Oregon WOWnet Email "Chain" on preferred chainsaws

Getting the right chainsaw and keeping it sharpened correctly makes work much easier!

The Oregon WOWnet email listserv recently saw a lot of activity surrounding the question of what kind of chainsaw to buy, which elicited some great information that just had to be shared.


Hi Wild Women of the Woods (WOW)-

I am looking at purchasing a chainsaw that fits me (Leon's is too big): 

    -    light to lug around 100 acres of terrain

    -    used mostly for 3-10 inch diameter (mostly invasive species such as mature    scotch broom, hawthorn, and some thinning)

    -    easy to use, considering age, aging joints, and some osteoarthritis in hands 

    -    environmental considerations  


Do any of you have experience with either of the 2 Lithium Battery powered chainsaws?

    -     Oregon Lithium Ion Chainsaw Model CS250E (40 volt, 14" bar, 10 lb, integrated sharpening system, automatic turnoff, etc) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=DCSyX5CmpIQ&NR=1

    -    Stihl Lithium Ion Chainsaw (Model MSA 160 C-BQ (36 volt, runs up to 35 minutes, battery can be used on other Stihl battery-powered tools)


I would appreciate any input you have about your chainsaws (gas or battery).  The integrated sharpening system on the Oregon chainsaw sounds great - but I worry about the old adage "if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true."



Sen S.


 The Answers:


I’m interested too!  My husband has looked and looked for one small and light enough to allow me to work for a reasonable time without it being extremely tiring.  All have been too heavy even though I’m fairly strong.  I noted the battery life of 35 minutes seemed too short a time.  Appreciate information and others experience!   Linda



I looked at the battery operated chainsaws, also hoping for a less manly saw, but they were priced so much higher that I could buy 2 smaller gas saws and have a range of bar sizes.  Battery life and replacement cost was also a consideration.

Like most new products, time will troubleshoot the product and improve the price.


Has anyone found a deal on these?


I've had a Shindaiwa 352s with 15" bar & "Easy-to-pull" recoil starting system now for 5 yr's and like using it because it's compact and fairly light weight making branches easy as well as doing large trunks. I used a mid-weight Stihl 260 before that and it became just too much weight and trouble to start. I figure there are probably lots of newer saws out there now with features that make it even easier(?), but of course it takes the time to do the research and try some out. 


OSU tree school has opportunities to talk with sellers and of course this list is a wonderful way to hear the real scoop. 



Bev K.



Hey all you awesome women!  I was just planning to look into a small chainsaw I could use myself.  I have some disabilities that make it difficult, but I'm determined and I love having some independence in my woods.  Thanks for all the amazing and inspiring stories, and the wealth of valuable information.  Looking forward to meeting you all sometime!


Judy J.

Cherryville Heartsongs, LLC





Hi, I have a 2 year old  Stihl, easy start 16” chain saw which works great.  I had replaced my old craftsman which was too heavy, to cranky and too hard to start.  I am 72+ and can haul that saw all over the property.  It cuts up to the size I am comfortable felling.  Any bigger limbs and I should get a professional! Price was reasonable considering all its perks.  Also came with a sturdy storage case.


Bertha C.

Rose Manor Farm




I just got an 18" Husqvarna to replace my old (heavy) 21" Jonsered.  I was interested in an arborist's chainsaw but,yes, spendy.  The best part is the new on has a decompression valve which makes starting a whole lot easier.





My son has an ARBORIST'S chainsaw.  Just teeny!  It's pretty fierce too, from my observations.  Scale size to me and the trees I get along with.  But PRICEY.


My first chainsaw, half my life ago, was a McCullough ProMac 55.  It probably had a 30" bar on it.  I was used to hanging out with loggers and didn't want to seem a wimp.  My #1 Son was the one who actually used it (with 5 sons, stuff like chainsaws was always being grabbed outta my hands).


Old Mr Mock  who ran the saw shop told me sternly to sleep with it under my bed.  Chainsaws grow legs and walk away, he said.  That'd be one reason to keep 'em in the house.


Warmest Winter Wishes--





Excuse me here, but I have to put in that anyone who had 5 sons, surely could never be called a wimp, regardless of the size of the bar on their chainsaw!







Hi all!


I actually purchased a battery saw since at that time gas saws were too heavy, messy, and intimidating.  It worked for really small branches for about 10 minutes and then ran out of juice so I don't have alot positive to recommend.  I now use an 18" Husquevarna.  Starting can be a bear but it is very reliable and I am now used to the weight.  Would still love to find a heavy duty battery saw someday--


Gloria M.





We bought a battery powered one a few years ago.  DON'T WASTE THE MONEY.  They really do not have the "power" to cut much of a tree.


Check out Stihl catalog.  We just looked at the new one and they have some "light weight" ones.  under 20 lbs.  Especially if you are only cutting small trees.


I use a Stihl 260Pro and I love it, has an easy start button, works great!  







I love my Stihl (14" or 16" bar, I can't remember, probably 14"). I won't buy anything else.I get it tuned up every few years and it always runs great although I don't use it as much anymore.


I also store it inside where it's warm and I only use Stihl oil and premium gas. I don't know if that makes a difference. The Stihl people say it does (the oil and gas part- I've never asked about keeping it warm).







Well, for heaven's sake, I am so glad this thread started when it did, cuz I was about to go out and buy a Stihl. After reading about it on Consumer Reports, I'm still thinking Stihl, and thinking about one with the 14" bar. The 180 C-BE looks great. It's listed at $230. I'm wondering, though, why the Stihl 250 C-BE is a hundred dollars more - does it have more horsepower? Also, it's always scary to read a negative comment about how the Stihl people would not take back a "lemon" saw. That's bad news, cuz I don't have much money. Any comments?  



Thanks,  Robin




I also use a battery powered reciprocating saw (Bosch)for brush cutting and limbing and pruning my orchard. my model  weighs 3 lbs. and comes with a recharger. no chains to deal with.  just slip in a new pruning blade. bought mine at jerry's in eugene. made pruning sooo much easier.  when pruning or cutting small diameter brush, best to use a sawing motion(back and forth) as it puts less pressure on the blade and your hand.


Jan N.




I am an infant in all this.  I am registered to take the Tree School "women's chainsaw class"!  I enjoy this thread too.


Maybe someday I will crave up that 16 foot Doug fir log in my driveway and turn it into "yard art".  I need a focal pointin my back garden and a vision of a bird or fish chain saw style is in my minds eye.  Just forming. Inspired by the guys on 99E out of Oregon City or the guys out of Shorty's Corners on Hwy 26, a buddy artist I may be.  Hahahaha!


Lorie G.



Another 2¢ worth:


We've been using an 18v NiCad battery-powered DeWalt 'Sawz-all' type reciprocating-saw for limbing. It will handle a 4" diameter limb when out-fitted with a blade known as "The Ugly." We carry around a sack of charged batteries (5 or 6 of them) and can get a work session of about 3 hours this way; I usually 'run out of gas' before the batteries do. The saw is light, safe and effective for this purpose; I can cut up to a  7 foot height under control with this tool. Of course, it won't buck up larger logs but it's great for limbing. I do the sawing while Ed feeds the limbs into our PTO chipper...


Donna K.




I have just one more thing to add. If there is anyone out there looking to get more heavy-duty chainsaw experience – tree felling technique/practice, etc. – I’d recommend the hands-on, two-day classes that a group called NNRG puts on each year in Washington State. It’s a significant investment of time/money, but it’s well worth it for anyone who plans to do their own tree felling and wants to build their confidence.

I took the class about 5 years ago and it was very good. I was the only woman in the group and had practically no previous chainsaw experience, but the instructor was non-condescending and teaches to all levels.


Here’s a link to their next session, which will be outside of Olympia.



Amy G.





And WOW it is, what a discussion!  Thanks to all of your who provide wisdom and information about your chainsaws.  It is just another situation that points out that WOW should stand for Wise Women of the Woods!  What a source of knowledge and support you are.


I took a deep breath and purchased an Oregon Chainsaw CS250, a battery-powered chainsaw which is pretty new on the market.  I think it will meet my needs with Leon's 20" Quick Start Stihl as a backup.  I used it to take down several 5-6" trees yesterday to try it out.  It is light (10#), start means simply pushing a button, it turns off automatically when operator takes finger off trigger, and I see it functional for my monitoring our woods on foot looking for the occasional hawthorn, holly, old-growth scots broom, and limbs/small trees across my trails.  The battery is good for 45 minutes which is probably all I need on most of my treks and sure is easier on my body than my usual hand saw exercise.  This is not a saw for intense chainsaw work if that is what is needed.  I am attending Tree School (and the 3 hour chainsaw workshop), and should have more hours under my belt by then to be able to provide more input about this saw.


Sen S.