A corded electric chainsaw is often considered the best homeowner chainsaw option due to their ease of use and maintenance compared to gas chainsaws. The cord can be annoying to work around, but for some, it is better than relying on a battery or heavy gas-powered motor for extensive yard work. Who makes the best chainsaw? That depends on what you are looking for. One of the top chainsaws in the corded electric category is the bestselling Makita UC4051A, and while it is a good chainsaw for a variety of the cutting and trimming tasks homeowners often have to deal with, it comes at a pretty high price.
To help you find an affordable alternative, we have tested a number of off-brand chainsaws, none of which made the cut, so to speak. The best budget pick is actually from another brand. It is called the Black+Decker CS1518, which offers comparable specs to the Makita for a bargain price. We found that the Black+Decker product is one of the best cheap chainsaw models around. If that has not got your motor running, read on for our chainsaw guide and comparisons.
Makita often makes the list of the top chainsaw brands and best chainsaw reviews, and the Makita UC4051A is one of the best-rated chainsaws for homeowners. Its main advantage over the Black+Decker saw is that it has a built-in current limiter, which reduces the odds of burning out the motor due to user error. However, you can manage this pretty well on your own just by paying attention to your chainsaw as you work. The Makita chainsaw is heavier than the Black+Decker model, the manufacturer warranty is shorter, and it has a shorter included bar and chain, which limits your cutting options. Overall, we found that the Makita UC4051A did not offer significantly better features than the Black+Decker chainsaw for the price.
The Black+Decker CS1518 is our pick for best electric chainsaw due to its great features combined with a great low price. It is lightweight and powerful while including many of the features that make for a great corded electric chainsaw: an electric chain brake, tool-less chain adjustment, and automatic chain oiling. We like to spend more time actually using our tools than maintaining them. Plus, it offers the same kick-butt motor amperage as the Makita chainsaw and a two-year warranty. We liked that the factory bar and chain were 18 inches compared to the Makita’s 14-inch. The Black+Decker is our favorite corded electric chainsaw for its awesome specs and bank account friendliness.
The Makita chainsaw comes with a 14-inch bar and chain that can be interchanged with Oregon bars and chains of the same pitch, so it is compatible with 16- and 18-inch bars. The rule for cutting with different chain lengths is that you can handle anything slightly less than twice as long as your chainsaw bar. A longer bar gives you more cutting options. With the Makita chainsaw, you’re limited to trees and limbs of about 25 inches in diameter.
The Black+Decker chainsaw comes with an 18-inch low-kickback bar and chain. Like the Makita, you can change the factory bar with other Oregon bars and chains with the same pitch. However, the longer factory bar means you can handle a wider range of tasks with the Black+Decker chainsaw out of the box than the Makita chainsaw: trees and limbs up to about 34 inches in diameter, a 9-inch difference.
The Makita chainsaw has a 15 amp motor. This amperage offers higher power than the 7-12 amp chainsaws that are more common on the market, meaning a 15 amp electric chainsaw is closer to the power of a gas chainsaw. Plugging into a 20 amp circuit is your best option for good performance and safety.
The Black+Decker chainsaw also has a 15 amp motor. Amperage matters when it comes to choosing an extension cord. If you want to extend the reach of your corded electric chainsaw, choose an outdoor extension cord in at least 12 gauge, which is a heavier-duty wire than your average indoor extension cord.
The Makita chainsaw has an automatic chain oiler to better handle heavy continuous cutting, plus a window into the oil reservoir so you can see when you are getting low. You can use any SAE 30 motor oil, like these here.
The Black+Decker chainsaw also has an automatic chain oiler and oil reservoir window. Automatic chain oiling is a great feature for its convenience and consumer-friendliness--the less we have to do, the better.
The Makita chainsaw has an electric chain brake, which causes the chain to stop immediately if it experiences a kickback. Many electric chainsaws do not include a chain brake, so we appreciate the ones that do!
The Black+Decker chainsaw also has an electric chain brake. This safety feature is more common on gas chainsaws, but you can experience kickback with any kind of saw, and a brake can prevent serious injury.
The Makita chainsaw’s tool-less chain and blade adjustment means you do not need anything fancy to do most maintenance tasks or for operating the saw.
The Black+Decker chainsaw also has a tool-less chain and blade adjustment design that’s great for people who do not like to mess with equipment like this.
The Makita chainsaw has a built-in current limiter. This feature reduces the power going to the motor when the chainsaw is straining under a heavy workload, which helps protect the motor from burnout and damage.
The Black+Decker chainsaw does not have a built-in current limiter, so you will need to pay more attention to the sound and “feel” of the chainsaw while you work. You will be able to feel when the saw is being pushed too hard.
The Makita chainsaw measures 10.5 x 24.2 x 10 inches. It is a little more petite than the Black+Decker saw, but the body of the saw is a longer. The two chainsaws handled about the same despite the size differences.
The Black+Decker chainsaw measures 13 x 20 x 10 inches, with a slightly shorter body and slightly greater width. Electric chainsaws are more compact than gas saws thanks to lacking a gas tank and gas motor.
Despite its smaller stature, the Makita chainsaw weighs 3.2 more pounds than the Black+Decker saw at 15.3 pounds. A heavier chainsaw can be more difficult to use for long periods of time, so we recommend lighter ones like the Black+Decker.
The Black+Decker chainsaw is easy to wield over your yard, weighing in at 12 pounds. Combined with its powerful amp motor and longer bar size, this chainsaw can do just as much, if not more, than the Makita can, and it is easier to lift and manipulate.
The Makita chainsaw has rubberized grip handles, plus a large trigger switch for easy startups and easy use. No one wants to lose their grip on their saw, and a big trigger switch makes powering it on and off doesn’t require much finesse.
The Black+Decker chainsaw also has rubberized grip handles and a large trigger switch as well. You do not have to worry about fumbling for the trigger switch or constantly adjusting your grip on the saw, thanks to these features.
The Makita chainsaw has a one-year warranty and a thirty-day satisfaction guarantee (also known as a return window). We prefer longer warranties, which the Black+Decker has.
The Black+Decker chainsaw has a two-year warranty, plus the chainsaw falls under thirty-day return window at many retailers, too.