Battery-powered chainsaws are best used for pruning, slicing firewood, and cutting thinner branches and logs. Heavy-duty logging tasks are firmly out of their grasp. They are the perfect solution for homeowners and landscapers.
Despite being battery-operated, cordless chainsaws should still be used with the same caution and care as their bigger and more powerful gas-powered counterparts.
Selecting the right cordless chainsaw might be a bit tricky, as there are many things to consider and a ton of models to choose from. Read on for the list of my favorite battery chainsaws and a detailed buying guide for choosing one that suits your specific use cases the best.
11 Top Battery Chainsaws for Homeowners and Landscapists
- 11 Top Battery Chainsaws for Homeowners and Landscapists
- 1. Greenworks 20312 40V 16” Chainsaw
- 2. DeWalt DCC670X1 FlexVolt 60V Max 16” Chainsaw
- 3. BLACK + DECKER LCS1240 40V Max 12” Chainsaw
- 4. Makita XCU03PT1 18Vx2 14” Chainsaw
- 5. Earthwise LCS32010 20V 10” Chainsaw
- 6. Sun Joe ION16CS 40V 16” Chainsaw
- 7. EGO Power+ 56V 14” Chainsaw
- 8. Oregon CS300-A6 40V Max 16” Chainsaw
- 9. Ryobi P546 18V 10” Chainsaw
- 10. Powersmith PCS140H 40V Max 14” Chainsaw
- 11. Toro PowerPlex 51880 40V Max 14” Chainsaw
- Battery Types
- Discharge Rate
- Battery Life
- Weight and Portability
- Ease of Use
The Greenworks 20312 comes with a 16-inch Oregon bar and a 0.375” chain pitch which, combined with the 40V battery, allow it to do some serious cutting. Though efficient, this chainsaw is on the heavier side of the battery chainsaw spectrum.
Electronic chain brake, automatic oiler with translucent tank, and electric starter are also featured on this nifty and affordable 40V chainsaw. The chainsaw offers an ergonomic design, low noise, the company’s famous green/black paint job, and loads of compatible accessories.
The DeWalt DCC670X1 is equipped with a 60V Max Li-ion battery rated at 3.0Ah, which offers an average battery life, but larger capacity FlexVolt batteries are available.
The chainsaw is powerful and can be used for some heavier tasks. It rocks a classic 16” Oregon bar with a strong, well-made chain.
The chainsaw is sturdy and rugged and can take a lot of punishment. It comes with a chain brake and well-placed controls and switches. The oiling is done automatically, and the system includes an easily accessible oil tank. Chain tensioning is done without tools.
This compact chainsaw comes with a 12” Oregon bar and chain. It is equipped with a 40V Max Li-ion battery rated at 2Ah or around 60 cuts (tested on 4x4 pine lumber). Note that cutting lumber over 8” in diameter will drain the battery rather quickly.
Owing to its light weight and ergonomic design, this chainsaw is very maneuverable. It also has an automatic oiling system, tool-free chain tension adjustment, and easily accessible oil tank with a screw cap.
This portable and sturdy Makita chainsaw is operated by a pair of the highly rated Makita LXT 18V batteries. Altogether the batteries give this chainsaw a decent runtime. However, the shorter bar and chain may limit its range to lighter tasks, such as landscaping, pruning, and cutting up branches of smaller diameter.
Like all Makita power tools, the XCU03PT1 is loaded with advanced technological features. It has an automatic lock-off lever which stops the motor as soon as you release it. It also features an LED on/off switch indicator, battery level indicator, variable speed trigger, and automatic oiling system.
The Earthwise LCS32010 is a small and lightweight chainsaw powered by a compact 20V battery. The battery is housed underneath the handle and easily replaceable. Due to its size, it offers an average runtime.
The chainsaw comes with a 10” Oregon-style bar and chain, a feature which puts it squarely in the lightweight division. Pruning and landscaping are its strongest suits. The LCS32010 has an automatic oiling system and tool-free tension adjustment system. It also has steel bucking spikes.
There is no safety lock-off lever on this model. However, it has a modern design and rubber grips on the handles.
The Sun Joe iON16CS is among the heavier and bigger battery chainsaws out there. The pretty silent 600W brushless motor and 16” Oregon blade put this chainsaw in the heavy-duty category. It can be used for cutting limbs, firewood, thick branches, logs, and pretty much anything up to 14.6” diameter.
This chainsaw uses a 40V Li-ion battery rated at 40 minutes of continuous runtime. It is compatible with all other Sun Joe tools which use the EcoSharp battery system. Auto-oiling and tool-free chain adjustment systems are part of the standard equipment.
The EGO Power+ 14” Chainsaw offers water-resistant construction, a feature which might come in quite handy when you have to work in damp weather. It also sports excellent ergonomics thanks to the rubber-padded handles and grips, as well as intuitively positioned controls and switches.
This chainsaw comes with a 14” long Oregon guiding bar and a 0.43” chain with 3/8” pitch. This allows the chainsaw to perform some pretty heavy duty tasks. It runs on a 56V Li-ion battery powering a brushless motor that runs at 6300rpm.
Cordless chainsaws are usually smaller and weaker than the gas-powered models, which is why their chains dull faster. But the Oregon Cordless CS300-A6 has a built-in automatic sharpening tool, one of the few in its price class with this feature. Also, it sports an ergonomic, modern design with well-positioned controls and handles.
The chainsaw is powered by a 40V Max Li-ion battery with 4.0Ah capacity for an excellent runtime. The battery powers a brushless motor.
At the front is a 16” Oregon guiding bar with a steel chain. Self-lubricating and tool-free tension adjustment systems are also featured on this fancy chainsaw.
If you don’t plan on doing any heavy-duty tasks, then investing in a small and lightweight chainsaw might be a good way to go.
The Ryobi P546 has a 10” Oregon guiding bar and steel chain and is oriented towards light landscaping and pruning tasks. It uses a compact 18V Li-ion battery that drives a modestly powerful motor.
The chainsaw is equipped with a tool-free tension adjustment system and push-button lubrication system. It uses a single-action start system, so be careful with the trigger.
The Powersmith PCS140H comes with a 14” Oregon-style guiding bar and steel chain. They are oiled by the built-in auto-lubricating system.
The battery is a standard 40V Max Li-ion unit with 2.5Ah capacity. It is mounted in the rear and paired with a brushless motor which sits at the front of the green-white housing. It can deliver up to 90 cuts of 4x4 lumber.
You can adjust the chain’s tension by turning a knob on the right side, just behind the bar. The chainsaw is also equipped with a chain kickback brake.
Along with serious cutting power, the Toro PowerPlex 51880 also offers a sturdy and robust construction. It comes with a 14” long chain-driven Oregon-style guiding bar. The auto-oiling system with built-in oil level indicator takes care of the lubrication.
As for the power, the PowerPlex 51880 uses a 40V Max Li-ion battery that drives a powerful brushless motor. Together, they offer 40 cuts (6x6 logs) per charge. The battery recharges in one hour and is compatible with the rest of the Toro PowerPlex 40V Max tools.
The nickel-cadmium battery was invented back in 1898 and used to power pretty much any and every battery-run toy and machine until the late 1960s when the nickel metal hydride battery was introduced.
However, NiCad batteries are still popular, as they work well at low temperatures and are affordable. Moreover, NiCad batteries are simple and have a long life and high discharge rate. Finally, they are easy to recharge.
On the downside, they generally offer less power than similarly-sized batteries of other types so they are heavier on a per capacity basis. NiCad batteries are not a very green solution, as they contain toxic materials and heavy metals. The longer they are in use, the more capacity they lose. Batteries of this type require a lot of maintenance and should be completely discharged before recharging to preserve its life.
Nickel Metal Hydride
Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries were introduced in 1967 and have remained popular ever since. They can be considered an evolution of the NiCad technology, as they work in a similar way but did away with the toxic materials. Also, they boast almost two times the energy density of the common Ni-Cad batteries and don’t need discharging before recharging.
NiMH batteries come with their own set of drawbacks, as well. They perform poorly at low temperatures and have a pretty high self-discharge rate, somewhere around 4% a day. While their energy density is superior to NiCad batteries, it is inferior to the modern Li-Ion batteries. Also, NiMH batteries can also have memory effect problems.
Lithium-ion batteries are the most recent development in battery technology, as the cordless chainsaws that formerly relied exclusively on nickel-cadmium (NiCad) and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries have all switched over to Li-ion. They are technologically more advanced than the older types and don’t suffer from memory effect problems.
Li-ion batteries are low maintenance and combine low weight with great power. Also, they have a super-low self-discharge rate, allowing them to hold their charge for far longer than NiCad and NiMH batteries. You won’t need to discharge them nearly as often as NiCad batteries.
On the downside, Li-ion batteries tend to degrade over time, regardless if they’re used or not. They’re expensive compared to the older types and can’t withstand heat very well.
In a nutshell, the discharge rate is the rate at which a battery discharges its energy relative to its maximum capacity. If you, for example, have a 2,000mAh battery with a 1C discharge rating, it will give you a current of 2,000mA for a period of 60 minutes. If a battery of the same capacity comes with a discharge rate of 2C, it will give you 4,000mAh for a period of 30 minutes. A 0.5C rating means that a 2,000mAh battery will provide 1,000mA for a period of 120 minutes.
Battery life is another important thing to consider when shopping for a battery-powered tool, as it determines how much work you can do on a single charge. Today, the majority of battery-run chainsaws typically deliver around 60 minutes of runtime.
Along with capacity, you should also consider the battery’s recharge time. These can differ wildly from model to model, with the fastest batteries needing only 30 to 60 minutes for a full recharge.
Another option is to buy a higher capacity battery to replace the factory-installed one. But of course, it’ll make the tool heavier.
Safety is one of the most important aspects to consider when buying power tools. When it comes to battery-powered chainsaws, they are potentially as dangerous as their gas and electric siblings and should be approached and used with the same care.
Good battery-powered chainsaws should have several safety features, such as two-step triggers, alerts, chain catchers, anti-vibration system, lock-out switch, bucking spikes, and blade guards. Here’s a word or two on each of them.
A two-step trigger is one of the most important safety features a modern battery-powered chainsaw can have. In a nutshell, a proper two-step trigger system will require two separate and deliberate actions to activate the chainsaw, making it impossible to activate it accidentally.
However, many models, especially the cheap ones, either don’t have two-step triggers or have poorly designed ones.
Some models also feature LED alert lights to inform you when the chainsaw is ready for use. Usually, if a model has an LED alert system, the console will also give you a sound signal when the LEDs go on. Additionally, some models can also alert you when the brake is engaged or when you pull the trigger with the brake on.
When shopping for a battery-powered chainsaw (or any chainsaw, for that matter), you should make sure that the one you intend to buy has a chain catcher. The chain catcher is there to prevent a broken chain from being thrown back at you.
However, you shouldn’t entrust your safety completely to the chain catcher. Make sure you check the chain regularly and replace it before it breaks.
Back in the day, chainsaws were very hard and potentially hazardous to use for a prolonged period of time. If used for a long time, the chainsaws could cause a variety of health issues and injuries. Hand-arm vibration syndrome was probably the most serious among them. It is a condition which damages muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and arm, wrist, and hand joints.
Nowadays, to lower the risk of injuries related to long-term use, chainsaws are made of two parts. One part includes the engine and the cutter bar, while the other is made up of the controls, handles, and chainsaw housing. Between them, there’s a spring-cushioned suspension for vibration reduction.
A good chainsaw should also have a lock-out switch. This switch is usually found above the trigger, on top of the chainsaw handle. When disengaged, it won’t let you activate the chain. First, you would have to press it and then squeeze the trigger.
The switch is there to prevent accidental activation of the chain and to make sure that the chain would stop immediately should the chainsaw fall from your hands. Some models alert you when you press the trigger while the safety is on.
Bucking spikes are there to provide support when you’re cutting through thick wood. They are installed at the front of the body and are pointed forward, parallel to the blade. You should use them to anchor your chainsaw in place and pivot the bar through the cut. Make sure you’re lifting with your rear hand, instead of pressing down with your front arm when pivoting.
Finally, there are blade guards. They are mounted on the front portion of the bar and protect the operator from kickbacks. Sure, with the blade guard on, your chainsaw will lose several inches of its cutting capacity and prevent you from performing plunge cuts, but it will make you safer.
Weight and Portability
You should also consider the weight and portability of the chainsaw. As a rule, bigger and heavier chainsaws pack more power and have longer guide bars, meaning you will be able to cut thicker wood with them. On the flipside, smaller models sacrifice power for portability and ease of use and can only be used for light and quick work.
Also, you will need to factor in your physical fitness and strength, as holding an 11-pound chainsaw for an hour can be quite taxing.
Nowadays, battery-powered chainsaws typically weigh between 6 and 12 pounds, though both lighter and heavier options are available. Consider your needs and your physical abilities before making the final decision.
It is essential for a chainsaw, battery-powered chainsaws included, to be well lubricated in order to function properly. There are two options there – manual and automatic oiling. Cheaper models may require you to push a button to oil the chain and the bar, while the fancier ones would feature automatic oilers.
With an automatic oiling system, the chainsaw will self-lubricate on the go. This will make sure the chainsaw runs smoothly at any given moment and also minimize the risk of breakdowns.
Additionally, you should consider how easy or hard it is to fill the oil tank and the quality of the cap. Also, have in mind that chainsaws tend to leak oil when sitting around in the shop. That’s mostly due to temperature changes throughout the day that cause the oil reservoir to shrink and expand.
Ease of Use
Aside from powerful and safe, the best battery-powered chainsaw must also be easy to use. There are several key features to consider when it comes to ergonomics – balance, trigger comfort, controls, and handles.
A well-balanced chainsaw can significantly reduce the operator’s level of fatigue, especially when used for prolonged periods of time. Aside from that, good balance also reduces kickback. You should look for a chainsaw with either a neutral balance or slightly tip-heavy. Try to avoid chainsaws with overly light tips.
Chainsaws with neutral balance are easiest to control when you’re cutting both vertically and laterally. Chainsaws with light tips will lift the bar and chain towards you and require more attention and pressure to properly cut through wood.
The trigger should be soft enough to not cause fatigue but offer enough resistance to avoid unintentional activation of the chain.
Size-wise, the trigger on a vast majority of battery-operated chainsaws is big enough for two fingers. Some models have longer triggers that can be pressed with all four fingers. The most ergonomic triggers will completely sink into the handle when squeezed.
Having well-placed controls is essential for all chainsaws, not just battery-powered models. The control buttons and switches have to be easily reachable, but positioned in such a way as to prevent unintentional triggering, switching, or activation. Also, they have to be made of sturdy materials and easy to push, rotate, and pull.
As a rule, you should go with a chainsaw that has comfortable and well-placed handles. The handles should feel substantial in your hands and provide a good grip. Rubber-clad handles, besides adding thickness, help you get a better grip and have more control over the tool.
Bars and Chains
Owing to the fact that they’re intended for lighter tasks than their gas-powered counterparts, battery-powered chainsaws usually sport shorter guiding bars and lighter-gauge chains. Most commonly, the chains have 3/8” pitch with a link height of anywhere between 0.43” and 0.5”. However, some models use thinner links, while thicker for the more robust models.
The Last Word
When choosing a battery chainsaw, you should keep in mind the size of the task at hand. Also, consider what you might need it for in the future and choose accordingly.
If pruning and landscaping are all you plan to do, then a smaller model might suit you. On the other hand, if you intend to do more serious cutting, then go for a bigger, heavier chainsaw.
Also, you should check safety, battery life, compatibility with other tools, ease of use, and build quality of each chainsaw you take into consideration.
A hardcore woodworking and welding enthusiast, Russ is the editor-in-chief of TAH. In his spare time, Russ loves watching sports, and (binge) watching Netflix.