Bought my first battery operated chainsaw

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Nick Mystic

Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2013
1,141
Western North Carolina
A couple months ago I picked up a Husqvarna Power Axe 350i Cordless Electric Chainsaw. It is a lightweight 18 inch chainsaw at Lowes for $349. I'll never go back to a gas saw. A full charge on the battery will power the saw about as long as a full tank of gas with a similar size ICE chainsaw. It saws with a slower rpm, but has a lot of torque. If you let the saw do the work you can easily cut through large oak rounds. I cut up a 14" diameter oak tree with no problems. A big benefit is you don't need any ear protection the saw is so quiet. Also, the saw only runs when you pull the trigger, so complete silence in between cuts. The battery takes about three hours to re-charge, so if you are going to cut for extended periods it won't work for you. At age 72 I find that one battery charge is enough cutting for me. If I still want to do some logging I'll drag the wood home and split and stack it.
 
I have heard good things about the latest battery powered saws. I am looking at getting a Milwaukee since I already have the batteries.
 
I have heard good things about the latest battery powered saws. I am looking at getting a Milwaukee since I already have the batteries.
Yes, if you have the batteries that's the way to go. A second battery for the Husky is $175! I'll bet you really like the Milwaukee.
 
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I have heard good things about the latest battery powered saws. I am looking at getting a Milwaukee since I already have the batteries.

Meh, brother in law has the Milwaukee one, I guess it works good for a battery saw. For sustained use it definitely liked to trigger the battery overtemp, even when it was well below freezing outside with 9ah packs. Definitely not in the same league as my 550xp or a Rancher 455.

I have the Dewalt 20v saw. Carry it in my SxS, or if we go camping its alright for cutting fallen trees or an armload of wood for a camp fire, but that's about it.

If I was to get another one I'd look at the Husqvarna or Stihl models first.
 
Not looking to replace my gas saws, just as an addition. Would use it for limbing, or camping, or small jobs around the yard.
 
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Not looking to replace my gas saws, just as an addition. Would use it for limbing, or camping, or small jobs around the yard.
I find myself using battery powered tools more frequently, for tasks that I'd rather procrastinate over or find excuses over. "It's cold outside.... I really don't wanna mess with choke." or "I don't want to put on all that PPE just for one limb.... I'll wait till I have more tasks together."
 
Yes, if you have the batteries that's the way to go. A second battery for the Husky is $175! I'll bet you really like the Milwaukee.
$175 for a good battery isn’t too bad, I work in maintenance and use many battery tools and some of the DeWALT FLEXVOLT batteries are over $300 and I have a few of them. They say 15 amp on them but that’s for 20v tools, they are just 5 amp for the better 60v lineup. The 5 amp Power Stacks are pricey too but I’ve found them for under $100 pretty easily lately. I saw a clean used DeWalt 16" Flexvolt chainsaw for $133.00 shipped recently and I thought about picking it up…I don’t know…?
 
After having issues with my chainsaw this season i ended up switching every gas powered tool over to battery.. Purchased everything greenworks and im quite happy with it. i found the chainsaw battery life can greatly vary depending on what you are cutting, the lawnmower is light and 2 battery's do my yard, the leaf blower and snow blower seem to work great so far.. I looked into the Stihl products but the battery life is not their yet had their grass trimmer and i could not do my full yard without a recharge was quite disappointed in that. Just waiting for greenworks to come out with a good pressure washer and that will be the last of my fuel tools..
 
What really impressed me with the battery run Husquavarna was the operators ability to operate the saw with one hand. We had a couple of dead spruce between our cabin and the neighbors, he was able to cut limbs with one hand and toss the limbs away from the buildings. Once the limbs were removed he then proceeded to take the tree down in 3’ sections, again with one hand on the saw and the other hand was directing the sections away from the buildings. I was surprised how light the saw was, I’m 60 years old and would never attempt to run the saw with one hand, he was in his mid 20’s and had arms the size of my thighs. It was impressive how fast and efficient the crew was in taking the trees down without damaging any of the buildings.
 
Be careful. The higher torque Electric saws will not be stopped by Chainsaw Chaps.
That's a good point. I nicked my chaps for the first time ever using my battery chainsaw. It is so quiet I didn't nitice the blade was still moving after I made my cut and I didn't realize it until I felt a tug on my chaps!
 
That's a good point. I nicked my chaps for the first time ever using my battery chainsaw. It is so quiet I didn't nitice the blade was still moving after I made my cut and I didn't realize it until I felt a tug on my chaps!
Hope you didn't cut yourself.. Did the chaps stop the saw at all?
 
Hope you didn't cut yourself.. Did the chaps stop the saw at all?
The blade was just about stopped at the time and it only tore a half inch opening in the outer covering. However, it was enough to get my attention. Part of the learning curve for this type of saw. With a gas saw since the engine is always running and making noise you know it is on and are naturally more careful with where the blade is at all time. With the battery saw since the sound stops as soon as you release the trigger it is easy to think the saw is "off" and not think about the blade still rotating. That's how icked my chaps. I had finished my cut and was moving the saw to set it down when the bar came into contact with my chaps.
 
The blade was just about stopped...
Ah, the coasting-to-a-stop chain. I have no data to back it but I bet it's probably the number one cause of leg injuries while cutting.
I too had the pluck mark (luckily) in a pair a jeans decades ago which prompted me to immediately to buy and always use chaps. FWIW, my chaps have that same nick that Nick mentions.
Those using electric and gas saws, do you find that the chain comes to a stop much faster in the electric saw than the gas saw. Or does it have a similar amount of coasting?
 
I nicked myself too wearing jeans a few years back. Cut a limb that had a pricker vine attached to it, that ended up in my face. Took the hand off of the saw to pull off the prickers and the weight of the saw pulled it toward my thigh. It was spinning down and I realized my mistake. Not early enough to prevent getting cut but early enough to prevent a trip to the hospital. Have a nice little scar on my left thigh from that. So it is chaps every time now. Remember the most expensive chainsaw chaps cost less than a trip to the ER.
 
Never used a battery saw, although they intrigue me the same as anyone, esp. the 80V models on the market now. Like others have said, probably not ideal for all-day cutting, but great for quick jobs, especially in the summer off-season, when I usually keep my gas saws drained and on a shelf.

But WRT the slowing chain coasting to a stop, that seems to bite most, I've made it habit and routine to always trip the chain brake after my last cut in a series, before swinging the saw aside or setting it down. It's so built into my muscle memory now, that I don't even think about it, it's second-nature. It also ensures I always know that my chain brakes are kept in good working order, should they ever be needed in a kickback scenario.
 
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Yes I had the coasting chain thing happen to me too, it went through my blue jeans and long johns and just grazed my leg enough to trickle a bit of blood so I was lucky there. I told my sister who was a doctor then and she said to have some kind a tourniquet around in case to prevent you from bleeding out and I said I always wear a belt so that would work.
 
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That price for that saw is pretty tempting. I have a ms170 with a lot of years on it. Still runs good but have been thinking about replacing it with an electric option. I have wanted a husky or stihl but was leaning towards the echo due to price. If the price stays there, it may be a nice post xmas gift to myself lol.
 
I have the Dewalt 20v saw. Carry it in my SxS, or if we go camping its alright for cutting fallen trees or an armload of wood for a camp fire, but that's about it.

Do you have any problem with the bar oiler? I have the same saw and love it for the convenience but the oiler is miserable. It pumps about 10 times more oil than the bar could ever need and makes a mess of everything. I also have the Dewalt 20v pole chain saw and it's just as bad. I've been mixing the oil 50/50 with STP and that helps only slightly.
 
I've always wondered on these battery saws, when you know to refill the oiler. Any gasser is set up such that it always runs out of fuel before oil, but does a battery saw hold enough oil for full depletion of a freshly-charged battery?

Growing up, I had a 110VAC electric chainsaw, and it had a thumb-pump oiler. You could feel it in the resistance of the thumb pump button, when it was running out of oil, otherwise I'd never have known when to refill the stupid thing.
 
I haven't noticed the chain bar oiler putting out too much oil when I'm sawing, but the saw has leaked some oil out when it is not being used (as in sitting on the floor of my wood shop). I had read about this happening in some reviews, so I have been putting it on the top of a five gallon bucket that has a plastic lid with a lip around the edges and it is easy enough to wipe up the 2 inch diameter puddle of oil it might leak. The saw holds enough oil to more than make it through a full charge, much like an ICE saw with a tank of gas. As for monitoring the oil the cap on the reservoir is clear plastic and since it is on the side of the saw when sawing it is easy to monitor. By the way all my ICE Huskies have also leaked oil when sitting.
 
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I brought the DeWalt one earlier this summer for cutting up limbs, trimming dead branches etc. Ive been surprised at what a good job it does overall. Last weekend I wanted to down the tree pictured because it was in the way of my truck & trailer getting around this turn on my driveway. (Not the truck in the background - thats going to the junk yard sooner or later). Anyway, the chain on my Stihl needs sharpened so I thought id try this out after using it to take down some of the limbs on the tree. Dang thing ate right through it without hesitation. (took 4 batteries though). The pic with the saw & stump was taken after cleaning up the top so I can put gnome or what not on top for visibility if we get a good snow. I like this saw a lot, but it does use way too much oil I think. (Theres supposed to be a guard on the end of the bar, but the screws came out at some point while using it not that long after buying it. Ive been meaning to look up the guard & screws to replace)

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Got my saw yesterday. Will be trying it out this weekend.20231208_080455.jpg
 
Have used my buddies toro 18" electric which i would say would be similar in size to my stihl ms250.
I don't really like the "feel" of the electric power. The ability to throttle the saw is not there with the electric and i find that suboptimal. I throttle the speed at some point on most cuts (especially when limbing) and this feel is important to me. Also the electric saw feels heavier than an equivalent gas saw.

As far as chain breaking i often use the back of my hand while still holding the saw top handle bar to "flick" the chain break on when moving to reset between cuts. Basically throwing (rotating) the back of your wrist against the break to flip it to the brake on position.
 
It's interesting that Milwaukee is pushing their existing M18 (18V) batteries into chainsaws, while I believe the others (Ego, Greenworks, Stihl, Husky) are all doing 40 - 80 volt models. Obviously you can pull the same power at 18 volts as 80 volts, but developing the same torque is going to require a more expensive motor, and the higher current required will require more expensive components, with more heat and overall wear on the battery circuits and contactors.