The deafening roar of the motor, choking fumes, and beastly power…
If you’ve ever used a gas chainsaw, then you’ll be familiar with all these things – And who wants to go through all that crap just to maintain small to medium sized trees on your property?
But that’s where the cordless chainsaw (or in other words a battery operated chainsaw) comes into play.
While still being powerful and capable tools, a cordless chainsaw is much friendlier. They’ll help you maintain your property without deafening or choking you.
In this article we’ll help you choose the best cordless chainsaw for you – Starting by talking about the benefits and disadvantages of this type of chainsaw, and moving on to discuss considerations before choosing the right one, and finally we’ll go through specific product suggestions with our battery chainsaw reviews.
By the time you’re done reading you’ll know firstly that a battery powered chainsaw is definitely right for you, and secondly which one you should buy.
The 3 Best Cordless Chainsaw
What you need to know before buying
Firstly you should know that there’s several different types of chainsaws:
- Gas powered
- Electric (corded)
- Cordless battery powered chainsaw
- Pole saws
Obviously in this article we’re talking about battery powered chainsaws, but if you find that it’s not the right one for you (we’re gonna talk about that in a second) then be sure to consider some of the other types.
You’ll find a breakdown of the different chainsaw types and their features in another article on our site.
You might need gas powered one for sustained heavy duty work, or you may prefer a corded because they’re generally cheaper and you don’t have to deal with recharging batteries.
The last thing to mention before we get into the meat of this article is safety – No matter which type of chainsaw you’re using, they’re all deadly dangerous.
Gas chainsaws are arguably more dangerous than the rest, but they can all do serious harm if you don’t know what you’re doing or lose concentration. Be sure to check out our chainsaw safety guide so you know how to keep safe. And you ‘ll definitely want to consider the best chainsaw chaps for you too.
With all that out of the way, let’s get into the good stuff…
The many benefits of a cordless chainsaw
Compared to gas and corded options, the cordless has 4 main benefits:
- Quiet operation
- No fumes
- Very easy to use
The last 3 of those benefits are also enjoyed by corded chainsaw owners, they just miss out on the portability.
Now of course there’s some drawbacks to these saws as well, but we’ll get into those in the next section.
For now though, here’s why you’ll love these cordless saws…
Out of all chainsaws the battery powered ones are the most portable, and that’s for two reasons.
Firstly, they’re obviously cordless – so you’re not restricted to a certain range from a power outlet, like you would be with a corded version.
Gone are the days of stringing together several extension cords just to get the chainsaw to the tree you need to cut!
These battery chainsaws are also quite lightweight – They generally weigh in around 8-12 lbs, which similar to a corded saw and much lighter than full on gas one.
This combination of no cord and lightweight build makes the chainsaw not only easy to store and transport, but also makes them a dream to use.
No more heaving around a monstrous gas chainsaw, constantly trying to tame the bulky beast.
And no more throwing a cord around behind you, or trying to avoid tripping over it.
These things also arguably make the chainsaw overall safer to use, which is never a bad thing when it comes to tools as dangerous a these.
If you’ve ever used a gas chainsaw then you’ll know just out loud they are…
These things use snarling petrol powered motors and really roar during use, leaving you with ringing ears and perhaps some complaining neighbors.
On the other hand, cordless chainsaws are much quieter. They purr, not snarl.
No damaged hearing, no angry neighbors – This is another huge benefit of the battery powered saws, right up there with the great portability.
There’s a real stink every time you use a gas chainsaw…
Standing there huffing those fumes as you work away as quickly as possible never feels healthy.
And on top of that, all those dirty fumes are being released into the atmosphere. Not very environmentally friendly!
Again, this is not the case with a cordless chainsaw.
In fact there’s no smell at all, other than of the freshly cut wood that you’re working through.
Good clean battery power – Another score for the cordless chainsaw.
Ease of use
We’ve already talking about how lightweight these things are…
And that right there is the first thing making these saws so easy to use. Less weight makes them easier to control and to make them do what you want – It makes for cleaner, more precise cutting.
Being so light also puts less strain on your body as you use the chainsaw. Shaving even a few pounds off the weight of a tool can significantly reduce user fatigue, making for more comfort during your longer work sessions.
There’s also quite a few common features on modern cordless chainsaws that make them even easier to use.
You’ll generally find an automatic chain oiler, tool-less chain tensioner, shapely ergonomic handles, and a simple startup process with the tap of a button.
You don’t always get these with gas chainsaws (especially the older ones), but you’ll find them as standard on almost every battery powered version, regardless of price range.
No matter which you’re using, you should learn how to use a chainsaw before firing up one of these beasts!
So that’s all well and good, but now we need to address the downsides…
Disadvantages of battery powered chainsaws
The benefits make these saws sound really great… And that’s because they are!
But there’s always some trade-offs, and these are:
- Batteries need to be recharged
- Not designed for heavy duty cutting
- More expensive than corded (batteries = $$)
Batteries needing to be recharged is the most obvious downside of using a cordless saw, but there are a few things that can diminish this issue somewhat.
Firstly, battery powered chainsaws can get more work done on a single charge than others. Some will get you through an hour or 90 mins of work, while others will run flat after 20 minutes…
There’s a lot that will impact how long you get of course – not only the quality and efficiency of the saw and battery, but also how fast it cuts, and the thickness of the trees or branches with which you’re working.
In general, the more expensive saws will last longer and produce more power and cutting speed – Battery technology is complex, and the high price you pay is for the benefit of good batteries that’ll give you a decent spell of work before needing a charge.
As well as choosing a good chainsaw, you can also buy a second (or even third) battery – Charge one while using the other.
Quality of the saw and battery comes into play again here though… Some batteries take hours to recharge, while others are done in 30 to 60 minutes.
Either way, this is a big limitation of these saws.
Can’t handle heavy duty
This is a straight up downside, and there’s not much you can do about it other than to buy a different type of chainsaw.
Cordless chainsaws will generally handle work with trees or branches up to about 16 inches of thickness.
For powerful top of the line cordless saws, you might be able to go thicker than that.
But you’ve got to remember that low power output is one of the big drawbacks of these saws – Pushing it too hard can damage the saw, or cause safety problems.
These cordless chainsaws are perfect for general property management, but if you’re trekking into the woods felling 40 foot trees you’ll probably want to consider a gas option.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that battery power doesn’t produce the same “oomph” that you get with gas – so even if the cordless is capable of getting the job done, it might take a little longer. If power is what you’re after, you might consider a professional chainsaw.
But once again if you’re just managing small to medium sized trees on your property, then you probably aren’t too concerned with this drawback.
More expensive than corded
You can’t really get away from this one either…
The battery powered chainsaws are more expensive than their corded cousins, and that’s mostly because of the battery tech.
Not only are these batteries difficult (and expensive) to design and manufacture, but you’re also basically buying two separate things – a battery (and charger), and the chainsaw itself.
Often you’ll see batteries sold separately, so always watch out for that when checking prices.
Also keep in mind that if you hope to charge one battery while using another, you’ll have to buy that second battery, which could jack up your total cost even further.
With that said, they’re not that much more expensive than corded, and it’s not like all cordless chainsaws are super pricey either.
There’s high end options, mid tier options, and budget options.
And speaking of these – It’s about time we got into some product recommendations!
Top 5: Best Battery Chainsaws
As mentioned, there’s all sorts of options here ranging from cheap to premium.
Of course it goes without saying that the mid tier and budget options are where you’ll really feel the drawbacks starting to bite – low battery life, taking ages to recharge, lack of power, and so on.
At the end of the day it all comes down to what you’ll be using your saw for, and how often you need it.
If you’ll be tackling some small jobs every few months, then maybe a reliable budget chainsaw is right for you. It won’t cost you an arm and a leg, and it’ll do the job when you need it.
But if you’re planning on more regular use and tackling a wider range of jobs (perhaps involving thick trees or branches), then perhaps it’s worth investing in something a little nicer.
Our top two options are from Dewalt and Makita, and these feature all the bells and whistles – Although they’re a little pricier, you’ll feel that investment paying off every single time you use one of these puppies.
The Dewalt DCCS620P1
The Dewalt DCCS620P1 is firmly in the premium cordless chainsaw tier, with quite a hefty price – but boy oh boy is it worth every cent.
The thing with the more expensive saws is that they really minimize the drawbacks we mentioned in the previous section, and that’s what you’re paying for with the higher price.
What that means is on this Dewalt you get great power production, coming from batteries that both last a long time on a single charge and also recharge quickly.
By paying the premium, you get a cordless chainsaw that deals with the inherent drawbacks of being cordless (lack of power, batteries running out) better than your other options.
You’ll find that on cheaper saws (which we’ll get to later in this article) these things just aren’t as good – The drawbacks aren’t minimized, so you notice them more when using the saw.
The battery is always dying, or it takes ages to recharge, or the saw takes forever to cut through even small tasks. These saws might cost less money but you pay for it with a marked lack of functionality, as compared to top of the line options – such as the Dewalt DCCS620P1.
On top of the amazing functionality that comes with these top of the line saws, you also get the world renowned build quality from the likes of Dewalt, Makita, Husqvarna, and so on.
For you this means more reliability and an overall more refined product that’s backed by these large manufacturers with decades of experience.
So with that said, let’s breakdown the Dewalt DCCS620P1 based on these most important categories:
- Ease of use
We’ll do the sensible thing, and start at the start…
Lack of power or a slow cutting speed is one of the biggest concerns you should have when considering a cordless chainsaw.
Of course, the Dewalt has none of these issues…
In fact, many of the users who reviewed the DCCS620P1 were very surprised with just how much power this thing delivered. These are people who are used to the traditional gas chainsaws which are way more powerful than cordless options… So, saying that this Dewalt chainsaw has a surprising amount of power is high praise indeed!
The Dewalt is operating on the cutting edge of battery powered technology, and that really shines through in its performance.
It’s got a 12 inch bar, which is on the low end of the overall 10 to 16 inch spectrum – but nevertheless, it’s very capable and can handle trees or branches up to around 10 inches thick.
Technically you could tackle thicker stuff too if you’re an experienced user, just don’t push the saw too hard.
The nice thing about all this power is that it not only enables the cutting of thick wood, but also that it makes for quick cuts – The Dewalt makes quick progress through whatever you throw at it.
This is great for your productivity, and also great for the life of the battery – Getting through cuts quicker means the saw needs to be powered on for less time per cut, and so will be able to do a greater number of cuts as compared to a slower cutting chainsaw.
Overall, the performance of the Dewalt DCCS620P1 is outstanding.
The nice thing about the 20v battery that powers this saw, is that it’ll also work in any other Dewalt 20v tool that you have.
So if you’ve got other tools from Dewalt and more of their 20v batteries laying around, this could be a big side benefit of choosing this saw.
As we talked about in the performance section above, the DCCS620P1 delivers a surprising amount of power, and all of that comes from the amazing lithium ion batteries.
They produce power, while also lasting quite a long time on a single charge and being quick to recharge.
These are the sort of reasons that the Dewalt is worth paying a premium for – It just does everything right. It’s everything you could want a cordless chainsaw to be!
As a great example of just how good this saw is, a user in their review told of how they felled a 30 foot high 10 inch thick maple tree, limbed it, and then cut it into chunks for the fire… All on a single charge.
The task in itself is impressive – that’s a big tree!
To do that all on one charge is truly astounding. But that’s the type of chainsaw you’re dealing with here – simply brilliant.
Better yet, is that the charger and one battery are included in the price of this saw. As we mentioned earlier, that’s something you need to look out for because quite often the batteries are sold separately.
Thankfully though, not this time. Another point for the Dewalt!
Ease of use
Something you’ll really love about this Dewalt chainsaw are the handles and power trigger…
Dewalt always run these perfectly shaped, rubberized, ergonomic handles that are just a dream to use, especially when combined with the sturdy, easy-to-press, and responsive power trigger.
Such a lovely grip not only provides great control over the tool, but also makes for comfortable usage and reduced fatigue.
Having a 12 inch bar and weighing in at just 8.8lbs, the Dewalt DCCS620P1 is also very compact and lightweight.
With the combination of power, comfortable handles, and a lightweight unit you’ll simply love using this chainsaw.
Of course it also comes with the usual array of ease-of-use features: A simple start button, automatic chain oiler, and tool-less chain tensioning.
Runner up: Makita XCU06T
The Makita is our runner up, but it’s on the same level as the Dewalt we discussed above.
In fact, the Makita XCU06T has superior performance as compared to the Dewalt.
The reason we placed it second though is because it’s quite a bit more expensive.
More expensive, but also with superior performance – meaning this Makita chainsaw is likely best suited to the most serious of users.
You can tell it’s serious, because it runs on two batteries. You need two batteries plugged into the Makita, or it doesn’t run at all.
These two batteries are great because they deliver 36 volts of power, making for fast cuts and a long battery life on each charge.
But on the other hand they’re pretty expensive, and of course you need two of them.
The version of the saw we’re linking two comes with two batteries and a charger included – If you happen to already have some suitable Makita batteries though, you can just buy the tool only package which is much cheaper.
This is a very serious chainsaw – A user review reports of cutting down a 36 inch thick tree with the Makita XCU06T .
There’s a host of similar reviews from experienced chainsaw users who love the Makita, praising its precision, balance, how quiet it is, and its overall build quality.
Speaking of build quality, what we’ve got here in Makita is another top shelf manufacturer who’s been delivering quality power tools for decades. Like Dewalt, they’re very experienced and reputable.
This cordless chainsaw from Makita comes with all the usual ease of use features (lightweight, tool-less chain tension control, and chain oiler) and also goes above and beyond with fantastic ergonomic handles, similar to the Dewalt.
If you’re tackling some “meatier” jobs involving large thick trees or branches, you might consider buying the Makita XCU02PT instead of the top pick Dewalt.
The Dewalt is best in terms of a combination of performance, ease of use, batteries, and price.
But the Makita has superior overall performance, although it does usually cost more.
As always, it really comes down to what you’ll be using your chainsaw for – We can offer you as much advice as possible, but at the end of the day you need to sit back and decide on the best chainsaw for your needs.
The Dewalt and Makita are our top picks, now let’s move right along to other options…
Mid-tier chainsaw picks
Items 3 and 4 on our list are the mid tier options – the Greenworks 20312 and the Black+Decker LCS1240.
You’ll see right away that these are from less well known manufacturers. Even for those who aren’t power tool users, almost everyone has heard of Dewalt and Makita – They’ve just been around for so long and are so renowned.
This isn’t the case for the smaller manufacturers that compete in the middle or lower end of the market in terms of price.
That being said, Greenworks and Black + Decker still produce some pretty great chainsaws.
They’ve got all the usual ease of use features like tool-less chain tension control, easy start buttons, and they’re generally lightweight and pretty easy to use.
Where these aren’t as good is when it comes to the batteries – the power and battery life are both sub-par as compared to the Dewalt or Makita.
Although both of these chainsaws should handle trees and branches up to about 10 inches thick, they’ll be a lot slower about it than the top options.
You’ll also find that the battery life isn’t as long, and the batteries will take longer to charge. Particularly watch out for the Black+Decker in this regard – The battery life is OK, but the recharge time is several hours. Even with with a second battery charging while using the other, you wouldn’t be able to cut continuously.
We won’t knock these mid tier cordless chainsaws too much though, they still offer decent power and are very comfortable and easy to use.
They’ll be a great choice particularly if you only need your chainsaw every now and then, and for reasonably small jobs.
They’re quite a bit cheaper than the Dewalt and Makita – So there can be great savings for the infrequent user, and you also won’t notice the drawbacks (as compared to the top tier options) since you don’t use the chainsaw often and usually tackle tasks which these chainsaws can handle with comfort.
If you’re a heavy user, I would strongly suggest doing for the Dewalt or Makita above. Everything is enhanced – comfortable, performance, battery life, and also the overall top manufacturer build quality.
As I keep saying, it comes down to what you need and how you’ll be using your new chainsaw.
From general information about cordless chainsaws to specific product recommendations, in this article we’ve been through pretty much everything you need to make a great buying choice.
Choosing the best cordless chainsaw really does come down to what you’ll be using it for, and how often you’ll be using it.
Hopefully now you know what you need a chainsaw for, and how your needs match up with the different options available.
Once you combine an understanding of these two things, making the right choice when buying your new battery chainsaw should be a cinch!