Electric Chainsaws

How Does a Corded Electric Chainsaw Work? (+ Review of 5 TOP Rated Picks)

If you need to cut firewood or prune overgrown tree branches, then you need to invest in a chainsaw. A chainsaw features a cutting chain with a set of teeth that run along a guide bar. Traditionally, gasoline engines are used to run chainsaws. However, this has changed as motor-driven electric chainsaws are now available in many markets. Today there are various brands of corded and cordless chainsaws. Corded electric chainsaws differ from gas and battery-powered models, as explained below.  

Corded Electric Chainsaw Vs battery/Gas-Powered Chainsaw

For starters, a corded electric chainsaw uses a motor to run the cutting chain. An electrical cable is attached to the motor which allows you to connect to an AC power source such as a generator, power station, or a wall outlet from your home. A piston-style trigger fixed on the rear hand is used as a switch to power the motor, which drives the chain. 

A braking system that is activated by pushing the front handle stops the chain and cuts the power supply to the motor. This feature protects you in case of a kickback. Another crucial feature of a corded electric chainsaw is its oiling mechanism. Special chain oil is filled in a reservoir that has an auto-release mechanism. 

This system releases oil on the chain when you power the chainsaw and lubricates it continuously. This way, the cutting process is smooth. Without this oil, the motor will overheat. The efficient operation of an electric chainsaw depends on the tension of the chain. Most models come with a tool-less tensioning knob that lets you adjust the chain tension within minutes.

Gas-powered chainsaws differ from corded electric chainsaws in that they use two-cycle engines as their source of power. They also have a clutch that engages the cutting chain when you press the trigger switch. These engines run on gasoline, which is mixed with engine oil. The gas to oil ratio varies from one engine type to another. Starting a chainsaw engine requires a pull start mechanism, and you may need to yank the recoil cord several times before the engine fires up. Gas-powered chainsaws produce more cutting power than their electric counterparts. They are therefore suitable for heavy-duty tasks, such as logging. They also give you the freedom to work from anywhere with unlimited runtime as long as you have enough fuel. 

Cordless chainsaws depend on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to power motors that drive the cutting chains. It is common for manufacturers to use brushless motors on these chainsaw models to improve performance. The advantage of using a cordless chainsaw is that it gives you the freedom to work from anywhere. You can also increase the runtime of your cordless chainsaw by buying spare batteries.

What are Corded Electric Chainsaws Used for?

Generally, corded electric chainsaws have low power output compared to gas-powered models. However, they have enough power for undertaking light logging jobs, pruning bushes, trimming hedges, clearing trees fallen by a storm, and also cutting firewood. If you intend to do any of these activities, then a corded electric chainsaw is what you need. 

Advantages of Corded Electric Chainsaws

  • Lightweight – Corded electric chainsaws are lighter compared to gas-powered models. This way, you won’t get tired quickly. You can work for long hours and increase your productivity. 
  • Environmentally friendly- Electric chainsaws use clean power, unlike their gas-powered counterparts that run on fossil fuel. The fumes from the gasoline engines contain carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). CO2 contributes to global warming while CO is a poisonous gas that has adverse effects on your health. For this reason, you should never operate a gas-powered chainsaw in a closed room. The exhaust blows up debris and dust, making the working area more hazardous. You will also have to contend with noise from the engine. This is not the case with electric chainsaws. They are quiet and do not emit any fumes. 
  • Easy to use – Electric chainsaws are easy to start. All you need is to hook them to a power source, unlock the safety lock, and press the throttle trigger to get them working. They also come with tool-less tensioning systems. Gas-powered chainsaws require you to add fuel mixed with engine oil, set the choke to start mode, and pull the recoil cord to start the engine. You will also need to service the engine frequently. These processes take up your time and energy.
  • Affordable – The best corded electric chainsaws in 2021 cost between $50 and $300. On the other hand, gas-powered chainsaws cost about $140 to $450. Corded electric chainsaws, therefore, provide an affordable alternative.
  • Reduced kickback – Gas-powered chainsaws are more powerful than corded electric models. The engines deliver more vibrations and, therefore, are hard to control. This increases the chances of kickback. Electric chainsaws are less powerful and do not come with vibrations. 
  • Ideal for beginners – If you are new to chainsaws, it is advisable to start with electric models as they are easy to use and control. In case of an emergency, releasing the power trigger will effectively cut the electricity supply to the motor and stop the saw. You can also opt to unplug the power cable and quickly take control of the situation. 

Disadvantages of Corded Electric Chainsaws

  • Limited movement – On the downside, corded electric chainsaws can only be used near a power source and, therefore, limit where you can use them. Their use is limited to several feet from a power source and therefore ideal for use around your home.
  • Low power output – The low power output associated with corded electric chainsaws limits them to light-duty applications, and they are not ideal for everyday heavy tasks.

Electric Chainsaw Buying Guide

When shopping for a corded electric chainsaw, it is wise to know what to look out for to ensure that you get a product that meets your needs. Below are crucial factors to consider before paying for any corded chainsaw in the market.

How Do I Choose A Corded Chainsaw

Most corded chainsaw models have similar features. However, the following features vary from one model to another.

Motor

The motor of a corded chainsaw determines its cutting power. Different models come with varied amperage ratings. Motors that have a higher amperage rating have more cutting power. Some of the best corded electric chainsaws in the market have amperage ratings of between 10A and 15A. It is important to note that although brushless motors have higher efficiencies of 85% to 90%, they are not popular with corded chainsaws. These saws use motors with brushes. 

Picking a model with a high amperage rating provides you with sufficient power to accomplish most of your tasks.

Lubrication Mechanism

As the cutting chain runs on the guiding bar, it requires sufficient lubrication to avoid overheating and damaging the motor. The leading brands in the market use an automatic lubrication mechanism that ensures that the chain is oiled while in use. Go for models that dispense chain oil efficiently, otherwise, you will need to refill the reservoir frequently. Reservoirs with a transparent window allow you to monitor the oil lever and know when you need to refill it.

Chain Adjustment Mechanism

The chain of a chainsaw needs frequent tensioning to ensure safe and effective operation. Electric models that come with a tool-less tensioning mechanism give you a lot of flexibility in setting the tension of your chain. All you need is to turn a knob on the side without having any tool. Traditional chainsaws require a set of tools to adjust the tension of the chain.

Self-sharpening Chain

Some of the best brands in the market incorporate self-sharpening technology, which sharpens your chain in seconds. This feature saves you a lot of time that you would have used to sharpen the chain manually, consequently increasing your productivity. 

Accessories

Consider the accessories that come with your corded chainsaw. For instance, some brands included a spare chain, scabbard, and chain oil. These accessories allow you to quickly set up the corded and use it without the need to buy anything else.

Price

The prices of corded electric chainsaws vary from one model to another. They average between $50 and $300. However, you should not focus on the price of a chainsaw alone. Consider your needs and get a model that will deliver enough cutting power to complete your tasks within your budget.

Warranty

The leading brands in the market provide one to three years of warranty for their chainsaws. You can get your chainsaw replaced or repaired for free if it stops working properly, while if the terms and conditions of the warranty are still valid. It is, therefore, wise to abide by these conditions to avoid invalidating your warranty.

How to Use A Corded Chainsaw Properly

When you receive your corded chainsaw from your retailer, read the manufacturer’s manual to understand its features. For instance, if the saw is not already assembled, follow the steps provided by the manufacturer to set it up. Add oil the bar and chain oil to the reservoir and ensure that the auto-oiler mechanism is working as expected. 

Adjust the chain tension by turning the tool-less tensioning knob and ensure that the safety lock is on. Get the recommended extension cord and plug it into a power source. Now hook the chainsaw to the power source and release the safety lock. Press the throttle trigger to run the chain saw.

Corded Chainsaw Safety Tips

  • Chainsaws can inflict serious injuries if not operated correctly. For starters, invest in protective wear such as gloves, goggles, hearing protection, and apron. This way, you protect your hands from the saw in case of kickback. The goggles keep off flying wood chips from your eyes, while an apron keeps your clothes from getting dirty. A safety hat also helps in case you are felling a tree. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to the latter as chainsaw models may differ slightly from one brand to another. 
  • When you start cutting a piece of wood, maintain a steady pressure and only ease off when you are done. Always cut a branch at a time and watch out where they are falling. Check your surroundings to ensure there are no metals or hard surfaces in close contact with the wood. Such obstacles can initiate kickbacks when they hit the chainsaw. Inspect the wood you are cutting to make sure that it doesn’t have nails. 
  • Cut logs or branches that are within your reach to make sure that you have full of the saw. For instance, avoid cutting any wood that is above your shoulders. At this point, you are prone to fatigue and may not sustain control of the saw for long. In the case of a kickback, the saw can easily fall on you.

Review of the 5 Top-Rated Chainsaws

Now that you know what corded electric chainsaws are and how they work, let us examine five top picks from leading brands in the market. Below are our top picks for corded electric chainsaws that we feel will give you value for money. We have highlighted the salient features of these chainsaws. We hope that as you read this review, you will find one that suits your needs.

1. WORX WG304.1 15 Amp 18″ Electric Chainsaw with Auto-Tension

Worx is renowned for its innovative product designs which have resulted in safe and easy-to-use power tools ranging from Jawsaw to eco-friendly mowers. The WORX WG304.1 15 Amp 18″ Electric Chainsaw is one of the firm’s innovative products. It frees you from mixing oil and gas to run your chainsaw by giving the convenience of a quick start. This corded chainsaw comes with a powerful 15A motor which allows you to handle all your cutting jobs on the farm or at home. 

It comes in a lightweight design that eliminates the fatigue factor when working. This design allows you to work for long hours. This way, you increase your output and save on time. This electric chainsaw has a rubberized handle that gives you a soft and non-slip grip for added comfort and safety.

WORX WG304.1 features an auto-tension design that prevents the chain from over-tightening. Moreover, this corded chainsaw has an automatic oil lubrication system. These two features prevent the motor from overworking, thereby increasing the lifespan of the chainsaw. Its 200ml oil reservoir comes with a level indicator. It is, therefore, easy to know when you need to add the lubricant.

This Worx electric chainsaw has an 18-ich blade that allows you to chop fallen trunks with up to 36-inch diameter. If you want to cut standing trees with this chainsaw, you have to limit yourself to 18 inches thick trunks.  

When it comes to safety, this corded chainsaw features an in-built safety brake that stops the motor in case the chain comes into contact with improper surfaces. This feature protects you against chainsaw kickbacks which can cause serious injuries. In addition to this feature, the chain saw has a rubberized front handle and rare handle to give you optimum control in case of a kickback. It also has a cord hook that allows you to coil its cord safely at its rare handle when not in use.

Worx offers up to three years warranty for this chainsaw. It also comes with a cover for the blade and oil. This way, you can start using it right from the box without the need for buying anything else. The Worx WG304.1 costs about $110 and is one of the corded chainsaws in the market that can give you great value for your money.

WORX WG304.1 15 Amp 18″ Electric Chainsaw

SUMMARY

WORX WG304.1 15 Amp 18″ Electric Chainsaw

Pros

  • Economical buy
  • Easy to start
  • Flexible
  • Durable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Uses lots of oil
  • Not ideal for heavy-duty work
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2. Makita-UC4051A Chain Saw, Electric, 16 in.

Makita is a renowned U.S.A. brand with over 100 years of experience in manufacturing reliable power tools. Over the years, the company has expanded its global presence to reach over 40 countries with its innovative products, such as the Makita UC4051A Electric Chainsaw. It comes with a powerful 14.5A motor that delivers up to 2.3 hp cutting power for increased productivity. Moreover, its large metal spike bar provides you with extra stability for improved performance.

This corded electric chainsaw is designed with the end-user in mind. For instance, it comes with a rubberized handle that gives you a soft non-slip grip when working for added comfort. This feature gives the stability you need to operate the chainsaw safely. Its large pistol-design trigger makes it easy to start this chainsaw for a smooth operation. You don’t have to worry about oiling the chainsaw now and then because it features an automatic oiling system with a 6.8-oz oil reservoir. This reservoir comes with a large view window that allows you to monitor the oil levels with ease.

The Makita UC4051A is easy to maintain thanks to its tool-less chain and blade adjustment feature. This chain tension dial allows you to adjust the tension of the chain with ease for smooth operation. This electric chainsaw has a built-in current limiter that protects its motor from overheating in case of an overload. This feature increases the life span of the corded chainsaw. 

Other safety features that come with this Makita electric chainsaw include an in-built chain brake system that halts the chain within 0.15 seconds of releasing the trigger or pushing the front handguard into the forward position. Its lockout switch prevents the chainsaw from the accidental start, while the front and rare guards keep your hands safe from an accidental chain snap and wood pieces. Moreover, its low kickback chain design lowers the risk and of a possible kickback. This electric chainsaw comes with a chain, plastic cover, and a guide bar. It costs about $300 and comes with a one-year warranty.

SUMMARY

Makita-UC4051A Chain Saw, Electric

Pros

  • Easy to start
  • Flexible
  • Durable
  • Excellent cutting power

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy-weight
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3. BLACK+DECKER Electric Chainsaw, 18-Inch, 15-Amp (CS1518)

The history of the Black and Decker brand dates back to 1910 when it was founded by S. Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker. For more than a century now, the company has grown in leaps and bounds with multiple brands that produce various products ranging from power tools to industrial cabinets. The Black and Decker CS1518 Electric Chainsaw is designed to help you execute your cutting DIY projects efficiently thanks to its 18-inch Oregon blade with a low kickback for added safety.

It comes with a 15A motor that makes it a good pick for cutting firewood and pruning large branches. You will also find it handy when clearing fallen trees after a storm. Its lightweight design makes it easy to use and reduces fatigue, allowing you to work for long hours. You don’t need any tool when adjusting the tension on this electric chainsaw, as it features a tool-free adjustment dial. This feature eliminates the need for frequent maintenance. 

The CS1518 has an automatic oiling system that lubricates the chain and bar to ensure smooth operation. This feature prevents overworking the motor, thus increasing its lifespan. It also has a 5-oz oil reservoir with a clear window that helps you see the oil level with ease. This way, you will never have to guess when to add lubrication to the reservoir. 

As long as you have a sufficient power supply, you will never have to worry about runtime hours while working with the Black and Decker CS1518, as is the case with battery and gas-powered chainsaws. With unlimited runtime, you are sure to complete your tasks as planned. 

This Black and Decker electric chainsaw has both front and rear guards to keep you safe from the chain and flying wood pieces. In case of a severe kickback, the chainsaw is designed to force your left hand to move forward and apply pressure on the chain brake, effectively bring the motor to a stop. 

By incorporating a low kickback chain and bar design, the CS1518 reduced the probability and impact of kickback, thus increasing user safety. In addition, this corded chainsaw has a safety lock that prevents accidental start-up when the trigger is pressed. It also comes with a hook directly below the rare handle for easy cord storage.

The CS1518 comes with a chain, cover, and a 2-year warranty. It costs about $100 and is sure to give you value for money, especially if you are using it for light projects.

SUMMARY

BLACK+DECKER Electric Chainsaw (CS1518)

Pros

  • Economical buy
  • Easy to start
  • Flexible
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Not built for heavy-duty tasks

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4. Greenworks 10.5 Amp 14-Inch Corded Chainsaw 20222

Greenworks takes pride in providing electric power tools that are highly functional, affordable, and sustainable. For instance, the Greenworks 20222 Corded Chainsaw runs on AC eliminating the need for fossil fuel. This way, you make your contribution towards a cleaner environment. Moreover, the corded design gives you unlimited runtime especially if you are on the grid. 

This Greenworks electric chainsaw comes with a 10.5A motor that delivers 1.4 HP equivalent to 1,080 watts of cutting power.  When combined with it 14-inch bar and chain, this output is sufficient for pruning and storm cleanup jobs. It weighs only 8 pounds, which is lighter than most models in its class. This design reduces fatigue and allows you to work for long hours and improve your productivity. 

Chain tensioning is an important maintenance routine when working with chainsaws. The good news is that the Greenworks 20222 Corded Chainsaw features a tool-less tension design. All you need to do is set your tension knob to the desired setting. Therefore, the time you spend setting the chainsaw tension is less.

Another feature that makes this Greenworks corded electric chainsaw a good investment is its auto-oiler, which dispenses oil to the chain allowing it to cut wood more efficiently.  Its oil reservoir is translucent, therefore you can easily know when you are low on lubricant. 

The Greenworks 20222  has both front and rear guards that protect you from the cutting chain in case it snaps accidentally. These guards also keep flying wood chips off your hands while you work. Its handle comes with a rubberized grip for a soft feel and a firm and comfortable grip. It also has bucking spikes which provide stability and allow you to operate the electric chainsaw smoothly. The Greenworks 20222  is a budget corded chainsaw that costs about $70. It comes with a replacement chain and a three-year warranty.

SUMMARY

Greenworks Corded Chainsaw 20222

Pros

  • Economical buy
  • Easy to start
  • Flexible
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Uses a lot of oil
  • Requires frequent tensioning
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5. Oregon CS1500 18 in. 15 Amp Corded Electric Chainsaw

The history of the Oregon brand dates back to 17947. Over the years, the company has grown to become the world’s leading saw manufacturer. The Oregon CS1500 Corded Electric Chainsaw comes with a powerful 15A motor that produces 1800 watts of cutting power. Moreover, its 18-inch bar and chain allow you to chop thick logs. This output is more than enough for your regular woodcutting tasks in your home, such as pruning and cutting firewood. 

The Oregon CS1500 comes pre-assembled and ready for use straight from the box. It comes with an instant start switch, unlike gas-powered chainsaws that come with a recoil start mechanism. Also, you do not have to struggle to mix oil and gas. This Oregon electric chainsaw saves you hours of maintenance associated with gasoline engines. 

It features an innovative self-sharpening design that gets your chain sharpened in three seconds. This electric chainsaw also comes with a tool-less tensioning mechanism that allows you to tension your chain by turning the side knob. These features save you a lot of time you would otherwise spend on maintenance.

Its auto-oiling feature lubricates the bar and chain to ensure smooth operation and protects the motor from overworking. This way, you will prolong the life of your chainsaw and therefore get a return on your investment. You can monitor the oil levels with ease, thanks to the transparent window on the oil reservoir.

To ensure that you operate this Oregon electric chainsaw safely, the company incorporated a braking system that stops both the chain and motor in case of a kickback. In addition to the braking system, this chainsaw is designed to stop instantaneously as soon as you release the throttle trigger. 

Besides the braking system, the Oregon CS1500 comes with front and rear handle guards that keep you safe from chain and wood debris. Its bumper spikes provide stability when cutting for added safety. It also comes with a lock switch that prevents the throttle trigger from working in case you press it by accident. This corded electric chainsaw costs about $110 and comes with a scabbard, lubricating oil, and a three-year warranty.

SUMMARY

Oregon CS1500 Corded Electric Chainsaw

Pros

  • Self-sharpening
  • Economical buy
  • Easy to start
  • Flexible

Cons

  • Uses a lot of oil
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FAQs

How many watts does an electric chainsaw use?

The wattage of an electric chainsaw depends on the size of its motor. For instance, a 10A motor with a 120V rated voltage will use 1,200 watts. Electric motors with higher amperage will use more watts. If the wattage of your saw is not indicated, just multiply the rated voltage by its amperage.

How do you clean an electric chainsaw?

Use compressed air to remove wood particles in tight spaces. You can also wipe the bar and chair with warm water to remove oily dirt. However, apply oil after cleaning with water to prevent the blade from rusting. Also, apply water on electrical contacts to avoid electric shocks or short circuiting the saw.

Does an electric chainsaw need oil?

Yes. Chain oil is needed to lubricate the bar and chain. This action reduces friction and ensures smooth cutting of wood. This way, you prevent the motor from overheating, which could reduce the lifespan of your saw.

How much is an electric chainsaw?

A quality corded electric chainsaw costs between $50 and $300, depending on its features, such as cutting power. The choice of your ideal electric saw will determine how much you spend on it.

Is an electric chainsaw any good?

Yes. If you are looking to use it for light tasks such as pruning tree branches, cutting firewood, or trimming your hedge. However, it is not the best option if you are looking for a workhorse for daily use in your logging tasks.