Chainsaws are the ‘big boy’ of power saws, used when we have major cutting to do. While they are normally associated with falling trees and cutting off dead limbs, they are actually useful for other purposes; various jobs ranging from carving to demolition. I’ve never been able to figure out how to cut railroad ties effectively with any other saw.
When most people think of a chainsaw, they instantly remember the distinct sound of a gas chainsaw. We’re used to seeing chainsaws as gas powered tools. There’s just one problem with that though; gas chainsaws have a lot of problems; especially when they sit idle all the time.
I’ve bought quality chainsaws so that I would have them for cutting dead branches off trees and cutting up firewood. But I’ve never been able to keep one running past the first three or four uses. That’s because these tools are meant to be used on a regular basis, not the rare times I need one. That’s why an electric chainsaw is such a good choice. While they may not be as powerful as gas ones, they don’t have the problems that gas ones do. There’s no problem with letting one sit six months in the shed and then expect it to work; it will. It will start and run every time you need it to.
Table of Contents
- Best Electric Chainsaw – Comparison
- 10 Best Electric Chainsaws – Reviews
- 1. Makita UC4051A 16” Electric Chainsaw
- 2. Oregon CS1500 Electric Chain Saw
- 3. Sun Joe SWJ599E Electric Chain Saw
- 4. Poulon PL1416 Electric Chain Saw
- 5. Sun Joe SWJ806E 2-in-1 Convertible Chain Saw
- 6. Black & Decker LCS1240, 40 Volt Cordless
- 7. DeWalt DCCS670X1, 60 Volt Cordless Chainsaw
- 8. Worx LG322, 20 Volt Cordless Chainsaw
- 9. Greenworks GCS80421, 80 Volt Cordless Chainsaw
- 10. EGO CS1600, 56 Volt Cordless Chain Saw
- Final Verdict:
Best Electric Chainsaw – Comparison
Best electric chainsaws can be divided into two groups: battery-powered and corded. We’ve got a good mix here, giving you the option of deciding which you prefer.
10 Best Electric Chainsaws – Reviews
1. Makita UC4051A 16” Electric Chainsaw
If you’re looking for a chain saw, then you’re looking for raw power. That’s a necessity for cutting through tree branches. In electric chainsaws, corded chainsaws tend to have more power than cordless ones do. So if you’re going to be dealing with large diameter logs or dense hardwoods, you’re probably going to be better off with a corded electric chainsaw, like this one from Makita.
This Makita provides plenty of power, which is why it’s one of the best electric chainsaws around. The 14.5 amp motor provides plenty of power. Makita doesn’t list a horsepower rating for it, but I’m pretty sure based upon the current draw that it’s one of the more powerful ones on this list.
But what makes this saw so good is some of the other features it has. The manufacturer has made it considerably easier to use, by eliminating the need to use tools for chain maintenance. All chain adjustments are “tool-less,” saving a lot of hassles. The large reservoir for the chain oiler has a window, allowing you to see how much oil is still available.
At 2,900 FPM (feet per minute), the UC4051A is engineered for fast cutting and easy starts. An oversized trigger switch controls the soft start for the motor and rubberized grip handles make the saw easy and comfortable to use. The large metal spike bumper adds to your ability to control the saw.
- “Tool-less” chain adjustment
- Rubberized handles add to operator comfort
- Oversized trigger switch with soft start
- Current limiter to protect the motor
- Large metal spike bar for better control
- Chain oil level visible through the window
- Electric brake for safety
- 16” Guide bar
- Dragging the cord around is a bit inconvenient
- This saw is a bit pricey; but then, it’s a Makita, one of the top brands out there
2. Oregon CS1500 Electric Chain Saw
Oregon has gone above and beyond with their electric chain saw. This saw combines the best features you could look for. Like the Makita, it has tool-free chain tension adjustment, saving you work and making it easier for you to get the job done. But that’s not all.
Perhaps the best single feature of this saw is that it has a patented self-sharpening system. If you hit a rock and dull your saw, while using it, just pull the sharpening lever and the saw will sharpen itself in a matter of seconds. Considering that professional loggers sharpen their chain saws every time they use it and the rest of us aren’t quite that diligent, this feature seems like something we all need.
Oregon’s CS1500 comes with a 15 Amp motor, making it, at least theoretically, more powerful than the Makita. But the chain moves at a slower speed. It also has an 18-inch bar. That extra bar and chain length is nice to have, especially when you’re tackling the bigger jobs. Even though you won’t need the extra length all the time, those times you will, you’ll be glad to have it.
Overall, this is a very well designed, ergonomic, tool. The balance is ideal and the rubber overlaid handles reduce operator fatigue. There’s even an integrated chain brake for safety.
- Self-sharpening feature
- Tool-free blade tension adjustment
- Automatic Oiler
- High-power motor
- Long 18” bar
- Ergonomic balance and handles
- Good price
- Slower chain speed
- It’s a little heavier at 13.2 pounds
- No window to check oil level
3. Sun Joe SWJ599E Electric Chain Saw
Maybe you’ve always thought you couldn’t afford a chain saw. That’s probably just because you never saw the Jun Joe SWJ599E. While smaller than some other chain saws, the price of this compact unit is enough to turn anyone’s head.
I say this saw is smaller, but it’s not too small. It still has a 14-inch bar, so it’s big enough for cutting off just about any limbs and branches that you can find. The 9 amp motor is a bit smaller too; but as long as you don’t try to push the saw through the branch, like a knife through butter, it’s big enough to get the job done. For those who only need a chain saw occasionally, this is definitely one to look at.
This saw comes with some nice features as well. It has a safety switch to prevent accidental starts. While we all tend to complain about the safety features on our tools, they are critical with a chain saw. The oiler tank is readily accessible from the top of the tool, making it easier to fill and there’s a window so that you can always see how much oil you have left for the self-lubricating oiler. There’s even a hook for your extension cord, to prevent those annoying disconnects we all hate.
- Great price
- Compact and lightweight at just 7.7 pounds
- Safety switch to prevent accidental starts
- Window to gauge oil level
- Self-lubricating bar and chain, with very convenient filler location
- Extension cord hook to prevent accidental disconnects
- A more powerful motor would have been nice
- The chain tension adjustment requires the use of tools
4. Poulon PL1416 Electric Chain Saw
Poulon has a solid reputation in the chain saw industry, making a number of models of both consumer and professions chain saws. This electric chain saw holds true to that legacy, providing power and convenience in a chain saw with an excellent price. It’s list price isn’t quite as low as the Sun Joe, but still excellent.
As one would expect from a product by a reputable company like Poulan, this chain saw all the features you’d want. The 16-inch bar and chain are driven by a 14 amp motor. While that’s not the most powerful on this list, it’s still enough for just about any job you encounter around the homestead.
This chain saw has one feature that I don’t encounter often; that’s a chain brake alert, which allows you to know whenever the chain brake is engaged. This tool is designed to be extremely low-maintenance. The PL1416 is engineered to be ergonomic, with an in-line motor and rubber overlaid handles.
- The brake alert light is a nice safety feature to have
- Chain tensioning is extremely fast and easy
- Safety lockout switch on the trigger for safety
- Cord hook to hold the extension cord
- Oil level window for the chain oiler tank
- Have to lay the saw on its side to add oil
- Chain adjustment is not toll-free
5. Sun Joe SWJ806E 2-in-1 Convertible Chain Saw
If you’ve never used a pole saw to cut off a dead limb from a tree, you’re in for a pleasant surprise with this chain saw. The telescoping pole extends to 8.6 feet, allowing you to trim branches that are as much as 15 feet above the ground, without needing a ladder. Not only is that more convenient, but it’s also much safer. Using any chain saw on a ladder, while necessary at times, can be risky.
This one of the best electric chainsaws go far beyond that though; not only is it a telescoping pole saw, but the telescoping handle comes off, allowing you to put a normal handle on it and use it as any other handheld chain saw. So what you’re getting is actually two saws in one.
The eight-inch bar may not seem very long, but that will allow you to cut tree branches up to 7.5 inches in diameter. Coupled with an 8 amp motor, it makes the SWJ806E a very versatile tool, which is lightweight and easy to work with. You’ll find whole new ways of going about your work with this saw, which you were never able to do with other chain saws.
I had a contractor take down a 30-foot tall tree in my front yard with one of these, a few years ago. The only cut he had to make with a larger saw was cutting through the trunk, once he had cut off all the limbs. It was impressive indeed.
- The convertible feature, between chainsaw and pole saw, makes this saw very versatile
- Switching from one handle to the other is fast and easy
- While the 8-inch chain bar seems short, it’s big enough to cut most branches
- The automatic oiler has a window to check how much oil you have
- Safety switch to prevent accidental starts
- The telescoping pole has a foam grip handle for better grip and better control
- It would be nice to have a longer bar and chain, although I’ve never seen one longer than this on a pole chain saw
6. Black & Decker LCS1240, 40 Volt Cordless
If you’ve paid any attention to the evolution of cordless tools, one thing has really stood out. That is, the voltage of these tools has gradually increased through the years. That’s because the higher voltage allows these tool makers to provide you with more torque in the tool. So they’re constantly pushing for higher voltage tools, like this 40-volt cordless chainsaw.
Black & Decker has an excellent reputation for consumer grade tools. Their tools are rugged, easy to use and hold up well for the long haul. This saw has a 2.0 Ah battery, which will allow it to cut through over 60 4×4 pine fence posts on a charge. There’s a battery state of charge indicator
This chain saw comes with tool-free chain tensioning on its 12” bar and chain. That’s a bit shorter than what we’ve seen on the corded models, but still long enough for the tasks you’re going to need to do around the home unless you’ve got a big oak tree to cut down. The filler for the oil tank is right on top, where it’s easy to get to and the oil level indicator is located where it is easy to see.
- 40 volt, 2.0 Ah battery for high power and long life
- Tool-free chain tension adjustment
- The well-designed oil system, with easy fill location and oil level indicator
- Battery charge indicator
- Comfortable handle, with full wrap around for use in different positions
- Lightweight at 8.3 pounds
- It would be nice to have a longer bar
- Packaged with only one battery
7. DeWalt DCCS670X1, 60 Volt Cordless Chainsaw
Speaking of battery power, DeWalt takes the prize for this 60 volts 3.0 Ah cordless chainsaw. That’s 50% more voltage and 50% more amperage than the Black & Decker. But make sure you need it, for while this is an excellent saw, it’s a bit more pricey. But if you already have DeWalt’s 20-volt batteries for other tools, it is backward compatible.
DeWalt’s saw also includes a 16 bar and chain, like the majority of the cordless models we looked at. That definitely makes this a full-sized chain saw, able to tackle the biggest jobs. The manufacturer rates this saw’s cutting capacity at 70 6×6 posts, considerably more. So if you’ve got a lot of cutting to do, it’s well worth your attention.
They’ve paid attention to safety, by including a chain brake to protect you in the case of kickbacks. The battery installs nicely into the tool too, in a pocket to protect it from being knocked off. Tool-free chain tension adjustment is included, as well as something I haven’t seen elsewhere – a knob for adjusting the bar clamping force.
- High power at 60 volts
- High battery life at 3.0 Ah
- Brushless motor to eliminate one of the biggest maintenance problems for power tools
- Long, 16-inch bar & chain
- Tool-free chain tensioning
- Bar tightening knob
- Battery installation in a “pocket” to protect it from being knocked out
- The price is a bit steep
- The oil filler cap is located in a way that you have to turn the saw on its side to add oil
- Oil level indicator is in an inconvenient location
8. Worx LG322, 20 Volt Cordless Chainsaw
What makes this saw unique is that it has an automatic chain tensioner, eliminating all the guesswork and adjustment that’s typical on most chainsaw chains. The oil tank filler is conveniently located at the top of the saw, with a readily visible oil level indicator.
The 10” bar and chain and 20-volt battery make this one of the smaller cordless chain saws. But while it might not be as big or as powerful as some units, it also has an optional extension handle, making it usable as a pole saw as well. That more than makes up for the smaller size, by adding a lot of convenience and capability that not all other saws have.
The saw has a built-in battery level indicator, a useful feature which not all of these saws have, especially considering that it has a lithium battery, so you don’t get a change in performance as the battery reaches the end of its charge. While it comes with a 2.0 Ah battery, there is a 4.0 Ah battery available as an accessory, doubling the time between charges. This larger battery will charge on the same charger that comes with the tool.
- Auto-tension saves guesswork and adjustments
- Two battery sizes available
- Pole saw the option to extend the use of the saw
- Easy-fill automatic chain oiler, with level indicator
- Compact and lightweight
- Built-in battery charge indicator
- It would be nice if it was built on a higher voltage battery for more power
- While the 10” bar is long enough for most jobs, a bit longer would be nice
9. Greenworks GCS80421, 80 Volt Cordless Chainsaw
I have to admit, I was totally surprised when I found this tool. I didn’t know that anyone was making 80 Volt cordless power tools yet. But to give you an idea of how powerful this chainsaw is, the manufacturer claims that its electric motor produces the same amount of power as a 45cc gas engine. The motor is also brushless, eliminating one of the perpetual problems with power tools.
This is an impressive tool all around. The 80-volt battery holds 2.0 Ah of charge. But before you say that’s less than some of the others, keep in mind that you’re getting a lot more voltage. You can make up to 150 cuts with that battery because the greater motor power makes for more efficient cuts. The rapid charger will recharge that battery in 30 minutes
This saw makes good use of that extra power, coming with a long 18-inch bar and chain, something you normally only find on larger gas chain saws. However, you have to tension the chain in an old-fashioned way. They make that a bit easier, by having on-tool storage for the adjustment wrench. Oil filler is conveniently located on the top, with a level indicator.
- High power at 80 volts
- A considerable amount of cutting from the 2.0 Ah battery
- The long 18 bar allows felling of large trees
- Brushless motor is maintenance-free
- Electronic chain brake for safety
- Highly visible oil level window
- The tool comes with a 4-year warranty
- The oiler seems to go through a lot of oil
- Adjusting the chain tension requires the use of a tool
10. EGO CS1600, 56 Volt Cordless Chain Saw
This 16-inch chain saw from EGO has a very efficient, brushless motor, providing superior power for its size. Being brushless, the motor should never need maintenance, which is fortified by a weather-resistance case to protect the motor and operating gear. A higher than normal motor speed of 6800 RPM makes cuts go faster.
The truly amazing thing about this saw is that it comes with a 5.0 Ah battery, the largest capacity battery of any cordless chain saw we’ve looked at. That means more cuts between charges; and with the lithium-ion battery, recharge time should still be relatively quick.
EGO uses a unique grind on their chains, making them kickback resistant, while also being highly efficient. You can cut the full length of the bar, without any problem. A tool-free chain adjustment keeps everything convenient and easy to work with.
- Long, 16” bar and chain
- 5.0 Ah battery for long usage between charges
- Tool-free chain tension adjustment
- High motor speed for faster cuts
- Low-kickback design
- Reversible bar
- Chain kickback brake
- The oil fill is on the side, so you have to turn the tool on its side to fill it
- Oil level indicator isn’t highly visible
As you can see from this list, there are some absolutely excellent choices out there for the best electric chainsaws. Anyone who only needs to use a chainsaw once in a while is well-served by investing in one of these tools, rather than buying a gas-powered one. In fact, probably better served. The gas chain saw I bought two years ago lasted me exactly three uses before the engine went bad, and that was a major brand.
Think through what you’re going to be using your saw for, before buying it. That way, you can match your purchase to what you’re going to need to do. While having a larger saw, with a 16-inch bar is nice, you might be better served by buying a smaller saw that can do double duty as a pole saw.
The other important decision you need to make is whether you want to go cordless or not. By and large, you get more power out of corded models, although some of these high voltage cordless units are just as powerful. So really what you’re comparing is whether the convenience of cordless is worth the extra cost in buying it.