The Sun Joe iON100V-18-CS-CT is a mighty powerful cordless chainsaw. The iON garden tool range now features a 100V lithium ion battery and brushless 100VDC electric motor. This has allowed for a more efficient use of the battery, providing power output that can compare to some gas-powered chainsaws. Are cordless chainsaws now taking the place of their grumbling old gas counterparts? This Sun Joe 100V chainsaw review is going to look for the answer.
Cordless tool manufacturers are all following a trend to increase the battery voltage. Sun Joe have sought to go further than most others, using a huge 100V battery. DeWalt has a limited range of 120V cordless tools, but a chainsaw is not included in the mix. The best DeWalt chainsaw is the 60V MAX (DCCS670X1), which we’ll also be reviewing.
Table of Contents — Chainsaws Reviewed :
*Link takes you directly to section in this article.
- Sun Joe 100V chainsaw review (iON100V-18-CS-CT)
- Snapper XD 82V MAX review (SXDCS82)
- DeWalt 60V FlexVolt Review (DCCS670X1)
- Makita 36V Review (XCU04Z/XCU03PT1)
- Greenworks Pro 80V Review (PS80L210)
Alongside the Sun Joe and DeWalt chainsaws, we’ll be reviewing the Snapper XD 82V MAX (SXDCS82), Makita XCU04Z 36V, and the Greenworks Pro80V (PS80L210) cordless chainsaws. Of all the cordless chainsaws we’ll be reviewing, the Sun Joe 100V chainsaw uses the highest voltage battery.
Does the voltage increase the power output? The answer isn’t all that simple. Technically, you can derive any amount power (watts) from any battery, regardless of the voltage. But increasing the voltage does increase the efficiency, making it more practical to use a high-watt motor. Because this is a fairly complex issue, I’ll discuss battery power in detail of reviewing the cordless chainsaws. I’ll be focusing on the questions that people have been asking with regards to voltage vs power.
With many manufacturers now claiming that their cordless chainsaws can compare to gas-powered chainsaws up to 50cc, I’m going to see how true this is. How do you compare a gas chainsaw to a battery-powered model? I’ll be explaining this too. If you want to know all there is about cordless chainsaws (and power equipment in general), keep reading after the review. Since cordless tools seem to be taking over the market, knowing more about this technology is becoming increasingly relevant.
VIDEO | A Closer Look at the Sun Joe 100V Chainsaw
How these Chainsaw Brands Compare
While this is mostly a review of the Sun Joe 100V chainsaw, I’ll be comparing it to a few alternatives from other brands. To help you view these machines in context, I’d like to offer my views as to how these chainsaw brands compare.
I should start by saying none of these cordless chainsaws can be seen as heavy-duty professional machines. By this, I mean lumberjacks would probably scoff at the idea of using any of the chainsaws I’ll be reviewing here. Some may be considered as professional grade chainsaws for contractors. Though, for the most part, these are cordless chainsaws to be used for basic garden maintenance and cutting firewood for the home.
The Sun Joe is, in my opinion, a light to medium duty brand, for home use. There focus is mostly on power equipment for gardening. The same can be said for Greenworks. These are domestic tools. Makita and DeWalt take things up a notch. I see these two chainsaws as high-end domestic tools, they also have more heavy-duty aspect to them. This makes the DeWalt and Makita chainsaws, reviewed here, good options for contractors who use a chainsaw daily for construction work. The Snapper chainsaw falls somewhere between the others. Perhaps not quite a fully fledged industrial chainsaw for contractors, but certainly a more accomplished home chainsaw.
When comparing prices, one should keep this in mind. The Sun Joe 100V chainsaw is relatively cheap, as is the Greenworks alternative. The Snapper model is a little more expensive. With DeWalt and Makita chainsaws being the most expensive models in this review. By paying more for the expensive chainsaws, you’ll be buying a machine that should hold up better to hard work on a daily basis.
Sun Joe 100V Chainsaw Review
- 100 Volt / 1500 Watt motor
- 18-inch bar chain cuts tree trunks, limbs and branches up to 17.5-inches wide
- Tool-less tensioner makes it fast and easy to keep chain tight.
- Auto-oiler keeps the bar and chain lubricated for continuous cutting
- Safety features : Non-slip front hand grip for added stability, protective hand brake for kickback control, and a built-in safety switch to prevent accidental starts.
- Advanced proprietary battery system : Sun Joe iON series. High-capacity, rechargeable 100-Volt lithium-ion batteries (sold separately). No-fade power. Environmentally friendly. Includes scabbard to protect you from the bar & chain when not in use.
- Two year warranty.
To my mind, the Sun Joe has a slightly cheap feel about it. While it’s pretty common for cordless chainsaws to made from plastic, this looks like it’s not quite as tough as the DeWalt or Makita chainsaws. That should be expected, given the price difference. Though, as an affordable domestic machine, the Sun Joe 100V chainsaw has some exemplary traits. You may notice that this chainsaw is one of the few in its class to feature steel bucking teeth.
One thing cannot be denied, this is an extremely powerful 18” chainsaw. By my calculations, it can effortlessly match a gas chainsaw (30 – 35cc). The brushless 100V DC electric motor produces an astonishing 1,500 watts of power – previously unheard of for a cordless chainsaw. The power, combined with genuinely usable bucking teeth, make this one of the few cordless chainsaws that easily cut through large diameter trees and logs.
The Sun Joe 100V chainsaw has all the safety features and conveniences one could hope for. This includes onboard chain lubrication and tool-free chain tensioning. The soft-grip front handle is comfortable and allows the user to hold it at the top or the left hand side. The chain guard, which also functions a chain brake, is perfectly positioned for quick emergency stops. The bar is also designed for low kickback. The lightweight design makes this a wonderful machine to use, especially when you consider the 18” bar and chain. Without the battery, the Sun Joe 100V chainsaw weighs only 11.5-pounds. If you’re using the huge 5AH 100V battery, this will add almost 8-pounds, which is still quite reasonable for such a powerful machine.
►Sold Separately : Battery & Rapid Charger (ION100V-SK5A) —Range of 100V Tools
The 100V batteries (sold separately) have two options – 2.5 AH or 5 AH. With the larger battery, you can expect up to 70-minutes working time, according to the manufacturers. Though this seems a little ambitious in its expectations. If you run the Sun Joe 100V chainsaw continuously at full power, using the 5AH battery, you can’t expect much more than 20-mintes working time. To be fair though, for general yard maintenance, you won’t be using all that power. So you may, in many cases get around an hour from the battery.
When you take into account that you have all the power benefits of gas chainsaw, the Sun Joe 100V model is quite extraordinary. You don’t have to contend with the hassles of starting a gas engine on cold mornings, or all the maintenance. You don’t have all that noise or fumes either. You have a really decent amount of working time and it’s wonderfully easy to use. As a chainsaw for home use, the Sun Joe is an excellent option, and one of the most affordable. It may not be the toughest, but quality is of a high standard for this caliber of tool. The 2-year warranty is more than I’d expect at this price.
VIDEO | Learn More about the 100V Battery System
Editor’s Complaint — (Model Name : 100V-18CS-CT) — I wish they put some energy into coming up with a name for this chainsaw. Seems silly that they didn’t. How about the Sun Joe Storm? Or maybe the Sun Joe Tornado. Ok, here we go…the Sun Joe Beaver (chews through wood). Sun Joe Vulture (feeds off of wood as a snack)? Sun Joe Ant Eater (eats wood for breakfast)? You get the idea. Anything is better than the Sun Joe iON100V-18CS-CT. Are you listening — employee’s in corporate at Sun/Snow Joe? Call me. I have ideas.
😫 What’s in a Name? I don’t, how about make it catchy, easy to remember and share with humans.
Snapper SXDCS 82V Review
An excellent (and underrated) Cordless Chainsaw. Comes with a rapid charger.
- 1200-Watt high-efficiency brushless motor
- Briggs & Stratton 82-Volt MAX 2 Ah lithium-ion battery
- 160+ cuts. Remove battery with press of metal battery-release button
- Durable metal handle. Comfortable, ergonomic rubber grip and touch-points
- Base-mounted metal gripping teeth help position the chainsaw while operating
- 18 in. Oregon bar and chain
- Auto-oil system for chain lubrication / blade safety lockout handle
- Onboard tension adjustment tool
The Snapper 82V chainsaw looks the part as a heavy-duty cordless chainsaw. It has a lot more metal components than most. By basic observation, this actually looks like the toughest of all the chainsaws in this review. I just don’t rate the brand as highly as DeWalt or Makita. Perhaps that’s a personal bias.
In terms of power, it doesn’t quite match up to the Sun Joe 100V chainsaw. The 82V Snapper is rated at 1,200W, whereas the Sun Joe produces an impressive 1,500W. It does, however, have the same 18” bar and chain. You can perform pretty much the same job, but the lower power output will leave you lacking if you’re cutting denser material. You’ll notice the power difference when cutting through hardwood trees. The 2AH Briggs & Stratton battery is also no match for the 2.5 or 5AH Sun Joe batteries. A lower voltage and lower ampere hours mean reduced working time from a single battery.
It has a fantastic Oregon bar and chain and an extremely strong metal front handle with a rubber grip. This handle provides gripping positions at the top and left. The chain guard is as good as any I’ve seen, and it has metal bucking teeth. Adjusting the chain, requires a wrench. This is not as convenient as an adjustment knob, but does indicate a more industrial, heavy-duty design. It’s not that difficult to make adjustments, they’ve positioned the bar fastening bolts at the side for easy access.
I really like the tough industrial design of the Snapper SXDCS chainsaw. In this regard, I prefer it to the Sun Joe 100V chainsaw. The Sun Joe is a more powerful machine and the 100V battery with a better AH spec makes it more convenient in terms of longer working time. A clear indication that the Snapper is a high-quality chainsaw comes in the form of a remarkable 5-year warranty for the machine and 2-years for the battery, which is pretty standard.
►Learn more : Read our dedicated review of the Snapper 82V chainsaw.
DeWalt 60V FlexVolt Review (DCCS670X1)
One of the best Cordless Chainsaws you can buy (with 3Ah battery)
Some may think that the Sun Joe 100V chainsaw is more powerful than the 60V derivative from DeWalt. This is a misconception that I’ll explain after the review. In fact, the power output is exactly the same, 1,500W. So the DeWalt DCCS670X1 60V MAX chainsaw is a worthy rival to any 30 – 35cc gas chainsaw. Above all, this is a DeWalt tool. The brand comes with a weighty reputation for design brilliance and rugged build quality. As one would expect, the 60V DeWalt is considerably more expensive than the Sun Joe 100V chainsaw.
The all-plastic housing may appear to be the same most other cordless chainsaws. But I’ve found all DeWalt tools to be amongst the most durable. This chainsaw can take the knocks that come with hard work, like on a jobsite. It has no bucking teeth. The ridges molded into the plastic housing offer some grip, but you won’t easily work your way around large tree trunks. Though the standard 16” Oregon bar and chain allows for a good cutting width. You always have the option to upgrade to an 18” bar and chain. Being a low kickback bar, it’s an easy chainsaw to use safely.
Power to weight ratio is excellent. The machine weighs only 12.2 pounds and the handles are positioned to make this a really nifty chainsaw to use. The front handle wraps around both sides and across the top, offering perfect grip in any situation. The chain guard/brake provides great protection and quick access in an emergency situation.
The 3AH 20V/60V MAX battery, supplied with the chainsaw, allows for a reasonable amount of working time. Though, it can’t compare to the Sun Joe 100V 5AH battery. DeWalt don’t supply a working time spec. Instead, they state up to 70 cuts on 6 X 6 inch pressure treated pine. I reckon around 15-minutes at full power, which could end up being around 45-minutes under light working conditions. Upgrading to the 12AH FlexVolt battery, supplies 4AH at 60V, providing 10% more working time. FlexVolt AH specs can be a little confusing, because of the Dual voltage. The spec shown on the battery is rated for the 20V configuration. When the battery is switched to 60V, the AH becomes 3 times less as the voltage is three times more. If this still isn’t clear, keep reading after the chainsaw review for a full explanation on calculating battery power.
The DeWalt 60V MAX chainsaw has all the mod-cons designed for ease of use. This means quick and easy, tool-free chain tensioning and automatic chain lubrication. Topping up the oil is also quick and simple, thanks to a quarter turn filler cap.
VIDEO | A Closer Look at the 60V FlexVolt Chainsaw
The DeWalt DCCS670X1 60V chainsaw is certainly a cut above the most cordless equivalents. Like any DeWalt power tool, it’s built tough. It can work hard and remain in top shape for many years. That’s what you’re paying extra for. This also means excellent dealership service and a great 3-year warranty, with a 90-day money back guarantee, and 1-year free service plan.
►Learn more : Read our dedicated review of the Dewalt 60V FlexVolt chainsaw.
Makita 36V Review (XCU04Z/XCU03PT1)
- Makita-built Outer Rotor BL Brushless Motor direct-drive system provides high power efficiency equivalent to a 32cc gas chain saw
- “Tool-less” chain adjustment for convenient operation and maintenance
- Variable speed trigger and high chain speed (0-3,940 FPM) for improved cutting performance
- Two 18V LXT Lithium-Ion batteries deliver power and performance without leaving the 18V LXT platform
- Built-in L.E.D. on/off switch with auto power-off function; automatically shuts the saw off when operation is delayed for extended battery life
- Low noise level and zero emissions for operator comfort
- Weighs only 11.5 lbs. with batteries for reduced operator fatigue
- Adjustable automatic chain lubrication with large oil reservoir
- Large oil filling port with view window allows operator to easily add and check bar oil level
- Rubberized soft grip top handle is engineered for the user to more easily apply even cutting pressure
- Features Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) which is engineered to provide increased dust and water resistance in harsh job site conditions
- Equipped with Star Protection Computer Controls™ to protect against overloading, over-discharging and over-heating
- 3-year limited warranty on tool, battery and charger
Using 2 X 18V LXT batteries to provide 36V, the Makita XCU04Z has the lowest voltage of all the models being reviewed. Certainly a far cry form the 100V Sun Joe chainsaw. However, power output can match any of the best cordless chainsaws. Makita don’t specify a wattage, which irks me somewhat. This is the best way to determine the actual power of an electric power tool. They say it has the power equivalent to a 32cc gas chainsaw. This implied power spec, puts the Makita at roughly the same level as the 1,500W chainsaws.
I rate Makita quality every bit as highly as I do DeWalt. Quality materials and durable, impact resistant plastics, make this a tough machine. Ironically, it’s also one of the lightest. At 11.7 pounds (including batteries), it’s quite a feat. Usually the more durable chainsaws tend to be heavier. Big thumbs up to the Makita engineers in this regard. Low maintenance and general durability is aided by Makita Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) which prevents dust and moisture from damaging the internal working machinery.
The general design is great. Comfortable soft-grip handles, with a wrap-around front handle, gives you perfect control. The chain guard/brake is perfectly positioned for great safety and line of sight. It has automatic chain lubrication and a large oil filler port, with view window, for ultimate convenience. You also have the advantage of an easy to use tool-free chain tensioning knob. Like the DeWalt, this chainsaw has no bucking teeth, just the same ridges that offer some grip.
The Makita XCU04 is very much in the same league as the 60V DeWalt chainsaw. These are both machines that can hold their own on a construction site. Whereas the Sun Joe 100V chainsaw is a more domestic quality machines. To this end, the Makita has a 3-year warranty.
Greenworks PRO 80V (GCS80420)
- Up to 150 cuts with fully charged 2Ah battery.
- Equivalent to 45cc gas engine.
- Digital controlled brushless motor.
- Steel bucking spikes. Metal wrap around handle.
- Electronic chain brake.
- Automatic oiler. Translucent oil tank for clear view of oil level.
- Chain tensioner tool.
The Greenworks PRO 80V and Sun Joe 100V chainsaws make for an easy comparison. The brands have similar ethos. They are also fairly close in the battery voltage and power they produce. The Greenworks chainsaw looks to be the tougher beast. Then again, it’s quite a bit more expensive than the Sun Joe. The Greenworks 80V cordless tool range is very popular with homeowners and there’s a good selection of outdoor power equipment that use this battery setup.
The design is more rugged than most domestic cordless chainsaws. The rubber clad front handle is made from metal and it has steel bucking teeth. All-around gripping positions on the front handle is good. At a weight of only 10.8-pounds, this is an easy chainsaw to manage. I think this weight is without the battery.
I take some exception to the hefty claims made Greenworks in terms of power and battery time. They claim that the Greenworks 80V chainsaw is equivalent to a 45cc gas engine. Without an official kilowatt specification I can’t confirm whether this is true. But I doubt it, no other cordless chainsaw can boast this kind of power. They also claim up to 150 cuts, using a 2AH 80V battery. Yeah right, maybe if you’re cutting twigs. I think this battery would provide a working time fairly similar to the DeWalt 60V chainsaw. Around 15 – 45 minutes or ± 70 -100 cuts, depending on the material. Of course, you can upgrade to the 4AH battery, which will double the amount time / cuts.
For the rest, the Greenworks chainsaw matches up to the others in this review. It has an 18” bar and chain with automatic chain tensioning. Though the automatic chain tensioner can be a little temperamental. It also has automatic chain lubrication, with a translucent reservoir, making it easy to keep an eye on the oil level.
When all is said and done, the Greenworks 80V chainsaw is a very competent machine. It has received mostly rave reviews from customers and comes with a very respectable 4-year warranty.
How Important is Battery Voltage?
When choosing the best chainsaw, gas or electric, it all comes down to power. This means the torque provided at the chain. In other words the pound-feet spec (LBS. Ft), or Newtons (NM), if we’re talking metric. This is what determines our cutting capabilities. Torque can be increased by using a lower gear ratio, but this slows the chain speed. So engineers find that sweet spot, a balance between engine or motor power, speed, and torque. In the end, if you want the best power from your chainsaw, you need the most powerful engine or electric motor to achieve this.
We’ve seen cordless tool manufacturers increase the battery voltage over the years, and this comes with an increase in power. However, if we compare the Sun Joe 100V chainsaw to the 60V equivalent from DeWalt, we see exactly the same power output of 1,500W. Yet the there’s a massive difference in the battery voltage. This begs the question: how important is voltage in cordless power tool?
While you can derive the same power from any voltage, there are distinct advantages to using a higher voltage. This has everything to do with amperage. To explain this, I’ll need to take you back to school science class. Remember the formula P = VA? Probably not. So let me give a quick refresher course.
The power you get from an electric motor (P) is equal to voltage (V) multiplied by amperage (A). I’m going to demonstrate this using the above-mentioned example of the 100V Sun Joe and 60V DeWalt chainsaws. Both have the same output 1,500W:
- Sun Joe: 1,500W = 100V X 15A
- DeWalt: 1,500W = 60V X 25A.
The only difference between the two chainsaws is the amperage. This may not seem like a big deal, but amperage affects efficiency and, to some degree, the weight of the tool. Most importantly, current (amps) generates heat. The more amps you draw, the more heat is generated within the conductor. High temperature has a negative effect on battery working time and the efficiency of an electric motor.
By using a heavier conductor, we can reduce the heat produced. But a low amperage will always be preferable, generating less heat. By increasing the weight of the conductor (using thicker copper) you end up with a heavier tool. Increasing the voltage, thereby reducing the amperage, doesn’t have a significant effect, but it does make it more practical when increasing power output and you do gain on battery performance.
The amount of working time you get from a battery is determined by Ampere Hours (AH). This indicates how many amps a battery will provide per hour. Once again, comparing the 60V DeWalt battery to the 100V Sun Joe battery, we can see how amps will affect the battery time.
If we’re using a 2.5AH battery to supply 1,500W at 100V, the chainsaw is drawing 15A per hour. This means we will get 0.16 hour working time at full power. Using the same calculation for a 60V battery (25A), we end up with 0.1 hour at full power. Hence, using a higher voltage will provide longer working time per AH supplied by the battery.
In the Sun Joe 100V chainsaw review, I equated it to a 30 – 35cc gas-powered chainsaw. You may be wondering how I came to this conclusion. We measure the power of gas engine using Horsepower HP. Most electric motors are rated in Watts (W). Converting this is quite simple: 1HP = 746W. So a 1.5 KW (1,500 W) is roughly equivalent to 2HP.
Calculating how much HP you’ll get from a gas engine isn’t entirely about engine size (cc). There are many factors. But a larger engine will provide more power. As a general rule of thumb, we can say that an engine produces 1HP for every 15cc. Depending on the engine design, this can be as low as 14cc, or as high as 17cc, sometimes more. So, we should expect a 30cc engine to produce around 2HP or 1,500W.