If the guys commentating about quarterfinal matchups are called Sportscasters, what’s my title if I have the call for the tool version of the quarterfinals, a Toolcaster? I’ll have to think about that. In any event, over the last few weeks, I’ve been telling you a lot about our own Elite 8 – a shootout among eight battery-powered chainsaws. As you’ve read, some are more elite than others. Today we’ll profile the Oregon 40V Chainsaw to see if it has what it takes to take home the trophy.
The Oregon 40V Chainsaw is officially named the Oregon CS300-A6 Self Sharpening Chain Saw and it’s outfitted with a 4.0Ah battery. The battery pack needs to be charged for four hours. That’s a long time, well outside the variance of the competition. Of course, that’s with a fully depleted battery. However, if it makes efficient use of its power source, it might not be too much of an issue.
The saw uses the aggressive, hooked-tooth Oregon 91PS PowerSharp chain which works in conjunction with an onboard, semi-automatic tooth sharpener. A lever curves around on top of the saw to engage a sharpening stone that revives dull teeth without removing the chain. Since dull chains have a massive impact on cut speed, it’s a great system to have onboard.
The PowerSharp chain is so aggressive that it’s just not appropriate for harder woods, so substitute an Oregon 91 chain in those applications. Just be sure to note that you can’t use the sharpening system with it.
It’s good to see some steel bucking spikes! Most of the saws in this shootout have insubstantial, plastic bucking spikes that really don’t help with vertical cuts at all. Although the Oregon’s steel spikes aren’t nearly as substantial as those found on most gas-powered chainsaws, it’s better than flimsy nubs by a long shot.
Although there isn’t a substantial trigger safety (it’s a simple push button on the side that’s easy to grasp with one hand and your thumb), it does have a brake alarm that beeps after the brake is activated or when both the brake and trigger are activated.
The bar adjustment is conveniently tool-free. It doesn’t have the holding power of a two bolt system, but I find that it’s really a preference issue that varies from user to user.
Quit Stallin’ Y’all
I “fired” up the Oregon and started chewing through some logs. For a full description of the testing methods, be sure to check out the shootout. I put Oregon’s chainsaw and its colleagues through a series of tests for speed and runtime.
The most natural cutting grip is the bucking grip – where you make vertical cuts to a horizontal log. You rock – or buck – the saw back and forth as you go. This is where the bucking spikes are supposed to bite into the log to allow leverage and control during the cut. Even though the Oregon 40V Chainsaw has promising metal bucking spikes, I found that they didn’t quite engage the log effectively.
Given the ergonomics of the design, I rate the Oregon’s bucking grip Good – one step down from the best. Likewise, the felling grip – used when making a horizontal cut to a tree to fell it – rates Good as well. This deficiency is mainly due to the saw’s rear handle which didn’t have a rubberized overmold. It’s tough to have a secure grip in the trigger hand without one.
All of the saws in our shootout have an oil level window, but the window on the Oregon 40V Chainsaw is too small to be effective.
The saw cut through an 8-inch pine log in 9.94 seconds and made 47 cuts on its 4.0 amp battery. With 0.33 cuts per watt-hour, it never made it to the top half of any of our performance metrics.
Not only did its performance rank it in the bottom half of the competition, it stalls pretty easily. On other cordless chainsaws, you can typically hear the motor’s RPMs slow under load, but not so with the Oregon. It stalled so often that stalling became the norm rather than the exception. Oregon specifies that the saw is only capable of cutting 2- to 3-inch branches, but for the price and specs, we expect a saw in this class to do more. In the end, it fell to 6th place out of our eight competitors.
The Bottom Line
The Oregon 40V Chainsaw is spec’d with the Oregon 91PS PowerSharp chain and a 4.0 amp hour battery that needs to be charged for an interminable 4 hours. On the upside, it’s among the lightest of the saws at 13 pounds with the battery, has steel bucking spikes, an onboard tooth sharpening system (for the 91PS chain only), a brake alarm, and a tool-free bar adjustment.
Unfortunately for this chainsaw, those redeeming features couldn’t overcome its general performance in the group. Both bucking and felling grips rate only Good, it lacks a rubber grip for security in the hand, the oil view window allows very little visibility, the bucking spikes are difficult to engage, but worst of all the chainsaw constantly stalled. Oregon’s manual says that it’s capable of branches 2- to 3-inches in diameter, but that really makes it out of its depth in relation to its peers at this price point.
The Oregon cordless chainsaw is going to be best suited for property owners looking to do some tree maintenance rather than the storm cleanup or felling that other saws in this class are considered for. For now, the latest cordless chainsaws have left the Oregon CS300 behind.
Oregon 40V Chainsaw Features
- Brushless motor technology
- 16 in. (40cm) bar
- Instant start
- PowerSharp system sharpens on the saw
- PowerSharp 3/8-inch, low profile 0.050-inch gauge chain
- Tool-less chain tension system
- Total weight with battery is 12 pounds
- 4.0 Ah battery pack charges in approximately 240 minutes