A battery-powered chainsaw is one of the most useful tools you can have around the yard, but it’s also a tool you need to respect. You have to take the time to maintain your cordless chainsaw and take the steps needed to stay safe while you use it.

Benefits of a Battery-Powered Chainsaw

Battery-powered chainsaws, or cordless chainsaws, are more powerful and versatile than ever. A battery-operated chainsaw can be a great option when compared with a gas model for a few reasons:

  • It’s easier to start.
  • It runs quieter.
  • It has lower emissions.
  • It weighs less.
  • It doesn’t require as much maintenance. 

See our Chainsaw Buying Guide to  learn how to find the best chainsaw for the type of cutting you need to do.

Battery-Powered Chainsaw Safety

Before you start cutting, make sure to read your user manual and always follow the safety recommendations.

Safety Gear for Using a Battery-Powered Chainsaw

You’ll also need safety equipment to protect yourself as you work.

  • A hard hat, ear protection and eye protection are a must. Better yet, also wear a face shield to protect yourself from flying debris.
  • You’ll need heavy gloves with an enhanced grip surface.
  • Sturdy boots with steel toes and nonskid soles will protect your feet.
  • Chainsaw safety chaps are more than pants — they’re made of ballistic fibers that will tangle into the chain and stop the saw, protecting your legs and keeping you safer. These are worth every penny and a must-have whenever using a chainsaw. Wear them over long pants.

Removing the Battery From the Chainsaw

Before performing any maintenance on a battery-operated chainsaw, make sure you have completely removed the battery. If you’re used to a gas-powered saw, expect to hear the engine idling as a warning that the saw is live. A battery-powered saw is always live as long as the battery is connected, so be extra careful about removing that battery every time you touch the bar or chain.

Cutting With a Battery-Powered Chainsaw

Follow these steps to cut with a chainsaw.

Step 1: Set Your Stance and Start the Saw

Place yourself in a sturdy position before you cut. Grab the top handle with your left hand, thumb underneath. Grab the rear handle with your right hand. Make sure your legs are about shoulder-width apart. Disengage the chain brake and then squeeze the trigger to start cutting. A battery-powered chainsaw should start easily.

Step 2: Cut Carefully and Safely

Even though a battery-powered chainsaw may be lighter than other types, cut at about waist level, never above your shoulders. Don’t cut too close to the ground since contact with the ground can make your saw kick back. Cut with the middle part of the bar, not the tip, since it is easier to get kickback when cutting with the tip. Stand to the side of the saw, never hovering over the work area. Kickback while in this position can be especially dangerous. When cutting downward, it’s called cutting with a pulling chain; when cutting upward, it’s called cutting with a pushing chain.

Maintaining a Battery-Powered Chainsaw Chain

To operate safely, your saw must be maintained properly. A battery-powered chainsaw is a lower-maintenance option, but there are some necessary steps for proper care and safe cutting. One of the key areas that needs attention is the chain.

Before you use the saw, with the battery disconnected, check the chain tension. You should be able to pull the chain down slightly from the bar, but it should not be slack. Some brands use a tool for tension, but some are toolless and use a tensioner knob. Regularly inspect the bar and clean it if needed. The chain will need to be sharpened regularly. If you use a filing kit, you can do it fairly easily.

Sharpening the Chain on a Battery-Powered Chainsaw

Step 1: Prepare the Chainsaw for Maintenance

Before you begin any work, remove the chainsaw battery completely. Place the bar in a vise. Lock the chain by engaging the chain brake.

Step 2: File One Side of the Chain Teeth

Use a permanent marker or wax pencil to mark your starting tooth on the battery-operated saw. Place the sharpening guide over the chain, so that the bar lines up with the guide mark. Keep pressure against the tooth and push the file across. File every other tooth. Release the brake to access more teeth, then reengage the brake.

Step 3: File the Remaining Teeth

Once you’ve gone all the way around the chain, turn the cordless chainsaw around and file the other teeth, using the same method. If you notice your bar pulling to one side while cutting, it usually means that one side has been sharpened more than the other.

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