Why you should buy a cordless electric chainsaw!

A chainsaw is a versatile tool and cordless electric versions are becoming more powerful with longer battery lives. Editor Fergus Collins tests two versions in his garden

20th December 2016
Cordless chainsaw

It can be one of the most useful garden and forestry tools but the chainsaw can also be a daunting prospect when faced with the triple whammy of dealing with a powerful cutting device, mixing petrol and oil and and mastering a fair amount of technical adjustments. However, advanced battery technology mean that quiet, electric saws are worth considering for garden jobs and preparing firewood. They require far less technical knowledge than a petrol chainsaw and even fitting and tightening the chain has been made ultra simple. They're quieter too. Here are two that editor Fergus Collins tested on his land recently.

Ego chainsaw (RRP c£220 incl battery)

Ego cordless electric chainsaw
The Ego cordless electric chainsaw

It’s not a thing of beauty – looking very much the grey-green plastic construction that it is. But this is all about power – and that’s a good thing when you have a big stack of firewood to cut up or even a sizeable tree to take down.

 

Ease of use

It is a heavy beast – with a huge battery that you have to carefully slide in underneath the main body. It felt much heavier than my petrol powered Husqvarna and this would limit my ability to work for more than 15 minutes at a time. Fatigue is a major hazard when using chainsaws. The chain oil filler is small and very awkward to fill. The switch for removing the battery – a safety device – is not in the most obvious position. Removing or tightening the chain is very easy – not additional tools needed.

 

Noisiness

This is a noisy machine at 99db. I used ear defenders.

 

Cutting power

This has hefty power for a battery-powered chainsaw. I was able to cut through 8in tree trunks with ease. It didn’t struggle at all. It is designed to do the work of a moderate petrol powered saw.

Cut log
An easy cut for the Ego chainsaw

Battery charging and length of charge

I got a good 35 minutes of power from the EGO without any reduction in power. From one charge it cut double the quantity of logs compared to the Stihl – at least a week’s worth of wood for me. Charging the battery took time – and was very noisy as the battery itself has a cooling fan. There is a single light that is green when fully charged, orange when losing power and red when empty.

ego Chainsaw
A pile of logs cut by the Ego chainsaw in about 35 minutes – with still plenty of charge left. This pile should last me two weeks

Stihl (rrp c£230-250 incl battery)

Stihl cordless
Stihl cordless chainsaw in action

This has the traditional orange and white looks of the Stihl brand and is a sleek, trim piece of machinery. The battery is small and discrete.

 

Ease of use

Simplicity itself. Battery is small and fits neatly into the top of the body and there’s a simple switch for removing it, which is an excellent extra safety device along with the chain brake. It is very light and easy to wield. Tightening and removing the chain was simple – again, no additional tools needed. Chain oil refill is simple and easy as on a petrol saw with a generous opening to avoid unnecessary spillage of the expensive oil.

 

Noisiness

Very quiet – I didn’t need to wear ear defenders. You could use this in a city garden without upsetting the neighbours.

 

Cutting power

Supplied with a small 13in blade this is sufficient for cutting through logs up to 5in in diameter. It struggled and stalled on some larger logs that I tried.

Log thickness
Easily cuts logs up to 6 inches in diameter

Battery charging and length of charge

Four green lights show how much charge is left. Charging is silent and takes 2 hours. I got about 20-25 minutes cutting per charge, which was sufficient to create a decent pile of firewood (3-4 days burning).

PIle of cuts logs
The Stihl saw charge lasted for 20 minutes and cut this pile of logs – perhaps a week's burning for me.

 

Verdict:

Although both battery-powered, these saws do different jobs. The Stihl is perfect for the large garden and for preparing moderate amounts of firewood. It isn’t going to cut mature trees down but it will turn the branches into logs. Being lightweight, it can be used by anyone with moderate strength.

 

The EGO chainsaw is for bigger, tougher jobs and can fell larger trees. It’s heavy and much noiser so not ideal for the casual user. But its cutting power and long charge make it a good option instead of a small to medium petrol powered chainsaws.

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