factors to consider when purchasing an electric chainsaw, the top product recommendations – and more – please keep on reading.
- Our Recommendations
- Features to consider
- Corded Electric vs. Cordless Electric
- Electric vs. Gasoline
Benefits and Disadvantages of using an Electric Chainsaw
If you are thinking about buying an electric chainsaw, it’s important to have a firm understanding of the advantages and disadvantages that are associated with this power tool before you commit to making a purchase. Below, we highlight five benefits and five disadvantages of an electric chainsaw.
Let’s begin with the benefits. There are several notable advantages that this tool offers, including:
- Easy to operate. One of the major benefits of an electric chainsaw is how easy it is to operate. All you need to use it is a heavy-duty power cord and an outlet. Just plug the chainsaw into the power cord, plug the power cord into the outlet, prepare yourself to cut, flip the switch on, and you are ready to go. With a gas powered chainsaw, you have to make sure that there is gas in the tool, then prime the motor, and pull the cord (which can often take several tries to get going) in order to ignite the engine. Due to the minimal effort that’s required to get an electric chainsaw started, it is much easier to operate than the gas-powered chainsaw.
- It’s lightweight. Not only is an electric chainsaw easier to get started than a gas powered chainsaw, but it is also much lighter, which adds to the ease of operation. With a gas powered chainsaw, the power source is located directly in the tool, which adds a significant amount of weight and makes it more difficult to operate. Plus, gas-powered saws are usually made of metal components, which adds to the weight, while saws that are powered by electricity usually feature elements that are made of plastic. In other words, you don’t need a lot of brawn to use an electric chainsaw; because of the lightweight nature, virtually anyone can use this tool with ease.
- Reduced kickbacks. Electric chainsaws are designed with safety chains, which reduce kickbacks. Kickbacks are what happens when the blade of the tool hits into something and cause it to literally kick back at the person who is operating it. The safety chains on these tools, coupled with the lightweight design, significantly reduce the number of kickbacks. If a kickback does occur, it is much less forceful than it would be with a gas chainsaw.
- Less noise. Another benefit that electric chainsaws offer over gas-powered models is the reduced noise that they emit. Gas chainsaws are exceptionally loud, which can not only disturb neighbors and wildlife, but it can also potentially do damage to your hearing if you are not wearing the right protective safety equipment on your ears. With an electric model, the noise is significantly less, which makes them much less intrusive and much more enjoyable to use.
- Budget-friendly. Last, but certainly not least of the benefits of an electric chainsaw is the cost of these tools. Compared to their gas-powered counterparts, they are significantly less expensive. In fact, depending on the model and features, an electric chainsaw can cost hundreds of dollars less than a gas saw.
Like all products, there are some downsides to using an electric chainsaw. Some of the disadvantages of an electric saw include:
- The power cord. While the power cord does make it easier to use an electric chainsaw, it can also be a drawback. Since the cord has to be plugged into an outlet, it limits your reach. You may be able to reach areas that are further away from the power outlet by plugging in a super long cord, or by using multiple power cords; however, this may not always be possible. Furthermore, there is a chance that the cord could become unplugged while you’re in the middle of using the tool. If that happens, it could end up taking longer for you to complete a project, as you will need to stop what you are doing to plug it back in.
- Limited power. Generally, electric chainsaws are less powerful than gas-powered chainsaws, which means that they usually aren’t suitable for heavy duty jobs, like cutting thick limbs or cutting down large trees. The reason? – There’s only so much power that can be obtained from an electrical outlet; gas-powered motors are much more powerful.
- Cord damage. Another drawback of the cord on an electric chainsaw is the damage that the cord could potentially sustain. For example, the cord could become tangled, spliced, or cut if you accidentally run the saw into it while you are working.
- Not as durable. Electric chainsaws are lighter in weight than gas-powered chainsaws, and that is largely due to the fact that they are comprised of plastic parts. While the lightweight design is certainly advantageous, the plastic elements aren’t as durable as the metal components that are used on a gas powered chainsaw. Since they usually aren’t as durable, they tend to have a shorter life expectancy and require more care while operating and storing them.
- Tripping hazard. The cord on an electric powered chainsaw can be a tripping hazard, which could increase the danger of operation. You must use extreme caution to ensure that you are aware of the cord at all times; if not, you could end up tripping over it, damaging cord, the chainsaw itself, property, and yourself or anyone standing nearby.
Clearly, the biggest flaw of an electric powered chainsaw is the cord. In order to avoid the challenges that a cord presents, we recommend opting for a battery-powered electric saw. Instead of being powered by an electrical cord and outlet, it is powered by a battery. The battery power completely eliminates the need for a cord while operating the tool; therefore your reach is not limited, as you do not have to be near a power source. However, it is important to note that the battery power is not permanent; in other words, you can run out of juice while you are in the middle of working.
In order to determine if an electric chainsaw is the right option for your cutting needs, it is important to consider these advantages and disadvantages before you decide to invest in one. Generally, these tools are better suited for smaller jobs, such as light tree trimming and pruning, given the limited amount of power that they offer and the electrical cords. If you are a contractor or a landscaper who does heavy-duty work, this type of chainsaw may not be the right option for all of your needs; however, it can certainly be beneficial to have one in your toolbox. It can also be advantageous for homeowners who do smaller DIY projects, such as attending to their landscaping on their own.
If you do decide to add an electric chainsaw to your supply of tools, you’re going to find that there are a lot of options to choose from. With that said, it can be difficult to select one that will best suit your needs. To assist you with finding the best electric powered saw, we have scoured the market, tested out a variety of products, and consulted experts in the landscaping and construction industry to determine which models are the best of the best. Below, we offer our top five picks for the best electric chainsaws currently available.[amazon table=”66305″]
Each of the following electric chainsaws has been hand tested by our team of chainsaw experts!
Black and Decker LCS1240 Cordless Chainsaw
Made by one of the most trusted brand names in the tool industry, Black and Decker, this tool lives up to the reputation of the manufacturer. It is extremely lightweight, which makes it super easy to operate, yet it’s also very efficient, making it the perfect tool for various tasks. The 12-inch chainsaw bar and durable teeth and blade, as well as the 40-volt lithium-ion battery, make it an ideal saw for doing anything from light tree trimming, pruning, and removing limbs. It can also cut logs that are up to 12 inches in diameter; however, for optimal performance, it’s ideal to stick to sawing logs that are 8 inches in diameter or lower. As an added bonus, this electric battery powered chainsaw can also be powered by 40-volt batteries from other Black and Decker tools.
- It offers a lightweight, yet durable design
- It is powered by an extended run time 40 volt, 2 AH Max lithium ion battery
- Other 40 volt batteries from Black and Decker power tools can be used to operate it
- The indicator light that lets you know how much battery power is left
- Quiet operation
- Adjustable blade
- Automatic oiling system
- Requires little maintenance
- Complete wrap around handle allows for comfort in all cutting positions
- Long battery charge time
- Short run-time before the battery needs to be recharged (about 20 minutes)
- Battery power depletes quickly when using it to saw through dense materials
- Burns through oil quickly
You can read our review of the Black & Decker LCS1240 Chainsaw right here.
To start the LCS1240 chainsaw from Black and Decker, all you have to do is grip it in a position that you are comfortable with, press the lockout button, hit the trigger, and you’re ready to start sawing. The rubberized grip on the rear handle and the guard allows you to easily obtain a grip that is secure, firm, and comfortable. Thanks to the automatic oiling system, there’s no need to oil it yourself, which can be time-consuming and just plain frustrating. The automatic chain tension system also adds to the convenience of operating this power tool. The 12-inch bar and chain (which offers low kickback) saw quickly and smoothly.
The Oregon bar and chain offers superior performance that can be enjoyed by both occasional users and commercial operators. The Black and Decker LCS1240 Cordless Chainsaw can be used just about anywhere.
- 4 pounds or 4.7 kg
- 12 inch (30 cm) bar and chain length
- Powered by a 40-volt extended life lithium ion battery
- Battery life indicator light that lets you know how much power is left
- Oregon low-kickback chain
- Automatic oiling system, so no additional oiling is required
- Chain tensioning that doesn’t require tools
- Complete wrap around handle for a secure and comfortable grip in all cutting positions
- 3-year limited manufacturer warranty, which covers product defects in materials and craftsmanship
Greenworks Pro Cordless Chainsaw
If you are looking for a more powerful electric chainsaw that can handle a wide variety of tasks, from simple, everyday jobs to heavy-duty jobs, then you should seriously consider the Greenworks PRO 18-Inch 80 Volt Cordless Chainsaw.
Greenworks is a pretty new manufacturer; however, the company has proven that it produces tools that stand up to better-known manufacturers. This manufacturer makes a variety of landscaping tools, including their GCS80420 Cordless 18-Inch 80 Volt Chainsaw.
- Lightweight, yet durable construction
- Quiet operation
- Powerful operation that is comparable to a gas powered chainsaw
- Long-lasting battery power
- Battery power indicator light
- Comfortable build
- It can run with battery packs from other Greenworks power tools
- It takes a long time to charge the battery
- It’s heavier than other electric chainsaws
You can read our review of the Greenworks Pro chainsaw right here.
Outfitted with one of the highest powered batteries available, it backs a lot of punch compared to other electric cordless chainsaws on the market. In fact, it’s as powerful as a 45 cc gas powered saw. In addition to offering power that is equivalent to a gasoline chainsaw, it also feels like one while you’re holding it. It’s constructed of the most durable materials and does not feel like it will crumble under pressure, unlike many of the other electric chainsaws that are on the market.
It also boasts a brushless motor, which offers an array of benefits, including a very high torque to weight ratio and more torque per watt, operates quietly, offers minimal vibration, and provides very little kickback. Furthermore, the brushless motor requires less power, so the 80-volt battery lasts even longer.
The bottom surface of this chainsaw is flat, which enables you to set it down quickly and easily without having to be concerned about having the power tool fall over. An electronic chain brake offers added security, as it shields you in the event that kickback does occur (which is seldom). The 80-volt battery can make up 150 cuts on just one charge. However, it should be noted that because the battery does offer so much power, it does take a bit of time to charge it; about an hour. But, you can keep tabs on the amount of power you have left via the easy to read battery life indicator light.
The Greenworks 80 Volt Chainsaw is the ideal cordless electric battery powered chainsaw for commercial applications, as it packs a punch that is comparable to gas chainsaws.
- 8 pounds
- Automatic chain tensioning system
- Powered by an 80-volt lithium ion battery, making it the most powerful cordless electric chainsaw on the market
- Durable 18-inch bar and chain
- Brushless motor, which offers up to 30 per cent more torque and 70 per cent less vibration
- Steel bucking spikes
- Ergonomic handle
- Automatic chain oiling system
- Offers power that is equivalent to a 45 cc gas powered chainsaw
- Electronic chain brake
- Trigger offers variable speeds
- 2AH battery included
DeWalt DCCS670X1 Chainsaw
Next up on our list of the best electric chainsaws is the DeWalt DCCS670X1 Flexvolt 60 Volt Max Brushless Chainsaw. DeWalt is another highly acclaimed name in the power tool industry, and for good reason; their products are built to be tough and designed to last. This chainsaw is powered by a 60 volt 3.0 AH battery and boasts a low kickback 16-inch chain and bar by Oregon, which can be used to cut through most materials with just one stroke. It’s made to be used for both landscaping and construction applications; for example, you can use it to trim and prune trees, saw through thin logs, and cut down thin trees, or you could use it to cut through wood beams on construction sites.
- Quiet operation
- No need to mix oil
- Can be used in a variety of applications
- Fast-moving, durable chain
- Minimal kickback
- Offers the utmost in safety, including a chain guard and an automatic chain brake
- Short battery recharge time
- Self-lubricating and self-adjusting tension
- Lightweight, ergonomic design
- While the automatic chain brake adds to the security, it tends to be very sensitive
- The battery can be tricky to remove
You can read our full review of the Dewalt DCCS670X1 right here.
The chain on this saw is self-lubricating, which means that you don’t have to worry about extensive maintenance. All you have to do is fill the oil reservoir (which is easy to do), start it up, and it’s ready to get to work. Furthermore, this saw boasts automatic tensioning and bar tightening, which makes it even easier to use. Weighing in at just over 12 pounds, this chainsaw is lightweight and can easily be used by anyone. It also features an ergonomic design, which makes it extremely comfortable to use.
When it comes to your safety, this chainsaw has got you covered. It features a well-constructed chain guard that will make you feel super secure while you are operating it. To add to the safety, it’s outfitted with a low kickback chain and bar, as well as a chain brake, which will shield you in the event that any kickback is ever experienced.
What really stands out about the DCCS670X1 chainsaw from DeWalt from other cordless electric chainsaws is the 60-volt Flexvolt battery. This technology is unique to DeWalt and uses batteries that are specially designed to change voltages from 20 volts to 60 volts, depending on the voltage requirements of the tool.
- 16 inch Oregon bar and chain
- 60-volt lithium ion, 3.0 AH battery
- 2 pounds
- Automatic chain oiling system
- Automatic chain tensioning system
- Ergonomic design
- Low kickback chain
- Automatic chain brake
- Trigger lock
Black and Decker LCS1020 Chainsaw
If you’re looking for a simple tool that can be used for quick cleanups of small landscaping jobs, the Black and Decker 10-Inch LCS1020 20 Volt Max Lithium Ion Chainsaw is a great option. It’s extremely lightweight and compact in size, making it an ideal tool for those jobs small jobs, like trimming wayward branches and pruning. Black and Decker are one of the most trusted names in the power tool industry, and this chainsaw certainly lives up to the company’s reputation. It can take on small logs that are 10 inches in diameter or smaller with ease. And since it has such a lightweight and compact design, it is easy to maneuver around bushes and trees that are situated in odd positions.
- Lightweight and compact design
- Excellent maneuverability
- Long-lasting 20-volt MAX lithium ion battery
- Quick recharge time
- Low kickback bar and chain by Oregon
- Cuts quickly and smoothly
- Automatic tensioning system
- It can’t take on heavy duty jobs; it’s only intended to be used for smaller cutting applications
- Some users have complained about oil leaks as a result of the oil plug coming lose
You can read our review of the Black & Decker LCS1020 right here.
This chainsaw is outfitted with a 10 inch premium low kickback bar and chain from Oregon. It also boasts an automatic blade tensioning system, which allows for quick and easy adjustments. The wrap around bale handle makes this power tool comfortable to hold and easy to control. Powered by a 20-volt MAX lithium ion battery, this chainsaw has a long run time and stays charged for up to five times longer than similar chainsaws. It also is equipped with an advanced automatic oiling system, which features a see-through window so you can see when the oil needs to be added. When oil needs to be added, just pop open the plug, pour in the oil, start up the tool, and it will lubricate itself.
- 2 pounds
- Compact size
- Low kickback 10 inch Oregon bar and chain
- Automatic tensioning system
- The automatic chain oiling system
- 20-volt MAX lithium ion battery
WEN 40417 Chainsaw
To round off our list of the best electric chainsaws, we feature the WEN 40417 40 Volt MAX Lithium Ion 16 Inch Brushless Chainsaw. WEN may not be as well-known as some of the other brands mentioned on this list, but that doesn’t mean that this manufacturer does not output high-quality products. In fact, it boasts some impressive features that make it one of the best cordless electric chainsaws on the market.
- Self-lubricating system
- The automatic chain adjusting system
- Lightweight and compact design
- Thee brushless motor reduces torque and elongates the battery life – as well as the life of the power tool – improving the overall efficiency of this chainsaw
- An emergency chain brake and safety offers added security
- It cannot tackle heavy duty jobs
- Some users reported that it was difficult to release the battery
You can read our full review of the Wen 40417 chainsaw right here.
This chainsaw is outfitted with a 16-inch bar and chain by Oregon, which runs at speeds that can reach up to an impressive 49 feet per second. Thanks to the brushless motor, which reduces torque and improves the battery life, and extends the overall life of this power tool, you can have confidence knowing that you will be making a sound investment. The durable teeth make smooth, quick cuts and can take on branches and logs that are up to 12 inches in diameter; however, for maximum performance, it is recommended that you stick to using it to saw through items that do not exceed 10 inches in diameter.
This electric cordless chainsaw from WEN is powered by a 40-volt lithium ion battery that holds its charge for a long time. It also recharges quickly, so you won’t have to wait a long time to get back up and running. The compact, lightweight design makes it easy to use virtually anywhere and in any application. And, since it is outfitted with a self-lubricating and automatic chain adjusting system, it requires minimal maintenance.
- 12-pound design
- Automatic chain tensioning wheel
- Automatic chain lubrication system
- 40 volt, 4 AMP hour battery life
- 16 inch Oregon bar and chain
- Quiet operation
Features to Consider
A chainsaw is a serious investment. Not only do you want to ensure that you are purchasing a tool that will meet your needs and is easy to operate, but you also want to make sure that the chainsaw you pick is safe and durable. While chainsaws can simplify a variety of tasks, they have to work with extreme precision to reduce the chances of injuries.
With all of that said, if you want to find an electric cordless chainsaw that you can rely on, you’ll want to consider a model that offers the following features:
- Tool-Less Chain Tensioning. The entire point of using an electric cordless chainsaw is the ease of use that it provides. If you have to deal with complex chain tensioning that involves the use of tools, the ease of using this tool can be minimized. With tool-less chain tensioning, you can automatically adjust the tension on the chain by simply turning a knob. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
- Current Limiter. A current limiter provides circuit protection, which reduces the power when the chainsaw is overloaded, thus preventing the motor from burning out. This protects the tool, as well as the user, making it a valuable safety feature.
- Low Kickback Bar and Chains. Kickback occurs when the saw guide on a chainsaw suddenly moves in an upward fashion. This can happen when the tip of the guide bar hits into an object, or when the object that is being sawed through closes onto the chain and pinches it in the middle of making a cut. Kickback can lead to serious injuries, which is why many manufacturers offer chains and blades that are designed to provide low kickback, making this another valuable safety feature to consider.
- Safety mechanisms. In addition to a current limiter and a low kickback bar and chain, you should also consider other safety features, such as automatic chain brakes.
- Electronic Protection System. This is another important safety feature to consider, as it will help prevent the chainsaw from becoming overcharged and causing damage and injuries.
- Guide bar. A guide bar is a fundamental component of a chainsaw. The chain rotates around this bar, allowing it to make cuts. Make sure you choose a chainsaw that features a guide bar that is made of durable materials and has a length that will meet your needs.
Cordless Electric Chainsaws vs Corded Electric Chainsaws
There are two types of electric chainsaws: Cordless and corded. Both are powered by electrical current, with the main difference being that cordless models are powered by a battery and corded models rely on a power cord and an electrical outlet to operate.
Both do offer advantages and disadvantages, including the following:
Cordless Electric Chainsaws
- No need to worry about a power cord
- When the battery power is depleted, it has to be recharged before it can be used again.
Corded Electric Chainsaws
- You have access to a constant supply of power
- The cord can limit your mobility and can become a safety hazard
Electric Chainsaws vs Gasoline Chainsaws
There are two main types of chainsaws: electric and gasoline. Electric chainsaws are powered by electricity either via a power cord or a battery, while a gasoline chainsaw is powered by, you guess it, gas.
Both varieties offer pros and cons, including the following:
- Lightweight and easier to operate
- Quieter operation
- Generally easier to maintain
- No odor
- Compared to gasoline powered saws, their power is limited and can only generally only be used for light-duty work, such as pruning trees or removing limbs
- More powerful motors, which means they can be used for heavy duty applications, such as sawing down large trees.
- Heavier and more difficult to control
- Require more maintenance
- Creates an odor
In this section, we offer answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that people have about electric chainsaws.
Q: Can I use any extension cord with an electric chainsaw?
A: No. You must use an appropriately gauged extension cord for a corded electric saw, such as a 16 gauge outdoor cord. You also want to ensure that you are using the proper length cord to reach the area you will be working in. To ensure you are using the proper extension cord, make sure you check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Q: Do all electric chainsaws require oil to work?
A: Yes. The oil lubricates the bar and the chain, reducing friction and ensuring proper function.
Q: What is a kickback bar?
A: A kickback bar reduces the chances of the tool – and the user – from being affected by kickback during operation.
Q: What safety gear do I need?
A: It’s always wise to wear the proper safety gear while operating an electric chainsaw. At the very least, protective eyewear should be worn; however, to maximize your safety, it is also a wise idea to wear a hardhat, gloves that are made of durable material that can prevent cuts and feature grips on the palms, and heavy-duty safety boots.
Q: What can electric chainsaws cut through?
A: It depends on the specific electric chainsaw you are using, the power it offers, and the size of the chain and the bar, as well as the construction of the teeth. For example, a cordless electric chainsaw with an 80 volt battery can be used in heavier applications than one that is powered by a 20 volt battery. With that being said, generally speaking, these tools are usually designed to be used for light to medium sawing, such as pruning, removing tree limbs, and sawing through logs that are thin to medium in thickness. Make sure to check the specifications of your electric chainsaw to find out what you can safely use it to saw through.
Q: How do I tension a chainsaw?
A: Tensioning the chain on a saw is important, as it ensures safe and effective operation. If the chain is too tight, it will increase the friction and rapidly deplete the power. If it’s too loose, it can cause serious injuries. To tension a chainsaw, you’ll need to determine if the tension has to be increased or decreased. You can do this by measuring the tension via a “snap test”; use your fingers to pull the chain out along the upper middle portion of the bar, lift the chain from the bar, and then release it. If it’s tensioned properly, the chain will snap right back into place without sagging; if there is any sagging, it needs to be tensioned tighter. However, if it is difficult to pull out, it needs to be loosened. To adjust the tension, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and make sure that you exercise extreme caution. To the job easier, opt for an electric chainsaw that features a toll-less tensioning system. With this system, all you need to do is adjust the knob on the chainsaw to adjust the tension and get the perfect fit for the chain.