The Best Electric Chainsaw
When it comes to chainsaws, they can all tend to look the same. Especially to someone who has never used one before. Although their objective is the same, to cut wood, their ability to do so can definitely vary.
There are typically two distinct power sources; You either use gasoline or electricity. Most folks in the professional industry will recommend a gas powered chainsaw for their stronger motors and cutting ability.
However if you only need a chainsaw for limbing a tree or light duty tasks at home, you won’t need to overspend. Electric chainsaws are cost effective and can complete light to medium duty tasks with relative ease.
Makita is a well known brand known for making high-quality power tools. This saw in particular features a 14 inch guide bar and chain that’s powered by a 15 amp motor. The chain speed is rated at 2,900 FPM for efficient cutting and trimming.
Maintenance is a big deal when it comes to chainsaws. If you’re relatively green to chainsaws, you likely want to keep this requirement at a minimum. This saw features several beginner friendly features that make it very easy to use:
- Current limited that prevents the motor from burning out.
- Soft grip handles.
- Tool-less blade and chain adjustments
- Auto chain oiling system.
All of these features make the Makita a pleasure to work with. Makita also offers a 1 year warranty as well as a 30 day satisfaction guarantee. So it’s hard to go wrong with this purchase.
- Pros: 14″ guide bar and chain powered by 15 amp motor. Beginner friendly features.
- Cons: It’s corded so you’re tethered to an outlet.
One of the most time consuming parts about owning a chainsaw are the maintenance requirements. There will come a time when you’ll need to clean your chainsaw as well as sharpen the chain. Remember, a sharp chain is safer than a dull one.
Luckily, chainsaw brands like Oregon recognize this issue and offer solutions. This chainsaw features a self-sharpening add-on known as PowerSharp. At the push of a lever you’re able to get your chain back to optimal cutting efficiency in 3-5 seconds. It’s also good to know that Oregon sells the sharpening stone and chains separately (most brands get this aspect wrong).
This chainsaw features an 18″ guide bar and reduced kickback chain. This is powered by a 15 amp motor. However, all these features result in a heavier saw, weighing in at 12.9 lbs.
Other notable features are the automatic oiler with view through window and the tool-less tensioning mechanism.
- Pros: Self-sharpening PowerSharp system. 18″ guide bar and chain. 15 amp motor.
- Cons: On the heavy side.
Remington has been making chainsaws for nearly a century. They are known for making budget friendly power tools for the average household consumer.
This particular saw is referred to as the “limb n’ trim” meaning it’s perfect for light duty cutting tasks. The saw features a 14″ low-kickback bar and chain powered by an 8 amp motor. The dry weight is also a little over 6.25 lbs making it easy to control and maneuver. It also features a push button oiler and an external tension adjuster to make tensioning easy.
It’s important to note that this saw is truly for limbing and trimming as the name suggests. Going beyond the capabilities specified will lead to you burning out the motor.
- Pros: True budget option. Great for light duty cutting tasks like limbing and trimming. 14″ guide bar and chain. Lightweight.
- Cons: Prone to leaking bar oil (normal). You have to manually push the oiler.
Next up we have another chainsaw made by Makita. The difference here is that this chainsaw is battery powered instead of corded.
It’s important to note that the upfront costs for this chainsaw are considerably higher than a corded chainsaw. However most people forget to factor in the real cost of a corded chainsaw. For instance you need an extension cord rated for power tools. You also need to factor in the cost of a generator if you plan to work in the field. All of these are extra costs to consider that usually result in being nearly the same price.
Unlike other battery powered chainsaws, this saw uses 2 18V LXT batteries for a total of 36V of power. the chain speed is a bit lower at 1,650 FPM but this is still quite solid for a battery powered saw. This powers a 12″ guide bar and chain. The kit also comes with 2 extra batteries that you can charge while you work. Simply swap out the batteries to continue working.
- Pros: Long lasting 36V batteries. Portable. Chain speed of 1,650 FPM.
- Cons: Expensive initial costs.
Black + Decker is a well known power tools company. They have been around since 1910 and have continued to offer high-quality power tools and hardware for homeowners.
This particular chainsaw features an 18″ Oregon guide bar and chain powered by a 15 amp motor. It includes a chain brake for optimal safety as well as tool-free chain tensioning for easy adjustments. It features a clear window to monitor oil levels while the automatic oiler system ensures the bar and chain are lubricated.
Overall, this is a solid chainsaw that can handle light to medium tasks with ease.
- Pros: 18″ Oregon guide bar and chain. 15 amp motor.
- Cons: A few customers note that they received DOA units.
GreenWorks is a relative newcomer to the power tool industry. They didn’t start offering chainsaws till 2010. The aim/goal of Greenworks is to offer power and efficiency comparable to their gas-powered counterparts. Their emphasis is on reducing noxious fumes, vibrations, and safety.
The Greenworks 20222 meets a lot of this criteria. The unit has a 14″ guide bar and chain powered by a 9 amp motor. It features a wrap-around handle for additional comfort and control. It also only weighs 8 lbs making it even easier to control.
The chainsaw comes equipped with an automatic oiler for hassle-free cutting performance. As well as a translucent oil reservoir that allows you see when you need to top it up.
- Pros: 14″ guide bar and chain. 9 Amp motor. Lightweight at 8 lbs. Wrap around handle.
- Cons: Prone to leaking oil.
WORX has been creating power tools since 1994 when they sold OEM tools to Black & Decker. They then decided to make their own brand and create power tools under their own name.
Since then they have continued to offer affordable power tools including the WORX WG303.1 electric chainsaw.
This particular saw features a 16″ cutting bar and chain powered by a 14.5 amp motor. It’s relatively lightweight, weighing just 11 lbs; This makes it fairly easy to use and control.
When it comes to chainsaws, maintenance is a big deal. Luckily, the WG303.1 is designed to keep these maintenance requirements at a minimum. It features a patented auto tension chain system that maintains the proper tension for hundreds of uses. There is an automatic oil lubrication system with a built in reservoir and window level indicator. Being that it’s an electric chainsaw you also don’t have to worry about fuel requirements.
Also coupled with a 3 year manufacturer’s warranty, it’s hard to go wrong.
- Pros: 16″ guide bar and chain. 14.5 amp motor. Lightweight. Minimal maintenance requirements.
- Cons: A number of people have reported issues with leaking oil. Unfortunately this is somewhat common with electric chainsaws.
Just like Makita, we have another chainsaw from GreenWorks. This saw is also battery powered as apposed to corded.
This saw features a 16″ guide bar and chain powered by GreenWorks 40V 4Ah li-ion battery. This battery is rated at 150 cuts per charge.
This chainsaw uses a unique brushless motor. This allows for the saw to make less noise and produce less vibration making operation easier for the user. It also only weighs 10.4 lbs making it easy tote around.
Other noteworthy features are the automatic oiler, the chain brake, and the automatic chain tensioner.
- Pros: Only weighs 10.4 lbs. Unique brushless motor. 16″ guide bar and chain. 40V of power.
- Cons: Uses guide bar oil quite quickly.
Stanley Black + Decker are well know for making high quality power tools. This quality has served many homeowners over the years.
This chainsaw features a 12″ Oregon guide bar and chain powered by a 40V MAX Lithium-Ion battery. The battery is rated at 60 4×4 cuts per charge. A battery also takes 4-5 hours to fully recharge.
The chainsaw uses a tool-less chain tension system. There is also a built in oiling mechanism for the guide bar and chain.
If you’re after a portable chainsaw and you’re looking to only perform light duty cuts, then this is a solid choice. It’s also less expensive than the Makita because it has less included batteries.
- Pros: Perfect for light duty cutting tasks. Cordless and portable. Powerful and efficient cuts.
- Cons: Some customers note issues with the oil leaking.
The Sun Joe SWJ800E features an 8″ Oregon guide bar and chain with a telescopic pole that expands up to 9 ft. The overhead reach is estimated at nearly 15 ft. This is powered by a 6.5 amp motor and is rated to cut branches up to 7.5 inches in diameter.
The chain and guide bar is engineered with the all to common automatic chain lubrication system and translucent oil reservoir. It also features a lock for the pole that makes it easy to adjust, tighten, and secure.
This unit is also a dedicated pole saw as apposed to a detachable electric chainsaw with a telescoping pole. Hence the light duty 6.5 amp motor. Something strong would translate to added weight. This is something to consider when dealing with pole saws.
Sun Joe has a no questions asked warranty as well.
- Pros: 8″ oregon guide bar and chain. 15 ft. overhead reach. Lightweight at 7 lbs.
- Cons: Dedicated pole saw instead of a 2-in-1.
Factors to Consider in an Electric Chainsaw
Electric chainsaws are a great option for the average homeowner. They are also great options for beginners. If you’re someone who needs to do light to medium duty cuts, then an electric chainsaw is a great choice. However, it’s important to know the limits of these saws and understand that exceeding the limits are going to cause problems.
Let’s look at some of the common factors to consider as well as some frequently asked questions and relative problems people have with electric models.
Electric chainsaws are rated in terms of amperes. The average electric saw will be between 8-15 amps. This range is a result of National Electrical Code requirements and because most circuits are 15-20 amps. Some 30-50 amp outlets exist but they are often reserved for cooking ranges and washer dryers. On the off chance that you have one of these circuits you could technically use a larger ampere saw.
You also need to use at least a 12 gauge extension cord with your corded chainsaw. These work with 120 volt outlets which are standard in most homes. The length affects the voltage drop. This reduces the voltage of electricity in the wiring.
Corded vs Cordless
Cordless or battery powered chainsaws are favored for people who work in the field rather than 100′ (12 gauge length) from their outlet. Being tethered to an extension cord limits where you can work. However if you invest in a generator, you could technically take your corded chainsaw with you.
Cordless chainsaws are typically less powerful and are limited based on battery life. It’s usually recommended to invest in multiple batteries so you can prolong your work sessions.
Electric Chainsaws and Leaking Oil
This section was necessary to write because so many people that use electric chainsaws will report that they saw that their chainsaw leaked excessive oil. This is true and it is quite common. Depending on the brand you go with, they will even tell you this in the instruction manual.
The oil could leak for a number of reasons. For instance in some models the oil is forced out of the reservoir by pushing on a rubber bulb. This causes air pressure to change inside the oil reservoir. As you might expect, there are changes in air pressure as well as temperature throughout the day, and this affects the oiler and the reservoir.
Most electric chainsaws will come equipped with low-kickback bars as well as a few other safety features:
- Rubber-coated handles to aid in vibration reduction
- Auto chain tensioning
- Automatic bar/chain oiler
- Chain catcher
- Current limiter
- Chain sharpener
Note: It’s important to note that chainsaws chaps aren’t very effective against electric motors. You should ensure that you buy chaps rated for electric or direct drive motors.
There are several factors that you have to think about before deciding on a chainsaw. However, despite the variety of chainsaws out there, not all of them will be the right fit for you. If you’re a homeowner or beginner and you’re looking to do only light to medium duty cuts, then an electric chainsaw is the perfect option.
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