Posted on March 26, 2019
After several hours of research, I finally made my selection of the 5 best electric chainsaws among more than twenty models available at the moment.
My favorite is the Makita UC4051A, a mid-range model quite versatile, which offers a very good comfort of use.
You will also find at the end of this article a shopping guide summarizing the key points to choose your electric chainsaw.
The best inexpensive electric chainsaws
The entry-level models already offer good ergonomics and good power. They are therefore generally sufficient for small pruning work, and they allow to cut wood cutting, as long as one remains on diameters small to medium.
Their weak point is usually the guide-chain: it is often difficult to work calmly because the chain has an unfortunate tendency to relax. This is THE critical point to check systematically.
Oregon CS1500: the best cheap step
Oregon is a brand owned by the international group Blount. One of the specialties of this manufacturer: the chainsaws, more particularly known for their cutting system. With the CS 1500, the brand signs a very successful model, which enjoys excellent value for money.
This electric chain saw is equipped with a 45 cm guide and has a power of 2400 W. The CS 1500 is equipped with a circuit breaker system in case of overheating. Its 0.14 L oil tank has a level indicator. It is specifically designed for cutting medium logs and for regular use.
The first advantage of this model is Oregon's integrated chain sharpening system. Efficient and easy to use, it saves a lot of time in use.
With its 6.8 kg, the chainsaw does not really rank among the featherweight. It is even a bit heavy for an electric model. But it forgives him all the more easily his little fault that it catches up with a power and ease of cutting quite impressive.
As is often the case with entry-level models, the chain tensioning system (without tools) is not exceptional. It is essential to make a careful adjustment, to properly position the chain and to tighten it, otherwise it jumps regularly.
In use, the Oregon CS 1500 chainsaw provides good grip and ease of use. The cleaning and maintenance operations can be very slightly complicated by the fact that this model does not fit on the sidewall.
If it is not perfect, this chainsaw is really good job and it is particularly sharp and manageable. This is an excellent choice if you are looking for a model suitable for cutting firewood.
If you were used to thermal models, it is also a very good model to switch to the electric. Definitely a very good value for money!
Ryobi RCS2340: amazing performance for a mini price
Power cable too short
Works with a specific fluid oil
Ryobi is a trademark of TechTronic Industries Group (TTI), a manufacturer of tools for the general public, professionals and manufacturers. This brand is more specifically designed for individuals, and its catalog has a large selection of models at low prices, perfect for occasional use and / or for beginners.
The Ryobi 5133002186 chainsaw does not necessarily inspire confidence at first glance, because it must be said: some parts are quite cheap. But under this uninviting appearance, it still hides a 2300 W engine, which ensures good performance for its mini price.
This model has a 40 mm guide. The chain tensioner (without tools) is quite reliable. With an effective anti-vibration system and an ergonomic micro-alveolate handle, it offers an appreciable working comfort, especially since it weighs less than 5 kg, which makes it quite manageable. Another good point: the almost immediate chain stop (less than 12 seconds).
This chainsaw – reliable and fairly powerful – yet has particularly frustrating defects. It is criticized first of all its power cable, really very short.
The Ryobi 5133002186 also disappoints the side of the oil. Nothing wrong with the integrated automatic oil pump, which offers automatic lubrication of the guide and efficient chain. But the tank leaves something to be desired.
While it is easily accessible, the oil level is visible, but the mouth is so narrow that it is complicated to fill it cleanly. Moreover, this model requires the use of a very fluid specific oil (the safest is to opt for that proposed by … Ryobi, necessarily). The chainsaw is delivered with a bottle, but it is more on the sample than on a can of oil itself.
Without being a war machine, the Ryobi 5133002186 is a good little soldier. If you need to cut firewood and you do not have a big budget, this chainsaw is reliable, despite its flaws. Given its price / mini: respect!
Makita UC4041A / 2: a good basic for your firewood
Weakness of the guide bar
When it comes to getting equipment at a lower cost, Makita is never far away. Certainly, the power tool giant has made questionable choices to stay competitive.
If the design is still Japanese, the manufacturing is mainly Chinese, and sometimes there are some weaknesses. But ultimately, the brand continues to offer a value for money, especially in case of concern, it is usually possible to obtain spare parts and repair its devices.
The Makita UC4041A chainsaw is designed for cutting firewood as well as pruning and pruning small trees. With its 4.8 kg and 1800 W, it is actually quite manageable and powerful enough to maintain the trees. But it is all the same for sawing the firewood that it is really practical.
This chain saw is equipped with a fairly thin chain and a guide bar for easy tension adjustment, since the adjustments are done without tools, using a simple and lockable pivoting lever. On the safety side, this model has the Safety-Magic brake, triggered by inertia.
In use, this model is fairly ergonomic to ensure a comfortable use. The front handle offers a good grip, the rear handle has an effective rubber coating. We also appreciate the oversized switch, rather practical.
The Makita UC4041A comes with a clear user manual. Attention, however: no oil can included! Since the use of oil is essential, you should think to buy it separately. We note that the oil tank has a capacity of 200 ml and that it allows a visual control welcome.
In short! On paper this model is all good. Unfortunately, the quality of the guide bar leaves something to be desired. The chain tends to relax, and no bowl: the hook that ensures tension is the weak link in the chain saw. Admittedly, it is cheap and easy to replace, but it is nonetheless embarrassing that it is likely to break!
The Makita UC4041A must remain in its comfort zone. It will prove effective for reasonable use, to make small and medium cuts of firewood.
When it comes to pruning, however, it will quickly show its limits!
The best mid-range electric chainsaws
The mid-range chainsaws are designed to offer a good comfort of use, even during prolonged use. Generally, they are also equipped with a better quality guide bar than the first price models.
You will also find models running on battery, but in this price range, they struggle to convince. While they may be useful for pruning because they are self-supporting and lightweight, they have trouble for longer-term work such as cutting firewood.
Makita UC4051A: the best mid-range
Lightweight and handy model
Available in pack version
Capacity of the average tonnage
Makita is a heavyweight of tools, and the brand has a fairly rich catalog. In the "chain saw" department, we find varied models in terms of prices, templates … and performance! If the Makita UC4041A / 2 struggles to convince, her big sister is much more attractive!
This model equipped with a guide of 40 cm is equipped with a motor of 2000 W, which allows him to benefit from appreciable power. We note its power cable 3 m: a beautiful length, which contrasts with the cables almost always too short.
In its design, this electric chain saw is relatively conventional. We also find the typical characteristics of Makita: the oversized switch and the Soft Grip rear handle.
The oil reservoir – with a capacity of 140 ml – displays a reliable gauge, which clearly indicates the level. The UC4051A has an efficient automatic lubrication system for prolonged use.
In use, this model offers a good comfort of use. With its 5.6 kg and ergonomic profile, this chainsaw offers excellent grip, and is really handy. Well balanced, it turns very little and cuts fairly quickly.
Unlike its little sister, the Makita UC4041A / 2, this chainsaw provides, especially at the level of the guide bar which has no particular weakness. Of course, this chain saw allows you to cut your firewood. It is just as useful for pruning a hedge or fruit trees.
If you are looking for a reliable and powerful model without breaking the bank, the Makita UC4051A is a very good choice.
Good to know: it is also available in a metal box of very good quality, ideal for storing it safely. This pack also contains a spare chain, a file and oil.
Whether you choose the chainsaw alone or the box, we are definitely on one of the best quality / price ratio of the moment!
The best high-end electric chainsaws
The high-end models fall into two categories: classic wired models and battery-powered models.
The wired models are generally very robust, powerful and reliable. Battery-powered models have good battery life and enough power to be versatile enough.
Husqvarna 120i: the best high-end
Charger and battery to operate regularly
Husqvarna is a Swedish manufacturer specializing in the design of externally powered thermal or electrical equipment. Among its specialties: garden tractors, mowers and brushcutters … and chainsaws, of course!
Accustomed to reliable and powerful devices, Husqvarna is still very successful with this featherweight chainsaw, which runs on battery.
The Husqvarna 120i chain saw is equipped with a 30 cm blade. It is equipped with a large capacity oil tank (200 ml). We note in passing its ergonomic cap and quite practical.
This light model (3 kg out of battery) is both powerful and easy to use, especially since it displays an intuitive keyboard. It is also equipped with a chain brake with inertia which ensures a safe operation. We particularly appreciate its brushless motor – and Husqvarna's own savE mode – which has a long service life.
Equipped with a Li-ion battery, this chainsaw is perfectly autonomous, which is extremely practical for pruning. This model is also perfect for garden maintenance, especially in urban areas, since it remains quite silent. The Husqvarna 120i is also at ease when it comes to cutting firewood.
Despite its great qualities, this chainsaw has a small weakness specific to models running on battery: it needs regular use. If it is to use it once or twice a year, be careful, then, to unpleasant surprises.
Without regular use, batteries and chargers can fail. It is therefore important not to leave them unused for long periods.
The Husqvarna 120i will clearly not be suitable for cutting trees and other heavy work. On the other hand, when it comes to maintaining the garden and cutting firewood, it provides.
This handy little model is self-sufficient for basic tasks. It is also an excellent complement, if you already have a thermal chainsaw.
The products of my selection on offer at the moment
The electric chain saw has a number of advantages compared to the thermal chain saw. Lighter, more discreet, it is perfectly suited to the maintenance of the garden and cutting wood in urban areas. It is also easy to use: it is therefore a relevant choice for neophytes.
The type of electric chainsaw
There are two types of electric chainsaws.
These are the most widespread. Since they are mains powered, it is important to check the length of the power cable.
If you work exclusively on an easel, at a specific location, a fairly short cable may be enough. A longer cable makes it easier to maintain the hedge or trees: a longer cable is essential.
Chainsaws running on batteries
These are feather weights, mainly designed for pruning work. If these models give you great freedom of movement, they may lack power.
To get a good enough model for medium log cuts, you need to plan for a fairly high budget and bet on high-end models like the Husqvarna 120i.
The type of work you want to do is decisive in the choice of your electric chainsaw.
If you plan to maintain and cut your trees and / or firewood, a 1800 to 2000 W model will be more than enough. Bet on a guide (ie a blade) of 35 to 40 cm.
For more intensive use, choose a guide of 45 cm and a power of at least 2000 W.
If the electric chain saw is lighter and easier to use than a thermal model, its use still involves taking precautions. It should therefore be handled with care and provided with appropriate safety equipment.
To minimize the risk of accidents, it is also important to opt for a chainsaw equipped with a safety system.
The chain brake, which immediately stops the movement of the chain in case of rebound, is quite common. A blocking device, which prevents a return chain if it breaks or jumps and the hand protection system, which prevents a broken chain does not hit the hand that holds the front handle, are two other useful classics.
You can also find many models with systems that avoid untimely acceleration.
The comfort of use
Even for punctual use, it is important to have a good comfort of use to avoid incidents and prevent injuries (especially on the back). To work without having to make too much effort, check the basic criteria: the weight of the chainsaw (caution over 6 kg), its balance and the ergonomics of the handles.
Electric chainsaws tend to produce less and less vibration. An anti-vibration system is an additional guarantee.
The use of an electric chainsaw involves the wearing of an ear protection helmet and a visor that will prevent splashes of sawdust – even pieces of wood – into the eyes. For safety, choose equipment that meets CE standards.
It is obviously essential to wear gloves to work. Wearing safety shoes or boots is also recommended.
Beware of the temptation to use your electric chainsaw without a helmet! Unlike a thermal model, which generally exceeds 100 dB, the electric models remain in the 90 to 100 dB. We would be tempted to do without hearing protection, but in case of prolonged use, a helmet will be welcome.
In conclusion, which electric chainsaw to choose?
When choosing your electric chainsaw, keep in mind that the more powerful a motor is, the heavier it is. If you wish to equip yourself with a versatile model, you can opt for a guide of 40 cm and a power of 2000W, which allows at the same time to carry out some works of pruning and to debit firewood.
Unless you have specific needs and do really hard work, you do not need to spend a big budget to get great results.
Personally, I opted for an entry-level model because I already had an excellent thermal model. If you are looking for a versatile electric model, a mid-range model Makita UC4051A will prove reliable and will last many years as long as you maintain it properly.
McCulloch Li 40CS: This battery-powered model is more affordable than the Husqvarna 120i. It is a good little extra model, if you are looking for a light and handy chainsaw for your small pruning work. In terms of firewood, however, it will soon show its limits. If the cutting power is honorable, the battery life is not exceptional.