No tool kit is really ever complete without a decent chainsaw. The issue is that gas-powered saws may not be a great option for a homeowner or someone who doesn’t cut wood regularly.
A better option could be a battery-powered chainsaw, as they require less maintenance and upkeep but still have the power to get the job done.
In our Dewalt 20v Chainsaw review, we’ll go over all of the finer details of one of the best-known battery chainsaws on the market. We’ll familiarize you with the pros, cons, and uses, as well as maintenance requirements and how it stacks up against traditional saws.
General Overview of the Dewalt 20v Chainsaw
The Dewalt 20v chainsaw is a pretty capable little saw with some big-saw features. It comes with a 12-inch Oregon bar, low-kickback chain, an automatic oiler, and a tool-less chain tensioner.
It has more safety features than your standard, traditional gas-powered saw, and has the power to handle most small to medium-sized projects.
If purchased as a kit, it comes with a 20v 5ah lithium-ion battery. However, if you already have a complement of 20v Dewalt batteries, this saw runs off of the same system.
Capabilities and Specifications
While you probably won’t find a professional woodcutter moving to a fleet of these saws, it’s not because they can’t get the job done. This saw has the ability to use the 60v FlexVolt batteries, adding some extra flexibility and runtime. This is ideal for longer, more involved jobs like limbing large trees or bucking wet logs.
It’s also fitted with an Oregon bar, so you’ll be getting the industry-standard for reliability while also having the option of replacing it at any shop that sells saw parts.
The Dewalt is perfect for a homeowner with a wood stove or even an outdoorsman that wants a smokeless and quiet option for cleaning up shooting lanes around their treestand. It could even be helpful around the campsite, as it’s compact size and lightweight will keep it from getting in the way.
Construction crews might also find this battery-powered saw helpful for tougher projects that require less precision and more power, and doing it without damaging the rest of the crew’s hearing.
The 20v chainsaw offers the best in electric motor technology that Dewalt has to offer. It features Dewalt’s brushless motor technology, meaning that there is less maintenance and more power, all with less drain on the battery.
You’ll appreciate those features when you’re in the woods, away from your shop, and you don’t have to fool around with fuel adjustments, dead batteries, or an underpowered saw that just can’t, well, cut it.
Best of all, there’s no need to tire yourself out with a pull-start before you even begin cutting.
There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to get your saw running when you’ve got a job to do. As long as you have a charged battery, this saw is going to get the job done with the flip of the brake and a pull of the trigger.
This is one of the best features of the Dewalt 20v chainsaw.
For any less-experienced woodcutter, cutting logs with a gas saw all day will leave their lower back and forearms sore. The 20v Dewalt combats that by weighing in at less than eight pounds. That makes it easy to grab out of the truck, cut a few logs, and clean up without straining yourself at all.
The same can’t be said about any gas-powered saw that we’re familiar with, so this is definitely a considerable benefit.
Adding a 60v FlexVolt battery will increase that weight slightly, but nowhere near to the weight of a comparable gas-powered saw.
Most standard materials won’t be a problem for the Dewalt 20v chainsaw. It can handle felling small to medium-sized trees, dry wood, construction lumber, and even heavy glue-lam beams.
The limiting factors, when it comes to ripping logs, are the chain and battery life. We wouldn’t recommend making any rips with this saw until you’ve fitted it with a ripping chain and a 60v FlexVolt battery.
Once set up correctly, we definitely think that rips are within the realm of possibilities.
The main limitations that we can see for this saw have to do with demolition projects, but that can be said with any chainsaw. Just nicking a small nail or screw can wreak havoc on a chain, so you may find yourself sharpening or replacing the chain more often during a demo. That could be a massive drag on production, so a traditional, gas-powered demo saw would probably be a better fit.
Pros and Cons
- It has plenty of power for small to medium-sized jobs.
- It’s very lightweight at less than eight pounds.
- No need to tire yourself out trying to get it started.
- The bar is too small for large jobs.
- Stepping up to a larger bar may tax the motor and battery too much.
- All Dewalt chainsaws seem to be prone to messy bar oil leaks.
Maintenance and Adjustment Features
Dewalt’s entire lineup of lithium-ion battery chainsaws is meant to be easy to use with minimal maintenance and they’ve done a great job of creating a user-friendly option here.
The brushless, zero-maintenance motor will keep you from tinkering when you should be cutting. Also, cleaning your saw is a breeze, literally if you use compressed air.
Just unscrew the plastic shroud by hand and clean it out. If you’re putting the saw away for the winter, just drain the bar oil out and set it on a shelf. No need to worry about fuel gumming up in the carburetor or going stale.
One issue that is common to the entire Dewalt saw lineup is bar oil leaks.
There’s an oil-level viewer in the front of the saw by the bucking spikes, and we suggest you keep an eye on it. Filling it up to the top will inevitably lead to leaks, so keeping it around half-full is your best bet.
Also, believe it or not, keeping this saw too clean can also create a leaky situation. The automatic oiler otherwise works well, keeping the chain operating and cutting smoothly.
Bar and chain adjustments can be completed without the use of any tools. To adjust the chain tension, you simply loosen the plastic bar-clamp and turn the chain tensioning knob before tightening the bar back down.
It’s a simple and effective system, but most of it is made of cheap-feeling plastic. The benefit of this system is massive. You no longer need to keep a bar tool in your back pocket, only to lose it the first time you bend over to roll a log.
The Dewalt 20v Chainsaw features the same tried-and-true inertia chain brake technology that saws have been using for decades. The brake spring and clamp, as well as the handle, are all perfectly calibrated to activate under sudden movement.
Any fast kickback will cause the brake to engage, a lot like a seatbelt system does in your car.
While the Dewalt does have an effective inertia chain brake system, it also works as an electrical shunt, keeping the motor from engaging even when the trigger is pulled. This adds a degree of safety that gas-powered saws just can’t compete with.
Even with onboard safety features, having general knowledge about chainsaw safety can be the difference between a minor or major injury.
Be sure to review our article about how to use a chainsaw safely.
The Dewalt’s cost is one of the areas that deserves some serious recognition.
As a kit, this saw can be had with a battery and charger for less than $250. While you can probably purchase a decent gas-powered saw for less than that price, the Dewalt won’t require maintenance or red jugs of fuel to keep running.
That will easily save you the extra money you spent over the gasser.
If you already have the 20v or 60v FlexVolt line up, you can get this saw as a bare-tool for less than $180. That’s an awesome deal for a saw this capable that doesn’t run on expensive fuel. Just pop in one of your current batteries, top off the bar oil and get cutting.
As realists, we aren’t going to suggest that everyone should make the move to battery-powered chainsaws. They do have limitations and batteries aren’t inexpensive.
The ease of use and ownership, the reduced weight, and comparable power are all very attractive aspects to this saw. It’s probably not enough of a reason to run out and buy one, though, especially if you already have a decent gas saw.
However, we do think the trend is going to start moving towards these attractive alternatives to dirty, smelly, difficult-to-maintain gas-powered chainsaws.
As far as our recommendation goes, there are a few types of people we believe should definitely consider this saw; those that already own several Dewalt 20v tools, those looking to purchase their first chainsaw, or those planning to replace an old saw anyway.
If you fall into one of those categories, we don’t think you can go wrong with any of the chainsaws Dewalt offers, especially the 20v model. The 20v model is perfect for a homeowner or a construction crew, and it’s so reliable and lightweight that it may even find a place on a truck with a small tree-cutting crew. It can keep up with some of the most established names in the chainsaw business while saving you money on fuel and maintenance.