Cordless Chainsaw – Battery Powered 40 Volt Powerhouse
Last year I bought a battery powered (40 volt) electric cordless chainsaw and I couldn’t be happier with it.
I also have a nice Stihl gas chainsaw which is fantastic.
So you might be wondering, why would I buy a battery powered cordless chainsaw if I already have a gas chainsaw? Won’t the electric chainsaw be wimpy compared to that?
I was wondering about the wimp factor myself, but I took a chance. And let me tell you, my 40 volt Oregon cordless chainsaw is no wimp!
Oregon 40 Volt Chainsaw
(I upgraded mine to the 6.0 Ah Battery)
(It has a 16″ bar)
First, I’m not claiming that it’s comparable to a gas chainsaw. However I will tell you that the 40 volt power is incredible. This coupled with a chain that voraciously chews through wood makes it incredibly efficient. I have had no problems quickly slicing through trees or limbs with this particular cordless chainsaw.
(My Stihl and my Oregon cordless chainsaw)
Reasons Why I Like The Cordless Chainsaw
1. Quick and easy to use. Seriously. You pick it up, pull the trigger, and it’s ON. When you first start using one, it’s strange if you’re used to a gas chainsaw. It’s pretty neat! Instant on.
2. It’s quiet. Comparably, the cordless chainsaw is very quiet. I’ll not forget the first time I used it with some of my buddies while out clearing some forest trails after a windstorm. The look of confusion, surprise, and then “wow” as I sliced through a fallen tree with ease. They were still starting their saws…
3. No choke! A gas chainsaw can be a bit of a pain in cold weather, dealing with the choke and getting it to run. Sure, a well tuned saw will start up okay, but just saying that the cordless is instant on. Period.
4. No mess. No gasoline. No mess. Just bar chain oil.
5. Battery longevity. I did buy my cordless chainsaw with a 40 volt 6.0 Ah lithium battery for longest run-time. To be honest, I’ve not had to use it long enough to have it run out! And that includes some long days on the trails dealing with downed trees. The 4.0 Ah battery may have worked out okay for me, but I just felt better with maximum ‘juice’.
6. Built in chain sharpener (on the Oregon model). The built in sharpening system will sharpen the chain in 3 seconds. Nice!
(Lithium 40-volt battery & battery compartment location)
Since I have a solar power system for my home, I feel good about having the electric cordless chainsaw for preparedness. No gasoline, no problem. As long as my panels are working I can charge up the chainsaw in short order…
Another preparedness attribute is that it’s so much quieter than a gas chainsaw.
Though the Oregon cordless chainsaw is expensive, there are others which cost less (although I cannot attest to their value).
An example is the Ryobi 40 volt chainsaw (14″ bar) :
Ryobi 40 Volt Chainsaw
Or the Greenworks cordless chainsaw (16″ bar) :
Greenworks 40 Volt Chainsaw
Ken you mentioned the built in self sharpener. Do you feel it is as good as doing it yourself? How well does the chain hold up? In previous self sharpening chainsaws I have been around they ate up the chain pretty fast? How much for a replacement chain?
NH Michael, I bought this saw last year and didn’t use it too much until the Fall. I don’t have enough hours on it yet to judge the built-in sharpener.
That said, it’s simply a lever that you press (exert the desired force) and a stone rubs against the chain. Unlike manual sharpening where you can get into it from other angles, this just gets one side. I think this will be great for quick field sharpening.
You also reminded me of the fact that I need to buy a spare chain for it! Don’t know how much $ yet, but I will find out soon ;)
The chain is uniquely designed for the built-in ‘top sharpening’.
OREGON 16-inch PowerSharp Replacement Saw Chain kit
When I decided to try the cordless chainsaw, not knowing anyone who had one, I was shopping in the dark. I chose the Ryobi based partly on reviews and partly on the price being more in line with what my budget would allow for a mistake. As I’ve posted in the past, it was not a mistake. These saws are amazingly powerful, more than adequate for smaller jobs, and capable when you attack the larger ones. The number one thing, at least for me, is the lack of the aggravation of putting it into action. Other than chain and bar oil, just slap a battery in and go. On the subject of chain oil, on mine, access to the filler cap is easier than on my gassers and the filler opening is slightly smaller than that on the gallon bar oil container which allows me to easily transfer any oil in the saw’s reservoir back into the jug after use, preventing any leakage between uses.
All in all, this was an investment that begs the question, why did I wait so long before I bought it?
Dennis , Does the Ryobi have a chainsharpener too? I admit that the feature is very attractive. I do have a Dremel tool and a number of spare stones. I wish I had learned how to use it log ago. I spent way too much taking chains to the shop to get them sharpened. I also have the necessary files should I live long enough to run through all of the stones.
me,- no it doesn’t. I have discovered though, that the bar and chain on the Ryobi is interchangeable with the Poulan gas saws, which is convenient for me, as I have several spare bars and chains that I keep sharpened. Years ago I owned a Sears Craftsman (Poulan with a red paint job) that had the self sharpening system, but it caused me more problems than it solved. I ended up replacing the self sharpening chain with a standard one. That doesn’t mean that the newer systems aren’t better.
I bought the Greenworks 40 volt chainsaw. I have been very happy with it. It never seems to run out of juice. I run out of juice before the chainsaw. I was going to buy an extra battery for it because I was concerned about the run time before needing a charge. It holds up better than me. My main use is using it to cut up fallen branches which have been up to 6″ in diameter and the chainsaw handles them with ease.
My brother has that same saw as well as a pole saw. Awesome tools, well worth the price. As stated above, the charge is plenty good for a team of three to cut and haul off materials. Go home, plug in and you are good to go for next time. No gasoline – hard starting – measuring cups, Bar oil and you are good to go.
I’ve gone through several gasoline motor chainsaws and now have only an electric corded one that I use with my generator. I’ve considered the battery-powered ones and if I do get one it will be the Stihl brand primarily because of the variety of other battery powered yard tools that can be used with it.
There have been times when camping that I could’ve used a ‘quiet’ chainsaw for timber bigger than what I would saw through by hand.
Old Man is still cutting wood at 80 years. He bought an electric chainsaw several years ago and loves it. He said it is much easier to lift and doeasn’t beat him up like a gas chain saw does. When he goes out on our property he takes his old truck with a generator and just plugs it into the generator.
About 5 years ago I received a call for him from the VA. They, of course wanted to talk to him. I said he is way out back somewhere cutting wood. They said, cutting wood? At his age. I said well I don’t want to do it!
Funny !!! I love it !!!
At his age you’re supposed to be assisted living and on dozens of meds.
Mr. has a green color battery saw, can’t remember the name. It has been really sturdy and the batteries last a long time. He hasn’t even sharpened the blades yet.
Ken, is the Oregon saw made in the USA?
To no surprise this is what I found….
“Today Blount possesses Oregon chainsaw manufacturing plants in the Us, Canada, Brazil, and also China.”
Blount is the parent company of Oregon.
Thanks NRP, I could probably have found out myself with a little effort.
Personally I would love to have a battery operated Chainsaw, but 4 & 1/2 c-notes for a good one is a bit pricy for me (got dog food to buy).
So I’ll just stick with the Stihl gas-burner and an Electric with 150 foot of cord for close-in projects.
Additionally more than a 16″-18″ bar anymore is to much work, remember that’s 32″ of total cut.
Another good article Ken, though I did happen to notice you’re “reuse” of the Photo in another Chainsaw Article HAHAHAHA, and you say I’m ‘Situational Awareness’ challenged. :-) :-)
It’s like most anything else, the price you’re willing to pay depends on your degree of usage vs. expected longevity, features & attributes, one’s budget, and other factors.
I bought a little 10″ battery operated chain saw a few weeks ago, self adjusting chain. I haven’t used it yet because I’ve never ysed a chain saw before and I’m kind of afraid of it. I have visions of the chain flying out and putting my eye out, lol. Sorry I know it’s silly. I’m only going to use it for cutting smaller limbs that I don’t have the patience to saw through with a hand saw. I have safety glasses but do I need to get one of those helmets you see for Chainsaw users. Sorry to be such a girl :-)
Usually the chain just stops if it comes off the bar or breaks, very little chance of it catching you
That said, keep your hands and stuff away from the chain if saw is running,,,
Full peltor hat is overkill, your good with a good pair of safety glasses, and if you want more, cut proof gloves and some chaps to protect your leggs, just be careful goes a long ways though. Its not a big gas powered saw but still requires a bit o caution.
G of Belle Star,
Chain saws are scary. My advice is to go to a couple of saw shops in your area. Most of these folks are friendly, and will give you some quick lessons in saw safety. Maybe buy some safety equipment from them. You should have gloves, safety glasses, leg chaps, maybe a hard hat with screen shield. Since you have an electric saw, you could do without hearing protection. Might also look on u tube to see if there are some videos on saw safety. Don’t be afraid, but have a healthy respect for your saw and the damage it can do. Once you get someone to show you what to do and get a little practice in, you’ll do fine. Good luck.
( I have visions of the chain flying out and putting my eye out, )
Won’t happen. I’ve had chains come off the sprocket a few times and all that happens it it goes out the end and drops on the ground right under the saw. It does this very slowly and with no power behind it.
You would think it would fly out but it doesn’t
Kinda anticlimactic to watch.
Cordless saws are interestin and I am certain would fill the bill for a lotta people. I do a considerable amount of chainsawin. I heat solely with wood and I live a mile off the paved road so I deal with a lot more trees downed by weather than I prefer.
I always carry a chain file with me. It’s very simple to sharpen with a file, especially with a file guide. I can sharpen a chain quicker and less hassle than changin it. The only time I ever replace a chain is if it gets kinked or cutter teeth worn out. By the time my chain is gone, the bar is worn out and I replace both. Most small engine places around here keep bulk chain of common pitches and can make a chain of whatever length needed.
Since we are talkin about chainsaws, I am sure a lotta folks have downed trees from the winter……BE CAREFUL….weather downed trees are most times under some kind of pressure, if you are not familiar with what you are doin, get somebody to help you. Very dangerous,
No arguments with what you say, but I bought and use the cordless saw for the same reason I don’t use the 30-06 to kill squirrels and carry a .22 daily as it will handle most things I’m likely to encounter on my daily rounds. Like yourself, I have to deal with large trees on a fairly regular basis, but the lighter, handier, quicker to put into action cordless saw, allows me to quickly address the smaller cutting jobs I encounter as I’m out and about taking care of other daily homestead tasks. Sort of like the “if I could only have one gun” argument, there’s a good reason they make more than one.
Hey there Dennis
I am with you, I certaiinly did not mean to denigrate the cordless saws. I mainly wanted to mention how easy it is to sharpen a chain with a file, and how very dangerous weather damaged trees can be for the folks that might not know.
Funny how things change, I can remember a time when I would had rather drive a tractor or run a chainsaw than to eat when hungry………..don’t take long now to get the ‘new’ wore off either one…..hahaha
I haven’t posted for a while, but have been checking in to read (and vote!) at least once a day. Figured I could add something to this conversation…..
I have the Ryobi 40v chainsaw like Dennis. I got it because — in addition to the good recommendations — the battery is interchangeable with their small tiller, which is perfect for my raised beds. They also have a string trimmer, hedge trimmer, trimmer/edger, leaf blower, pole saw, and self-propelled (or walk behind) lawn mower if I ever want to add those to my collection.
I’ve been very pleased with both the tiller and chainsaw. The only thing I’d caution about is to make sure you get the largest/latest battery (I have the 5ah) if you purchase the combo pack (tool, battery & charger). They have several different battery sizes and power ratings, and sometimes the combo packages have the lower size batteries in them. Everything’s interchangeable, but sometimes there is better overall value in getting individual components.
FinallyOuttaCa, I’ll pass on a little idiosyncrasy of the Ryobi (and maybe other cordless brands) I discovered yesterday while using it. I started cutting a hickory stump (very tough cutting for any saw) and the blade started binding. The saw stopped cold as if it had a dead battery. I depressed the battery charge level button and it indicated a dead battery even though I had used it less than 5 minutes, starting with a full charge. Working on a hunch, I removed the battery then re-seated it and it then showed a full charge and I finished that job and a few others with charge to spare. I suspect I discovered by accident that the saw has a passive overload protection and removing the battery resets the circuit. Just a heads up if you ever encounter this.
Thanks Dennis, I haven’t run into this yet but it is good to know. Thanks.
If it ever dries out here, I have a small tree that needs to become one with the woodpile…..
I have 3 or 4 110-Volt electric chain saws. I also have 3 or 4 parts electric chain saws as I have been using them for 40-years.
I also have an 18-inch Craftsman gas chain saw that I bought a few years ago at a garage sale for $25.00 and it runs great.
I like the electric chain saws the most as they do the work I need done and can sit for 2-years and will run as good as the day I put them up. Try that with a 2-cycle gas saw…
I also have an electric Jaw-Saw (the one advertised on TV a few years ago (again a $25.00 garage sale purchase) that is wonderful at reducing brush and downed limbs to a manageable size in no time. It works better then the TV commercials show it working. Well worth having.
And I have a few generators (800-watt, 2,500-watt and a 6,500-watt one in the motorhome) so I can take the electric chain saws anyplace I need to use them. But honestly 200-feet of power cord does the job. In the last 15-years I have not had to use the generator to power a chain saw. Grid down that could change, but then it would probably be quite foolish to fire up a generator (or a noisy gas chain saw) when 98% of the population has no power, gas heat or food.
In a grid-down situation a quiet way to cut wood is going to be best. I would say a hand saw would do the job.
If I were cutting wood to heat and cook post-SHTF I would say 2 people would be best. One person doing the cutting and another person providing over watch with a high power rifle.
I also have a 10-ton manual hydraulic log splitter that is pretty handy that provides a lot of split wood fairly fast. No it’s not as fast as a gas or electric one, but it does the job just fine.
As far as a battery powered chain saw they are OK now, but post-grid I can see a few problems. First it needs 110-volts AC to charge the batteries. You will need an inverter to recharge them.
And second batteries for the most part on things like this last no more then 18-months before they go bad and can’t hold a charge. And being 40-volt batteries it will be difficult to have a work around as 40-volts are an odd voltage that is not encountered that much and will be even harder to deal with without the grid and it’s loss of infrastructure.
Two other saws I use a lot to process wood into stove-size is a chop saw and a Saws-All. The chop saw (also called a powered miter saw) is great for branches that have already been fallen by the chain saw and the Saws-All is good for the same thing. Both are 110-volt AC so they have lots of power.
I also use a Milwaukee battery-powered Saws-All for cutting small bushes up to small trees on rental property I work at. I mostly use it for demo work inside tight spaces in houses, but it works for outdoor trimming also. Being a Saws-All it eats batteries, but I have a lot of Milwaukee batteries (8 or 10 of them) (almost all my cordless tools are Milwaukee as they are made to last) and 3 chargers to keep them in rotation to be ready to go.
Nice about Milwaukee or DeWalt batteries is they are made to last for years. But then they cost $80.00 each. These 2 companies invest in cutting-edge battery technology that most other companies don’t.
Should have typed up these post all in one post, but oh well.
As far as sharpening them I mostly use a 1/8 or 3/16 round file with a wood handle to sharpen them.
I use to work for a lumber yard doing contract work in peoples homes that the owner no longer wanted to do. When the lumber yard owner died (he was 97) I bought both of the electric chain sharpeners he had. He had 2 of them so you didn’t have to readjust the sharpener to sharpen both side of the chain. I now only use them for bring back used chains I buy to give them a good starting angle then switching to the round file for topping off the angle on them.
The problem with electric sharpeners is they are brute force machines and take a lot of metal off the chains to do their job. This reduces the life of the chain.
With the had file it still does the job. Its much less aggressive on the chain and just takes a bit longer.
Power sharpening takes 2 or 3 min, hand sharpening takes 15-min. Not a big deal as far as time. And it gives you a longer chain life.
One thing that is handy to do is to paint one of the chain saw teeth with spray paint so you know where you started sharpening. Spray the chain with starting fluid to remove oil and spray it . This is very handy.
Make sure you get extra chains and bars. And also you can flip the bar upside down to get more life (even ware) out of it. And if chain saws scare you chaps may be a good idea.
look @ HARBORfreight.com $169.99 BUT ALSO NEED CHARGER cheaper tools yes most made in china
Harbor Freight has a habit of changing tool design every few years and then not supporting the old tools in that the old batteries gets dropped from the line and you can’t get them any more for a tool that has a battery that no longer works.
Not good in a SHTF situation or even in no SHTF situation. .
Thats why i would stay away from bargain brands,
Ryobi at the very least as a manufacturer, but personally, Stihl or Makita, the Makita saws have been around for a while, they have several different ones, Dewalt also has a real nice 16″ saw, uses standard batteries like the makita, i like the Dewalt because the local tool shop i would buy it through gives lifetime warranty on all dewalt tools, makes it kinda hard to go elsewhere
The oregon saw is good too, as Kens article,,,, cant find em locally though, only a couple places that sell Oregon brand stuff here and one of em i wont set foot in as they screw you over on repairs, but Oregon as a brand is a solid brand
sorry…it does include battery and charger for $169.99
How do you like the powersharp feature?
I am thinking about getting one of these, super easy and Oregon is a good brand.
So far I have not had to externally sharpen the chain since I bought it. I’ve used the thumb button for internal sharpening a number of times (just a few seconds while it’s running) and it has remained sharp enough so far. I also have a spare chain just in case.
When I go out on trail work, I exclusively bring this chainsaw with me. The others have their Stihls, etc.. (I do too, at home).
I love it when we come upon a downed tree that I’m the first one with a saw in action (just push the button!) while the others are still starting their saws ;)
That said, you can’t beat a good gas saw for ultimate power. But this Oregon has been surprisingly resilient for most ordinary tasks.
I have a lighter duty saw, the Black & Decker 20v and use it for yard stuff but especially nice for camping.