Written by Terry Smith
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UK’s best electric chainsaws: McCulloch, Makita, and Black and Decker with heavy duty options
This article was last updated on January 29th, 2023 at 4:25 pm
Chainsaws, the favoured tool of lumberjacks, tree surgeons, and mask wearing, demonic, serial killers, everywhere 🙂 I’ve been using chainsaws for twenty years now, I’ve even tested and worked with a few of the chainsaws in this review – you’ll probably notice I now massively favour cordless chainsaws (the electric kind – I am always testing these – I even enjoy it 🙂 ). They are extremely powerful too. Here is me cutting a 12 inch tree stump with a cordless electric chainsaw:
Where electric chainsaws win over cordless is the price and power though and I tell you something – the Hyundai HYC2400E – what a value for money and powerful heavy duty tool this is – almost comparable to a petrol chainsaw! But there’s a new sheriff in town since I’ve been testing these. The Einhell GH-EC 2040 Electric Chainsaw. I don’t normally promote them to top spot but I’ve been using these for a couple of years now and it already features in my best chainsaw overall picks – I have tested it out to the EXTREME 😀 . They are cheap, mid range power, and can take an absolute battering. I can personally confirm that.
The very interesting thing you’ll find, apart from how super the new chain tooless tensioning methods have become as standard, they are all still very similar to back that time ago in performance. And it’s the one thing that I can honestly say that has seriously decreased in cost over time – my cheap electric chainsaw fifteen years ago cost more than today. Find me another product like that! Before we get going though, if you’re new to chainsaws then a look at the chainsaw safety guidelines never hurt. And once you’ve done that, chainsaw trousers or chaps as they can be called are worth a look (I show you demos of how they will literally save your life) and if you’re getting a bit more serious, chainsaw boots. Once you’ve looked at safety, for ongoing cheap use you want a chainsaw sharpener to keep the blade tip top and that is all there is to sensible electric chainsaw use and ownership in my opinion from the last 15-20 years of using these. And with mentioning the time I’ve been using these for, it’s time to learn from my mistakes with a pro tip 😀
PRO TIP: Always fully unwind your electrical extension lead. If you’re using one of the bigger 2.4kW models the wires in a coil heat up quickly, and if an older version without a trip, can actually melt together. Yes, this has personally happened to me some years ago – what a plonker Rodney 🤦♂️. They are best used directly into a main socket for safety if at all possible.
So, with the hopes of making people new to these incredibly handy tools feel less intimidated by them, and to give you all the confidence you need to finally get your hands on one, we’ve put this article together. We’ll cover the different types of chainsaws available to you, as well as the pros and cons of each of them, introduce the main chainsaw based ‘lingo’ so you can feel confident reading about and discussing chainsaws with others, and finally, give our thoughts on the best electric chainsaws in the UK at the present time.
My pick of the best electric chainsaws in the UK from testing:
Einhell GH-EC 2040 Electric Chainsaw — 2000W – [personally tested and used this for a couple of years – heavy duty build for such a cheap price] and if you want something more powerful at decent money then it’s the Hyundai HYC2400E electric chainsaw for me but a worthwhile alternative again, is the Oregon CS1400 in the 2.4 kW heavy duty range.
Heavy duty pick: Hyundai HYC2400E – the three year warranty is just a dead giveaway as the quality. If you want peace of mind then this is an easy pick.
Build quality pick: McCulloch CSE2040S – best electric chainsaw and must have if you need something of genuine quality. [probably the best of the best if you don’t mind the extra money but not sure it equates to best value]
Ever reliable: Black & Decker CS2245-GB
best small electric chainsaw: Makita electric chainsaw UC3541A/2 – best small electric chainsaw and light weight pick and great alternative to the cordless Makita chainsaw I previously tested. Probably I don’t rank this as good as their insane Makita cordless chainsaw quality.
Things to consider when buying an electric chainsaw
In this section of the article, we’ll highlight a few things that you should keep in mind when choosing an electric chainsaw, and hopefully improve your knowledge of these tools at the same time. Let’s start with power and performance-
Electric chainsaw power and performance
The power of an electric chainsaw is primarily connected to the size of the motor in a given tool. For example, a chainsaw fitted with a 2400-watt motor should have more power than one with a 1600-watt motor. This is a good rule of thumb to follow, but some brand’s motors will be better made, more efficient, etc. than some others, so there might be some exceptions. My top pick incidentally is the Einhell GH-EC 2040 which is 2000 Watts. I picked that on the basis I’ve used it and know it can take a hammering, it’s cheap, and well built, with much better performance than the 1600W models I’ve used.
Another factor in how well an electric chainsaw can perform is the chain speed, which, I’m sure you’ve already worked out, is how fast the chain spins around. Higher chain speeds mean you can get the job done faster, and can improve the overall cutting performance of a chainsaw, so look for one that has a decent metres per second measurement.
Length of the bar
No, I’m not talking about the bar at your local pub here. When talking about bar length in regards to chainsaws, we are referring to the size of the part of the chainsaw that does the cutting. This can vary quite a lot, from compact bars meant for pruning smaller branches, to significantly longer ones, and the longer the bar, the wider trees you can handle.
Most electric chainsaws are in the range of 30-40cm, which is fine for general home use, but there are a few models that have longer or shorter bars than that. By general home use I’m talking about things like removing thick branches and felling smaller trees, for more heavy duty tasks, you’ll definitely need a petrol chainsaw instead. You can normally get through a 12 inch tree with a 35cm bar from my personal testing and use over the years as you can see in the intro vid.
Electric chainsaw safety features
In addition to wearing the correct safety equipment like glasses, ear defenders, gloves, and chainsaw trousers, you also need a chainsaw that has certain safety features built in, to reduce the risk of serious injury. Thankfully, most modern electric chainsaws have been built with user safety in mind, but there are a few features to keep an eye out for.
The first one is some kind of safety start. These days, this is usually some kind of double switch or button press that has to be done in order for the tool to start. Having to press two buttons at the same time make sit much harder to accidentally start the chainsaw, so obviously this is something you want.
One of the most dangerous aspects of using a chainsaw is when you get ‘kickback’. This is when the chainsaw fails to cut through the material and then this causes the tool to be jolted back towards the user. Any decent, modern, electric chainsaw should have safety features like a kickback brake which will prevent injury should the worst scenario occur by automatically switching off the chain.
Anyone who has used power tools for long periods of time will have experienced that uncomfortable pins and needles feeling in their hands, arms, etc. that is caused by prolonged exposure to vibrations.
Look for an electric chainsaw that has features designed to lower the effects of vibration. The best thing would be lower vibrations in general, but there are other things like rubberised handles, and well-positioned handles for good ergonomics can all help.
Auto chain lubrication and toolless tensioning
Two good features to look out for when buying your electric chainsaw are auto-chain lubrication, and tooless tensioning. Both of these will make keeping your chain in tip top shape so much easier, and allow you to spend more time actually on the job.
Keeping your chain in good condition is one of the most important parts of maintaining an electric chainsaw. A nice, sharp, and well lubricated chain, will have you cutting through material easier, and reduce the risk of kickback. There is often a transparent area so that you can see when the chainsaw oil is getting low is a handy addition too. This comes as standard with almost all electric chainsaws as you can see:
Tooless tensioning is just what it sounds like. Instead of having to whip out your toolbox and dig out the right tool every time your chain needs adjusting, you can simply do it with the controls on the chainsaw. It’s a simple thing, and quite common these days, but if you’re new to these tools, it’s a good thing to have. Here’s a look at those:
Just like gardening knives, shears, loppers, or any other cutting tool, you need to keep the chainsaw sharp for it to be of any use. For a full rundown on how to sharpen a chainsaw please head to the link provided.
Some chainsaws might be sold with free sharpening kits, but it isn’t as common as you would think. Also, the quality of the chainsaw sharpeners isn’t always great. Luckily for you, we have already compiled a list of the best chainsaw sharpening tools in another article on this site, so you can pop over there and get what you need.
Alternatively, you can sharpen your chainsaw blade using files, or even a grinding tool of some kind, and again, we have a ‘how to’ article on that very subject. So, feel free to take a look and get a taste for the kind of maintenance required to keep an electric chainsaw in working condition.
I always recommend that you have at least one spare chain lying around, already sharpened and ready to use. They’re not very expensive, and it’s so easy to hit something you shouldn’t have, and cause a kink or similar in a chain, so t pays to have a back-up ready.
Why buy an electric chainsaw with so many modern and easy alternatives?
Just to clarify, when I speak of electric chainsaws, I’m referring to the ones that you connect to the mains by way of a power cable, and not anything with a battery.
Having no reliance on a battery means that you can use an electric chainsaw for pretty much as long as you like. There’s no refuelling, smoke or fumes to deal with like when using a petrol chainsaw, either.
Just like with cordless models, electric chainsaws are designed for the masses and are usually easy to operate, with clearly marked and minimal controls. Maintenance is also kept to a minimum and is limited to sharpening the blade and easy to handle tasks such as that.
Electric chainsaws can be quite powerful, but not on the same level as petrol machines. However, the better models should have more than enough ‘grunt’ to deal with the kind of jobs that the average person needs a chainsaw for.
The biggest issue with electric chainsaws is the reliance on a mains electricity supply. This ultimately limits where you can use it, but for home use, the power cables on these tools are usually long enough, and even if they aren’t, waterproof extension leads are fairly inexpensive these days.
Above all, they are much cheaper pound for pound than other types of chainsaw.
Best electric chainsaw reviews
Below you’ll find a list of the best electric chainsaws selected from the top-selling products found online. We have written up reviews for each of our featured products, taking a look at the best, and worst, features of each one, so that you can get a clearer picture of what you’ll be sending your money on.
1. Einhell GH-EC 2040 2000W Electric Chainsaw with Tool-Free Chain Tensioning
I tell you what, there’s really not a lot to dislike about the Einhell GH-EC 2040 Electric Chainsaw – the whole brand keeps going up in my estimation – I was really keen on their garden shredder as a value pick as well. It’s one of those weird in the middle chainsaws that delivers on power and price. Most of the top named electric chainsaws in my review are either 2.4kW or 1.6kW. This actually strikes the balance of both worlds. The heavier 2400W models are normally around 6.5kg and the lighter 1600W are about 4.5kg. If you’re like me, something in the middle is normally about right. The Einhell GH-EC 2040 weighs in at 6.2kg and actually, when you’re holding it feels very balanced but the additional weight is a dead giveaway that this is a sheep is wolf’s clothing.
The power of cut can probably even be compared to my trusty heavy duty pick Hyundai 2400, probably it’s direct and closest competitor when trying to find pound for pound value on performance. The thing it gives up on Hyundai though when comparing these two. The three year warranty from Hyundai is untouchable. As far as I’m aware my Einhell only comes with a 12 month warranty if I don’t bother with warranty cards (who does). Perhaps the manufacturer can contact me to let me know on that. But anyway. Who cares about reliability when it can take this much of a hammering. Take a look at the state of this bar:
With regards to how long you can expect it to last, the high end Oregon bar is literally rotting away before failing 😀 That should tell you something about how well the motor and cogs to deliver the chain revs are built. You could replace the bar in a couple of years and it’ll still feel like new. That’s been my experience for sure.
The only reason I wouldn’t pick this on price would simply be that the Hyundai is overall more power and therefore if I was chopping up logs for the fire frequently (which I do as you can see from my log splitter article) then I want to get the work done as quickly as possible.
I can easily recommend this for general gardens, log burner users, and people comfortable in the shed. If I needed mobility then I would rather stay away from an extension cord and instead look at the cordless electric chainsaw options as I mention above.
2. Hyundai Electric Chainsaw Corded
Update after using this for a couple of years:
After using this for a couple of years now I can tell you there’s not a chance I’ll need to claim on warranty. In fact I have also owned the old 1600W Hyundai for so long and that’s still going strong too. Here’s a picture of that one too:
The 2400W version is just more powerful and I am as happy as ever with it so pleased to be putting it as the heavy duty pick of electric chainsaws this time around
The Hyundai HYC2400E is sporting some very nice features that aren’t too commonly seen on electric chainsaws in this price bracket, so it looks like the company have definitely shown up to compete.
Let’s just take the adaptive power plus feature for example. What this does is increase the speed of the chain as the load increases, and this in turn keeps the chainsaw cutting smoothly, even when trying to get through thicker logs.
Then there is the 12 metres of power cable, which is twice that of the Oregon model we also reviewed. Obviously, having a cable this long comes in very handy and can negate the need for an extension lead I most cases. There’s also a handy little hook on the handle to double up the cable on so that there is less tension on it while working.
Compared to the Oregon electric chainsaw, the Hyundai feels much lighter but I wouldn’t say it’s most lightweight mode I’ve ever used. It runs fairly quiet too, and vibrations are nothing to worry about.
The safety guard that is supposed to stop your arms getting pelted with wood chips as you work is on the small side too, and so you have to put up with said chips hitting you every now again.
If it wasn’t for this couple of small, annoying design flaws, this Hyundai would be one of my favourite electric chainsaws. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a very good product, with some fantastic features for the money, and would be a great addition to your tool collection. Just make sure you buy a better chain.
- Adaptive power plus feature keeps the cutting action smooth
- 12 metre long power cable is a great feature
- Some great design features
- Fast chain speed and great cutting performance
- Toolless tensioning works well
- Chain that comes with the tool isn’t great and should be replaced to get the most out of the product.
This following clip highlights some of the great features on the Hyundai HYC2400E electric chainsaw, so check it out-
3. McCulloch CSE2040S Electric Chain Saw
The McCulloch CSE2040S is a very cool looking electric chainsaw. With its sleek design and matt black colour scheme, it looks like the kind of thing Batman would pull out of his tool shed.
Joking aside, this is a very capable chainsaw that had no problems cutting through anything I threw at it. The 2000W motor delivers smooth and consistent power throughout the cut, even when the load increases, and the 13.5 m/s chain speed is up there with the best in this category.
I found this tool to be one of the easiest chainsaws to use for longer periods of time. The handles are well placed and ergonomically designed, the trigger is large and easy to find while wearing gloves, and this thing feels much lighter than most of the other electric chainsaws we tried, even though it has a 40cm guide bar.
Vibrations were not a problem with the McCulloch either, nor were the sound levels. Yes, there is noise (it’s a chainsaw for goodness’ sake!), but it shouldn’t disturb the neighbours too much and you’ll be fine with a pair of ear defenders.
The chain brake kicks in quickly when needed and the tool lets you know that the brake is engaged by showing a small red square, just in front of the forward handle. There’s also a soft start, so that you don’t get startled or jolted when the machine kicks into life. A simple, but important feature for beginners.
There’s a large and easy to see oil gauge on the side of this electric chainsaw, and this is a good thing, as I found that this was a thirsty little monster in that regard. As with many of these electric chainsaws, the oil is not included in the price, so make sure you buy some separately.
Another mark against the McCulloch is the short power lead. At 4 metres, it is one of the shortest of all the electric chainsaws we got our hands on. I know it’s not a deal breaker, but as this chainsaw is already a little more expensive than a lot of its competition, you’d have thought McCulloch would have spared us the expense of having to buy a heavy-duty extension lead.
Still, the power cable and the amount of oil used are the only gripes I have about this otherwise great little chainsaw. Plenty of consistent power, very light, and easy to handle. You have to pay a bit more for it, but it’s a quality product.
- Very lightweight and well balanced
- Large oil gauge is easy to see
- Ergonomic handles are padded and reduce vibration
- 2000W motor delivers consistent power
- 40cm guide bar
- Short power cable at only 4 metres
Here is the McCulloch in all its glory and some people from the brand talking about it:
4. OREGON CS1400 2400 W Electric Chainsaw
When you’re looking for ab electric chainsaw to cut through medium sized logs and thicker branches, you need a powerful motor in there, and that’s exactly what you get with the Oregon CS1400 model.
With 2400W producing the equivalent of 3.2 horsepower, this is definitely one of the more powerful electric chainsaws in its price range, and will handle larger jobs better than a lot of its competition.
The excellent cutting performance of this Oregon offering is helped along by the brand’s ‘Duracut’ 56 drive link chain, a 40cm guide bar, and an impressive 14.7 metres per second chain speed. I have to say, that I did find that this chain lost its sharpness a little sooner than I expected after hearing all the advertising claims, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
I’d say that this electric chainsaw feels a little bit on the heavy side, but that it also feels solid, and I can put up with a little more weight if it means a product is not going to fall apart on me for a while.
Power cable length is always a factor I look at when reviewing corded products, and the 6 metres attached to the Oregon chainsaw isn’t too bad. You’ll still need a cable reel or similar if you’re working at the bottom of a large garden, but I think it’ll be fine for the majority of people. Just be sure to buy an extension lead that can provide enough power for the tool (heavy duty) and fully unreel it if necessary.
Safety-wise, this ticks all the boxes. The chains brake works really well and kicks in quickly, there’s a two-point starting system, and the large handles do a good job of keeping vibrations from being bothersome.
With auto-oiling, easy tensioning, and all the other features you expect to see on a decent electric chainsaw, plus all that power, I have to say that this is definitely a good contender for anyone’s money. There were a couple of fiddly bits while assembling the tool, but nothing to get upset about.
- Very powerful 2400W motor
- 14.7 metres per second chain speed is among the fastest
- Solidly built and durable
- Good safety features like a two point start up system
- Low vibration
- A little on the heavy side when compared to other electric chainsaws, but it both looks and feels solid. Just take a peek for yourself at the image below-
5. BLACK+DECKER CS2245-GB Corded Chainsaw
We review a ton of Black & Decker products here on this site, and although there are a few misses here and there, I can honestly say that this is brand that hits its mark, more often than not.
Is this corded electric chainsaw on the ‘hit list’? I would have to say yes. For a product that costs under a hundred quid, it has a lot of power, decent build quality, and some good features to boot.
Let’s discuss the power first. The CS2245-GB has been built with an efficient 2200W motor that produces high torque and a chain speed of 12.5 m/sec. That’s not as fast as the Oregon’s rapid 14.7 m/sec, but it’s still enough to slice through some thick timber, especially when you factor in the large 45cm guide bar.
The chain brake on this model is very good, and although the motor can still be heard working afterwards, the chain is stopped completely within 0.15 seconds and is disengaged from the motor. Kickbacks shouldn’t happen that often with the Black & Decker though, as the chain has been specially designed to lower the chance of it happening.
Assembling the chainsaw wasn’t overly difficult, but the instructions to help you could be a lot better. Fitting the chain was probably the trickiest part, but then it always is, so nothing special there.
Although not as heavy as the Oregon electric chainsaw, there is still a fair bit of weight to the B&D CS2245-GB, and it seemed to be a little more weighted to one side than the other. This is probably due to the motor and inner workings of the chainsaw, and was something I personally got used to pretty quickly.
Toolless tension adjustment is a common thing these days, but it works better on some products than on others. I’m happy to say that the adjuster on this chainsaw works well, as does the automatic oiling, and the anti-vibration features.
So, a few minor flaws but overall, a very good electric chainsaw for home use. The only thing that I really didn’t like, was the shorter than average power lead that was only 4 metres long, but then again, nobody’s perfect.
- Large 45cm guide bar makes cutting thicker logs an easier task
- Kickback is reduced thinks to the chain design
- Chain break kicks in very quickly
- Automatic oiling and toolless tensioning both work well
- Low vibration and noise
- Assembly instructions were not the best and the power lead is only 4 metres
6. Makita UC3541A/2 240V 35cm Electric Chainsaw
I have to confess to being a bit of a Makita fanboy and having owned more than my fair share of their products over the years. So, I was excited to get my hands on their UC3541A/2 electric chainsaw as it’s pretty much identical to the cordless chainsaw I have and here’s what I thought.
This is a smaller chainsaw with a 35cm bar, but it is also lightweight and easy to wield for longer periods of time than heavier electric chainsaws like the Black & Decker and the Oregon.
I was a bit worried when I saw that the motor was only 1600 watts, but despite its smaller size, that motor kicks out a lot of power and gives the Makita a chain speed that is actually higher than the B&D CS2245-GB, and only a little slower than the rapid Hyundai HYC2400E.
The outer casing, handles, and triggers were all of the usual Makita quality. However, I wish I could say the same about the tensioner. The plastic pin used for the adjuster just isn’t up to the standards I’ve come to expect from this brand and I have my worries about how long it will last.
Having said that, this is a compact electric chainsaw and so the tension needed on the bar isn’t anywhere near what you would need on a large petrol chainsaw, so perhaps my clumsy, heavy hands are to blame? To be fair, I think this plastic pin design is common with most electric chainsaws priced between 80-150 pounds.
The chain and bar are both of good quality, the automatic lubricating system is really good and can be adjusted, and as mentioned; there is a good deal of power coming from the motor and cutting performance is surprisingly good for a smaller chainsaw.
I also really liked the positioning of the air intakes for the motors cooling system. They have cleverly been placed at the rear of the chainsaw, keeping them away from the majority of the sawdust and debris, and this kind of practical thinking is what I love about Makita tools.
Other than the plastic pin, I have nothing but praise for this Makita. The cutting prowess is excellent, the design is practical, and the fact that it is lightweight and ergonomic is just the icing on the cake.
- A lot of power from a smaller motor
- Impressive chain speed
- Lightweight and very comfortable to hold
- Air intakes are well designed and positioned
- Very good cutting performance for a smaller electric chainsaw
- Plastic pin used for tensioner isn’t up to the standards I expect from Makita
Here’s a video review of this Makita electric Chainsaw for you to enjoy. It’s an honest look at the product.
You can fit into any of the above categories to benefit from owning a chainsaw , and you could find that keeping your garden looking neat and tidy, or cutting logs for your fire pit, would become much easier tasks with one of these tools. Now, I know that using and maintaining a chainsaw can be a pretty daunting thought for people who have never used one, but I honestly believe that most of those worries can be dispelled with a little bit of knowledge on the subject.