Are Battery Chainsaws Any Good? A Guide

are battery chainsaws any good

Battery-powered tools have become increasingly popular in recent years, and chainsaws are no exception. As battery technology continues to improve, cordless electric chainsaws are now a viable alternative to traditional gas-powered models for some users. But are battery chainsaws really up to the task? In this comprehensive guide, I’ll take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of battery chainsaws to help you determine if one is right for your needs.

First, let’s start with an overview of how battery chainsaws work. Rather than an internal combustion engine, they operate using a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack. This powers an electric motor that drives the cutting chain. Without the noise, fumes, and maintenance of gas engines, battery chainsaws provide a quieter, more convenient option for light-duty cutting tasks.

While they can’t fully replace heavy-duty gas saws, modern battery chainsaws are suitable for smaller jobs like pruning limbs, cutting firewood, and storm cleanup. Rapid advances in lithium-ion batteries now allow longer runtimes and more power than ever before. Many users find battery saws to be lighter, faster, and easier to use for short work sessions.

So what are the main advantages and limitations of these cordless, electric saws compared to gas models? Let’s take a closer look.

Advantages of Battery Chainsaws

Battery chainsaws offer some clear benefits that explain their growing popularity:

  • Quieter operation: Without the noise of a gas engine, electric chainsaws run much more quietly, reducing noise pollution. This makes them better for residential use.
  • Less maintenance: There’s no air filter to clean, spark plug to replace, or fuel lines to maintain. Simply recharge the battery as needed.
  • Lower ongoing costs: You’ll save on gas, oil, air filters, plugs, and tune-ups compared to a gas chainsaw over time.
  • Ease of use: Electric start buttons allow fast, easy startups without pull cords or choke valves to deal with. They’re very simple to operate.
  • Reduced emissions: Battery saws don’t directly emit any exhaust fumes or gasoline vapors, making them more eco-friendly.
  • Compact storage: Without fuel or oil tanks, cordless chainsaws take up less space and are easier to transport.
See also  What Kind of Gas Does a Husqvarna Chainsaw Use?

For small or occasional cutting tasks, it’s easy to see how battery-powered chainsaws provide a convenient, user-friendly experience without headache or hassle. But they aren’t without some limitations.

  Are Battery Chainsaws Any Good in 2024?

Limitations of Battery Chainsaws

While they excel for quick jobs, battery chainsaws do come with a few drawbacks:

  • Higher upfront cost: The battery and charger add significantly to the purchase price compared to gas-only chainsaws.
  • Limited run times: Most batteries provide only 20-40 minutes of cutting time on a single charge. Not ideal for all-day use.
  • Longer recharge times: It can take hours to fully recharge some larger battery packs after drained.
  • Less power: Gasoline still provides more raw power for difficult cuts in larger wood or over extended use.
  • Cold weather issues: Lithium-ion batteries lose significant power in freezing temperatures.

For heavy, sustained use in felling large timbers or all-day firewood production, gas-powered chainsaws are still the best choice. But battery models work fine for lighter weekend warrior tasks.

Now that we’ve weighed the pros and cons, let’s look at the key factors to consider when choosing the best battery chainsaw for your specific needs and situation.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Battery Chainsaw

With many models available from brands like Greenworks, Makita, Ego, DeWalt, Husqvarna, and others, there are several things to keep in mind:

Battery Type and Power

Look for modern lithium-ion batteries that are lighter, charge faster, and deliver consistent high performance. Amp hour (Ah) ratings indicate battery capacity and cutting runtime. Higher Ah equals more work per charge. Optimal voltage depends on saw bar length.

Size and Weight

Consider how often you’ll need to carry and handle the saw to determine ideal weight. Balance is also key for control and maneuverability. Pruning saws run 10-12 lbs. while some pro models push 20 lbs.

Ergonomics and Design

Look for a balanced feel with integrated Grips to reduce fatigue. The rear handle and trigger switch should allow you to cut straight without twisting. Safety features like chain brakes are essential.

See also  How to Troubleshoot a Chainsaw with Weak Compression: A Guide

Don’t sacrifice power or run time for an ultra-light saw. But avoid bulky models if mobility is important. Try holding different saws at the store to find your best fit.

Best Practices for Using and Maintaining a Battery Chainsaw

To get the most from your battery chainsaw and keep it running optimally for years, follow these tips:

Proper Oiling

Be sure to fill the oil tank and check the chain bar lubrication system regularly. Without proper oiling, your chain will wear out prematurely. Watch for smoking, increased resistance, and a dry bar/chain.

Common reasons your chainsaw might not oil the bar properly include low oil level, clogged passages, old oil, damaged oiler parts, and incorrect oil viscosity. Refer to your owner’s manual and inspect the oiler system if issues arise.

Battery Care and Charging

Store batteries at room temperature and avoid over-discharging them completely. Most lithium-ion packs can handle a few hundred charging cycles. Use the automatic shutoff to avoid draining too low.

Always recharge immediately after use for maximum battery lifespan. Check charger indicators to verify full charging. Some chargers cool batteries before charging for optimal performance and longevity.

Safety Precautions

While battery saws are safer, they still require caution. Always wear protective eyewear and gloves. Ensure the chain brake functions properly. Maintain proper stance and grip at all times, and avoid cutting above shoulder height. Keep bystanders at a safe distance.

Follow all manufacturer safety instructions and guidance to prevent dangerous kickback when cutting. Take special care when pruning storm-damaged trees or cutting in awkward positions.

Top Battery Chainsaw Models

Based on professional reviews and my own experience, here are some of the best battery chainsaws to consider across usage needs and budgets:

  • Greenworks Pro 60V 16″ Saw – Great mid-duty saw with brushless motor, good run time, and nice power for the price.
  • Ego Power+ 16″ Chainsaw – Very lightweight and maneuverable but still packs impressive cutting power.
  • Makita XCU02Z 18V X2 – Two 18V batteries provide long run time and hardy cutting performance at a reasonable price point.
  • DeWalt Flexvolt 60V Max – Top runtime and power for bigger cuts while still keeping user fatigue down. Excellent heavy-duty choice but pricey.
  • Oregon Cordless 40V – Well-balanced, rugged saw provides brawny cutting power in all types of wood. Great value buy.
  • Husqvarna 120i Battery Chainsaw – An outstanding battery saw option from a premium brand. Cuts as well as many entry-level gas saws.
See also  How Much Compression Should a Chainsaw Have?

I recommend trying a few models firsthand at your local home improvement store. Evaluate weight, balance, grip, and ease of use while imagining your typical cutting tasks. Narrow your choices before reading detailed reviews of your top contenders.

Conclusion

While they have limitations, battery chainsaws provide a convenient, eco-friendly option for light, occasional use where noise and emissions are a concern. Models from trusted brands like DeWalt, Ego, Husqvarna, and Makita can tackle limb pruning, firewood cutting, and basic storm cleanup efficiently.

Just ensure you choose a saw with sufficient power and run time for your specific needs. Check voltage, battery Ah ratings, and cut speed. And stick with gas for heavy-duty, all-day use. By following our tips on features, usage, maintenance, and safe operation, a quality battery chainsaw can meet your cordless cutting needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do battery chainsaws last on a single charge?

It depends on the battery size, but most lithium-ion batteries will run for 20-40 minutes of actual cutting time, perhaps longer for lighter trimming work. Higher capacity batteries will give you more runtime.

Can battery chainsaws handle heavy-duty tasks?

They can tackle lighter tasks but are best suited for smaller branches and firewood, not all day timber felling. Look for a higher voltage/Ah rating for more power. Keep an extra charged battery on hand for longer jobs.

How do battery chainsaws compare to gas-powered chainsaws in terms of power?

Top gas saws are still more powerful, but battery chainsaws can cut efficiently through 6-10 inch logs with slower chain speeds. They make very quick work of smaller limbs and pruning cuts.

Are battery chainsaws environmentally friendly?

Yes, they produce zero emissions during operation while eliminating fuel spill hazards. But lithium battery manufacturing does have some environmental impacts that should improve over time.

What is the average cost of a battery chainsaw?

Basic models start around $150-200, but plan on spending $250-500 for a high-quality saw. Kits with batteries and chargers cost more than saw-only options.

How do I know if my chainsaw’s oiler is working properly?

Check for adequate oil reaching the chain and bar. Too much resistance while cutting can indicate an oiling issue. Inspect the oil tank and passage holes for clogs. Ensure the reservoir and system are clean.

Can I use a battery chainsaw for professional work?

With a high-capacity battery and rugged construction, today’s better lithium-ion chainsaws can handle occasional professional use like tree service. But frequent all-day use still demands a gas model.

Similar Posts