I have been a gas chainsaw guy since I was a little kid. Growing up in the mountains of northern Arizona we always had plenty of timber for wood heat. My dad always swore by Husqvarna gas saws and they are what I learned on. There is something manly about the sound of a well tuned 2 stroke engine running at full speed. They do get a lot of work done.
I never gave electric chainsaws a second look but cordless saws have captured my interest in the past few years. I never expected them to replace full sized saws in the timber and forestry industry but what about for other uses? Do these new saws really have a place or are they just colorful molded plastic designed to get your money?
Why go cordless
Cordless chainsaws are proving to be very useful for land owners, contractors and homeowners for many reasons. For one they are far more capable than most of us expected. They can handle trees and logs up to the bar lengths offered pretty easily. They are also very useful for gang cutting I joists and beams for framing. Many homeowners and volunteers are using them for storm damage clean up.
Another advantage of a cordless chainsaw is the vastly reduced maintenance. There is no longer any need to run a saw dry to avoid varnishing in the carburetor. We have also found no reason to have to buy stabilized fuels or additives. With no mixing of gas and 2 stroke oil, there is less hazard of getting burned by a hot muffler. There is reduced need for hearing protection. A cordless saw is safer to store indoors or in your shop since there are no fumes to ignite.
Power in the M18
I must say the MILWAUKEE M18 FUEL CORDLESS CHAINSAW surprised me more than any other up to this point. The power Milwaukee is able to extract from a single 18v battery is incredible to me. I initially had my doubts but they were all laid to rest when I made my first cut on a 10”white oak log we cut down for firewood. I don’t have every saw on the market but I do have a few from the power tool companies and the Milwaukee Fuel seems to have as much power as many with higher voltage batteries.
Brand loyalty is very strong in the outdoor power equipment world. Many will never use anything other than a Stihl gas saw. Others will only use Husqvarna. It is similar in the power tool world. If you already have Milwaukee batteries and need a smaller chainsaw it is an absolute no brainer to buy this one. Even if you are on another platform it may be worth a look because the build quality and performance are up there with the best cordless saws.
The MILWAUKEE M18 FUEL CORDLESS CHAINSAW will do anything any of the other cordless saws will and it might even do it with more gusto. It was designed to cut like a 40cc gas saw and I have no reason to dispute that claim. We have cut and dressed several trees up to 12” diameter Hickory and have been nothing but impressed by the power of the Milwaukee.
Stay with what works
I appreciate that Milwaukee decided not to reinvent the wheel with this saw. They followed the standard formula for handle placement. I find it very comfortable and normal feeling. Some cordless saws feel odd to me. Milwaukee also used readily available Oregon brand bars and chains. You should have no trouble finding them when the time comes to replace them. I also like that Milwaukee uses the traditional chain tension design with two actual studs, nuts and a metal screwdriver wrench (scrench). I can’t help but feel this is stronger in the long run than a single stud with a plastic handle for chain adjustments. The only downside is that you could potentially lose the tool or a nut.
Do you need one? Why not?
Who needs this saw? It’s probably not going to win over professional arborists or those in the forestry industry. It will however get a lot of work done for contractors and land owners who need to clear trees or cut larger lumber than circular saws will cut. It will definitely help after storm damage. There is plenty of power, enough to use for cutting firewood if you heat with it. The fact that it will get your work done when you need it and can sit there for as long as you need it to and that it will be ready for action as soon as you throw another 9.0or 12.0 battery on it is gold.
Take a closer look at MILWAUKEE M18 FUEL CORDLESS CHAINSAW
- Same power and performance as a 40 cc gas chainsaw
- Professional landscaper performance and durability
- Fully compatible with the M18 system, featuring over 175+ tools