The 10 Best-Rated Electric Chainsaw, Reviewed. Which Is The Best Electric Chainsaw For You?
Cutting logs for firewood can be a therapeutic pastime. But not when your back aches and you end up smelling like a beatdown car. Make the switch to one of the cordless models, and you can even get four free batteries!
We’re bringing you the 10 best electric chainsaw models of 2021 that will make pruning trees easy for beginners and cutting 20-inch logs fun for tree fellers.
- 10 Best Electric Chainsaws of 2021
- 1. Makita XCU03PT1 Cordless Electric Chainsaw – Best Electric Chainsaw
- 2. Dewalt XR Cordless Electric Chainsaw – Runner Up
- 3. WEN 4017 Corded Electric Chainsaw – Affordable Electric Chainsaw
- 4. Makita XCU06T LXT Cordless Electric Chainsaw – Light Electric Chainsaw
- 5. Oregon CS1500 Corded Electric Chainsaw
- 6. Craftsman V20 Cordless Chainsaw
- 7. Black+Decker LCS124 Cordless Electric Chainsaw
- 8. GreenWorks CS40L2511 Cordless Electric Chainsaw
- 9. EGO Power+ CS1800 Cordless Electric Chainsaw
- 10. Milwaukee’s M18 FUEL Cordless Electric Chainsaw
- Your Guide To Buying The Best Electric Chainsaw
10 Best Electric Chainsaws of 2021
We have corded and cordless options – all are easy to use. Check out our electric chainsaw reviews of 2021 and get that much-needed upgrade from your gas chainsaw.
Still undecided which electric chainsaw is best for you and your needs? Continue reading for everything you need to know about each chainsaw on the list.
The Makita 14-inch unit is the perfect balance of safety, efficiency, and long-lasting performance, making it the best cordless electric chainsaw in our book.
Three more batteries let you get more work done without needing a charging break. The longer bar and higher battery voltage work seamlessly for fast and effortless cutting. I’m talking almost twice the speed of the Dewalt chainsaw with less noise, vibrations, and see-saw movements. It feels like running a hot knife through butter.
You also get more advanced safety features like an automatic chain brake when you release the lock-off lever. But starting the chainsaw backup is like doing a 4-button combo on your PlayStation. You have to get the sequence right, or it won’t work. The extra steps eventually become a hassle for expert chainsaw users.
Having a brushless motor in a chainsaw is a gamechanger. Top that off with a light but heavy-duty battery and a charger, and you have yourself an all-in-one, extra efficient chainsaw set. But don’t underestimate this little guy.
Cutting bigger branches and trunks may take longer. But it gets an afternoon’s worth of small cuts done without having to refill the bar oil tank or charge the battery.
It is also a safer electric chainsaw than the budget WEN unit because it has a chain brake and a safety switch. Although, the jury is still out on the latter because some people don’t like having to press the awkwardly-placed button in between cuts. It strains their hand and breaks their cutting rhythm.
Switch-annoyance aside, the Dewalt 12-inch chainsaw is one of the best-rated electric chainsaw models on our list. But comparing it to our top choice, this compact chainsaw just falls short in bar length and overall value.
The WEN corded chainsaw is quite the powerhouse for its price, slicing through 6 to 8-inch branches with no problem. The longer bar also allows it to chomp up 22-inch trunks. But unfortunately, all that wood cutting also makes it extra thirsty for oil.
But, the biggest drawback for this corded electric chainsaw is the lack of safety features. Be extra careful while cutting because the chain won’t stop in case of a kickback.
This WEN unit is not as popular as the Worx WG305.1. But it made the cut as our budget choice because you get a longer bar. It is the best corded electric chainsaw for seasonal yard work like pruning or cutting up logs for firewood.
Just when you thought Makita handed you everything, they come up with another cool item: a 7-pound cordless chainsaw. How cute is that? Ideally, you’d use this for regular maintenance of small branches or maintaining a small greenhouse.
But don’t let the size fool you. With a torque booster, this baby saw has the capability of moderate firewood cutting. It takes a bit of time and a few resets to cut through 8-inch logs, but it gets the job done. For an 18V, 10-inch barred chainsaw, that’s pretty impressive.
This kit version comes with a chainsaw, one battery, and a charger. Yes, it costs more than your average chainsaw. But if you have other battery-powered Makita electric tools, you can just get the saw and use the brand’s universal 5-Ah battery.
This compact chainsaw’s handiness and cutting efficiency make up for needing tools to adjust the chain tension.
Chain sharpening is a tedious task that not everyone can do properly. On the other hand, sending the chain to a shop for sharpening hurts your pocket over time. That said, the built-in chain sharpener of this corded electric chainsaw saves you time, effort, and money with a push of a lever.
It’s also relatively light for its size. But considering it’s a corded chainsaw negates that feature because you need a long extension cord. Or you need to carry a heavy, high-voltage generator.
Extra safety features are super important for big electric chainsaws. Luckily, this Oregon corded model has an instant-stop mechanism. You can hear the motor slowing down, but the chain stops immediately upon releasing the trigger.
With the powerful motor and the self-sharpening design, this is easily the best 18-inch electric chainsaw that you can get right now.
Here’s another 12-inch cordless chainsaw for your average yardwork. This tool is lighter on the wallet than the Dewalt runner-up but slightly heavier on the arms. You get enough power to cut through 10-inch logs, but the 4-Ah battery takes twice as long to charge and uses up a lot of oil.
Overall, this cheaper and more comfortable alternative is better suited for short and light yard work. Anything more, and you’ll need either more batteries or a bigger chainsaw.
This Black & Decker unit is the heaviest of the 12-inch electric chainsaws on our list, but it is also one of the most powerful. The 40V battery sets this bad boy apart from other cordless chainsaws with the same bar length. One full charge lets you cut treated pine over 60 times or fresh oak logs over 40 times. That’s pretty impressive, considering oak is a hardwood.
The electric chainsaw also has an excellent filter that keeps debris from getting into your bar oil tank. It comes in handy, considering you need to fill the chain oil reservoir 3-4 times using one fully charged battery. What’s worse is that the oil usually spreads all over the bar, making clean-up harder than it needs to be.
Plus, you wouldn’t want this chainsaw to cut logs over 8 inches in diameter. It gets too shaky and will eventually drain the otherwise long-lasting battery because of stress.
If you want a lower-powered electric chainsaw with all the same features, there’s a 20V version available.
The new GreenWorks cordless chainsaw is lighter than the previous version and the 12-inch saws on our list. Still, it’s a versatile electric chainsaw with a good combination of weight, power, and bar length. You can cut small branches with one hand or cut 10-inch trunks without busting your shoulder.
The 40V battery doesn’t only give a lot of power to the electric chainsaw; it also doubles as a 25,000mAh USB power bank. Cool, right? But what’s not so cool is paying a premium price without getting a tool-free tension adjustment system.
Not many electric chainsaws can keep up with their gas-powered counterparts. The EGO CS1800 comes close with its 18-inch bar and 56V battery (not included), allowing it to cut through 5-inch logs in about 2 seconds.
Now let’s look at the finer details. This powerful cordless chainsaw comes with a built-in LED light. That comes in handy when you need to cut up a fallen tree during a stormy night. Plus, its tool-free chain tensioning system – twisting one knob tight already sets the chain to the ideal tension! It’s excellent for first-time users and keeping the saw working efficiently every single time.
Weight is a major concern with this battery-powered saw – this chunky chainsaw weighs almost 15 pounds with the battery! That’s a too heavy for most people.
We saved the most powerful electric chainsaw for last. Behold the Milwaukee M18. This beast of an electric chainsaw outperforms all other battery-powered saws on the list. It’s also a serious contender against gas-powered saws because its load-adjusting motor allows it to cut bigger trunks faster. The large capacity 12Ah lithium battery lasts longer than one tank of gas.
Check out the head to head competition:
That said, this electric chainsaw is overkill for regular backyard pruning of your previously indoor-grown lemon trees. But it’s an excellent alternative for serious millers looking for a more efficient chainsaw that requires less maintenance than those gas-powered units.
Before you add this powerhouse to your cart, keep in mind that this unit is cumbersome to carry, weighing about 20 pounds with the battery.
Your Guide To Buying The Best Electric Chainsaw
Well, those are the best battery-powered chainsaws in the market. Now let’s break down the specs to see which one best suits your needs.
Corded Electric Chainsaw Vs. Cordless Chainsaw
A common misconception about electric chainsaws is that cordless models are the best because you can take them anywhere. That’s not always true. Here’s a glimpse of what it’s like to own cordless and corded electric chainsaws.
|Mechanism and power source||Motorized chainsaw connected to an outlet or generator via a power cord||Motorized chainsaw with rechargeable batteries|
|Power Output||8-15 Amperes (1)||18-80 Volts|
|Advantages||Higher power and longer run time||Completely portable and easy to use|
|Disadvantage||Limited range||Limited run time|
|Price range||Cheaper, a lot of options under $100||Kits usually cost $200 and up|
Ultimately, choosing the type of electric chainsaw for you boils down to where and how often you often do your cutting. Obviously, if you plan on cutting logs in the middle of nowhere, a cordless unit is more practical. No one wants to drag a giant generator, an extension cord, and a battery-powered chainsaw into the woods.
Bar Length And Weight
Choosing the appropriate bar length depends on the kind and size of wood you will be cutting. Generally, bars of electric chainsaws range between 8-22 inches (2).
|Bar size||Ideal maximum wood diameter||Best for|
|Small (8-14 inches)||6 inches||Occasional light use: seasonal pruning of small trees and shrubs.|
|Medium (16-18 inches)||22 inches||Moderate use: Felling and limbing trunks and thicker, harder logs|
|Large (over 22 inches)||30 inches||Heavy-duty: Frequent logging for commercial businesses.|
Bigger is not always better when it comes to chainsaws because of the weight that comes with the longer bar. Heavier chainsaws are harder to maneuver and can strain your back and shoulders over time.
The electric chainsaws we included are in the small to medium size range. All are great for general trimming and occasional firewood cutting. The Makita XCU06T is the smallest and lightest chainsaw that we included, having a 10-inch bar while weighing only 7.2 pounds. It’s great for pruning your indoor-grown avocado tree.
Let’s get technical for a minute and talk about the power output of these electric chainsaws. Here are the things to remember (3):
- Voltage (V) is the measurement of power that cordless saws release to cut wood.
- Amperage (A) is the maximum electrical energy that corded models can use without busting a fuse.
- Amp Hour (Ah) measures the energy stored inside a battery pack of cordless saws.
The higher the voltage and amp rating, the more powerful the electric chainsaw is. But that also means it consumes more energy.
The best cordless chainsaws have a big Ah rating to keep up with the high voltage. Our top pick, the Makita XCU03PT1, is an excellent example of this balance with a 36V output and a total 10Ah battery system. Plus, you get an extra 10Ah from the free batteries, making this pick last extra long out in the field.
In some cases, specialized motors and batteries make cordless chainsaws more efficient despite the V and Ah ratings. For example, the Black+Decker LCS124 has an ultra-efficient battery. It lasts for over an hour running at 40V despite the battery capacity being only 2Ah. On the other hand, Milwaukee’s M18 has a unique load-adjusting motor. It allows its low voltage (18V, 12Ah) battery to outperform and outlast some gas models.
Having a brushless motor like that of the Dewalt XR is also a game-changer for battery-powered models. It allows more power to focus on cutting wood instead of keeping the motor running.
Taking Care of Your Electric Chainsaw
Regardless of the type, all chainsaws need maintenance. But unlike gas models, maintenance is easier and less messy for electric chainsaws. For one thing, you don’t have to deal with smelly and toxic gasoline smells.
A dull chain causes more strain on your chainsaw’s motor, bringing down its efficiency. However, sharpening a chain with dozens of tiny blades is not easy. You have two options for getting this job done: send it to a tool shop or buy a chain sharpener.
Either way, it costs you extra money. Luckily, some electric chainsaws like the Oregon CS1500 have a built-in chain sharpener that works with a pull of a lever.
Oil limits friction between the metal bar and the metal chain. Keeping your bar and chain lubricated with the proper oil prevents mechanical damage and physical injury (4).
“Electric chain saws can use only bar and chain lubrication oil in their systems. These oils are specifically designed for this kind of lubrication.”
Bar and chain oil has the proper viscosity to keep the chain lubricated without splattering everywhere. Using other types of oil like motor oil is also not a good idea because it can be too runny or unable to regulate the temperature of the running chainsaw.
Some chainsaws like the Craftsman V20 have an oil tank that automatically releases oil into the bar on startup. Others like the GreenWorks Cordless Electric Chainsaw use an advanced automatic chain oiler that will only kick in when you push the throttle.
c, Chain Tensioning
You always need to adjust the chain tension before using a chainsaw. If you cut continuously for an extended period, check your chain tension once in a while. You want to make sure the chain wraps snuggly on the bar while leaving a ⅛” gap when you tug on it (5).
A loose chain can come off and damage the chainsaw, while a very tight chain can break and hit you in the face.
Making this regular task easier is a tool-free chain tensioning feature, which almost all the chainsaws on our list have. The EGO Power+ CS1800 is incredibly convenient because you just need to twist the knob, and you’re good to go.
Chain Brake And Chainsaw Safety
The most important safety feature of an electric chainsaw is a chain brake (6).
“In the event of sudden or rapid movement of the chainsaw, such as when kickback occurs, the brake is designed to engage automatically through the force of inertia.”
Luckily, most electric models have the same safety features as their gas-powered counterparts. For instance, Dewalt XR uses a standard manual chain brake that kicks in when your hand pushes the handguard forward. Our top pick, the Makita XCU03PT1, also has this feature with the condition that you can’t power the saw unless you set up the brake.
Here are other electric chainsaw safety features to pay attention to:
- Bumper spikes: keeps wood in place while cutting
- Throttle trigger interlock: prevents accidentally pressing the throttle
- Stop switch: automatically kills motor when on idle
Yes, you need to clean your electric chainsaw after each use. Your bar and chain may look clean after just a few cuts. But debris can get into the side cap, jamming up the chain mechanism. Using an air compressor or a brush is an easy way to clean up.
You should store an electric chainsaw in a cool, dry place to avoid rusting the bar and chain. Loosen the chain after each use to reduce strain on the joints. Some chainsaws leak oil from the bar during storage. Figuring out a position that reduces this saves on oil and added clean up.
No, cutting wet wood does not dull a chainsaw. If anything, wet wood is softer and easier to cut than processed wood because it’s less dense. Actions that wear out a chain include contact with concrete or metal while working. Exposing your chain to wet dirt also dulls the chain eventually because of rust.
- Electric vs Gas Powered Chainsaw: Which is Better? Retrieved from: https://sawfaq.com/electric-vs-gas-chainsaw/
- Chainsaw Safety. Retrieved from: https://ag-safety.extension.org/chainsaw-safety/
- Power Tool Amps, Horsepower and Volts. Retrieved from: https://toolsinaction.com/power-tool-information/power-tool-amps-horsepower-and-volts/
- What Kind of Oil Do Electric Chainsaws Use? Retrieved from: https://www.hunker.com/12326706/what-kind-of-oil-do-electric-chain-saws-use
- Selecting and Maintaining a Chainsaw. Retrieved from: https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g1954
- Inertia Chain Brake. Retrieved from: https://ugaurbanag.com/inertia-chain-brake/
Tana grew up around island farms and pine forests. Her love for nature lead to her degree in Biology and mission to lessen her environmental impact. Now she grows food in her backyard and shares what she learns from Eco Peanut with others.