Author Topic: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?  (Read 972 times)

harvestbook

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Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« on: January 29, 2019, 07:20:06 PM »
I have been buying firewood the last few years but have a lot of felled trees on neighboring properties at the moment. I have a gas saw but suffer from tinnitus and the engine noise, even with double ear protection (plugs and safety muffs) causes my ears to ring for days. That's part of the reason I've been buying wood, but right now looks like a great window to stock up. If I can also get away from the hassles of gas mixes, cord yanking, and exhaust, then all the better.

I've researched cordless battery-operated chainsaws for a couple of days and results seem to vary, and I don't quite trust Amazon reviews alone. Anyone have experience with these? The most common complaints I see are oil leaks and low battery life. Thanks.

neo von retorch

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2019, 07:53:57 PM »
I have a little 20V Black&Decker 10" bar saw. It's OK for small branches and really soft wood. It's generally not going to cut it (no pun intended) for felled ash trees or other hardwood (or anything that makes for good firewood.) The motor is very quiet - so you just hear the noise of the saw, chain and cutting.

I do get the impression that the EGO 56V saw would, perhaps, be worth the trouble. They use a narrower kerf to offset the decrease in power compared to a good 50 cc gas saw, so you should be able to complete your cuts. But the batteries are very expensive... you might spend $300 on the saw, and $220+ on a spare battery. (I wouldn't bother with anything less than the 5A as the motor is designed to provide more power and a longer charge with the bigger batteries.) If you want the delicious 7.5A battery, you might spend another $360. But when the single battery runs out, you are done for the day. No grabbing a gas can and refueling.

Overall, not the most frugal, but considering the savings in firewood and the ears... perhaps it's worth it.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2019, 06:47:02 AM »
If you are not offended by rough language and and general shop talk crudeness . . . on youtube there is a fellow that goes by AVE that has completely taken apart both the DeWalt and Milwaukee cordless chainsaw explained a bit of how they are build and their good and bad point.

He is generally harsh on tools, but I find him somewhat entertaining to watch.

Car Jack

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2019, 07:30:22 AM »
I forest manage my property, so always have a couple Husqvarna chain saws.  I've looked over both Husky and Stihl saws and would tend to gravitate to one of them for battery powered saws.  They make "real" saws and doubt they'd compromise on battery powered ones.  I happen to have a local dealer who carries both (have a new Husky on order) and would go in and speak with someone knowledgeable about saws in general.  I know that if the things were toys, they'd tell me.

Battery saws with Lithium ion batteries would be more capable than corded saws because corded saws are limited to 12A (UL requirement) where Lithium ion batteries can supply far more power.

GreenEggs

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2019, 07:54:01 AM »
This doesn't address your needs, but I bought a Harbor Freight Lynxx cordless pole saw.  It's an excellent tool. It's not as agressive as the corded ones, but it still does a great job & the run time is impressive. 


I've been tempted to try the Lynxx cordless chainsaw, but I'd rather have a larger saw that's capable of handling large trees since I live in the woods & often carry a chainsaw for trail clearing on my ATV.


I don't know what the return policy is for any of these brands, but if they are returnable I'd give the Lynxx a try first since it's such an affordable model.  (about $140) 




Syonyk

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2019, 08:20:50 AM »
Have you considered either a quieter gas saw or better hearing protection?  I use a 30dB set of earplugs and a chainsaw helmet, and don't have any issues noise-wise - I can't hear much of anything.  If I wanted quieter, I could put on shooting protection and be even quieter.

The battery powered saws are mostly "homeowners who have occasional work to do" toys, more than serious chainsaws - or, at least, until you spend an awful lot more money on a gas saw.

I've got a Stihl MS171 and other than wishing I'd bought more saw, I have no complaints about it.  I'm a couple chains and a bar in (yes, I sharpen my chains, but I'm cutting up a bunch of piles of downed trees so there's more dirt/rock than I'd prefer), about a gallon and a half of premix through it... no complaints.  I did buy the premixed fuel instead of making it myself, because it's in more convenient little cans (and it effectively extended the factory warranty by quite a bit).  I'm coming up on done with the major cutting work, so it'll get pickled for occasional use, but I don't think a battery saw would handle heavy working.

JZinCO

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2019, 08:48:08 AM »
I have been buying firewood the last few years but have a lot of felled trees on neighboring properties at the moment. I have a gas saw but suffer from tinnitus and the engine noise, even with double ear protection (plugs and safety muffs) causes my ears to ring for days. That's part of the reason I've been buying wood, but right now looks like a great window to stock up. If I can also get away from the hassles of gas mixes, cord yanking, and exhaust, then all the better.

I've researched cordless battery-operated chainsaws for a couple of days and results seem to vary, and I don't quite trust Amazon reviews alone. Anyone have experience with these? The most common complaints I see are oil leaks and low battery life. Thanks.
I could never do even casual work with anything but a gas Stihl or Husky, ever. You're welcome to try with a cordless electric but make sure you know the return policy.
It sounds like the trees are already felled so I take you're just bucking? Crosscut might be faster than fiddling with an underpowered saw. Plus I'm sure that qualifies for mustachian badassity.

harvestbook

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2019, 08:54:21 AM »
Thanks for the feedback. There are a couple of guys up there cutting with a crosscut saw. From my research, the best-rated ones generally seem to be the EGO, the Echo, and DeWalt overall, in the $300+ range. The Greenworks is kind of the run-of-the-mill model around $187. I do have a smaller Poulan gas-powered saw. I guess I could try more intensive ear protection but even double layers doesn't seem to help. I'll just be cutting for myself--no pro woodcutting or anything. I'll probably try the Greenworks and see how I like it and then upgrade later on. If I get even a season;s worth of wood out of it, I'm coming out ahead.

Syonyk

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2019, 11:06:22 AM »
$300 buys an awful lot of a 20 year old with a chainsaw and a truck payment to make...

Lucky Penny Acres

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2019, 12:47:42 PM »
I have a Black and Decker 20V battery 10" chainsaw. It is pretty quiet when operating and when you let off the trigger, it stops completely and there is no idle noise. 

Battery life is a big issue if you really need to make a lot of cuts in a single day. I have something like 8 different 20V batteries that came with a variety of Black and and Decker tools. The smaller 1.5Ah batteries last only 1 or maybe 2 cuts of a decent sized hardwood tree. The 2.0Ah batteries can do around 2 or 3 cuts on decent sized hardwood before running out of charge.

I am just using it around my property so am rarely in any hurry so I can afford to cut the tree down one day, then cut it into pieces over many different days, recharging the full pile of batteries in between.

Fishindude

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2019, 12:54:26 PM »
Don't waste your money on an electric chain saw.   About all those are good for are trimming a few limbs around the yard, they don't have enough guts for any kind of firewood cutting.
If you're serious about doing it yourself and think you will do it in the future, buy a good Stihl or Husqvarna, 16"-18" saw plus a few extra chains, protective chaps and a loggers helmet with ear muffs and face shield.   Wear some foam plugs plus the muffs if too loud.   If logs have any size to them, you're going to need a way to split them too.

Stay away from the cheap homeowner grade Stihl, Poulan, Greenworks, Echo, etc., they will not hold up and don't cut nearly as good.   If you are against spending enough money to get a quality saw, and noise, etc. still bothers you, I'd seriously consider staying out of that type of work and paying someone else to do it or buy firewood.

Don't overlook renting the equipment a couple times to give yourself a feel for what is really involved and what type of equipment works and doesn't work.


neo von retorch

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2019, 12:58:11 PM »
Do not buy the GreenWorks. My neighbor did. He literally could not get work done. He was able to cut up some little pine trees, but he couldn't even begin to start cutting hardwood. He turned around and bought a Husqvarna 440e, which is OK but I much prefer my Husqvarna 450 which is a few bucks more. His 440e is prone to stalls.

BDWW

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2019, 01:09:07 PM »
It's really all about volume, the batteries just don't last all that long.
I have a 40V black and decker that I take camping. Generally just breaking down dead pine for the campfire, and I can do ~30 cuts of 4-6 inch lodgepole pine before a 2.0ah battery is dead.

Syonyk

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2019, 01:50:50 PM »
Stay away from the cheap homeowner grade Stihl, Poulan, Greenworks, Echo, etc., they will not hold up and don't cut nearly as good.   If you are against spending enough money to get a quality saw, and noise, etc. still bothers you, I'd seriously consider staying out of that type of work and paying someone else to do it or buy firewood.

Yeah, the 171 I have is definitely the light homeowner grade Stihl, and... it works, but I basically bought it to tear apart these piles of trees on our property, and I'm wishing I'd bought more saw.

If I were heating with wood and doing serious cutting, I'd absolutely want something larger and more powerful - mine will struggle in properly hard wood, even with a sharp chain.  It does it, but if I were cutting to heat, I'd want more saw.

I have a 40V black and decker that I take camping. Generally just breaking down dead pine for the campfire, and I can do ~30 cuts of 4-6 inch lodgepole pine before a 2.0ah battery is dead.

And pine cuts easy compared to good heating wood.

big_owl

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2019, 04:44:52 AM »
Thanks for the feedback. There are a couple of guys up there cutting with a crosscut saw. From my research, the best-rated ones generally seem to be the EGO, the Echo, and DeWalt overall, in the $300+ range. The Greenworks is kind of the run-of-the-mill model around $187. I do have a smaller Poulan gas-powered saw. I guess I could try more intensive ear protection but even double layers doesn't seem to help. I'll just be cutting for myself--no pro woodcutting or anything. I'll probably try the Greenworks and see how I like it and then upgrade later on. If I get even a season;s worth of wood out of it, I'm coming out ahead.

I have the EGO chainsaw and lawnmower, both of which I love.  The chainsaw is really quiet and handles everything I've done with it for yard duty.  I've never come close to wearing the battery down but I have the 5Ah and 8Ah battery to also work with the mower.  It's weird how much slower the chain spins on an electric saw vs. a gas.  Or at least it seems that way.  Still cuts plenty fast though. 

GreenEggs

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2019, 06:43:14 AM »
I wonder if the noise cancelling ear buds can help with your tinnitus?



Syonyk

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2019, 09:38:35 AM »
It's weird how much slower the chain spins on an electric saw vs. a gas.  Or at least it seems that way.  Still cuts plenty fast though.

More torque, less speed.  The chainsaw chaps I have for working flat out say, "These probably won't stop an electric chainsaw - designed for gas saws only."

GreenEggs

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2019, 08:17:25 PM »

I saw these in the grocery store today and thought of your hearing.  Have you tried either?








Prairie Stash

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2019, 07:35:27 AM »
$300 buys an awful lot of a 20 year old with a chainsaw and a truck payment to make...
+1

My 18 year old self is jumping at the chance. My younger self had a 046 Magnum and would make quick work of all your deadfall. A couple days and you would have wood for the year.

If you don't want to do it yourself please get it done for the fire protection. The best way to avoid forest fire damage is to clear deadfall (surface fuel) around the property. Its one of the cheapest ways to protect your house; since you basically break even once you tabulate the savings for firewood.

JLee

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2019, 08:32:02 AM »
I had a little 20v Black and Decker saw for a while. It was fine for small stuff but if you wanted to cut 8-10" hardwood log it'd have a rough time. I have a Dewalt Flexvolt saw now (60v) with a 16" bar and it's a beast. It'll chew through anything I've thrown at it.

JZinCO

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2019, 09:38:59 AM »
If you don't want to do it yourself please get it done for the fire protection. The best way to avoid forest fire damage is to clear deadfall (surface fuel) around the property. Its one of the cheapest ways to protect your house; since you basically break even once you tabulate the savings for firewood.

The vast vast majority of home ignitions are from direct flame impingement and firebrands. There isn't much you can do about reducing firebrands (can you thin forests 5 miles away?), but you can do things on the receiving end such as addressing your soffits, cleaning gutters and using asphalt or metal roofing. Direct flame impingement is also easy to address: don't have a fence connecting to the home, use appropriate landscaping, etc.
The coarse woody debris used for firewood do not affect fire spread or intensity. They will only have effects like soil heating because large diameter logs smolder for long periods of time.
If I lived in the wildland-urban interface, I would focus first and foremost on landscaping and home construction. Then I would create a defensible space around the home by thinning. I would not expect that to reduce home ignition, but to provide operational safety such that firefighters could defend the home. However I would not bank on that. Structural fire departments are designed to stop thousands of home fires over a year. They are not designed to stop thousands of home fires in a week; you cannot bank on fire suppression activities to save your home (though note that many insurance companies like Chubb do have private resources which will defend policy owners only).
Anyway that's another topic but firewood gathering != fuel hazard reduction
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 09:43:15 AM by JZinCO »

Prairie Stash

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2019, 03:08:33 PM »
If you don't want to do it yourself please get it done for the fire protection. The best way to avoid forest fire damage is to clear deadfall (surface fuel) around the property. Its one of the cheapest ways to protect your house; since you basically break even once you tabulate the savings for firewood.

The vast vast majority of home ignitions are from direct flame impingement and firebrands. There isn't much you can do about reducing firebrands (can you thin forests 5 miles away?), but you can do things on the receiving end such as addressing your soffits, cleaning gutters and using asphalt or metal roofing. Direct flame impingement is also easy to address: don't have a fence connecting to the home, use appropriate landscaping, etc.
The coarse woody debris used for firewood do not affect fire spread or intensity. They will only have effects like soil heating because large diameter logs smolder for long periods of time.
If I lived in the wildland-urban interface, I would focus first and foremost on landscaping and home construction. Then I would create a defensible space around the home by thinning. I would not expect that to reduce home ignition, but to provide operational safety such that firefighters could defend the home. However I would not bank on that. Structural fire departments are designed to stop thousands of home fires over a year. They are not designed to stop thousands of home fires in a week; you cannot bank on fire suppression activities to save your home (though note that many insurance companies like Chubb do have private resources which will defend policy owners only).
Anyway that's another topic but firewood gathering != fuel hazard reduction
Yes I can thin 5 miles away. I have done precisely that, for pay, for fire suppression purposes. I know you meant it to be rhetorical but I'm the exception.

I have also fought forest fires and witnessed the aftermath of a peat fire that started in the fall and burned down a house in the spring. The cause was traced to smouldering logs 1/2 mile away. It could have been prevented by removing fuel.

Your points about construction and landscape are all valid. Fire Smart (the program to reduce fire risk) addresses all of your points and more. They also adress vegetation managment, including thinning and clean up. When thinning I recommend homeowners remove the fallen debris, it reduces risk and allows them to continue thinning safely.

https://www.firesmartcanada.ca/what-is-firesmart/vegetation-management/

Fire Smart is a terrific program. It details steps that a community and an individual can undertake to reduce fire risk. As a homeowner your risk area extends to 100m, its not exactly onerous (5 miles is a stretch). Clearing up deadfall within 100m of your house isn't hard.

JZinCO

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2019, 03:44:58 PM »
...a peat fire that started in the fall and burned down a house in the spring. The cause was traced to smouldering logs 1/2 mile away. It could have been prevented by removing fuel.
Sure..a log is a receptive fuel. A single tree lightning strike is receptive. Litter is receptive. Duff is too. Fuels reduction will never prevent fires from occurring. Do you think that if it was litter or duff or single-tree fire burning in that location instead of a log that the home's risk was any different?

I was saying that the idea that logs increase risk of home ignition was misguided. The difference is that logs are unlikely to be directly adjacent to a home, unlike decks and fences AND that logs are below the vector of convective heat transport unlike canopy fuels so they don't generate ember washes. If you want to thin 5 mi away DO IT (seriously not enough landowners do). Pickin up sticks is wasting your time though.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 03:50:14 PM by JZinCO »

gavint

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2019, 06:07:47 AM »
I've got the Husqvarna Li536 top handle battery arborist's saw - it is an amazing piece of kit.  The battery lasts long enough to do most of a tree take-down, and has no problems going through all types of wood up to around 20 cm thick.  It does cost quite a bit though - the saw plus two batteries and a charger ran me around 900, but it has been so worth it.  It has also survived being dropped out of a tree.   

I've used the Stihl top handle battery saws too, they offer a finer cut, but are not as well balanced as the Husqvarna saw is. 

harvestbook

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2019, 12:57:14 PM »
Update: I bought the 16" Greenworks 40v 4-amp saw ($200 with tax on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DRBBRU6) . I used it once and it exceeded my expectations, cut about the equivalent of a small truckload of hardwood on one charge (lasted about an hour of continuous use.) The thickest piece I cut was 9" diameter oak. I believe it will work for what I need, and soon save over the $250 or so I was spending on firewood each year.

Unfortunately it didn't entirely protect on the tinnitus front, even with ear plugs and ear-protection muffs combined. I think part of it is the actual vibration of the saw. Still, it's much better than the gas saw. If my gas mower goes, I will get a Greenworks mower, too, since the family of tools works on the same battery. I will just have to space out the cuttings but I've got the time. Thanks for the input.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 01:00:47 PM by harvestbook »

Montecarlo

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2019, 01:09:59 PM »
I have a 80V greenworks saw I use to collect downed trees advertised on craigslist.  Only complaint is the 2ah battery.  I have a 4ah on order.  Between the two I should be able to easily collect $100 worth of hardwood on every run.  I've never used a gas saw so I can't compare, but I haven't had any issues at all.

Montecarlo

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Re: Experience with cordless electric chainsaws?
« Reply #26 on: February 10, 2019, 01:23:20 PM »
This was my latest haul on the 2ah battery.  Took about an hour to buck and load.  With the 4ah battery I'll be able to do 3x the haul.  Tree was already felled and limbed.  I just need it to collect some firewood, not doing anything too serious.

Will split and stack tomorrow.  Hoping to burn 2020-2021 winter.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 01:24:52 PM by Montecarlo »