Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Cordless Chainsaw

Cordless chainsaws are ideal for light-duty work without the smells and sounds you get from gas-powered models.

Selecting a cordless chainsaw
If you don’t use a chainsaw often, or you use one for light-duty work, a cordless device has several benefits over one with a two-cycle engine.Dewalt

Because they require a great deal of torque, chainsaws have been one of the last hand-held power tools to fully develop in the cordless-tool market. But with lithium-ion batteries ranging up to 60 volts and five amp-hours of run time, cordless chainsaws have come into their own for home use. From pruning shrubs to cutting firewood, modern cordless chainsaws are fully capable of getting the job done. Think about these factors as you consider whether to flip the switch from gas-powered to cordless.

Battery Life

Dewalt DCCS670X1 FLEXVOLT 60V MAX Lithium-Ion Brushless 16" Cordless Chainsaw
The larger the battery capacity, the heavier your cordless chainsaw will feel when you’re working.Dewalt

There are two measurements of battery power to take into account on any cordless tool. The first is the voltage, and the second is amperage, or amp-hours. In simplest terms, voltage refers to the amount of power a battery can deliver, while amp-hours relates to the tool’s capacity or run-time at that voltage. In both cases, higher numbers typically mean more power for a longer period of time—along with greater bulk, weight, and cost.

Blade Length

Greenworks 16-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw
If you’re not sure of the tree diameters you need to cut, err on the side of a large chainsaw blade instead a shorter one.Greenworks

Beyond battery power ratings and motors (the state of the art now being brushless), a cordless chainsaw’s utility is also a function of blade length. A blade in the 14- to 16-inch range is about right for the layperson or home handyman. Consider whether you will just be doing basic clearing and brushing, or actually felling and processing large hardwoods for firewood. Then err on the side of more power rather than not enough.

Brand Reputation

Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14" Chain Saw
No matter which cordless chainsaw you choose, get backup batteries because you never know when one will go bad.Makita

Buying a cordless tool is no longer a decision only about that particular tool. Because battery packs are interchangeable, manufacturers are trying to sell you on an entire brand platform. Before picking any cordless saw or drill, take a minute to study the array of other tools in the line and think about future job requirements and investments. The batteries themselves are expensive. But because they are interchangeable, it’s more economical to stick with one brand and expand your kit across that battery platform by purchasing each new device sold as “tool-only,” which can then be used with the batteries and charger you already have.