The Best Electric Chainsaw – 2019
Electric chainsaws provide an environment-friendly alternative to their gasoline-powered equivalents. Although they can’t usually match the raw power of a gas chainsaw, an electric saw produces no air pollution and requires far less maintenance, while being easier to start and stop on demand.
Corded electric chainsaws are also significantly cheaper than their close relatives (cordless electric chainsaws), and will never run out of battery charge.
We have reviewed the best gasoline-powered chainsaws here and the best cordless electric chainsaws here.
We think the best electric chainsaw available today is the Makita UC4041A – it’s not the cheapest by any stretch of the imagination, but the quality is worth paying extra for – it’s not an accident that many professionals and contractors use Makita power tools.
If you’re looking for something a more budget-friendly chainsaw, have a look at the Black+Decker CS1518 - decent power with a 15-amp motor, and a larger 18" bar size.
Alternatively you could consider the WORX WG303.1 – the same 16” bar size as the Makita, with an excellent 3-year warranty.
Read on find out which is the best electric chainsaw in 2019.
The Best Electric Chainsaw In 2019 - Comparison
#1 - Makita UC4051A 16" - Best Electric Chainsaw
The Makita UC4051A is the best electric chainsaw overall - it's also the choice of many professionals and contractors
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The Makita UC4051A is an example of paying a slightly higher price for much better value. On arrival, the chainsaw is assembled easily, without the need for tools. The design of this electric chainsaw screams premium, from the rubberized grip handles designed for comfort, and the straightforward chain tensioning mechanism. On start-up, the chainsaw uses a soft start and stop function, which aids in prolonging the life of the mechanical components.
The chain is a low kickback, which retains its sharpness over a longer period than most full-chisel products. Despite its electric motor, it is an aggressive saw that can rival smaller gasoline-powered models. Though the bar and chain tension system can take some getting used to, it’s reasonably straightforward to understand and use after a couple of sessions.
One of the most prominent benefits of this chainsaw is in its ease of use and the reduced need for maintenance, in comparison to a gasoline-powered model. After months of storage through winter, it will still power up immediately after being connected to an outlet. This is much unlike a gas model, which would require time-consuming emptying and refilling of the gasoline tank, as well as regular maintenance, and time to warm up.
No chainsaw is perfect - minor issues don't need to be deal-breakers
The chainsaw is very lightweight, which isn’t a problem, but it does mean that you have to put more power behind it yourself when cutting through thick wood. Additionally, you’ll need a specific power extension cord, and the product is more expensive than many electric alternatives, though this isn’t really an issue in itself.
A 30-day limited warranty is provided, in which Makita may provide a full refund for the chainsaw if you’re unhappy for any reason, or a replacement. Following this period, a year’s warranty covers any manufacturer or workmanship defects.
This video shows the UC4051A cutting through a 10"x10" Red Oak beam (note: pay more attention to safety & the position of your feet than the video maker does!):
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#2 - WORX WG303.1 16" 14.5A Electric Chainsaw
This chainsaw is great value and comes with a class-leading 3-year warranty
The Worx WG303 comes completely pre-assembled, yet still doesn't skimp on clear and concise instructions. All you'll need to do is fill the reservoir with bar oil and connect to an outlet. There isn’t a great deal of oil included, and the chainsaw drinks through bar oil very rapidly, but it’s relatively inexpensive to purchase separately.
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The built-in chain tensioner is simple to use and functions well, unlike other electric saws that are fiddlier. On the most part, the chain is reliable and not prone to constantly detaching, while the tensioning shouldn’t require constant adjustment throughout a job.
Oil leaks and a vulnerable chain brake lever are our main complaints
Our main complaint is around the chain brake lever, which tends to be susceptible to even the slightest knocks. The placement of this component can mean that this happens frequently throughout its operation, but it’s something you’ll likely get used to avoiding.
One of the other issues with the Worx chainsaw is that it gradually tends to leak oil, particularly if stored without being drained. This is a consistently reported issue by consumers, though can likely be avoided by storing the unit empty. Unfortunately, draining the oil is reasonably time consuming.
The manufacturer, Worx guarantees a 3-year limited warranty, which assures replacement of faulty components, repair of the product overall, or a like-for-like replacement, provided the issue is with a manufacturer defect or workmanship issue.
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#3 - BLACK+DECKER CS1518 - Best Budget Electric Chainsaw
The CS1518 is our favourite electric chainsaw if you're trying to keep the cost down
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If price is one of your main concerns when it comes to buying a chainsaw, then electric saws are already an inexpensive option. What’s more, the Black & Decker CS1518 is one of the cheapest of the bunch, while retaining a satisfactory level of power afforded to it by its 15.0-Amp motor.
In terms of drawbacks, the build quality of this chainsaw is in line with the budget price tag, as it feels more lightweight than alternatives and not quite as sturdy. It also lacks a molded storage case to protect it from damage in transit. Finally, though not likely to be a major concern, aesthetically it is less pleasing than some of the other electric saws we’ve seen at or around this price point.
Still, we nominate this chainsaw as our choice where price is concerned. You’ll save your arms on lugging around a heavy gas alternative, and there’s no air pollution. The outlet power cable can also be extended, and even with an extended cord of 100 feet or more, the power delivered will remain consistent. The saw features an 18-inch premium bar and chain, with tensioning that's a little cumbersome, but otherwise tool-free.
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#4 - WORX WG304.1 18" 15A Electric Chainsaw
Similar to our #2 choice, with a longer bar and more power, but at a higher cost
This 18-inch Worx electric chainsaw delivers powerful cutting using a 15.0-Amp motor. A low level of kickback results in an electric chainsaw that is manageable for users of a range of ages and physical strength. Another thing to like about this chainsaw is that it comes fully assembled out of the box, requiring no components to be put together.
Like other Worx chainsaws, this model features automatic oil lubrication. However, also like other Worx chainsaws, it does get through its built-in oil reservoir extremely quickly, so you’ll need a lot of reserve oil for longer sawing sessions.
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There’s a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty included which covers the repair or whole replacement of any defective components or craftsmanship by Worx.
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#5 - Ivation 16" 15A Electric Chainsaw
Comes with an oil bottle but not enough oil to fill the reservoir
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This highly attractive electric chainsaw packs in a 15-Amp motor that has power to rival gasoline chainsaws, with a self-lubricating oil feature. The 16-inch blade is ideal for small to medium tasks, without adding too much weight to the front of the machine.
The inclusion of an oil bottle is also a nice tough, though the capacity only supports enough to fill around an eighth of the tank, which makes the feature feel a little like a missed opportunity. Additionally, the model has a simple start and shutdown function that powers on with ease every single time, as well as low vibration and kickback.
Despite a lack of useful instructions, assembly is still straightforward and can be done with little guidance. This is a blessing for when the chain comes loose from the saw.
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What Makes A Good Electric Chainsaw?
There are many factors to consider, to guide you towards the best choice
When you're looking for the best electric chainsaw, you'll be faced with an array of features that might not immediately make sense. Below, we've detailed a list of the most common terms used.
There are methods that you can use to reduce the chance of kickback occurring, but for beginners, there are often features built into the chainsaw to reduce kickback. These may include kickback guards and chain brakes.
Over an extended period of use, vibration in your chainsaw can become a real issue, as it makes it difficult to sustain a strong and comfortable grip on the saw. Though this is more of an issue with gasoline saws, some electric chainsaws do feature anti-vibration functions.
Automatic Chain Lubrication
Much like gasoline-powered saws, electric chainsaws require adequate chain lubrication. A good chainsaw will have an automatic oiling feature, which will negate the need for you to continually push a button to release the oil onto the chain. Though not an absolute necessity, this feature means you don't need to remember to oil the chain yourself, as well as stopping you from wasting any oil.
Tool-free Chain Adjusting
The chain on any chainsaw tends to loosen and stretch over the course of its life, so it needs to be regularly maintained and tightened. The manual process would typically have included dismantling the side panels and loosening the guide bar nuts; however, an automatic, tool-free tensioning feature can save you a lot of effort.
Electric Chainsaw Safety Features
Most electric chainsaws use a safety throttle or trigger; this is a highly desired feature. To use the chainsaw, the trigger must constantly remain depressed. If it's released, the saw will automatically switch itself off to protect you from injury.
Many chainsaws will also include a chain brake. This feature stops the chainsaw from spinning if there is any sudden movement in the unit, such as kickback. This reduces the risk of you suffering an injury, though it can also be manually activated by adjusting the hand guard.
Some chainsaws may also feature other safety designs and functions. For example, they may have circuit breakers or current limiters that prevent the motor from burning out in the event of a circuit overload.
Maintenance / Cleaning
How to look after your new chainsaw, so it lasts as long as possible
If your chainsaw is properly maintained, then it can last for a number of years. Conversely, a poorly maintained chainsaw can soon degrade and break. The following is a quick list of the advice that you should bear in mind when you purchase a chainsaw.
Much like any other piece of lawn equipment or machinery in general, your chainsaw should be regularly maintained. Using a blunt saw can result in buckling while sawing, which is both slow and dangerous. So, you need to ensure it is regularly sharpened.
Over time, the chainsaw's chain will become loose as mentioned above. It also tends to become slack as a result of impacts with the wood through which it is cutting. Your chainsaw manual should indicate the proper tension needed for your specific model. If the saw doesn’t feature an automatic tensioning feature, then you will have to manually adjust it as per the instructions.
Oil and fuel
Proper chain lubrication is essential for the safe use of your chainsaw, equally as much as choosing the correct lubricant. This should be indicated in the manual of the chainsaw that you purchase, at which point you can shop around for the appropriate oil. Thankfully, your electric chainsaw won’t require any gasoline or other fuel, besides the AC power cord or battery.
Occasionally faults are discovered after a product has gone on sale, usually requiring the product to be recalled by the manufacturer.
There were no recalls listed for any of the electric chainsaws mentioned here at the time of writing (early 2019). However, it's always a good idea to check the latest information at the Consumer Product Safety Commission website before buying any large, expensive or potentially dangerous product.
Do you own any of the chainsaws mentioned here? Did you choose a different one? Let us know in the comments!