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Cordless Chainsaw

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#1 ferdinand


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Posted 03 April 2016 - 02:08 PM

I'd be grateful for recommendations.

My immediate need is to cut down and brash a few beeches about 7-10m high (planted 1993) which I left in a hedge when I trimmed the rest of the hedge back 5 years ago. I am selling the plot on the open side of the hedge and felling will be difficult later plus I don't want a risk of TPOs in 10 years time.

I am open on brand, but I want something where I will be able to share the batteries with other cordless tools if I buy them over the next decade. So I need a brand with a wide range of good tools.

Currently I have a large stable of plug-in Metabo tools, and only one (the mother of all Reciprocating Saws) which is cordless, and that has had very heavy use so the batteries are close to needing replacement. Metabo also seem to be changing their battery designs.

To me it is feeling like 18v is the answer and sticking with Metabo, or perhaps switching to Makita or possiblly Dewalt. I don't think that Ryobi or Bosch are as good for consistent quality across their ranges. Chainsaw specialists such as Husqvarna don't seem to have as wide a range of tools.


Edited by ferdinand, 03 April 2016 - 02:12 PM.

#2 ProDave


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Posted 03 April 2016 - 02:14 PM

I have to ask the obvious question: what's wrong with a petrol chan saw?

For power to weight ratio you can't beat a small 2 stroke engine, and when it runs out of fuel, it's seconds to re fill it.

I am willing to be proven wrong, but I suspect a battery powered chan saw will be a dissapointment.

#3 jsharris


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Posted 03 April 2016 - 03:27 PM

I'm afraid I'm of the same view. I hired an electric (mains) chainsaw to do some light work and it really was a disappointment. I had to take it back and hire a small petrol one, which was an order of magnitude more powerful for the same size saw.

Based on my experience with several makes of cordless tools, I'd say that Makita win hands down for grunt and reliability, especially the professional series lithium battery pack tools. The lighter duty "DIY" range tools are nowhere near as good, in fact the week before last a friend and I were comparing my older pro grade Makita 18V cordless drill with his DIY version of the same drill. There was no comparison. the DIY version was nothing like as powerful, even when we swapped battery packs over to rule out a battery problem.

I think I'd try and borrow or hire a cordless chainsaw to see how it performed before investing. I strongly suspect that the Makita will be one of the best, so perhaps try and find someone that will let you "try before you buy".

Once committed to a make you do tend to get a bit locked in. I have so many Makita 18V battery packs (the most expensive part of some of the tools), plus a couple of fast chargers, that it doesn't make sense for me to buy any other make. In fact I've just ordered a Makita cordless mower, mainly because we only have around 60m² of lawn to cut and I could buy it as a bare machine and just use two of my battery packs to run it (it's a 36V jobbie that runs on two 18V lithium packs).

Edited by jsharris, 03 April 2016 - 03:28 PM.

#4 Kev78


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Posted 03 April 2016 - 03:53 PM

Stihl saw is the best tool I've ever bought. Good investment for a relatively cheap price compared to hiring.

Electric chainsaws are a waste of time and cheap 2 stroke chainsaws don't last long.

#5 notnickclegg


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Posted 03 April 2016 - 03:58 PM

We've got a Bosch 40cm mains powered chainsaw and it's amazing. I've ripped through everything from hedges to trees with nary a whimper. No two stroke stench (I've just now finished two hours bathing in two stroke fumes while I planked an oak we felled last year, so that's topical!) and no mucking about with starting. Much quieter, less vibration.

Overall, I just find it more pleasant to use than a two stroke, even if it's down a bit on outright grunt. I also believe that cutting is largely a function of blade sharpness. No amount of power will make a blunt blade cut faster (or be safer).


#6 doofaloofa


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Posted 03 April 2016 - 04:25 PM

i have a Ryobi 18v (1+) chain saw
She's ok for light pruning work and cutting up small section fire wood etc, and very safe to use and handy (does not need chain lube as, despite a lot of bite her chain turns relatively slowly)

But does not compare to a 2 stroke saw

I would not dismiss electric saws out of hand, but I only use mine for work in doors where fumes would be a hazard. thus I don't use her often

#7 tennentslager


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Posted 03 April 2016 - 04:51 PM

I bought the base model from toolstation and a chain saw file. Guy in the queue told me to sharpen the chain every time I fuelled it...Good advice.
It's great and I've been ripping through 14" logs for firewood no problem.
Got a free saw horse too...bingo bango
£100 and another tenner for oil, some for the saw, some for the fuel and a Jerry can from asda for three quid and that's the lot.

Edited by tennentslager, 03 April 2016 - 04:53 PM.

#8 Crofter


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Posted 03 April 2016 - 05:33 PM

I recently felled a c.20m ash tree using a Lidl corded chainsaw. That was pretty bloody painful. But it did the job!
Just for added fun, there was a telephone wire running through the canopy, so after climbing the tree to hand saw the closest boughs I absolutely *had* to make sure the tree fell the right way.

#9 PeterW


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Posted 03 April 2016 - 07:04 PM

Cordless chainsaws are useless.....

The key to cutting isn't grunt, its speed, and lots of it that makes a chainsaw work. All chain is basically a series of chisels on a long loop - the sharper the chisel, the less grunt you need to pull it through the wood. The faster you move the chisels, the quicker you cut. Therefore you need sharp chains and speed - and I've yet to find a cordless that comes with an Oregon chain, or a high speed motor !

I'm biased ;) but I don't rate Stihl anymore as the quality is now rubbish on things like crank cases. I only run Husqvarna and I only run semi pro saws so anything such as a 435 and upwards. They run at around 11-12,000 rpm on full chat, that translates to a chain speed of around 17m/s..... Downside is that unless you're Usain Bolt you aren't going to outrun that chain so I heartily recommend the right safety gear !!!

You can wander into your local B&Q (Other stores are available..) you can pick up a Homepower saw with an Oregon Powersharp bar on it... They have Husqvarna castings under the covers, and the Oregon bar means you have a way of guaranteeing a good sharpening technique without the hassle of the proper use of files. To give you an idea of cost, a Powersharp bar with chain and stones is about £55, the whole saw is no more than £110 so you get a lot of saw for the money.

Horses for courses but petrol wins every time...

And Ferdinand, I'm just up the road so PM me if you want those down.. :-)

#10 gravelld


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Posted 03 April 2016 - 07:43 PM

I suppose it depends what you want to cut with it, but my Screwfix own jobby mains powered is really good. Just use it for cutting large branches etc, not whole trees.

#11 vijay


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Posted 03 April 2016 - 08:12 PM

I've used my mains powered one plenty of times, as said, a sharpened chain makes all the difference. I bought an electric sharpener when Lidl were doing them, does a good job!

#12 smithsonator



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Posted 03 April 2016 - 08:33 PM

Husqvarna - I have used these for many years with very little trouble and are serviceable - you will get a part in 10 years time.
Buy a chain sharpner (like a mini chop saw). The cheap one I got of ebay has sharpened A LOT of chains. Use it to take a bit of the depth stops every couple of sharpenings as well.
Not essential but you should have special grease gun for the bar.
A compressor is invaluable for cleaning everything out.

#13 ferdinand


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Posted 04 April 2016 - 08:51 AM

Thanks people.

I have previously used Bosch mains-powered ~40cm chainsaws with success, and I still have one, but I really don't enjoy having to flap about with cables etc. And in some circumstances it is a definite advantage for me to be independent of mains power.


I will PM you, as if you were free for a couple of hours that would avoid me having to make a decision yet :-).

I like the sound of that Oregan self-sharpening chain.


#14 stones


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Posted 04 April 2016 - 10:56 AM

I have an Oregan power-sharp chain on my saw, and it certainly takes all the effort out of sharpening. The chain does wear down quicker, but given the cost of getting a normal chain sharpened (if you cannot or will not do it yourself) you cover the cost of the power-sharp reasonably quickly, plus don't have the hassle and inconvenience of taking the chain off and delivering to whoever will be sharpening it for you.