Choosing a Battery-Powered Chain Saw | Living the Country Life

Choosing a Battery-Powered Chain Saw

Battery-operated chain saws pair lightweight frames with innovative features to help you cut through tough branches as you clean up your acreage.

Before purchasing a chain saw, consider the work you want to do and where it will be done.

Whether you chop firewood or trim trees, regular yard maintenance can take a toll on arms, shoulders, and backs—especially if you rely on a heavy gas-powered chain saw to tackle the job.

Thanks to increasingly efficient battery-operated chain saws, you no longer need the build of a lumberjack to prune your property. This guide will help you find the right chain saw for the jobs on your spring to-do list.

Always fit the chain saw to the task and to the size of the person wielding it. The gas-powered chain saw is still king when it comes to felling large hardwoods and cutting tree trunks into logs.

But if you need a tool to trim limbs and take down smaller saplings or if you only use a chain saw a few times per year, a quieter battery-operated model may be the perfect choice for your rural property. 

When selecting a chain saw, first consider the size of its cutting area, called the bar length. Bar length determines the largest diameter of wood a chain saw can cut in one pass.

For light work, like trimming and pruning, look for a bar length of 14 inches or smaller. Opt for a 16- to 18-inch bar length if you want to take on larger jobs, such as felling medium-size trees and cutting firewood. 

Keep in mind that a longer bar length adds weight to a chain saw and increases the chances of kickback. Chain saw weight becomes especially important for operators with smaller physical builds, those who will be carrying a chain saw for long periods, or those working on overhead projects. Always make sure you can handle a tool’s size before purchasing it.

Bigger projects require a more powerful chain saw. Measured in amps in corded models and volts in battery-powered units, a chain saw’s power increases as the amp or volt number increases. Chain saws with less power are ideal for small tasks while medium-size jobs require more power. 

Although battery-operated chain saws are generally weaker than gas and corded models, most cordless chain saws on the market today boast powerful lithium-ion batteries that can supply enough current to handle tough jobs. Some even have enough muscle to rival gas-powered counterparts.

When shopping for chain saws, take a mental inventory of where you’ll be working to determine the best power source. You might want to consider a corded model rather than a battery-operated saw. Both options have their pros and cons. 

If you have a large property, a battery-powered chain saw allows unlimited range to go where your work takes you. Keep in mind, though, an average battery supplies 30 to 60 minutes of maximum cutting performance. If you forecast hours-long jobs, have extra batteries on hand. 

Consider purchasing a corded electric chain saw if most of your work falls within a 100-foot radius of a house, shop, or other power source. Corded models draw power from an outlet, so you won’t have to wait for batteries to recharge during extended work sessions. But you will need to work around an extension cord. 

When a job is done, storing a corded or battery-operated chain saw is simple. Unlike gas models, which need to be cooled, drained of fuel, and stored in a well-ventilated place, electric chain saws can simply be turned off and stashed in a safe location until your next wood-cutting adventure.

Ergonomics: Always evaluate how a chain saw feels in your hands before purchasing. Does the chain saw seem balanced? Can you maintain a comfortable grip? Does the handle design allow you to hold the saw at multiple angles, depending on the task? A well-designed chain saw that feels secure in your hands sets you up for safer and more precise cutting. 

Automatic Oiler: Found on most modern units, an auto oiler lubricates a chain saw’s bar and chain automatically, saving you the mess of manually oiling your saw.

A well-oiled chain saw averts jams during a job and prevents dust and debris from sticking to cutting surfaces, extending the life of the chain. Check the oil reservoir (most are transparent) before each use to make sure the chain saw has enough lubricant. 

Battery: To determine the battery capabilities of a cordless chain saw, look at the amp-hour (Ah) rating. The Ah number tells you how many amps of current a battery supplies to the motor in an hour.

Many chain-saw manufacturers offer batteries in a range of Ah ratings so you can upgrade to a more powerful model, if you choose. Pair a high-voltage chain saw with a high Ah battery to get the best performance and longevity.

Related Links:

7 Battery-Powered Chain Saws

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