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Cordless Electric chainsaws are now cutting the mustard ~ by Angus

Cordless Electric chainsaws are now cutting the mustard

Compared to conventional petrol-driven chainsaws the electric versions have great advantages - they are lighter, don't give off fumes and are much quieter.  This top-of-the-range electric chainsaw is made by Stihl with the catchy name MSA160 and has a 12 inch blade. Stihl also makes it with a 14 inch blade (the MSA200).  The batteries are 36 volt, Lithium-Ion and give up to 45 minutes of cutting time so they are useful but not yet capable of doing heavy professional forestry work.

Andrew Peskell, product executive at Stihl UK, explains: "These are ideal for small clearing jobs, cutting logs or even hedge-laying. Cordless electric saws have been very popular with wood carvers as they value the low-profile chain which allows a good progressive cut.  These cordless saws are also very well balanced."

In terms of cost there are three elements - the basic saw or "shell", the battery and the charger.  Including VAT, the shell costs £285 while the battery is £180.  The fast charger, which charges the saw in about half an hour, will set you back an additional £115.  Some dealers may give you a discount if you are a good customer but usually only about 5-10% so all in one of these will cost you a little over £500.

chain saw 3Safety and training is the same for these cordless saws is the same as for a standard petrol chain saw - you'll need the same PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) of chainsaw trousers, boots, and a visor, and of course you should also have proper safety training. Andrew points out that these saws have lower maintenance needs than other chainsaws: "without so many moving parts there's much less to do - you mainly have to look after your bar, the chain, the sprocket and keep it all clean."  Although these cordless saws have been available in the UK since 2011, the technology keeps improving and they are getting lighter and the batteries that are becoming steadily more efficient.

So whilst these electric chainsaws aren't yet as powerful as conventional two-stroke chainsaws, they have a growing place for small forestry operations, wood carving and woodfuel processing.

Posted in: Practical Guides, Woodland Activities ~ On: 2 September, 2015

5 comments so far

Pro Cutter
3 September, 2017

Battery-powered chainsaws are good for around the home and smaller jobs.

William Grimm
26 January, 2016

Battery chainsaw is a good choice but it can only do a small job and suitable for a homeowner.

Judy
23 September, 2015

I have had a Stihl MSA 160 for about 18 months and find it great for my needs – mainly cutting down self seeded conifers in 4.5 acres of woodland. The reason I went for it, is because I live in a flat and so didn’t want to store petrol running equipment there. It limits my use of it time wise to around an hour and is light – good when you are not getting any younger and have to drive home after a hard day in the wood. Low vibration and quieter so don’t need ear protection.
It is an expensive option but that comes with the territory of new products.

Oldclaypaws
15 September, 2015

Good to see them coming to the market but its early days. They are currently very expensive, under-powered and limited usage time. Small petrol saws are still (Stihl?) a far better option, unless you are a hobbyist or occasional user doing very limited amounts of pruning. Even then, if for garden use a more powerful 240V saw with a lead will be better and cost about 1/4 as much.

Nick
3 September, 2015

Stihl 14″ bar + 36V, 5Ah battery + standard charger = £511

EGO 14″ bar + 56V, 6Ah battery + standard charger = £467

and soon to come, by the look of the greenworkstools.eu website:

Greenworks 18″ bar + 80V, 6.4Ah battery + standard charger = £??? The same saw with a 2Ah battery and charger is $299.99 in the US.

I’d rather have a Stihl, and don’t mind paying a premium for their quality, but it looks as if they’ll have to do something about their battery options if they’re to keep up.

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