The 8 Best Cordless Chainsaws
8. Scotts 20-Volt Sync
- battery power gauge
- push-button oiler
- slow chain speeds
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
7. Oregon CS300-A6
- easy tension adjustment
- cuts up to 400 branches per charge
- a little on the heavy side
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
6. Makita XCU02PT X2
- noise level of just over 60 db
- great in tight spaces
- not particularly well balanced
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
5. Ego Power+ 14-Inch
- includes a kickback brake
- backed by 5-year warranty
- chain oiler is unreliable
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
4. Sun Joe ION16CS 40V
- built-in safety switch
- ergonomic handle design
- replacement batteries are pricey
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
3. Greenworks 16-Inch 40V
- effective chain brake
- minimal vibrations
- automatic oiler
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
2. Black & Decker 20V Max
- tool-free blade tension system
- oil level viewing window
- weighs just over seven pounds
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
1. DeWalt XR Brushless 40V
- impressively quiet operation
- convenient bar tightening knob
- variable speed control
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
The Right Chainsaw For The Job
Chainsaws come in many shapes and sizes, and determining which is right for you will save you a lot of grief (and money) in the long run.
If you plan to cut many large trees over an extended period, a gas-powered chainsaw is the only choice for you. They are the heaviest and loudest of the chainsaws, and they do require gas and an involved maintenance routine, but the power they offer is simply not available in electric and cordless chainsaws. Additionally, owners may take them anywhere without worrying over the availability of an electrical outlet.
If you plan to cut branches, brush, or even small trees on a limited basis near your home, an electric chainsaw is likely the best choice. However, consider that they are lighter and less powerful than gas chainsaws, and are also limited in range by the length of an extension cord.
Pairing the range of a gas-powered model with the maneuverability of an electric, the cordless chainsaw is ideal for cutting and shaping brush and small trees away from home. Instead of relying on an outlet or combustible fuel, cordless chainsaws are powered by a rechargeable battery. Larger, high-quality cordless chainsaws boast surprising power for their size, matching all but the most powerful electric models, and even some smaller gas-powered units.
Electric and cordless chainsaws aren't available in as many sizes as their gas-powered counterparts (particularly at the bigger, industrial end of the spectrum), but they are both much easier to start and maintain.
Important Chainsaw Safety Considerations
Operating a cordless chainsaw is dangerous, but following basic chainsaw safety practices greatly reduces the possibility of injury.
Before using a chainsaw, remember to wear protective eye- and head-wear and to avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes that could be pulled into the chain.
Electric and cordless chainsaws eliminate the safety concerns related to gasoline, but in every other way they are just as deadly as gas-powered models. With that in mind, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration advises always operating the chainsaw with secure footing. It is also advisable to avoid holding the saw overhead, or in other awkward positions. Other important safety considerations will be included in the literature that accompanies your saw.
Similar in construction to the riveted metal of a bicycle chain, modern chainsaw chains feature sharp cutting teeth made of chromium-plated steel. Chains are available in numerous sizes, and it is important to make certain the replacement chains you purchase are suitable for your saw.
Each tooth on a chain includes a "raker" which limits how deep it can cut. Rakers are critical to safe chainsaw operation. If they are not properly set, they can cause the saw to kick back or vibrate excessively, making it unsafe to use.
A number of features have been added to modern chainsaws, making them far more reliable and safe than early models. Among those safety features is the chain catcher, which prevents a broken chain from being thrown back toward the user. While chain catchers are effective, it is still imperative that you replace chains before they become worn out.
Another safety mechanism is the engine lock-out switch. Located above the engine throttle trigger, atop the chainsaw handle, the lock-out switch must be depressed before the trigger will activate the chain. This feature prevents the accidental triggering of the chain by a branch or other foreign object. It also means that should the chainsaw fall from the operator's hand, the chain will stop spinning almost immediately.
The anti-vibration system is perhaps the least appreciated of the contemporary chainsaw safety features. Before its development, long-term use of a chainsaw would often cause hand-arm vibration syndrome, a potentially permanent condition involving damage to blood vessels, nerves, muscles, and joints in the hand, wrist, and arm.
Today, chainsaws are divided into two parts to reduce vibration, one of which includes the cutter bar and the engine, and the other of which houses the handles and controls. These two parts are joined together by a spring-cushioned suspension that greatly reduces vibration.
A Brief History Of The Cordless Chainsaw
The earliest chainsaws were used for a grisly purpose: the cutting of human bone.
Called an osteotome, this primitive, hand-powered chainsaw was made around 1830 by German orthopedist Bernard Heine. For decades, these small saws saw widespread use in the surgeries of the 19th century.
It wasn't until 1905 that an "endless chain saw" was patented for cutting down massive California redwoods, and not until the late 1920s that the first gasoline-powered chainsaw went into production.
These chainsaws were cumbersome, a far cry from the ergonomic and portable chainsaws on the market today. In the 1940s, chainsaws required wheels for movement and at least two people to operate. Advances in aluminum and engine design during and after World War II finally made manufacturing a single-person chainsaw feasible.
Today, chainsaws have almost completely replaced the man-powered saws that preceded them. They are employed by lumberjacks, gardeners, and even military engineers and firefighters. Cordless chainsaws are particularly useful to gardeners who manage expansive plots. Descended from electric chainsaws, cordless chainsaws grew increasingly affordable as battery capacity and miniaturization improved.
Cordless chainsaws can match many electric chainsaws for power, and are available in similarly compact form factors. While they do require recharging, high-capacity cordless chainsaws now offer more than enough power for a full day of work in most applications.