Milwaukee 2727-21HD Chainsaw Review

For those of you who are impatient, I’ll cut to the chase. For battery powered chainsaws, this saw is the top of the line performer. No other saw matches its performance and characteristics. Milwaukee is known for its quality products, and they have really hit the ball out of the park with this one.

As technology improves, gas chainsaws are becoming equaled and surpassed in quality (and definitely convenience) by battery product. Who would buy a gas chainsaw when you can get a clean-running, lightweight, no-maintenance chainsaw? For most homeowners, a chainsaw like the Milwaukee 2727-21HD is a perfect choice.


Milwaukee’s Brand

Back in May of 2018, Milwaukee announced they would be releasing a 16” cordless chainsaw based on their M18 FUEL line of outdoor power equipment. What made this announcement so much more interesting was the fact that Milwaukee claimed this cordless chainsaw would deliver performance “never seen before on an 18V platform”. And to top it off, the chainsaw was touted to be more powerful than 40cc gas models.

Various tests by independent reviewers have shown that there is some truth to Milwaukee’s claim. Their M18 FUEL chainsaw rivals 30 to 38cc homeowner grade gas models when it comes to cutting performance. Unlike other cordless electric chainsaws, the M18 FUEL chainsaw has enough torque and speed to slice through 15” logs of maple and ash just as easily as an entry to mid- level gas powered model. This also puts it in direct competition with the most powerful 15A corded electric saws. And you get all the benefits of electric power- zero maintenance, easy to start, lightweight, compact, and environment friendly. Best of all, you don’t have to mix and store fuel anymore.

So is the M18 FUEL 16” chainsaw worth your hard earned money? We’re here to provide you with all the information you need to answer that question. We’ll talk about the 2727-21HD chainsaw kit, highlighting the unique features of the brand new HD12.0 lithium ion battery. This should help you decide if you want to purchase the kit, or just the standalone tool (Milwaukee model 2727-20HD). We also review two extremely popular cordless chainsaws- the Craftsman V60 16” and the Makita XCU03PT1 14”. This should give you a perspective on what the competition has to offer, and if the Milwaukee is worth extra money.

16” Cordless Chainsaw Kit:
Excellent quality. Relatively quiet. Cuts fast. Overall, a well-engineered chainsaw that can replace a gas chainsaw. Perfect for most homeowners who value quality and can afford it.

Features :

16 in. Oregon Bar and Chain
POWERSTATE Brushless Motor provides the power and performance of a gas engine up to 40CC.
REDLITHIUM High Output HD 12.0 Ah Battery Pack: Provides 50% more power and runs 50% cooler versus standard REDLITHIUM HD packs
Variable speed trigger for full control
Dual-stud for improved bar and chain retention
Automatic oiler for proper chain lubrication and increased productivity
Onboard storage for scrench
Compatible with 175+ M18 solutions
3 year tool and 3 year battery warranty
Includes: (1) M18 FUEL 16 in. chainsaw, (1) RedLITHIUM high output HD12.0 battery pack, (1) M18 and M12 rapid charger, (1) 16 in. Oregon bar and chain, (1) scrunch

Overview :

With the advent of lithium ion battery technology and brushless DC motors, it was clear that the rise of cordless power tools was inevitable. However, one thing we didn’t expect to see was a cordless chainsaw rivaling gas powered models. Even as recently as 2 to 3 years ago, people were speculating that while cordless chainsaws had their place, they would never replace gas units. And while that is still true today, we are closer than ever to realizing a gas-free future in the chainsaw world. When talking about homeowner grade 16” models, very few industry experts will recommend you go and buy something more powerful than the M18 FUEL chainsaw from Milwaukee. And frankly, there aren’t a whole lot of 16” chainsaws out there which are more powerful. Gas or electric.

One of the biggest hindrances stopping us from developing a powerful electric tool to rival gas alternatives is the battery. A tank of gas has much higher energy density than any battery in existence. One liter of gasoline contains 34 megajoules of energy (similar to 100 sticks of dynamite), whereas a lithium-ion battery only holds 2 megajoules of energy in the same volume. But here’s the catch- a gasoline engine only converts about 20 to 30 percent of that energy into useful work. An electric motor is far more efficient, converting 80 to 90 percent of the available energy within a battery into work.

When you create a portable power tool that runs on electricity, the biggest limitation will be the amount of power it can draw from its battery pack. While electric motors are capable of generating the same power as a gas engine in a much more compact space across a wider RPM band, the most powerful electric chainsaws have always been corded. Milwaukee is looking to change this trend, by making several optimizations across the board. The groundbreaking performance of their brand new 16” cordless chainsaw is derived from 3 major components:

HD12.0 Lithium-Ion Battery

Secondly, we have the brand new M18 HD12.0 battery pack, which is a 3P battery. It contains 3 sets of 5 cells each, connected in parallel. Each cell generates 3.6V, so 5 of them added up in series configuration equals 18 volts. With a parallel connection, you get the same voltage but more current. In a series connection, current drawn is the same as that of a single cell, but voltage adds up. Dual 18V platforms like the Makita 18Vx2 use series connections to add up the voltage from two 18V batteries (current stays constant).

Unlike the older M18 battery packs, the HD12.0 is equipped with 21700 lithium-ion cells. What does that mean? Well, 21700 refers to a standardized form factor for lithium-ion cells: 21mm wide x 70mm tall, and the 0 tells us that this is a cylindrical shaped battery cell (much like the AAA cells in a remote). By combining multiple such cells, you get a battery pack. As we explained earlier, the HD12.0 uses 3 sets of these connected in parallel with each set containing 5 individual cells for a total of 15.

The older HD9.0 and HD5.0 packs were equipped with 18650 cells (18mm x 65mm, cylindrical). While the 18650 cell has been around for a long time and is a highly refined platform, it doesn’t compare to the new 21700 cells in terms of energy density or capacity.

Not only is the 21700 physically larger than the 18650, but the cell chemistry is different which allows it to deliver more energy even if both were the same size. Tesla uses 2170 cells (a variant of 21700) manufactured by Panasonic in their latest Model 3. They had been using the older 18650 cells in most of their models released after 2013. Milwaukee’s new HD12.0 battery can support higher sustained current draws for longer periods compared to the HD9.0 battery pack. And it also supports a higher peak current draw, which typically lasts for a fraction of a second.

These characteristics make the HD12.0 highly desirable for applications which demand tons of sustained high amperage power. High demand power tools such as chainsaws, hole saws, reciprocating saws, angle grinders, and high torque 1” impact wrenches will benefit greatly from the new HD12.0 battery pack.

HD12.0 Lithium-Ion Battery

Secondly, we have the brand new M18 HD12.0 battery pack, which is a 3P battery. It contains 3 sets of 5 cells each, connected in parallel. Each cell generates 3.6V, so 5 of them added up in series configuration equals 18 volts. With a parallel connection, you get the same voltage but more current. In a series connection, current drawn is the same as that of a single cell, but voltage adds up. Dual 18V platforms like the Makita 18Vx2 use series connections to add up the voltage from two 18V batteries (current stays constant).

Unlike the older M18 battery packs, the HD12.0 is equipped with 21700 lithium-ion cells. What does that mean? Well, 21700 refers to a standardized form factor for lithium-ion cells: 21mm wide x 70mm tall, and the 0 tells us that this is a cylindrical shaped battery cell (much like the AAA cells in a remote). By combining multiple such cells, you get a battery pack. As we explained earlier, the HD12.0 uses 3 sets of these connected in parallel with each set containing 5 individual cells for a total of 15.

The older HD9.0 and HD5.0 packs were equipped with 18650 cells (18mm x 65mm, cylindrical). While the 18650 cell has been around for a long time and is a highly refined platform, it doesn’t compare to the new 21700 cells in terms of energy density or capacity.

Not only is the 21700 physically larger than the 18650, but the cell chemistry is different which allows it to deliver more energy even if both were the same size. Tesla uses 2170 cells (a variant of 21700) manufactured by Panasonic in their latest Model 3. They had been using the older 18650 cells in most of their models released after 2013. Milwaukee’s new HD12.0 battery can support higher sustained current draws for longer periods compared to the HD9.0 battery pack. And it also supports a higher peak current draw, which typically lasts for a fraction of a second.

These characteristics make the HD12.0 highly desirable for applications which demand tons of sustained high amperage power. High demand power tools such as chainsaws, hole saws, reciprocating saws, angle grinders, and high torque 1” impact wrenches will benefit greatly from the new HD12.0 battery pack.

POWERSTATE Brushless Motor

First of all, this chainsaw is driven by a completely redesigned brushless motor. It is more compact than previous Milwaukee brushless motors, yet more powerful. This is a Milwaukee “POWERSTATE” motor, and all of it is designed and manufactured inhouse. Compared to brushless motors from rival companies such as Makita or DEWALT, Milwaukee’s design generates higher torque and runs cooler. This is because they are equipped with more power-generating components and higher grade rare earth permanent magnets.

Heavier duty copper windings ensure greater power output when combined with the extra current draw potential supported by these new HD12.0 batteries. Milwaukee’s brushless motors are driven with the help of advanced electronics, which allow for better control at lower RPMs. You’ll notice this in real life while feathering the variable speed trigger. The chain can creep forward at extremely low speeds, but when full power is requested it will ramp up to 6600rpm in less than one second.

The throttle response is unlike anything you’ll ever see on a gas chainsaw because there are no mechanical limitations to how quickly the motor can draw more fuel. There is no throttle cable, carburetor, or fuel line. Electrons travel much faster than gas through a pipe, and the characteristics of an electric motor allow it to spool up immediately without any lag whatsoever.

Red Link Plus Smart Logic
Finally, there is the “brains” behind this entire operation- Milwaukee’s Red Link Plus intelligence. What is it? Red Link Plus is an advanced electronic management system integrated into both the battery and tool, comprised of various components such as sensors and micro-controllers. This system allows the battery, charger, and tool to communicate seamlessly between each other which results in higher energy efficiency and better overload protection. No more overheating, or excess current draws which can compromise the lifespan of your motor.

Faster charging times are possible because the Milwaukee rapid charger takes into account various factors such as battery temperature, voltage, current, etc. Red Link Plus will provide your M18 FUEL chainsaw with a quick burst of power when it is needed. And if your chain gets stuck it will prevent the motor from drawing too much current, stalling it instead for safety reasons.

Noise And Weight — Milwaukee 2727-21HD
We all know that electric chainsaws require minimal maintenance and run much quieter than gas. But how do these advantages translate into real life? Well, here’s an example- you’re a homeowner, and you own a property with a bunch of walnut trees growing in the yard. Some of the trees need a haircut, but you are scared to use your noisy gas-powered Husqvarna 460 Rancher because it might wake up the neighbors.

On top of that, the Husqvarna might be a little more difficult to start in the cold whereas the Milwaukee M18 FUEL will start instantly. Now we know most people don’t like cutting trees at 7:30 am in the winter, but this is a hypothetical scenario to show you what’s possible on a quieter chainsaw. You won’t break any of the local noise laws, and won’t smell like gas when you get back inside the house. Besides, the neighbors won’t show up at your door later in the day demanding to know why you ruined their sleep on a weekend.

With a full tank of bar oil and a battery, the M18 FUEL chainsaw will weigh around 14.6 pounds. In comparison, most cordless chainsaws weigh under 10 pounds with even the premium ones coming in at under 12. So why is the Milwaukee heavier than its competitors? Well, as we explained earlier you need to draw more current to get the same amount of power if your voltage is lower. This results in increased weight due to heavier motor windings and thicker wires which are needed to support higher current draws.

While companies like DEWALT and EGO have moved on to 60V and 56V battery platforms, Milwaukee is stubborn to stay on its 18V platform which is more than a decade old by now. While it is admirable that they don’t want to inconvenience old customers by forcing them to buy new form factor batteries, this decision means they have to spend more time and money on engineering a far superior battery solution. And their solution is indeed better than the competition, proving that you don’t always need more voltage to create a powerful tool. You can instead decrease battery pack impedance, and improve the current draw. Using smarter processors, thicker copper windings in the motors, dual tabs on both the anode and cathode of lithium-ion cells and higher grade magnets, Milwaukee has managed to slay its competition with an 18V battery platform.

This chainsaw is extremely easy to use despite its weight and length, thanks to the elongated rear handle. Other cordless chainsaws don’t have as much space between the rear of their handle and the body, which can be an inconvenience if you’re wearing gloves. Milwaukee’s cordless chainsaw operates very much like a gas model. Once you disengage the chain brake and depress the throttle safety, it is ready to go. Unlike a gas chainsaw, it doesn’t have to idle in between cuts which saves power. When transitioning between cuts, you simply lift your finger off the trigger to immediately stop the motor. And as soon as you get back on the throttle, it responds instantly.

Tech Specs (Milwaukee 2727-21HD) :

Motor Type : Brushless
Length : 33″
RPM : 6600
Bar Length : 16″
Chain Gauge : .043″
Chain Pitch : 3/8″ Low Profile
Battery System : M18
Weight : 13.9 lbs
Power Source : Cordless

Cordless Chainsaw Power Compared To Gas
Milwaukee claims their cordless 16” chainsaw can rival gas power, up to 40cc. While we haven’t personally verified these claims, there are a couple of videos online from third-party reviewers who put this chainsaw up against gas models as we showed earlier, putting the M18 FUEL chainsaw against a Husqvarna 460 Rancher, which is a powerful pro-sumer grade 60cc saw. And while the reviewer claims that it beat the Husky by 7 seconds, the Husqvarna appears to be operating with a dull chain. It is creating fine powdery sawdust, while the M18 FUEL is spitting out chips of wood (sign of a sharp chain).

Some commenters also noted this difference, so the battle might have been tilted in the favor of the Milwaukee. Nevertheless, it is impressive that a cordless chainsaw is even capable of competing with a 60cc gas model despite the possibility of the gas chainsaw running a dull chain. We can tell you right now, no other cordless chainsaw will beat or even come close to a Husqvarna 460 rancher, even if you handicap the Husqvarna with a dull chain.

Now, let’s see how the Milwaukee 2727-21HD compares to the Stihl 026, a 49cc gas saw, against the battery-powered M18 Fuel. While it is not exactly apples to apples since both chainsaws are equipped with different chains, at least the chains appear to be sharp so it should be a fair battle.

While the M18 Fuel loses, it is not behind the Stihl by a large margin. Actually, the two are pretty close. Close enough that you’ll not notice the difference unless you put them side by side with a timer. And if you take into account the time required to start the Stihl in between cuts, the actual amount of work done might be the same between the two for a given period.

Based on reviews from verified customers, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel has no trouble cutting through 15” hardwood logs. According to Milwaukee, you will be able to make 150 cuts in 6×6 cedar with the HD12.0 battery that is included in the 2727-21HD kit. It will fell trees that are 14 to 16 inches thick at the trunk. And you can even cut logs of ash and oak up to 20” in diameter by cutting from both sides. While this is not exactly a tree felling monster or sawmill chainsaw, it can certainly handle any limbing or trimming job you throw at it. In fact, it might even be overkill for basic level trimming work in the garden.

Get a smaller cordless model if all you do is pruning and some light firewood cutting. This chainsaw is perfect for contractors, carpenters, landscapers, arborists, linesmen, etc., and pretty much any professional/ DIYer who wants the most powerful cordless chainsaw in the world. If you’re rebuilding the deck in your home or working on log cabins, get a couple of extra batteries and you’ll be able to work all day long.


Greenworks Pro 60-volt 16in Chainsaw Review

The Greenworks Pro 60-volt series is their hottest, newest line of product.  The power of 60 volts tends to spruce up each piece of their outdoor power equipment.  Their chainsaw in particular was noteworthy enough to purchase and review.

Greenworks 60V Chainsaw Specifications
Model: Greenworks Pro CS60L210 (kit)
Voltage: 60V
Weight with Battery: 12.20 pounds
Kitted Battery: 2.0 Ah
Nominal Battery Watt Hours: 108
Chain: Oregon 91 Skip Tooth
Bar Length: 16″
Warranty: 4 years limited

For those of you who want a copy, here is the CS60L210 owner’s manual.

Right off the bat, I noticed the “kit” came with a 2.0 Ah battery.  In my review of the 20312, it had a 4Ah battery.  I immediately had some concerns about runtime.  So I purchased Greenworks’ optional 5.0 Ah battery.

As usual, Greenworks nails the ergonomics.  The weight of the saw, which is right at 13 pounds with the bigger battery, is more than acceptable.  And the balance feels right too.

The handles are a little on the skinny/slim side, but it’s nothing objectionable.  The switchgear feels solid, and the saw feels quite professional.  Honestly I think Greenworks flubbed up the bucking spikes.  They are short, rounded, and not particularly effective.  It’s not a deal killer, and I guess I’m being picky here.  but it seems like a feature someone who knows nothing about chainsaws and how they work designed.

This 16″ model claims to make up to 90 cuts on a fully charged 2.0Ah battery. I had a lot of clean up to do on the 3 acre lot next door, and I wasn’t so sure 90 cuts would or wouldn’t do the job.  As you can imagine, I was curious how it would stand up against the other cordless chainsaws I’ve reviewed.

In working over the trees on the lot nextdoor, the Greenworks 60V Chainsaw had the power and chain speed to keep up with my work rate. The skip tooth chain that comes with the saw gets the job done, but you may want to switch to a standard tooth chain if you have consistent cutting to do.

I like this saw as a good option for homeowners that have seasonal chainsaw work to do and don’t want the hassle of gas. It gives you more muscle than most electric and lower-power cordless saws without becoming unwieldy.

I reviewed the Greenworks 20312 here.  There is a lot I like about the CS60L210 as compared to the 20312.

Feature Set
Trigger Safety
Some cordless chainsaws have electronic safety mechanisms, but it’s not a standard feature quite yet. This Greenworks saw doesn’t have one, so you can pick it up and start sawing without a step in between.

There’s a genuinely good debate about that. Electronic safeties time out, making it almost as irritating as restarting a gas saw. Okay, it’s not quite that bad, but it really is inconvenient. On the other hand, they add one more layer of safety, and that’s generally a good idea for tools that can do as much damage as a chainsaw.

So is the lack of an electronic safety a negative for the Greenworks 60V Chainsaw? Not really. The mechanical safeties in place do the job in my opinion.  Folks who have small children in their home should of course store the saw with the battery removed (and possibly on a charger).  With no battery, this saw is as safe as anything out there.

Skip-Tooth Chain
The Greenworks CS60L210 chainsaw uses an Oregon 91 skip-tooth chain. This saves on the cost and requires less juice from the battery, but these skip-tooth chains cut slower than traditional chains. That’s no surprise since it has half the teeth. They also do a good job clearing debris from the chain path—which is why you often see them in models using longer bars.

What’s different for Greenworks is that they move from the 0.043″ chain that most cordless chainsaws come with to a 0.050″ chain.

Bar Security
The bar is held on with dual studs whose nuts require a wrench to tighten and loosen. Some of the saws in this class have a tool-free adjustment, but the benefit remains a source of contention. Some Pros consider the dual stud design to maintain a more secure connection despite losing some convenience.

However, dropping bar nuts is common. Greenworks also designed this saw with captive nuts that are tougher to lose in the field. That’s definitely a giant plus.

Bucking Spikes
The Greenworks 60V chainsaw features aluminum bucking spikes for gripping the wood securely during a vertical cut. As you slightly rock the saw forward using a bucking grip, the spikes allow you to gain downward leverage. Many of the saws in this category have plastic bucking spikes—and puny ones at that. It’s good to see the more durable metal spikes.

These aren’t as substantial as we see on gas saws and that’s not a big deal on smaller cuts. With a 16″ bar, I’d like to see these extend out a bit more (and with more of a point on them) to give me a better grip on those 10″+ cuts.

All A-Buzz
Compared to its peers, the 60V Greenworks Pro chainsaw does a decent job in the balance category. A lot of it depends on what battery you use since the 2.0Ah pack drops some weight. I primarily used a 5.0Ah and didn’t feel things were terribly out of whack.

There’s some internal debate about the handle size. Guys with bigger hands might feel they’re too skinny. I have medium-size hands and didn’t find it an issue, but I can definitely see how the gorilla in our office takes exception. As a chainsaw that targets homeowners, including women, I think it strikes a fair balance.

About that Chain…
You normally see skip tooth chains on larger bars, 30″ and up or so. When you’re cutting larger diameter logs, that style is helpful for chip removal. Fewer teeth are engaged and it helps reduce strain on the motor and crank. As a bonus, you have fewer teeth to sharpen.

On cuts 6″ or smaller, the lower number of teeth can cause some chatter and add extra vibration. If you don’t keep your chain speed up, it has a tendency to want to grab those smaller branches instead of cutting them.

I used the stock chain until it was time to sharpen it and took 3/4-ton or so of oak branches in the process. I had no problems with the cutting speed, though it was slower than a standard chain.

It cut very well on the larger branches, but I could feel the extra chatter on the light stuff. I’ll likely swap out the chain for a full tooth version after this. Even though the 0.050″ chain is thicker than other cordless saws, if you keep it sharp and let the motor do the work, the saw has plenty of power and speed to drive it.

The Greenworks 60V Chainsaw has an oil cap with a lug that’s easy to turn with gloves on. A flip-up tab also provides a good grip. The translucent window is a little tough to see through, however.

I haven’t had any oil leaking issues so far. That’s something that tends to set in over time with our cordless saws, so I’ll need to revisit it somewhere down the road once I’ve put another few hundred cuts on it.

Yes, I was wanting to review this saw and give you guys feedback.  But honestly, I also had a lot of work to do and lost track of how many cuts I made.  So I can’t really judge against the “90 cut” claim that Greenworks markets.  And besides, I was using their larger battery.  There’s a lot of variation here anyway, like how sharp your chain is, how large the diameter is of the material you’re cutting, etc.

I took down three medium-sized trees with trunks of approximately 12″ in diameter.   Once on the ground, I cut those into ~18″ sections and trimmed all of the offshoots off. Add in some smaller branches I was thinning out, and I got all but the last few minutes of work done on that 5.0Ah battery.

In terms of working time, I had about an hour and a half of time with other hands to move the branches for me so I could work more quickly.

The 2.0Ah battery that comes in the kit is fine for light trimming, but I highly suggest moving up to the 5.0Ah if taking medium to large branches (or felling altogether) is what you expect the saw to do for you.

The Greenworks 60V chainsaw runs less than $200 as a bare tool.  That means without battery.  That’s pretty convenient considering you may own other Greenworks 60V product, and could just use that same battery and save yourself a bunch of cash.   Don’t forget that Greenworks came out with a 60V Pro mower and it’s a great piece of machinery.  

The Bottom Line
For the urban tree care I performed, the Greenworks 60V Chainsaw had the power and chain speed to keep up with me. The skip tooth chain that comes with the saw gets the job done, but consider switching to a standard tooth chain if you have consistent cutting to do.

I like this as a good option for homeowners that have seasonal chainsaw work to do and don’t want the hassle of gas. It gives you more muscle than most electric and lower-power cordless saws without becoming unwieldy.

Click here to check the latest Greenworks saw prices on Amazon.


Worx WG305 Electric Chainsaw Review

Over the last few years, Worx has developed an  great reputation in the outdoor power equipment and power tool industry.  Their WG305.1 Electric Chainsaw is another addition to the company’s product range.  It is described by Worx as a compact powerhouse, and it comes with a pretty decent list of features, including:

Robust 8 amp motor
Toolless, auto chain tensioning system
14 Inch guide bar
Oil level indicator

For this review, I bought one of these and tried it out.  I’ve written up some of what I found, and in the following post I will go through some of the details, features, pros, cons, and my recommendation.  Keep reading to get the scoop!

Performance and Handling

The WG305.1 is an occasional use, homeowner chainsaw designed for light and medium cutting duties such as pruning, limbing, trimming and general light clean up.

As with all electric chainsaws it offers safe and reliable start-up with zero emissions. Starting the saw requires the user to engage the safety lock switch and press the throttle trigger. The saw will power into life and the safety lock switch can then be released. When the throttle is released the saw will stop and the chain gradually coasts to a stop.

The excellent WG305 is now without flaws, but is feature-packed and surprisingly affordable. Click HERE to check the latest pricing on Amazon…

The saw is extremely easy to handle. Weighing less than 7lbs, it is one of the lightest saws you will find and should be within the handling capabilities of most people. Indeed, reviews indicate that it is popular with older people and individuals who for other reasons (such as injury) find heavier models hard to control. It has a rubberized over grip handle to improve comfort and stability and its compact design means that it is pretty easy to maneuver.

So, just exactly what is this saw capable of in terms of performance? The manufacturer states that it has a ‘high cutting capacity’ of up to 28 inches. This is obviously not in a single pass and would require the user to cut wood from different angles. With a 14 inch blade, the saw should be able to cut through a 12 inch log in a single pass. In both instances, the saws ability to handle cuts of this size depends on the type of wood being cut (hard or soft; dry or wet). Most users indicate that the saw performs well on wood up to 8 inches thick and that when doing this sort of work has the staying power to cut for a reasonable length of time without being over worked.

Other users advised that they had been able to cut through some larger trees but if you have regular heavy cutting duties to carry out then there are better saws out there for this type of work.

In summary, the WG305.1 is best suited to light and medium cutting tasks around the yard.

Features and Cutting Equipment

As mentioned earlier in the review, the WG305.1 is fitted with a 14 inch bar and chain.

The bar is a reduced kickback, sprocket nose model (Type: ES140SDEA041). This style of bar is popular so you won’t have any difficulties finding a replacement if required. As the bar has a sprocket nose (this is the case with most homeowner saws), users will need to remember to regularly grease the sprocket nose hole. This is easily done by using a grease gun to inject grease into the hole.

The 14 inch chain has low kickback qualities. It has a 3/8 inch pitch, 0.05” gauge and 52 drive links. As with the bar, this is a popular size chain and replacements are readily available. The chain speed is 8.5 meters per second. On larger electric saws you can expect speeds up to 15 m/s and on gas

powered models higher still. In comparison, therefore, this is slower, however it is more than sufficient for light cutting work.

One important aspect of using a chainsaw is ensuring that the chain is kept properly tensioned at all times. On this model this is simple thanks to the tool-less auto chain tensioning system. Full instructions on how to set the correct tension are provided, however, it’s basically a case of turning the chain tensioning knob clockwise until it is hand tight. This is a great system which avoids the need to get out the tool kit and therefore keeps interruptions to a minimum.

Ergonomics of this saw are excellent. –Visit their Amazon page —

Some users complained that the chain slipped on a number of occasions. Experienced users will know that new chains have a tendency to stretch quite easily and so it is important that tension is checked on a regular basis. When the saw is first being used, this should be after every few cuts if necessary. You should find that once the chain is worn in, it will stretch less, reducing the number of times you need to adjust the tension.

The chain should also be kept in good condition, which means keeping it sharp. If you are used to doing this yourself, you will need a 5/32” round file and holder, together with a flat file. You can check out our article What size file do I need for my chainsaw? for more information about how to do this. If you don’t feel able to perform this function then you can look at getting the chain sharpened locally by an expert or, alternatively, invest in a new chain.

Design and Construction

The WG305.1 is constructed from hard plastic. Whilst it perhaps isn’t as robust as some larger saws, users will find the benefits in how light the saw is, as well as its low cost. The product is certainly robust enough to deal with occasional use light and medium duty cutting tasks.

In terms of design, this is a classic rear handle model. The diagram above shows the powerhead unit and guide bar. The oil filler cap and primer bulb sit at a slight angle on top of the unit next to the front handle. There is a front hand guard, which unlike some other saws, does not also act as a chain brake. Also shown is the chain tensioning knob. There is also a set of plastic bumper spikes (not in view) on the front of the unit which helps to provide stability when cutting.

The diagram above shows the rear handle which houses the throttle trigger and lock-out safety switch. You can also see the transparent oil reservoir window. The power cord is around a foot in length so an extension will be required.

8 Amp Brushed Motor

This saw is equipped with a feisty 8 Amp brushed motor, which is about as small as it gets on an electric saw and is comparable to the Remington RM1425 Limb ’N’ Trim. This reinforces the fact that this is predominantly a light duty cutting saw. Although the motor is small, it is easily capable of handling the tasks for which it was designed.

Being an electric saw, an extension cable will be required. This should be suitable for outdoor use and have the correct gauge. If you are using a 100 foot extension, then this should be a minimum 14 gauge (14/3) although a higher gauge (such as 12/3 or 10/3) is even better. If you are using a 50 foot cord then it should be a minimum 16 gauge (16/3), although again a higher gauge such as (14/3 or 12/3) would be better.

Users have a lot to say about the saw. Much good, some bad. Click here to check out the Amazon reviews…

Obviously the downside of using an electric saw is that you need to be within distance of a power outlet. You could consider using a generator. This saw has running watts of around 1,020 and starting watts likely to be higher than this. Your generator should, therefore, have sufficient power to cope with this load.

Chain Oil System

Unlike most saws, the WG305.1 has a manual bar and chain oiling system. This means that between cuts you need to remember to press the primer button (on the oil cap) to release the oil. Although this isn’t perhaps as convenient as automatic lubrication systems, there is the advantage that you can control the amount of oil released to the cutting components to match the conditions. You should press the cap at least once between each cut.

Oil is added to the reservoir through the oil cap on top of the powerhead unit. As you can see from the earlier picture, this is quite large and easily accessible. The reservoir itself has a capacity of 4 oz. (120 ml). You should find that if using constantly, a top up every 12 minutes will be required. There is a minimum oil level marking on the reservoir window, making it easy to see when top up is needed.

In terms of the type of oil, a good quality bar and chain oil should be used (See article). The manufacturer recommends a winter weight oil but this is not essential.

A number of consumers mentioned that the saw leaks during storage. Unfortunately this is an issue common to many chainsaws. To prevent or minimize leakage, ensure that the saw is kept in an upright position (with the oil cap uppermost) when not in use. Try to store with as little oil as possible in the reservoir and give some thought to where and how it is stored.

One final point, bar oil is NOT provided with this purchase.

Safety Features

Although this is only a small, light cutting duty saw, it is still a dangerous tool and needs to be used properly at all times. To help keep users protected, there are several safety features, such as:

Reduced kickback bar and low kickback chain which meets the standards laid down in ANSI B.175.1. These reduce, but don’t eliminate entirely, the chances of kickback.
Safety lock button which must be pressed to operate the throttle trigger. This prevents accidental starting.
Front and rear hand guards to prevent the hands coming into contact with wood, debris and the chain.
Bumper spikes. These act as a pivot on the wood and provide stability when cutting.
As always, these safety features should not be relied on entirely to keep you out of harm’s way. Make sure you operate the saw in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and always wear appropriate safety gear such as gloves, eyewear and suitable clothing.

This product weighs 6.6lbs, making it one of the lightest saws available on the market.

It comes with an operators’ manual and plastic scabbard to protect the cutting equipment.  Here’s the owner’s manual, for those of you who would like to download it.

• Lightweight and easy to use

• Fast and simple starting (essentially just the push of a button)

• Tool-less auto chain tensioning system

• Inexpensive

• Quiet

• Manual oiler (you have to remember to dump oil to the bar)

• Not particularly “solid” construction

Consumer Ratings
There are well over a hundred online reviews for this saw and they are generally very positive. Around 85% of buyers rate the saw as either good or excellent. Users are happy with how light and easy the saw is to use, its cutting performance and the excellent price. Some users mentioned that the chain can slip, which emphasizes the point that tension needs to be checked regularly.

You should buy this saw if:

• You struggle with heavy objects and need a light saw.

• You want a saw for light cutting and pruning work

• You don’t want to spend a great deal of money

• You want a saw which is clean, easy to start and operate.

You should not buy this saw if:

• You have regular medium and heavy duty cutting jobs.

• You don’t have access to a power supply

The WG305.1 comes with a 3 year manufacturer’s warranty.

Click here to check the latest Amazon prices…

Poulan Pro Chainsaw Reviews | 2018 Options

I understand the need for a top-of-the-line chainsaw, regardless of cost.  But if you’re like me (and most homeowners are), you are looking for something that performs well without breaking the bank.  A Poulan Pro chainsaw may be just what you need.

I consider Poulan Pro to be the “no-nonsense”, working-man’s brand.  A no-frills, heavy-duty saw at an affordable price.

And don’t forget, Husqvarna owns Poulan Pro and makes all their saws.  That means many of the same design targets are used, as are many common parts.

I think Husqvarna uses the Poulan Pro brand as a “price-fighter”, allowing them to play in a less-premium brand space without sullying their premium brand name.

In some ways, this is like Lexus and Toyota, or Ford and Lincoln.  There’s nothing wrong with a Toyota, but not many people who are shopping for Toyotas will cross-shop up in the Lexus brand space.

What I want to do here is introduce you to the Poulan Pro brand, and review a number of their affordable saws to see if any of them are right for you.

Poulan Pro Chainsaws

You have probably heard of the Poulan brand.  Most folks recognize their tools as being durable, priced right, and comfortable to use.  That type of reputation has been cultivated by Poulan for decades.  They seem to be dedicated to bringing products to market that are well-liked by the average consumer.

You may remember that Poulan Pro is the 2nd most popular chainsaw brand in 2018, behind only Stihl.

The Poulan History : An All-American Story

It all started with a guy named Claude Poulan.  Claude was a lumberjack, and spent many years of his humble, hard-working life cutting down trees.

I think it’s important to understand the distinction between someone who cuts down a nuisance tree every now and then, or perhaps cleans up a big plot of land after a storm, versus someone who spends years earning their living doing it.

Claude PoulanIf you don’t do it well, you either get hurt or your get fired.  You don’t pay your rent, and you don’t eat!

It’s in that context that we see the significance of Claude Poulan starting the Poulan Saw Company in 1946.  A former lumberjack brings certain qualifications to the table when he starts a saw company!

Poulan began manufacturing robustly designed, affordable chainsaws for professional lumberjacks in Claude’s hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana.

You may have already read that the first chainsaw models were two-man machines.  These things weren’t for the faint of heart, but did help increase throughput of the lumberjack crews.

Poulan’s designs and manufacturing capabilities continue to grow – along with their reputation – throughout the 1950’s.  By the 1970’s, Poulan had created a market for lightweight, consumer-duty saws.  The same quality and durability went into these saws as what was marketed to professional lumberjacks, but they had been downsized and redesigned for mainstream consumers.

It’s certainly hard to beat a large, powerful saw when it’s being used all day, every day by a professional.  But there are very real, substantial tradeoffs:

  • weight
  • cost

Poulan created this niche where saws built for non-professional users were appropriately sized, and didn’t require someone to take out a 10 year mortgage in order to afford them.

At the time, that novel idea was considered a “light-duty” saw.  But these days, we’ve come to recognize them as more medium-duty for the average consumer.

Old Poulan ProductsIn some cases, Poulan has kept up with the market by adding features to its saws.  But they aren’t known for being obnoxious about it.  If a feature makes sense for the sake of safety, or improved productivity, they tend to gravitate towards it.

Recognizing some of the benefits of battery-powered chainsaws (like ease of starting, less maintenance, reduced noise and vibration), Poulan has been fairly active in the last decade or so in this segment of the market.

In the rest of my article, I’ll try to touch on some of the best, most popular Poulan chainsaws – both gasoline and battery.

If you are looking for easy to handle, durable, affordable machines, I think you’ll find Poulan is one of your best bets.  And based on their overwhelming popularity, it’s clear these guys know how to make a chainsaw!

Poulan Pro PR5020AV (967061501)

20″ bar & chain — 50cc, Gas Powered Chain Saw (includes carrying case)

PR 5020av photo
An incredible saw for the money…[Check latest 5020 prices on Amazon]

  • OxyPower engine technology : Extra power via a powerful engine
  • 70% less emissions and 20% lower fuel consumption
  • Easy to start pull starting system : Reduces pull force 30%
  • Combi tool is integrated into the rear handle, it’s always there when you need it for maintenance
  • Purge bulb, which provides the carburetor with fuel
  • Combined choke and stop control makes it easier to start
  • Double post chain brake increases safety by right hand activation as well automatically by inertia
  • Designed for homeowners for general property management and firewood cutting
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • On board, scrunch holder included

View or download the OWNER’S MANUAL


Many of you might not realize this, but Poulan Pro and Husqvarna are the same company. Continue reading “Poulan Pro Chainsaw Reviews | 2018 Options”

Greenworks 20312 16″ Battery Chainsaw Review

It took me awhile, but I finally put together my review for the Greenworks 20312.

Greenworks 20312 chainsaw
The Greenworks 20312 offers serious performance for the money! [Check prices on Amazon now…]
This is their 16″ battery chainsaw that comes with a 4Ah battery. It’s their answer to some of the Black & Decker models, and it appears to be one of Greenworks’ top sellers.

It has been on the market for a couple of years now, and I’ve been itching to get my hands on one. I finally sent some chips flying with this thing, and I really like it!

Read on through this review for:

  • a detailed look at the 20312 specs
  • a fit/feel/finish assessment, and my “out of box” experience
  • performance evaluation
  • common competitors, and how it stacks up

Greenworks 20312 Features

You get a lot for your money with this chainsaw. A bullet-point list of specs/features:

  • Durable 16″ steel bar and chain.
  • Greenworks popular high-performance 40V G-Max Lithium-Ion battery, ideal for tough applications requiring fade-free power and no “memory loss” after charging.
  • Brushless motor, designed for longer life, higher efficiency, and up to 30% more torque to power through tough cuts.
  • Tool-less chain tensioning for maximum performance and ease of use.
  • 3/8 in. chain pitch delivering aggressive cuts while minimizing stall and kickback.
  • Overmolded handle for reduced vibration and increased user comfort.
  • Rear handle ergonomics provide max control, especially for overhead use.
  • Electronic chain brake to maximize operator safety.
  • Quick-release trigger.
  • Push-button start.
  • Up to 150 cuts on a single charge.
  • Automatic oiler with translucent tank.

[Click here for the OWNER’S MANUAL.]

Initial Impressions

The saw feels high-quality.

Its various knobs, plastic pieces, and metal pieces all fit well together, with no weird burrs or areas that make me think “cheap”.

The books and manuals were there, the packaging wasn’t a pain in the butt, and I didn’t notice any damage.

greenworks batteryThe 20312 version comes with a battery and charger.

The battery snaps into both the saw and the charger with no muss or fuss.  The charger isn’t flimsy and I get the impression I could get some real work out of this combo.

Performance Evaluation

Right out of the gate I noticed a few things:

  • MUCH quieter!
  • much less vibration
  • feels solid despite light weight

Greenworks, as well as other manufacturers, claim their battery saws are up to 50% quieter than gas saws. I would believe it!

greenworks saw
A powerful chainsaw! [View more product specs on Amazon…]
After years spent in the industry, I would never use any chainsaw without hearing protection. But this saw in particular runs very quietly, even at full throttle.

The noise it produces is very mechanical, with no noticeable whine from the electric motor.

The vibration on the 20312 seems to be at near-record lows. Similar to their claims for noise, Greenworks says this saw vibrates up to 70% less than a gas chainsaw equivalent.

I definitely believe their claim. Frankly, if I were to choose a saw I had to use all day long, this might be what I would pick just based on how easy it is on my hands and arms.

Even though this thing feels like a featherweight, it feels solid. The box says it’s only 10.4 lbs, and my lower back corroborates that story.

I think Greenworks did a good job tuning the stiffness and the balance of the saw to match up with its weight. It sits in the hands great, and has that “all-day” comfortable feeling.

It’s hard to get used to how easy it is to start one of these electric saws.  Pop the battery in, pull the trigger!

There’s no messing with a choke, and no jerking your arm off.  This is definitely one of the benefits I love.

This saw cuts really well.

At 16″, it’s in the middle of the common electric saw range.

It feels plenty powerful.  Of course with it being brand new and having a sharp chain, I was pretty impressed with how it slices through pretty much anything.

I cut with it for awhile, and it’s battery life seemed average, maybe a bit more than average.

It’s hard to tell you exactly how that will stack up to what you’re thinking, since there are so many variables, including how much pressure you’re applying through your hands.

Greenworks claims this combo is good for 100 cuts through 4×4 lumber.

4×4’s are expensive, and I’m not about to chop several into 100 pieces to prove a point to ya’ll!

But let’s do the math.

With the power this thing has, slicing through a 4×4 only takes a few seconds.  Including repositioning, I think you could make 4 cuts in one minute.

So if it will do 100 of those cuts, that means it would operate in fairly severe conditions for around 25 minutes.

Based on my experience, I think that’s about right.  You can always charge the battery in order to go at it again, which will take maybe an hour.

If you’re planning on doing a lot of cutting, it wouldn’t hurt to buy a spare battery.  But they are expensive.  If you’re going to do that much cutting (which frankly I think is rare for most homeowners), you probably want to consider a gas saw.

20312 vs Black & Decker LCS1240

LCS1240 chainsaw
Black & Decker’s closest competitor [Check B&D prices on Amazon…]

As I mentioned before, Greenworks meant for this saw to go up against the likes of Black & Decker.

The B&D LCS1240 is probably the closest competitor.

It’s a 12″ saw, 40V, and has similar features like automatic chain oiling and tool free chain tensioning.

You’ll notice the B&D is a 12″ while the 20312 is 16″.

BD LCS1240 chainsawAnd the Greenworks has a 40v 4.0Ah battery, while the Black & Decker has a 40V 2.0Ah.

Yes, you will need a bigger battery for the Greenworks since it’s a bigger saw, but even with that headwind you will get more runtime.

The B&D saw performs well.  It has a good feature set, and there’s nothing wrong with the saw, but honestly they have been resting on the laurels and Greenworks has run right by them.

This is really no competition 🙂

FYI – you may want to check out the LP1000, which is a bit of a specialty saw.

20312 vs DEWALT DCCS690M1

dewalt dccs690m1 pic
A solid competitor if you don’t mind the heft! [Check prices on Amazon…]
Okay, now we are getting a bit more serious.  Nothing wrong with that B&D saw, but DEWALT takes this particular battery chainsaw to a whole-nother level!

This is 40V with their 4.0Ah battery.  And a full 16″ bar and chain.

It’s one of their better saws, and they back it like they mean it with a 3-year warranty.

The DCCS690M1 is known for performing well.  I’ll just jump to the chase here and tell you about its achilles heel: the weight.

Dewalt DCCS690M1 chainsawDEWALT sort of hides the weight of the aw, putting it nowhere on the box or the product literature.  Having used it myself, I can tell you it weighs just under 16 lbs with its battery.

Yes, you’re doing your math right:  it is indeed 50% heavier than the Greenworks.

If you get get over that fact. you’ll find the DEWALT is a worth competitor to the 20312.

20312 vs EGO CS1600

Ego CS1600
Not cheap, but Ego’s CS1600 equipped with a 5Ah battery is a top contender [Check the Ego’s price on Amazon…]
EGO steps it up with their CS1600 model.  It boasts a 56V 5.0Ah battery.

That’s a lot of power!

It does have solid features.  Along with the 16″ bar/chain, it has an auto-oiler, chain brake, and a chain tensioning knob.

I will give it a more in-depth review soon, but I can  tell you without spending too much time with it that about the only thing I can easily find missing with the CS1600 are some metal bucking spikes.

Ego CS1600It does have some plastic ribbing on the front of the cover that presumably servers the same purpose.  But come on Ego, I think you can do better than that.

The fact that the saw is missing these isn’t necessarily a death knell, it’s just indicative that some folks that don’t really use chainsaws for a living might have had a hand in developing it.

20312 vs Zombi ZCS5817

Zombi ZCS5817 pic
The Zombi ZCS5817 is a well-kept secret! [Check prices on Amazon now…]

I’m going to lay one more out there, and it may be one you’ve never heard of.

The Zombi ZCS5817 is competitively spec’d and priced. Continue reading “Greenworks 20312 16″ Battery Chainsaw Review”

Black & Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper Review

I am more than willing to cut to the chase for this review: the Black & Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper is very good at what it does, and may be perfect for folks who don’t need an actual chainsaw.

The perfect “extra saw”, everyone should have one Check prices on Amazon

Although I live and breathe chainsaws (hence the website), I realize they are not necessarily for everyone.

Some people are intimidated by them.  Some people don’t feel comfortable using one.   And many people just don’t need one.

But honestly everyone should own one of these.  Yes, I mean everyone!  You too!

There are some limitations of this lopper.  I will cover those in a minute.  There are certain jobs around the house that only a chainsaw can do.  But if you use this thing for what it’s intended, there actually isn’t a better product in the market.

Surprised I said that?  Read on, and I’ll explain why… Continue reading “Black & Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper Review”

Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf Chainsaw Review | 20″ Gas Chainsaw

Echo CS-590 image
A beast of a saw that can cut firewood all day! Check Amazon prices

The ECHO CS-590 started production in 2013, while the ECHO CS-590 Timber Wolf started in 2014. The Timber Wolf won the won the Dealers Choice Award from Power Equipment Trade magazine. That’s fairly prestigious considering over 1,000 lawn and garden power equipment dealers participated in the survey. At the very least, we have to recognize that this is an impressive chainsaw that customers love.

Over the last couple of years, the ECHO CS-590 Timber Wolf has proven itself to be dependable, well-made, and a strong value considering its price point. In this article I will review it alongside a couple of the gas chainsaws it competes with to see how it compares. Continue reading “Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf Chainsaw Review | 20″ Gas Chainsaw”

Earthwise LCS35814 Chainsaw Review | 58-Volt Battery Performance

Earthwise LCS35814 chainsaw
58V power with a solid 5 year warranty [Check it out on Amazon]
Welcome to my in-depth review of the Earthwise LCS35814.

If you’re like me, you’ve never heard of Earthwise chainsaws. Most folks say the same thing, since the Earthwise brand hasn’t been around very long.  I think they launched around 2006. I’ll try to give you a bit of the history for Earthwise, and talk a bit about their background in addition to covering the saw itself.  I think you’ll find the company has been around awhile.

The point of this review is to focus on the Earthwise LCS35814 14” cordless chainsaw. I’ll be providing an in-depth review of how the product feels, performs, and its features. While I’m at it, I’ll also review the WEN 40417 16″ cordless chainsaw, since it’s a comparable alternative to the Earthwise.  As you’ll see, the WEN is more of a bargain, but has slightly different features and characteristics. Continue reading “Earthwise LCS35814 Chainsaw Review | 58-Volt Battery Performance”