I do research before I buy things.

I do research after I buy things.

I do more research than is necessary or practical.

Here are the results.

Entries in chainsaw (1)


The Husqvarna 316e electric chainsaw

 The breezes are warm, the apple trees are in blossom, the scent of lilac drifts through the air. It is spring, and this man’s thoughts turn to…outdoor power tools. There is yard work to be done and one of the premiere tools available is the chainsaw. There are problems, though.

Any gasoline you might have from last year will be mere varnish by now. Then you have to find your two-cycle oil for the gas mix. Then there is the problem of getting the damned thing started, pulling the starter cord with increasing anger, desperation, and muscle pain. Once started, the device is heavy, noisy, and stinky. That stink is not merely aesthetic. A two-cycle engine spews 25-45% of its fuel unburned, exposing you to benzene and aromatic hydrocarbons. Add carbon monoxide, particulates, and a stew of other vaporized gak, and it is no wonder you feel brain dead after a session of bucking up cordwood. In fact, operating a small two-cycle engine for an hour produces more pollution that driving a car two thousand miles. For that matter, Americans spill an estimated 17 million gallons of gasoline a year while refueling outdoor equipment, a volume that dwarfs the Exxon Valdez.

Last year I did my usual research and purchased a Husqvarna 316e electric chainsaw. It received good reviews for power, features, weight, and noise. It is light and relatively quiet, yet it seems to cut like a medium-small gas powered saw. It is rated at 1600 watts, which is equivalent to 2.14 horsepower. It weighs 8.2 pounds, 20% lighter than a gas powered Husqvarna of the same horsepower. Last week I used it to fell some maple and birch saplings with no problem and cut up some 4”oak easily.

The machine is built on the same pattern as Husqvarna’s gasoline saws, with a double acting chain brake and a 16” bar. While many electric chainsaws have their motors mounted on the left side, sticking out, the 316e has an inline motor, giving it a form factor more like a traditional chainsaw. One excellent feature is the translucent viewport in the bar and chain oil reservoir, which allows the user to keep track of the oil level.

It appears to be just as durable as their gas saws, or perhaps even more so. Electric motors tend to last at least ten times longer than gas engines, and the disparity is even more pronounced for small, high speed, two-cycle engines.

True, the saw is restricted to a 100-150’ radius of a 120-volt AC outlet, but you would be surprised at the amount of practical chainsaw work there is within that distance. There is the extra attention the operator has to pay to handling the extension cord, but it becomes second nature quickly. It’s not a saw for the professional logger, but ideal for the homeowner. If you are in the market for a chainsaw, save your arms, your ears, your lungs, and the environment.

You should be able to find one online or from your local Husqvarna dealer in the $250 to $300 range. Here’s a link to a page on Husqvarna USA that gives “where to buy” information.