Updated April, 2020
Ever since the chainsaw was invented wood cutting, felling, and preparing for the winter has become a lot easier. This thanks to the raw power contained in a single tool that makes cutting through hard or soft wood a breeze. Still, gas powered electric chainsaws aren’t ideal for most situations and are usually harder to maintain, cost more to run and have a much higher price tag than their electric counterparts. This is why people have been turning to electric chainsaws more and more these days, as these electrically powered tools get stronger and better. Knowing which are the best electric chainsaws will save you a lot of time and energy invested in the buying process.
For these reasons and many more we have created this Buyer’s Guide where we discuss the topic of chainsaws in great detail, give you some of our best tips on the matter, and showcase our specially selected top 5 models of this year. Before we get started, let’s take a look at this comparison chart which will show you the strong sides of each of the chainsaws we’ve reviewed. That way you will be able to cross-check them in a time efficient manner.
Electric Chainsaws Comparison Chart
|Makita XCU03PT1||14 inches||36||$$$$||5/5|
|Oregon CS250-S6||14 inches||40||$$$||4.5/5|
|DEWALT DCCS620P1||12 inches||20||$$$$||4.5/5|
|BLACK+DECKER LCS1020||10 inches||20||$$||4.5/5|
|Greenworks Chainsaw||12 inches||40||$$||4.5/5|
Our Top 5 Picks
When we created this top 5 list, we took a number of features into consideration. Some of those are:
- The length of the bar
- The power it has
- How convenient it is to use
- What is the price-to-value ratio
- How long can the battery last you
So, based on those factors, here are our five selected chainsaws:
Makita XCU03PT1 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless 14″ Chain Saw Kit
The Makita XCU03PT1 Chain Saw Kit is one of the best price to value ratio kits out there. Not only is the chainsaw itself a bargain but you are getting an extra set of 18V batteries to power the 36V motor inside. The motor itself is brushless meaning it is very efficient, quiet, and also powerful enough to completely replace a 32cc gas chainsaw. On a single charge, you can easily go through a day of cutting but due to the rather short bar (14 inches) you won’t be able to cut through large trees. Still, the ergonomic handle and the safety features make up for this, ultimately resulting in a well-rounded and nicely built product worth every penny of its price. To find out more about the features, advantages, and disadvantages of the XCU03PT1, go to our full review on it by clicking the button below.
Oregon CS250-S6 Cordless Chainsaw Kit
The Oregon CS250-S6 is also one of the best deals out there currently thanks to its insanely good price to value ratios. It isn’t as good as the Makita chainsaw but it has its strong sides. The chain and bar combination is very strong and runs at 2300 rpm which is a great speed for an electric model. In fact, it has a ton of advantages against a gas powered saw and only a few shortcomings, such as the short battery life and the 14 inch bar which isn’t enough for some bigger and thicker trees. As a whole, thanks to features like the self-sharpening and automatic oiling this model really stands out from the rest of its competition, at least in this particular price point. Read more about it and its interesting quirks by clicking the button below.
DEWALT DCCS620P1 12″ Cordless Chainsaw Kit
If you are out on the market looking for a smaller chainsaw then this DeWalt model is just the right thing for your needs. It features a 12 inch bar which is wrapped with a strong and easy-cutting chain. That combined with the powerful and yet very efficient brushless motor is just one great combination. The motor runs very quiet and is very saving in terms of battery power. The battery you get included in this kit is a stunning 5Ah battery which is far more than most other batteries on the market. Running at 25 feet per second and 20V this chainsaw can easily last you more than a few hours non-stop work. It also is one of the lightest models we’ve seen around making it so good for indoor projects and cutting overhead branches. That weight can also be felt after hours of working with the tool because you really won’t feel as tired as you would be wielding a 30 pound chainsaw. If you want to see more of this chainsaw, head over to its full review by clicking the button below.
BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 20V Max Lithium Ion Chainsaw
Getting something really small and practical is what some people are after. In fact, in our opinion, having a 10 inch chainsaw might prove very useful in a lot of occasions, especially when preparing wood for the colder months. This chainsaw weights a little more than 7 pounds and has a battery that is ready to plough through some branches and logs. It being lightweight and rather small makes it that much more practical and very easy for beginners to learn on. The icing on the cake here is the price tag which is the cheapest out of all premium 10 inch chainsaws on the market right now. This is why we thought it would be a shame not to include this budget beast in our top 5 rankings. If you are curious to what more this thing has to offer, head over to its full review.
Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Chainsaw
If you are looking for a small, compact, cheap, and efficient electric chainsaw then this 40V 12 inch model by Greenworks is just the right thing for your needs. Its small footprint will allow you to cut overhead branches way easier and will also not tire your hands after hours of working. With it, you will get a 2Ah battery and a charger. That battery will last you for more than 70 cuts which is easily good enough for most needs. Again, for this price, there are few models that can match the cocktail of features you are getting. To learn more about it, head over to its full review.
Before we dive deeper into this guide, let’s answer one of the most important questions here…
What Is An Electric Chainsaw?
Electric chainsaws are the newest invention of the industry and are basically chainsaws that either get their power from a power outlet (corded electric chainsaw) or from a battery (battery-powered). Many woodworkers are split in the topic of these chainsaws as a few years ago they weren’t as strong as they are today and basically all they were good for was basic wood cutting and cutting smaller logs and branches into pieces small enough to fir the winter fireplace in your house.
Electricity has its upsides and downsides compared to gas but we will touch on that a bit further down the guide. Now, let’s take a look at the different options you will have when selecting your chainsaw model.
Electric Chainsaw Types
As we briefly mentioned above, there are two important types of chainsaws when it comes to being electrically powered. Those are:
- Corded electric chainsaw
Before we get to know both of these types better it is important to understand that both of them are very similar except in a few obvious areas. Both of those kinds are smaller and lighter than the chainsaws that use gas and are far more portable for that very reason. Still, you have to rely on electricity whether it is to plug in your chainsaw or to charge your batteries, whereas with gas powered ones you will be able to go out as far as you want in the woods as long as you bring enough gas with you. There is a similar point to be made with the cordless models as you can carry as many battery packs as you want but those are often quite costly and buying more than 2 of them will bump up the price of your tool greatly.
Corded Electric Chainsaws
Corded electric chainsaws are the ones that you must plug in an outlet or any other power source in order to operate. They have a cord which is often more than a few feet long which plugs into either an outlet or a power generator if you are out in the field working.
The advantage of these tools is that they have a consistent amount of power throughout the day without experiencing dips like the battery ones might if the battery gets drained. They also perform better in adverse weather and are more powerful than battery-powered chainsaws. Their weakest point, as we said, is that you must always be around a powers source, which limits their use to your backyard unless you bring a power generator with you. The funny thing is that those generators run on gas, so the whole point of having an electric chainsaw goes down the drain.
These types of chainsaws are also called batter-powered and they are very similar to the corded ones except they get their electricity from a battery that is attached to them. They are very portable due to the fact that you aren’t bound to a cord and are much lighter than gas powered ones.
The batteries that come with these chainsaws are rechargeable and most of them are good enough to last you a whole day, making this chainsaw a great companion if you have to cut through a lot of smaller trees and branches and don’t want to tire your hands. The key word here is “smaller” as you won’t be able to cut through bigger logs and trees as you would be able to with gasoline chainsaws or even corded ones. The battery-powered models are the weakest but some of them are good enough to do most common daily jobs.
Their major disadvantage is that batteries can run out faster if you haven’t fully charged them. As any other battery they are also vulnerable to extreme heat and cold weather.
Pro Tip: Look for models that have two battery packs included in their kit as sometimes companies give one for free and having a second battery is great when you are out in the woods.
If you are preparing for winter but want to get a few extra tips on how to properly cut through logs with a chainsaw, then go to our dedicated article on the topic where we’ve discussed the matter in greater detail.
Now, let’s dive into the different features that you need to look for when getting your chainsaw.
Features To Look For
Some of the things you need to consider before buying a chainsaw are:
- Its performance
- Bar Length
- How easy it is to use
- Safety features
- Your experience
- What you plan on using it for
- The Price
Let’s take a look at each of those aspects one by one now…
One of the most important things to take into account is the performance of the said model. The thing that affects a chainsaw’s performance is its cutting speed. This applies to all kinds of chainsaws. The best method used to describe the speed is the time it takes the saw to go through a ten inch square beam of oak.
The weight and the voltage of the chainsaw will also greatly impact its performance. If you plan on cutting bigger things, then something that also comes into play is the length of the bar. Let’s take a look at that now.
Bar length is very important because, as you can imagine, a short bar won’t go all the way through a wide tree or a big log. This is where electric chainsaws are struggling as they rarely go above 14 inches. Gas powered chainsaws are easily 20 inches long in their bars and are good enough for most big trees.
How easy it is to use
The factors that affect how easy a chainsaw is to use are:
- Its weight
- Whether it has enough safety features
- How powerful it is
The lighter the tool the easier it is to work with. If you get a model with a lot of safety features then it will be safer to use by people without a lot of experience. The power is a tricky thing as the more powerful it is the easier it will cut but the harder it will be to control in difficult situations.
When it comes to maintenance, electric chainsaws aren’t as demanding as the ones that run on gas but they still need you to check them from time to time. Try getting a model that has a long warranty that covers a lot of potential issues. That way, even if something happens, the company will repair the damages for you.
Still, checking the bolts and screws of the unit regularly will assure that no accidents will happen while you work with it. Another big part of maintenance is checking the automatic oiling, chain tensioning, the chain tensioner, and the oil level. The more you work the more you should pay attention to the oil level and the automatic oiling (or non-automatic), especially if you are cutting through wet wood. Having a tool-less chain tensioning system is also something great.
The transparent oil reservoir of your tool will help you keep track of the oil throughout the work day.
The last piece of your corded electric chainsaw that you will need to take care for is the guide bar.
There are more than 30 000 people admitted in emergency centers each year due to kickback injuries. This is why having a chainsaw with kickback protection is very important and you should always look for that feature.
Fatigue of your hands is also something that can cause accidents if you drop the chainsaw. That is why some models have vibration reduction features that make it easier for your hands to deal with the stress of the work.
Chain break is yet another thing you should keep in mind. Most chainsaws have chain break protection for your hands but the safest way to prevent this issue is to just keep maintaining your chainsaw properly.
If you have no prior experience with chainsaws then we suggest starting off with something small and light, maybe not too powerful even. Then, once you build your confidence and start working easy with this tool, get a bigger and more powerful one.
What you plan on using it for
If you want to do things indoors, then electric chainsaws are your only and best option. We are saying that, not because you can’t use gas ones inside but because you shouldn’t. Gas fumes can easily build up inside the room if there isn’t proper ventilation and pose a health risk to you and the rest of the people inside the room.
If you want to cut outdoors, then depending on the trees you fell on a daily basis you need to choose a chainsaw with different bar and chain lengths. For bigger trees get a longer than 16 inches bar and for log cutting and removing branches, get a lighter 12 or 14 inch chainsaw.
One of the most important factors that people don’t often take into consideration is the price, and more specifically – the price-to-value ratio. If you want to get a good chainsaw, always make sure that it isn’t unfairly priced compared to other similar models. Sometimes, a model is far too overpriced only due to the brand that it comes from. You should be able to look through that and look for similar features in cheaper models (also coming from reputable brands).
The advantage of getting a chainsaw from a well-known brand is that you will get a good customer support service, and potentially a nice warranty deal.
Now, it is time to look at some of the advantages and disadvantages you will get when buying your electric chainsaw.
Electric Chainsaws Pros & Cons
- Lighter than gas powered ones
- Easier to maintain
- Cost less to run
- Cost less in general
- Perfect for indoor use
- Won’t tire your hands after hours of work
- Not as powerful as other kinds of chainsaws
- Bar and chain lengths are often too short
Want to know what it takes to start working with a chainsaw? Head over to this article to learn which are the best steps any beginner can take to improve his craft.
Is electric or gas chainsaw better?
The issue with gas powered chainsaws is that they are often heavy which can make the job quite a bit harder than it would be using an electric tool. Gas chaisnaws are also way louder and require a mixture of oil and gas to run properly. That on its own exposes you to dangerous fumes at the place of your work. One more disadvantage is that these gas tools are often more expensive as well. The only upside is that they are more powerful and their bars go to 20 inches and even more.
Electric chainsaws on the other hand are quieter, more economical in terms of running costs, weigh less and are easier to work with thanks to all that. They are also cheaper. Their downside is that they don’t have long bars suitable for large tree felling and that they aren’t as powerful as some of the gas powered ones.
How loud is a chainsaw in decibels?
Some electric chainsaws can go up to a 110-120 dB according to numerous research. To put it into perspective, 120 dB is 30 times as loud as 70 dB which is the noise of your everyday vacuum cleaner.
What is a chainsaw used for?
Chainsaws can be used for a variety of tasks including:
- Tree felling
- Cutting firebreaks
- Making wood pieces for your fireplace
All of those tasks can be performed by either a gas or an electric chainsaw but the thing that will determine how well it behaves is the length of its bar and chain.
Knowing how to pick the best electric chainsaw for your needs and most importantly – knowing which are the features that you have to keep your eyes open for will guarantee that you will get a model that will fit your needs perfectly. This is why we created this Buyer’s Guide and if you don’t feel like cross shopping through hundreds of models out there, feel free to use our top 5 selection. We made sure that we review only the best models for this year which have the best price to value ratios and are going to serve you the best when it comes to everyday wood cutting tasks.