The 8 Best Electric Chainsaws for Trimming Limbs and Pruning Landscaping
An electric chainsaw is usually quieter than a gas-powered option. It also doesn't require mixing oil and gas, so it's a lower-maintenance pick overall.
To help you find the best electric chainsaw for your property, we researched considerations like corded versus cordless, battery power and voltage, size, maintenance requirements, and safety features. We also talked with Robert Akins from Theyardable.com.
The Greenworks cordless chainsaw is our overall pick for best electric chainsaw because it's powerful, low maintenance, and comfortable to use thanks to its reduced vibrations.
Here are the best electric chainsaws.
- Best Overall: Greenworks 40V 16-Inch Brushless Cordless Chainsaw
- Best Cordless: Makita XCU04PT 36V LXT Brushless 16-Inch Chain Saw Kit
- Best Corded: Oregon CS1500 18-Inch 15-Amp Self-Sharpening Corded Electric Chainsaw
- Best 18-Inch: Worx 15-Amp 18-Inch Corded Electric Chainsaw
- Best Pole-Style: Sun Joe 2-in-1 10-Inch 8-Amp Electric Convertible Pole Chainsaw
- Best Small: Ryobi One+ 18V 8-Inch Cordless Battery Pruning Chainsaw
- Best Heavy-Duty: Makita 16-Inch 14.5-Amp Corded Electric Rear Handle Chainsaw
- Best Lightweight: Makita 10-Inch 18V LXT Brushless Cordless Top Handle Chainsaw
What We Recommend
Best Overall: Greenworks 40V 16-Inch Brushless Cordless Chainsaw
Best Cordless: Makita XCU04PT 36V LXT Brushless 16-Inch Chain Saw Kit
Best Corded: Oregon CS1500 18-Inch 15-Amp Self-Sharpening Corded Electric Chainsaw
Best 18-Inch: Worx 15-Amp 18-Inch Corded Electric Chainsaw
Best Pole-Style: Sun Joe 2-in-1 10-Inch 8-Amp Electric Convertible Pole Chainsaw
Best Small: Ryobi One+ 18V 8-Inch Cordless Battery Pruning Chainsaw
Best Heavy-Duty: Makita 16-Inch 14.5-Amp Corded Electric Rear Handle Chainsaw
Best Lightweight: Makita 10-Inch 18V LXT Brushless Cordless Top Handle Chainsaw
The Bottom Line
After comparing several options, the Greenworks 40V 16-Inch Brushless Cordless Chainsaw is our choice for the best electric chainsaw. It can cut through thick branches, comes with multiple safety features, and has an automatic bar oiling system to reduce time spent on maintenance.
What to Know About Electric Chainsaws Before Shopping
Corded vs. Cordless
With electric chainsaws, you can opt for cordless or corded models. Both types are quieter than gas-powered chainsaws and are lower maintenance, according to Akins. However, he notes that your range is more limited with corded chainsaws because you'll have to stay close to an outlet.
With cordless chainsaws, you'll have more range but less cutting time. The run time of a cordless chainsaw "depends on the capacity (amp hours) rating of the battery you are using," Akins says. "The greater the amperage hour rating, the longer it takes to drain the battery."
Generally speaking, you can expect to pay a bit more for a cordless chainsaw. To extend its run time, you can purchase additional batteries to swap in when one starts to get low on charge.
Keep in mind that electric chainsaws will have differences in weight based on the manufacturer as well as the overall model size, power capabilities, and battery size. Akins says electric chainsaws are typically "on the heavier side or around the same weight" as comparably equipped gas-powered saws.
Corded models tend to weigh less than cordless chainsaws because they don't include the weight of the battery.
If you plan to wield a chainsaw for hours at a time or you'll be hiking around your property with it, consider how heavy of a chainsaw you'll be able to handle for that period of time.
Power and Bar Length
Be sure to consider the chain size and power you'll need when selecting the best electric chainsaw for your property.
Akins says most cordless chainsaws use 18- or 20-volt batteries that have a 4- or 5-amp hour capacity. He notes this is usually sufficient for light-duty tasks such as occasional pruning. For heavier-duty work, like cutting down small- or medium-sized trees, he recommends at least 36 volts and an 8- to 10-amp hour capacity with a 14- to 16-inch bar.
When choosing a corded electric chainsaw, pay attention to amperages. Akins prefers corded chainsaws with at least a 12-amp motor and 14- to 16-inch bar but suggests at least 15 amps and a 16-inch bar for heavier duty projects like processing firewood.
Electric chainsaws may not be as loud as gas-powered models, but that doesn't mean they don't have some of the same safety risks. You still need to follow standard safety precautions, like wearing personal protective equipment.
Keeping up with maintenance, like oiling the bar, is another safety consideration. "Running the chainsaw without oil will overheat the bar and with no time, ruin it," Akins says. He notes that many chainsaw options do have an automatic bar oiling system, so be sure to look for this feature if you want a lower-maintenance chainsaw.
You may also want to consider whether a chainsaw has additional safety features, like a chain brake, safety switch, hand guard, and a tool-less chain adjustment.
Your Questions, Answered
Do electric chainsaws need oil?
Unless specifically noted by the manufacturer that it doesn't, almost all electric chainsaws do need oil, though it's used differently than in a gas-powered chainsaw. Electric chainsaws require oil for the chain and bar to keep things in good working condition. However, electric chainsaws don't run on gas, so you won't need to add a gas and oil blend as you might with gas-powered versions.
What are the benefits of an electric chainsaw?
Electric chainsaws are much quieter than gas-powered chainsaws. This is important for hearing safety but is also something to consider if you're using a chainsaw with neighbors nearby, Akins notes.
In addition, electric chainsaws can be started by pushing a button and require less maintenance overall. Akins points out they don't require mixing gas and oil, and you may be able to mix and match batteries of a cordless chainsaw with other power tools in the same brand.
Can you cut down a tree with an electric chainsaw?
"Absolutely. Electric chainsaws, especially battery-powered ones, can be used to cut down small- to medium-sized trees up to 12 inches in diameter," Akins says. However, he advises against using corded chainsaws for cutting down trees because the cord can quickly become a safety hazard.
Who We Are
This article was written by Brittany VanDerBill, a freelance lifestyle and travel writer whose work has been published with several Meredith brands. To create this list of the best electric chainsaws, she compared corded and cordless models, battery power and voltage, size, maintenance requirements, and safety features. She also talked with Robert Akins from Theyardable.com.