Anyone using an electric chain saw?

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

j7art2

Minister of Fire
Oct 9, 2014
514
Northern, MI
Mine may be brushless. Many motorized tools I see lately mention brushless. Is there an advantage to a brushless motor?

Many electric motors die because the "brushes" wear out. I'm not an electrician, so explaining it isn't my best forte, but essentially around the copper housing of the motor are little "brushes" that can be replaced and what magnetizes the motor. They wear out eventually in brushed motors and need to be replaced. Brushless is simply a different and better design. It costs more (I think) but is far more durable. I adamantly refuse now to buy tools that are brushed now if I intend to use them a lot unless I have absolutely no other choice.

Replacing brushes can be a bit of a daunting task for some tools, if all but impossible. I recently burned out the brushes in my steel chop saw for example, and being that it was a 15+ year old Chinese something or other that I got at a garage sale, I didn't even bother trying to look for brushes -- it'll be like finding a needle in a haystack. Replacing brushes in say, a legendary antique Craftsman drill for example however might be a little easier to get.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sean McGillicuddy

spuldup

Member
Nov 1, 2022
94
16137
Mine may be brushless. Many motorized tools I see lately mention brushless. Is there an advantage to a brushless motor?
Higher efficiency, basically. Like comparing a turbo engine to an NA engine of the same displacement.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
686
Connecticut
So better efficiency and durability are the advantages. I have the same electric drill that I bought when I bought my house in the mid 80s, that probably has brushes. I recall sometimes seeing sparks in that or maybe another tool when running.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
686
Connecticut
I returned the Greenworks saw. My situation is likely not typical as the customer ratings were good. After about a few minutes of non-continuous use, the saw would stop. Keeping the switch pressed, then it would start again, running for about 10-15 seconds, stop, then start again repeating the same cycle. This time of year stock is very low, so I didn't even consider a replacement. Not sure if I'll go with a battery saw. I may just get a new chain for a 16" corded electric saw that I have, and work on the Husqvarna gas saw to try to make it easier to start.
 

spuldup

Member
Nov 1, 2022
94
16137
I returned the Greenworks saw. My situation is likely not typical as the customer ratings were good. After about a few minutes of non-continuous use, the saw would stop. Keeping the switch pressed, then it would start again, running for about 10-15 seconds, stop, then start again repeating the same cycle. This time of year stock is very low, so I didn't even consider a replacement. Not sure if I'll go with a battery saw. I may just get a new chain for a 16" corded electric saw that I have, and work on the Husqvarna gas saw to try to make it easier to start.
That's too bad. Do you mean it would stop under no load? I found mine is sensitive to chain tension, and overly "nanny-mode" on the overcurrent/overtemperature protection. There is a mod to relocate the temp. sensor that I have not yet done. Been messing with the gas saws as of late.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
686
Connecticut
That's too bad. Do you mean it would stop under no load? I found mine is sensitive to chain tension, and overly "nanny-mode" on the overcurrent/overtemperature protection. There is a mod to relocate the temp. sensor that I have not yet done. Been messing with the gas saws as of late.
It would stop under a load, but not much of one. Would stop when cutting a 6" diameter or so piece. I've read about battery units overheating, maybe the stop/start is for protection? If yes makes for not a very useful tool.
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
1,027
NW Wisconsin
My old corded stihl will power through wood, even with lowered rakers. I don't remember it ever overheating, but it could have happened. I want to get a longer bar for it so I can use it on bigger wood.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
686
Connecticut
My old corded stihl will power through wood, even with lowered rakers. I don't remember it ever overheating, but it could have happened. I want to get a longer bar for it so I can use it on bigger wood.
Maybe for electric corded is the way to go. I'm sure there's some good experiences with battery powered saws. The term 'My old Stihl (whatever tool it may be)' is still working well seems to be heard often.
 
Last edited:

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
1,027
NW Wisconsin
If you don't have to cut more than 100 feet from an outlet, corded is definitely the way to go. I only have battery tolls if I am going to use them often, because otherwise the batteries just go bad. I have a cordless drill, but the rest are corded or air powered (air powered is not very efficient, but sometimes it is a very good option or more compact. I have an air drill that I ported and while it uses an incredible amount of air, it is extremely compact and will turn a 1/2" bit like it's not even there. It comes in handy when working in confined spaces, like inside of boats.

Corded has unlimited run time and usually more power than cordless
Cordless is more portable and great for remote areas like trimming trails

Stihl claims their new cordless saw competes with 50cc gas saws, but the runtime is short and it is very expensive. You need multiple batteries/chargers to extend run times, and it's heavier than gas saws.(it weighs about the same as a 660)

I would love to have electric saws, but the problem is energy storage and weight. A small amount of gasoline has a lot of energy. Batteries can't compete with liquid hydrocarbon fuels for energy density. I converted my splitter to electric because I was sick of the noise, vibration, and stinky fumes. I like my corded stihl for the same reasons. If gov't and corporations really cared about all the green stuff they push, it would be the most cost effective and affordable stuff on the market to get people to change over. But it's not, it's some of the most expensive and technologically complicated stuff that you can't fix.

I have a trolling motor and deep cycle battery. That trolling motor won't run very long at full power before the battery is dead, and it doesn't matter if it is lead acid or lithium. Sure lithium will run twice as long, but that's still just turning a prop in water, not pulling a chain through hardwood. You can buy a LOT of gas for the cost of just one battery, and a lifetime supply of saw gas for the cost of the cordless saw package. If they come out with a lightweight battery that holds 4x more power than currently available, I'll be in line (as long as the price is ok). Until then, it's not really an option for me because I need a saw that will cut until the job is done or I'm tired, and cord power or gas are the only two options unless you count hand power.
 
  • Like
Reactions: salecker

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
686
Connecticut
Although battery technology has improved, and maybe more so with vehicles rather than small batteries for tools, as mentioned above they're still very expensive. Some battery saws I saw were 'Tool only', I then looked at the price of the charger and a battery - for the whole package multiply the saw price by at least 1.75, or maybe more. And as Isaac mentioned they go bad. Like my Makita drill from years ago - as good as it was, you can't get replacement batteries for that model anymore. I know replacement cells can be purchased and installed in the same housing, but I don't know obtainable they are. Looking at available replacement batteries for chainsaws, they seem to average around $100-$150. Yes, for that money that's a lot of gas.

For now, or maybe for good - my plans for a battery saw are on hold. Along with my gas chainsaw I have a 16" Poulan corded electric. I think I'll try to find a replacement chain for that (keep the old one and maybe get it sharpened professionally) and see how it works and go from there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Isaac Carlson

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
1,027
NW Wisconsin
I just googled the mse300 price and it said ~$1000, tool only. No idea what the total cost is with a bar, spare chains, 1 battery(you would need multiples to effectively cut firewood), charger, etc...
If it's $1500, that's roughly 300 gallons worth of mixed fuel, which would cut ~2,000 cord of firewood!! That's 280 years of firewood at 7 cord/year.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
686
Connecticut
I just googled the mse300 price and it said ~$1000, tool only. No idea what the total cost is with a bar, spare chains, 1 battery(you would need multiples to effectively cut firewood), charger, etc...
If it's $1500, that's roughly 300 gallons worth of mixed fuel, which would cut ~2,000 cord of firewood!! That's 280 years of firewood at 7 cord/year.
Holy smokes! I had to look up MSE 300, I see it's a Stihl. I guess I've been looking at low end battery saws. For that money and accessories required, it's offsetting money savings from burning wood for heat. As mentioned, that money would buy a lot of fuel, and split wood!

A small incentive is one of the major home improvement stores has several tools where the 40v chainsaw battery is compatible with. I need to replace my string trimmer this spring, was considering the store's 40v model. Reviews had positive comments about the battery compatibility - countered by some negative comments about the chainsaw or battery overheating and somewhat brief run time. Then again, may using the battery almost throughout the year would mean a replacement wood be needed sooner.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Isaac Carlson

spuldup

Member
Nov 1, 2022
94
16137
Maybe for electric corded is the way to go. I'm sure there's some good experiences with battery powered saws. The term 'My old Stihl (whatever tool it may be)' is still working well seems to be heard often.
Absolutely go that route if the saw will only be used in an area wheere 120V power is available.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Isaac Carlson

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
1,027
NW Wisconsin
And I just bought a 372....that set me back about 100 years of firewood....OUCH! I just wanted a bigger saw...I never thought of the cost in years of firewood.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
686
Connecticut
Absolutely go that route if the saw will only be used in an area where 120V power is available.
That's usually the case, cutting it in my yard. For what's too big for the electric there's the gas saw. I will get a shorter extension cord though, the one I have is much longer than it needs to be and probably causing a voltage drop.

And I just bought a 372....that set me back about 100 years of firewood....OUCH! I just wanted a bigger saw...I never thought of the cost in years of firewood.
Still (pun intended) a good investment though IMO. Easier to get the jobs done and if firewood and heating fuel prices in your area are like around here, they've gone up big time.
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,967
Northern Canada
And I just bought a 372....that set me back about 100 years of firewood....OUCH! I just wanted a bigger saw...I never thought of the cost in years of firewood.
Yea but a looked after 372 will always give you a good return like 75 years worth of firewood or better if you want to sell it.
I don't see cordless saws holding their value as they are overpriced as it is.And the battery is any one going to give you any kind of decent money for a used battery that could be at the end of it's life.All you have to go on is the date of sale.PO could have used it up in a short time.
 

Wood1Dennis

Burning Hunk
Jan 17, 2016
195
Eastern Wisconsin
I have been using a Milwaukee M18 Fuel 16" Battery Chainsaw for two years now. I think it is every bit as good as the small Stihl gas powered chainsaw I replaced with it.

Do you have issues with batteries overheating

BIL bought one, even in temps well below freezing and 9.0ah batteries he had to constantly swap them because they'd overheat and shutdown. Impressive saws minus that.

Do you have issues with batteries overheating?

BIL bought one, even in temps well below freezing and 9.0ah batteries he had to constantly swap them because they'd overheat and shutdown. Impressive saws minus that.

My old Husqvarna 350 with an 18" bar is getting a little long in the tooth, I've had it for about 22 years. Great saw, it has cut a LOT of firewood and has never failed me. That said I wanted to get a second saw and decided to give cordless electric a try. I have a good sized collection of Milwaukee M18 tools that I like a lot so I decided to buy the Milwaukee M18 16" saw.

I've used it several times now. In general I am pleased. It won't cut as long on a charge as my 350 will on a tank of gas, but with two batteries it will do just about all I can handle in a day. It is a pleasure to pull the trigger and go. No choking, no pull starting, no noise. It has power to handle full 16" cuts.
It came with a 12 Amp battery that works great. It has not overheated, works good until exhausted.
My second battery is an 8 amp one that I had already from my M18 string trimmer (excellent trimmer). It obviously does not run as long with the 8 amp. and if doing heavy cuts it will overheat and stop. Give it a short break and it will run again.

Here are some pick of today's work. The load was all cut with one charge on the 12 amp. battery.

20230107_120653 Rev.jpg 20230107_124952 Rev.jpg 1673145075810.jpeg
I think in spring when I am bucking up and splitting logs by my woodpiles, I will depend on my old Husqvarna. But for working in the woods I really appreciate the light, quiet electric saw!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Easy Livin’ 3000

Wood1Dennis

Burning Hunk
Jan 17, 2016
195
Eastern Wisconsin
How well does it cut? Does it take forever to get through a log?
I don't think it takes any longer than with the gas saw.
It is a little different. It just cuts, not like a gas saw where if you push too hard the clutch slips. I think it does slow down a touch in a heavy cut when the battery gets close to running out but not bad. The M18 tools all go, until they don't go. Not like older battery drills I used to have that would slow down as the battery got used up.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Isaac Carlson

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
686
Connecticut
Here are some pick of today's work. The load was all cut with one charge on the 12 amp. battery.

View attachment 307174
That is a lot of wood for one charge. If a typical battery saw could do even half that on a single charge it would be acceptable IMO. My son has various battery powered Milwaukee tools that use a common battery, and a black and red radio. It's not practical for me to start investing in a top of the line battery operated tool set at this point, but I haven't ruled out a battery chainsaw. Mainly because 6 years ago I bought a 40 volt Kobalt (Lowe's) hedge trimmer. No signs of battery deterioration yet. They have a 14" 40v chainsaw I have my eye on, and a 'Tool only' 40v string trimmer. Since I have one battery and charger, I'd have two if purchasing the chainsaw. Yes the batteries are very expensive to replace, but I guess you have to pay for convenience and ease of operation. My only concern would be if the existing 40v battery was to be phased out at some point.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
686
Connecticut
That would be a cool vehicle to have in the woods for transporting firewood. Probably plenty of traction when it's full as shown.
 

KDubU

Member
Dec 16, 2022
86
Maine
I am in the market for a chainsaw and am a Husky guy although have owned Stihl’s but prefer the former. I have not been looking at the electric as my concerns are power and cutting ability. I have watched the vids and comparisons to various brands and if I am to go electric, it would have to be Ego. I bought the lawn mower when we bought a small place in FL and it works really well. When we moved back to ME, I wanted something to help make trails on the 10 acres and wanted a pole saw and read good things about the Ego and though well I already have a battery from the lawn mower. I also recently purchased their snow shovel but wish I had not. It works okay but is too heavy for my wife and that was the prime reason for getting it. I will consider their chainsaw as I am over the gas smell and sound of chainsaw although I do love the power a 50cc+ Husky brings. I just don’t want to regret getting an electric….