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My neighbors pick on me about my electric chainsaw. They have powerful, gas engine saws that can chew through a dense forest of large pine trees.
But I don’t plan to cut down a forest, I only use my chainsaw to trim limbs and occasionally cut down small trees. For these purposes, I’ve found the Greenworks electric chainsaw to be a great solution.
If you own or are considering an electric chainsaw, there are a few things you need to understand regarding its use so that you can make the best use of this tool.
Starting The Chainsaw
If you have ever hurt your shoulder or exhausted your arm muscles pull-starting a chainsaw, you’ll find starting an electric chainsaw to be a treat. Whether you use a battery powered one like the chainsaw I have or one that plugs in, starting these is quick and easy.
How to Start A Greenworks Chainsaw:
- With the battery inserted, press and hold the power button until the green LED indicator turns on. You will hear a beep.
- Grasping the handle firmly, press and hold the safety button on the side.
- With the safety button depressed, pull the trigger and the blade will engage.
Here’s a quick video I made demonstrating just how easy this is:
What’s really great about this chainsaw, as demonstrated in the video, is that once you let go of the trigger, the saw is off. There is no continuing engine sound like a gas model. And it is remarkably quiet compared to gas-powered chainsaws!
How To Use A Greenworks Chainsaw
In practical terms, an electric chainsaw works the same as a gas-powered model when it comes to cutting. The key difference to remember is that when you release the trigger on an electric chainsaw, the blade stops and the saw is essentially “off”. You can set it down and focus on other aspects of your project.
Gas saws, by comparison, continue to run. While their blade may not turn actively with the trigger released, the gas engine is still on. You will usually want to turn the engine off if you are not going to be using it for a few minutes. Then, you’ll need to restart it when you are ready to resume cutting.
Note: Regardless of the type of chainsaw used, always remember the importance of safety. Which brings us to our next section…
Are Electric Chainsaws Safer?
There is a common misconception that electric chainsaws are safer to use than gas-powered. While there are advantages to each, a chainsaw by its very nature is a potentially dangerous tool.
Electric Chainsaws should not be considered safer than gas-powered chainsaws. The saw can kick back on the user. It can get throw debris back into your eyes. It is a saw with fast turning, sharp blades and so it must be used with safety in mind.
People have been severely injured by chainsaws and an electric chainsaw should be used with the same respect and safeguards as a gas-powered one.
How To Oil A Greenworks Chainsaw
Electric chainsaws do not require oil for an engine since they don’t have one. They do, however, require bar and chain oil just like any other chainsaw.
Adding bar and chain oil to a Greenworks chainsaw is very simple. There is a screw-cap on top of the saw that needs to be removed. The oil can be added using a funnel and you are able to see the oil level through the clear plastic side panel.
Take precautions not to overfill. I prefer to keep it about half full so that I don’t have to worry about spillage when placing the saw in an awkward position.
How To Tighten The Blade On A Greenworks Chainsaw
Greenworks offers models with both toolless chain tightening and traditional bolts. On the toolless models, it is simply a matter of loosening the chain lock bolt and adjusting the tension knob clockwise. Once the chain is tight, you tighten the chain lock bolt back.
In this picture, the lock bolt is the knob to the right. It keeps the bar secured once you adjust the tightness of the chain using the chain tension knob (on the left).
Models And Features Available
Greenworks offers a variety of electric chainsaws with both corded and battery-powered options. Choosing the model that is right for you will likely come down to two defining factors: power and bar length.
The bar length determines how deep the saw can cut. I purchased a 16″ bar length model. I never expect to attempt cutting a tree that large but I wanted the extra reach for trimming low hanging limbs.
As for power, you’ll first need to choose between corded or battery. If the work you will be doing will be close to an electrical outlet, then a corded solution may seem to be an obvious choice. However, let me offer this for your consideration.
Cords can get tangled, they can get in the way. The last thing you want to worry about while handling a chainsaw is tripping over a cord, or cutting into it accidentally while working.
Additionally, you will always need to be near an electrical outlet. If you have a certain project you are planning for, you may think that a corded electric chainsaw is all you need. But when buying a tool like this its best to think beyond the current project and consider how you might use it in the future.
Believe me, I considered a corded saw myself but the more I thought about it, the less sense it made. Today’s lithium batteries offer a surprising amount of power for an electric chainsaw. You can get some serious work done without being tethered by an extension cord and without having to worry about gas or engine maintenance.
Regardless of which you choose, below are examples of the offerings available from Greenworks. I’ve included a link to Amazon for each so that you can check current pricing and ratings.
|CS80L211 Pro Series
|24V 10″ Chainsaw
You’ll notice that there is a large number of options in the 40-volt range. This is the sweet spot for electric chainsaws. 24 volts will work for very small limbs but your power and battery life during use will be greatly diminished. The 80 volt is for heavy duty use and intended primarily for pro use.
The model I purchased is the 40 volt with a 16-inch bar, model 20312. This is the same saw as model 20322 except this one comes with a battery and charger. 20322 does not.
This size saw gives me the reach that I need with enough power to get out in the yard and get a good amount of work done. And with that, let’s discuss the next logical topic…
Electric Chainsaw Battery Life
It’s hard to estimate battery life since work with an electric chainsaw involves and a lot of stopping and breaks in between as I’m moving brush and limbs. If I’m really cutting through a lot of wood I easily get two to three hours of regular paced use out of it.
That’s working at a pretty steady pace. If I’m cutting and then stopping to haul the brush to a central point, the battery seems to last all day, or at least as long as I care to use it. If you are a hard-core user, however, you may want to opt for the 80v Pro Series.
Pros And Cons Of An Electric Chainsaw
Below are some important considerations when shopping for a chainsaw and trying to determine whether or not an electric model is the best choice.
The older I get, the less I’m enjoying having a shop full of gas-engine tools. They require oil changes, fuel filter replacements, carburetor cleanings, and the other seemingly endless list of maintenance requirements that come with them.
And despite me being somewhat fanatical about maintenance, they still break down. I end up spending my Saturday working on these tools instead of just using them and getting on with my weekend.
The key advantage of an electric chainsaw is that it requires very little maintenance. You will still need to sharpen the blades from time to time and it does need to be oiled (more on that later) but otherwise it’s a pretty maintenance-free power tool.
This goes along with maintenance but one thing I have really grown to appreciate is being able to put a tool away for months or even years without concern. Doing this with a gas-engine requires a little forethought. If you are going to do it properly you want to either add a fuel treatment solution or drain the carbuerator.
With electric tools, however, you don’t have to think about it. You put them away until you need them again.
Electric chainsaws aren’t exactly silent. They make a fair amount of noise when running. At the same time, they are remarkably quieter than gas-powered chainsaws. This may or may not be a priority for you but it’s a feature of electric models that is worth knowing.
Despite their advantages, this tool is not for everyone. If you are someone who uses a chainsaw daily, cutting large trees for hours at a time, you will likely be better served with a gas engine model.
Gas-powered chainsaws quite simply remain the most powerful option on the market.
Who Are Electric Chainsaws For?
Although pro models exist, electric chainsaws are best suited to the homeowner who has occasional and light-duty needs. They can chew through some impressive wood thickness but they are really at their best when used to cut a few small trees, clear some brush and cut away limbs.
Where To Buy A Greenworks Chainsaw
Many hardware stores including Lowes and Home Depot carry Greenworks products in their stores. You can also buy Greenworks Chainsaws on Amazon and have it shipped to you if you prefer online shopping.
Having the right tool for the job is the key to getting yard work done efficiently. If an electric chainsaw fits your needs, I have no reservations in recommending one over gas-powered models.
I’ve been using my Greenworks chainsaw since 2016. I’ve put it through the paces and would not hesitate to purchase another one if I needed it. Ultimately, you should decide on a chainsaw that suits the workload you plan to use it for.
If you are looking to replace your gas-powered lawn tools with energy-efficient electric models, take the time to read Are Electric Lawn Mowers Worth It? Know These 4 Use Cases.