Cordless chainsaw purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • What you need to know
  • Cordless chainsaws combine the advantages of petrol and electric chainsaws.
  • A cordless chainsaw is handy and manoeuvrable.
  • Cordless chainsaws are suitable for pruning in the garden and for cutting firewood.
  • The cordless chainsaw is independent of electricity and petrol.

What is a cordless chainsaw?

In the garden or when working in the forest, a chainsaw performs well. The cordless chainsaw is a practical alternative to a petrol or electricity-powered chainsaw. The device is well suited for cutting shrubs, hedges and trees, for making firewood and for rougher manual work with wood.

A cordless chainsaw is similar in design and function to a petrol chainsaw and an electricity-powered chainsaw. It is smaller than the two conventional chainsaws, but is usually sufficient for use in the home garden. It is powered by a rechargeable battery that is charged at a charging station.

Who should buy a cordless chainsaw?

Anyone who occasionally needs to trim trees, hedges and shrubs in the garden, wants to chop wood or needs a powerful saw for coarser woodwork is well advised to buy a cordless chainsaw. The manoeuvrability and compact design are very much in its favour. You can use it anywhere in the garden where a large chainsaw often causes difficulties. Although the performance is lower than with chainsaws and petrol chainsaws, the cordless chainsaw is perfect for normal gardening work. The comfortable and easy handling is very much appreciated by many hobby gardeners.

saw on tree log

A petrol chainsaw is the most powerful. With a cordless chainsaw, the bar around which the chain runs is much shorter – the length ranges from 20 to a maximum of 40 centimetres. For this reason alone, it is obvious that certain tree felling and wood cutting jobs are difficult or impossible to do with a cordless chainsaw. The achievable wattage is not sufficient for thick branches. Modern rechargeable batteries are roughly comparable to the power of an electric cordless chainsaw. However, the operating time is limited – the battery must always be recharged.

For normal use in the garden, however, a cordless chainsaw is perfectly adequate. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages, because the devices are compact, manoeuvrable and handy. The noise level is also very important. Compared with petrol chainsaws and electric chainsaws, cordless chainsaws are much quieter. Consideration for the neighbours and observance of the midday rest period as well as Sundays and public holidays are always obligatory – but even at the permitted times, a cordless chainsaw is easy on the nerves and ears of the neighbours.

How does a cordless chainsaw work?

Basically, a cordless chainsaw works just like a conventional chainsaw. A motor drives the device. The saw chain with sharp cutting teeth runs around a bar, the so-called bar. Hand-held chainsaws, also known as chainsaws, are suitable for work in the garden and in the forest as well as for rough woodwork, for example DIY.

The cordless chainsaw differs from other chainsaws first of all by the type of drive. In the case of the electrically powered chainsaw, an electric motor is integrated and a power connection is required for operation. Electric chainsaws work reliably and are quieter in operation than petrol models. Handling the cable requires a lot of care to avoid accidents. Petrol-powered chainsaws usually work with a two-stroke engine. The performance is also very good, but this type of chainsaw produces very loud noises and exhaust fumes.

The cordless chainsaw has an electric motor and is powered by a battery (accumulator). The cordless chainsaw is well suited for shredding medium-thick branches and tree trunks with a smaller diameter. Operation is quieter and less noisy than with a petrol unit. No irritating exhaust fumes are produced. In addition, a cordless chainsaw can be used even if there is no electricity connection nearby.

It makes sense to buy a cordless chainsaw in many cases, for example, whenever there are trees and shrubs in the garden that need regular trimming. The hedge around the property can also be trimmed very well with a battery-powered chainsaw. If you have a wood-burning stove or tiled stove and chop your own wood, you will appreciate the benefits of a cordless chainsaw.

Different types of cordless chainsaws

There are two different types of cordless chainsaws: the classic cordless chainsaw and the telescopic cordless chainsaw. The classic cordless chainsaw is operated with both hands. To prevent accidents, this type of tool usually has a safety switch and a quick kickback stop.

The telescopic cordless chainsaw has a telescopic guide bar. This makes it possible to work at greater heights without the need for a ladder or scaffolding. At the rear end of the guide bar is the battery, at the front end are the saw blade and the drive. However, working overhead requires a lot of strength.


  • Compact and handy
  • Operates without electricity or petrol
  • Quieter than a petrol-driven chainsaw
  • Easy to get into hard to reach areas
  • Can replace hedge trimmers and pruning saws
  • No pollutant emissions
  • Environmentally friendly


  • Operating time is limited to battery life
  • The cordless chainsaw is not suitable for thick branches
  • Sawing hardwood often not possible

The advantages and disadvantages of the telescopic cordless chainsaw at a glance:


  • Suitable for areas that are difficult to reach
  • Tree work possible without ladder


  • Operation is strenuous
  • Cutting capacity is limited

Another important criterion is the performance: models with 18 volts offer rather low performance, cordless chainsaws with 36 volts are powerful. Before buying, it is therefore also important to think about the work you do most often.

Buying advice for cordless chainsaws

Important questions to ask before buying a cordless chainsaw: What do you mainly need to saw and cut? In which areas will work be done, at ground level or at height? This determines whether a classic cordless model or a cordless telescopic chainsaw makes more sense.

Important criteria when buying a cordless or telescopic cordless chainsaw

In addition to the type of cordless chainsaw, the most important factors are the power and the operating time of the battery. The power is specified in volts or watts. As a general rule, more expensive brand-name devices are usually better than cheap no-name products.

The functions of cordless chainsaws

The main function of a cordless chainsaw is to cut and chop wood. This includes tree pruning. Furthermore, a cordless chainsaw can be used to trim and support hedges and shrubs. With a telescopic cordless chainsaw, it is also possible to work at height and overhead without the need for a climbing aid. Therefore, these devices offer a lot of safety. For DIY, a cordless chainsaw is generally only recommended to a limited extent. However, it works well for larger jobs, such as shortening beams or wooden slats. It is also suitable for firewood preparation.

Ease of use and weight

How easy or difficult it is to operate a cordless chainsaw depends mainly on its weight. The weight of smaller cordless chainsaws with 18 volts is about three kilograms, while larger models can weigh five kilograms or more. This is the case with 36-volt models. A higher weight can be very tiring during longer use.

Be careful when comparing the weights: If the battery is not included in the scope of delivery, some manufacturers only state the weight of the chainsaw. Then you have to add the weight of the battery.

The handle contributes to good handling. It should be ergonomically shaped and preferably padded. A padded grip surface helps to prevent blisters and calluses. A rubberised surface of the handle increases safety; the handle thus lies securely and firmly in the hand. The rubber coating reduces vibrations, which are not as strong with cordless chainsaws as with other chainsaws anyway.

The battery is important

Modern cordless chainsaws are equipped with a lithium-ion battery. These batteries charge well, do not discharge automatically, are easy to store and have a long service life.

saw in use
The battery voltage

18 volts is sufficient if the cordless saw is used for cutting branches, shrubs and hedges. With a voltage of 36 volts, the cordless chainsaw is suitable for cutting thicker branches. It can also be used to fell smaller trees.

Battery capacity

The capacity of a battery is given in ampere hours (Ah). The greater the capacity of the battery, the higher the Ah value.

The charging time of the battery

At a voltage of 18 volts, the charging time is usually longer than at 36 volts. In principle, however, it is of secondary importance and only plays a role if longer operations are planned. In this case, it may make sense to buy a second battery.

How many cuts are possible per load?

This value is given by the manufacturers, but there are no standardised test specifications. The decisive factors are the thickness of the wood, the hardness of the wood and the degree of drying. However, if you want to compare different products when buying, you can still use the number of cuts as a guide to performance.

Bar and chain

The length of the guidebar is important because it determines the cross-section of the wood that can be cut in one pass. The guide bar can be between 10 and 40 centimetres long. If the cordless chainsaw is used for felling smaller trees or cutting thicker firewood, a longer bar length is better.

Chain speed

The working speed of the chain depends on the chain speed. Cordless chainsaws with 36 volts also have an advantage in this criterion.

The chain brake

For increased safety, the cordless chainsaw should have a chain brake. This allows the chain to come to a stop more quickly in an emergency. Warp brakes are usually found on devices with a higher chain speed.

Chain tension

Every saw chain needs to be tightened from time to time. For convenient handling, it makes sense to use a chain tensioner without tools. This works either via a wheel attached to the tool, or you can tighten and tension the saw chain by turning screws.

The oil and lubrication of a cordless chainsaw

In order for the battery-powered chainsaw to run smoothly, lubrication is important. Automatic chain lubrication is of course more convenient than the manual version. The oil tank should have a viewing window so that the oil level can be seen at a glance. If the oil tank does not have a viewing window, the level must be determined with a dipstick.

What is included in the delivery of a cordless chainsaw?

The delivery is either with or without battery and charger. If you already own another tool from the same manufacturer, you can also use the battery for your new cordless chainsaw. However, it is also possible to combine battery and cordless chainsaw according to your own wishes. Professionals in particular can get along well with such a modular system. On the other hand, if you are buying a cordless chainsaw for the first time and/or only use it occasionally, you are usually better off with a complete package.

Special features: tip guard and claw stop

The tip guard is a component that is mounted in front of the blade tip. This prevents the tip from hitting the wood – there is no kickback. The metal claw stop ensures that the guide bar does not slip off the wood when sawing.

Which cordless chainsaw is suitable for beginners?

For beginners, a normal cordless chainsaw is easier to use than a telescopic cordless model. It should be noted that working overhead with a heavy tool quickly becomes tiring. Not only do you have to lift the bar and the saw, but you also have to hold the cutting direction.

Accessories for cordless chainsaws

A second battery is a helpful and useful addition. It considerably extends the respective service life. Especially when cutting large amounts, it is good to have a second charged battery available. Often garden owners can only do gardening in good weather and in their free time. Then a delay when the battery is empty is a major annoyance. The charging time can be shortened with a quick charger: the battery is recharged within 90 minutes.

There are chain sharpeners on the market that give good results. If you don’t want to buy a chain sharpener, you can have the cordless chainsaw resharpened at a specialist shop or DIY store, or replace it completely.

Spare parts for cordless chainsaws

The guide bar and the saw chain can be replaced on high-quality devices. The saw chain loses its sharpness over time. However, resharpening with a round file is relatively complicated, and damage can occur if the file is handled incorrectly.

Care tips: what you should pay attention to during use

Cleaning, care and maintenance increase the life of the cordless chainsaw. However, the effort required is rather low compared to petrol- and electricity-powered chainsaws. The motor, for example, is largely maintenance-free.

It makes sense to clean the cordless chainsaw after each use. Dust and dirt can be quickly removed with a brush or cleaning cloth; this also makes it possible to check for damage. If there is damage, the cordless chainsaw must be repaired professionally to prevent accidents.

The saw chain is subject to heavy use and must be maintained regularly. Clean it immediately after use. A special cleaner is suitable for this purpose, which removes resin or other impurities from the chain. The chain also needs regular lubrication so that it does not run hot. Good cordless chainsaws have a small oil tank for the lubricating oil. The level is checked and oil is added if necessary; the lubrication itself works automatically.

However, it is necessary to check here whether the oil really gets to the chain: Either start the cordless chainsaw in idle mode and hold it over a bright surface for about a minute. If the lubrication works, a few drops of oil will appear on the surface. Or run the tool for a minute at idle, then lift the chain very carefully after switching it off and see if there is a thin film of oil on the guide bar of the guide bar. Only a special chain oil is suitable for lubrication, not normal engine oil.

The chain must not sag under any circumstances. If this is the case, the saw chain must be retightened.

Sharp saw teeth are important for good cutting performance. You can sharpen them yourself or have them sharpened by a professional.

If the cordless chainsaw has not been used for a long period of time, it must be cleaned thoroughly – for example, before winter storage. You should also empty the oil tank and clean it with benzine to loosen any clumps. The battery saw must be stored in a dry and frost-free place. Remove the battery and store it at room temperature.

What safety measures are necessary?

Accidents with a cordless chainsaw can lead to very serious injuries. Although all tools are well designed in terms of safety, operating errors are still possible. Therefore, it is very important to wear protective clothing. Safety goggles are also recommended to protect the eyes from wood splinters and flying branches. Earmuffs are only necessary to a limited extent, as cordless chainsaws are much quieter than other chainsaws.

Do I need a chainsaw licence to operate a cordless chainsaw?

The chainsaw licence is not required when working on your own private property. However, you are liable yourself for any damage that may occur to your property or your neighbour’s property. If you want to cut firewood in a state forest, you need the permission of the forest operator and usually also a chainsaw licence.

Image 1: © Marcel Paschertz / | Image 2: © Michael Kachalov /