Are Electric Chainsaws Any Good? A chainsaw is a versatile tool that has evolved significantly over the years. With innovations in technology, electric chainsaws have become increasingly popular among homeowners, landowners, and even professionals. This article aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of electric chainsaws, their benefits, drawbacks, and performance in comparison to traditional gas chainsaws. We will also discuss some of the best electric chainsaws available in the market to help you make an informed decision.
Evolution of Electric Chainsaws
The first electric chainsaw was patented in 1926, weighing a massive 116 pounds and requiring two people to operate it. Over the years, chainsaws have become lighter and more efficient, with the invention of the single-person electric chainsaw in 1952. Modern electric chainsaws have moved from corded to cordless versions, powered by Lithium-Ion batteries, offering a clean, hassle-free power source. The interchangeable battery system allows a single battery to power multiple outdoor tools, making electric chainsaws a practical choice for various tasks.
Types of Electric Chainsaws
Electric chainsaws come in two main varieties:
- Corded Chainsaws: These saws require a direct connection to an electrical outlet.
- Cordless Chainsaws: Also known as battery-powered chainsaws, these saws run on rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries.
Both types have their advantages, but cordless chainsaws offer greater versatility due to their portability and lack of dependency on a power outlet.
Pros of Electric Chainsaws
Power and Performance
Contrary to popular belief, electric chainsaws are quite powerful. Some models, both corded and cordless, can generate as much power as a 40cc gas engine and operate at speeds of 6600 RPM. Though they may not be suitable for the tallest oak trees, electric chainsaws provide ample performance for small trees and large branches.
The increased competition among manufacturers has led to the development of more efficient, cost-effective electric chainsaws. These saws are generally more affordable than their gas counterparts, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious consumers.
Electric chainsaws have several safety features that make them safer for casual users compared to gas-powered chainsaws. These include lower chain speeds, chains that run only when actively cutting, and shorter bar lengths (up to 18 inches). These features enable better control and reduce the risk of accidents.
Ease of Use
Electric chainsaws are designed for user convenience, with simple push-button start mechanisms, lightweight construction, and low maintenance requirements. The absence of fuel filters, fuel tanks, and the need for fuel and oil mixing makes electric chainsaws an excellent choice for seasonal or emergency use.
As electric chainsaws run on electrically powered motors instead of gas-powered engines, they produce no fuel emissions, making them a more eco-friendly choice.
Electric chainsaws have a noise range of 90-102 decibels, which is 10-20 decibels lower than gas chainsaws. This makes them two to three times quieter, reducing the risk of hearing damage and maintaining better relations with neighbors.
Cons of Electric Chainsaws
Less Power for Heavy-Duty Tasks
Although electric chainsaws are powerful enough for most tasks, they may not be the best choice for heavy-duty professional work. Gas chainsaws are generally more powerful and better suited for large-scale tree felling and cutting.
Corded electric chainsaws are restricted by the length of their cord and the need for an electrical outlet. This can limit the areas where they can be used effectively. Cordless chainsaws do not have this limitation, making them a more versatile option.
Battery Life and Charging Time
Cordless electric chainsaws rely on rechargeable batteries, which may need to be replaced or recharged frequently, depending on the workload. Charging times can vary, and it’s often recommended to have spare batteries on hand to avoid downtime during work.
Electric Chainsaws vs Gas Chainsaws
While electric chainsaws have numerous advantages, they may not be suitable for everyone. Here’s a brief comparison of electric and gas chainsaws:
- Ideal for homeowners, landowners, and light yard work
- Best for small jobs, such as cutting small trees and branches
- Slower cutting and less noise
- Easy push-button start
- Low maintenance and little to no tuning required
- Need a power source or battery to operate
- Ideal for professional and commercial use
- Best for heavy-duty tasks, such as cutting large trees and thick wood
- Powerful cutting but significantly louder
- Cord pull start
- High maintenance
- Require the correct fuel mix to run properly
Best Electric Chainsaws in the Market
Best for Felling Trees: Stihl MSA 220 C-B
The Stihl MSA 220 C-B is the largest battery-powered chainsaw offered by Stihl, a top chainsaw brand. With a 16-inch bar, it’s powerful enough to fell and limb trees.
Best for Landscaping: Greenworks 40V Pole Saw and Chainsaw
The Greenworks 40V 8-inch cordless pole saw is excellent for pruning tree branches. The package deal also includes the Greenworks 16-inch cordless chainsaw, offering a versatile combination for landscaping tasks.
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Best for Small Projects: Dewalt 20V Max XR Chainsaw
The Dewalt 20V Max XR chainsaw features a 12-inch bar, making it perfect for small projects. With a high-efficiency brushless motor, it can make up to 90 cuts on a single charge.
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Are Electric Chainsaws Good for Cutting Firewood?
Electric chainsaws may not be the best choice for extensive firewood cutting, but larger models like the Milwaukee M18 and Stihl MSA 220 C-B can handle the task effectively.
Final Thoughts – Are Electric Chainsaws Any Good
So, are electric chainsaws any good? The answer depends on your specific needs and requirements. With advancements in Lithium-Ion battery technology, electric chainsaws have become a viable option for various tasks, from small jobs around the house to yard work and landscaping. If you choose an electric chainsaw that aligns with your needs, you’ll likely find it to be a reliable and efficient tool that makes your work easier and more enjoyable.