Written by Terry Smith

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UK’s best cordless chainsaws: Heavy duty Makita, Dewalt, Black and Decker, Ryobi, WORX, Cobra Tested

This article was last updated on March 6th, 2023 at 3:30 pm

Have you had enough of starting your petrol chainsaw, cutting out in between cuts; nothing puts me in a foul mood like getting a flooded 2 stroke chainsaw going and thank the lords at last cordless chainsaws, (the electrically powered kind that is) have stepped in to save me from insanity! 😀 And better yet, cordless chainsaws don’t have that annoying tick over engine sound when you’re between cuts!

Me personally split testing the best cordless chainsaw in the UK(Makita DUC355Z) with a budget model

And what’s even more impressive, the best chainsaws in the UK are not only easily capable of cutting through decent 12 inch diameter tree trunks, they are actually starting to come down in price as they are more widely adopted. I know it’s hard to believe so here’s a cut on a fresh tree below, right up to the dimensions the bar can handle 🙂 Look below at this video from my Makita DUC355Z Twin 18v 36v Cordless Chainsaw review:

Two years after writing this review and test I am still in love with the Makita by the way. The batteries are still in good nick which is huge. Though there was a surprising budget cordless chainsaw in my recent cordless chainsaw testing that whilst still not as good as the Makita, wasn’t bad overall – here’s how I tested the cordless chainsaw bringing down a huge tree directly testing the Makita against the Cobra cordless chainsaw.

They offer all the freedom of a petrol chainsaw whilst adopting the quieter benefits and power of electric chainsaws with a power cord these days. I will safely say we sell many many more cordless chainsaws now than electric corded and petrols versions and for very good reason, battery technology is coming on leaps and bounds.

Our picks for the best cordless chainsaws in the UK:

Best cordless chainsaw: Makita DUC355Z Twin 18v 36v Cordless Chainsaw 35cm Bar [Personally tested for two years and proven]

Runner up best cordless chainsaw: DEWALT DCM565N Cordless XR Brushless Chain Saw

Most powerful cordless chainsaw: Makita DUC405Z Twin 18v / 36v LXT Li-Ion Cordless Brushless Chainsaw 400mm [Personally tested for two years and proven]

Best value cordless chainsaw: WORX WG322E.9 18V (20V MAX) 25cm Cordless Compact Chainsaw or The Cobra cordless chainsaw [Personally tested and proven]

Largest cut on a cordless chainsaw: Makita DUC405Z Twin 18v / 36v LXT Li-Ion Cordless Brushless Chainsaw 400mm

Best alternative if you don’t like the Dewalt: Ryobi OCS1830 18 V 30 cm Bar ONE+ Cordless Brushless Chain Saw

Alternative large cut cordless chainsaw: Greenworks Cordless Chainsaw GD40CS40 (Li-Ion 40 V 11 m/s Chain Speed 40 cm Sword Length

Great for DIY use: BLACK+DECKER 36 V Lithium-Ion Chainsaw, 30 cm

Best mini chainsaw: Bosch Home and Garden Cordless Chainsaw

Cordless tools are quieter, provide the power homeowners need for most mid weight jobs, and remove the need for dangerous power cables everywhere. I would predict in the next ten years cordless will have completely taken over as the prices will continue to drop on mass usage.

Cordless chainsaw safety first – boots, trousers, and a sharp chainsaw

With that said, before we really get moving into the review I would be grateful if we could take a look at the safety aspects of owning a cordless chainsaw. It’s not an exaggeration to say that you can literally kill yourself, much worse someone else. So the first thing to mention is a look at some decent chainsaw boots. If you don’t want to spend out on them I would highly recommend heavy footwear that would deflect one momentary lapse of concentration. Also, chainsaw trousers are incredible these days. you’ve got different ratings and whatnot but all is clear if you follow the link.

And one thing that’s massively underrated is chainsaw sharpness. Using a chainsaw sharpener means your engine can cut more easily and you apply less force, resulting in less overbalancing / slipping. The alternative is to keep a spare blade in case you nick some wire or similar as I do with the Makita I absolutely love!

Testing the Makita cordless chainsaw directly agains the Cobra cordless chainsaw

So I am always taking heavy criticism for being a Makita fanboy. I have no affiliation with them whatsoever, they simply produce heavy duty quality cordless equipment at very affordable prices. Split testing the best cordless chainsaw in the UK with a budget model:

Split testing the best cordless chainsaw in the UK with a budget model

So before I get going I need to show you the difference in power between these two chainsaws. Cutting into a decent bit of treated and dry timber you can clearly see the power difference but a little bit later on in the video just how good the Cobra is for logging and how someone who has never used a chainsaw before got to grips with it easily:

So I’ve decided to go for a budget model up against it so you can see the difference – the CS35040VZ 40v Cordless Chainsaw. I brought down this serious tree using my trusty Makita and Cobra combined:

I used my Makita DUC355Z Twin 18v 36v Cordless Chainsaw and tested the Cobra cordless chainsaw on this tree

What I quickly discovered was that for the bigger, more serious cuts, the Makita was by far the better choice. For a start it kicked less into the tree trunk when piercing the surface. It is also far lighter and better balanced. But for simple logging the Cobra was brilliant and the battery really really lasted. I’m often skeptical about lesser brands and the battery quality but I can honestly say (although the Makita batteries are two years old now) that the Cobra battery genuinely lasted about 20 minutes of full run time. Very impressive.

The Cobra was very very good for straight downward cut logging and despite being less powerful than the Makita really held its own

I decided to test the Cobra cordless chainsaw to the limit and cut the trunk lengthways. It struggled, but it did it and logging the entire tree was just two full charges of the battery (withstanding the Makita was used to fell the tree).

We used the Cobra cordless chainsaw to rip a trunk down lengthways and it really held up well – the Makita wasn’t much better at this believe it or not

Where the Cobra wasn’t so good, was the horizontal cuts. The weight of the machine (and the hefty battery) really did make the arms work hard, far harder than the lighter and more powerful Makita.

The Cobra wasn’t so good on horizontal cuts due to the weight and balance as well as the slower cut rate meant holding sideways longer

But with that said, for out and out logging this thing really performed so it’s making it’s way into my budget category.

Learn how to pick the best cordless chainsaw

  • Cordless chainsaws are a minefield and extremely dangerous in the wrong hands. You can get a bar length typically from 30-40cm and the voltage tends to range from 18V to 36V. The more powerful versions are 36V and generally carry the longer bar. The sweet spot seems to be around 35cm as they generally have the same power output at the 40cm with a smaller chain.
  • Don’t forget safety equipment and user manuals, at a minimum make sure you have a good nose through the do’s and do not’s of the chainsaw you buy. You’l be surprised just how much time you save setting up as well. I remember my first cordless chainsaw arrives and I put the chain on the wrong way around. An easy mistake to make when it’s your first chainsaw and don’t know the ropes!
  • Remember cordless chainsaws come with batteries separately sold and that also includes chargers. Whilst some batteries are more expensive than others, it’s always been my experience that the best battery value for money is found with Makita. I know plenty who like Ryobi too, but I don’t think they match Makita who I would almost say fall into a commercial come home use slot. Many tradesman swear by Makita and have done so for years. I am one of them.

Best cordless chainsaws

I’ve rated all of the very best cordless chainsaws in this article on battery performance, price, cutting power, build quality, chain sharpness retention, and of course safety. It goes without saying quality chainsaw trousers as well as boots designed for chainsaw use go a long way to in helping improve safety, and so with all those factors in mind, the Makita DUC355Z Twin 18v 36v Cordless Chainsaw 35cm Bar is the best cordless chainsaw in the UK without question in my experienced and fully tested opinion.

Update since last update 😀 

I’ll never knock Makita off top spot. The only thing I’ll concede is that the new tooless chain tension version ( the DUC353LXT) is easier. The only possible flaw I can pick in this cordless chainsaw since testing at least half a dozen other more modern models is the chain tensioner. Other than that I can never see myself picking up another cordless chainsaw and using it ahead of the Makita commercially. When I took down that huge tree in the garden in the testing above it was like chalk and cheese when the danger moment of felling decent sized trunks were in play, the Makita just gives me so much confidence and I feel safe.

Other than that, as you can see from the years of use the bar has taken a hammering but that’s a small cost and the motor remains tight and as powerful as ever. You can hear it in the video it really sounds sharp and vicious – like new!

I’ve hammered the bar on my Makita cordless chainsaw from years of hard use

Even with a new budget model against it with a new battery vs my two year old batteries, there is no comparison in power delivery:

As you can see the power delivery is like new and it’s very hard for me to recommend anything else when all it’s direct competitors struggle at the price point and quality on offer here 🙂

You can definitely buy this with confidence, it is one of the best cordless tools Makita have ever produced.

Old review:

I cut a 28cm green tree trunk with this chainsaw with ease. You probably find that hard to believe on a 35cm bar? Well, take a look at this video. It didn’t lose power at any point, I didn’t have to ease off, it was actually an enjoyable cut. Not something you would associate with a cordless chainsaw 🙂

Video of cutting the trunk with plenty of power

Now, here’s a tape on that tree trunk, it can practically cut full bar and no this isn’t a brand new chainsaw and chain making it’s first ever perfect cut, I have been cutting down trees around the garden safely and we even used it to cut an opening for a shed window! It’s been hammered for months! Here’s the tape measure on that trunk and as you can see it’s still green.

The Makita DUC355Z cuts an 11 inch log easily and to be unbiased I measure the shortest point -the other way is 12 inches

Needless to say poor little 8 inch logs don’t stand a chance; this thing is absolutely superb at cutting, raw power isn’t two words you would associate with a cordless chainsaw but Makita have made that possible. Their battery tech is miles ahead in my opinion for everyday use at home and I feel like I had a right bargain. Have a look at 8 inch logs being cut. Would I be mad for suggesting this was actually ‘fun’? 😀

youtube video of 8 inch log cut effortlessly for my Google Amp readers.

Not only that, I liked the safety features too. The bar needs to be brought forward to engage the motor as well as turned on. It is very difficult to actually press the switch on by accident which goes without saying is a very good thing.

It’s really quiet compared to petrol, I even like the sound :), comfortable to grip, and feels safer and sturdy under load. If you come off the power the blade stops fast which makes me think it has a braking mechanism. A nice and welcome touch for extra control. The oil filling position for the the chainsaw oil is very well placed for easy filling and it’s self lubricating on the chain so just top up the oil and make sure you don’t run dry.

The cap can get really stuck on and I don’t know if that’s because I’ve overtightened it or a minor blip in an otherwise faultless bit of kit. Talking of over tightening, getting the tension right on the blade is lovely, you simply do up the screw towards positive on the side and you’ll visually watch extra tension on the chain. I will say if you cut branches and leaves you’ll need to take the cover off and clear debris from the chain from time to time. Here’s a picture of that:

Remove the bar from this cordless chainsaw and clean debris to improve performance

I remove the chain entirely it’s that easy but you don’t need to, removing the housing is enough but it will try to slip on you and fall off. I would personally recommend complete removal of the chain for an easy life even though it takes an extra couple of minutes to put back and re-tension.

The battery light indicator is a nice touch too. Pressing the batteries is awkward. So having the ready directly on the chainsaw makes for easy use. It’s bright enough to see in the day too:

Battery indicator on the chainsaw is a nice and handy touch

If I could try to talk this tool down it would be the need for two batteries. However, if you have the batteries already then what a fantastic piece of kit and I make this into excellent value for money by having the best cordless lawn mower too. 🙂 Without question the one thing I found annoying is making sure the chain goes on the right way round. I’ve put on many a chainsaw blade and I still managed to fall foul! I would in fairness say a lack of concentration on my behalf.

When you buy this on my recommendation and if by some miracle you are not happy with it, feel free to email in and call me some obscene names, however, more likely you’ll be emailing to thank me for uncovering this bargain. A complete gem and the Makita DUC355Z easily is my pick for the best cordless chainsaw.

2. DEWALT DCM565N Cordless XR Brushless Chain Saw, 18 V, Yellow, 30 cm

If you’re looking for a quality alternative to the Makita and you don’t mind spending the money then there’s little choice in my mind. You will probably pick the DEWALT DCM565N Cordless XR Brushless Chain Saw. And, if you have this battery set then it’s a no brainer, but on top of that, of all the cordless chainsaws in the DEWALT range I would say this is my favourite as it balances power of cut with size of bar.

What you’ll like about this when first picking it up is the rubber grip. It sits nicely. I also probably would go as far as saying I prefer the safety brake. You really know if that thing is engaged or not. With the Makita there’s less movement. The next thing is the self lubricating chain is inline with the other top models in this review and a real bonus.

Dewalt cordless chainsaw – can easily see when brake disengaged

Power delivery is superb. You’ll be very surprised by just how powerful this thing sounds and feels. Which makes it even more surprising just how many logs you’ll cut on one battery. It’s hard to give a perfect estimate but I would say at least 50 cuts before you run out of power which is very good and easily inline with Makita.

It edges Makita on the weight too. Being only 8lb it’s a tad lighter. I’d have to say this is totally unnoticeable when holding them though. It’s such a small difference and of course this is a 5cm smaller bar so expected that it’s lighter.

Dewalt correctly appreciate (just like Makita) there is a limit to the amount of power you can deliver to a cordless chainsaw and therefore a really long bar makes little sense. Makita have the Makita DUC405Z which is fine and about the limit of what you want to cut. They manage this by making a much thinner and sharper blade for these cordless models and so allows you a bit of wiggle room and ability to compete with petrol chainsaws 🙂

It’s definitely better than the Ryobi in my mind which is my third pick, but not quite as good as the mighty Makita. If you are a Dewalt fan then you’ll still pick this irrespective of my comments 😀

3. Ryobi OCS1830 18 V 30 cm Bar ONE+ Cordless Brushless Chain Saw

I won’t try to dress this up, my heart has been completely stolen by the Makita DUC355Z but if you have Ryobi batteries already then this is a super bit of kit. It hasn’t got the same cut size being a smaller 30cm bar and being powered by only one battery doesn’t have the same volts or cut speed either but it’ll cut logs in the garden shed with ease. If you’re plans are simply cutting up logs for the wood burner then this is a super bit of kit. I reckon you can reasonably expect to cut 9 inch logs with this bar with not much fuss, making it ideal for 6-8 inch logs!

In some respects this has an advantage over the Makita too, the tensioning is a cog which can be turned without the need for tools. This is a nice touch I have to say. The switch and safety bar are also on point so this make it very difficult to fire up by accident! Further on the safety it is electrically braked so the blade stops quickly.

The rubberised handle is a nice touch for gripping, I like the feel in the hand and overall its a massive improvement in the ease of use when compared to the corded electrical versions. You’ll be in the shed wondering why you put up with the power lead for so long!

4. Greenworks Cordless Chainsaw GD40CS40 (Li-Ion 40 V 11 m/s Chain Speed 40 cm Sword Length

The Greenworks Cordless Chainsaw GD40CS40 has a nice all around performance. The batteries are pretty cheap, it’s a big 16 inch bar with a 3/8 inch pit that will cut decent sized logs. There’s no complaints on the cut power but I wouldn’t put a 2 amp battery on this, it won’t last ten minutes! So make sure if you’re going to buy this model invest in a 4 amp battery to give a longer lasting cut and gives off similar vibes to the Makita DUC405Z

On a strict budget this tool may make sense, it performs similarly to the best cordless models and if you invest in Greenworks then make sure you take advantage of their other bare tools. This model is considerably lighter and quieter than a petrol and provides enough power for almost all cutting you would expect in an average garden. It’s claimed you’ll get 150 logs cut on a single charge. I’m not sure that’s easy to quantify but in my opinion you can get a solid 75 6-8 logs cut with minimal fuss before you need a charge, certainly more than you’ll burn in the next couple of days!

Much like the other top models it has quality braking and a good safety bar and switch to ensure maximum user safety. I really like the grip too. Some Greenworks cordless tools are hit and miss but this is without question one of their very best. In the same size category I easily prefer the Makita DUC405Z but then you have to pay that much more!

5. Makita DUC405Z Twin 18v / 36v LXT Li-Ion Cordless Brushless Chainsaw 400mm Bare

There’s only one cordless chainsaw bigger and badder than my favourite Makita DUC355Z. It’s another Makita pretty unsurprisingly. This does everything the Makita DUC355Z does but with a longer bar. Interestingly I’m not sure I would attempt much larger logs though but it can handle it. They appear to deliver exactly the same power and the only difference of note is the longer chain and bar.

It handles super and the power delivery feels pretty menacing, just like the Makita DUC355Z it fires up hard and you get minimal kickback. If you’re doing work that involves a good deal of stop start I’d take this over a petrol chainsaw any day of the week. The way batteries are evolving is making jobs like topping a long run of wooden posts an absolute breeze.

So it delivers the same chain speed and it’s beautifully quiet compared to nasty 2 stroke petrol just like it’s smaller sibling, but it’s heavier and given the bar and chain size that’s pretty reasonable. I would say you buy this if you’re going after big logs (12-13 inches), otherwise I would probably stick with the best pick but would pick this over the 16inch Greenworks any day but for anything heavy duty you would still have to favour a petrol chainsaw. However the fact I’m comparing the two says a lot about the quality of this kit!

Good old BLACK+DECKER. I had to throw one into the review as almost everyone has owned or used one of their tools at some point in their life. Some have been shocking quite frankly but not their BLACK+DECKER 36 V Lithium-Ion Chainsaw, 30 cm. This is a nice bit of kit and every bit as competent as the Ryobi 30cm cordless chainsaw. I feel like it delivers a bit more power and that might be down to the fact its 36v as opposed to the 18v of Ryobi.

They both have similar power and deliver excellent cutting ability. I like the soft grip handles and it feels very safe to use. I have to feel and comment comparing the Ryobi as they are really similar. The tensioning works in the same way with a cog on the side next to the bar that does not require tools and they are both lovely and light weight, but a bit heavier than the Ryobi. If you need a tool to cut average logs for the home Black and Decker is a pretty trustable brand to put your money into.

You can expect safe and powerful cutting with a decent battery. There have been a few reports of fault chargers and batteries but with the sheer number of people that buy this trusted brand I think it’s pretty reasonable to expect a few bad ones. They also offer excellent customer service and refunds on faulty products has never been a problem in all the time I have bought BLACK+DECKER. A nice cordless chainsaw to round off the reviews if I’m honest.

If you’re looking for a budget pick, nothing too heavy, a few 8 inch logs mixed in with a load of smaller stuff, then the WORX Cordless Compact Chainsaw is a really good shout, purely based on price. It’s a quality bit of kit for the money actually and probably a bit unreasonable to just say go with this on cost alone. WORX was a relatively unknown name up until a few years ago when they began selling on Amazon. Since then, their reputation has grown and they’ve always been considered a decent outside choice for power tools.

So you’ve got a 25cm bar which is 10cm smaller than the mighty Makita top pick and it also trails in power too. However, there’s still ample cut power to get the job done and I really like the teeth on this and the fact it’s single battery means far less investment than the beefier models. Talking about beefier, this thing is lovely and light weight. Really ideal for someone with less strength looking to do light work.

What I don’t like on this is the speed ratings. I don’t know how to compare because rpm means nothing to me in chainsaw terms. It’s therefore hard to know what rating safety equipment one needs to stay safe. In my opinion this is an absolute must fix thing for them.

The other thing I don’t like is the oil flow. When positioned correctly it can leak. Given this hasn’t just happened to me I would assume it’s a problem they need to fix.

Apart from these niggly bits you can go far wrong with this budget cordless chainsaw, just as long as you know you’re not competing with the top models for cut power then all is good!

8. Bosch Home and Garden Cordless Chainsaw

Since recently making this article I just had to update it to include this super mini cordless chainsaw. The Bosch Home and Garden Cordless Chainsaw has just a 20cm bar so only able to cut up to 6 inch logs. However, if you’re looking for lightweight and easy to use, especially for an alternative to a pruning saw, this might well be your top choice! It certainly is mine for the mini chainsaw category!

First thing you’ll notice is how lovely and balanced this is. It’s slightly lighter than the WORX and feels great due to how small it is to hold. The bar guard is handy for cutting but not my cup of tea. Needless to say it’s there for safety and should be left on! For trimming branches and holding weight with arms raised this has to be one of the best inventions to date. But I’m afraid it does lack power to take out anything over 6 inches. In fact, I wouldn’t want to have to cut 6 inches frequently with this.

The power delivery is ok but don’t start thinking you’re going to get Makita or Dewalt performance, they just aren’t the same tool and shouldn’t be compared this way. If you have to force this chainsaw, you’re working on wood too thick or dense, or the blade is dull. Either way forcing this means you’ve got the wrong tool for the job.

As I mentioned before, you buy this for pruning and because you want a mini cordless chainsaw for really light stuff, not much more than a quality pruning saw can handle. Used this way it’s an incredible bit of kit and since it fits all your other Bosch battery equipment like hedge trimmer and strimmer it really is great value if you’re already into this range.

About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

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