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Mark J

Cordless Chainsaws

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OK, disclaimer, I know nothing about chain saws other than a couple of grizzly injuries I have seen. 

As a turner I frequently get invited to "feast" on fallen trees--think wood vultures.  Although I'm not a fan of turning wet wood there have been some opportunities that I was sorry to miss.  Still I'm not willing to go gas powered and there isn't always a convenient outlet for an electric, so what do you all think about cordless battery powered chainsaws?  I was surprised to discover that this is a thing:

https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/tools/reviews/g1649/which-battery-powered-chainsaw-should-you-buy/

Some of these have 16" bars which might be a serviceable length.  What could you do with that?  I would want to cut up sizeable limbs and trunks say 24-28" diameter.  

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I have a small stihl gas and I'd bet the battery powered saw is capable.

The dewalt is one to stay away from there are numerous reports of the bar bot being attached to the saw well at all. It also leaves me hesitant on ALL of the toolless bar chainsaws. With the dewalt being #2 it leavse me wondering the accuracy of that review and if they even pushed the saws at all.

My trouble with the battery powered saws is they are freggin expensive. For something that is going to get little use i have good luck with 2 smoke engines and would be hard pressed to jump into the expensive world of batteries. Getting a cheap $75 saw and draining the gas tank and running it out of gas after every use would leave it lasting a LONG time. Even if it only lasts 4 years money wise your going to be ahead. Batteries need maintenance as well primarily to be kept charged so they don't drop down too far. It's not a huge concern but still is a thing. I'd probably only get a battery saw if it used batteries that already fit into my cordless tools.

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Electric/battery powered chainsaws have come a long way. They still have a way to go before they will be the choice for pros, but for occasional use like your case, they are probably a very good option. I even saw an 18” bar on the list. Reviews I have seen for some of these saws were very favorable. 

Regardless of type of chainsaw, be sure to educate yourself of kickback and safe cutting practices, and invest in proper PPE. The nature of chainsaws doesn’t tend to result in ‘small’ injuries. 

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Lowe's carries a Kobalt saw with 18" bar and 80v battery. I think it is the same battery in the Kobalt lawn mower. I don't have the 80v stuff, but I'm very impressed with the 24v tools from Kobalt.

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Sizeable limbs probably.  24 to 28" trunks-not going to happen.   There are some good battery saws that a few pros are using for climbing saws for working up in trees with.  You can hang any length bar on any saw.  Bar length doesn't tell you much.

 

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A couple of years ago, there was an article in a hunting magazine testing a cordless chainsaw to clear shooting lanes for hunting from a tree stand. Can't remember the brand tested but it got high marks. Sorry for the lapse in memory.

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My only experience with an electric chain saw is a $50 plug in Homelite I bought at Home Depot.   It was crap.    It worked for my purposes of cutting up small limbs and landscape timbers, but it really didn't have much power.

 

 

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18 hours ago, Mark J said:

So what are the features to look for in a chain saw?

A mtn man’s size chainsaw!  :P

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I much prefer the two nuts for attaching the bar with a separate tensioning screw. I've never used one of those tension-chain-and-secure-bar-in-one thingies that hasn't been more of a hassle and that works well. It's been a few years since I've really worked with chainsaws, but at the time even the ones on the Stihl gas saws were terrible.

If you have other cordless power tools that use the same battery system, that would be a big benefit.

I'm sure someone has done a comprehensive test and comparison between many of the options. With battery tech it's hard to judge the power based on voltage.

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I actually like the built in chain tensioner on the 180 (32cc saw).   I wouldn't want it on a larger saw, but that little chain strecthes out so much, when starting using a new one, that it often needs tightening between fill-ups, and the built in system lets me do it without walking back to where I left the oil/gas/file/etc.  You do have to crank on the flippy handle, but I don't ever remember it slipping.

I keep a 24" bar on the 036 (60cc), but it's just to keep from having to bend over as much.  I'd never cut a 24" tree with it.  It would do it, but would be kind of slow, and even though it's a pro saw, I don't like to work them hard.  The 036 is 20 years old, and the hot rod 066 (90cc) is older than that.  They both start, and run like new ones.  The 90cc saw is a good size for cutting 2' stuff.

The little 180 gets used the most, for grab and go small stuff, and trimming.  It's just a homeowner grade saw, whereas the other two are pro saws.  Pro saws are built to last running all day, every day, and are easy to work on.  The homeowner saws are mostly just use till they quit, and toss.  They will do a lot of work though, but I wouldn't expect one to last 20 years.

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Well, at least with a cordless saw you can't put chain oil in the fuel tank.  (Not that I know anyone who's ever done something that boneheaded.)

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5 hours ago, Pondhockey said:

Well, at least with a cordless saw you can't put chain oil in the fuel tank.  (Not that I know anyone who's ever done something that boneheaded.)

Or have a neighbor 'help' and fill it with gas. with straight gas. 

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8 hours ago, Pondhockey said:

Well, at least with a cordless saw you can't put chain oil in the fuel tank.  (Not that I know anyone who's ever done something that boneheaded.)

 

2 hours ago, Jfitz said:

Or have a neighbor 'help' and fill it with gas. with straight gas. 

Sounds like two bad days!

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13 hours ago, Pondhockey said:

Well, at least with a cordless saw you can't put chain oil in the fuel tank.  (Not that I know anyone who's ever done something that boneheaded.)

When I worked at a hardware store, we had people bring saws in all the time where they had done this. And gas in the oil tank. 

7 hours ago, Jfitz said:

Or have a neighbor 'help' and fill it with gas. with straight gas. 

Always send your gas can with the equipment when you lend it out, or directly instruct them to not fill the tank (bring it back for more gas if needed). 

 

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Another option is a power inverter for your car so you can power up an electric chainsaw or even a circular saw. I think a 2000 watt unit is about $ 150 or even less.

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9 hours ago, Jfitz said:

Or have a neighbor 'help' and fill it with gas. with straight gas. 

I once almost got tripped up by a farmer that stored diesel fuel in a red can because it's what he had on hand.... when i heckled him about it i believe the response was something "Well you appear to know the difference in smell so why does it matter?"

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Here is a recent discussion on the Forestryforum about battery powered saws:   http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=106727.0

also, to see one in action, skip to about 3:30 in this video:      If we didn't burn 10 to 15 gallons of non-ethanol here each week, I would like to have one of these, but with the right one for any job close at hand, it's not worth putting anything into one

 

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6 hours ago, JohnG said:

Always send your gas can with the equipment when you lend it out, or directly instruct them to not fill the tank (bring it back for more gas if needed). 

 

it was somewhat my fault.  i had my chipper (gas) and chainsaw (mixed gas) over at a neighbors and someone must have taken the initiative while I was fixing the chipper.  shrug.  

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If someone wants to borrow a chainsaw, I go in that shop, and come out with the 066 with 42" bar running, and revving.  I say, "This one is running good."  It's ported, and has muffler mods, so it's really loud. Cut off, with the end of the bar on the deck, the end of the handle is about to the top of my shoulder.  So far, not one person has not backed up, thrown their hands up in the air, with wide eyes, and always left without a chainsaw.
 

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Maybe I need to do that with my beer. Buy throwdown stuff that nobody likes and put that in the front and serve it to the neighbors when they come over empty handed. 

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7 hours ago, Tom King said:

Here is a recent discussion on the Forestryforum about battery powered saws:   http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=106727.0

also, to see one in action, skip to about 3:30 in this video:      If we didn't burn 10 to 15 gallons of non-ethanol here each week, I would like to have one of these, but with the right one for any job close at hand, it's not worth putting anything into one

 

I'm pretty impressed with that Stihl and the 20" oak.  I don't know much about chainsaws, but even I thought it was a slow cut.  But it did get to other side of the log, and that's the key point.  

I'm not running out to buy a chainsaw right now, but I would give something like that a try.  

8 hours ago, Immortan D said:

Another option is a power inverter for your car so you can power up an electric chainsaw or even a circular saw. I think a 2000 watt unit is about $ 150 or even less.

That's an option, but with urban trees  you can't always get your vehicle that close.  It's worth considering, though.

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