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One of the most versatile tools in any home garage or contractor’s toolshed is a chainsaw. These saws are extraordinarily effective at cutting through trees and branches, making quick work of trees that otherwise would take hours to cut. Of course, if you’re planning to work in your yard far from your home’s electrical outlets, there’s no substitute for having a cordless chainsaw powered by either gasoline or a battery.
Finding the best cordless chainsaw can be hard given how many are on the market today. We considered a number of features to help you find the best one. We looked at the engine type – battery- or gas-powered – since that makes a huge difference in the chainsaw power and maintenance. We also looked at chain speed and bar length, both of which dramatically impact the saw’s performance on tough, thick trees. Finally, we looked at the battery or fuel capacity, the weight, and the length of the warranty on various chainsaws.
We spent tens of hours poring over customer reviews and technical specifications for the most popular cordless chainsaws, and the result is our picks of the 12 best cordless chainsaws you can buy in the table below. Continue reading for detailed reviews of each saw, complete with pros and cons. Our Buying Guide covers everything you need to know about choosing the cordless chainsaw that is right for your needs, with special attention to the different types of cordless chainsaws and why cordless can be better depending on your planned uses. Finally, we announce our three overall favorite saws.
More features: anti-vibration handle, automatic oiler, spring assist starting
Users rave about this powerful and versatile chainsaw from Makita. The 42cc gasoline-powered engine provides a tremendous amount of power for cutting through medium-sized tree trunks, while the 16-inch guide bar is not too long to be handy for trimming and limbing branches. This chainsaw also has one of the fastest rotation speeds of any chainsaw we reviewed, which reduces the frequency with which it kicks back. Even more impressive, the chainsaw weighs in at only 11 pounds – users note that it is surprisingly lightweight and easy to handle given the amount of power it packs.
The chainsaw is packed with modern features to make your yard work safer and easier. Makita added a spring-assisted starter to make it simple to start with the pull-cord, and users found that it starts reliably even in cold weather. The handle is designed to minimize vibrations, but more importantly users are quick to point out that this saw is immaculately balanced. The chainsaw also features an automatic oiler that keeps the chain and bar lubricated to extend the life of your chain and make cuts smoother, as well as tool-less tensioning so you can ensure that the chain and bar are adjusted for proper performance. On top of all that, the chainsaw has an inertial chain braking system that adds a level of protection for you when using the saw.
Makita offers a three-year limited warranty, which is competitive with many of the comparable saws that we reviewed.
More features: 3.49-HP X-Torq engine, LowVib anti-vibration system, side-mounted tensioning system, quick-release air filter
If you’re looking for a cordless chainsaw with professional features, the Husqvarna 455R is fantastic. The 20-inch rancher chainsaw can be used for professional land clearing and tree work. It is also fitted with a powerful 3.49-HP X-Torq engine, making it more efficient with fuel and gasoline emissions.
The Husqvarna 455R is an upgrade from the Husqvarna 450R, which has a lower bar length of 18-inch. Both chainsaws feature a side-mounted tensioning system that makes it easy to adjust the settings while working and a LowVib anti-vibration system. But, the 455R is more powerful in carrying out heavy-duty and rugged work. It has a more powerful engine to drive your professional tree work. The 455R is best for those who want to do heavy-duty work with a cordless chainsaw.
What we liked:
Highly efficient with fuel consumption
Reduces gasoline emissions
Automatic oiler and quick-release air filter for easy use and cleaning
Warranty: 5-year limited warranty on parts, 3-year limited warranty on battery
More features: weather-resistant construction, chain kickback brake
This battery-powered chainsaw from EGO Power+ is a versatile choice for anyone who wants to ditch the traditional gasoline engine and the maintenance and fuel costs that come with it. The chainsaw has a relatively small 14-inch guide bar and is paired with a low-capacity 2.05 amp-hour battery, which users found is roughly equivalent to a 50cc gasoline engine – good for small trees and any size of tree limbs.
Given the small size, this chainsaw is surprisingly heavy, but users did not mind thanks to the ergonomic handle design. Users appreciated the weather-resistant construction and easy electronic push-button start that allows the chainsaw to be used in summer and winter alike. Plus, the chainsaw comes with a chain kickback brake that vastly improves safety for beginner chainsaw users who have not handled kickback from large chainsaws before.
The 56V lithium-ion battery is rated for up to 80 cuts, although users found it could be somewhat less than this when cutting through difficult limbs and trunks. The brushless motor helps to improve the efficiency of the battery as well as limits the noise that the saw puts out.
EGO Power+ offers an extremely impressive five-year warranty on the chainsaw itself and a three-year warranty on the battery. Note that some users found that the saw has assembly issues in the automatic oiler or defects that prevented it from starting, but that they found that EGO Power+ was relatively easy to work with when calling in the warranty.
What we liked:
Small chainsaw good for beginners
Quiet brushless motor
What could be better:
Manufacturing defects common, especially with automatic oiler
Warranty: 4 years consumer limited warranty, 90 days commercial warranty
More features: steel bucking spikes, electronic chain brake, automatic oiler
This small and lightweight battery-powered chainsaw from Greenworks is hard to beat when it comes to portability and noise. The chainsaw weighs in at just 10 pounds, making it the lightest chainsaw in our review, and is built around a quiet brushless motor that won’t annoy your neighbors every time you take the chainsaw out.
The battery in this saw is not particularly powerful, with a capacity of two amp-hours, but it makes up for that in its capacity – the lithium-ion battery holds 80V, far beyond any other battery-powered saw we reviewed. Greenworks rates the battery for 160 cuts, while users found that it lasts closer to 80-100 cuts on a single charge, although this is still plenty for most urban and suburban users. In addition, the battery charges in just 30 minutes, so you can grab some water and food and be back to work in no time or purchase a second interchangeable battery and have no downtime at all.
Users found that while this chainsaw is not incredibly powerful, it offers plenty of power to cut through large tree limbs as well as small tree trunks – perfect for yard cleanup. Users agree with the manufacturer’s claim that it is equivalent to a 45cc gasoline engine. The chainsaw has an automatic oiler to keep the chain running smoothly, as well as an electronic chain brake for safety.
Greenworks offers a four-year warranty for household users in addition to a 90-day money-back guarantee.
More features: spin start, quick-release snap-locked cylinder covers air filter
This cordless gas-powered chainsaw from Jonsered is an all-around performer, good for everything from limbing to cutting down small trees to powering through a cord of firewood. The 50cc engine may seem to lack in power compared to some of the burlier engines we reviewed, but don’t let that turn you off of this chainsaw – it packs plenty of punch to get through most trees you’re likely to encounter in your yard. The 18-inch guide bar is at the upper limit of what beginners will find suitable to handle, but users note that this chainsaw is relatively light and well-balanced to make it easier to wield for extended use.
The gas tank on this chainsaw is somewhat small at only 15 ounces, so expect to carry a gas tank with you and to stop frequently to refill the tank. That said, Jonsered equipped the motor with clean energy technology so that it puts out less gasoline fumes and uses gas more economically compared to similar saws. Users also loved the pull-cord starter, which almost invariably starts the motor on the first pull every time thanks to the added spin starter. Users also appreciated how easy it is to access the air filter on this chainsaw thanks to the snap-locked cover.
Jonsered offers a two-year limited warranty on this chainsaw, which is in line with the modest price. In any case, users found that it holds up extremely well over multiple years of household use.
Battery/fuel capacity: 40V max lithium ion battery
Weight: 12 lbs
Warranty: 3 years consumer warranty on tools, 2 years on battery, 2 years commercial warranty on tools and battery
More features: tool-less tension system, automatic oiler, 90 min charge time, self-sharpening chainsaw
This battery-powered chainsaw from Oregon offers a number of unique, modern features that make it a favorite among users. Most important is the onboard chain sharpener, which allows you to sharpen the chain while running the saw motor with the pull of a lever on the saw body. (Note that this requires a specific, slightly more expensive chain from Oregon.) The saw also features a panel in front of the top grab bar that allows you to monitor how the saw is performing, although some users felt this was in the way of seeing their work. Users also appreciated the tool-less tensioning system for quickly re-tensioning chains over the course of a long cutting day and the automatic oiler for keeping the chain from collecting dust.
The battery on this saw is quite impressive, offering six amp-hours of power delivery to a brushless motor so that this saw can compete with smaller gasoline-powered saws when it comes to burliness and produces nowhere near the same level of noise. The battery capacity is only rated for 40V, but Oregon – and users – note that this is plenty of power for up to 600 cuts. The battery has a relatively long 90 minute charge time, however, so it can be annoying to work with this saw over a large area of trees and have to stop in the middle of your work.
Oregon offers a three-year warranty on the body of the saw and a two-year warranty on the battery.
Warranty: 30 days return policy, 1 year limited warranty
More features: heavy-duty air filter, automatic half-throttle and fully electronic ignition, vibration dampening system, automatic oiler
For users who are going after big trees – the kind found deep in the woods on rural properties, or the massive long-lived trees found around suburban homes – there is no chainsaw better equipped for the job than this 32-inch chainsaw from Makita. The saw is equipped with a massive 79cc motor that spins at 12,800 rpm, so it is lacking in neither the diameter nor the power to cut through tree trunks that you can’t get your arms around. Users were impressed most of all by the weight of this saw – at 18 pounds, it is significantly heavier than any of the smaller saws we reviewed, but is still extremely easy to transport and wield.
The saw has some important adaptations to help accommodate the large engine, including a 25-ounce gas tank – users note, as you might expect, that this chainsaw guzzles gasoline compared to smaller models. The chainsaw has a heavy-duty air filter as well as an automatic oiler to keep it running smoothly during long cuts. Helpfully, the chainsaw has a fully electronic ignition so that there’s no need to fight against a pull-cord starter, and the chainsaw automatically cuts to half throttle when needed. The handle is also designed to dampen vibrations to make holding the saw less tiring, which users appreciated.
Makita’s warranty on this chainsaw is relatively limited for the high price at only one year, but the saw comes with a 30-day return policy in case it turns out to exceed your needs.
What we liked:
32-inch guide bar and 79cc motor
Impressive portability for size
What could be better:
Short one-year warranty
Can be difficult for less experienced users to handle
Battery/fuel capacity: 40V max lithium ion battery
Weight: 13.3 lbs
Warranty: 3 years limited warranty, 1 year free service, 90 day money back guarantee
More features: chain brake, auto-oiling with and for continuous lubrication, tool-free chain tensioning
If you live in a urban or suburban neighborhood and are worried about noise complaints from the neighbors, look no further than this electric chainsaw from Dewalt. The chainsaw is built around a brushless motor that helps to minimize the noise it produces, but with a 16-inch guide bar and a 7.5 amp-hour battery this chainsaw does not compromise on performance. Users reported using it for limbing as well as cutting through the trunks of moderately sized trees and had few issues with kickbacks or sticking.
The 40V lithium-ion battery provides excellent runtime, helped by the efficiency of the brushless motor – users reported that the battery can continue working after more than an hour of nearly continuous use. The chainsaw uses an electronic push-button start, which makes it easy to get going, and thanks to the inertial chain brake the chain stops nearly immediately upon releasing the trigger.
Users found that the chain is somewhat narrow and requires frequent tightening, although the tool-less tension and bar clamp knobs make this task significantly easier. Left-handed users had some issues reaching the safety, since it is on the left-side of the handle, but otherwise users found that the handle is comfortable and easy to wield. Although the chainsaw is somewhat heavy, it is also well-balanced for making cuts.
Dewalt offers an impressive warranty policy on this chainsaw, especially given the moderate price – three years, with one year of free service and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
What we liked:
Long battery runtime
Extremely quiet with brushless motor
Inertial chain brake for safety
Three-year warranty with 90-day money-back guarantee
Warranty: 30-day money back guarantee, 2 year limited consumer warranty
More features: automatic chain lubrication and auto-tension system
For homeowners looking primarily to cut tree branches rather than fell entire trees, it is well worth considering a cordless pole chainsaw rather than a standard handheld chainsaw. This battery-powered two-in-one pole chainsaw from Worx offers much the same performance as similar electric chainsaws from Greenworks and EGO Power+, with the main difference being that it can be mounted on the end of a 10-foot pole so that you can easily reach high-up branches and other debris stuck in a tree. Users found that although the pole-mounted chainsaw may look unwieldy, the light weight of the chainsaw – just over 10 pounds – makes it relatively easy to control when cutting a difficult branch from the ground. Plus, the saw can be detached from the pole when you want to use it as a handheld chainsaw, although most users noted that it is not a replacement for a primary chainsaw due to the very small 10-inch guide bar.
The chainsaw is built around a two amp-hour battery, offering much the same power delivery as several of the other electric chainsaws we reviewed. The 20V battery is somewhat small and requires frequent charging, although this was not an issue for the majority of users since cutting branches and tree limbs does not require nearly as much runtime as cutting through a tree trunk.
The chainsaw itself is designed with an automatic oiler – helpful since it is difficult to access the chain when cutting – as well as an easy tool-less tensioning system to use between cuts. Worx offers a 30-day money-back guarantee as well as a two-year warranty.
What we liked:
Pole chainsaw design makes it easy to cut branches
Well-balanced design and lightweight
Chainsaw can be detached from pole
What could be better:
Small battery capacity
10-inch guide bar is not very useful as a standalone chainsaw
More features: LowVib vibration dampening, choke/stop control, centrifugal air cleaning system
Husqvarna is one of the most vaunted names in chainsaws, and this cordless gas-powered chainsaw lives up to their reputation. The chainsaw sports a burly 50cc engine to support an 18-inch guide bar and a chain speed of 9,600 RPM, which users found all together is more than enough power to work away at large tree trunks. At the same time, at just over 11 pounds, this chainsaw is easy to transport and wield – making it an ideal combination for rural landowners working over a large area in their yard. The 15-ounce gas tank is also large enough to keep the chainsaw running for over an hour without having to change refuel.
The chainsaw is equipped with a number of user-friendly and safety features, including Husqvarna’s LowVib vibration dampening system – users loved this for how easy it made holding the chainsaw while making extended cuts. The chainsaw also has a choke control to help you get it started, as well as an inertial chain brake to protect you in the event of an accident. The engine is also fuel efficient and CARB compliant, so you won’t be breathing in smoke fumes as you cut.
Husqvarna offers a two-year warranty, which can be easily extended to four years by purchasing a pre-made fuel mix and registering your chainsaw. However, note that users had to jump through hoops, such as cleaning the interior of the chainsaw, when reporting issues to the manufacturer and manufacturing defects were not uncommon with this chainsaw.
More features: low-kickback chain, cushion wrap handle, heavy-duty carrying case included, 5-point anti-vibration system, automatic oiler
For homeowners on a budget or who only plan to use a chainsaw once in a blue moon, it’s hard to find a better chainsaw for a rock-bottom price than this model from Remington. The chainsaw boasts many of the same specifications as chainsaws that cost twice as much – including the 46cc gasoline-powered engine and a 20-inch guide bar. The main difference is that it is much less portable since it weighs in at 16.6 pounds and has a massive 22-ounce fuel tank that can be very heavy when filled. Plus, the engine is not very fuel efficient compared to other chainsaws and can produce a significant amount of noise and fumes. Users also note that the pull-cord start can be difficult to activate from cold and the chainsaw can overheat when cutting through tree trunks, both of which could make this chainsaw somewhat frustrating for beginners to use.
Those drawbacks aside, users loved the design of this inexpensive chainsaw. The chainsaw comes with a chain designed to reduce kickback, as well as places emphasis on keeping your hands comfortable while cutting with a cushion wrap handle and a five-point anti-vibration system. The chainsaw also has an automatic oiler and a metal-anchored chain brake to keep the chainsaw running smoothly and safely.
Remington also provides a carrying and storage case with this chainsaw, which is extremely impressive given the low price. The chainsaw comes with a two-year warranty to protect against any defects.
What we liked:
Comfortable to hold thanks to anti-vibration system
Warranty: 5 years consumer warranty, 1 year commercial warranty
More features: heavy-duty, easy access air filter, clutch-driven oiler, digital ignition system
For the professional landscaper or tree cutter looking for a powerful chainsaw that can do a little bit of everything, it’s hard to beat this versatile 20-inch saw from Echo. The chainsaw is built with a massive 60cc engine, which provides enough power to cut through nearly any large tree you might encounter. The saw features an extra large 19-ounce gas tank to match its power, so you also won’t be stopping to refill the gas tank every few minutes. The saw is somewhat on the heavy side, but users note that it is well-balanced and love how easily it cuts through trees that smaller chainsaws struggle with.
Professionals especially loved the safety features on this chainsaw, since accidents are bound to happen over the course of a career wielding chainsaws. In testing, this chainsaw was found to have one of the most effective chain brakes of any saw on the market, and users offer personal stories about the chain catcher saving them from dangerous situations when poorly tensioned chains have broken in the past.
This professional chainsaw is extremely durable thanks to the specialized air filtration system and the automatic oiler. The latter is driven by the clutch rather than the motor itself in order to reduce oil use, which also means less stopping to refill the oil. The main downside for professional users of this saw is that the chainsaw only has a one-year warranty for commercial use, whereas Echo offers a five-year warranty for household users.
What we liked:
Powerful 60cc engine and 20-inch bar
Excellent chain catcher and chain brake
What could be better:
Only one-year warranty for professional use
Things to Consider
Now that you’ve read more about our 11 favorite cordless chainsaws on the market today, how do you choose between them to get the saw that is right for you? In our Buying Guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about why a cordless chainsaw may be a good option for you, how to use your saw safely, and what features you need to consider when choosing a cordless chainsaw.
Pros and cons of a cordless chainsaw
Cordless chainsaws may be popular, but are they necessarily the type of chainsaw you need for your yard work? We’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons of cordless chainsaws compared to traditional corded chainsaws.
The major advantage that cordless chainsaws have over corded chainsaws is that they are more portable. While you could use an extension cord with a corded chainsaw for trees that aren’t too far from your house’s wall outlets, there is a limit to how far you can carry your chainsaw this way. With a corded chainsaw, beyond that point you also need to carry a generator and gasoline. A cordless chainsaw solves this by allowing you to cut anywhere on your property without worrying about an outlet.
The other advantage to a cordless chainsaw is that you can use them if the power grid is down. That may sound like something you don’t need right now, but if you want to use your chainsaw for cleaning up damaged trees after a big storm and before the power comes back on, it can make a big difference.
The major downside to cordless chainsaws compared to corded chainsaws is that they have limited runtimes. Although manufacturers have made significant strides in battery technology, incorporating lithium-ion batteries into their chainsaws, these batteries are still relatively limited compared to simply plugging into your home’s electrical grid. Gasoline-powered chainsaws are also limited, although if you are carrying a gas tank with you this may not be a major issue.
The other con to opting for a cordless chainsaw is that they often do not match the power of a corded chainsaw. This is especially true for battery-powered chainsaws, which often have a tough time sawing through extremely large tree trunks. Wall-powered chainsaws, on the other hand, have access to a full 110V of consistent power to engage a more powerful engine.
Finally, cordless chainsaws tend to be heavier since they have either a bulky gasoline-powered engine or a large battery on the saw itself. This can hamper their portability, although they remain much more portable than a corded chainsaw.
Safety is everything
There’s no way around it – chainsaws are dangerous tools. When you are operating them, there is necessarily no cover over the blade as there is on many workshop styles of saws, and they are infamous for kicking when they catch on difficult pieces of wood hidden within the trunk of a tree. Plus, the tree that you are cutting can in itself be dangerous if you are not careful in the way that you cut.
Thankfully, there are some steps that you can take to keep yourself safe when using your chainsaw. Always wear appropriate clothing, including hard-toed boots in case the saw is dropped, protective eyewear in case of thrown wood chips, and gloves to protect your hands from any debris. Many chainsaw manufacturers also offer safety equipment, such as a hard hat from Oregon, protective gloves from Husqvarna, and a safety suit from Forester.
It’s also important to maintain your saw. While many saws have mechanisms in place to prevent a broken chain from kicking back at you, the best defense against this danger is to keep your chain sharpened and to replace your chain as soon as it shows signs of wear.
If you are new to using a chainsaw, strongly consider taking a chainsaw safety course. Many towns and hardware store offer these courses to improve chainsaw safety and allow the exchange of experiences. Whenever you are in doubt about a project, also consider hiring an expert for that part of the work – better to be safe than risk an accident making cuts that you are not comfortable with.
No kickback zone
One of the infamous dangers of chainsaws is kickback – a phenomenon in which the saw jerks violently up and towards the operator in the middle of a cut. Kickback can be quite dangerous, especially if the jerking motion happens at a moment when you are not ready for it.
Kickback is typically caused by one of two things: either the guide bar comes in contact with a solid object that the chain cannot cut through during a cut, or the guide bar and chain get pinched by a tree shifting balance or the wood expanding after a cut.
To avoid kickback, there are several precautions you can take. Be sure to always operate the saw at full power when making cuts and never cut more than one piece of wood at a time. Also be sure not to cut wood that has solid metal inside of it, such as wood that has had nails hammered into it. Keep your chain sharpened and avoid touching it to the ground, since dirt and silt can rapidly blunt your saw blade. For larger projects or for wood where you think kickback is likely to be an issue, you can also invest in a chain that is specifically designed to reduce kickback.
How will you be using a cordless chainsaw?
When considering what cordless chainsaw is right for you, before even thinking about the features that you want you need to consider how you plan to use the chainsaw and how comfortable you feel wielding it.
If you are a homeowner who only plans to use the chainsaw occasionally, for example for spring and fall cleanups around the yard, it is well worth investing in an electric rather than a gasoline chainsaw since they require less maintenance and don’t require keeping a tank of fresh gas around the house. On the other hand, a landscaper or contractor will want to choose a gas-powered chainsaw since it sports a larger engine that is better able to cut through large tree trunks. If you plan to use the chainsaw mostly for cutting branches, and especially hard to reach branches, it can also be worth looking into a pole chainsaw.
You also need to consider your own physical abilities and experience with a chainsaw. Wielding a chainsaw and being able to hold it safely in the event of kickback can be hard work, and not everyone has the upper body strength to manage this. If you are worried about your ability to support the chainsaw, it is typically better to opt for a battery-powered chainsaw since they have less power to get yourself in trouble with.
How will you ‘‘feed’’ your cordless chainsaw?
When it comes to choosing a cordless chainsaw, one of the main decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want a battery-powered or gas-powered chainsaw. To help you decide which is right for you, here we’ll cover some of the pros and cons of each of these different power types.
Gas-powered chainsaws are typically the most powerful type of chainsaw you can choose when it comes to the cordless style. If you plan to cut through moderate to large diameter tree trunks, or even very large branches, there is no question that a gas-powered chainsaw will be the best choice for you.
The power of these engines is measured in cubic centimeters, with most homeowners choosing gas-powered chainsaws ranging from a relatively lightweight 24cc to a burly 46cc motor. Note that when choosing powerful gas-powered chainsaws that great safety responsibility comes with the greater power and these are not necessarily best for everyone.
The power of gas-powered motors does come with a few drawbacks. First, powering your chainsaw requires keeping gasoline around the house – which also means going out to buy relatively expensive fresh gasoline every time you want to use your chainsaw since stale gas can quickly destroy the motor. For homeowners who only use their chainsaw infrequently, this can be a major impediment to getting spring and fall yard cleaning going on a whim when you find yourself with unexpected free time.
Gas-powered chainsaws also require much more maintenance of the engines, which can be difficult for many homeowners to keep up with. However, this maintenance can also be an advantage for those who like to tinker with motors.
Electric chainsaws are typically powered by batteries and can be a mixed blessing for homeowners who only occasionally need a chainsaw. On the one hand, electrical chainsaws do not require the maintenance or constant gasoline supply of gasoline-powered chainsaws, which introduces a significance convenience factor into using them. On the other hand, most cordless electric chainsaws lack the power necessary to cut through thick tree trunks and are better suited for small yard cleanup projects like heavy pruning and cutting branches.
Another major advantage to battery-powered chainsaws is that they are much quieter than gasoline-powered chainsaws. For those that live in tightly spaced suburban or urban communities, this can go a long way towards keeping your neighbors from complaining about your yard work.
The problem with battery-powered chainsaws is, of course, the battery itself. While numerous manufacturers have improved their batteries to take advantage of lithium-ion and other new battery technologies, batteries still remain limited in the amount of power they can provide and the amount of time that they will run the chainsaw before dying. However, large 56 and 80V batteries like those found on the EGO Power+ and Greenworks chainsaws, respectively, can allow upwards of 50-100 cuts – enough for many homeowners to cover their entire yard for routine branch clearing and pruning before needing to stop and recharge.
A few words on the pole chainsaw
While most people envision the standard handheld chainsaw when they set out looking for a cordless chainsaw, it’s important not to forget about pole chainsaws – for many homeowners, they can either supplement a handheld chainsaw or even become your primary chainsaw for clearing branches. Plus, pole chainsaws share many of the same features and principles in common with handheld chainsaws, so it is worth considering them in your same search for the perfect chainsaw.
Pole chainsaws are essentially small chainsaws attached to the end of metal poles, with the pole sitting between the guide bar and the power head or engine. These chainsaws can make it much safer to trim hard to reach branches located high in a tree without having to climb and stand on a ladder while operating a handheld chainsaw. Unless you have some extremely tall tree branches that you need to cut, a pole chainsaw will allow you to stand firmly on the ground and reach most of what you need to get at. They can also make it possible to cut some difficult to access branches that you would otherwise need to hire a professional landscaper to climb up and cut.
Pole chainsaws typically reach between six and 20 feet, although it can be more or less depending on the model – for example, the Worx electric pole chainsaw is extendable up to 10 feet. Whenever using a pole chainsaw, many of the same safety rules apply and it is important to add a hard hat into your required safety attire.
Features to consider while choosing the perfect cordless chainsaw
There are a number of features that differentiate cordless chainsaws from one another and make them better for different purposes and different types of users. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the most important features of cordless chainsaws and explain how these features can affect your choice of chainsaw.
The size of different cordless chainsaws is related to the type of engine they use, the length of the guide bar, and the battery or fuel capacity. Larger chainsaws can be somewhat difficult for beginner users to get a handle on, especially if they experience kickback, but they typically offer more power for heavy-duty cutting work like cutting through tree trunks. Smaller cordless chainsaws are more portable and typically easier for beginners to handle, but may be more limited to cutting branches and pruning work.
The length of the guide bar is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when choosing your perfect chainsaw and can dramatically impact the performance of the chainsaw for different purposes. In fact, different guide bar lengths are often recommended for different purposes. Pruning chainsaws can have guide bars less than 12 inches long, while guide bars from 12 to 16 inches long – like found on the chainsaws from EGO Power+, Dewalt, and Oregon – are more versatile and can be used for trimming, limbing, and cutting the trunks of small trees. Larger guide bars, like the 20-inch bar on the Remington chainsaw or the 32-inch bar on the Makita chainsaw, are better suited for cutting through the trunks of large trees or for bucking.
Also note that your choice of guide bar length can affect how easy it is to handle your saw. Smaller guide bars – those less than 18 inches – are typically recommended for beginning chainsaw users since they are easier to control in the event of kickback, whereas chainsaws with guide bars longer than 18 inches are typically restricted to experienced landscapers. In general, it is best to choose a chainsaw with the smallest bar length that will suit your needs.
When it comes to battery-powered cordless chainsaws, the construction of the motor is important to consider. Traditional electric chainsaw motors were designed with brushes, but the majority of modern battery-powered chainsaws, like the Greenworks chainsaw, use brushless motors. These motors are more efficient in their battery consumption than brushed motors, as well as require less maintenance over time and are more durable. Brushless motors also have the advantage that they run somewhat more quietly than brushed motors, although electric chainsaws are already quite quiet compared to gasoline-power chainsaws.
If you opt for a battery-powered cordless chainsaw, be sure to pay close attention to the battery that powers it. Batteries range in their capacity from 20V on the Worx chainsaw to as much as 80V on the Greenworks chainsaw – and the two chainsaws last for correspondingly different amounts of cuts. This is especially important if you’re planning to work over a large area that is nearly certain to exhaust the battery or if you are working far from the house, where recharging the battery will be tedious.
It’s also important to look at the discharge capacity of the battery, since this affects the power that the battery can output to the chainsaw. Chainsaw batteries are considered to be high capacity when they are rated to provide at least six amps of current to the motor continuously for an hour or more. Although there are batteries rated for as much as nine amp-hours, these are typically limited to professional cordless chainsaws – the highest capacity battery among chainsaws that we reviewed was the 2.05 amp-hour battery found in the EGO Power+ chainsaw. Note also that the higher the amperage of the battery, the more quickly it will be exhausted since it is drawing more power more quickly.
All of the chainsaws we reviewed – with the exception of the pole chainsaw from Worx chainsaw – uses the traditional rear handle design. This style of handle is designed for any chainsaw work that takes place while you have your feet on the ground, in contrast to top style handles that are designed to be used by professionals only while they are climbing a tree or suspended from a harness.
When it comes to looking at rear chainsaw handles, you want to make sure that the handle is comfortable in your hand and provides plenty of grip on the chainsaw. All of the rear handle designs that we reviewed also include a handle on the top of the chainsaw, to be used with your second hand to help steady the saw. Although customer reviews can help advise whether a chainsaw’s handle will be comfortable, the best way to determine this is to hold it for yourself.
All of the chainsaws that we reviewed come with chains to get you started, although almost everyone who has purchased a chainsaw will tell you to replace the chain relatively soon since the stock chains are poor quality. In addition, none of the stock chains are specifically designed for kickback prevention, which can be especially helpful for beginner chainsaw users.
When choosing a chainsaw, be sure to check whether it has all the latest safety mechanisms to help minimize the chances of an accident. Several of the saws we reviewed, including the models from Dewalt, Greenworks, and EGO Power+, come with chain brake mechanisms to ensure that the chain stops moving rapidly when the trigger is no longer depressed – a safety feature that can save your feet if you ever happen to drop the chainsaw by accident. The chainsaw from Makita also features a throttle lock, which can help make the chainsaw easier to start. Another critical safety feature, which is now found on nearly all chainsaw models, is a metal chain catcher that prevents a broken chain from swinging back dangerously into your hands or body.
The weight of a cordless chainsaw can be an important consideration since you are likely planning to carry your chainsaw around the yard and need the strength to wield it with confidence over the course of your yard work. The lightest chainsaw we reviewed is the model from Greenworks, which employs extra lightweight lithium-ion battery technology to keep the weight down while providing an impressive battery life. For batteries that are not lithium-ion, there is little weight difference between gasoline-powered and battery-powered chainsaws – at that point, the length of the bar is one of the main factors determining weight. For example, the 32-inch Makita chainsaw is the heaviest saw we reviewed and weighs several pounds more than any other chainsaw.
The starting system of cordless chainsaws varies depending on whether they use an electric or gasoline-powered motor. Nearly all gasoline-powered chainsaws use a pull-cord starter to get the engine going, although some chainsaw manufacturers have added features – like the spin starter found in the Jonsered chainsaw – to make the startup pull easier. Battery-powered chainsaws typically start with the push of a button, which many users appreciate for the convenience and added safety of not having too many moving parts as the chainsaw is starting up.
Automatic oilers are now common on most modern chainsaws, and are found, for example, on the Dewalt, Echo, and Greenworks chainsaws among others that we reviewed. The automatic oil consists of a small oil pump that is driven by the chainsaw motor itself and lubricates the bar and chain right at the point where the bar meets the motor. Having an automatic oiler can dramatically increase the lifespan of your chain and saw by keeping your chain and bar well lubricated as you cut and prevents sawdust from building up on your chain.
Also be sure to keep any eye out for small features that make changing the oil easier. For example, numerous chainsaws offer an oil view window so you can monitor when it’s time to add oil to the saw’s reservoir at a glance, while models like the one from Dewalt have easy reservoir access to make adding oil a snap.
Tool-less chain tensioning
Tool-less chain tensioning is a welcome feature for many users, especially when it comes to changing out your chain for a fresh one. This usually entails having a knob built into the area where the guide bar meets the chainsaw clutch, which can be turned to tighten either the chain or – in the case of the Dewalt chainsaw – the clamping force on the bar itself.
The amount of noise that a chainsaw produces can be important if you live in a crowded urban or suburban area where your neighbors are likely to complain about the noise from loud power tools. For the lowest noise production, opt for a small or medium sized chainsaw that runs on battery power rather than gasoline. Even better, look for an electric saw with a brushless motor like that found on the Greenworks chainsaw.
Cordless chainsaws vary a lot in price, but no matter which one you choose they represent a significant investment in your home tools – so you want to be sure that it will work for many years to come. Manufacturer’s warranties on chainsaws range from as little as one year on the Makita saw to as much as five years on the Echo chainsaw. However, note that many chainsaw manufacturers offer different warranty lengths for home and commercial users and that many electric chainsaws come with different warranties for the battery and the rest of the chainsaw.
If you’re in the market for your first chainsaw or have rarely used a chainsaw in the past, the best option for safety is to purchase the smallest chainsaw that will fulfill your cutting needs. Of course, this depends on what you are trying to cut – cutting through tree trunks will necessarily require a larger chainsaw than cutting through branches. In general, opt for a chainsaw with a guide bar of 18 inches or less, such as the EGO Power+, Makita, or Dewalt chainsaws, since larger guide bars will be harder to wield and more likely to experience kickback.
For all chainsaws, one of the most important parts of maintenance is keeping your chain sharp and replacing it long before it has the chance to break – which can lead to a very dangerous situation of the chain whiplashing back towards you. The chain should be properly oiled and tensioned before using your saw, and you can either sharpen it yourself or take it to a professional to keep it working as it should.
There is additional saw maintenance if you have a gasoline-powered saw, since the engines require some care to keep them running. The motor needs to be oiled from time to time, as well as kept clear of sawdust and other debris. When in doubt, have a professional service your chainsaw engine.
Whether your chainsaw will be too loud for your neighbors depends on whether you are using a gasoline-powered or battery-powered chainsaw. Battery-powered chainsaws are much quieter than their gasoline counterparts since there is no engine, although they will still make some noise and the sawing process itself generates noise.
Of course, whether any amount of chainsaw use will annoy your neighbors also depends on how close you live to your neighbors and how frequently you use your chainsaw – if it comes out only once or twice a year for branch cleanup, a loud chainsaw may not be too much of an issue.
The chainsaw should be cleaned of debris after use and then put away somewhere where the chain is not touching the ground or other tools, which could further blunt it by getting grit on the chain or causing scratching. If you have a gasoline-powered chainsaw, it is important to empty the fuel tank as much as you can – especially if you are expecting that you will not use the chainsaw again soon. Leaving stale gasoline in the tank and then running it through the engine is one of the easiest ways to ruin your chainsaw’s engine.
Before changing the chainsaw chain, it is essential that you choose an appropriate chain for your saw. First of all, the chain need to be the appropriate size for the guide bar of your chainsaw in order to fit. You will also want to make sure that you have the right type of chain for your needs, such as a chain that is specifically designed to reduce kickback when cutting through difficult types of wood.
Once you have the right chain in hand, you can start the replacement process by first removing the side panel of your chainsaw’s guide bar – it is typically held on by two small nuts. If your chainsaw has a brake, make sure to unlock it at this point or you will have a very difficult time installing the new chain. Pull the nose of the guide bar away from the saw to take out the chain tension, then pull it off and loosen the tension screws to make installing the new chain easier.
Line up the new chain onto the guide bar, then pull the guide bar back into alignment with the saw in order to re-establish tension in the chain. Put the side panel back on, and remember to tension the chain appropriately to your guide bar to finish the installation.
We were impressed with the functioning of the Husqvarna 455R, with a 55cc engine and a sidebar of 20 inches. The professional cordless chainsaw has different features like side-mounting tensioning and anti-vibration to improve your use.
We feel the Makita EA4300F40B chainsaw is the single best cordless chainsaw on the market thanks to its versatile design, including a spring assist starter to make running the chainsaw easy, its lightweight 11-pound weight that makes it easy to transport, and the vibration dampening handle to make it comfortable to wield the chainsaw during extended days in the yard.