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I was the first one to laugh many years ago when I heard that someone was introducing a small battery powered circular saw. I remember saying to the tool rep "so what will we cut with it, styrofoam? ... if it's not too thick". Well that first battery powered circular saw was not that bad and subsequent versions have been quite good. I still have not bought one but only because I don't have the need. For those who have purchased them, they couldn't live without them for doing the kinds of finishing and small jobs they were designed for. Move forward a few years ... and click below to read more
... And now we have a battery powered chain saw, and I have even had the opportunity to try one out. I happened to attend a "milling party" for our local woodworkers guild. We had two large trees to mill into rough cut lumber, a red cedar about 24 inches in diameter and a sequoia that was almost 3 feet in diameter (and only 23 years old).
As we started to position one of the ten foot lengths of sequoia on the milling saw, it became evident that it was going to be somewhat unstable due to a few smaller branches that had not been bucked off with the rest. Now it wasn't because we didn't have access to gas engine driven chain saws, we had both a Husquvarna and Stihl, both at the ready. But what should appear but one of our members with the Ryobi 18 volt cordless version. He handed it to me and said, "here try this out for those small jobs". Now I have to admit, after wrestling with crowbars and other logging tools all day, I wasn't looking forward to now trying to start gas driven chain saw to buck off a few small branches.
The Ryobi chainsaw was a dream. It's quiet, and surprisingly safe to use as the chain does not whip around the bar as it does on a gas driven saw. I was astounded at how easy it was to buck off a few fairly hefty branches. Keep in mind that this saw only has a ten inch bar, so you are not going to use to cut down major trees, but it is quick and easy to use for small jobs (like cutting 4x4, 2x6, 2x8 or even 2x10s) not to mention how handy it might be around the yard for keeping your own "orchard" in trim shape. So if you are looking for a less powerful alternative to your gas powered chainsaw, think about the Ryobi cordless, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Update: Since we did this review, we've received many emails asking about where to buy this Ryobi product ... it seems that this product has become rather hard to find, at least for online purchase. So, we did a bit more research and found some competing cordless chain saws that have been getting good reviews.