Why Use a Battery-Powered Chainsaw? News & Opinion

Why Use a Battery-Powered Chainsaw?


So why use a battery-powered chainsaw over gas or corded models? There are several key reasons why these unconventional OPE tools are on the rise. Chiefly, new noise ordinances are driving Pros to integrate new battery-powered blowers, trimmers, and mowers into their workflow. Other reasons include the fact that battery-driven outdoor power tools are often easier, cleaner, and quieter to use than similar 2-cycle or gasoline products. That might make sense for you—and it might not. We’ll go over the reasons in detail so you can make an informed decision

Aside from noise, obvious health risks also exist when handling petrochemicals, breathing toxic exhaust fumes, and engaging in prolonged exposure to loud engine noise. This goes triple for those using tools all day long, five days a week. And, while clean-running corded tool options exist, dragging a power cord around severely compromises how you move around as you work.

Both Pros and DIYers alike are used to the convenience and simplicity of cordless tools for every other task so why not outdoors as well?

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Why Use a Battery Powered Chainsaw?

Less Engine Maintenance than 2-Cycle or Gas

Small engines are notoriously finicky and often require lots of expensive maintenance over the years. This goes double if you make the common mistake of leaving fuel in them over the winter. For the average consumer, dealing with transporting, mixing, and storing gasoline is hazardous. It also involves more time and energy compared to popping a battery into a tool. Obviously, winterizing your equipment can alleviate problems, but over time, 2-cycle engines simply have more parts to wear out.

Why Use a Battery-Powered Chainsaw?

Safer Cutting When Up High

One of the most overlooked advantages of using a battery-powered chainsaw over 2-cycle involves what happens when you’re in a tree or a lift. Typically, to communicate with your man on the ground, you must turn off the chainsaw. That also means you need to pull-start it again while at height—not a recommended practice, but often necessary. With a battery-powered chainsaw, 100% of the noise output stops when you let go of the trigger. Want to give instructions to your man on the ground? Just stop cutting and talk.

Excellent power-to-weight ratios exist on some of the newer top-handle cordless chainsaws like the Makita XCU02PT top handle chainsaw and the Greenworks GS 110 chainsaw. This changes the game for arborists who want to tactically integrate these battery-powered saws into their workflow.

What About the High Upfront Cost?

Tools with fuel have the edge on runtime and may remain a necessity for long workdays unless you have enough batteries to cycle. And that can be an expensive investment. If a battery-powered toolkit seems to cost more than gas, a dealer I spoke to put it in perspective. According to him, you can figure that you’re paying all of your fuel costs up front. You’re probably also saving all of your yearly tune-up expenses. Over time, you can probably plan on 3-years of operation before having to do significant maintenance on a battery-powered tool and/or replace the batteries.

Paying for the electricity to charge batteries almost seems negligible compared to the price of gallons of fuel. If you can choose products that give you the run-time you need, or even integrate solar charging into the equation, you may find that you can save a significant amount on operating costs over those three years.

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Gateway Tools

Of course, manufacturers hope that buyers invest in more than one of their tools. Once you have a charger and batteries, buying bare tools after that could mean significant savings over the 2-cycle competition. It’s easy to see the utility of starting out with a cordless string trimmer, then adding a chain saw, blower, etc, that can share the same battery packs.

EGO backpack blower blowing

The Bottom Line

Why use a battery-powered chainsaw?

At the end of the day, it comes down to less noise and more convenience. We also cannot ignore reduced maintenance and no exposure to petrochemicals. While you may pay more upfront, you stand to gain some cost savings. All-but eliminating fuel, oil, and potential repair/maintenance charges adds up quickly. There are more powerful chainsaws with larger bars in the gas realm, but cordless is maturing. We fell it has now reached a point where it’s a legitimate option for both property owners and Pros.

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Jonathan Lauer
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Jonathan Lauer

My biggest reason, not mentioned here, is the beauty of instant on and off when limbing a cut tree. Limbing is normally the bulk of the work of cutting down and disposing of a tree. The work consists of cutting, removing, accessing the next limb, cutting, removing, accessing the next limb, etc. With a fuel powered saw, you either leave the saw idling the whole time you are not actively sawing (while burning fuel, smelling, making noise, etc.) or you turn it on and off over and over again– pulling the rip cord over and over again. The battery saw… Read more »

Rick C
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Rick C

You should examine the dangers of battery-powered chainsaws and chainsaw chaps. Chainsaw chaps are designed to stop gas-powered saws but cannot handle electric saws.