The Best Electric Chainsaws of 2022

Check these top picks to find a quiet, low-maintenance chainsaw ideal for any homeowner’s outdoor DIY chores.

By Tom Scalisi | Updated Mar 4, 2022 3:51 PM

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The Best Stihl Chainsaw Options

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The best electric chainsaws allow for a quick and easy cutting unlike their gas-powered counterparts. With electric chainsaws, you simply plug it in or snap in a battery and you’re ready to go.

Electric models are also lightweight and quieter than gas models, yet are often on par with gasoline-powered options in terms of capability. Plus, electric chainsaws require very little maintenance—just an occasional sharpening of the chain and a quick topping off of the bar oil. Read on for some shopping considerations to consider and some of our top picks in their respective categories.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Makita XCU03Z 18V X2 LXT Brushless Cordless Chain Saw
  2. BEST BUDGET: BLACK+DECKER 20V Max Cordless Chainsaw LCS1020B
  3. UPGRADE PICK: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw Kit, 5-Ah Battery
  4. BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: Greenworks 40V 16-Inch Cordless Saw
  5. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Oregon CS1500 18-Inch Chainsaw
  6. BEST LIGHT-DUTY: Worx WG303.1 14.5 Amp 16″ Electric Chainsaw
  7. BEST PROFESSIONAL: Greenworks Pro 80V 18-Inch Cordless Chainsaw GCS80420
  8. HONORABLE MENTION: OREGON CS1400 2400 W Electric Chainsaw
Best Electric Chainsaw

Photo: depositphotos.com

What to Consider Before Buying an Electric Chainsaw 

You needn’t be a lumberjack to add a chainsaw to your tool kit. But you do want to purchase the right one for your needs—and that means an understanding of your options. Here’s a primer.

Corded vs Cordless

Whether or not to go cord-free is your top priority decision when it comes to an electric chainsaw. Think about the size of your property and how you plan to use the saw. If you’re felling trees back in the woods, you’ll need a battery-operated saw.; if you’ll be cutting firewood rounds in your driveway, a corded saw will do the job.

Size

When it comes to electric chainsaw sizes, the main difference is the length of the bar. The bar, sometimes mistakenly referred to as the blade, is the part of the saw that supports the chain (which actually does the cutting). Bar lengths on electric chainsaws come as small as 10 or 12 inches (sometimes even shorter from niche manufacturers) and as large as 18 inches.

Small saws are lightweight and easy to use all day. They’re useful for trimming limbs and small trees. They’re also handy on a campsite for cutting firewood to length (where allowed, of course). Larger bars are most helpful for felling trees and cutting firewood. They’re heavier and less convenient for limbing trees than a smaller saw, though. For general DIY use, the sweet spot for chainsaws is 14 or 16 inches.

Motor Power

The motor power in electric saws is rated by amperages. An amp-rating describes how much power the saw can draw before the internal components will overheat or start breaking down. An 8-amp saw can be considered light-duty, while a 12-amp is for medium-duty work, and a 15-amp is the heaviest duty of electric chainsaws.

Matching your uses to your power needs can help ensure that you’ll enjoy using your saw. Choosing an underpowered saw for cutting up dense hardwood logs will surely frustrate you as it bogs down and overheats. Conversely, using a heavy-duty saw for climbing a fruit tree might be hard on your back due to its increased weight.

Keep in mind that with battery-powered saws, much of the power rating is based on the voltage of the battery used (20v or 40v, for example), not the amp-hour (Ah) rating on the battery. A battery’s Ah rating has more to do with how long the battery will run than the power output. For prolonged uses (felling trees or cutting logs into firewood rounds), a DIYer should look for batteries with higher amp-hour ratings in the 6Ah or 8Ah range. For quick jobs, a 4Ah battery should provide plenty of run time.

Oiling Systems

Bar oil helps the chain run smoothly in the bar’s grooves without overheating. Oiling prevents the chain from wearing out prematurely and the bar from burning from the speed of the chain. It also allows the saw to run at optimal speeds for the fastest cutting.

The most convenient way to go is with an automatic oiler, which will continuously lubricate the bar during use, as long as you remember to keep the on-board reservoir full. Older options include a manual oiler (a thumb-operated plunger that releases oil onto the bar) and, most rudimentary, pouring oil over the bar by hand, but these outdated systems are less likely to be found nowadays.

Chain Tensioning

Chainsaw chains are known to stretch with use, due to a combination of temperature change and centrifugal force. New chains stretch quite a bit due to the same factors as well as simply “breaking in,” and that’s totally acceptable. However, when a chain stretches, it can fit loosely on the bar or even skip off of the bar altogether—annoying, if not dangerous.

To account for stretching, chainsaw bars have a back-and-forward adjustment that takes the slack out of the chain. The most easily adjusted models come with tool-less tensioning systems: Simply loosen a knob on the side of the bar by hand, twist the adjustment knob until the slack is gone, and tighten the bar up again—all without pulling out a single hand tool.

Safety Features

Tools are not toys—and any chainsaw can be dangerous if it’s not operated correctly (go here for guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Fortunately, when comparing electric vs gas chainsaw models, the same safety features are available.

Manual chain brakes mounted in front of the grip, keep the user’s top hand protected and allow you to quickly engage the brake by rotating your wrist forward. Some saws also come with clutches that quickly disengage the chain when the trigger is released; this prevents a free-spinning chain from catching the user off guard after the cut. Low-kickback (see Pro Tip, below) chains are also available.

Pro Tip: “Kickback” happens when the uppermost portion of the bar’s tip makes contact with a log, causing the saw to “kick” back towards the user, potentially making contact between the user and the spinning chain. To avoid kickback, never use the tip of the saw for making cuts. Instead, cut using only the top and bottom sections of the bar until you become very experienced with a chainsaw. Using the tip is an advanced technique for regular saw users, and even they fall victim to kickbacks from time to time.

Our Top Picks

We have rounded up the top 5 electric chainsaws. Whether you need an 18-inch blade or you need a lightweight option, we have everything you need to make the best decision for your project.

Best Overall

The Best Electric Chainsaw Option: Makita XCU03Z 18V X2 LXT Brushless Cordless Chain Saw
Photo: amazon.com

Makita’s cordless chainsaw is an example of the brand’s innovation. It features a dual-battery 18-volt design, doubling the maximum power and run time of a standard single-battery chainsaw. Despite those extra batteries, this chainsaw still weighs in at less than 11 pounds, making it easy to handle.

The brushless motor allows its batteries to distribute more power to the saw than a standard motor, making it as powerful as some gas-powered chainsaws and one of the best battery chainsaw options. A 14-inch bar makes it a good chainsaw for cutting through trees up to 12 inches in diameter.

Makita’s rechargeable chainsaw also packs plenty of other features like an auto power-off function that shuts the saw down to save battery life when the saw is idle for too long and a built-in lock-off that prevents the saw blade from accidentally starting.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless
  • Motor Power: 18 volts
  • Weight: 11 pounds

Pros

  • Dual-battery design
  • Runs for up to 1 hour (with extra batteries)
  • Auto power-off and lock-off features
  • Comes with extra batteries and a charger

Cons

  • Some users have reported manufacturing defects

Best Budget

Best Electric Chainsaw Options Black+Decker 20V
Photo: amazon.com

This affordable model from BLACK+DECKER is an excellent option for those budget-conscious DIYers who need a chainsaw for light-duty use only, as well as those who don’t have a lot of experience operating a chainsaw.

Thanks to a smaller 10-inch blade, which is less likely to kick back, and an overall weight of just over 7 pounds, it’s easier to manage than larger chainsaws. That’s not to say it isn’t powerful. This chainsaw packs plenty of punch with a 20-volt battery and can cut through branches up to 8 inches in diameter.

User-friendly features include a tool-free chain tension adjuster and an automatic bar oiling system. This Black and Decker 20-volt Max cordless chainsaw is sold on its own or with a battery pack and charger.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless
  • Motor Power: 20 volts
  • Weight: 7 pounds

Pros

  • 10-inch blade
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Tool-free chain tension adjuster
  • Automatic bar oiling system

Cons

  • Suitability limited to light-duty work

Upgrade Pick

The Best Electric Chainsaw Option: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw, 12-Inch
Photo: amazon.com

For those interested in an electric chainsaw that delivers power, endurance, and versatility, the DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw Kit comes with everything you need. With a light, 9-pound construction, this chainsaw doesn’t cause fatigue while delivering up to 90 cuts per minute on a full charge with its 20V 5 Ah battery and efficient brushless motor, making it the best chainsaw for cutting trees.

For added convenience and safety, this model also comes with tool-free chain tensioning and a bar tightening knob. Plus, all 20V DEWALT batteries are compatible with this model, allowing you to extend runtime. The lithium-ion battery and charger are included with purchase.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless
  • Motor Power: 20 volts
  • Weight: 9 pounds

Pros

  • Lightweight design
  • Brushless motor and auto-oil function
  • Up to 90 cuts per charge
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • Made for light-duty work
  • Limited 45-minute run time

Best Lightweight

The Best Electric Chainsaw for Cutting Firewood Option: Greenworks G-MAX 40V 16-Inch Cordless Chainsaw
Photo: amazon.com

The Greenworks 40V 16-Inch Cordless Saw is a capable cordless chainsaw that makes an excellent foundation for homeowners building an outdoor tool kit. It comes with a 4Ah battery and features an automatic oiler, a tool-less chain tensioner, and a chain brake for safety yet weighs in at just over 10 pounds.

The chainsaw operates on Greenworks 40V interchangeable battery system (a real benefit if you’re already invested in other Greenworks tools). Some users complain that the model tends to leak oil when not in use, so store it with the reservoir dry.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless
  • Motor Power: 40 volts
  • Weight: 10 pounds

Pros

  • Automatic oiler and tool-free chain tensioner
  • Chain brake built-in
  • Interchangeable battery system

Cons

  • Tends to leak oil

Best Heavy Duty

The Best Electric Chainsaw Option: Oregon CS1500 Self-Sharpening Electric Chainsaw
Photo: amazon.com

The first runner-up for best overall, the CS1500 chainsaw features tool-less chain tensioning, a 15-amp motor, and an automatic oiler. It also self-sharpens the chain—activating the sharpener simply involves lifting a small, finger-engaged lever. The company claims it can sharpen the chain in less than three seconds. (Just avoid going overboard with self-sharpening, which will reduce the life of the chain.

Also, while the sharpener does a great job of putting a quick edge on the teeth, it’s not the quality of sharpening you’ll get from a pro shop.) Between the power, long bar length, and automatic features, this is the most capable corded saw on the market.

Product Specs

  • Type: Corded
  • Motor Power: 15 amps
  • Weight: 12.6 pounds

Pros

  • Tool-free chain tensioning and automatic oiler
  • Self-sharpening feature; sharpens in 3 seconds
  • Long bar length

Cons

  • Heavier than comparable models

Best Light Duty

The Best Electric Chainsaw Option: Worx WG303.1 14.5 Amp 16 Electric Chainsaw
Photo: amazon.com

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced, light-duty electric chainsaw, check out this 16-inch corded option from WORX. This less-is-more model features the basics: a 14.5 amp motor, a chain brake, automatic oiler, and tool-less chain tensioning. It’s also fairly lightweight at only 11 pounds.

The chainsaw is best suited for light-duty work, largely because the majority of its components are plastic, which reduces durability. And because replacement parts aren’t easy to find, heavy-duty use that breaks something can render this saw useless.

Product Specs

  • Type: Corded
  • Motor Power: 14.5 amps
  • Weight: 11 pounds

Pros

  • Affordable option
  • Runs as long as the unit is plugged in
  • Tool-less chain tension and chain brake for enhanced safety
  • Automatic oiler

Cons

  • Less durable plastic components
  • May be difficult to replace parts
  • May require an extension cord

Best Professional

The Best Electric Chainsaw Option: Greenworks Pro 80V 18-Inch Cordless Chainsaw
Photo: amazon.com

With its massive 80-volt battery and brushless motor, this cordless chainsaw from battery-powered tool specialist Greenworks rivals many similarly sized gas-powered chainsaws.

Proving that a small carbon footprint doesn’t equate to wimpy, this formidable chainsaw can make up to 150 cuts on 4×4-size lumber before needing a charge, which equates to 1 to 2 hours of runtime. Its 18-inch bar length allows it to cut through trunks up to 16 inches in diameter, making it the best professional chainsaw option on this list.

With its rapid charge capability—it needs just 30 minutes for a full recharge—you can easily rotate batteries to avoid lags in productivity. This model is loaded with safety features like steel bucking spikes to prevent kickback and an electronic chain brake. With a weight of under 11 pounds, this chainsaw is easy to handle. The Greenworks Pro 80V is available with the battery and charger, or as a tool only.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless
  • Motor Power: 80 volts
  • Weight: 11 pounds

Pros

  • Suitable for heavy-duty jobs
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Runs for 1-2 hours per charge; 30 minutes to charge
  • Comes with a battery and charger

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Some users claim that the chain can pop out of place

Honorable Mention

Best Electric Chainsaw Options Oregon CS1400
Photo: amazon.co.uk

Cutting firewood with a dull saw is not fun. To keep this Oregon chainsaw sharp, the automatic oiler distributes oil on the bar and chain while on the saw, which can help keep the chainsaw lubricated and prevent it wearing out prematurely.

This saw has a 15-amp motor and uses a tool-less chain tensioning system, allowing the user to adjust the chain to the proper tension and lock it back into place with ease. One of the best features of this rigid chainsaw is how quiet it is when running, while still providing plenty of power to get the job done.

Product Specs

  • Type: Corded
  • Motor Power: 15 amps
  • Weight: 13 pounds

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Ideal for thick and dense hardwood
  • Rivals gas units in terms of power
  • Corded for prolonged use

Cons

  • Quite heavy

Our Verdict

It can be hard to find the best electric chainsaw for your professional or DIY use with so many options on the market. One of the best options overall for medium to heavy use is the Makita electric chainsaw with its 18-volt power output, 11-pound construction, dual-battery design, and 1-hour runtime. For a budget-friendly option, the BLACK+DECKER electric chainsaw has a 20-volt power output, 7-pound construction, and 10-inch blade for light-duty use.

How We Chose the Best Electric Chainsaws 

We researched the most sought-after electric chainsaws in their respective categories and discovered that the best models are determined by their type, power output, weight, and other special features included by select brands.

When searching for the best electric chainsaws, the most popular type among users were the cordless models for their portability and ease of use, while the corded options are favored by some for their extra-long runtimes and durable constructions. As for cutting power, each above pick is capable of completing light to heavy-duty work with up to 80 volts or 15 amps of power.

As for ease of use, these picks are lightweight enough to ease any strain or fatigue in your hands and wrists, with the lightest option weighing just 9 pounds. Many of our featured options also have tool-free chain tensioning, batteries and chargers included, long runtimes, chain brakes, and self-sharpening features.

Tips for Using an Electric Chainsaw

Once you have the chainsaw for your intended use, you should learn how to use it and take care of it properly and safely. One of the most important things to remember is to wear safety goggles, gloves, chainsaw chaps, a helmet, and boots to prevent injury. You should also consider wearing hearing protection as chainsaws tend to be loud, especially when cutting through hard materials.

Before you use your chainsaw, always be sure to check the chain tension to avoid the chain becoming loose or detaching altogether. While many models come with tool-free chain tensioning, you can also pull the chain down from the guide bar then release it. If the chain returns to position, it is ready to use. If not, the chain is too loose. Finally, your bar and chain should be oiled to ensure the chains flow through the guide properly.

  • While cutting, ensure that you are not using too much force. The chain should be placed on the material you are cutting with light pressure.
  • Electric chainsaws usually require you to push a safety lock before you can turn on the trigger and begin cutting.
  • Always ensure that you are wearing protective clothing before using your chainsaw, including long-sleeved shirts and pants.

FAQs 

Having studied the features and benefits of electric chainsaws, you may still have some more questions. The following are among those that chainsaw buyers ask most often.

Q: Are electric chainsaws safer than gas chainsaws?

Electric chainsaws are safer than gas chainsaws due to the slower chain speeds, reducing the odds of dangerous kickbacks, and they run only while cutting. They also have shorter bars of no more than 18 inches, while some gas chainsaws have 20- or 24-inch bars.

Q: Can electric chainsaws cut trees?

While electric chainsaws are best suited for cutting limbs and pruning, larger 16-inch electric chainsaws also can handle smaller trees.

Q: How lightweight do chainsaws come?

Small chainsaws can weigh anywhere between 6 and 20 pounds. The weight depends on their power source, how many batteries they use, and their construction materials.

Q: How do I choose a chainsaw size?

When it comes to the best chainsaws, a general rule of thumb is that they should be at least 2 inches longer than the thickness of the tree or limb you are trying to cut. With that in mind, when shopping for a chainsaw, consider what types of jobs for which you’ll be using the chainsaw.

If you’re planning on using the chainsaw primarily for pruning and removing young trees, a 10- or 12-inch chainsaw should suffice. For larger jobs, consider purchasing a 16-inch or 18-inch chainsaw.

Q: How long do electric chainsaw batteries last?

Depending upon the model you choose, most electric chainsaws will run for 20 minutes to up to 2 hours.

Q: How do you lubricate an electric chainsaw?

When your electric chainsaw is ready to be oiled, ensure it is turned off and/or unplugged and completely cool. Then, place your chainsaw on a flat surface and clean the oil filler cap, remove it, then place the funner into the cap and pour the oil in slowly until it reaches the maximum filler mark (if included). If your model does not have an oil gauge, simply fill the tank until it reaches the neck of the oil filler. Be sure to wipe away any spills and screw the cap back on.

Q: How do I maintain a chainsaw?

There are several measures you should follow to maintain a chainsaw:

  • Check the bar oil regularly. Lubricant is necessary to keep the chain smoothly rotating around the bar and through the wood. Nothing will thwart your chainsaw job more than a dry blade, which will cause the chain to derail, bind in the wood, or kick back.
  • Keep the chain sharp. A sharp chain not only improves the cutting power of the chainsaw but also prevents dangerous kickbacks.
  • Clean the saw blade after each use. Make sure to remove any debris or sawdust. Built-up debris can easily clog the oil hole, preventing lubricant from reaching the blade.
  • Tighten loose nuts, bolts, and screws. Chainsaws vibrate a lot. All of that vibration can shake fasteners loose, negatively impacting the chainsaw’s operation