Looking to purchase a cordless electric chainsaw? To eliminate any guesswork, we researched, bought, and tested 12 of the best models available today through hands-on, side-by-side analysis. We formulated a comprehensive series of experiments and tests to find out which of these tools displays the best sawing performance, battery life, user-friendliness, and even how much noise each model produces. We then took every model to the wood yard to get a feel for them in a real-world environment. After weeks of testing, it became clear which saws could cut down the competition.We've tested a host of other power tools for your home and DIY projects, like drills, leaf blowers, string trimmers, and pressure washers. We've also put handsaws and cordless circular saws to the test. And if you're looking to ditch the gas for your lawnmower, take a look at our cordless lawn mower review, which will help you determine the best electric mower for your yard. Our top-picks review for a variety of tools isn't too shabby either.
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|Pros||Top-notch cutting performance, long-lasting battery, easy chain tensioning system, many other tools that use the same batteries||Excellent sawing power, good battery life, relatively inexpensive||Phenomenal charge time, long bar, metal bucking spikes||Instant wind-up time, metal bucking spikes, M18 battery system works with many other tools||Spectacular battery life, two chain speed settings, barely consumes bar and chain oil|
|Cons||So-so wind-up time||Heavy, noisy, one battery size, limited line-up of other tools||Heavy, noisy||Expensive, uses a lot of oil, bulky||Not the strongest cutting power, plastic chain tensioning system, electronic controls slow down sawing|
|Bottom Line||One of the best options if you're looking for bar length, battery life, and tool-free chain tensioning||The most sturdy and effective 16" model we tested, this tool is excellent in every scenario we threw at it||This cordless chainsaw has a battery that charges ultra-quick to keep you plugging away at your project||This has a short wind-up time, cuts like a dream, and has a battery that works with a massive list of other tools||A good degree of performance and an exceptional battery life at a reasonable price|
|Rating Categories||Ego Power+ CS1800||ECHO CCS-58V4AH||Greenworks Pro 80V||Milwaukee M18 FUEL||Husqvarna 120i|
|Saw Performance (35%)|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Specs||Ego Power+ CS1800||ECHO CCS-58V4AH||Greenworks Pro 80V||Milwaukee M18 FUEL||Husqvarna 120i|
|Bar Length||18 inches||16 inches||18 inches||16 inches||14 inches|
|Measured Weight w/ Battery||12 lbs 4 oz||14 lbs 4 oz||15 lbs 2 oz||14 lbs 4 oz||10 lbs 11 oz|
|Measured Battery Weight||3 lbs 8 oz||4 lbs||3 lbs 8 oz||3 lbs 6 oz||2 lbs 12 oz|
|Included Battery Size||5 Ah||4 Ah||2 Ah||12 Ah||4.2 Ah|
|Measured Runtime||60 minutes||34 minutes||27 minutes||33 minutes||40 minutes|
|Measured Run Time Eco Mode||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||54 mins|
|Measured Battery Charge Time||1.5 hr||1 hr||.5 hr||1.3 hr||2 hrs|
|Measured Average Cutting Time||5.876 seconds||6.136 seconds||5.32 seconds||8.316 seconds||13.486 seconds|
|Measured Wind Up Time||1.25 seconds||.5 seconds||1.15 seconds||Instant||.5 seconds|
|Measured Decibel Reading at 48in||88.8 dBa||87.5 dBa||86.8 dBa||86.8 dBa||85.9 dBa|
|Control Type||Side safety w/ chain brake||Thumb safety w/ chain brake||Electronic button, side safety, and brake||Side safety w/ chain brake||Electronic button, side safety and brake|
|Chain Replacement and Tensioning Type||Tool Free||Included Tool||Tool free||Included Tool||Tool free|
|Metal Bucking Spikes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Bar & Chain Tank Location and Type||Side, Screen||Side||Top||Side||Side, flip-up|
|Measured Body Dimesions||16x9x8 inches||16x8x9 inches||14x9x7.5 inches||18.5x9x8 inches||19x7x7 inches|
Best 18-Inch Cordless Electric Chainsaw
Ego Power+ CS1800
It is hard to find a better option than the Ego Power+ CS1800. This model provides abundant power with a 56V 5Ah battery that also charges fairly quickly. In side-by-side testing in the lab, the CS1800 made some of the fastest cuts in our lineup. Taking it out into the real world during some mountain bike trail building, we found its performance equally outstanding. This chainsaw includes several features that serve overall ease of use and performance, including an LED light, metal bucking spikes, and an 18" bar.
While we didn't find any dealbreakers with this model, it does not have the quickest wind-up time, which could be an issue if you're hoping to complete a job as fast as possible. Also, the bar's length might be more than is necessary for those with smaller projects to complete. Still, if you are looking for a chainsaw that is easy to use, with a long bar and a long-lasting battery, it is tough to beat the Ego Power+ CS1800.
Read review: Ego Power+ CS1800
Best 16-Inch Cordless Electric Chainsaw
The ECHO CCS-58V4AH cordless chainsaw is a high-performing option that was nearly unmatched in our quantitative woodcutting tests, excelling in the area of cutting performance. The bar & chain oil tank has a clear window so you can easily inspect the level, and the cap has tabs to aid in leverage when you're wearing gloves. It has an ergonomic rubber handle, a solid battery life, and a safety switch meant to ensure the device does not engage unless you are ready. The chainsaw is simple to operate, and it's easy to swap out the battery one-handed.
The Echo does have a few flaws. It is one of the most cumbersome chainsaws in our review, it's very loud, and it also has a wrench that is tricky to remove from the body if you don't have something to pry it out. That said, we believe these downsides don't compromise its phenomenal overall performance.
Read review: ECHO CCS-58V4AH
Best Bang for the Buck
The Husqvarna 120i is a high-performing cordless chainsaw that won't leave you running low on funds. This version is capable of beyond adequate cuts, and it's relatively straightforward to use. We also love that this saw consumes a small amount of bar & chain oil compared to many other models. Our favorite thing about the 120i is its unmatched battery life. This device has one of the longest-lasting batteries that we've tested, and in "savE" mode, it further increases battery life by reducing the chain speed for less than heavy-duty tasks. The combination of effective cutting, a pleasant design, low price, and an unrivaled run time makes this saw a great choice.
The 120i's main flaw is that the control system can slow down your workflow. It also has a chain tensioning and changing system that, although it is tool-free, can add a couple of extra minutes to your project. Another small snag is that it doesn't make the speediest cuts, but it does cut well enough to gain our approval. If you don't mind your task taking a few extra minutes, we think this saw offers fantastic performance for the associated price tag.
Read review: Husqvarna 120i
Best for Quick Battery Charging
Greenworks Pro 80V
If you are a two-stroke fanatic and are worried about the charge time associated with cordless electric chainsaws, look no further than the Greenworks Pro 80V. The Greenworks 80 Volt Lithium Max charger juices the battery from zero to one hundred in an impressive thirty minutes, leaving you with less downtime than it takes to run to the gas station and mix another gallon of 50:1 fuel. We tested the 18" model and were happy to be able to buck large pine rounds without huffing exhaust fumes, yanking on a pull cord, or destroying our eardrums as we would have been with a two-stroke motor. The Pro 80V performed exceptionally well during our timed woodcutting assessment — it cuts through Douglas Fir about as fast as any model we've ever used. The metal bucking spikes that are integrated into this model are far superior to the plastic nubs that several cordless chainsaws use.
There's no getting around the fact that the Greenworks Pro 80V is downright heavy. Weighing over 15 pounds, this model will undoubtedly require more strength to wield than most cordless saws. Although the battery charges very quickly, it doesn't last as long as some of the other models on the market, so if battery life is a determining purchasing factor for you, it'd be wise to go with a different model. We noticed that the Pro 80V uses a fairly large amount of bar & chain oil, but considering the long bar coupled with the quick cutting capabilities, this comes as no surprise. Drawbacks aside, we think this saw is the way to go if you want a longer bar and don't want to wait all day for your battery to recharge.
Read review: Greenworks Pro 80V
Best for Battery Expandability
Milwaukee M18 FUEL
The Milwaukee M18 FUEL is a beast of a chainsaw. It is one of the best at executing cuts and has a long-lasting battery. One of its best traits is that it goes from being completely stopped to full speed instantly. This can be very useful on occasions when time and workflow efficiency are essential. With their M18 battery platform, Milwaukee supplies a massive lineup of tools for all kinds of applications. This well-known brand boasts more than 175 unique tools that use the same battery connection. If you own any Milwaukee cordless tools, there's a chance that you already have a battery or charger that will work with this chainsaw. If not, but you're interested in buying tools with interchangeable batteries, we recommend going with the Milwaukee line of products.
The Milwaukee M18 FUEL's main drawback is the incredibly loud and annoying noise it produces. One of the best things about electric tools compared to gasoline-powered machines is that they are much quieter. This one? Now so much. It is also pricey, especially compared to the budget models. Still, if you are already a Milwaukee power tool owner or you require a chainsaw with quick wind-up, then the M18 FUEL* is the way to go.
Read review: Milwaukee M18 FUEL
Best 20V Model
The Worx WG322 has many attractive elements that the competition does not offer. Not everyone needs a colossal saw with a sizeable clunky battery. The 20V battery used on this model is significantly lighter and smaller than the ones used by most saws, which range from 36V up to 80V. A significantly reduced weight coupled with its 10-inch bar and smaller body size allow the sawyer to tote, lift and operate the WG322 with ease. This model is also quiet, which is ideal for residential or workshop settings. Finally, it is affordable. These tools can get very pricey — if you don't need the extra bar length, battery life, and power, then there's no need to drop the extra cash on a super high-performance model.
Along with the advantages brings a few drawbacks. The 20V battery life is quite a bit shorter than most higher voltage models. Also, the WG322 can't hang with the best in overall cutting performance. It's a bit slower and less powerful than top-tier saws, and its shorter bar limits the diameter of cuts it can make. Despite these flaws, we still think the Worx takes the cake for 20V cordless electric chainsaws.
Read review: Worx WG322
Why You Should Trust Us?
At TechGearLab, we purchase all of the products at everyday prices from typical retailers to reduce bias while creating reviews. And wouldn't you know it, we have a chainsaw expert in-house. Our review editor Ross Patton has spent hundreds of hours with a saw in his hand cutting, trimming, and bucking all types of trees from the oak in the foothills of California to the pines of Lake Tahoe, and the elms and cottonwoods of Northern Nevada. With his formal education in environmental science, you can rest easy knowing that he has created tests to compare the saws as accurately as possible.
We began by carefully inspecting each saw for subtle nuances in the design of each model. We then measured and weighed each model to verify the manufacturers' claims. Next, we sliced a ton of wood up to time cuts and measured each saw's performance. We also timed how long each battery lasted and how long it took each one to recharge. Finally, to confirm our accuracy, we took our fleet of cordless electric chainsaws to a local tree service's wood yard for some consultation. We let the crew get a feel for each saw and make some cuts to get some input from the true professionals.
Analysis and Test Results
Our goal is to help you decide which cordless chainsaw is right for you, so we started with the most obvious way to test — we cut a whole lot of wood. However, to test these awesome tools side-by-side, we went well beyond just the saw performance. We measured, weighed, timed, and took note of more than a dozen variables on each one of these models over the course of a month. We grouped our tests into four individually weighted categories — Saw Performance (35%), Ease of Use (30%), Battery Life (25%), and Noise (10%) — which are discussed in detail below.
If you're shopping for a cordless chainsaw, the most pivotal element to consider is what its primary application will be. There is a large range of prices for these devices, and a higher cost does not axiomatically mean a saw will work well for your planned use. You should also make sure to consider battery sizes; some chainsaws may seem expensive but make up for it with a larger battery.
If you are looking for a model with maximum bar length and maximum battery life, it is hard to beat the price for the performance of the Ego Power+ CS1800. If you're on a tighter budget, the Husqvarna 120i is far from the costliest saw in our review, but it outperformed most of the competition in several key ways. It is still a great and capable tool that will likely satisfy regular homeownership and tree care demands. We think it's a great compromise between good performance and a reasonable price tag. Furthermore, if you rarely need to make serious cuts and are searching for an alternative to a big and heavy saw, then the Worx WG322 might satisfy your needs with an even smaller buy-in. It is more limited in saw performance and battery power, but these factors might not be as important to you as sticking to a budget.
First and foremost, the saw performance metric makes up 35% of the score for each chainsaw. To test this, we took the average of several timed cuts through a specific dimension of wood from the lumber yard to ensure that each saw was tearing through the exact same volume for each cut. For the second part of this metric, we took our fleet of saws to a commercial wood yard for a more subjective test to see how they functioned bucking rounds of pine. During these two different tests, we closely monitored how quickly the saws went through bar and chain oil. We also timed how long it takes each saw to go from stopped to full speed. We call this number "wind-up" time. Lastly, we considered bar length in this metric as a smaller bar simply cannot complete larger tasks.
Three saws came out on top in this metric — the Ego Power+ CS1800, the Greenworks Pro 80V, and the Echo. During our dimensional woodcutting tests, the Greenworks Pro 18V showed an average cutting time of 5.32 seconds, while the CS1800 put up a time of 5.9 seconds. The Echo was just behind the two 18-inch bar models with an average time of 6.1 seconds and made up for the 16-inch bar with one of the fastest wind-up times at 0.5 seconds.
The Makita XCU03Z LXT displayed cutting times ever so slightly slower than the Echo with an average of 7.9 seconds. At 0.75 seconds, its wind-up time is also just behind the Echo. Our favorite part about this saw is that we found that the LXT easily turned pine to sawdust at the wood yard. It has an innovative adjustable oil pump, so you can change the feed rate depending on the air temperature and the type of oil you are using. For any sawyer doing a lot of firewood bucking, the Makita comes with metal bucking spikes to make the job easier.
Waiting for a saw to wind up can cost you time and energy, which in some circumstances can also mean you're losing money. The Milwaukee M18 FUEL exhibited an instantaneous wind-up during all of our tests. The M18 FUEL had a great average cutting time of 8.3 seconds in our lab test and also dissected logs like nothing during our field tests. The Milwaukee is another model that has metal bucking spikes to help get the job done faster. One area where it falls a bit short, however, is that it does go through more bar and chain oil than we'd like to see.
The Ego Power+ 1400, on the other hand, went through almost no bar & chain oil during our tests and had sufficient cutting power with an average time of 9.5 seconds during the lab tests. This saw is one of the slowest to react to a fully pulled trigger and took 2.5 seconds to get up to speed. We docked it a little bit for this slow wind-up time.
The Worx WG322 had an okay wind-up time of 2 seconds and a rather slow average cutting time of 38 seconds, but taking into account the 20V battery and 10-inch bar, we were pleasantly surprised to see this thing ripping it up in the woodlot. Don't let the lightweight and compact size fool you; this tool is not a toy and is well suited for many chainsaw uses.
Ease of Use
One of the best things about cordless chainsaws is their ease of use compared to gas-powered chainsaws, which is why this metric contributes 30% to the total score. Cordless saws, however, are not all created equal. To establish the scores for this metric, we used a panel of judges to decide which saws had the best balance, were the most comfortable to hold, and were the easiest to turn on and off. We also removed and reinstalled the chain on each saw several times to gauge how difficult or technical the various tensioning systems are to operate. We then noted how difficult each battery was to attach or remove from the saw. We paid close attention to how difficult it was to slide the bar cover off or back on and how well they do at actually protecting the chain. Finally, we noted the location of the bar & chain oil tank, the type of cap each tank has, and how difficult these tanks are to fill.
When it came to ease of use, the Ego Power+ CS1800 and the Echo once again top the list. Among the various types of controls that these saws have, our consensus is that simpler is better. Both of these saws have the system that we like the most, with a simple thumb safety switch and a chain brake. It's the least complicated to use and the fastest to go from storage to slicing and dicing. The bar & chain oil tank on the Echo has a see-through window that makes it easy to see the amount of oil in the tank, and the cap features tabs for leverage in case your gloves are oily or slippery. Although many cordless chainsaw manufacturers have moved to tool-free chain tensioning systems, the Echo keeps it old school. To tension or change the chain, this saw has a screwdriver/wrench tool that's stored in the handle — commonly referred to as a "scrench." For those already used to this system, this might be the way to go.
The battery compartment is located on the top of the saw body, which makes attaching it simple. Many saws have this feature, but what sets the Echo apart is that it has a handy loop that makes connecting or removing a potentially oil-covered battery much easier with gloves on. This model also has the only bar cover that clips into place on the saw body to ensure that your chain is always protected while in transit or storage.
The CS1800 has done the opposite — Ego has made the most innovative, easiest to use tool-free chain tensioning system that we have seen. For those that have no interest in fumbling with or losing tools while trying to tune their saw, this is the way to go. This model also has an LED light for use from dusk 'til dawn.
Close behind the Echo and the CS1800 are the Milwaukee M18 Fuel and Worx WG322. The Milwaukee bears nearly all of the same features that make the Echo so simple to use, except the battery lacks a handy loop, and its bar cover does not clip to the saw body. In general, this saw is very easy to use; however, it can't quite match the Echo in this regard.
One area where both the Echo and the Milwaukee may lose a little appeal to some people is the weight. They are some of the heaviest saws we have tested, tipping the scales at 14.25 pounds. Although we did not find the weight to be a huge influence on the user-friendliness of the various saws, we did dock the scores of heavier models for users that might struggle to lift those few extra pounds.
Another saw that uses the simple thumb safety & trigger system is the Worx WG322, which also features a tool-free bar mounting and chain tensioning system. We like the way the system operates, but we did notice that you have to keep a big of a closer eye on the chain than with the Ego CS1800. The majority of the remaining models scored just above average for this metric.
Similar to the top-tier models, the Ego Power+ 1400 has a simple control system that we like but is lacking any features that set it apart from the rest.
The Black+Decker 40V MAX has the simple-to-use control system that we like, which consists of a thumb safety and the standard trigger. The oil tank cap is located on the top of the saw body, which is convenient, but unlike the Power+ 1400, the Black+Decker model goes through a lot of bar & chain oil, so you end up dealing with the cap often while operating the saw. Also, the tool-free tensioning system on this saw is a bit troublesome to get the chain to proper tension or change the chain out. The one performance aspect where the Black+Decker is at the top of the field is its weight. At 8.4 pounds, it is more than 2 pounds lighter than any other model.
Unlike the aforementioned saws, the Greenworks G-MAX 40V, Greenworks Pro 80V, and the Husqvarna 120i all have an electronic button that needs to be engaged before the safety switch, the chain brake, or the trigger will turn the chainsaw on. We feel this is a bit excessive considering that there are already three different mechanisms in place that all must be in the proper position for the saw to start. It can get annoying when you have positioned yourself to make a cut, and then you pull the trigger only to realize that you have forgotten a redundant step.
The G-MAX, Pro 80V, and the 120i do, however, have the battery compartment on top of the saw body where we think it's the most convenient and ergonomic. The tool-free chain tensioning system still isn't the easiest design to use on either of these models. At 10.7 pounds, the Husqvarna is one of the lightest chainsaws in our review.
One saw with a very innovative feature is the integrated chain sharpening stone on the Oregon Cordless CS300. It's very convenient just to pull a lever that holds the stone against the chain for a few seconds while you hit the throttle to give the chain a quick tune-up. Although the CS300 scores extra points for this sharpener, it loses points because it lacks a window on the oil tank to monitor oil levels. The Oregon's bar cover is the only one out of the entire test fleet that was falling apart at the end of our tests.
Usually, the main concern that die-hard gas-powered chainsaw fans have before switching to cordless is skepticism about the battery life. And with good reason. There was a significant degree of fluctuation in battery life among the saws we reviewed, so we weighted this metric as 25% of our total score. The battery evaluation consisted of two individual tests: how long the batteries ran at full throttle with no resistance and how long the batteries took to charge. We weighted our scores slightly more towards battery life than charge time, but we recognize that charge time is important to many folks as well.
If battery life is your key deciding factor while shopping for a cordless electric chainsaw, look no further than the Ego Power+ CS1800. This model lasted an entire 60 minutes during our runtime assessment. Surprisingly, even with its extra-long runtime, it only took an hour and a half to charge.
Just behind the CS1800 is the Husqvarna 120i, which has two different settings — normal mode and an additional "savE" mode, which reduces the chain speed to save battery during lighter jobs that require less power cutting power. In normal mode, the Husqvarna is already ahead of the field with a run time of 40 minutes in normal mode, but once switched to "savE" mode, it lasts even longer with a measured time of 54 minutes. With a charge time measured at 2 hours, the 120i wasn't the quickest in this aspect, but it also isn't anywhere near the slowest.
The Greenworks Pro 80V had a solid runtime of 27 minutes during our assessment, which is far from the longest-running models. However, where the Pro 80V really shines is its charge time — the Greenworks rapid charger is able to bring the massive 80-volt battery up to 100% in a lightning-fast 30 minutes.
The Echo and the Milwaukee models exhibited runtimes of 34 minutes and 33 minutes, respectively. The Echo has a charge time of 1 hour, and the Milwaukee took 1 hour and 20 minutes to get back to full charge.
The Ego Power+ 1400 has a decent run time of 24 minutes and a very impressive charge time of only 45 minutes. With a charge time of 1 hour and a run time of 28 minutes, the Makita XLT also hovers around the middle of the pack for battery life.
The Oregon CS300 has an honorable run time of 25 minutes, but with a charge time of 1 hour and 50 minutes, we decided to give this saw a mediocre score.
The Ryobi 40V and the Worx WG322's charge times range between 2 hours and 45 minutes and 3 hours. Considering that the Ryobi's run time is 24 minutes and the WG322's only 22 minutes, if you buy either of these saws, you will be spending a lot more time watching the charger than making cuts. That said, it should be noted that the Worx battery is the only 20-volt battery-powered tool we tested, and it is not intended to be a long-running tool.
One of the main ways that cordless chainsaws are superior to gas-powered models is that they are much quieter. Many manufacturers use this fact to entice people to buy battery-powered saws, so we decided to make this our final metric. However, because all chainsaws are inherently loud due to the spinning of the chain and the tearing of cutting wood, we only weighted it 10% of the total score. To measure sound, we used a sound level meter at a distance of 48 inches from the chain with the saw at full throttle. Our testers also paid close attention to whether or not certain saws subjectively stood out as being unpleasant to use while cutting due to excess noise. Because these are largely considered to be consumer models, we also wanted to consider how much the sound produced by the tools might bother your neighbors. To get a gauge on this, we used a panel of judges at a distance of 50 feet from the saws to get some opinions on whether or not any of the tools were particularly aggravating to listen to.
The quietest model in our review is the Worx WG322. During our SPL meter tests from a distance of 4 feet, we measured a mere 80 decibels. Our panel of judges had nothing to complain about the pitch or tone emitted from this tool.
Just short of the Worx WG322 for this metric are the Black+Decker 40V MAX and the Greenworks G-MAX. During our sound meter reading test, the MAX only registered 83.3 decibels, which is the lowest of any of the saws that we reviewed. We'd say this model is quiet and only slightly whiny. The G-MAX produced 83.8 decibels, barely more than the MAX, and it's only moderately whiny.
Scoring just below the quietest saws are the Ego Power+ 1400 and the Husqvarna 120i. During our sound meter test, we recorded 85.3 decibels for the Power+, and the 120i was slightly louder. We found that the Ego Power+ 1400 isn't especially whiny and that the Husqvarna has no whine.
Despite the Oregon CS300's relatively middle-of-the-road decibel reading of 87.3 decibels from a distance of 50 feet, it seemed to be just outright annoying. We won't be quite as harsh with our description of the pitch of the Makita LXT, but the sound meter told a different tale. Anyone operating this saw will be subjected to a head-splitting 105.7 decibels.
We hope that this review gives you the insight and the certainty to make the right choice on the best cordless chainsaw for you. Just as every person has a different application for their chainsaw, every chainsaw has its strengths, weaknesses, and features. Have fun out there, and be safe.
— Ross Patton
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