The Black and Decker CS1518 15 Amp Corded Chainsaw is the largest product in the company’s corded range. Whilst it won’t win any awards in the ‘best of’ category, it’s reliable, easy to use and does everything it promises.
Designed for occasional use, light and medium cutting duties, the CS1518 packs a real punch which won’t leave you short on power. You won’t go far wrong if you choose any power tool produced by this well respected manufacturer and at under $100 the CS1518 is no different.
Carry on reading this review to learn more.
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Performance and Handling
One thing you can be sure of when you buy an electric saw is that it will always start when you want it to and the CS1518 is no different. Just press the lock off button and squeeze the trigger and you will be up and running immediately. That means less time spent mixing gas and oil or wrestling with temperamental pull cords and more time spent cutting. Releasing the trigger will stop the saw. As it is clutch driven you will hear the motor spinning down when you release the trigger, although the chain will stop right away. This makes it a safe saw to operate and suitable for those people who don’t have a great deal of chainsaw experience.
One important aspect of using any power tool is the vibration level, as this impacts on how long you can safely use the device. This is a powerful electric saw and produces vibration in the region of 5.5 m/s². At these levels you can safely use the machine for around about one and a half hours in an eight hour period.
As it is the largest Black and Decker corded saw it isn’t quite as maneuverable as some of their smaller models. It is similar in weight to many small gas powered products, so if you are used to handling one of these or other larger electric chainsaws the CS1518 should be well within your capabilities. Obviously, as this is a corded product, extra care is needed when cutting to avoid tripping on or splicing through the power cord.
According to the manufacturer, this is a medium duty saw suitable for cutting large branches, pruning branches or limbs, cutting firewood and storm damage clean up. It is capable of cutting a 16 inch diameter log in a single pass. User feedback suggests that it has excellent cutting power and is able to deal comfortably with 12 inch diameter wood. Tackling more demanding jobs, such as 14-16” hardwoods is also possible but will take a little more work.
In terms of noise, this machine is much quieter than gas equivalents, making it useful in noise sensitive environments. It has a noise pressure level of about 86 dB(A).
To summarize, although you wouldn’t use this saw on a regular basis, it is ideal for the homeowner who needs an occasional use machine to carry out light and medium cutting around their property.
The CS1518 is equipped with an 18 inch Oregon low kickback bar and chain.
The bar is designed with a small radius tip which reduces the size of the kickback zone and therefore makes it safer to use. It is maneuverable and also reversible for longer life. As well as this, the bar has a nose sprocket designed to reduce friction and therefore improve cutting performance. With this type of bar it's important that the tip is regularly greased to prevent the sprocket from seizing. To do this you simply need to inject grease into the nose tip hole which can be done with a $10 grease syringe.
The low kickback chain has a 3/8” pitch. 0.05” gauge and 62 drive links. This is a popular specification chain as it is reasonably durable and provides good performance. Chain speed is around 12.5 m/sec which is slower than similar gas saws but standard for an electric saw of this size.
The chain should be checked on a regular basis so that it is kept properly tensioned. As new chains have a tendency to stretch, these checks should be carried out more regularly in the early days. The CS1518 employs a tool-less chain tensioning system. This means that you can tension the chain quickly and easily with just a few turns of the locking knob and tensioning lever. You will need to unplug your device to do this and whilst it is a little inconvenient at first, it is preferable to the damage which can be caused by a chain which isn’t correctly taut.
To ensure optimum cutting performance, you will need to ensure that the chain is kept sharp at all times. Some people are happy to do this themselves and for this you will need a 5/32” round file and holder. If you aren’t happy doing this yourself you can pay for it to be done or alternatively invest in a new chain.
Design and Construction
The CS1518 has a similar design to the other corded chainsaws in the Black and Decker range, as shown in the pictures below.
The CS1518 is constructed from hard plastic which helps to keep the weight down but means that it isn’t as robust as more expensive saws. The rear handle has a rubber grip and houses the trigger switch and lock off button, used to start the saw. There is also an extension cord retainer, designed to prevent the power cord and extension cord coming apart during use. A number of users mentioned that the cord holder isn’t particularly sturdy so you may need to tie the cords off when in use.
On the left side of the saw you will find the oil reservoir cap. This is positioned at a slight angle so you will need to tilt the saw slightly to fill up with oil. Just below the oil cap is a translucent oil tank window.
The bar adjust locking knob, used when fitting or keeping the chain tensioned is large and easy to use.
The front handle is a classic half wrap type now found on most models. Just in front of this handle is the front hand guard, which also acts as the chain brake. You will note that the motor on the CS1518 does protrude quite away on the right side of the saw which means it may not be quite as balanced as some other saws.
The saw does not come fully assembled so you will need to fit the bar and chain before use. Even though full instructions are provided, a few users mentioned that they struggled with this and had to spend a fair amount of time carefully reading the instructions. If you are not good at this sort of thing it may be worth enlisting the help of another family member or friend.
Powerful 15 Amp Motor
The CS1518 is driven by a powerful 15 amp motor which delivers consistent power for demanding cuts. In terms of home owner electric corded chainsaws this is about as powerful a motor as you can buy.
The motor will produce power of 1,800 watts which in theory converts to around 2.4HP. As electric motors are not 100% efficient, the maximum horsepower will be slightly less than this but nevertheless this is still good for an electric saw.
You will need to operate this machine with a suitable outdoor power cord, with the correct gauge. For example, if you are using a 50 foot cord, you will need at least a 12 gauge (12/3) rated extension. A higher gauge (such as a 10/3) would be even better, (Read out article on extension cords for more information).
The downside of corded saws is the required proximity to a power outlet. However, users have used the saw with generators and if you plan on doing this you should ensure that it has a sufficient rated power.
As mentioned earlier, at 86 dB(A) the motor is pretty quiet making it a good option for home use if you are surrounded by neighbors. Unlike a gas saw, you won’t have to contend with gas fumes or making carburetor adjustments when working in different conditions (for example if you live at altitude).
Automatic Chain Oil System
Oiling the chain is taken care of by an automatic, fixed flow system. Unlike manual systems, where some guesswork is involved deciding how much oil to release, the automatic system will ensure that the chain is oiled as soon as the saw is in operation. The only negative to this is that there is no way you can regulate the oil flow, which you can do with both manual and automatic adjustable flow systems. This shouldn’t be an issue but there may be occasions if working in extreme temperatures where you may wish to change the rate of flow.
Oil is added to the reservoir through a screw off cap (as indicated in the diagram above). As mentioned, this is positioned at a slight angle so you will need to tilt the saw slightly to fill up with oil. In terms of the type of oil, you should use any generic bar and chain oil such as Husqvarna 610000023.
The reservoir itself has a capacity of around 5 fl. oz. and you will need to make sure that this is kept fully topped up. You will easily be able to see when you are running low, thanks to the oil tank window on the side of the saw.
Unfortunately, no oil is supplied with this purchase so you will need to ensure you get in a supply.
Amongst the safety features on the CS1518, there includes:
- Lock off button to prevent the accidental activation of the saw.
- Chain brake. In the event of serious kickback, the operator’s left hand will be forced forward to activate the chain brake and stop the chain immediately.
- Reduced kickback bar and low kickback chain which meets the appropriate ANSI B.175.1 standard. Although not eliminating the danger completely, they will certainly reduce the likelihood and impact of any kickback.
- Front and rear guards to protect the hands from flying debris as well as coming into contact with the chain.
As always, the best way to protect yourself is by learning the correct way to use a saw for all types of cutting. The wearing of safety equipment (detailed here) is also recommended.
The CS1518 weighs 12lbs. This is about standard for a corded saw with similar features. You will find it lighter than most small gas powered and battery operated saws. If you are used to operating power tools, this saw shouldn’t present any handling difficulties.
In addition to the user manual, this saw comes with a scabbard to protect the bar and chain.
- Powerful 15 amp motor provides smooth, fast cutting
- Tool-less chain tensioning
- Quiet and easy to operate.
- Automatic chain oil system
- Low price
- Construction quality
There are just under 200 reviews on-line for the product, with 80% of buyers rating it as either good or excellent.
Consumers are happy with the CS1518’s power and cutting performance, as well as other features such as the automatic chain lubrication and tool-less tensioning system.
In terms of negatives, some buyers found the saw difficult to set up. Other than that, there aren’t really any negative themes. A few users mentioned that they felt the chain was difficult to keep tight and some others mentioned that the saw stopped working but there weren’t enough of these reviews to suggest that they are serious problems.
You should buy this saw if:
- You need a saw for light/medium cutting tasks.
- You want a saw which starts immediately and is easy to operate.
- You want a low cost product.
You should not buy this saw:
- If you are of slight build and/or struggle with modest weights.
- You do not have access to a power supply.
- You need a regular use tool for heavy duty cutting.
Black and Decker CS1518 Price
At under $100, this represents very good value and we think the price is fair.