Best DEWALT 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.

14 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
262 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 DEWALT chainsaws

Last Updated July 2020

DEWALT has an almost legendary reputation for tough, high-performance tools, and its cordless chainsaws carry on the tradition. High-quality components and attention to detail are trademarks of the brand, resulting in a range of well-balanced, user-friendly models. They’re not the cheapest cordless chainsaws on the market, but for many it’s an investment worth making.

BestReviews has taken an in-depth look at specifications and options so you have the information you need to pick the best DEWALT chainsaw for your particular needs. We’ve looked at the differences between voltage and amp hours and how they impact your choice. We’ve also answered some of the common questions people have when buying a cordless chainsaw and included some straightforward safety tips.

If you’re ready to buy, our recommendations highlight the selection available in terms of both price and performance. For a more detailed look at what distinguishes them, please check out the following DEWALT chainsaw buying guide.

Cordless DEWALT chainsaws are easier to use than gas models, but they’re no less dangerous and shouldn’t be taken for granted. You still need to take the same safety precautions.

Key considerations

Volts and amp hours

For those who might not be clear about what these two figures represent, it’s probably easiest to make a comparison with cars.

Volts: The power demand of the tool, what it needs to function, is the voltage (V). For a 12-volt tool, picture a compact car. For a 120-volt tool (which actually runs two 60-volt batteries in tandem), picture an eight-cylinder sports car. DEWALT chainsaws are rated at 20, 40, or 60 volts.

Amp hours: Amp hours (Ah) are effectively the fuel. The higher the amp hours, the longer a battery will deliver the same level of performance. On a small power drill, you might have a 1.5-amp hour battery. At the other end of the scale, some of DEWALT’s garden tools have 9-amp hour batteries.

Why don’t you just go for the highest amp hours possible? There are several reasons. First, more amp hours equal more cost! A higher amp hour battery also takes longer to charge. Finally, as capacity increases, the tool gets physically bigger, so size and weight become limiting factors.

Voltage and amp hours are not related. You can have a 20-volt, 6-amp hour battery or a 60-volt, 6-amp hour battery. Cordless chainsaws are power-hungry tools, so we recommend the highest amp hours you can afford, with 4 as a minimum.

Manufacturers seldom give run times because they’re impacted by all kinds of things, but DEWALT chainsaws probably run somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes per charge (though some users claim longer). You might welcome the break, but if you want to continue working, you’ll need a spare battery.

Remember, buying a bare tool means you don’t get a battery or charger. You can save a lot if you already own equivalent DEWALT batteries, but if they predate the Max or XR, they may not be compatible with the tool.

What voltage do you need?

20 volts: This DEWALT chainsaw is a lightweight, light-duty tool. It’s useful for a variety of jobs, but the 12-inch bar (the metal plate that the chain circles) indicates the limit of its capacities. In real terms, you’re looking at a maximum cut of maybe 8 or 9 inches.

40 volts: This chainsaw is a good all-rounder and is ideal for most homeowners — powerful but still manageable. This DEWALT chainsaw is fitted with a 16-inch bar. Felling trees that are a foot across is within its capabilities.

60 volts: DEWALT’s 60-volt chainsaw retains the 16-inch bar but delivers more power, so it should do the same job more quickly. If you have a lot of acreage, that could be a benefit, but in our view, this is more of a contractor tool.

Quiet, clean, and capable

If you’ve been waiting for a cordless chainsaw that actually delivers on the promise of gas power without the mess and fuss, this is it. The low kickback 16-inch bar gives it the capacity for the vast majority of jobs in even the largest garden. And with the recommended 6-amp hour battery, it has ample run time to get the job done. A superb high-performance tool for homeowners and pros.

Features

Safety

DEWALT chainsaws have a couple of safety features that not all rivals share.

Chain brake: First, there’s the chain brake, a device you’ll find on gas chainsaws that stops the chain moving even if you press the trigger.

Lock-out: Second is a safety lock-out button, so the chainsaw can’t be started accidentally. As a further precaution, you need to squeeze the trigger and depress a button to make it run. It’s a one-handed operation, so it’s perfectly comfortable, but if you slip for any reason, the motor stops.

Convenience

Automatic oiling and tool-free chain tensioning are common features on chainsaws, so it’s not surprising that all DEWALT models have them.

If you’re thinking about buying a range of cordless garden tools, It’s worth looking at other 40-volt DEWALT models, such as leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, and string trimmers, thus maximizing your investment in batteries.

All DEWALT chainsaws have a three-year warranty.

EXPERT TIP

All DEWALT chainsaws have auto-oiling to maximize the life of the chain. If you check the level each time you use the tool, you won’t run out.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

Work gloves: Custom Leathercraft Flex Grip Gloves
Good work gloves help prevent blisters when you’re dealing with branches and logs, and they can minimize vibration from your chainsaw. These are synthetic leather, so they’re tough, but they won’t crack or shrink in damp conditions. They have good insulation, protective padding, and Lycra stretch panels for comfort and dexterity. They’re an excellent value, too.

Hard hat: TR Industrial Safety Helmet and Earmuffs
A face shield is a must when using a chainsaw, because you never know what’s going to get thrown at you. This model incorporates earmuffs, which can be removed, and has interchangeable clear and mesh visors, making it very versatile. The helmet itself is approved to the Z89.1-2003 industrial standard.

DID YOU KNOW?

There’s some confusion between 18-volt and 20-volt tools, or 36-volt and 40-volt models. The higher figure is the initial voltage at start, with no load. The lower is the voltage while working. There is no operational difference between 18- and 20-volt tools or 36- and 40-volt tools.

DEWALT chainsaw prices

Inexpensive: The cheapest DEWALT chainsaw is the 20-volt XR model at around $150 for a bare tool, though the battery and charger will probably double that cost.

Mid-range: At just over $200 as a bare tool, the Flexvolt 60-volt Max chainsaw is excellent value for such a powerful tool. Though, again, a battery will add $100 or so. If you’re considering such a high-performance model, you’ll probably want at least one spare battery as well.

Expensive: DEWALT’s focus seems to be on the 40-volt range, and it is arguably the best option for all but commercial users. It’s unlikely you’ll find one under $400, and by the time you’ve got a decent battery, it will be closer to $500. It is in line with competitors of similar quality, but it’s still quite an investment.

Convenient and affordable

Here’s a compact tool that offers great versatility at a competitive price. While not for serious lumberjacks, it will easily cope with a host of common tasks like slicing branches to length for firewood, pruning trees and shrubs, and quickly trimming decking to size. It has all the ease-of-use features and quality build you expect from the brand, and at less than 9 pounds, it’s also very manageable.

Safety tips

  • Wear protective gear. Always wear sturdy boots, gloves (so you can maintain a good grip on your tool), hard hat with a face shield, and ear protection. DEWALT chainsaws are not as loud as gas models, but the work can still be a noisy operation.
  • Make sure you have firm, stable footing. Avoid wet grass, mud, and damp leaves.
  • Keep children and pets away. Children often want to help, but make sure they stand well back while you’re cutting. Keep pets away from the work area. It’s not just for their safety. Any distraction could cause an accident.
  • Apply the chain brake before starting. Check that the chain is properly tensioned. If it shows any signs of damage, replace it immediately.
  • Never use a chainsaw if you’re not 100% fit and alert.
Tool-free chain tensioning on DEWALT chainsaws is quick and easy, but it isn’t automatic. It needs to be checked regularly. Have a quick look every time the battery needs changing or charging.

FAQ

Q. Are brushless motors better than brush motors?
A.
In cordless tools, yes. Brush motors are cheap, but they were developed primarily for corded electric motors. They will work in cordless tools, but they aren’t anywhere near as efficient as brushless, which will run around 30% longer with the same battery. A cordless chainsaw is quite a power-hungry tool, so having a brushless motor is a major advantage. They’re also virtually maintenance free. In DEWALT’s chainsaw range, the XR designation tells you that they are fitted with brushless motors.
 

Q. Do I need to buy replacement chains from DEWALT?
A.
No. As long as the size is the same (check carefully), it doesn’t matter what chains you buy, and you can probably save money sourcing them from another supplier. However, do make sure you buy a high-quality alternative. Buying cheap chainsaw blades is false economy. They stretch more quickly and need more frequent sharpening.
 

Q. Will DEWALT Max batteries work in XR chainsaws?
A.
Yes, if the voltage is the same. We need to look at this question carefully, though, because there are a few alternatives:

  • If you already own a 20-volt Max DEWALT battery, it will work with 20-volt XR DEWALT chainsaws. You can put it in the XR charger, too. However, you can’t charge the XR batteries in the Max charger.
  • Other brands of 20-volt Max batteries probably won’t fit.
  • You can’t normally swap voltages around. A 20-volt Max or XR does not generate enough power for a 40-volt chainsaw. You can’t go the other way either. For example, a 40-volt battery won’t work on a 20-volt tool. The exception is the Flexvolt battery, which can be switched between compatible 20- and 60-volt tools (but, oddly, not 40-volt).
The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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