Electric Chainsaw Reviews
Up until pretty recently, the traditional gas chainsaw was the only real option out there.
Which sort of sucked, because they’re total overkill for many of the smaller to medium sized cutting jobs that are commonly tackled by homeowners or property owners.
That’s where the electric chainsaw comes into play – A quieter, less aggressive, but still very capable and powerful option that’ll be a great choice for many folks.
In this article we’ll help to choose the best electric chainsaw by diving into who should and shouldn’t use one, things to consider before buying, and we’ll also make specific product recommendations.
After reading, you’ll have everything needed to make the right choice and be ultimately satisfied with your new tool! Click below to see our top picks.
What you need to know about chainsaws
Although this article focuses on electric chainsaws specifically, there’s also a few important things about chainsaws in general that you should know too.
We’ll keep this really brief…
The first thing to know when it comes to chainsaws is that there’s a few different types:
- Gas chainsaws
- Electric (corded) chainsaws
- Battery chainsaws
- Pole saws
We have an article that gives more detail about the different types of chainsaws, and also includes a breakdown of the important chainsaw features.
Obviously you’re most interested in an electric chainsaw – but you might consider looking at some of the others if an electric can’t handle the tasks you have in mind (more on that later in this article).
There’s also another article which gives a very thorough breakdown of the best chainsaw in several different categories – it’s our core chainsaw guide, so it’s fairly large and jam-packed with tons of useful information that’ll be a big help when choosing which to buy.
No article about these saws can be complete without mentioning safety – Chainsaws are dangerous.
They’re very, very dangerous.
Of course, we have an entire chainsaw safety guide too – Go check it out, it’s required reading for anyone who hopes to safely operate one of these beasts. You also might want to learn how to use a chainsaw before picking one up.
Now, let’s move right along to talk about electric chainsaws specifically…
Considerations before buying
Electric chainsaws are great in many ways, but they also have limited functionality (compared to their big brother, the gas chainsaw) and significant tradeoffs.
They can be a perfect choice for some people, while others may find them lacking.
To be sure an electric chainsaw for you, we’ll discuss the following considerations:
- Uses and limitations
- Ease of use
- Guide bar length
Uses and limitations
Electric chainsaws are most suitable for small to medium sized tasks, but will be very lacking when it comes to bigger tasks such as felling a large tree.
When I say small jobs I mean trimming and pruning small branches, and perhaps felling small trees.
This is the sort of stuff that the electric chainsaw does very well – If you just need to keep reasonably sized trees in your yard or property in check, then one of these would be a great choice.
Keep in mind that you’re restricted a lot by needing a power outlet nearby for every use.
If you’re tackling small jobs (as examples above) but won’t have power outlets nearby, you might consider reading this article which will help you choose the best cordless chainsaw for you.
On the other hand if you need to tackle large jobs or will be using your chainsaw for long sessions (batteries run out rather quickly), you should seriously consider a gas chainsaw – See our best professional chainsaw article for some ideas.
They’re much more powerful and capable tools – Probably overkill for yard and small property management, but definitely necessary when it comes to tackling large jobs.
But I don’t want to sell electric chainsaws too short – these days there’s some very impressive options on the market that can deliver power and functionality that’s not very far displaced from that of a gas option. For example checkout our number 1 choice, the Makita UC4051A.
While their function can be limited, one of the best things about these saws is how easy they are to use….
Ease of use
This is where the electric chainsaw really shines…
Compared to the gas powered monsters, electric chainsaws are:
- Easier to start
- Lighter & easier to use
- Easier to maintain
As you can see, an electric makes your life easier in almost every way, and this is a huge benefit if it can also handle the tasks you have in mind (as covered in the previous section).
Startup tends to be the simple push of a button, compared to revving up a gas powered motor.
The saw being lighter is a big advantage too, making it not only easier to use effectively but also requiring less strength and reducing fatigue during use.
Maintenance of a gas chainsaw takes some effort, as you’d imagine – it’s runs on a complex gas motor after all. Electrics are much more simple tools, and require much less maintenance.
It’s great that you have so many options for easy to use chainsaws these days – not so long ago it was a choice between beastly gas motors, or nothing.
All that ease of use stuff above is great… But, it comes with a big tradeoff…
And that’s power.
Now, you shouldn’t underestimate electric chainsaws – they’ll still make short work of small jobs (and of you, if you’re not careful). But even the most powerful and capable of electric chainsaws simply can’t compete with the gas options.
This is just something to keep in mind, and again it comes down to for what you’ll be using your chainsaw.
Having less power, means you’ll have less functionality from an electric, and that’s just the way it is… So if that fits with your plans you don’t need to worry. But otherwise, you should strongly consider a full on gas option.
With that said, keeping your blade nice and sharp is also a crucial part of cutting efficiency. With that in mind you might want to learn how to sharpen a chainsaw, or find the best chainsaw sharpener for your needs.
Guide bar length
You’ve gotta consider this no matter which type of chainsaw you’re considering…
The guide bar is what the chain runs along, and it’s measured from the base at the body of the saw to the outer tip of the bar.
Electric chainsaws come in sizes ranging from about 10 to 16 inches.
Again, you should choose one that’s most appropriate for your needs. Keep in mind that while you technically could make cuts on branches, logs, or trees that are exactly as wide as your chainsaw bar is long, that’s not exactly advisable.
You should stick to things that are 2 or 3 inches shallower than the total cutting depth capacity of your saw.
Got some more good news for you…
Electric chainsaws are cheaper than the gas versions – Booyah!
That’s a pretty broad generalisation, and within the electric category there’s many a wide selection of different prices (and qualities) of chainsaws, as you’ll see during the rest of this article when we get into specific product recommendations.
But generally they aren’t as complex to design or make as gas versions, and so the manufacturers can afford the lower pricing.
Alright, now we’re onto the good stuff…
Electric chainsaw reviews
The Makita tops out our list as the best choice, while an also great saw from Dewalt comes in second place.
It’s probably no surprise that the 2 top electric chainsaws come from these very well known and experienced manufacturers – After decades in the power tool business Makita and Dewalt really know how to make a great saw, and that really shines through with the UC4051A and the DCCS620B.
Following on from this we have options from Earthwise and Worx – Our mid tier options, which we’ll discuss later in this article.
Finally in the number 5 position you’ll see our budget electric chainsaw option, the Greenworks 20222. This is a newer and less experienced manufacturer, and their saw certainly isn’t comparable to the likes of the top choice Makita – but, it provides a pretty good deal if you’re on a budget.
Let’s get into the breakdown!
Our Top Choice: The Makita UC4051A
In looking through all of the electric chainsaws available, the Makita really does stand out from the crowd.
It’s one of these saws that although expensive, just manages to do everything right. As well as having incredible power and functionality (for a corded chainsaw), there’s also a ton of extra features that make the saw more effective and easier to use.
Reviews of this saw have been very positive indeed, with several veteran chainsaw users claiming the Makita is comparable to gas chainsaws. For an electric chainsaw, this is indeed very high praise.
There’s a lot to know about the Makita UC4051A, so let’s get into it.
What it can do / Who it’s for
From what we talked about earlier in this article, you already know the general limitations of an electric chainsaw…
They can be used for small to medium sized jobs, meaning trimming and pruning reasonably sized trees or felling small trees.
Well you’ll be happy to hear that the Makita can do all that, plus a little extra.
While it’s not quite comparable to a gas chainsaw, it can tackle up to 30 or 40 foot high trees – Users are very, very impressed with the UC4051A.
This is the most capable version of these Makita chainsaws, coming with a 16 inch bar. If that’s a bit more than you need, there’s also a 14 inch option in the Makita UC3551A.
Being smaller, it’s a bit lighter and the ease of use benefits you already get from an electric (compared to a gas) are amplified slightly. It’s a great choice if you feel a 16 inch would be overkill for what you need.
Returning focus to the UC4051A: While being electric means less power and slower cuts, it also means you get the main benefit of ease of use. This runs much smoother than a grunty gas chainsaw, and you’ll find the operation much less jerky.
While a gas chainsaw snarls and roars, this Makita purrs and whirs.
So with the Makita UC4051A, you get something which comes close to a gas one in terms of performance, while also doing a lot to make usage easier…
Ease of use with the Makita UC4051A
As we’ve just discussed, this is really easy to use compared to a gas option simply from being lighter and having less aggressive power output.
If you’re getting on in years, don’t have the strength to handle a gas chainsaw, or simply desire something easier to use – The UC4051A is a great option for you that’ll still get the job done.
The simplicity and ease of use starts with the weight – coming in at 15.5 lbs, this is quite spritely for a 16 inch chainsaw.
Already this makes everything easier and safer – less fatigue during use, and generally a more manageable saw to make it do what you want.
You’ll notice how friendly this electric chainsaw is from the very start. Turning on the UC4051A simply require the push of a button, and boom, it fires up – So long as you’ve remembered to plug into a power outlet that is!
This is remarkably simple as compared to a gas chainsaw, which needs to be revved up like an old style lawn mower.
You’ll feel that the Makita is very comfortable to use, thanks to its large rubberized grip handles.
They’re just the right size, fit well in the hand, and give you a feeling of being very well in control of the beast in your hands.
If you’re doing some long jobs, you’ll find yourself thanking these lovely handles over and over again!
As with being lightweight, good handles like this also reduce fatigue during use and make the saw overall safer as you’ve got more control over it.
The trigger switch is also great. It’s large and satisfying to use, and the saw fires up smoothly immediately as you engage the trigger. It works just as you would expect and desire.
Extra ease-of-use features
Remember how in the introduction to this section we talked about how the Makita UC4051A just does everything right, including the little things?
Well these extra features are what I meant by that. Makita know how to make a great chainsaw that’s a delight to use, and they’ve pulled out all the stops with the UC4051A.
With that said, the first thing I’d like to mention actually has some negatives – The tool-less blade and chain adjustments.
As the name says, there’s a control on the side of the saw that lets you quickly and easily make these adjustments. The downside here, however, is that many users say the design is flawed and it doesn’t work as well as it could.
While that is a shame, it’s just about the only downside of this entire saw.
Makita makes your life easier with a big window into the oil reservoir – no more guessing your oil levels or having a hard time figuring it out. With the Makita, you’ll know at a glance whether you have enough oil or not.
Of course, it also includes an automatic chain oiler which works perfectly.
The last thing I’d like to mention here is the clever engineering from Makita. In many cases if a chainsaw gets overloaded it can easily burnout, but this isn’t the case with the UC4051A. Their clever design means that if a saw overload occurs, power will be reduced to protect the chainsaw.
That’s just another one of those nice little Makita touches that helps this electric chainsaw stand out above the rest.
You’ll find all the usual safety features on the Makita UC4051A – these are covered in our chainsaw safety guide.
There’s a chain brake at the front to kill the chainsaw power in the case of a bad kickback, and the usual upper and lower handguards.
As I keep mentioning. the Makita goes the extra mile with most things, and that’s not different when it comes to safety features. This shines through in the electric chain brake – which can not only aid quick stoppage for safety reasons, but can also improve productivity as you can stop and start the chain more quickly between cuts.
Even if you’re not a regularly user or purchaser of power tools, you’ve probably heard the name Makita – almost everyone knows who they are.
That’s because they’ve been decades – they’ve stood the test of time, have extensive experience in power tool manufacturing, and are a quality and reliable brand.
This electric chainsaw is quite expensive as compared to the other options, but almost no part of that is “paying for the name”.
Rather, this chainsaw is worth every penny. It performs wonderfully in all areas worth considering, and it coming from a trusted and renowned manufacturer like Makita is the cherry on top.
Runner up: Dewalt DCCS620B
The Dewalt is another excellent chainsaw, with one big difference from the Makita – it’s cordless and runs on a battery.
If that’s not what you’re after, go ahead and skip down to the next section.
But a chainsaw that runs on batteries is technically also an “electric” chainsaw even though it doesn’t have a cord – so, if you’re in the market for an electric then this might be something to consider.
The main advantage of course is with a battery powered chainsaw you can be free of power outlets. And the other side of that sword is you’re restrained by the life of the battery.
You gain more portability, but pay for that with the inconvenience of having to replace and recharge batteries.
With that said – the Dewalt DCCS620B is great.
Worth noting that this has a 12 inch bar, which is quite a bit smaller than the Makita’s 16 inch.
It’s also a lot cheaper than the Makita – You do need to buy the battery separately (unless you already have a Dewalt 20V for another tool). But even with that, it’s still generally to be found for cheaper.
It’s also quite a bit lighter than the Makita, at just 8.8 pounds. This is a big plus if you’re looking for even more ease of use.
In most other ways, the Dewalt is pretty comparable to the Makita.
It’s comfortable and easy to use with great ergonomic handles, the maintenance requirement is very low, and it’s got the same easy-start and tool-less adjustment technology.
Similarly to above, Dewalt is also a world renowned manufacturer that have been producing quality tools for years. They’re so well known for very good reason – with Dewalt, you’re in good hands.
So that’s something different for you in our runner up position – As mentioned, a cordless could just be a better option than corded for you. It’s at least worth considering.
Now, let’s talk about more corded options…
The mid-tier options
The Makita and Dewalt above are truly top of the line electric chainsaws – which is great, but that doesn’t mean either is necessarily the best choice for you.
These are our mid-tier options… And while they don’t have the excellence produced by Dewalt and Makita, they are still very capable tools and also come in at a significantly lower price point.
The Worx saw is pretty large with an 18 inch bar, while the Earthwise comes in sizes of 10, 12, 14, or 16 inches – Although the 10, 12, and 14 inch options are cordless.
You’ll be happy to hear that both options are lightweight and powerful, while also having some of the nicer secondary features from the above options – tool-less adjustments, simple start buttons, automatic chain oiling, and standard set of safety features.
Both are very capable options, and for the most part will tackle all of the jobs that the Makita and Dewalt can handle.
But just look at these saws and compare them to the Dewalt and Makita to see where the real differences lie…
It’s in the built quality and comfort of use.
The Earthwise and Worx use cheaper design and materials – which is where the lower price point comes from. Check out the handles in the images for example – they’re clearly smaller and more “plasticy” than the Makita and Dewalt… And you can be sure you’ll feel the difference when using them.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – As mentioned these are both great saws and will serve you well (the Worx even has a 3 year warranty), and you benefit from the lower price.
Paying extra for the Makita or Dewalt is money well spent, though. If you’ll be using this chainsaw regularly, you’ll really feel that extra expense paying you back with every use for years to come. When considered in this perspective, the cost difference doesn’t seem so bad.
On the other hand you might want to go the other way entirely and instead find an electric chainsaw that’s even cheaper than any of these options.
And we got your back…
The budget option: Greenworks 20222
This little chainsaw is astonishingly cheap – and with very good reason.
It has a 14 inch bar, but it only runs at 9 amps… This is quite a bit lower than the usual 15 amps that’s run by most electric chainsaws.
The Greenworks also has 12 and 14.5 amp options, although they’re priced higher and would be in the mid tier that we discussed above.
But keeping our focus on the 9 amp option, you’ll be happy to hear that even at this low price point you still get tool-less tensioning adjustments and an automatic chain oiler.
It’s also pretty powerful and capable – it is still a chainsaw, after all. If you’re looking for a cheap way to occasionally control small trees, the Greenworks could be a great option.
You even get a 4 year warranty… And this is important.
It’s important because the Greenworks 20222 comes from a much lower quality manufacturer than the likes of Dewalt or Makita, and frankly, stuff breaks.
The manufacturing quality just isn’t the same, and if you check through the user reviews you’ll see reports of random things going wrong… The chain keeps slipping off, or the thing breaks down after a few days, or randomly.
This certainly isn’t the norm – most units perform very satisfactorily.
But this is something you should be aware of, and it comes with the territory of buying a budget power tool.
That’s why the 4 year warranty is so excellent – if you happen to get unlucky and receive a faulty unit, you can get it sorted.
So what you save in money, you pay back in the potential hassle of having to get a repair or replacement.
You also pay it back in terms of having a less capable chainsaw (due to less power), and just generally less comfort.
This will be a great option if you’re budget conscious of course – And an even better option if you also only plan on occasional use for small and manageable tasks.
An electric chainsaw is a very welcome alternative to the traditional gas chainsaw.
No more need to use a heavy, clunky, gas-guzzling monster even for the simplest of tasks. Now we have the era of button-start, lightweight, and easy to use electric chainsaws which fill a gap at the lower end of the chainsaw market.
We’ve gone through pretty much everything you need to know when considering an electric option, and given plenty of specific product suggestions too.
Good luck with your choice, and don’t forget to check out our other chainsaw articles linked to throughout this one!