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The 5 Best Electric Chainsaws (2021 Review)

Electric chainsaws are user-friendly tools that help DIYers complete a range of outdoor projects. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team looks into five of the best electric chainsaws on Amazon to help you select a model that best suits your wood-cutting needs.

WEN Electric Chainsaw Courtesy Amazon

Electric chainsaws come in both corded and battery-powered models to help DIYers carve firewood, lop small branches, and cut down dying trees. While gas chainsaws are used by most professionals, electric models are preferred by serious DIYers because of their reduced noise level, low maintenance, and ease of use.

To help you select the right model, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best electric chainsaws on Amazon and created this comprehensive buying guide. Here are our top picks.

Best Battery-Powered Model: Milwaukee 16-Inch Chainsaw Kit

This Milwaukee 16-inch chainsaw rivals the power of its 40cc gas-powered counterpart with its efficient speed that reaches full throttle in just one second. In addition to its unique variable speed trigger and automatic oiler, the chainsaw uses an intelligent battery that prevents damage incurred by overloads.

Key Features

  • 20-volt battery
  • 13.9 pounds
  • 16-inch bar
  • Five-year material and workmanship warranty

What Customers Are Saying

The Milwaukee Electric Tools Chainsaw Kit received an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 from over 180 customer reviews, the highest customer rating across all five reviewed chainsaws. This above-average customer rating came from 93% of customers giving the product a rating of 4 stars or higher.

Many positive reviews raved about the chainsaw’s runtime, which customers said was long enough to get them through simple tasks like downing a tree or clearing limbs. Other customers liked how the battery was compatible with other Milwaukee tools. Negative reviews focused on the product’s chain, which some customers said was flimsy and prone to falling off during use.

Best for Small Projects: DEWALT 20-Volt MAX XR 12-Inch Chainsaw Kit

Part of the DEWALT 20-Volt system of tools, this battery-powered chainsaw features a compact, 12-inch bar that’s suited for small jobs around the yard. The chainsaw is equipped with a high-efficiency brushless motor that increases or decreases its power output based on load requirements, which extends the life of the tool. It also has a lightweight, 8.8-pound frame that uses tool-free chain tightening to decrease maintenance time.

Key Features

  • 20-volt battery
  • 8.8 pounds
  • 12-inch bar
  • Three-year limited warranty

What Customers Are Saying

The DEWALT 20-Volt MAX XR Chainsaw received an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 from over 3,300 customer reviews, which is in line with the average rating of 4.6 stars across all reviewed electric chainsaws. At the time of this review, 92% of customers gave the product 4 stars or more.

Positive reviews centered around the chainsaw’s effectiveness at executing simple projects like trimming limbs and cutting down small trees. Other satisfied customers complimented the chainsaw’s battery life, with many saying it lasted multiple hours on one charge. Negative reviews focused on the chainsaw’s oil cap, which many customers said broke after minimal use.

Best Corded Model: Oregon CS1500 18-Inch Corded Electric Chainsaw

Featuring an 18-inch bar, this Oregon chainsaw reduces downtime with its built-in oiling system and self-sharpening chain. This chainsaw is designed with safety in mind, featuring a useful chain brake and an over-molded grip for added control. Additionally, its corded design removes the need for pull cords and gas and oil mixing, and it prevents the release of irritating fume emissions.

Key Features

  • Corded electric
  • 12.6 pounds
  • 18-inch bar
  • Two-year limited warranty

What Customers Are Saying

This Oregon chainsaw received an average of 4.5 stars out of 5 from over 2,400 customer reviews, which is slightly lower than the average customer rating of 4.6 across all recommended products. Despite its lower-than-average customer rating, 88% of customers rated the product 4 stars or more, with just 5% of customers rating it 1 star.

Many customers liked the quiet and powerful performance of this Oregon chainsaw, stating that its high efficiency came at a fair price. Negative reviews targeted the product’s chain, which many said dulled quickly.

Best Lightweight Model: Greenworks 12-Inch, 40-Volt Cordless Chainsaw

This cordless chainsaw from Greenworks uses a 40-volt battery to deliver a powerful cut that’s great for trimming small tree limbs and branches. The chainsaw weighs just six pounds and contains a 12-inch steel chain with tool-less tensioning for quick and painless adjustments. The tool also has an automatic oiler and a wrap-around handle for added durability and control.

Key Features

  • 40-volt battery
  • 6 pounds
  • 12-inch bar
  • Four-year limited warranty

What Customers Are Saying

This Greenworks chainsaw received an average of 4.5 stars out of 5 from over 2,300 customer reviews, which is just below the average customer rating of 4.6 stars across all five recommended products. Seventy-one percent of customers gave this product 5 stars, while just 7% of customers rated the electric chainsaw 2 stars or less.

Positive reviews focused on the product’s lightweight and effective design that produced little noise during use. Negative reviews centered around the chainsaw’s slender frame that some customers saw break after minimal use.

Best Value: WEN 16-Inch Electric Chainsaw

At under $100, this affordable chainsaw offers a powerful motor capable of tackling your outdoor DIY projects. The electric chainsaw comes with an auto-oiling system and a lightweight design that removes some of the legwork required to operate gas-powered models. Additionally, the chainsaw uses a tool-free chain replacement to decrease downtime between projects.

Key Features

  • Corded electric
  • 10 pounds
  • 16-inch bar
  • Two-year limited warranty

What Customers Are Saying

The WEN 16-Inch Electric Chainsaw received 4.5 stars out of 5 from over 550 customer reviews. Although the chainsaw’s average rating is lower than the average customer rating of 4.6 across all reviewed products, 87% of customers rated the chainsaw 4 stars or more.

Many positive reviews centered around the chainsaw’s design that customers found simple to control and assemble. Additional positive reviews noted the chainsaw’s effectiveness in dealing with small projects like lopping limbs or cutting down small trees. Negative reviews focused on the chainsaw’s automatic oiler, which many customers said didn’t work properly.

Buying Guide

An electric chainsaw is a great choice for homeowners who want a powerful tool that doesn’t require a pull cord or gasoline. Read this buying guide to learn about important factors to consider before purchasing an electric chainsaw.

Power Source

Electric chainsaws are available in both corded and cordless models. Mobility is the main factor to consider when deciding between the two, as a cordless electric chainsaw removes the limitations set by a cord’s length and eliminates the risk of cutting the cord during use. However, cordless chainsaws possess less cutting power than their corded counterparts, which can make them less effective at heavy-duty cutting jobs.

Size

The size of a chainsaw is typically determined by the length of its bar or the piece of the chainsaw that supports the chain. Chainsaws with long bars may be a good choice for customers who need to cut down large trees or bulky branches. Chainsaws with shorter bars can only cut through small tree branches, but they’re lighter and more manageable than ones with long bars.

Power

The power of a chainsaw is measured in amperes or amps. The number of provided amps you need in a chainsaw is determined by your intended use. If you need a heavy-duty electric chainsaw that can cut dense wood without slowing down, you’ll want to purchase an electric model that offers around 15 amps. Conversely, if you need a chainsaw for cutting small limbs, an 8- or 10-amp model should do the job.

Note: A battery-powered chainsaw’s power output is measured in volts. The battery’s ampere-hour rating is important for understanding the length of time a chainsaw can run at a particular power output. For example, a 2Ah battery pack can power the same 20-volt tool for longer than a 1Ah battery pack.

Safety Features

When operating a powerful tool like an electric chainsaw, taking advantage of safety features can help prevent dangerous and life-threatening accidents from occurring. For example, some electric chainsaws include a chain brake located on the handle that’s used to stop the rotation of the chain in emergencies. Some models even come with a safety switch to prevent accidental starting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are electric chainsaws more dangerous than gas-powered models?

Both electric- and gas-powered chainsaws present the same hazard during use, as both models utilize a sharp, spinning chain to cut down trees, firewood, and other items. While electric chainsaws may seem safer than their powerful gas counterparts, their lightweight and mobile nature makes them prone to mishandling.

When operating an electric- or gas-powered chainsaw, take extra precautions to ensure your safety, like wearing safety glasses and close-toed shoes and reading the owner’s manual to learn proper handling.

Why is my electric chainsaw not cutting?

A chainsaw that isn’t cutting can be caused by a number of issues, including a dull chain, an improperly adjusted chain, or a bent chain bar. Before use, conduct regular maintenance on your chainsaw to prevent your tool from breaking down.

How do you start an electric chainsaw?

Unlike a gas-powered chainsaw that requires users to crank a pull cord to start the engine, electric chainsaws start once they’re connected to a battery or electrical source and a switch is flipped.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.