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  1. #1
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    Battery chainsaw

    Its not just ebikes these days, battery chainsaws appear to be hitting their stride as well. I have a medium size saw, but thinking about getting an arborists saw I can toss in a backpack or for limbing. The 20v Craftsman is getting my attention as it ticks all the boxes-light, packable, fairly cheap, top handle. I was also considering the Tanaka arborists saw, but the battery is really appealing for 2 reasons, one is noise, the other is not have to start.

    Example, I was walking this old bench today that I want to add into a trail I have. I literally need to make a hundred little cuts to clear, and it just seems like not having to either let the gas idle or start is a big deal. Also I want to do some maintenance on NF trails and it seems the quiet would also be a huge plus. Hand saw would be OK, but would get old fast. Also I think it could handle the occasional 8-10 inch downed tree.

    I'm sure the little Tanaka would be a better saw all day every day, but this is two or three hours a couple of times a month. THoughts?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by kendunn View Post
    Its not just ebikes these days, battery chainsaws appear to be hitting their stride as well. I have a medium size saw, but thinking about getting an arborists saw I can toss in a backpack or for limbing. The 20v Craftsman is getting my attention as it ticks all the boxes-light, packable, fairly cheap, top handle. I was also considering the Tanaka arborists saw, but the battery is really appealing for 2 reasons, one is noise, the other is not have to start.

    Example, I was walking this old bench today that I want to add into a trail I have. I literally need to make a hundred little cuts to clear, and it just seems like not having to either let the gas idle or start is a big deal. Also I want to do some maintenance on NF trails and it seems the quiet would also be a huge plus. Hand saw would be OK, but would get old fast. Also I think it could handle the occasional 8-10 inch downed tree.

    I'm sure the little Tanaka would be a better saw all day every day, but this is two or three hours a couple of times a month. THoughts?
    Don't have one myself, but I have more than a few friends with electric saws and have had them out on work days with me... They're fantastic for what you're describing. Obviously for bigger cuts gas is the way to go, but for many little cuts they are ideal. As much as my bank account hates to admit this, I think us builders need both these days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    Don't have one myself, but I have more than a few friends with electric saws and have had them out on work days with me... They're fantastic for what you're describing. Obviously for bigger cuts gas is the way to go, but for many little cuts they are ideal. As much as my bank account hates to admit this, I think us builders need both these days.
    Thanks, is there any particular model that keeps showing up? After looking a little more I'm thinking the little Makita is a much better deal, just over $300 and you get 4 5 hr batteries.

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    I have the 18" greenworks electric saw. Its a little bigger but its now my go to for both trail work and work around the house. Less noise and not having to start the gas engine are huge benefits for me. I have no issues cutting up downed trees on the trail. Its still about the same weight as a gas saw and you have to bring bar oil but the ease of use more than makes up for it.

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    I have the still MSA-200 and have had it for a couple of years. Basically got it right when it came out. I barely ever use my Husky 55 anymore (used it yesterday though). I have one extra battery for the Stihl which I rarely use, but it's nice to have it if you think you could need it. As you said, it never idles, and it will always run so it's pretty convenient. Make sure the chain is sharp, it makes a huge difference in battery life! I use it a lot for bridge-building/carpentry and it's great for that because you aren't nuking everyone at the work site with noise.

  6. #6
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    Can't speak for battery saws, but electric is absolutely fantastic for the task you describe.
    Also for going up into a tree to clean up damaged limbs, etc.
    Instant on/instant off? Awesome.

  7. #7
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    I was looking at these today. Batteries run $200+. I'd just like to see the smaller gas saws with better mufflers.

  8. #8
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    I can tell you the 80 volt Kobalt is a beast!
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    I have had the Ego Power+ 16 for a few years and it's incredible. I use it for bucking windfall. Mostly fir and tamarack. It's a 56V battery and with the 5Ah battery I have cleared 15 downed trees of 12 to 28 inch diameter with a single battery. I think the build quality is great. https://egopowerplus.com/16-inch-chain-saw/

    I also have the big hedge trimmer, string trimmer and a snow blower with 4 batteries. When doing trail maintenance, I carry the hedge trimmer in a pack and clear the windfall going one direction then switch tools, turn around and clear brush on the way back.

    With PG&E cutting power all the time, I'm thinking of getting their 3000 watt power station as well.
    Very good products.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    I can tell you the 80 volt Kobalt is a beast!
    This. After I picked up a Kobalt cordless tool kit a couple years back based on price/features I decided I liked it as well or better than a lot of the yellow or grey stuff that was showing up at workdays - seemed like my batteries held up just as well, and my tools did everything anyone else's could do at 2/3 the cost. I also picked up a Kobalt battery powered push mower to trim up around the yard, and make it easier for my family to help out with such things (as they seem to like to). The Kobalt saw is on the list for all the same reasons - they seem to be as good as all the really high end expensive stuff, but cost significantly less - plus you can occasionally find the Kobalt stuff on sale, and then it's almost stupid cheap compared to other brands. I think the Kobalt brand is a really well kept secret.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schulze View Post
    I was looking at these today. Batteries run $200+. I'd just like to see the smaller gas saws with better mufflers.
    Maybe Honda could share their quiet generator technology...

  12. #12
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    I have a cheap black in decker 10" that is great for trail work. Easy to carry and cuts well. I recommend replacing the skip tooth chain with a regular one and keeping it sharp. I like that it is soooo light weight.

    I only pull the gas one out for ripping boards.

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    THanks all, the Kobalt 80V is currently on sale, wife is store manager at Lowes, so I kinda feel like I should go that way, pretty sure its just a rebranded Greenworks. Its a little bigger than I wanted, but after thinking on it, I may should go bigger anyways. I can get it with employee discount for about $240 plus tax. I just never liked the way the Kobalt cordless stuff looked, I am particular about tools, and Bosch is my go to these days for cordless, and unfortunately, they don't make a chainsaw

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kendunn View Post
    THanks all, the Kobalt 80V is currently on sale, wife is store manager at Lowes, so I kinda feel like I should go that way, pretty sure its just a rebranded Greenworks. Its a little bigger than I wanted, but after thinking on it, I may should go bigger anyways. I can get it with employee discount for about $240 plus tax. I just never liked the way the Kobalt cordless stuff looked, I am particular about tools, and Bosch is my go to these days for cordless, and unfortunately, they don't make a chainsaw
    Yeah it was little bigger than what I wanted as well, but I have the mower and trimmer with the same 80v battery so figured, why not. I could not have been more impressed. I'm coming from a gas saw as well.

    I lugged three batteries out to a site I am working on with several downed trees and branches. After I cut them all out, repurposed some of the limbs including some shaping, I still had one bar on the first battery. I couldn't believe it.

    It literally gravity cut through an oak branch at least 10" thick. I didn't even have to apply pressure. It was killer! Look at the orange circular branch cut to the left of the rider. That was the one.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Battery chainsaw-img_e0002.jpg  

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  15. #15
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    Well, after much back and forth, I've ordered the Echo. Saw a test and it nailed it, and then the 5 year warranty that even covered the battery sealed the deal. Its still a little bigger and bulkier than I'd hoped for, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted something just a little larger than an arborists saw. I kept reading things like "good for building contractors" and "great for small trim jobs around the house". Plus the chain speeds I was seeing for some of the small saws were anemic. Buy once/cry once. I may get something super cheap on sale just for quick touch up jobs.

  16. #16
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    ĎNough said!

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    Battery chainsaw-8a911b97-80e4-401d-973a-78c2a59fc886.jpg
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    ĎNough said!

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    THat is impressive!

  18. #18
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    So I got the Echo in and took it out to this 12" red oak that was across the trail and it made short work of it. A couple of things, its not going to be easy to carry, longer than a gas saw....by a lot. Not sure how I'm going to carry on my bike, we'll see. I was a big fan of Echo from owning one of their professional saws before, but this one certainly doesn't feel like a professional build, and I don't think it was built any better than the Kobalt. Not bad, but not great either.
    If I had to do over again might very well take Roughsters advice and get the Kobalt. Don't get me wrong, I like the saw, and battery powered is the way to go for anything other than a professional logger/tree service, I just like top of the line tools that feel like they are made out of the best possible material, this one falls a little short in that area, obviously not made as well as my Bosch cordless tools. I am sure it will work fine.

  19. #19
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    I bought my 16" 40v Greenworks in 2015, and it's still going strong. It's brushless, compares well to anything out there, I would buy it again. I do use the Carlisle pro pico chain from Bailey's. If Milwaukee ever gets up to speed with wrench-less chain adjustment I would consider their saw as I have a large stock of red batteries and charging gear. The Ego brand at Home Depot is good too I hear. Make sure you are using the pico (3/8 x .43) chain as it's cut is half the width of 3/8 x 50 chain. Like doubling the power and cutting speed.
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  20. #20
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    I'm getting a little disappointed in my Echo. What little I have used it seems to cut well, but I've noticed the chain seems very dry, its using very little bar oil, and when I try to see if any oil flicks off the chain by holding the nose of the saw near a light colored something very little if any comes off. Reading the manual to see if there was an oil adjustment got a little flustered, in the ads they call it "58V professional grade cordless"...as you can see in one of my above posts I bought thinking it was indeed a pro caliber saw, but in the manual it states "light duty, occasional use only". Even though thats what I am planning on doing with it, that doesn't leave me very confident.

  21. #21
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    I love taking my 40v B&D into the ravine behind the house to murder giant invasive honeysuckle "trees." It's small enough to hike with but can handle cutting up some larger diameter deadfalls into firewood as well. My little gas powered Stihl hasn't been used since the B&D showed up under the Christmas tree a couple years ago.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by kendunn View Post
    I'm getting a little disappointed in my Echo. What little I have used it seems to cut well, but I've noticed the chain seems very dry, its using very little bar oil, and when I try to see if any oil flicks off the chain by holding the nose of the saw near a light colored something very little if any comes off. Reading the manual to see if there was an oil adjustment got a little flustered, in the ads they call it "58V professional grade cordless"...as you can see in one of my above posts I bought thinking it was indeed a pro caliber saw, but in the manual it states "light duty, occasional use only". Even though thats what I am planning on doing with it, that doesn't leave me very confident.
    The oiling on my greenworks is a bit wonky too, but it has not affected it's functioning, so I concluded that chain oiling is not that big of a deal. I give the chain a few shots of oil from an oilcan occasionally, esp the bar roller end. I've used maybe 6 chains so far and the guide bar still looks real good. Soo... don't sweat the oil. And yes, the cordless chainsaw is a whole new game, and the old players don't always do so well. Stihl might be the exception. The greenworks is brushless, has better battery tech, is tool-less, and still may be the best blend of function and price. Using a sharp pro pico chain (oregon 90px056g) is crucial too. I lightly file regularly to maintain the cutters, they are almost too small to grind so don't hit the ground too much.
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  23. #23
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    I have a 20v black & decker chainsaw, it is pretty much worthless, I would shop bigger voltages, 20v is too little for the width of material a chain has to remove. I imagine a sawzall would be a much better choice for small cuts, but a sharp handsaw is quite good for small cuts if you're not doing a whole lot of them. - I LOVE my 20v B&D hedge trimmers, fantastic for trail trimming, small enough to carry in a small backpack.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh_W View Post
    I love taking my 40v B&D into the ravine behind the house to murder giant invasive honeysuckle "trees." It's small enough to hike with but can handle cutting up some larger diameter deadfalls into firewood as well. My little gas powered Stihl hasn't been used since the B&D showed up under the Christmas tree a couple years ago.
    That honeysuckle - that's chinese honeysuckle, we're covered up with it here. The only way to actually kill it is dig it up. If you just cut it off it'll come back every time.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    That honeysuckle - that's chinese honeysuckle, we're covered up with it here. The only way to actually kill it is dig it up. If you just cut it off it'll come back every time.
    Yep - anything smaller than 2" I can usually pop out by the roots, but I'd need a backhoe for some of the clusters of 4-6" trunks I've cut. At least by cutting them down I give the native stuff a chance to catch up, and eventually I plan to go back with a drill and stump killer to finish them off.
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    I recently bought a 40V Ryobi at Home Depot. Iím impressed for the price. Itís not just quiet when cutting, its completely silent (and safe) when youíre not ... no idling. In hindsight thatís obvious, but when you actually experience it, itís a game-changer. My 18Ē Husky 61 has been untouched since the Ryobi came home with me, but Iím sure it will get used still.

  27. #27
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    Milwaukee has an electric saw I've been looking at. Since I already have batteries for their other power tools, and they will fit that saw...

    Anyone lay hands on that one yet?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Milwaukee has an electric saw I've been looking at. Since I already have batteries for their other power tools, and they will fit that saw...

    Anyone lay hands on that one yet?
    No, but the chain adjustment nuts are a hassle. Tool free chain adjustment is almost mandatory on these saws as they need frequent tension adjustment for super smooth cutting. The tiny chains don't a lot of tolerance for slack. I have a lot of M18 tools too, although you need the 15 amp battery for the chainsaw.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by dman_mb1 View Post
    I recently bought a 40V Ryobi at Home Depot. Iím impressed for the price. Itís not just quiet when cutting, its completely silent (and safe) when youíre not ... no idling. In hindsight thatís obvious, but when you actually experience it, itís a game-changer. My 18Ē Husky 61 has been untouched since the Ryobi came home with me, but Iím sure it will get used still.
    I looked at that one closely, wanted the Stihl arborist saw badly, but opted for the smaller 18V Ryobi unit in the end. It looks like it's not much more than a toy and it's not even sold in the chainsaw section at home depot, but I've had it out several times now and the damn thing is just so cool I had to write something about it. Most of my building material is maple, rather than cedar, and it's just too much work to cut with a bowsaw. But, in the middle of a large-ish metropolis with hundreds of home-owners within earshot, it's preferable to save my ms230 for clearing major blowdown (plus the nearby home-owners that walk their dogs really do appreciate that, unlike my structures).

    So, this little unit is so cheap it doesn't come with any sound level rating, but it's manageable without earmuffs, and has no trouble on a 4" maple which is about as big as I go for my building cuts. Best piece of kit I've bought in a long time. I already had Ryobi tools with other batteries, but this unit would be less of a deal if you had to buy extra batteries for it. And, on another cheap note, the bar oil compartment isn't actually sealed off, by design somehow though I don't quite know why. So, while the manual actually recommends to empty the oil between uses, that's just a hassle. I found that by limiting it to 3/4 full and then storing the unit standing upright on the handle, it keeps the oil from slowly seeping out through that opening whatever it is.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by kendunn View Post
    Its not just ebikes these days, battery chainsaws appear to be hitting their stride as well. I have a medium size saw, but thinking about getting an arborists saw I can toss in a backpack or for limbing. The 20v Craftsman is getting my attention as it ticks all the boxes-light, packable, fairly cheap, top handle. I was also considering the Tanaka arborists saw, but the battery is really appealing for 2 reasons, one is noise, the other is not have to start.

    Example, I was walking this old bench today that I want to add into a trail I have. I literally need to make a hundred little cuts to clear, and it just seems like not having to either let the gas idle or start is a big deal. Also I want to do some maintenance on NF trails and it seems the quiet would also be a huge plus. Hand saw would be OK, but would get old fast. Also I think it could handle the occasional 8-10 inch downed tree.

    I'm sure the little Tanaka would be a better saw all day every day, but this is two or three hours a couple of times a month. THoughts?
    Super happy with the Ego 16" saw. I have a bunch of other Ego tools so the batteries are interchangeable, which pushed me in their direction. It's relatively light (depends on which battery you put on it) and uses standard chains, bars, and oil.

  31. #31
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    So the last couple of weeks I've really put this saw to the test. There is an awesome trail in the NF near me that needs some major TLC. There was a couple of 18" oaks that I had to clear plus some smaller trees and it did fantastic. Then yesterday I meet up with a guy from a FB group and we teamed up to do more. He had the little Stihl top handle gas and me with my Echo battery. Lets just saw he had a little bit of saw envy. First off, I was getting most of the stuff cut before he could even get his started. Then we double teamed some bigger logs and I would be done before he would get halfway. Yes really. We cleared about 4 miles of trail in 4 hrs. and there was a bunch of stuff down, including big oaks one really mangled spot that require dozens of cuts in the top of a downed beech. Went through one and a half batteries. I don't think I want to tackle much more in a day anyways .

  32. #32
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    E-saws rule, the cool thing is you get a better work out than using a regular hand saw and its better for the environment because you burn less calories

    I always thought it was interesting that Kevlar protective chaps will stop a gas saw but electric saws have enough torque to keep going through them! Be careful out there, the electrics feel like a toy compared to a heavy gasser, but it's not.....

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by karthur View Post
    E-saws rule, the cool thing is you get a better work out than using a regular hand saw and its better for the environment because you burn less calories

    I always thought it was interesting that Kevlar protective chaps will stop a gas saw but electric saws have enough torque to keep going through them! Be careful out there, the electrics feel like a toy compared to a heavy gasser, but it's not.....
    I say the Kevlar has more to do with the electric not having (or needing) a clutch. Direct drive baby! Mine does have a protection feature if it gets bound up too bad it will shut off the motor for a couple of seconds. What I have to watch is lack of sound, you kinda forget its not running when you pull out

  34. #34
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    The protection salesman told me Kevlar works by jamming up the saw/choking it out and the electrics have too much torque and will keep cutting through it.

  35. #35
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    I find the quick start and stop really minimizes exposure to a moving chain, and the lack of noise and vibration make for good situational awareness. If proper sawing technique is practiced it's about as dangerous as a circular saw, impo. They will cut big trees though, do be aware of good falling and bucking practice.
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  36. #36
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    Another vote for battery saw. I have two and boy they have seriously paid for themselves easily. I have the 18" 80v and 16" 40v greenworks. Both have been through a lot of trees and I have cut a few 30"+ trees with some work as the obviously the blade cant make a single pass on the big boys. First time I used my 40v it impressed me big time as it went most of the day on one battery and made well over 100 cuts.
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