The Best Cordless Chainsaws Tested by Family Handyman

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We tested six of the best cordless chainsaws for run-time, charging time and more. Here's how they stack up against each other.

Thinking about buying a chain saw? Consider a battery-powered one.

While these cordless chain saws can’t go toe-to-toe with gas-powered chain saws in run-time and power, they’ll do the job for most homeowners. And for many people, their advantages — no hard-to-start two-cycle engine, no mixing gas and oil and no fouled spark plugs — make up for any shortcomings.

We put a few models through their paces to find out what you can expect from a battery-powered chain saw. Here’s what we found from our cordless chainsaw test.

What We Looked For

Run-time

We tested run-time two ways. First, by cutting through a 16-in.-diameter log. That’s a tough slog; so many teeth carving at the same time draws a lot of battery power. Second, by cutting through eight-inch logs — work that’s more typical for the average homeowner.

Charging time

As you’ll see, most battery chargers won’t keep up with a saw’s run-time. For any battery-powered saw, keep an extra battery or two handy if your work requires more than just trimming a few branches. Extra batteries are essential for chain saw work that’s far from home and your plugged-in charger.

Specs and features

Criteria included bar length; weight; whether they feature a hand-guard/chain brake, bucking spikes and tool-free chain adjustment; and the ease of locating replacement chains.

Cordless Chain Saw Safety Gear

You must take chain saw safety seriously. In a split second, a slip or errant cut can cause severe injury. Here are a few safety measures you should take:

  1. Protect your hands with gloves containing fibers that stop chains.
  2. Protect your feet with steel- or composite-toe boots.
  3. Battery-powered chain saws are quieter than their gas-powered counterparts, but they’re still noisy. Wear hearing protection.
  4. Protect your eyes and face from flying wood chips. Safety glasses will do. A full face shield is better.
  5. Protect your legs with chaps woven with fibers that will stop a chain.
  6. If you’re cutting branches or limbs overhead, wear a hard hat. Hard hat/face shield/earmuff safety gear combos are readily available.

Cordless Chainsaw Test Results

The battery run-time for these saws surprised me — I expected it to be longer. But for our test, we cut continuously, with the trigger held down the whole time.

A more typical scenario for a homeowner might be limbing a downed tree. In that case, four to nine minutes of actual cutting time takes off a lot of limbs in brief cuts. An extra battery doubles your cutting time. For some avid users, the run-time might be a deal breaker.

Also, when we cut the 16-in. logs, the air temperature was 32 F, which I thought might affect battery life. So to cut the 8-in. logs, I brought them into a heated shop to take temperature out of the equation. The differences were marginal. For the amount of chain sawing I do, I’d still opt for battery over gas.

Which Cordless Chainsaw is Best?

For me, the Makita stood out for its comparatively long running time and light weight. The saw cut quickly and aggressively. It has a balanced feel and metal bucking spikes that protrude well beyond its housing.

Bucking spikes poke slightly into the bark during the cut, giving you a solid fulcrum to tip the bar into the cut. This eases the work and makes it safer as well.

Makita’s tool-free chain tension adjustment — a feature available in three of the tested saws — is really nice as well. The Worx and Greenworks were excellent performers with nice price tags. All said and done, the six saws work well, so weigh the factors important to you.

Brad’s Pick: Makita XCU04

Makita XCU04 chainsawFamily Handyman

The best overall cordless chainsaw is the Makita XCU04.

Battery voltage: 36V 5Ah. Extra battery set: $170.

Elapsed time for a single cut through a 16-in.-dia. log: 1:14.

Run-time cutting a 16-in.-dia. log: 7:53.

Run-time cutting 8-in.-dia. logs: 8:08.

Charging time: 50 minutes.

Bar length: 16 in.

Chain brake: Yes.

Bucking spikes: Yes.

Higher Ah battery: No.

Tool-free chain adjustment: Yes.

Weight: 11.5 lbs.

Replacement chain: Commonly available at home centers.

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Echo 58V

 Chainsaw comparison echo 58vFamily Handyman

Here are the specs for the Echo 58V:

Battery voltage: 58V 4Ah. Extra battery: $216

Elapsed time for a single cut through a 16-in.-dia. log: 1:25.

Run-time cutting a 16-in.-dia. log: 6:47.

Run-time cutting 8-in.-dia. logs: 9:05.

Charging time: 52 minutes.

Bar length: 16 in.

Chain brake: Yes.

Bucking spikes: Yes, plastic.

Higher Ah battery: No.

Tool-free chain adjustment: No.

Weight: 15 lbs.

Replacement chain: Commonly available at home centers.

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Greenworks UltraPower 60v

Greenworks UltraPower 60vFamily Handyman

The Greenworks UltraPower 60v is the fastest charging cordless chainsaw we tested.

Battery voltage: 60V 4Ah. Extra battery: $250.

Elapsed time for a single cut through a 16-in.-dia. log: 1:37.

Run-time cutting a 16-in.-dia. log: 5:37.

Run-time cutting 8-in.-dia. logs: 8:30.

Charging time: 23 minutes.

Bar length: 18 in.

Chain brake: Yes.

Bucking spikes: Yes.

Higher Ah battery: 8Ah battery available for $350.

Tool-free chain adjustment: No.

Weight: 15 lbs.

Replacement chain: Commonly available at home centers.

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Ryobi 40V

Ryobi 40VFamily Handyman

The Ryobi 40V is less expensive than the others, making it the best budget cordless chainsaw on this list.

Battery voltage: 40V 4Ah. Extra battery: $160.

Elapsed time for a single cut through a 16-in.-dia. log: 3:22.

Run-time cutting a 16-in.-dia. log: 4:38.

Run-time cutting 8-in.-dia. logs: 3:40.

Charging time: 36 minutes.

Bar length: 16 in.

Chain brake: Yes.

Bucking spikes: No.

Higher Ah battery: 6Ah available for $200.

Tool-free chain adjustment: No.

Weight: 14 lbs.

Replacement chain: Usually need to order.

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Ego 56V

EGO 56V chainsawFamily Handyman

The Ego 56V gave us the fastest test cut through a 16-in.-dia. log.

Battery voltage: 56V 5Ah. Extra battery: $250.

Elapsed time for a single cut through a 16-in.-dia. log: 50 seconds.

Run-time cutting a 16-in.-dia. log: 7:21.

Run-time cutting 8-in.-dia. logs: 8:57

Charging time: 64 minutes.

Bar length: 18 in.

Chain brake: Yes.

Bucking spikes: Yes.

Higher Ah battery: 7.5 and 10Ah batteries are available starting at $150.

Tool-free chain adjustment: Yes.

Weight: 14.5 lbs.

Replacement chain: Commonly available at home centers.

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Worx Nitro

Worx–Nitro chainsawFamily Handyman

At just 11 lbs., the Worx Nitro is the lightest cordless chainsaw on our list.

Battery voltage: 40V 4Ah. Extra battery set: $120.

Elapsed time for a single cut through a 16-in.-dia. log: 1:21.

Run-time cutting a 16-in.-dia. log: 6:25.

Run-time cutting 8-in.-dia. logs: 8:15.

Charging time: 60 minutes.

Bar length: 16 in.

Chain brake: Yes.

Bucking spikes: Yes, plastic.

Higher Ah battery: 4, 5 and 6Ah batteries are available for $100 to $130.

Tool-free chain adjustment: Yes.

Weight: 11 lbs.

Replacement chain: Commonly available at home centers.

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Brad Holden
As senior editor for Family Handyman, Brad has seen and done pretty much everything around home repair and DIY projects. His experience with tools, plans and projects gives him a voice of authority with anything from plumbing to furniture building.