I was blown away to find out that Milwaukee has a battery powered chainsaw! I’d only ever used gas-powered chainsaws in the past, so to see that there’s an option that doesn’t need gas is unbelievable. But how does it perform? Let’s take a look.
This thing is impressive right out of the box. It is extremely lightweight, and feels nearly as rugged as a standard gas-powered chainsaw. It has most of the same features as your average chainsaw, including a port for chain oil, and a break that stops the chain in an emergency. Also, like most chainsaws, there is a claw/cleat on the bottom near the blade that helps grip on to the material that you’re cutting, which aids in driving the blade deeper.
I opened the box and immediately saw that this requires (separately-sold) chain oil. Every chain-saw requires chain oil, so no surprise there…just a little disappointing that a small bottle did not come with the tool. No worries, a little trip to Home Depot and you can actually use the thing. Oh, and if you don’t have any batteries or chargers…you’ll need to go buy those too. This kit is just the saw, no extras.
Once I filled the chain-oil tank, I put a battery in and pulled the trigger a few times to cycle the oil slowly. This is not necessary, but I like to “prime” the chain before just going immediately to cutting. Actually there is a little tag near the tank that says “hold trigger for 30 seconds when initially putting chain oil in tank” - or something to that effect. It’s to make sure that enough of the oil gets in the chain and thoroughly lubes it prior to adding the resistance of heat and friction to the equation.
Next I went around to my back yard and started cutting down everything dead. I’d been needing to do this for quite some time actually. I have some dead trees that are anywhere from 1-inch to 6-inches in diameter, and a bunch of mustang-grape vines that have weaved their way in and out of the chainlink fence I have an one side of my property. I found this a perfect opportunity to cut up some logs for my wood pile, and clear up a lot of the over-growth that ’s choking out the rest of my lawn.
The saw is very quiet, being that there’s no combustion engine driving it, it’s just a simple battery-powered motor that makes very little sound. This is great because you don’t have to wear ear-plugs/muffs when cutting like you would with a noisy gas-powered saw. It’s also shockingly powerful. With a brand-new blade I was able to cut through 6 inch material with ease. I messed around with cutting straight cuts, as well as notches and it had no problem taking trees and shrubs down.
I started cutting the 2-inc- to 3-inch vines out of the chain-link fence. This was precarious because I didn’t want to wrap the chain up in the chain-link…and actually did a couple times. The last time it happened the chain ripped off and coiled up, making me have to stop and take it apart to get the chain back on. I know what you’re thinking…why the hell would you use a chainsaw near a chain-link-fence? I asked myself that question after I put the chain back on, and simply said to myself “because I’m a man, and sometimes we just do shit funny.” And that was settled. My ego and pride were saved with yet another profoundly wild justification for less than stellar decision making. (Insert Tim Allen’s ape grunt here)
Spec’s from HomeDepot.com
The Milwaukee M18 FUEL 16 in. Chainsaw delivers the power to cut hardwoods, cuts faster than gas, and delivers up to 150 cuts per charge. The unit is designed to meet the performance, durability and ergonomic needs of professional landscape maintenance and power utility. The POWERSTATE Brushless Motor maintains speed under heavy loads without bogging down to outperform small gas engines and higher voltage systems. REDLINK PLUS intelligence ensures maximum performance and protection from overload, overheating and over discharge. When paired with the M18 REDLITHIUM HIGH OUTPUT HD 12.0 battery, the unit delivers unmatched run-time in all applications. M18 FUEL technology allows the unit to reach full throttle in under 1-second providing ultimate control and productivity.
Powerstate brushless motor: purposely built for the M18 FUEL 16 in. chainsaw to generate the power and performance of a gas engine up to 40 cc
REDLINK PLUS intelligence: ensures optimal performance and provides overload protection to prevent damage to the tool and battery during heavy applications while still maintaining compatibility across the entire M18 system
Compatible with all M18 REDLITHIUM battery packs, optimized for use with the M18 REDLITHIUM HIGH OUTPUT HD12.0 battery pack: provides 50% more power and runs 50% cooler versus standard REDLITHIUM HD packs: superior pack construction provides the industry's best protection against jobsite conditions
16 in. Oregon bar and chain
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 150 plus M18 tools
Includes: 1 M18 FUEL 16 in. chainsaw, one 16 in. Oregon bar and chain, 1 scrench
While I did not get the chance to use this chain-saw on a large tree, and believe me I will soon enough, I did get a feel for how it works on several different types of trees and brush. I was impressed as hell with it’s performance. Sure it may not be practical to take with you all day on a logging mission, but it will work for most peoples’ use around the house or out on their back 40. The down-side of a battery-powered rig is that you either have to have a lot of charged batteries around, or have to be somewhere with power that you can use to charge batteries while you’re chopping wood all day. With a gas-powered setup you can simply keep a couple of tanks of gas on you and you’re set for a full day of cutting. I still give this thing 5-stars. I DO have a half-a-million 18-v M18 Milwaukee batteries laying around, and I don’t live on 100-acres so for my purposes, this thing is a game changer. For someone with more professional needs, this may be a good thing to keep as a backup or something you can use in a pinch when you run out of gas.