Are Battery Chainsaws Any Good? [Answered]

Are battery chainsaws any good?

Well, keep reading because that’s exactly what I’ll be going over in this post.

Why do people buy battery chainsaws?

Battery chainsaws can do almost everything gas chainsaws can do. But they are much quieter and more convenient to own and operate. They pack almost the same punch as their gas-driven brethren.

Battery chainsaws are ideal for clearing underbrush and landscaping. But can they stand up to the gas models when it comes to serious chainsaw applications?

When we think of trees being felled or forests being cleared, the image also conjures up the incessant noise of gas-driven chainsaws.

Few things in this world are as noisy as a two stroke gas motor running at full revs. Most people who buy battery operated chainsaws do so mainly because they want to avoid the noise. 

The next reason is that gas models that are not in daily operation tend to become difficult to start. Deposits in the carburetor affect the gas flow, and before you know it, you have flooded the machine.

To get it going, you then spend hours doing what seems like a Crossfit workout. Yanking the pull start to no avail and finally when it does get going, you have a backache and your day is spoiled. 

Battery operated models have zero cold start difficulties, and make no noise, except when sawing through a branch. But the question that most people have is the following: can battery chainsaws compete against gas models when the going gets tough. 

Can battery chainsaws fell trees?

When assessing a chainsaw’s suitability for an application, the most important factor is the length of the bar. A gas-operated 12-inch bar chainsaw will only be capable of felling a limited size tree.

The same principle applies to battery-operated chainsaws. The real limiting factor when felling trees, is not whether the saw is gas or battery driven, but how long the bar is.

Most battery chainsaws have between a 10 inch and 16-inch bar and will be equally suited to applications that gas-driven chainsaws of similar bar lengths are.

So, to put it bluntly, if you can fell a tree with a 12-inch bar, gas-driven chainsaw, you could do the same with a 12-inch battery chainsaw. 

But do battery models generate the same amount of power as gas models? The reason this is important is that a stronger model should cut faster through a given size log.

Here I would rate gas models higher, but keep the following in mind. If your chain links are blunt and in need of sharpening, or if your cutting style is wedging the chain, both battery and gas models will perform poorly. 

Similarly, if your chain is sharp, and you know how to cut, the time a gas model will save on a single tree is negligible. 

Are battery chainsaws as good as gas?

Let’s say that you are going to enter a lumberjack competition and need the best heavy duty equipment money can buy. I would still rate a gas model better for extreme heavy duty applications than I would battery models. 

But, if I were looking to buy a chainsaw to cut some firewood and clear a forest path, I would simply not bother with a gas model at all. (Depending on the size and girth of the trees).

The first battery-operated chainsaws were not as good as the current models, and electrical technology is constantly advancing. Direct current battery tools produce solid torque ranges and operate smoothly and safely. 

In the majority of chainsaw applications for individuals, ranchers, and landscapers, battery-operated models will get the same jobs done as gas models. 

How long will the battery last?

Battery life is model dependent. You also get various sizes of batteries, ranging from 18 & 20-volt to 60 & 80-volt. Trying to quantify it into minutes is also difficult because constant cutting of hardwoods will drain the battery faster than the intermittent cutting of softwoods.

Most battery machines are designed to provide somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes of intermittent use. Gas models can average out to about the same. It depends on how hard you are working your machine.

It is therefore highly recommended that you have extra batteries charged and ready. Batteries are expensive but think of batteries as buying all the liquid gas upfront for years of use. You can also charge batteries from solar panels. 

One last thing to mention about the batteries is that certain systems like DeWalt, Makita, and Milwaukee allow you to standardize on batteries and chargers across devices like chainsaws, leaf blowers, drills, etc.

I highly recommend you look at such an investment, as it will simplify your life and allow you to assemble a complete range of power tools where an initial investment in batteries can be made and other tools periodically added. 

What safety features do battery chainsaws have?

Gas models need to be pull-started, and that procedure alone can lead to injuries if not done properly. Battery models have an on/off switch, and this less complicated startup procedure adds additional operator safety.

Because the constant switching off and pull starting required by gas models can become a real pain in the butt, most guys leave them running for the few seconds that they are pulling a branch away.

The added convenience and safety from battery operated models during this phase of clearing cannot be overstated.

The noise factor is also important. Battery chainsaws are more gentle on the operator’s ears while allowing communication between operators and other crew members.

With gas models, you can’t hear other people shouting warnings at you, while battery models would allow you to hear warnings. 

The last thing I will mention is the lack of flammable fluids and exhaust gasses. With gas-operated machines, there is an increased risk of fire, including risks from keeping a can of gasoline in your workshop or on the back of your truck.

Battery chainsaws pose no similar risks. You also get a chain brake as it is now a legal requirement for all chainsaws, no matter the type of engine.

Conclusion

Yes, battery chainsaws are good. They can fell, split firewood, buck trees, prune, and do anything a gas chainsaw can do. However, an electric chainsaw isn’t as powerful as gas chainsaws, so you’ll have a difficult time felling large, hardwood trees.

Hope you found what you were looking for in this guide.

Happy sawing!

– Adam