Welcome to a thorough guide and a detailed review of the best electric chainsaws of 2018!
An electric chainsaw is a useful and versatile tool for anyone who has a yard or enjoys do-it-yourself projects. Every homeowner is going to come across situations where a chainsaw is the best tool to get the job done.
If you are reading this guide, you have most likely already decided that an electric chainsaw is right for you, and you are now wondering how to choose the best electric chainsaw for your needs.
Luckily for you, I took the time to review some of the most popular electric chainsaws on the market.
Table of Contents
- Our Rating of the Best Electric Chainsaws:
- Worx 16-Inch 14.5 Amp Electric Chainsaw: Best for Beginners — $
- Oregon 570995 CS1500 Self-Sharpening Electric Chainsaw: Best for Speed — $
- Sun Joe SWJ599E 14-inch 9-Amp Tree Limb Master Electric Handheld Chainsaw: Best for Landscaping — $
- Hurbo 2 Stroke 52cc 20-inch Saw Blade Petrol Chainsaw: Best for Heavy-Duty Projects — $$
- Powersmith PCS140H 14-Inch 40V Max Rechargeable Cordless Chainsaw: Best for Simplicity — $$
- Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw: Best for Mobility — $$
- Best Electric Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide:
- Important Features:
- Overall Top Pick
Our Rating of the Best Electric Chainsaws:
Read on to find out the key points of each model, pros and cons, and recommendations for different needs.
Note: don’t worry if you are still trying to make up your mind whether to buy an electric or gas chainsaw. You can look to the buyer’s guide section to find useful information that might help you make that choice, as well as how to decide between plug-in and cordless electric chainsaws.
Worx 16-Inch 14.5 Amp Electric Chainsaw: Best for Beginners — $
Worx chainsaws are some of the most popular electric chainsaws on the market right now, and it’s not hard to see why. They are known for being lightweight and easy-to-use, and the Worx 16-inch 14.5 amp model is no exception.
Despite being very lightweight, the Worx 16-inch 14.5 amp electric chainsaw is a well-crafted tool overall.
It feels very high-quality and sturdy for only weighing 11 lbs.
Right away when picking it up, you notice that it feels very comfortable to hold.
The Worx’s design has a rear handle made of rubber and a full-wrap handle in the front. Slippage can be a really big concern with chainsaws, especially when you are reaching up high, and it doesn’t really feel like a big issue with this model.
The Worx might be a good choice for first-time chainsaw owners because of the built-in features that make it very user-friendly.
It comes with a built-in oiler that lubricates the bar and chain automatically. There is an auto-tensioning system that keeps the chain at the correct tension so you don’t have to manually adjust it.
The Worx also has a chain brake that stops the chainsaw right away if there is any kickback.
This is one of the most important safety features to look for in a chainsaw, but there are a lot of cheaper models out there that don’t include this.
You can tell though that the Worx does not give you the kind of high-power action that you might be used to if you are switching over from a gas chainsaw.
This might not be the best choice for heavy-duty work.
Overall, the Worx 16-inch amp electric chainsaw is a strong all-around pick if you are not planning to do lots of heavy-duty cutting. I would recommend this model as a solid choice for beginners and first-time owners.
- User-friendly built-in features
- Automatic chain break
- Low slippage risk
- 3-year warranty
- Only offers moderate power
- Built-in oiler may go through oil quickly
Oregon 570995 CS1500 Self-Sharpening Electric Chainsaw: Best for Speed — $
The most unique feature of the Oregon CS1500 is its self-sharpening feature. This feature is simple but pretty original. You just run the chain while pulling a lever for a few seconds, and the chain will be freshly sharpened.
Just don’t overuse the self-sharpening feature, because this can lead to the chain being worn down quicker than usual.
The Oregon has a fairly average weight for an electric chainsaw at 13 pounds. It has an easy system for tool-less chain tightening. Overall, it seems to be geared toward speed.
There is little maintenance required that would slow down your projects, and the trigger-start works very quickly.
It packs fairly high power for an electric chainsaw and is even comparable to a gas chainsaw.
The long guide bar can handle most projects, but does make it a bit more difficult to maneuver. The Oregon also manages to stay relatively quiet despite the power and is totally silent in between cuts.
For anyone thinking about this model, it is really important to know that there have been reported issues with internal plastic parts melting.
If you live in an area that gets extremely hot, or you are planning to use your chainsaw for long periods of time, this might not be the best choice for you.
If you are mainly looking for a tool for small projects, this electric chainsaw is still a good choice. It is quick and easy to start and makes very fast cuts. The Oregon is a good pick to speed up small projects like cutting firewood or trimming branches.
- Quiet and low vibration
- Long guide bar
- Automatic chain break
- Plastic casing may be at risk of melting if overheated
- Chain pops off fairly easily
- May be hard to maneuver in tight spots
Sun Joe SWJ599E 14-inch 9-Amp Tree Limb Master Electric Handheld Chainsaw: Best for Landscaping — $
The low weight combined with the 14-inch blade means that it is very maneuverable but still has enough power to cut without effort.
The Sun Joe does not have that heavy-duty feel that you may be used to if you are switching over from a gas chainsaw. It is obvious that the body of the machine is plastic, and the green design has almost a cutesy feel.
Despite this, it is very functional and gets the job done.
It cuts a bit slower than more powerful models, but if you let the saw do the work for you it will make good cuts without effort on your part.
In terms of safety, one big plus is the safety switch that prevents accidental starts.
On the flip side, the Sun Joe lacks an automatic chain break.
Be careful if you are used to a chainsaw that does have this feature because this model will continue to runs for several seconds before stopping.
If you need to do a lot of trimming in tight spaces, this electric chainsaw could be a good choice for you. The Sun Joe is more slow and steady than fast and furious, but it should pack enough punch to meet the needs of most homeowners looking for a good yard maintenance tool.
On the other hand, this might not be the best choice for a do-it-yourself enthusiast looking for a fast-moving tool for heavy-duty projects.
- Super lightweight and maneuverable
- Self-lubricating bar and chain
- Safety switch
- Fairly low power can’t handle heavy-duty work
- Cuts slowly
- No auto-break
Hurbo 2 Stroke 52cc 20-inch Saw Blade Petrol Chainsaw: Best for Heavy-Duty Projects — $$
I thought that it might be useful to you in your search for a chainsaw to be able to compare the other electric models reviewed in this guide with a more traditional, heavy-duty gasoline chainsaw like the Hurbo.
When you see the Hurbo, the first thing that you will notice is the length of the blade. It makes the engine seem small in comparison.
Although this chainsaw uses gasoline, Hurbo has managed to make this version more fuel efficient. It uses around 20% less fuel than previous models. It also has a good centrifugal air cleaning system.
This chainsaw is heavier than electric models, but it is a bit more lightweight than many other gasoline-powered chainsaws.
The Hurbo has fairly strong anti-vibration dampeners that reduce the vibration significantly.
If you have used many chainsaws in the past, you are probably familiar with how uncomfortable the strong vibrations can be on your hands and arms with long use.
Note that before you use this chainsaw for the first time, it is a good idea to let it run and then cool off a few times to temper it.
Overall, the Hurbo is the chainsaw I recommend for heavy-duty projects. It may be a good choice for people who regularly cut large pieces of wood or big do-it-yourself enthusiasts.
- Very high power
- Quick and easy start
- Easy to reach high branches
- Low vibration
- Requires gasoline
- Relatively low maneuverability
Powersmith PCS140H 14-Inch 40V Max Rechargeable Cordless Chainsaw: Best for Simplicity — $$
This chainsaw is a little pricier than some others on our list, but that is to be expected because it is powered with a lithium-ion battery. The big advantage of this type of power is that you don’t have to worry about a clunky extension cord getting tangled in the bushes.
The Powersmith has a 14-inch blade and a simple design, so don’t expect anything too fancy. However, it does include an automatic chain oiler, and it also does hit all the major marks for safety features. The chain has low kickback and an automatic brake.
Note that even though this chainsaw does not require gas, you still need to have oil on-hand for lubrication purposes.
In general, battery-powered chainsaws can be frustrating if you need to work for long stretches between recharges. However, this chainsaw is a good example of how improvements in lithium batteries in recent years have slowly been increasing the performance of cordless chainsaws.
For this model, Powersmith claims that this model can perform 90 4×4 lumber cuts before running out of juice, and this seems to hold up.
You will need to decide for yourself if this will be enough battery life for your individual needs.
The Powersmith PCS140H is also impressively powerful for a battery-powered chainsaw. It is able to keep the power without destroying the battery life because of the brushless motor design. It won’t be able to compete with gas chainsaws of course, but this model should be powerful enough for the average homeowner’s yard needs.
Overall, the Powersmith PCS140H is one of our top picks for maneuverability and simplicity. I would recommend this model to anyone looking for a simple, no-hassle chainsaw that is easy to set up and carry around. It may not be the best chainsaw for you if you frequently need to work for long stretches of time due to the limited battery life.
- Lightweight and very maneuverable
- Automatic chain break and low kickback
- Powerful for a battery-powered chainsaw
- Rechargeable battery and charger included
- Limited battery life
Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw: Best for Mobility — $$
The Greenworks 12-inch model is another battery-powered chainsaw that shows off how far we have come in lithium battery technology. This is one of the most popular cordless chainsaws on the market right now.
First of all, the unique appearance of the Greenworks chainsaw is noticeable right away. This is mostly due to the different handle options. This chainsaw offers more places to grip than any other model on this list. It is also extremely lightweight at 6 lbs.
It does have some useful basic features like a built-in chain and bar oiler, a translucent oil tank, and tool-less chain tensioning. On the other hand, there are some standard safety features I would have liked to see that weren’t there. This model, unfortunately, does not have a chain break.
Like the Powersmith, the Greenworks chainsaw is not one of the cheapest choices in this guide because of the lithium battery.
However, you can choose to purchase this chainsaw with or without the rechargeable battery. It is significantly cheaper to buy without the battery, so if you already own any other Greenworks products you might be able to use that battery in both machines rather than purchasing a new one.
Because of the multiple handle options and short blade, I found the Greenworks to be really easy to maneuver in tight spots and around weird angles.
It is easily powerful enough to handle standard yard work or simple do-it-yourself projects, as long as you do not plan to need many hours of continuous use.
You can probably expect to get around an hour and a half of heavy use or three hours of light use out of the battery before it needs to be recharged.
I would likely recommend the Greenworks cordless chainsaw for people who regularly do yard work or home-improvement projects and are looking for something that is easy to carry around. It is our top choice for maneuverability and mobility.
Because of the very short blade, this may not be the right option if you need to reach many high branches or cut very large pieces of wood.
- Highly maneuverable
- Very lightweight
- Multiple grip options
- Limited battery life
- No chain break
Best Electric Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide:
If you are still struggling to make up your mind about which chainsaw is right for you, the following information might help.
First, let’s go over the main decisions you will have to make.
Gas vs. Electric
You probably already know that gas chainsaws tend to offer more power than electric chainsaws. They give you that heavy-duty kick.
Unless you are doing very heavy-duty or strenuous work, though, there are many electric chainsaws on the market that offer more than enough power for the average homeowner or do-it-yourself enthusiast.
Don’t get stuck thinking that all electric chainsaws are weak or ineffective because this is simply not true.
Electric chainsaws have several advantages over their gas counterparts.
There is less maintenance and cleaning required. You also don’t need to keep the gas on hand with an electric chainsaw.
They tend to be easier to start, less noisy, and much more lightweight than gas chainsaws. They also are usually on the cheaper end of the scale.
If you decide on an electric chainsaw, now you have another important decision to make:
Plug-in vs. Cordless
This decision really comes down to power vs. mobility. Plug-in electric chainsaws are able to use more energy and stay running for longer periods of time because they have an endless stream of electricity coming in through the cord.
With a plug-in chainsaw, you are not going to have to worry about running out of juice at an inconvenient moment.
However, you should remember that you are going to need to invest in a quality extension cord if you go with a plug-in electric chainsaw.
You should also think about whether your cord is going to reach all of the areas where you need to use your chainsaw. Tangling the cord up in bushes and small plants could also cause problems.
On the other hand, cordless electric chainsaws have the advantage of not needing to worry about a cord. This means better mobility.
Cordless chainsaws are usually powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. You can expect between one to three hours of use depending on the battery and the model. Two hours seems pretty standard before a recharge is necessary.
Don’t expect to be able to spend all day in the yard with a battery-powered chainsaw, but lithium battery technology has improved enough that most models on the market offer pretty reasonable battery life.
Now that you know how to decide between the major categories of chainsaws, let’s review some of the most important features to look for.
The first things that I recommend you to look for are the safety features. Many chainsaws have features included to make it less likely that you will injure yourself.
Some of the key safety features are:
- Automatic chain break: this stops the chain instantly and can prevent injuries
- Low kickback: this makes it less likely that you will lose control of the chainsaw
- Rubber grip coatings: this ensures that the chainsaw doesn’t slip out of your hand
Here are some other features to look out for that greatly increase general usability:
- Noise dampening
- Vibration dampening: decreases the uncomfortably strong vibrations
- Clear oil tank: allows you to see when the lubricating oil needs to be refilled
- Multiple handle choices: increases maneuverability
- Automatic chain tensioning
Some chainsaws may have other special features that are designed to make them simpler to use. Examples of this are:
- Automatic oil lubrication
While these kinds of features are nice, it can be hit-or-miss whether they actually are helpful. For example, automatic oil lubrication sounds nice, but in reality, sometimes it is difficult or messy to refill, or can go through more oil than necessary.
That’s not to say that these features are useless. Some work well and are actually very helpful. But you should not choose a chainsaw just based on a unique specialty feature unless you are really sure that it works well.
Other basic things to consider when choosing a chainsaw are weight, size, speed, and durability. It just depends on your individual needs.
Overall Top Pick
Taking all of the above information into consideration, our top pick for electric chainsaws in 2018 is the Worx 16-Inch 14.5 Amp Electric Chainsaw. It hits all the marks for important safety features and has a well-rounded balance of power, size, and mobility.
It also is made of very durable materials and offers a full 3-year warranty in case of any problems. Overall, the Worx is a strong choice that offers a lot of versatility.