Black+Decker CS1216If a high-quality brand, excellent consumer satisfaction and low price are all at the top of your wish-list, then the Black and Decker CS1216 12 Amp Corded Chainsaw could just be the product you have been looking for.

It’s hard to find too many flaws with this product and in this review I’ll tell you exactly what makes this such a great homeowner saw. Combining ease of use with some nifty features, and all at a price which won’t empty your wallet, it’s well worth taking a look at the CS1216.

Read on to discover more.

Performance and Handling

This saw has been designed for light and medium work, such as tree pruning, cutting firewood, clearing up minor storm damage and cutting large tree limbs. It may not be able to take down a 30 inch oak but it is certainly capable of felling trees with 14-16” diameter trunks. With its 16 inch blade you can buck logs with a diameter of 14” in a single pass.

As with all electric saws, turning the CS1216 on is just a case of pressing a few buttons. Activate the lock off button, pull the trigger and you are up and running. No need to mix gas, no need to go through that tortuous cord pulling routine and no doubts that it will start when you want it to. This gives it a major advantage over gas chainsaws when it comes to jobs which require you to stop and start your saw on a regular bases. For example, if you are cutting a large bush and need to remove branches frequently from the cutting area, having a saw that you know will start when you want it to is a great advantage.

black and decker cs1216 12 amp corded chainsaw review

Users have indicated that this is an easy saw to handle. Compared to your average gas chainsaw it is relatively light, which gives the user an advantage when carrying out lengthy projects where fatigue might become an issue. The CS1216 is popular with people who find gas saws a little too heavy to operate. Some gas chainsaw users also own one as part of their collection and use it for smaller jobs close to their properties where getting out the gas saw is just a little too much hassle.

One issue you should be aware of is that there is no chain brake on this saw. The chain will stop when you release the throttle trigger, however, a few users have reported that the chain takes around five or six seconds to come to a complete stop. If you are used to saws where the chain stops instantaneously, this might get a little getting used to and obviously some care is recommended.

Apart from this, overall the performance and handling of this saw is first class. To summarize, whilst this model isn’t designed for dealing with large trees, it is excellent for light and medium cutting work around your property. Gone are the days when you need to toil for hours doing those jobs manually or paying out for a gardener to come in and do it for you!

Cutting Equipment

The CS1216 is equipped with a 16 inch guide bar and chain. The bar has a small radius tip which provides it with reduced kickback qualities for safer use. In addition, the chain is designated as a low-kickback, meaning that it meets the performance requirements of ANSI B175.1.

The chain has a pitch of 3/8” and a gauge of 0.05”. The pitch is the size of the chain calculated by taking the distance between three rivets and dividing by two. The gauge is simply the thickness of the drive links. This particular chain has 56 links. The important thing here is that this is a popular size chain and replacements are easy to come by. In fact, the Oregon S57 low-profile chain will fit this saw.

Some consumers have mentioned that they have had difficulty finding a replacement bar for this saw. Suitable replacements can, however, be purchased directly from Black and Decker for around $15 and the part number is 5140162-92.

One excellent feature of this model is its tool-less chain tensioning system. Chain tension is one of those things that you need to keep a close eye on, especially when the chain is new. All chains tend to stretch when they’re first used so anything that makes the job of keeping the chain tension correct easier is most definitely welcome. With this machine you simply need to loosen the large bar locking knob, turn the chain tension adjusting wheel then re-tighten locking knob. It’s so easy you don’t need to remove your gloves to do it. (See diagram below)

Unlike some of the more expensive saws, the CS1216 doesn’t have any mechanism near the sprocket to keep the chain on the bar so if you allow the chain to get too loose it may jump off. This can be avoided by checking the tension regularly, however should the chain slip off it can easily be re-attached without the use of tools.

As with all saws, you should ensure that the chain is kept in good condition and properly maintained. This means that it should be regularly sharpened. With this particular chain you will require 5/32” round head file and file holder.

Design and Construction

In line with many modern electric chainsaws, the Black and Decker CS1216 has a plastic construction. Although obviously not as sturdy some of the bigger gas saws, the plastic ensures a lightweight design and the saw is more than capable of standing up to the rigors of use around the home.
CS1216 Design

It comes with the usual design features including rear handle with throttle trigger and lock-off switch and a hand guard. The handle doesn’t have a rubber grip so it may be sensible to wear gloves for both a better grip and also to help reduce the effects of vibration. As you can see from the diagram, there is also an extension cord retainer. The extension cord is wrapped around this to prevent it from becoming unplugged when in use.

On the right hand side of the saw you will find the bar chain tensioning wheel, together with the bar adjust locking knob. When you receive your saw you will need to fit the bar and chain. Full instructions are provided in the operator’s manual but this is a simple process and you will use these two buttons to remove the cover and properly tension the chain.

On the left side of the saw, you will find the front handle and hand guard. As you can see the front handle is not a wraparound but this will only be a problem if you prefer holding the saw with your left hand at the top of a handle.

Lastly, the cap to the oil reservoir is positioned at a slight angle on the right side of the saw. You may need to tilt the saw to add oil so using a funnel could make things a little easier. You can also see that just below the cap is the oil reservoir’s semi-transparent window, which makes it easy to check the oil level.


The saw is powered by a 12 Amp motor capable of generating 1,440 watts and delivering around 1.9 bhp. This is a decent size motor and is capable of handling light/medium cutting jobs. Whilst users advise that it has sufficient power for homeowner use, it falls short when compared to some similar products, such as the Worx WG303.1, which has a 14.5 amp motor.

Being a corded saw, you need access to a power source. An extension cord will be required and you should ensure that this is an outdoor cord with the correct gauge to ensure safe use and no loss of cutting power. If you have a 100 foot cord, a 12 gauge or higher (e.g. 10 gauge) should be used with this product. The higher the gauge the better so 10/3 would provide better performance than a 12/3. For different cord lengths, check out our article.

You could, of course, consider using a generator if you need to carry out some work well away from a power socket. You will need a generator capable of delivering consistent power of 1,440 watts (preferably higher). You should also note that start up power required is usually between 1.5 and 2 times the consistent wattage, meaning a generator of around 2,800 watts would be needed.

Chain Oil System

Ensuring that the proper amount of oil gets released to the bar and chain during the cutting process is critical. Thanks to the CS1216’s automatic oiling system you don’t need to worry. Unlike manual systems you don’t have to remember to press a button to release the oil.

All you need to do is fill the reservoir on a regular basis and check the oil level. This is simple thanks to the semi-transparent window. The manufacturer recommends that a good quality bar and chain oil should be used and if pruning, this should be vegetable based.

The capacity of the oil reservoir is not published. Having been in contact with the manufacturer, they have advised that it is 2oz, which is 60ml. This isn’t particularly large so you need to ensure you keep your oil bottle with you for regular filling.

Note, oil is not included in the purchase price so you will need to ensure you have a supply available.

Safety Features

The saw has a variety of safety features.

• Low kickback chain and reduced kickback guide bar, as mentioned earlier in the review. These help to reduce the likelihood and severity of the saw blade being thrown back towards the operator when incorrect contact with the wood is made. Note, these mechanisms don’t rule out the chance of kickback entirely.

• Front and rear hand guards to protect the hands from flying debris, getting entangled with twigs and branches as well as chain failure.

• Lock off switch which must be pressed before the trigger will operate. This prevents accidental start-up of the saw.

If you have read any of my other reviews you will note a couple of safety features which this saw doesn’t have. Firstly there is no chain brake. This isn’t usually an issue with electric saws as they tend to stop the moment your finger is released from the throttle trigger. However, as noted earlier, the chain on this saw takes a few seconds to come to a stop so you should take extra care when using.

Secondly, there are no bumper spikes. These are spikes which are attached to the front of the powerhead and can be rested on wood to provide stability during cutting. These aren’t essential but are quite nice to have.

Despite the above, this is a safe saw to use if operated in the correct manner.

Black and Decker CS1216 Dimensions

The saw has an operating weight of 10lbs, which compares favorably with other products in its class.


Included in the purchase are an operator’s manual, as well as a scabbard to protect the bar.


• Simple to start and operate.
• Lightweight and easy to handle
• Reliable cutting performance
• Tool free chain tensioning
• Automatic oiler


• No chain brake
• Requires access to a power point

Consumer Ratings

When over 90% of buyer think a product is good or excellent you know that buyers are happy with their purchase. There aren’t as many reviews on-line as some of the other popular saws, however there are enough to draw some accurate conclusions.

Customers are happy with cutting performance, ease of use and price. The auto-chain tensioning and automatic oiling features also prove popular.

There were only a handful of negative reviews and these all mention the chain coming loose. As mentioned earlier in this review, you need to keep a close eye on the tension, especially in the early days. Keeping it tight with the tool free system couldn’t be simpler.

You should buy this saw if:

• You are looking for a saw to carry out light/medium cutting tasks around your home.
• You want a saw which is simple to operate.
• You have access to a power source.
• You want a saw under $100

You should not buy this saw if:

• You need a saw for serious, regular cutting.
• You have a large budget and are looking for a high spec chainsaw.

Price of Black and Decker CS1216 Chainsaw

For such a reliable product, made by a well-known brand, coming in well under $100, this saw is competitively priced and represents great value for the money.

black and decker cs1216 12 amp corded chainsaw

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