The 8 Best Electric Chainsaws for Trimming Limbs and Pruning Landscaping

Our top choice is the Greenworks 40V 16-Inch Brushless Cordless Chainsaw.

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Chain Saw
Courtesy of Amazon

Whether you need to remove a dead limb or a branch that's getting too close to your garden shed, trimming your property's trees keeps your yard safe and tidy, and an electric chainsaw is a great tool for the task.

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 Greenworks G-MAX 40V Cordless Chainsaw

Chainsaw

Greenworks

Why You Should Get It: It also has 70 percent fewer vibrations than the average chainsaw, making it more comfortable to operate.

Keep in Mind: If you want to have an extra battery on hand, be prepared to pay nearly the cost of another chainsaw.

We chose the Greenworks 40V 16-Inch Brushless Cordless Chainsaw as the overall best electric chainsaw because of its power, runtime, and motor life. This cordless chainsaw was designed with a brushless motor for double the torque of brushed motor options. It offers more operator comfort than gas chainsaws, too, thanks to 70 percent fewer vibrations, which also reduces noise levels. Its 16-inch bar and chain, coupled with the 40-volt motor, can handle cutting trees or branches as thick as 15 inches in diameter.

To keep operators safe, this cordless chainsaw comes with an electric chain brake to stop the chain from circling and a low kickback chain to keep users safe in case of kickback, which is when the chain gets stuck or pinched while cutting an object and the chainsaw is thrown back at the operator.

At just over 10 pounds with the battery included, it's one of the lighter options on the list as well.

For added convenience, the chainsaw comes with an automatic oiler to keep the chain maintained and a chain tensioner that doesn't require a tool.

Keep in mind that if you want an extra Greenworks 4-amp hour battery, it will cost you around $120. It may be more cost effective to purchase another Greenworks tool that includes a battery.

Price at time of publish: $134

Product Details:

  • Corded or cordless: Cordless
  • Power: 40 volts
  • Battery: 4 amp hours
  • Weight: 10.36 pounds
  • Bar length: 16 inches

Best Cordless: Makita Cordless Chain Saw Kit

Chainsaw

Makita

Why You Should Get It: You can choose a kit with either 4-amp hour or 5-amp hour batteries, depending on your battery capacity needs.

Keep in Mind: This saw is on the heavier side.

If you're planning to cut down small trees that aren't near an electrical outlet, this 16-inch cordless chainsaw kit is our choice for the best cordless electric chainsaw. The chainsaw's brushless motor is comparable to a gas-powered 32cc saw's efficiency, and you can adjust the chain speed to help cut through a range of tree sizes. It's also resistant to dust and water, letting you work in a variety of weather conditions.

Safety features include a lever to keep users from inadvertently engaging the chain and auto-shutdown when the saw hasn't been in use, which is great for both safety and preserving battery life. The battery also contains power management to prevent overloading, over-discharging, and overheating, which will extend the life of the battery overall. We also like that you can choose your battery power. The 5Ah kit should provide a bit more usage time than the 4Ah, so bear this in mind if you have a project that might require more cutting time.

Keep in mind that this chainsaw is on the heavier side and could cause fatigue if you'll be using it for extended periods of time.

Price at time of publish: $356

Product Details:

  • Corded or cordless: Cordless
  • Power: 36 volts
  • Battery: Choice of two 4- or 5-amp hour batteries
  • Weight: 18.56 pounds
  • Bar length: 16 inches

Best Corded: Oregon Self-Sharpening Corded Electric Chainsaw

Chainsaw

Oregon

Why You Should Get It: This corded chainsaw has a built-in sharpening stone, so you won't have to manually sharpen the chain.

Keep in Mind: The manufacturer recommends priming the auto oiler with the bar and chain removed before you use the chainsaw.

If most of your work is reachable with an extension cord, a corded model is an affordable electric option that doesn't require you to wait for batteries to recharge. Oregon's CS1500 18-Inch Corded Electric Chainsaw is our choice for the best corded chainsaw.

The tool has a built-in sharpening stone that allows you to sharpen the chain in three to five seconds without the need for manual filing. The convenience of a self-sharpening chainsaw allows you to more easily keep the chain sharp, thereby extending the life of the engine, improving the quality of the cut, and increasing the safety of the tool itself.

It comes with a chain brake and a lower kickback for enhanced safety as well as tool-less tension adjustment feature so users can easily adjust the chain's tension without a trip to the toolbox. The automatic oiling system also makes this chainsaw a low-maintenance choice. Just keep in mind that the manufacturer recommends that you prime the automatic oiler with the bar and chain removed before you fire your chainsaw up for the first time.

Price at time of publish: $115

Product Details:

  • Corded or cordless: Corded
  • Power: 15 amps
  • Battery: N/A
  • Weight: 12.6 pounds
  • Bar length: 18 inches

Related: The 8 Best Weed Whackers for a Tidy, Weed-Free Lawn

Best 18-Inch: Worx Corded Electric Chainsaw

Chainsaw

Worx

Why You Should Get It: At only 11.3 pounds, this chainsaw is lightweight while also having a long bar length.

Keep in Mind: This chainsaw may go through more chain oil than other chainsaws on the market.

Cutting logs from thick, felled trees requires a larger chainsaw. This 18-inch option from Worx combines with a 15-amp motor to cut through large pieces of wood. Plus, it's lightweight—11.3 pounds—for having such a long bar length. The fact that it's corded does limit its range, but that won't impact your work much if your goal is to find a chainsaw to cut logs near your home or shop to stockpile firewood.

The chainsaw comes with auto tension, which means you won't accidentally tighten the chain too much (or too little). Its automatic oiling system is a low-maintenance feature, too, though you'll want to check the oil window and fill it as needed since this chainsaw may use more chain oil than other models on this list.

Safety features include a chain brake that halts the chain almost immediately in case of kickback. The chainsaw also comes with a rubberized handle that's designed for both ergonomics and safety, allowing you to maintain a tight grip even when it's damp outside.

Product Details:

  • Corded or cordless: Corded
  • Power: 15 amps
  • Battery: N/A
  • Weight: 11.3 pounds
  • Bar length: 18 inches

Related: The 8 Best Electric Lawn Mowers for Easy and Efficient Mowing

Best Pole-Style: Sun Joe SWJ807E 2-in-1 10-Inch Electric Pole Chainsaw

10-Inch Pole Saw

Sun Joe

Why You Should Get It: This two-in-one saw can be used as both a pole saw and a handheld saw, making it a versatile choice.

Keep in Mind: It weighs 12 pounds, which may feel heavy to some when using it as a telescoping pole saw.

When trimming tree branches, a pole-style chainsaw can be a handy option. This two-in-one convertible electric option from Sun Joe has an extendable pole. It telescopes from 8.8 feet to 15 feet, which allows you to reach higher branches that need to be trimmed.

Once the branch is safely trimmed, the saw can be converted into a handheld chainsaw to cut the branch into logs for added versatility.

The chainsaw comes with an automatic lubrication system—no need to mess with a bottle of chain oil besides when filling the chainsaw's reservoir—and it has an easy push-button start. It also has a safety switch to help stop unintentional starts. A scabbard for the bar is included to safely store the chainsaw and protect the chain.

Weighing in at 12 pounds with the pole, this chainsaw may feel heavy when using it as a pole saw for trimming tall trees, but we believe its versatility balances out its heavier weight.

Price at time of publish: $119

Product Details:

  • Corded or cordless: Corded
  • Power: 8 amps
  • Battery: N/A
  • Weight: 8.4 pounds, 12 pounds with the pole attached
  • Bar length: 10 inches

Related: The 8 Best Pressure Washers For Every Outdoor Cleaning Job

Best Small: Ryobi One+ 18V 8in. Cordless Battery Pruning Chainsaw

Ryobi One+ Cordless Battery Pruning Chainsaw
Ryobi One+ Cordless Battery Pruning Chainsaw.

Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: This chainsaw doesn't require chain oil, so there's one less maintenance need to worry about.

Keep in Mind: You'll need to adjust the chain tension with a wrench.

Frequent campers or those with multiple small projects in the yard may want to consider this smaller chainsaw. With a bar length of just 8 inches and an 18-volt battery, it works nicely for pruning landscaping in tight spaces.

It's also just 6.2 pounds, making it the perfect size for campers to pack along for cutting firewood to cook over a campfire.

The chainsaw doesn't require chain oil, making this a lower-maintenance choice. Though it does require you to adjust the chain with a wrench, there is a storage area within the chainsaw to ensure you won't misplace the tool.

This portable 18-volt chainsaw comes with one 2-amp hour battery as well as a charger. While this battery size won't provide long-lasting power before it needs a charge, it should be enough for smaller pruning jobs, and it allows the saw to be lightweight. The tool also comes with a three-year limited warranty for peace of mind.

Price at time of publish: $129

Product Details:

  • Corded or cordless: Cordless
  • Power: 18 volts
  • Battery: 2 amp hours
  • Weight: 6.2 pounds
  • Bar length: 8 inches

Related: The 9 Best Wheelbarrows for All of Your Home and Gardening Needs

Best Heavy-Duty: Makita UC4051A 16-Inch Electric Chain Saw

4.5
Makita UC4051A Electric Chain Saw, 16"
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

Why You Should Get It: This chainsaw is built for cutting quickly and efficiently with a motor capable of running up to 2,900 feet per minute.

Keep in Mind: You'll need to assemble the bar and chain before use.

Heavy-duty projects call for a heavy-duty chainsaw. This corded option from Makita has a 16-inch bar and a 14.5-amp motor that can run the chain up to 2,900 FPM (feet per minute) for more intense cutting jobs, like cutting firewood from larger felled trees. To balance that power, the chainsaw includes a current limiter to protect it from burnout in case it becomes overloaded, extending the life of the motor.

Two rubber handles let you maintain a secure grip, even when the weather is humid, and a chain brake protects the user in case of kickback. Additional safety features include a front hand guard to deflect debris and a lock button to keep users from unintentionally starting the tool.

This chainsaw also has an automatic chain oiler to keep the chain running smoothly as you cut as well as a tool-less tension adjustment for the chain. You'll just need to pick up an extension cord and assemble the bar and chain before you use this chainsaw.

Price at time of publish: $438

Product Details:

  • Corded or cordless: Corded
  • Power: 14.5 amps
  • Battery: N/A
  • Weight: 12.3 pounds
  • Bar length: 16 inches

Best Lightweight: Makita XCU06Z 18V 10-inch Cordless Top Handle Chainsaw

Makita XCU06Z 10-inch cordless top handle chainsaw
Makita XCU06Z 10-inch cordless top handle chainsaw.

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This chainsaw is lightweight for easy carrying, weighing only 7.2 pounds with the battery.

Keep in Mind: The battery doesn't come with the chainsaw, so you'll need to purchase one at an additional cost.

Weighing in at just 7.2 pounds including the battery, this Makita cordless chainsaw is easy to carry around your property, and you're less likely to experience arm fatigue while using it compared to heavier models.

The chainsaw features 18 volts of power and a rubberized top handle for a comfortable grip. The brushless motor offers increased efficiency that's comparable to gas-powered chainsaws in its class, allowing it to reach a chain speed of up to 4,720 feet per minute. The automatic chain lubrication system can be adjusted, and it has a sizable oil holding reserve.

The saw also has a lock-off safety feature to keep the chain from unintentionally activating, and a computer mechanist to keep the saw from overheating or overloading.

With a bar length of 10 inches, keep in mind that this chainsaw is best for light use. "The battery will likely not last very long before it needs charging but it would be ideal for small-scale pruning or cutting down a few bushes or small trees once in a while," Akins says.

It's also worth noting that the battery does not come with the chainsaw, so you'll have to purchase one separately.

Price at time of publish: $205

Product Details:

  • Corded or cordless: Cordless
  • Power: 18 volts
  • Battery: Not included
  • Weight: 7.2 pounds
  • Bar length: 10 inches

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.

Weight

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.

Safety

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.

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