Rechargeable Chainsaw Battery Guide
Today, Battery power is finding its way into almost all gardening tools and let’s face it, chainsaws are no exception. When battery power first made its way through to chainsaws, nobody thought that the technology would develop as quickly as it has and be able to compete to any meaningful extent. Fast forward to today and most of the battery powered chainsaws are so much more efficient that essentially they can operate to the same level gas powered chainsaws can without the drawbacks for the environment.
There are several advantages that accrue when you start using Battery powered chainsaws. They are so convenient, quiet and easy to use that when you use one you will from then on wonder why would I ever use a noisy, fume ridden gas powered saw ever again.
Now at this point in their development it is worth pointing out that when it comes to commercial use of these machine, they may not be as efficient as gas powered chainsaws just yet because you need to recharge them a little too often. What this means is that for you to fully utilize them, you must be close to a source of electricity or have a spare battery or two. However we are talking for full on use circumstances here versus existing petrol chainsaws which of course need to be refueled to but essentially the wait time is less in comparison.
For light to medium work the rechargeable chainsaw is ideal. Battery technology is catching up at a tremendous rate due to the advancements in the automotive sector and this technology usually filters down so our prediction is that mainstream rechargeable chainsaws will see vast improvements in the battery power and capacity department in the next few years which will see battery chainsaws outperform gas powered ones across the board.
When you are looking at choosing a battery powered chainsaw for the first time, there are several things that you need to take into consideration. In this brief, we are going to guide you through what you need to be aware of, to ensure you select the best machine for your operating needs. The first thing we will outline is battery selection for your rechargeable chainsaw.
The main reason why most gardeners and hobby type wood cutters turn to cordless chainsaws is because they offer a lot more mobility than corded chainsaws. However, they are less powerful when compared to gas powered chainsaws. If you are not buying the chainsaw to perform heavy duty tasks, then you will have an easy time using these battery operated chainsaws.
Rechargeable chainsaws are powered as you may be aware by a rechargeable battery, and for this reason you should ensure that the battery has enough power and life to suit your needs. Today, most of the chainsaws you will see and use have lithium-ion batteries but there are others that use Nickel-cadmium or even Nickel Metal Hydride batteries.
Each of these types has its strength and weaknesses but overall at this point in commercial battery development Lithium ion batteries are better overall as they provide more power and don’t fade away as they near empty.
Even though lithium batteries are more powerful, they are also more expensive and for this reason you will have to add a little bit more money to your budget to get a lithium battery powered chainsaw. The other two battery alternatives are cheaper overall but may not offer the much needed power and even though the price tag is a bit more tempting you would be best to avoid them if you want consistent results from your chainsaws operation.
For those people who are not concerned about power, especially those that are performing low duty tasks at home, then sure you could consider the other alternatives.
The Size and Power of Cordless Chainsaws
The power rating for cordless chainsaws is stated in Volts since they are powered by current. When you are in the market of shopping for a cordless chainsaw, you are likely to find cordless chainsaws with power ratings between 8 Volts to 40 volts and even higher for some professional saws. The voltages will generally differ according to the size and the strength of the machine. The 8 volts machine is going to be a lot less powerful when compared to a 40 Volt machine. What this means is that when you are buying a cordless chainsaw, this should be at the top of your consideration. The difference comes in when you have varying uses. If you want a cordless machine for all your commercial uses, then you should be very ready to dig deeper in your pocket for a 40 volts or higher chainsaw.
Look for a Lithium ion Battery
In a cordless chainsaw, the key feature is the battery and to a certain degree the motor too. There are several battery alternatives on the market today as discussed earlier but the wisest decision is to go for a Lithium ion Battery. These batteries are the latest and the most powerful viable options. They are superior to all the other types especially when it comes to performance.
These batteries have a lot of benefits to offer. Some of them include:
They produce more power which improves the workability of the chainsaw
They are lightweight and at the same time perform better for longer.
Lithium ion Batteries also don’t lose power and performance as the battery discharges.
The other thing is that they don’t have to be fully discharged so that you can recharge them. What this means is that they don’t have the same memory effect as is the case with Nickel Cadmium Batteries.
They retain their power even when they are left off charge for a week or two as it is not case with several other types of batteries.
The Size of the Battery Pack
This is another very important thing to take into consideration. It is more relevant at the top end of the cordless chainsaw range. However, if you want to use the machine for cutting large diameters of wood, then it becomes a very sensitive consideration. The fact is that a battery pack with a higher number of cells will give more power. More power in this case means higher speed of cutting and a higher efficiency. Additionally, it will also last longer. On the other hand, you have to bear in mind the fact that the larger the pack weighs a little more too.
The Battery Charging Time
This is another factor that you shouldn’t underestimate. The time the battery takes to charge will impact on your productivity. It is likely to increase the downtime of the machine. Most of the batteries take a longer time to charge which may range from several hours to a full day.
However, with the improvements in technology, most of the batteries today take less than 2 hours to charge. This is the best battery to go for. After the battery discharges, you will just have to spend 2 hours recharging it and you get back to work.
Another thing that most of the people don’t know is that the longer a battery takes to charge generally as a rule of thumb the longer some of them will take to discharge too although this does vary due to charger technology etc. What we are trying to say here is that there are some batteries marketed as taking a short time to charge however they generally don’t last as long in use.
This is the measure of the battery’s performance and the longevity. This is a very important thing to look out for because it determines the amount of time you can remain working. If the battery cannot last for a reasonable amount of time, then you will have a hard time recharging and completing tasks. What we are trying to say is that you should look for a battery with a longer battery life. Ensure that the battery can last for an adequate amount of time before needing to recharge it again.
Here are some other things to consider;
When you are looking for a battery powered chainsaw, the first thing that should determine your battery choice is what you want to do with the machine. Although these machines are purchased to perform the same tasks, the difficulties of the work you intend to perform with them are a huge consideration. The difficulties can vary widely from person to person and for this reason, different machines can be used to perform jobs of a certain required level.
If you intend to use the machine for just trimming the odd few branches in your garden or cutting small limbs and logs down to size, you don’t have to go for a 40V Lithium battery pro chainsaw. These tasks don’t really require a lot of power and for this reason it can be managed perhaps by a lower level 20V lithium battery chainsaw. The reason for this is that these tasks don’t require huge amounts of power and so you need to consider whether the added weight and size is needed?
If you are looking for a chainsaw to cut bigger trees or even for preparing timber and other commercial uses, you need a strong powerful machine. For this reason, you should consider a 40V lithium ion battery or slightly larger if needed as your machine of choice.
Around the garden tasks can be completed using machines with a more moderate level of power. However, for some other tasks especially when you live in an area which is heavily forested, then you may need a machine with a higher power source and output power. The same is the case for those that are looking for a chainsaw for commercial use.
What this means for you is that you should consider how you intend to use your machine before you look at the battery you want for your machine. 40V lithium batteries are for heavy duty while the others are just for light work and make very suitable first time chainsaws.
Essentially the higher the voltage the higher the power. What this means is that the amount of power you need is also a consideration. As we have already mentioned, the power needs of a cordless chainsaw is measured by voltage. For this reason, the machines with higher voltages are more powerful and may even stay for a longer time. The more powerful they are the more likelihood that they can handle heavy duty tasks.
The first thing to do before selecting a battery powered chainsaw is to determine the power needs of the task you are about to perform. You may have to dig a little deeper in your pockets for more powerful models but you do generally get what you pay for when it comes to chainsaws.
Having a Source of Electricity
One of the drawbacks of rechargeable chainsaws is that they will have to be recharged after every 2-3 hours of on and off operation depending on the model you select. So if you know that you will be operating away from a source of electricity, then you should go for more powerful batteries that can last a little longer or invest in another battery so you can be charging one battery while using the other.
If you think you will be operating close to a source of electricity, then this is an ideal situation because you it reduces the down time involved in using the chainsaw.
When we talk about chainsaw batteries, we are talking about the varying prices for different models. Generally the lower the voltage, the cheaper the machine and vice versa. What this means for you is that if price is a factor in your decision making then you will be looking for the model that will match your budget. Machines with 20V or lower outputs are cheaper while others with 20+ Volts are expensive. This means that you should first of all determine the amount of money that you are willing and able to pay first and then zero in on your options.
So higher prices correspond to a certain degree with higher power and for this reason you should be ready to sacrifice one of them. If you want to save more money, then you may have to settle for a less powerful machine.
One good thing about rechargeable chainsaws is that they don’t have hidden costs as is the case with electric and gas powered chainsaws. Electric chainsaws will increase your electricity bills and add to your monthly base while gas powered chainsaws require refueling and servicing and tune ups regularly.
Buying a Spare or a Replacement Battery?
Make sure that the Battery is good
The fact is that batteries lose strength as time goes on. For this reason, you should ensure that if you are purchasing a brand new battery for your chainsaw it is in good condition. This is especially true when you are looking for a replacement battery and even more so if you consider using a secondhand or reconditioned battery.
If you are looking for a spare battery or a replacement battery, then you should go for a battery that is no older than 6 months. The good thing is that most of the batteries today have a seal that shows all these details. You don’t have to purchase a battery that will die tomorrow or a battery that will not be of any use to you.
When you are buying a replacement or a spare battery, you should look for a company with the longest free-replacement period. However, you should first of all know that the battery warranty is measured in terms of a prorated period and free-replacement period. The prorated period is where the company allows for only partial reimbursement.
Any time you see a code of 24/84, you should interpret it as 24 months free replacement and a prorated warranty of up to 84 months. Check for any signs of neglect in case you choose to go for a second hand battery.
This is another factor that you should consider. There are two options here: the low maintenance and the maintenance-free type. The best option is to look for the maintenance-free battery because they don’t require any real effort on your behalf to operate effectively. Maintenance free batteries are sealed and they don’t require you to do anything for the entire time. The vast majority of modern chainsaw batteries are maintenance free especially the lithium ion ones so this won’t really be an issue for you.
To wrap up then choosing the correct battery for your chainsaw is a pretty straightforward task. Sometimes manufacturers will print the AMP/HOUR (ah) rating on their batteries. The higher the number here the better. Essentially the battery will be able to perform for a longer period of time. Of course the price is higher too. Battery upgrade options are also available from many brands so if you are not happy with the battery life you can upgrade to a battery with a larger capacity.
Every manufacturer will have its own type of battery so for example a battery from a Stihl chainsaw won’t work in a greenworks chainsaw, however some manufacturers have a range of garden equipment that enables you to swap batteries over and back with. So greenworks have a lawnmower that uses the same battery as its chainsaw and strimmer products so that is a nice feature.
We hope you found this article informative and if you have any questions please feel free to ask.
Check out the Rechargeable Chainsaw Blog for more useful info and chainsaw related topics!
Thanks Folks and Happy Cutting!