If you were under the impression that powerful chainsaws had to be gas driven, then think again. The Craftsman 4.0HP 18-inch electric chainsaw offers the same performance as many small gas powered saws.
In this review we’ll tell you why this quality brand chainsaw could be an ideal addition to your power tool collection, great for keeping your yard neat and well maintained.
Performance and Handling
When it comes to performance, you won’t find many more powerful electric saws than the Craftsman 4.0HP. It is designed for occasional use, light and medium cutting duties around the home and farm. This makes it ideal for pruning bushes, sawing larger branches as well as felling small and medium sized trees.
Like all electric saws it is easy and safe to start. Press the lock-off button and this allows you to press the ON/Off switch. The saw will start straight away and the lock-off button can then be released. Switching the saw off is simply a case of releasing the ON/OFF trigger.
When it comes to handling the Craftsman, people accustomed to handling power tools shouldn’t have any problems whatsoever. It weighs just under 11lbs, which is comparable to other 18 inch electric saws (such as the Worx WG304.1). There is a soft grip rear handle and ergonomically designed full wrap front handle. This provides a secure hold, as well as allowing the user to cut at different angles. You should of course remember that being an electric saw, an extension cord is needed and this can sometimes make cutting in tight situations a little tricky.
In terms of cutting performance, the Craftsman is capable of cutting through a 16 inch log in a single pass. Users have reported that the saw has excellent cutting ability, being capable of comfortably handling both hard and soft woods. Some users mentioned that they have used it to cut some pretty large trees (for example 20 foot pines and 25 inch rounds on walnut), however if you have regular cutting tasks of this size a small gas saw might be more suitable. Nevertheless, the Craftsman is more than capable of cutting modest amounts of firewood and clearing light storm damage.
The Craftsman is equipped with an 18 inch bar and chain.
The bar is an Oregon 18 inch reduced kickback type (Reference 180SDEA041). This is a popular consumer bar with a sprocket tip, well suited to medium use applications. You will need to remember to grease the sprocket hole regularly to prevent the tip from seizing. This can be done easily with an $8 grease gun.
The chain is also Oregon made. It is a low kickback chain which meets the ANSI B.175.1 standards relating to low kickback products. It has a 3/8” pitch, 0.05” gauge and 63 drive links. There is an added bonus in that this saw comes with a spare chain. Some consumers complained that they found replacement chains almost impossible to find. This isn’t the case and they can be bought on Amazon for around $14.
Experienced users will know that it is important that the chain is kept properly tensioned at all times, both from a safety and performance perspective. Chains stretch during use, more so in the early days when they are new. With this saw, keeping the correct tension is simple thanks to the auto-chain tensioning system. This makes the job quick and efficient and means that you don’t need to carry a toolkit around with you. You simply have to turn the large locking/chain tensioning knob on the side of the saw to get the correct tension. This will help to maintain the correct pressure and avoid ripping and vibration when cutting.
The chains should also be kept sharp and in good condition because they will dull with use. If you are comfortable sharpening your own chains then a 5/32” round file and holder will do the job. Alternatively you could get the chains sharpened locally or invest in a new chain.
On a final note, the chain speed on the Craftsman is 12 meters per second. Chain speed is an important factor when it comes to cutting performance. This speed is pretty much what you would expect to see for a product in this class. Electric saws tend to have chain cutting speeds up to 15 m/s, which is roughly equivalent to some of the smaller gas saws.
Design & Construction
The Craftsman is a well-designed and solidly constructed saw made from high-impact plastic. Some of the main features are shown in the image below.
The ON/Off trigger is positioned on the soft grip rear handle, which measures 12 inches in length. The safety lock button is located on the side of the handle next to the trigger (out of view). The large oil cap is positioned on top of the power head unit and the oil level gauge allows the user to quickly see how much bar oil is remaining.
There are both front and rear hand guards, with the front guard also being used to activate the chain brake. Just behind the front hand guard is the wraparound front handle. The chain tightening knob is positioned in an easily accessible position on the side of the unit.
Overall, this is a pretty low maintenance tool which comes fully assembled out of the box.
The Craftsman comes with a 15 amp motor which is just about as powerful as it gets with an electric saw. The specifications state that it is a 4HP engine, although this is likely to be the very top peak figure. On average the saw should provide in the region of 2.4HP, which is still plenty strong enough and compares with many smaller gas powered saws.
To operate the Craftsman, you will need an extension cord. This should be suitable for use outdoors and also have the correct rating. If using a 50 foot cord, this needs to have a minimum 14 gauge rating. A 100 foot cord must have a minimum 12 gauge rating.
Chain Oil System
Lubrication to the bar and chain is provided by a fixed flow, automatic oiling system. This means that you can concentrate on cutting without having to remember to release your bar oil manually.
Bar and chain oil is added through the easily accessible cap on top of the saw. The reservoir has a capacity of 6.75 oz. and there is a handy translucent tank which helps you to quickly see how much oil is in the there.
In terms of bar oil, any good quality bar and chain oil can be used.
The Craftsman comes with a range of safety features, including:
- Front and rear hand guards to keep hands protected from both the chain and flying debris
- A chain brake. This is activated in the event of severe kickback and will bring the chain to a halt almost immediately
- Chain catcher. This is a device positioned on the underside of the saw and prevents damage to the hands in the event of a slipped or snapped chain
- Spiked bumpers on the front of the powerhead unit dig into the wood and provide more stability when cutting
As always, the correct safety gear, such as gloves and eye protection, should be worn. Whilst these safety features will help to keep you safe to an extent, only the proper operation of this equipment will ensure your safety.
Craftsman 4.0HP Dimensions
Weighing just under 11lbs, the Craftsman should be well within the capabilities of anyone accustomed to handling power tools. Its weight is in line with similar saws in this class.
As well as an operator’s manual, the Craftsman comes with a protective bar cover as well as an extra chain. This is a real bonus and something you rarely get with a saw purchase.
- Powerful 15 Amp Motor
- Excellent cutting capacity
- Lightweight, easy to start and handle
- Low maintenance product
- Tool-less chain tensioning system
- A few oiler issues reported
Overall, consumer ratings for this product are strong, with around 80% of buyers rating the saw as either good or excellent.
Buyers like the saw’s power and cutting ability and how easy it is to use. Users like the fact that it is well built and has excellent safety features.
Some buyers mentioned that they had problems with the oiler not working correctly and a few issues with the tool not working properly. However, these were very much in the minority and no more than you would expect when buying any power tool.
You should buy this saw if:
- You want a saw for light/medium cutting duties
- You want a saw which is easy to start and handle
- You don’t want to go to the trouble of mixing gas and oil
- You want a relatively low maintenance product
You should not buy this saw if:
- You do not have access to a power source
- You need a saw for regular heavy cutting
- You want a budget product
Craftsman 4.0HP 18-inch electric chainsaw Price
Costing less than $150, it is slightly more expensive than other saws in its class, such as the Worx WG304.1 and the Oregon CS1500. However, Craftsman is a reliable, well-known brand and we believe this small premium is well worth paying.
This product also comes with the benefit of a 2-year guarantee.