Electric Chainsaws - Any Good?

by John_Magee

Electric chainsaws have their drawbacks. Are they just toys or can they be used in the real world.

Here in Brisbane we recently had the tail end of a cyclone hit us. There was lots of rain and high winds. There was a bit of flooding and quite a few trees were blown over.
One in particular on my property was a large pine tree. If blew down towards the bottom of the house and looked like there was a large hedge at the bottom of our property.


My Ozito Chainsaw after a days work
My Ozito Chainsaw after a days work

Where is my Chainsaw?

I had been putting off moving the tree for a while as it was quite a git of work to move it.  At last I thought I had better do something about it and went to get my chainsaw to cut it up.  That’s when I remembered that I had lent my chainsaw to my uncle who was overseas on holidays.

Rather than wait for his return I decided to just go and buy another cheap chainsaw for the job.  The local hardware shop had the usual range of petrol chainsaw and they also had some electric chainsaws.  Since the tree was near to my house I was thinking an electric chainsaw was all I needed.  They Ryobi and Makita chainsaws looked pretty good.  They had a good size bar and a large motor.  They were priced between $110 - $130.

Boxed chainsaw


I'm Cheap!

I thought that I didn’t really need to spend that much on a chainsaw as it was only a spare saw until I got my real chainsaw back.  So I grabbed the $69 Ozito saw.  It was less powerful with a smaller bar, but I thought it would do.  It also had a 2 year warranty, so that is great.  If it blows up I can just get my money back.

Petrol Chainsaws

Husqvarna 450 18-Inch 50.2cc X-Torq 2-Cycle Gas Powered Chain Saw With Smart Start (CARB Compliant)

Exceptional Products For Exceptional Yards. Great yards demand equipment that's as dedicated and hardworking as you. Fortunately, the Husqvarna range of lawn and garden equipmen...

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Husqvarna 455 Rancher 20-Inch 55-1/2cc 2-Stroke Gas-Powered Chain Saw (CARB Compliant)

Includes 55.5cc Gas 20-in Rear Handle Chain Saw - 9650302-98

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Husqvarna 531300439 18-Inch H30-72 (95VP) Pixel Saw Chain, .325-Inch by .050-Inch

Exceptional Products For Exceptional Yards. Great yards demand equipment that's as dedicated and hardworking as you. Fortunately, the Husqvarna range of lawn and garden equipmen...

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Power Up!

So I get my cheap little chainsaw home and unpack it.  The chainsaw had to be assembled, but it was just the bar that had to be attached.  It is dead simple.  Just attach the chain and do up one nut to hold it all in place.  It has the same type of adjustment screw as a regular chainsaw.

The first thing you notice when using an electric chainsaw is the instant power.  There is no waiting for the engine to rev.  When you take your finger off the power the chain stops instantly so it is really power on or off instantly. 


Cutting with an electric chainsaw
Cutting with an electric chainsaw

Start with some small cutting

The first bits of cutting were small branches.  Most around 40mm – 60mm in diameter.  Well she just sliced through them.  There was no power issues with this small stuff.  It is faster to use this saw then a petrol model just because of the instant power.   I did not cut it all up at once.  I had to move it down to the bush at the bottom of the yard so it was a pretty slow process of moving all the branches as I was cutting them.  Anyone that has ever cut down a tree of any size knows there is a lot of branches in a large tree.

Tree cutting

Chainsaw cutting ltree
Chainsaw cutting ltree

Bigger Stuff

So all the branches were off.  It was time to cut up the trunk.   The trunk of this tree was not too big.  It had 4 main trunks starting from the base of the tree.  At the base they were around 300mm.  I started with the small ends of the tree at around 100mm.  The saw just flew through it without putting any pressure on it at all.  It was only pine by the way.  Nothing very hard.  As I moved down the trunk it was getting thicker but the saw never looked like stalling.  There was only one time it stalled due to the bar getting pinched.  For a small chainsaw it did a fantastic job.   The larger cuts towards the base of the tree were no different.  I used a bit of pressure on the larger cuts but the saw still didn’t look like stalling.  It just flew through job.

Remember "Doom" If only he had an electric chainsaw

Chainsaw Maintenance

I had to tighten the chain about half way through.  This is normal with any chainsaw as the chains stretch when they are new.  Tightening the chain just requires the main bar nut being loosened and the adjustment screw turned to tighten the chain, then retightening of the main bar nut.

The saw has an automatic oiler.  I filled the oil bottle when I started and had to refill it half way through.  It put just the right amount of oil on the chain.  You could see there was a liberal supply, but it was definitely not too much.  No oil ever flicked off or stained the timber.

Electric Chainsaws

WORX WG303.1 16-Inch Chain Saw, 3.5 HP 14.5 Amp

The WORX 16-Inch 3.5 HP 14.5 Amp chainsaw is a cut above the rest. The WORX exclusive, patented tool-free chain replacement and auto-tensioning system eliminates the headaches f...

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Remington RM1425 Limb N Trim 8 Amp 14- Inch Electric Chainsaw

Designed to cut small limbs and saplings, the Remington RM1425 Limb N Trim electric chainsaw provides rugged construction and user-friendly features. The Limb N Trim is equipped...

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BLACK+DECKER CS1518 15-Amp Corded Chainsaw, 18-Inch

The Black & Decker CS1518 15amp 18" Corded Chainsaw offers a 15 Amp powerful motor for large branches and demanding cuts. This chain saw has an 18" Oregon low-kickback bar and c...

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Is it worth it?

If it was cutting harder timber I don’t think there would be too many problems.  As long as the chain is kept sharp it should cut through anything you put in front of it. The bar is not that big.  Only 355mm.  It is not designed for large jobs.  Only clearing small trees around the house.  It could be used to cut up fire wood.  The chain showed no signs of dulling so far, so it is not made of the worst materials I have seen.  On the up side such a small chain would not take very long to sharpen.

All in all this $69 chainsaw has done only a couple of days work.  I have no idea of how long it will last.  It is simple and there is not a lot of things to go wrong with it.  The biggest concern would be the motor dying.  With a two year warranty it is not really of a concern it paid for itself with just the one job I gave to it.  Weather it is a toy or not I will let you know in a little while when I give it some more work to do.

Updated: 03/16/2013, John_Magee
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Comments on electric chainsaws

John_Magee on 03/16/2013

Yes not too bad. The only bad thing is you have to be near a power socket.

jasonB on 03/15/2013

Fair bit of power for a little saw.

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