Not everybody who purchases a chainsaw is expecting to cut large trees and excessive amounts of firewood.
If you need the capabilities of a chainsaw, but the majority of your work will be light duty, then it may be a good idea to go with an affordable electric saw, as opposed to the more powerful gas powered units.
An electric saw can provide a number of significant benefits when it comes to ease of use and convenience, and if you’re willing to compromise on overall power and operating time, then something like this GreenWorks 20312 16 Inch ChainSaw might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Let’s get right into the review and see what it has to offer you.
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Whenever you’re looking for a new chainsaw, you need to keep your requirements firmly in mind.
Not every saw is perfect for every job, and if you want an electric saw, then you’ll first need to understand that it won’t be as capable as a larger gas powered model.
With that out of the way, this unit will likely surprise you with its capabilities. If you’re performing pruning, cutting smaller trees, or breaking up cords of wood for burning, then this is a great tool for your yard and domestic purposes.
Positive customer feedback reflects the fact that this is a great compromise when you need something affordable that is not quite as powerful as a professional gas powered saw.
Frequency of Use
This GreenWorks 20312 saw is air cooled and designed to be used for just as long as the battery will last.
While you could potentially run a gas powered chainsaw all day, that is not going to be the case with this model.
Some users have found that this could get through half a cord of wood if you’re simply splitting logs, but the operating cycles of the battery will be largely determined by the size of the wood you’re cutting, as well as the type of wood.
Dry woods will allow for longer running time, whereas harder or ‘live’ greenwood will require more power, and therefore drain the battery much faster.
Battery recharge time is 120 minutes, and GreenWorks advertises 150 cuts from a single charge when cutting 4×4 dry wood.
Again, this is a best case estimate and will depend on the type of wood and even the outdoor conditions (batteries will discharge faster in hot environments).
This saw is powered from a battery pack, which makes it just as portable as a gas chainsaw, and around the same weight as a smaller model.
Total unit weight is 10.36 lb., making it ideal for almost any operator. This would be a great chainsaw to learn on, or perfect for any homeowner who wants to perform maintenance and wood cutting around the home.
With an additional battery pack, portability will never be a problem, and provided you are near a power source you could always recharge a single battery pack while taking a break.
A cloth carry bag is included, making it easy to get this unit where you need to go.
This is a fully cordless tool, so you’ll never need to be tethered to a mains outlet. Not only is this convenient, but it also makes this chainsaw safer to use.
Power comes from a hot swappable battery, and the package includes a 40V, 4AH battery pack. The motor used is brushless, which means that it can offer up to 30% more torque when compared to older electric power tools.
Torque is especially important when cutting through wood, because it allows for cleaner passes and less chance or sticking or dangerous kickback. The battery charging dock can be powered from any standard mains outlet.
Performance and Cutting Speed
With any chainsaw, the bulk of your queries will all be centered around performance and cutting speed.
We’ve talked a little about what this saw is good for, and where it might be inadequate, and in this section we will expand on that.
Cutting speed will vary depending on the wood that you use, but for reference purposes, the torque of the motor will allow for this chainsaw to be comparable with a smaller gas powered unit.
The area that performance does fall short, is when it comes to battery life.
If you’re working with smaller pieces of material, then you will be able to run through at least half a cord of wood (6.5 inch logs cutting to 4 foot length).
In real world applications, your own mileage will vary. Users have reported having success with large logs, up to 24 inch in diameter, however, the battery will deplete quickly when making large cuts. At the most, you will be able to achieve around 8 – 10 cuts through a 24 inch log.
It is clear that this tool is able to provide plenty of power, with the main limiting factor being the battery life when making difficult cuts. This reinforces the fact that it is intended for light duty work, and that there are definite compromises to be made when using a battery powered chainsaw.
Here’s a video below that I think you will find useful, it contains lots of valuable tips and a footage of different wood cuts!
Being light weight, and featuring a low vibration brushless motor, this chainsaw is simple to operate and incredibly well balanced.
The location of the battery pack helps to counter the weight of the guide bar, allowing for a smooth and simple cutting experience. Many owners have praised the light weight and easy usability of this saw.
Guide Bar Length
The guide bar length is a relatively compact 16 inches, but this will be sufficient for the basic uses that this tool is intended for.
Bars are not intended to be replaced, as a more powerful motor would be required to adequately run a longer bar and chain.
Safety features include a chain break, as is standard on all modern chainsaws, as well as a standard hand guard to protect you from flying debris.
Moving parts in the motor and all bearings are sealed and lubricated for the lifetime of the unit.
This is essentially a maintenance-free tool, aside from chain replacement when necessary.
This is one of the biggest advantages of this unit, particularly for homeowners who don’t want to deal with the maintenance of a gas powered tool.
Ease of use
As an electric tool, there’s not a lot to learn when familiarizing yourself with this GreenWorks chainsaw.
After consulting the safety documentation, you’ll simply need to hone your cutting technique and you will be able to enjoy many years of stress-free and simple cutting with this saw.
Even though this saw is lightweight and a breeze to use, it is important to keep in mind that it is still an inherently dangerous tool.
The ease of use can sometimes lead to operators becoming too casual during cuts, so it is always important to remain alert, and seek assistance from an experienced operator if you need some training before getting acquainted with this device.
General Construction Quality
Construction quality is good and the lack of user serviceable parts make this a well contained unit. Construction is predominantly plastic, but considering the fact that this is an electric tool, that is not necessarily a bad thing.
One slight problem is the fact that the tensioning screw is plastic, and may require replacement after long periods of ownership. Replacement parts are readily available by contacting GreenWorks on their hotline number.
This chainsaw comes fully assembled and even includes some basic accessories in the package.
Aside from the saw itself, you will also receive a blade cover, a carry bag, the owner’s manual, as well as a battery pack and battery charging station.
- Cordless electric powered chainsaw.
- 40v brushless motor.
- Hot swappable battery pack.
- Up to 150 cuts per charge (depending on conditions).
- Chain brake for safety.
- Tool free adjustment.
- Near-zero maintenance.
Documentation is clear, with good use of illustrations, and includes all aspects of safety, general usage, maintenance, and adjustment.
- Quiet operation.
- No fuel needed.
- No emissions.
- Good performance for an electric tool.
- Includes a carry bag.
- Tension knob is plastic and may wear down after continued use.
- Requires a charged battery pack to operate.
- Long charging time (two hours).
- Battery will deplete quickly when cutting large or hard pieces of timber.
Aside from familiarizing yourself with the safety instructions in the user manual, you should always remember to remove the battery pack when storing the chainsaw.
Leaving the battery connected could lead to an electrical fire, or could reduce the lifetime of the battery.
Consumer Ratings & Reviews
Consumer reviews can tell you a lot about the quality and performance of a saw, so the overall 4.5/5 rating from over 500 reviews on the leading ecommerce site should be reassuring.
Positive feedback reveals some particularly interesting points about the saw.
One consumer review compared this unit directly to a Poulan Pro 16” saw, noting that the GreenWorks could easily hold its own against the gas powered saw.
However, the same reviewer noted that they kept a Husqvarna 460 model for bigger jobs, reinforcing the fact that the GreenWorks is an excellent light to medium duty saw, but still limited when it comes to heavier work.
With a price in the low $200 – $300 range, this saw represents great value and a relatively low price point, especially when compared to gas powered chainsaws.
Check out the latest price and offers below.
Recommended Extra Accessories
Safety accessories are not included, and these will be essential, even for light work.
For extending operating time, you could also invest in a second battery pack from GreenWorks.
Shipping & Packing
As a relatively lightweight unit with large and sturdy parts, shipping and damage in transit should not be a problem.
Standard heavy duty packaging is used, and there has been no poor customer feedback regarding shipping or damage.
Manufacturer Support and Warranty
You may be surprised at the extensive manufacturer warranty offered by GreenWorks.
Whereas some power tools will come with a one or two year warranty, this chainsaw comes with extended warranty periods for different components.
The tool itself is covered by a four year warranty, not including replaceable degradable parts (such as the blade). The battery is covered for two years, and the motor is covered for an extensive ten year period.
This represents some great commitment from the manufacturer, and makes this tool a solid investment. It’s worth noting again that batteries are hot swappable, so even after the warranty period, it’s easy to throw in a replacement for your chainsaw.
Phone based customer service is helpful, and there’s a toll free helpline on 1-888-90WORKS for any enquiries.
For repairs, there are numerous service centers located around the United States. Outside of the US, the helpline staff will be able to direct you to the nearest service center.
Type Cordless, battery-powered
Motor 40 V
Battery 4AH Lithium Ion
Bar length 16” (40 cm)
Chain pitch 3/8” (9.5 mm)
Chain gauge 0.043” (1.1 mm)
Chain type 90PX056X(Oregon)
Guide bar type 16″164MLEA041 (Oregon)
Unit weight 10.36 lbs (4.7 kg)
This saw is manufactured in China.
When shipped, the unit measures a total of 9 x 31 x 8.5 inches.
Our GreenWorks 20312 Review: Final Thoughts
Although this chainsaw could be considered to have an entry level price point, it performs beyond what most users would expect.
It is important that you are realistic if you are thinking of purchasing this saw, i.e. it is not suitable for cutting large trees or pieces of timber.
However, for what it can do in light duty applications, it performs exceptionally well and is only let down by the relative restriction of requiring a battery pack for power, and a longer two hour charge time between uses.
For the price and application purpose, this can easily be recommended over more complex and expensive gas powered saws.