Which electric chainsaw is best?
Whether you’re working deep in the woods clearing land or simply cleaning up brush around your home, an electric chainsaw can make a daunting task easier. These environmentally friendly yard tools clear brush and downed trees, and they make short work of other large landscaping tasks.
The Makita-UC3551A Chainsaw has all the power without any gas-guzzling. It’s easy to operate and a good choice for felling trees up to 14 inches in diameter.
What to know before you buy an electric chainsaw
Corded or cordless
Electric chainsaws come in either corded or cordless options.
- Corded: Corded chainsaws are lightweight, rarely weighing more than 5-6 pounds. They are quiet, easy to start and produce zero emissions. On the other hand, they are not as durable as cordless electric chainsaws, and your cutting range is limited.
- Cordless: Cordless, battery-powered chainsaws are also easy to use and don’t give off the emissions you find with gas-powered models. They can also be used out in the bush, away from a power source. But they are heavier than corded models, cost more and need to be charged. Cordless chainsaws are often less powerful than corded.
The bar size refers to the length of the metal plate that holds the chain, and it influences the type of cutting you can do with your saw. Most chainsaws designed for residential use have a bar between 12-16 inches. The 12-inch bars are best for cutting brush, bushes and small trees. If you need to cut a slightly larger tree for firewood, a 14-inch bar is your best bet. If you want an all-around tool for all types of wood, a 16-inch chainsaw will do the trick.
Manufacturers measure power in amps. They range from 8-15 amps, and the higher the number, the more power you’ll get. While it’s nice to have extra power occasionally, there’s no sense in spending money for more power unless you’re cutting down trees on a regular basis.
What to look for in a quality electric chainsaw
Automatic oiling is a feature that allows you to keep working without the risk of your chainsaw overheating or getting stuck. The only thing you need to do is make sure there is oil in the chainsaw’s reservoir.
You may want an electric chainsaw with an automatic tensioner, which senses when the chain is getting loose and tightens it appropriately. This keeps the chain on the bar and prevents a potentially serious accident.
Cutting wood can be hard on your hands. Look for padded, ergonomic grips to keep you comfortable throughout your work.
Operating any kind of chainsaw can be quite dangerous. Safety features like handguards and auto shut-off provide an extra layer of protection.
How much you can expect to spend on an electric chainsaw
The price depends on the brand, size and how much power it has. Expect to spend between $50-$250 on a quality electric chainsaw.
Electric chainsaw FAQ
How do you safely operate a chainsaw?
A. Chainsaws can cut through thick bark and wood incredibly easily. This same power makes them extraordinarily dangerous to work with, but a few safety precautions can help.
- Wear chainsaw chaps or pants: These have a special fabric in the thigh that protects against cuts if a chainsaw slips from a log.
- Wear other safety gear: Other safety gear includes a helmet, eye and ear protection, long sleeves, gloves and steel-toe boots.
- Stay sober: Do not operate a chainsaw under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This includes prescription medication that dulls your reflexes.
- Operate the chainsaw correctly: Do not start the chainsaw when it is resting on your body. Don’t carry it while it’s running or leave it unattended.
- Work with a buddy: Never operate a chainsaw alone.
- Move slowly: Don’t rush. Many preventable accidents occur when chainsaw operators are working too quickly.
What is the largest diameter wood an electric chainsaw can cut?
A. This depends on the size of the bar and the power of the chainsaw. Most chainsaws with a 14-inch bar and 15 amps can easily cut a tree that is 14 inches in diameter.
What’s the best electric chainsaw to buy?
Top electric chainsaw
What you need to know: The power of this saw rivals gas-powered chainsaws of the same size.
What you’ll love: This high-performing chainsaw gets the job done. The rubber grip is comfortable and easy to hold, and the overall operation is straightforward. You can easily check the oil levels through a glass window.
What you should consider: The only downside of this chainsaw is it’s a bit expensive.
Top electric chainsaw for the money
What you need to know: This electric chainsaw has some of the same features you’ll find on more expensive models.
What you’ll love: It is an affordable, entry-level chainsaw. It is self-lubricating for smooth operation and features a molded grip for more comfortable use.
What you should consider: Spare and replacement parts are hard to find, and some users report problems with reliability.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is a good choice for homeowners who want to clear trees and brush in all kinds of conditions.
What you’ll love: The low-kickback bar and chain make cutting smooth and effortless. Chain tension adjusts easily without tools. A front handguard and lock-off button increase safety.
What you should consider: The 12-inch bar might be a little short for big jobs. Users noticed they had to charge the battery often.
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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