Having experienced using many petrol driven chainsaws and corded electric chainsaws in the past, a cordless rechargeable electric chainsaw is something that we questioned. Would it be up to the job? Well, here we put the EGO Power+ Cordless Chainsaw (CS1400E) to the test.
As soon as we took the EGO Power+ Cordless Chainsaw out of the box and were able to hold it we realised that EGO do not skimp on build quality. It is built using strong and solid materials and is streamlined to avoid the possibility of any extraneous parts becoming stressed through the naturally heavy treatment that this type of equipment can be put through. Although reasonably heavy (about 4.5kg with battery) for an electrically driven chainsaw, it is well balanced to hold. The 14 inch (350mm) bar and chain are by Oregon, a name that has become synonymous with such fittings and a mark of reliability within the chainsaw world.
The bar and chain are easily assembled onto the EGO cordless chainsaw and the chain tensioning mechanism, through a simple rolling wheel above the chain cover, is one of the simplest and most reliable we've ever come across. Once the 56 volt lithium-ion battery is charged it slides easily into the chainsaw below the handle casing.
Being self-lubricating, oil must always be added to the chainsaw before use and the level checked during use. However, the oil tank on the EGO is very impressive, holding sufficient oil to continue oiling the chain and bar during use from the battery being fully-charged to completely depleted in all our tests. The fine filter on the oil filler does mean you cannot pour the oil in too quickly or it will overflow before being full, but this filter obviously protects the oil pump from possible debris, which if not excluded would soon damage or block the pump. Before use we checked the all-important chain brake and, once again, found the mechanism for this very solid and positive in performance.
First impressions can be deceptive. When the trigger is pulled and the chain starts moving there is little noise, no real vibration, and an impression, after using petrol-driven chainsaws, that not much is happening. This couldn't be further from the truth. At 6300 rpm this battery operated chainsaw cuts through timber without any hassle. The power is incredible, we immediately started cutting logs from good sized tree limbs of around six to eight inches without any problems, with the EGO Power+ cordless chainsaw slicing quickly through each cut.
From here we moved to tree trunks measuring 24 inches across, and by working around the trunk we found the EGO up to the test. The brushless motor, driven by the 56 volt battery (ours is the 4.0Ah version), is exceptionally powerful and we have rarely found it to be halted due to strain. (Should it do so, the motor simply stops to avoid any possibility of overheating.) In use the chainsaw remains generally quiet and has very little vibration which makes it pleasure to handle.
To really test the power we found it necessary to produce some logs by cutting through the tree's grain, and found that the EGO managed this easily. Make no mistake, this battery operated chainsaw has at least the power of most typical garden-sized petrol chainsaws. The only downside is, of course, that once the charge is depleted, you need to recharge the battery. Then again, you don't need to buy petrol, there are no noxious smells or pollutants through exhaust, and there is also very little sound pollution.
Battery & Motor
At any time during use or between uses there is a button on the end of the battery that if pressed glows green to show it is charged, amber for mid used and red when discharged. It is a powerful 56 volt lithium-ion battery that can be used between a number of different EGO tools and is thus purchased separately to the tools themselves. EGO say that it is 40 per cent more powerful than the leading 40v batteries most manufacturers use and we can believe this to be the case from our testing. The brushless motor is, as already noted, quiet and produces a resolute 6300 rpm. There are three choices within the 56v battery range and these are a 2.0Ah version, a 4.0Ah version (which we have) or a 6.0Ah version. Whilst the power is the same for each, the higher the Ah the longer it will stay charged in use. We found that when charged our 4.0Ah battery allowed us to work for a reasonable time and make a good number of cuts. This obviously depends on particular usage, but EGO state that up to 100 cuts of 4x4 timber can be carried out with one charge of the 2.0Ah battery and 200 similar cuts with the 4.0Ah battery, and we wouldn't dispute this statistic. As anticipated, there is no fading of power as the battery depletes; it just stops and the battery button flashes red.
The standard charger, which was supplied with our 56v (4.0Ah) battery, charged a completely depleted battery to full in 70 minutes. The charger is fan cooled and does make a low humming noise whilst charging, which is unusual but effective in preventing overheating for such a powerful battery. For a higher price EGO also make the Infinity Charger that charges in just under half this time. Of course if using the smaller 2.0Ah battery the charging is quicker, or slower if using the 6.0Ah battery.
With the body priced at £199 UK and $299 US (battery and charger, as described above, included in the US and Australia, but priced separately in the UK) the EGO Power+ Cordless Electric Chainsaw is a sturdy piece of equipment which is ideal for garden and medium use, and it comes with a five year guarantee. First time chainsaw users will find it easy and friendly to use, with the power and convenience of mobility offered by a petrol chainsaw, but with the low noise and vibration level of electric; seasoned chainsaw users will be amazed and impressed by the power of the EGO Power+ Cordless Chainsaw.