Milwaukee M18 Cordless Chainsaw Review

Milwaukee has blown the OPE market out of the water with their cordless chainsaw. Read our review to find out why.

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With springtime right around the corner, it is time to start thinking about all the yard work you plan on doing this summer.  Between picking up leaves and debris that fell through the winter or planting a new garden, there is plenty of yard work that needs to be done.  

Amongst the many things that you will need to do to have the best-looking yard this year is trimming and pruning your trees.  

Now you could hire this done, but come on, you’re looking up a chainsaw review, you’re planning on doing this yourself.  This is why you’re looking to buy a cordless chainsaw.  And let me tell you, you are researching one of the best on the market. 

Let me introduce you to the Milwaukee M18 16” Cordless Chainsaw(affiliate link)

As battery technology has improved, so has the cordless tool industry.  And the evolution of typically gas-powered tools to cordless is no exception.  

In an attempt to compete with the ever-growing popularity of battery-powered OPE ( outdoor power equipment ) tools Milwaukee introduced their M18 chainsaw in 2018. 

In a hurry? Check out the Milwaukee M18 Chainsaw Here! (Affiliate Link)

Key Features

With Milwaukee’s trademarked Powerstate name, the Milwaukee cordless chainsaw is equipped with a game changing brushless motor that competes with gas powered saws up to 40cc.  Paired with their 12 amp hour battery, You can get upwards of 150 cuts before having to change batteries.  

The saw optimally works best with the 12 amp hour battery. However, the nice thing about the Milwaukee setup is that it will run on all of the M18 batteries. 

Typical with all electric motors, the Milwaukee chainsaw is quick for its size.  Spinning at 6600 RPMs at the motor, this saw can hang with gas powered saws in the same size class.  And with a 16” bar you will be able to cut bigger logs compared to other cordless saws.  

Other key features that are worth mentioning include:

  • Metal bucking spikes.  Most cordless saws are equipped with plastic ones.  Not only do these break easily but plastic spikes won’t grip the wood like metal spikes will. 
  • Automatic chain oiler for optimal lubrication and increased productivity.  
  • Variable speed trigger.  This allows for the user to have total control of the saw.

My Experience with the Milwaukee Cordless Chainsaw

I purchased this chainsaw so that I could assist my husband with our tree clean-up every spring.  I wanted to be able to help more than just picking up the branches after he cut them off.  He uses a Stihl MS391chainsaw. It is a great saw for doing large jobs. He tried to teach me how to operate it. However, it ultimately was just too big and heavy of a saw for me to use safely.  

The Milwaukee M18 chainsaw weighs just under 14 pounds, so it is light enough for me to handle.  With the trademarked Powerstate Brushless motor paired with a high output 12 amp-hour battery, this saw really is impressive.  I was able to limb the trees we had cut down quick enough for him to be able to follow with his Stihl and cut the rest up into manageable logs.  

But would it do more?

For curiosity’s sake, I used the Milwaukee to cut up a tree that was about 14 inches in diameter.  I didn’t think it would do much, especially after having already limbed three trees.  To my surprise, I was able to cut up about half of this 20 ft tree before the battery completely died.  And the nice thing about Milwaukee, I was able to go grab our 9 amp battery and finish cutting up the tree while the 12 amp charged up.  

The portability of the Milwaukee chainsaw is also something that helped my decision of buying this saw.  Sure, all cordless chainsaws are going to have the same portability.  However, with the Milwaukee battery system being universally compatible with all their products, it made the decision even easier.  We already had spare batteries from the rest of our tools.  

We also do a lot of off-roading with Utvs and Atvs. Having a chainsaw to cut up a fallen tree on a trail has come in handy more than a few times.  With the Milwaukee chainsaw, we didn’t need to have to worry about bringing mixed gas with us and spilling that when riding.  

Who would this chainsaw benefit the most?

The Milwaukee M18 chainsaw is an extremely useful addition to any tool collection. Given that it is used in the proper application.  But when is that?  Well after having used this saw myself, and reading several product and customer reviews these are a few areas that I find this tool useful. 

Homeowner cleanup / storm damage

If you are like me and every spring clean up your trees by trimming and pruning dead or damaged limbs, this saw is for you. 

Let’s say you have a gas saw, did you use it at all this last winter?  Chances are you didn’t.  So stop fighting bad gas and struggling to get that gas saw powered up. Just grab a battery off the charger and slap it into that Milwaukee chainsaw.  

The same holds true for storm damage.  Unless you have a massive tree that needs felling, there really isn’t a time the Milwaukee chainsaw will let you down.  

Lineman/Utility workers

While this line of work might not seem like a large market for chainsaws, the need for a light, but powerful chainsaw is a necessary tool that should be on any truck. 

Apart from keeping trees trimmed from power lines and cleaning up fallen trees from storm damage, there are other times a battery-powered chainsaw would come in handy. 

For instance, when replacing power poles, the cross members and tops of the poles will often be cut and lowered to the ground.  Not having to pull start a gas saw would sure be nice 30+ feet in the air.  

Tree Trimming services 

My reasoning here is very similar to the lineman/utility workers.  Climbing a tree and trimming the tops off because you can’t get a bucket truck in the backyard yard of a house doesn’t seem like much fun with a gas chainsaw.  Instead grab the Milwaukee M18 and be on your way to the next job.  

Another point to make with tree trimming services is how quiet the Milwaukee M18 chainsaw is.  When doing a job in an urban setting the neighbors will really appreciate the lack of noise an electric chainsaw makes.  

What do the consumers think?

I can honestly say I would 100% recommend this chainsaw to anyone looking to buy a battery saw.  The size and weight of this saw allow the user to cut much larger logs and limbs than most of the competitors.  

The battery life of the M18 batteries is far superior to most. You will be surprised how many cuts you can make.  

The half-wrapped back handle and extended rear handle make handling this saw a breeze.  Even with oversized gloves on you can operate this saw.  

The only complaint I have of this chainsaw is Milwaukee’s REDLINK PLUS™ Intelligence.  

This is meant to protect the tool from being overloaded and prevent unwanted damage from happening.  And it is actually a good thing to have.  However, if you are used to running a gas-powered chainsaw you are probably used to using leverage to power through a tough cut. You will find the Milwaukee will cut out to protect itself and it will take you a lot longer to make the same cut.  The best thing you can do is keep slight pressure on the bar and just let the chain eat away.  

Other users’ opinions

There are plenty of positives to brag about on the Milwaukee chainsaw. However, it is worth noting what complaints people have.  

One user made a comment about the low profile, narrow kerf chain.  Because of the electric motor, this style of the chain has to be run, or there wouldn’t be enough power to make a cut.  Because of this, there is a bigger chance of ending up in a pinch situation.  So you really have to be aware of how the limb is going to fall to avoid this.

Another user said he was really happy with the chainsaw overall.  He did mention that his automatic chain oiler failed and it caused the chain to dull prematurely.  But with Milwaukee’s awesome 3-year warranty program, he got it fixed and was back to cut trees up in no time. 

Final Thoughts

Despite the few flaws that the Milwaukee M18 chainsaw has, overall this saw is an excellent addition to any tool collection.  Gas-powered chainsaws will always dominate the logging market.  But as I mentioned before, in the proper application a cordless chainsaw will make quick and easy work of your cutting needs. 

Between the awesome features that make this saw stand out from the competition and Milwaukee’s outstanding warranty program, you can be sure you will not be disappointed in buying this cordless chainsaw. 

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