Best Corded Chainsaws

Updated July 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
9 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
412 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best corded chainsaws

Last Updated July 2020

For the DIY enthusiast, a corded electric chainsaw is one of the best tools you can have in your workshop. For one thing, electric chainsaws aren’t nearly as loud as gas-powered chainsaws. For another, they weigh far less, allowing you to use them for longer periods without becoming tired.

Corded chainsaws offer several advantages over gas-powered and battery-powered models, but they can vary in their power and other features. They also vary in their safety features, like chain brakes and low-kickback designs. It’s important to understand what you’re investing in when you buy a corded chainsaw, as these are powerful instruments that don’t come cheap.

We’re here to help. We know the jargon can be confusing, so we’ve parsed the marked and laid it all out for you in this shopping guide. Keep reading, and we’ll show you what you need to know when choosing a corded chainsaw for your workshop. If you’d like specific product recommendations, we have those, too — and we think you’d really like our top models.

A 100-foot or longer extension cord is the best size to use with a corded chainsaw. It lets you reach the edge of your yard without having to string together three or four shorter cords. Bear in mind that you will need a lower-gauge cord than your shorter extension cords to power your chainsaw.

Key considerations

What are you cutting?

When people think of chainsaws, they often picture a Paul Bunyan kind of guy with a big, loud chainsaw cutting down giant trees in the mountains of Alaska. While that may be true in some cases, most of us are a little less ambitious. We’re just trying to trim a few branches off the trees in our backyard or take down some saplings before they get too big.

If that’s you, a corded chainsaw is exactly what you need. Electric chainsaws are lighter and less powerful than gas chainsaws. They’re also less dangerous and have a lower chance of kickback.

Where are you cutting?

Are you cutting limbs and small trees in your backyard or out in the woods? The latter requires a gas chainsaw. If you’re cutting within a reasonable distance around your house, an easy-to-start electric chainsaw is generally a better option than gas chainsaw.

How often do you need a chainsaw?

Gas chainsaws don’t do well if they sit unused for long periods. If you will only be using a chainsaw on an occasional basis, a corded one is the best choice. You can pull it out when you need, start it up, then store again when you’re done without worrying about anything besides the oil level.

Corded vs. battery-powered

Battery-operated chainsaws have become more efficient and popular than ever. They have some wonderful features, not the least of which is that you can take them almost anywhere. You are only limited by the battery.

Corded chainsaws are restricted by the length of your extension cord, but they can run for hours without stopping, and they will have consistent power output. If the annual cleanup in your yard is an all-day job where batteries just won’t last, a corded chainsaw is your best option.

A top-notch chainsaw for small jobs

If you’ve got a stack of logs to cut into firewood or some small trees around the house that just have to go, this is your baby. The self-oiler works the way it is supposed to and it has the power to cut through white oak without any problems. It has a retention hook to keep the cord from unplugging while you’re using it. The tool-less chain tensioner is so easy to use, you can do it one-handed.

Features

Power

The power of a corded chainsaw is measured in amps, with most models ranging from 8 to 14.5 amps. The higher the power output, the tougher jobs your corded chainsaw can handle.

Rubberized handle grips

Even electrical chainsaws vibrate when they’re cutting through wood. The tougher the wood, such as oak or maple, the greater the vibration will be. After a while, it can become very painful on your hands. Rubberized grips on the handles give you extra padding to help with it. If you plan to work for long stretches, this may be an essential feature.

Oil level window

Chainsaws drink oil the way we breathe air. They are constantly using it while the chainsaw is running. If the oil runs out, the chain could stick in the wood or overheat. A window into the oil tank gives you a way to visually check on the oil level while you’re working without too much of an interruption.

Low kickback

Kickback occurs when the moving chain on the tip of the bar strikes something and the end of the bar suddenly jumps up in the air. It can also happen if the wood you’re cutting pinches the bar. In either case, you lose control of the chainsaw while the chain is running. This is when most life-threatening injuries occur.

A chainsaw with a low kickback means it has been designed to run at slower speeds with less power. It also means it uses a chain that is designed with different teeth so it doesn’t catch as often are regular chains. The flip side is that it doesn’t cut as well. Kickback is dangerous and happens to everyone sooner or later. If you’re comfortable with using chainsaws, you can get one that isn’t a low kickback design. If this is your first time with one, stick with a low kickback chainsaw.

Chain brake

A chain brake is a way to stop the movement of the chain without stopping the motor. Normally it is a handle that you squeeze along with the regular handle. The moment you let go of it, it stops the chain. Most corded chainsaws have them, but you should double-check the manufacturer’s specifications to be sure.

Tool-less tensioner

As you use a chainsaw, the chain will gradually loosen and begin to sag. You have to tighten it with the tensioner. Some tensioners require you to use a screwdriver or a special tool. Others, described as tool-less, allow you to re-tension the chain without the use of any tools.

EXPERT TIP

If your chainsaw has a bulb oiler, press the bulb every 30 seconds to keep the chain well-oiled.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Make sure your legs are planted well apart for stability and to keep them away from the chain.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Keep the tip of the bar away from the wood. Otherwise, you’ll find out firsthand what kickback is.


Staff  | BestReviews

Essential accessories

Chainsaws are dangerous pieces of equipment. You can injure yourself in a split second if you’re not careful, so don’t take any chances. We urge you to invest in some safety gear.

Safety glasses: 3M Virtua CCS Protective Eyewear
Flying pieces of wood and sawdust can hit you in the eye, causing permanent damage to your eyesight. Safety glasses are a necessity when operating a chainsaw. This popular pair is designed to help keep earplugs in place.

Steel toe boots: Timberland PRO Men’s Pit Boss Steel Toe Boot
If you drop a chainsaw it is going to be headed straight for your feet. Lumberjacks always wear steel toe boots when they’re working, and you should too. This rugged boot from Timberland is likely to last you through several seasons.

Chainsaw chaps: Forester Chainsaw Apron Chaps with Pocket
These have layers and layers of tough parachute cord inside them. If a running chainsaw blade drops onto your leg, the cords will grab the blade and stop it before it cuts your leg off or even breaks the skin. On average, five people are killed every year by chainsaws cutting into a major artery in their leg. This apron-style pair from Forester is comfortable and has saved the lives of several customers.

Chainsaw sharpener: Stihl 2-in-1 Easy File Chainsaw Chain Sharpener
A dull chainsaw will turn a 5-minute job into an hour-long marathon. Get a chainsaw sharpener. It only takes a few minutes to sharpen the chain, but you’ll get your work finished a lot faster. This compact file works well with most 0.325-inch chains and is a customer favorite.

Chainsaw oil: Oregon Chainsaw Bar and Chain Oil
Chainsaws drink oil like nobody’s business. They have to keep the chain oiled so it won’t stick in the wood or overheat. Stock up when you get your chainsaw and you can probably get the shipping thrown in for free. This oil from Oregon works well on most chainsaws and shines in sub-zero temperatures.

Corded chainsaw prices

The low price range is between $40 and $50 for corded chainsaws. These are your basic no-frills models with short bars for very light cutting.

For around $50 to $90 are the majority of corded chainsaws. These generally have longer bars, more powerful motors, and extra features such as tool-less tensioners.

High end corded chainsaws start at $90 and reach as high as $300. This is Paul Bunyan territory — these are heavy-duty chains with long bars and extra power for cutting through big trees.

Another great power tool from Remington

At just 6 1/4 pounds, it’s easy to use this chainsaw for long stretches. It comes with Remington’s rugged construction and is user-friendly to boot. The 8-amp motor is perfect for cutting through limbs and small trees for your annual yard work. This chainsaw comes fully assembled so it is ready to go as soon as you put some oil in it. Plug it in and start cutting.

Tips

  • Never cut a log that is laying on the ground. The chain will dig into the ground, kicking up dirt and rocks. This also dulls the chain.
  • Don’t press the chain against the wood you’re cutting until the chain is running at full speed.
  • Let the chain cut the wood without pressing down on it. Unless it’s dull, it will cut through the wood without any extra effort from you.
  • An extension cord can greatly increase the range of your corded chainsaw, but it needs to be long enough and with the minimum gauge for the power (in amps) of your corded chainsaw.

Other products we considered

If you didn’t find the right tool for you in our top choices, we have a few more recommendations that might meet your needs. We like the heavy-duty Makita 16-inch Electric Chainsaw. It's got all the features you'd expect; rubberized handle grips, oil level window, tool-less blade, and chain adjustments, and a chain speed of 2,900 FPM. With 110 volts of power and a 16-inch low-kickback bar, it can go head-to-head with gas-powered chainsaws. The high price is a reflection of all that power. We also like the inexpensive Sun Joe 14-inch Tree Limb Master Electric Chainsaw, which has low kickback on a 14-inch bar. Its surprisingly powerful 9-amp motor supplies everything you need to clear away brush, small trees, prune branches, and cut logs into firewood. At less than 8 pounds, it's a breeze to handle it as well.

Always do your cutting with the chainsaw held at waist level. Bending over to cut puts you off-balance, which can be dangerous.

FAQ

Q. How long can I use a corded chainsaw?
A.
While corded chainsaws don’t get quite as hot as gas-powered models, they can still overheat. In most cases, this isn’t due to overuse but is instead because of a factor like low oil or a blunt chain.

Q. Can I run a corded chainsaw using a generator?
A.
Yes, but why would you? Generators run on gasoline. It would be easier to get a gas-powered chainsaw, a battery-powered chainsaw, or an extension cord.

Q. Can I use a corded chainsaw in the rain?
A.
No. Using an electric anything in the rain is an invitation to trouble.

The team that worked on this review
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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