Best Electric Chainsaw Picks: Light Duty Uses You Don’t Want to Be Without
Electric chainsaws are an awesome addition to your property maintenance. I have always been a huge fan of large, gas-powered saws due to my previous work in wildland firefighting where I was able to truly see their power at work. But the fact remains that most times you do not need a 50cc, 20+ inch saw for home and garden maintenance. Although it was a hard decision, I decided to see what all the fuss was about surrounding electric powered saws, and what I discovered was rather surprising.
Electric chainsaws can be quite powerful in their own right, and I was very impressed with how easily they handled and got the jobs provided done. Of course, like all products, there are many different brands, makes, and models available, but I’ve provided a few of the top rated below to highlight products based off current electric chainsaw reviews.
Table of Contents
- What do you plan to use the chainsaw for?
- How much experience do you have with a chainsaw?
- Are you aware of the safety features of your saw?
- WORX 18-Inch 15.0 Amp Electric Chainsaw
- Earthwise CS33016 Electric Chain Saw
- Zombi ZCS5817 16-Inch 58-Volt Lithium Cordless Electric Chainsaw
- DEWALT 20V Max Compact Cordless Chainsaw
- Greenworks 16-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw
To start, electric chainsaws are more affordable than their gas counterparts. If heavy duty cutting is not in your foreseeable future, but you need a powerful cutting tool for your property, then investing in an electric saw is going to be much lighter on your pocketbook.
Electric saws are also almost always lighter in weight and have a lower vibration due to the lower power in comparison to a gas engine. This allows you to work longer with less fatigue and keeps your back and shoulders from feeling the strain of holding up such a powerful tool.
Electric saws ARE powerful, and can be counted on to take down trees of smaller to average size, and can often make short work of stacks of firewood as well. They also can handle smaller jobs without fear of binding as it cuts through more supple materials. Personally, I like to use mine as farm work to cut large bales of hay into more manageable feeding amounts.
The maintenance of an electric saw is also MUCH less than a gas powered one. Despite maintenance being fairly simple overall of any chainsaw, you do not have to worry about fuel, air filters, spark plugs, or anything else related to a gas engine. Bar and chain oil, charging a battery, or having a reliable extension cord, is pretty much all you need outside of normal cleaning and chain tightening concerning an electric version.
The premise behind an electric chainsaw is easy enough to understand. Powered by either a lithium battery or electrical outlet via an extension cord, an electric chainsaw may not turn as quickly as a gas powered version- but it is still a powerful tool. The electric current provided to run the engine turns the rotor at high speed. This is what feeds the gears to power the sprocket in order to spin the chain upon the bar.
Electric chainsaws come ready to use out of the box and generally only need the addition of bar chain oil (that is usually included). This helps lubricate the chain for easy movement along the guide bar and to avoid overheating and binding.
Electric chainsaws are either corded or cordless, and both have some pros and cons to them that you may want to consider. These are both unique tools for use around your home and property, and choosing the best for the jobs you have at hand, and the facilities you have, is important.
Corded saws have a short cord that must be plugged into an extension cord connected to at least a 110-volt outlet. These provide sufficient power for light to medium duty jobs and are good for cutting firewood, trimming, and pruning trees.
Generally, corded electric powered saws are stronger than their cordless counterparts, and some may even be powerful enough to cut larger trees. Since it is run directly from a power source, you do not have to stop to recharge batteries, and other than making sure there are enough bar and chain oil, you do not need to worry about a fuel source.
They also are usually the least expensive saw models available, as the cord can be considered a nuisance, and safety hazard that must be paid close attention to. Plus, you have to have an available outlet, which makes it less portable.
Cordless chainsaws are powered by rechargeable batteries, making them highly portable, and useful for light cutting jobs. With changes in technology, these have become more and more powerful, and some may even be able to handle more moderate tasks- so checking reviews and ratings surrounding consumer use is definitely helpful if you are considering a cordless model.
Usually, these have less power than their corded counterparts and are best used for trimming and pruning, and some light firewood cutting work. Plus, they will not be able to run indefinitely as the battery will eventually run out of power. You can always purchase extra batteries to have a charged one available however so you do not need to pause at your work to wait for a new charge.
Cordless chainsaws are typically more expensive as well due to the battery quality being offered. Plus, if you want to purchase a separate battery this may be an added cost.
Just like a gas-powered chainsaw, electric saws also come in various strengths and sizes. Amperage is the strength of the electric current, and most electric saws fall within a 7 to 15 amp range for light to medium/heavy work. The average bar lengths are generally between 12 to 14 inches, but some may have an even longer bar for larger jobs if they have the power to back it.
- Wear the correct safety gear. This includes eye and ear protection, gloves, boots, and kevlar chaps that are cut resistant and will jam a blade that it comes in contact with.
- Stand in a boxing stance with your dominant foot forward, to the side of the cut, and be sure you are well balanced.
- Keep both hands on the saw, and never take your eyes off the blade while you cut.
- Plan your cut and know where the bar will exit the cut. It isn’t where you start, it is where you finish that is important.
- The top of your chainsaw bar at the tip is called the chainsaw kickback zone. Because of the rotation of the chain, if you suddenly come in contact with a hard object you risk allowing the bar to kick back towards you. Always be mindful of this zone as you cut, even if you have special chains and features to help keep this from happening, and do not stand directly behind the blade.
The most important thing to keep in mind when using an electric chainsaw is to ensure the chain is correctly set and with proper tension prior to use to avoid it jumping off the guide bar. Most electric saws come with an easy to adjust tension knob or can be done manually with a tool. Too tight a chain may cause overheating, but too loose may allow it to fall off. You want to be able to have a little play in the chain when you pull it, but it should settle back into the bar on its own without gaps.
You also need to provide bar and chain oil either directly to the chain, or a provided reservoir. This keeps the chain lubricated as it turns to avoid overheating or binding. After use, you should always check for chain sharpness as well, especially if you feel it hasn’t been cutting as well as it should. This can create a bucking, or binding of the saw while cutting- which can be dangerous. Sharpening your own chain is easy, and only takes about 10 minutes with a little care and knowledge of the process.
Cutting wood creates dust and it can settle in the sprocket, along with other smaller vegetation. Care should be taken to keep your saw clean, and you should remove the cover of the guide bar and clean it out after each use.
You’ll want the best tool for the jobs you have in mind, and when buying an electric saw over a gas engine you will definitely save money, but will not have the same power available. With that being said, you shouldn’t overlook an electric saw as a possible choice, especially if you will only be using it on your own property. Electric models can be surprisingly powerful and are worth looking the details and features of various models over.
What do you plan to use the chainsaw for?
As described, electric chainsaws are good for light to moderate jobs, with some even available for larger and heavier work. Knowing what you will want this tool for in advance will help guide your decision-making process. Be sure to check amperage and chain length against the jobs you have in mind.
How much experience do you have with a chainsaw?
Electric saws are generally lighter and easy to use than a gas powered version. They also are excellent tools to learn from, but they are still a dangerous item that requires protection and awareness. If you have never used a saw, you may want to get some instruction from an acquaintance who has some or even take a class on chainsaw use and safety. These can be very helpful in understanding how they work, and how to best care for all types.
Are you aware of the safety features of your saw?
Almost all saws boast various safety features that will aid in its use and help provide you with a further piece of mind while working with your saw. Looking specifically for features that make the job easier and ensure safety measures should be examined prior to purchase.
Despite the many makes and models currently available for consumer use, we have provided some of the best electric chainsaws based off reviews and ratings to allow you an overview of what possibilities exist. Quality saws are often defined through consistent use, which reflects upon their durability and job availability.
- Weight: 11.3 lbs
- Bar Length: 18 inches
- Power source: corded, 15 amp
- Warranty: 3 years
WORX has risen over the last decade or so as a common name synonymous with property lawn and garden maintenance. Their tools are backed by good service and a strong warranty to ensure you years of hassle-free use. This corded chainsaw has a powerful 15 amp power source and boasts an 18-inch chain for moderate to heavier jobs around your home and garden. A patented auto chain tension system also allows you to work worry-free as it keeps your chain an optimal tension for an effective cut.
You can also work pause-free as the built-in oil reservoir has a window level indicator to keep you from having to refill halfway through a job, or worrying about overheating. Added safety features include low kickback, and a built-in chain brake- an option that is not often found on electric models. Designed to be comparable to a gas powered saw, the wrap-around handle and power allow for more heavy jobs to be completed.
- Incredibly powerful and durable
- Works easy and without overheating for long periods of time
- Easy start and lightweight
- The chain may slip easily and need adjusting
- May be difficult to find a chain replacement
Perfect for heavier jobs, this is a great choice for homeowners who know they have need of both power and durability for a variety of jobs. This is considered one of the largest corded saws available short of upgrading to a gas version and is perfect for anyone on a budget.
- Weight: 9.9 lbs
- Bar Length: 16 inch
- Power source: corded, 12 amp
- Warranty: 2 year
Earthwise is a relatively new company but has a strong following and excellent rating reviews surrounding their outdoor maintenance products. They offer a wide variety of chainsaw choices, but their 12 amp, the corded electric saw is a favorite. The 16-inch chain is durable and long-lasting and is capable of more moderate to heavy jobs if needed. The tool-less chain tensioner allows you to work with minimal adjustment and worry of slipping the chain as well.
A built-in oil reservoir with window allows you to check your levels and keeps the bar well oiled to avoid binding or overheating. Safety features include a compact design with wrap around handle for easy handling. Combined with a mere 9.9 lbs weight, you can work without fatigue for long periods of time. A cord retention hook and handguard are also nice features to avoid cord entanglement.
- Very powerful and compact
- Perfect for homeowner use
- Durable and long lasting
- Oil reservoir may not put out enough oil
This is a great choice for light to moderate jobs, with a few large firewood or tree cutting chores thrown in. The corded power allows for longer working periods without pause, and the size is perfect for even smaller statured consumers.
- Weight: 16 lbs
- Bar Length: 16 inch
- Power source: cordless, 58 volt
- Warranty: 5 years
Although a fairly new name, Zombi products are known for their durability, and this saw is no exception. For a cordless chainsaw, a 58-volt battery is a monster and easily powers the 16-inch chains at 62.3 feet per second. This will power through just about anything you can put in front of it. The brushless motor allows for better efficiency and overall power, making it a stand-alone product in its class. Auto oiling keeps you working without pause.
Safety features include a low kickback and chain brake, as well as the handguard and easy wrap around grip style. It is highly portable, with a battery that should last more than three hours of moderate to heavy work. Although a bit heavier overall than many cordless models, the added heft allows for better balance and a heavier workload overall.
- Perfect for easy portable cutting
- Incredibly power
- Long lasting battery
- Chain oiler may not put out enough oil
- Slightly heavy
This is an amazingly powerful tool for a cordless choice and can stand up to gas-powered saws with ease. For larger properties and heavy work – this is an excellent choice.
- Weight: 8.8 lbs
- Bar Length: 12”
- Power Source: cordless, 20V
- Warranty: 3 year
DEWALT is a brand name popular within the construction and has built a solid reputation surrounding durability and affordability. The Max Compact Cordless Chainsaw is the perfect solution for powerful portability in and around your property and is a great choice for construction purposes as well. The 12-inch bar supports a 25.2 feet per second chain speed for easy cutting solutions. It also has a tool-free chain tensioning and knob to avoid slippage.
Incredibly lightweight at under 9 lbs, the saw offers a low kickback bar, and chain stopping capabilities for safety features. It also offers a chain oil reservoir at the front of the saw with an easy access window. The saw comes with a battery and charger, and additional batteries can be purchased for longer run times without pause between work to recharge.
- Battery and charger included
- Works on both hard, and fibrous materials
- Powerful for such a small saw
- Bar and chain oil cap hard to open
- Large, longer work burns out battery faster, a second battery is suggested to trade out with
This is a compact, powerful saw that can actually handle a larger bar and chain for larger jobs. It is perfect for regular light to moderate property management, with the occasional larger job thrown in.
- Weight: 10.2 lbs
- Bar Length:16 inch
- Power source: cordless, 40 volt
- Warranty: 4 years
Greenworks, as the name suggests, is a company devoted to more environmentally friendly products without the loss of power and usefulness. Their cordless power tool options include powerful chainsaw choices, including this 40 volt, a 16-inch product made specifically to keep you working efficiently and effectively. The brushless motor provides long run time and more torque to work through moderate to heavier jobs with ease.
Safety features include an electronic chain brake, low kickback design, and 70% vibration reduction for less fatigue. At only 10 lbs and a 150 cut runtime, you can easily work through job after job without having to stop and recharge. Plus, additional batteries can be purchased for longer, heavier workloads. The automatic oiler also helps ensure a smooth cutting surface and avoids getting overheated.
- Can handle large cuts with ease
- Long lasting battery
- Durable and easy to hold
- Oil may drain out when in storage
- May not work reliably after a few years of regular use
This is an excellent choice for homeowners needing light to moderate workloads taken care of – with the occasional heavy job that needs to be finished. It is especially nice for residential areas. With a 50% sound reduction compared to similar products, you don’t have to worry about disturbing neighbors.
If you have ever questioned what is the best electric chainsaw, be aware that the best is going to be what works best for you both personally, and for the jobs, you have for it. The top-rated saws I have listed helps illustrate the many options you have available to you concerning power and size- and how the difference between the corded and cordless products compare to one another.
Although each highlighted above has its own quality distinctions, the power of the Zombi ZCS5817 16-Inch 58-Volt Lithium Cordless Electric Chainsaw is highly rated, and allows you to pretty much handle any size job you need to get done. The only drawback is the weight compared to other cordless versions, but the amazing power behind it allows for excellent portability into just about any cutting situation you need it in.
If you have any questions about the models we have provided, or have a dependable favored product you would like to comment on, please do so below. And, as always, please share!