Handyman: The 8 Best Cordless Electric Chainsaws

Oct 20, 2015

Category: Gear

If you enjoy doing everything with a chainsaw from light hedge work in your garden to clearing away those thousand year old trees that ruin your view of the freeway, then there’s no better, more convenient, and quieter way than going with a cordless chainsaw. The lack of wires and reliance on built-in battery power allow it to go anywhere a regular saw does, only without the hassle of huge, problematic combustion system that smells, requires loads of maintenance, and is about as environmentally friendly as an oil spill.

The relative novelty of electric chainsaws that have shed their cords and their noisy combustion parts has made many an amateur logger nervous. This is a group of men who barely trust that fancy GPS that sasses them while they drive. Well, with enhanced power, more torque, more portability, and less deafening noise, even the biggest old school lumerjack can get behind the new batch of e-saws. With just one cut, you’ll be hooked on the cordless lifestyle, with its lack of as many fluids and reduced danger thanks to the many new features. One of the 8 best chainsaws will knock you over if you’re on the fence.

Greenworks G-Max

Greenworks G-Max

Pro: Works delicately in narrow situations
Con: Chain drives can often slip

Switch Hitter: Like many power tools who use swappable batteries, G-Max from Greenworks lets you go from hedging to chopping to mowing all with their line of tools and the proper swappable 40V Li-Ion battery. An automated oiler and an on-board chain tightener take all the work, and some of the fun out of the G-Max, but the end result is a chainsaw with an affordable trimming length that is safe and easy to handle. It doesn’t hurt that the batteries charge quickly, for tackling jobs from morning until night.

Purchase: $47

Remington RM1425 Limb N Trim

Remington RM1425 Limb N Trim

Pro: Easily stored
Con: Oiler leaks

The Giraffe: With a long body intended for reach, it might only have a 14” blade, but the streamlined makeup gives you the benefits of an extended chainsaw without the cumbersome body or awkward range of movement. On the outside is a chain adjuster, which is ideal for tree trimmers, and the low kickback bar is just enough to protect you without adding girth. For advanced output, you’re going to need to get under the hood and tweak the Advanced Gear Ratio, if you’re one of those who likes to go above and beyond.

Purchase: $50

Black and Decker LCS1020

Black & Decker LCS1020

Pro: Easy to find in tall grass and rushes
Con: Batteries die quickly.

Old Standby: Claiming to be capable of making 150 one-and-a-half inch cuts before running out of juice, the LCS1020 is made with old-school flair. It’s built with dreams of one day going up against a gas-powered saw and beating it. While that dreamy day is still a long ways off, the point is B&D is stepping up to prove badass and environmentally friendly aren’t mutually exclusive. While the added power cuts down on battery performance, that’s the small price for electric freedom.

Purchase: $120

Black and Decker CCS818

Black & Decker CCS818

Pro: Ideal for smaller users, children, and women
Con: Chain oil leaks

Flyweight: When it comes to compacting a tool down to it’s barest form without taking away the qualities that make a brand great, Black & Decker is a consummate pro. Technically discontinued, there’s still loads of the CCS818 around in pristine condition and bargain sale prices. They’ve cut all the fat from CCS818 and kept it to a tight 9.5 pounds. Equally good at splitting hard and soft woods, the small size prevents it from being your only everyday saw, but it’s the ideal sidearm for those times when size matters.

Purchase: $160

Greenworks 20092B

Greenworks 20092B

Pro: Easy to adjust mid-swing
Con: Bare minimum oil pan

Earth Friendly: Ok, a thing that spins sharpened blades with the purpose of hacking down trees isn’t going to be anyone’s idea of a really green product. However, the company does an extremely impressive job of reducing emissions and curbing non-sustainable manufacturing practices. Using the old 12” Oregon bar and chain, they’ve crafted an on-the-fly tightening system to keep the chain from getting that flabby wobble that costs people hands and drags jobs on forever. Between hard work, serious business, and ecological responsibility sits Greenworks.

Purchase: $170

Oregon Chain Saw CS250

Oregon Chain Saw CS250

Pro: Built-in sharpening system
Con: No gradual notice of battery discharge

Better Balance: Just below the Evergreen state, the people in Oregon know a thing or two about wood. Wielding a 14” blade the Oregon CS250 can handle larger swatches of land and more impressive trees than the ordinary electric. It pumps out a lot of mobile power for what you pay; yet isn’t so enormous that you can’t do some basic trimming on the homefront. Better when pitted against some serious spruce or pines, this is a little motor that can. Hardy though it is, when tied down by batteries that offer only 1.25 Ah or 2.4 Ah, longevity is not in the cards here.

Purchase: $289

Makita UC3530A

Makita UC3530A

Pro: Uses an electric chain break
Con: Tends to kick when biting wood

Slim Pickin’s: There’s a trend in the chainsaw world that says motors need to be big in order to work correctly. Makita borrowed a page from the Jigsaw book. They decided that they didn’t need a beefy rear end as ballast, they could use a rifle-butt style which would give you more balance and more to grip for unusual topiary work. Adjust the blade and chain entirely without tools so that your time in the timber is more effective. It bears its own governor that will cut down on the motor’s output if it thinks you’re working the motor too hard. This might annoy you if you never say die, but it will add years to your tool.

Purchase: $223

Stihl MSA 160 C-BQ

Stihl MSA 160 C-BQ

Pro: Minimum vibration
Con: Expensive batteries

USA: Powerful, cordless, light, quiet, and able to run with a fire in its belly, the Stihl MSA is hands-down one of the best chainsaws we’ve ever picked up. 36 Volts of power are run through the brushless motor and put massive amounts of torque into the head, making it capable of making short work of those serious hardwoods that dull and abuse less saws. The name might be aged, but this shows just how evolved Stihl is. We just with they’d sell batteries as part of a packaged deal. Bad form, boys.

Purchase: $330

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