Despite the many, many advantages of electric chainsaws, most people serious about cutting wood still rely on good old gas. The reason is simple, electric chainsaws simply cannot compete with gas in terms of all important cutting power.
The GCS80420 by Greenworks is being marketed as a game changer in that respect. Powered by an 80 volt battery, it promises to be the equivalent of a 45 CC gas chainsaw. That’s a pretty big claim to make. And it’s matched by a pretty high price tag of $299.
The GCS stands out from the crowd in 3 main ways. First off, 80 Volts is indeed the most powerful electric cordless that you can get. Secondly, it has an 18 inch guidebar, never before seen in a cordless. And lastly, the batteries, despite their power, take just 30 minutes to charge.
In testing this device, my first concern was whether or not it really could do the work of 45 CC gas powered model. I therefore skipped the small jobs and went straight for a sixteen inch hard wood. This is something that I’ve never even attempted to cut with a cordless.
To my surprise, it went right through. I repeated the job three times, and each cut was as smooth as the last.
Apparently, this is the result of not just increased power but the Digipro brushless motor. I’m not an expert on this motor. But I can happily say that Greenworks have definately created something interesting here.
One problem that Greenworks haven’t solved however is that if you treat a cordless chainsaw like a gas chainsaw, you can expect the battery to run out pretty fast.
On tough jobs like the one described above, I averaged just 30 minutes run time. This was however improved greatly on smaller jobs, where run time doubled to roughly 60 minutes.
This isn’t really something that the average homeowner is going to have to worry about. But if you do big jobs on a regular basis, gas may still have the advantage.
Despite the lofty power and chain length, the GCS retains all of the perks of cordless chainsaws. One of the most interesting is the weight. At 14 pounds, it’s roughly half the weight of an equivalent gas model.
This doesn’t just reduce user fatigue but also greatly increases accuracy on jobs where that’s important. This is helped on further by the overall design of the saw. Weight is distributed evenly, vibration is minimal and the two handles are easy to comfortably hold and grip.
The GCS has only been out around a year and as a result, customer reviews on Amazon total just 48. Early signs however are very positive with an impressive average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5. Just shy of 3/4 of reviews gave it the full five stars for many of the reasons outlined above. Given the price of this tool, that’s a pretty serious endorsement.
Given the age of the tool, long term durability levels obviously cannot be judged. The good news is that the GCS comes with a 4 year warranty. Keep in mind however that if you’re a professional i.e. using the tool for commercial purposes, that warranty drops to a meagre 90 days.
If you’re suffering from sticker shock, it is worth noting that just under $130 of the price is going on the charger and battery alone. This means that if you decide to make follow up purchases of other Greenworks products, you can expect to pay a lot less. This is obviously exactly what Greenworks want. But if they’re other tools rank as highly as this one, it mightn’t actually be a bad choice to make.