A modern chainsaw is one of the most important power tools that you can have in your arsenal. It cuts quickly and can deal with anything from the small, numerous branches of a hedge to the thick trunk of a tree that has to come down. These are tasks that you can accomplish with manual clippers, axes, or other tools, but it takes far longer and requires more effort.
In some cases, an electric chainsaw can actually make impossible tasks doable for people with physical limitations or other obstacles. In this article we feature the best electric chainsaw reviews for 2020.
|Best Corded Electric Chainsaws||Bar Length (in)||Motor (amp)||Weight (lbs)||Gardenlife Rating|
|Remington RM1425 Limb N Trim 8 Amp 14- Inch Electric Chainsaw||14||8||6.25||Learn more|
|WORX WG303.1 16-Inch 14.5 Amp Electric Chainsaw||16||14.5||11||Learn more|
|WORX WG304.1 18-Inch 15.0 Amp Electric Chainsaw||18||15||11.2||Learn more|
|Earthwise CS30116 16-Inch 12-Amp Corded Electric Chain Saw||16||12||10||Learn more|
|Makita UC4051A 16-inch Electric Chain Saw||16||14.5||12.3||Learn more|
|BLACK+DECKER CS1518 18-Inch 15-Amp Corded Chainsaw||16||14.5||12||Learn more|
It isn’t as simple as just having a chainsaw, though. There are several ways to categorize them. One is size: a longer guide bar allows for cutting larger pieces of wood, but can limit how well you can move the saw in close quarters and adds to its weight.
Another major division is power. There are three main types of power sources for chainsaws: gas, corded electricity, and rechargeable batteries.
Each of the three has something to offer. In this post, we will focus on corded electric chainsaws. We will compare and contrast them to the other types and review six examples of the best electric chainsaws on the market today that provides a balance of different sizes and feature sets.
Gas chainsaws don’t need to be tethered to an outlet and refilling the tank is much faster than charging a battery. However, gas engines emit fumes and you have to make the additional investment of money and space to buy and store gas. These saws also need lots of maintenance, just like your car or gas lawn mower.
Chainsaws that run on batteries have the same convenience of not needing a cord, but it can take overnight or longer to fully charge a battery, so they are not ideal for heavy users. Regardless, if interested, check out our best cordless chainsaw roundup.
A corded electric chainsaw doesn’t need a refillable power source, but you do need to stay close enough to an outlet that the extension cord can reach. Moreover, the cord itself can become tangled or stuck on branches and other objects. It is possible to alleviate the space issue with a portable generator, but in general corded chainsaws are best for people with smaller yards or who have outdoor outlets in convenient locations.
Electric chain saws are usually the cheapest, simplest and most popular choices. They also tend to weigh less than battery or gas models and require the least amount of maintenance.
The best choice for you depends on your yard, the wood you have to cut, how much power you need, and other factors. In the next section we will review some of the best electric chainsaw models to give you an idea of what to expect.
How to pick the best electric chainsaw for the task?
If you want to read more about the factors to consider when buying a chainsaw, head over to our Ultimate Chainsaw Buying Guide. In this guide we walk you through the main chainsaw types, the importance of the guide bar length, budget and maintenance considerations. We also list the most important features that manufacturers usually list under different names and we explain them all.
If you are in a hurry, just jump to The 5 Minute Quick Guide for choosing the best chainsaw for your needs.
Even if you do not buy a chainsaw from this list, you should learn about how to get a fair price for various features and what kind of characteristics meet your needs the best.
We’ll talk about power, motor efficiency, and ease of use among other things to shed light on how the best electric chainsaw can stand out from the pack.
The Remington RM1425 is on the small side as far as chainsaws go with a bar length of 14 inches. The engine is rated for 8 amps of power. It weighs just over 6 pounds, making it quite easy to use.
The size of the RM1425 means that it can cut up to about 17 inches of wood diameter from one side. Anything larger will take multiple cuts from opposite sides, although it is still doable.
The 1425 has a few usability and safety features to help you out. The bar and chain use a low-kickback system that reduces the strain on your hands and arms and keeps the chainsaw steady.
The handguard protects you from the chance of a piece of wood chipping off and striking your control hand.
The chain tension system keeps the chain at just the right tightness, and it’s also easy to adjust if you feel the need to do so.
The RM1425 is also compatible with Remington chainsaw poles if you want to extend its reach for trimming hedges or high branches.
Remington offers an other, very similar model in the electric chainsaw range, with longer bar, more powerful engine and automatic oiler:
Go check it out in case you need more power and longer bar for those hefty logs.
The Remington RM1425 is one of the best-reviewed small corded chainsaws online. It doesn’t have the reach of the bigger models, but for the price and the size it delivers great value through efficient cuts, low sound, no emissions, and durability.
Some reviewers mention that you occasionally need to tighten the chain, but the tensioning tool is fairly simple to use.
The RM1425 is especially appealing to people who aren’t used to power tools or who don’t have the physical stamina for using a manual tool, because its light weight and powerful engine means tasks end quickly and the work is low-impact.
The WG303.1 from Worx is a small step up in size from the Remington with a bar 16 inches in length. The 14.5-amp motor is a pretty significant increase in power, which enables the 303.1 to hit faster RPM speeds, cut faster, deal with harder wood, and stay a little steadier in use.
Automatic oiling is convenient and takes one more maintenance element out of your hands, and there is an oil level indicator to help you keep the right amount of oil in the saw. The weight of the saw is approximately 11 pounds.
The features in the 303.1 are all about making it easier to use the chainsaw by ensuring that you have less to worry about.
The chain tensioning and oiling are important parts of making sure the chainsaw is working properly, but thanks to the automatic systems for those tasks you don’t need to monitor and correct the tension or oil levels as often as you would otherwise. The handles are protected with hardened plastic to shield you from debris.
The 303.1 is well-regarded by online reviewers. One of the most positive attributes is the combination of the powerful engine with low weight and low sound output.
The Worx 303.1 cuts as well as a gas chainsaw of equivalent size, but the lower poundage makes it easier to hold and move. One point that came up was that it comes with a thin oil compared to typical bar and chain oil.
Refilling it with regular oil seems to cause no problems with the reservoir or the automatic oiler mechanism.
The 304.1 is very much like the WORX 303.1. It is one step up in terms of the length of the bar, but in other aspects it has the same design and construction. The motor is only slightly more powerful with an additional half amp over the 303.1, but that is still plenty to run the 18-inch chain.
The automatic tension and oiling mechanisms are back, as is the low-vibration engine, so the biggest difference is the size. Even the weight is nearly the same at about 11.2 pounds.
The longer bar length opens up a lot of possibilities for the 304.1. Eighteen inches is more of a medium chainsaw and anything below that is small, so there is a larger set of jobs for the 304.1.
With enough time and occasional sharpening, the 304.1 can slice through quite sizable logs. Unlike with a gas chainsaw there is no need to mix the oil and gas together to ensure that it works properly.
It just uses a normal 120V outlet. The oil reservoir holds 6.75 ounces of oil and the chainsaw comes with a quart of oil to use.
While some electric chainsaws have a reputation for being underpowered, online reviewers praise the WORX 304.1 for its cutting ability. Combined with its length and weight, the motor makes many different tasks fast and easy. The fact that no assembly or prep work is necessary was also a positive trait that reviewers valued.
Overall, the 304.1 earned high praise. Some people recommend obtaining a kit for sharpening the chain and learning how to use it to maximize the cutting power of the chain, which will dull faster the more you use it.
Buying extra oil also came up to ensure that you have enough on hand to keep the chainsaw working.
The Earthwise CS30116 is another 16-inch model that happens to have a slightly smaller motor compared to the WORX 303.1. It is slightly heavier.
The Earthwise saw has a plastic guard for the bar and chain, molded handle covers, and a tool-less chain tension system. The internal oil reservoir has a clear window to monitor how much oil is left in it.
The Earthwise chainsaw does not come with oil, so it needs bar and chain or 30-weight machine oil before you can start to use it.
Like the WORX models, the feature list on the Earthwise is not long. The industry standards like automatic oil distribution and a dial that controls tension are present. The dial is large and easy to turn, so adjusting the tension can be done on the fly.
The starter is a button, which is much easier to use than the pull starter on a gas chainsaw. The slightly higher weight makes the Earthwise a little more resistant to vibration and kicking compared to WORX models.
It is probably too big to use on a pole, but the weight is not so high that it is hard to take it up a ladder.
The Earthwise electric chainsaw earns praise online because it is so easy to use. This is especially clear with users who are switching over from gas models, but there just is not much that you have to do yourself.
The two main upkeep tasks are keeping the oil tank full and adjusting the tension. Both are easy and it is clear when you need to do them, as well as how. This improves accessibility and value for the chainsaw.
The Makita UC4051A is another 16-inch offering. It has a few things that set it apart from the competition. The handles are rubberized for additional grip. It also has a feature that slows down the motor when it is overloaded. It is a little heavier than other 16-inchers at 12 pounds.
The Makita can mount longer bars than 16 inches if you want more length for bigger jobs. The engine is powerful enough to drive bigger chains, although it was not necessarily built to function at optimal performance that way.
The Makita has the usual oil reserve and tool-less tension features. It also has a chain brake to maximize the lifetime of the chain as well as a current limiter that slows down the motor if it comes close to overheating.
This is quite valuable because it is not easy to tell when an electric motor is nearing a dangerous level of heat, so the Makita monitors itself and will engage the limiter to preserve the motor when necessary.
It will happen more often with heavy use, thicker and harder wood, or irregular cutting.
The Makita is very highly rated for its features as well as fundamental quality. It doesn’t use much oil when it runs and the reservoir rarely clogs or leaks. The cutting ability is good, although it is strongest with a 16-inch bar.
The limiter and brake help improve the value of the chainsaw by reducing the amount you might need to spend on maintenance or replacement.
Although heavier than competitor saws, the Makita is still light enough to use without too much effort. Keep in mind that a longer bar will add to the weight.
The CS1518 from Black and Decker returns us to the world of larger 18-inch chainsaws for our final entry. Like the other 18-inch saw listed above, the WORX 304.1, the Black and Decker has a 15-amp motor and weighs about 12 pounds.
It uses standard Oregon measurements for the bar and chain, meaning that you can mount larger bars if you wish if they adhere to the Oregon standard as well.
The Black and Decker model shares several of the same attributes and features that the 304.1 has along with several other models on this list. It also comes with a 2-year warranty when most other chainsaws have a 1-year warranty.
The chain brake, automatic oil mechanism and tool-free tension adjustment should be familiar to you by now. They are bog standard in contemporary chainsaw design and the Black and Decker is no exception.
Here are a few things that do stand out. First of all, the design is especially ergonomic.
The handles provide both support and protection without adding extra weight or restricting the movement of your fingers. The body of the Black and Decker is just thick enough to reduce vibrations without becoming too heavy to move smoothly.
The oil window is vertically oriented, which is a plus because it is easier to see changes in how much oil is left.
The Black and Decker is one of the highest-selling and best-rated 18-inch electric chainsaws. It comes with some extra safety features to stop the saw in case you take your hands off one of the buttons, which was attractive to several reviewers.
The power and weight are a good combination of motor characteristics at a reasonable price. As usual a manual or powered chain sharpening kit will go a long way towards maintaining the cutting ability of the saw.
Much of the positive feedback centered on the fact that the drop in power from not using a gas chainsaw was fairly small, making the Black and Decker good value.
Still in doubt? Read our Ultimate Chainsaw Buying Guide!
As you have seen, there are a lot of features that are shared between electric chainsaws.
The best electric chainsaw for you is not the one that packs on the most extra stuff, but the one with the best combination of price, weight, length, and power for the tasks that you plan to do.
The convenience of not having to use gas and mix it with oil are what sets the electric models apart from the gas ones.
There is another alternative: an alligator lopper. This is an unusual approach to powered wood-chopping that uses two slicing blades facing each other in a pincer or scissors formation.
The approach can cut quickly and it holds logs in place for better control.
However, it also means that there is a hard limit to the diameter of log that it can cut. It is useful in many situations but probably will not completely replace the chainsaw anytime soon.
Among the many electric chainsaw models that we reviewed today, a few stand out.
The Remington RM1425 is our pick for the best budget chainsaw. It might be a little on the small side for some jobs, but it gives you so much for the price that it deserves the win.
In terms of best performance overall, the winner is the Black and Decker CS1518. It really can cut through a lot, and if you choose to mount a bigger bar and chain on it there is very little that you cannot cut in an average backyard.
Electric chainsaws used to have a reputation for being very underpowered and high-maintenance. Today, neither of those things are true. They can be just as powerful as gas models with much less upkeep.
If you have a generator or accessible outlets, then an electric chainsaw lets you do everything that you need and eliminate the irritation of using gas or charging batteries.
That means they are best-suited for people with small yards, although they can handle large branches and logs if necessary. It is still best to get a log splitter for heavy duty, large quantity of log work.
Whether you want to trim hedges and shrubs, take some branches off a plant, or take down a whole tree, you should think about whether an electric chainsaw with a cord might be able to handle the job.
In the last several years they have come a long way and modern design has made them capable of meeting nearly all consumer needs. Just make the chainsaw and its chain is well maintained, and if necessary, do not hesitate to get a brand new chain.
It is a well advised to keep your chainsaw safe and protected. Go and check our recent article about the best chainsaw cases.