When it comes to power tools, DeWALT definitely plays in the major league. The DeWALT DCCS690M1 40v 4AH Chainsaw represents their first foray into this market and is everything you would expect of a power tool produced by this excellent manufacturer.
Designed for light and medium size cutting tasks, this well designed machine is an ideal homeowner saw and in this review we’ll tell you exactly why it would make a great buy. Supported by an excellent warranty, the company is clearly prepared to back its products
Carry on reading to find out more.
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Performance and Handling
Let’s first briefly look at what the manufacturer says. According to DeWALT, this chainsaw is ideal for removing tree limbs as well as pruning and trimming trees in your yard. The manufacturer also states that it has a maximum cutting diameter of 14 inches. This would make it useful for carrying out a whole range of light/medium cutting jobs around your property.
The first thing to note is how simple the DCCS690M1 is to start. There are no pull cords to worry about – just follow a three step process. Make sure the chain brake is disengaged, push the lock off lever and then press the trigger. You will find the saw starts up immediately and you can then release the lock off lever.
One feature this saw does possess, which is pretty uncommon for electric saws, is a variable speed trigger. The further you press the throttle trigger the faster the saw will operate. This means you can adjust the speed of the chainsaw to match the cutting job you are doing. This in turn will save wear and tear on the bar and chain as well as extending the running time.
In terms of performance, the saw is capable of cutting logs up to 14 inches in diameter and some users have felled larger trees. You should bear in mind that like most battery operated power tools, the more heavy work you put the machine through the quicker it will use battery power. If, therefore, you are bucking large diameter hardwood, expect the battery to drain pretty quickly. That said, if you are cutting up to 6-8” diameter wood you can expect to get around 70 cuts with the 4 amp battery, around 100 with the 6 amp (as advised by the manufacturer). You may get fewer cuts for larger diameter wood and for large jobs some users have taken a spare battery. A single battery, however, should provide you with enough power to take down and buck a small/medium tree whereas you will probably need two batteries for anything larger.
With its 16 inch blade, the DCCS690M1 is excellent for log cutting. However, it is not quite as effective when it comes to cutting bushes with lots of twigs and branches, which often get snagged and force the chain off the bar. In addition, it isn’t the lightest chainsaw around so some users may find handling it a strain, especially on those jobs where handling and maneuverability are important. In its favor, a number of first time chainsaw users mentioned that they always felt in full control of the saw so it isn’t perhaps as intimidating as some of the larger machines.
As there is no power cord you can use this chainsaw in the same places as you would a gas machine and it certainly has an advantage when it comes to jobs which involve frequent stopping and starting. You know that even when warm the saw will start up when you want it to, unlike some gas powered machines which can be temperamental and need therefore to be kept idling throughout.
In summary, this saw comes into its own when cutting logs and branches, which makes it great for tree maintenance and clearing up medium storm damage. If you live in heavily wooded areas where fallen trees can be a problem, this would be a useful tool to have in your truck.
The DCCS690M1 is equipped with a 16” Oregon bar and chain.
The chain is Oregon’s 90PX model, which meets all the low kickback requirements of ANSI B.175.1. It has a 3/8” pitch, 0.043” gauge and 56 links. The 3/8” pitch is the most popular size with professional users, whereas the 0.043” gauge is smaller than you will find on many chainsaws. The gauge represents the thickness of the drive link where it fits into the guide bar and usually the larger the gauge the more robust the chain. The advantage of a 0.043” gauge is that, although not as robust, can provide better performance.
In this case, the chain fits the Oregon narrow kerf guide bar. This means that it has a smaller nose tip than conventional bars. Narrow kerf cutting systems increase efficiency as they require less power from the saw.
Chain tension needs to be checked regularly and adjusted when appropriate. With the DeWALT’s tool-free tensioning system this is easy. You can see how this is done in the video below, but essentially it can be done with a just a few turns of the bar adjustment and chain tensioning knobs.
Some users have reported issues with the chain coming off the bar. This seems to be more prevalent when cutting very small limbs which can twist slightly, forcing the chain to dislodge. It doesn't seem to be such a problem cutting through larger limbs.
As will all new chains tension should be checked regularly (every two minutes if necessary) until they are broken in. This may seem a bit of an inconvenience, but the tool-free adjustment system makes it pretty straightforward. Another tip to avoid chain derailment is never force the chain through the wood, even with small branches.
You will need to keep the chain in excellent cutting condition by regular sharpening and you will need a 7/32” file and holder for this task. You should expect to have to sharpen the chain on a regular basis and it’s sometimes worth keeping a spare, which can be picked up for around $18.
Design and Construction
The DeWALT DCCS690M1 is a sleek, well designed chainsaw.
As you can see form the images above, it has a large anti-vibration rear handle which houses the multi-speed trigger switch. The battery slots into the top of the powerhead unit, as opposed to the side as you will find in some saws. This helps to provide a nice balance when using the machine. The oil reservoir cap is situated on the front of the powerhead, perhaps not in the most convenient place. Towards the front of the saw is the half wrap handle which sits just behind the front hand guard. The hand guard also acts as a chain brake. These are quite close together so care is needed not to activate the brake, especially when wearing gloves.
On the right side of the saw, there is the clutch cover as well as the chain tensioning and bar adjust locking knobs.
The product is constructed from hard plastic and has a reasonably solid feel. It is certainly heavier than some similar saws in its class and should be robust enough for the home user.
The saw comes fully assembled so you just need to charge the battery, add some chain oil and you are ready to go.
The DCCS690M1 has a 40 volt, 4 amp hour Lithium-Ion battery. Should you wish, you can buy this chainsaw with a 40v 6 amp hour battery (Model number DCCS690H1). You can see our article on batteries if you are interested in reading more, but the difference between amp hours is that the 4AH is capable of delivering a load of 4 amps for 1 hour or 1 amp for 4 hours, whereas a 6AH battery can deliver 6 amps for 1 hour or 1 amp for 6 hours. You can see, therefore, that the 6AH battery offers more power than the 4AH.
The 40 volt batteries are compatible with the other products in DeWALTs 40 volt power tool range. You can use 40 volt batteries with different amp hours in this saw, for example 7.5 AH leaf blower battery. However, if the voltage is different it can’t be used so you would not be able to operate with a 20 volt DeWALT battery. You should also note that only DeWALT batteries can be used.
So how long can you expect to get out of the 4AH battery? The manufacturer states that you will be able to make around 70 cuts of six by six wood, which would probably equate to around 45 minutes to an hours cutting time. As I mentioned earlier, this will either be reduced or increased depending on the type and thickness of the wood being cut. If for example you are using it on a 10” hardwood like hickory, expect the cutting time to be significantly less. This seems to be supported by user experience. For example, one consumer was able to make 20 cuts of a 14” diameter locust which equates to around 20 minutes continuous cutting time.
If you plan on doing any particularly large projects or any lengthy cutting it could be worth your while investing in a second battery.
You will obviously need to recharge your battery on a regular basis. As well as the battery, a charger is included in this purchase. The battery should take around 90 minutes to fully charge. The charger itself has a hot/cold feature which detects if the battery is getting too hot and suspends charging until it has cooled down. This helps to protect and extend the life of the battery.
In addition, you don’t need to worry about immediately removing the battery from the charger as soon as it is fully charged. The charger and battery pack can be left connected showing the battery fully charged.
One final point, you will note that this saw has a brushless motor. This simply refers to the design of the motor (which doesn’t have brushes like traditional motors) which reduces friction and makes it more efficient.
Chain Oil System
Equipped with an automatic oiling system, this saw also features LubriLink™ and LubriWell® oiling technology.
LubriLink™ is a cavity in the chain tie straps which acts as a small reservoir and holds the oil, stopping it from being thrown off the chain by centrifugal force. When the machine is stopped the oil is fed into the chain’s parts.
LubriWell® is simply a hole in the chain’s drive links which helps carry oil the entire length of the bar. In this way more oil reaches the bar’s tip and is also available between the drive links and bar groove, which is a high friction zone.
The automatic oiling system will ensure that the bar is kept lubricated during operation so you don’t have to manually release oil to the bar. All you need to do is ensure that there is sufficient oil in the reservoir but this isn’t a difficult task thanks to the reservoir window.
It is recommended that when the oil level reaches a quarter, the battery is removed and the reservoir topped up. A good quality chain oil (vegetable based when pruning) should be used, though as a temporary measure a non-detergent SAE 30 motor oil can be used.
The oil cap is positioned on the side of the saw and there is a locking lever which needs to be flipped before the cap can be unscrewed. The cap itself is in an awkward position and is slightly recessed. This means that you need to clean the outside of the saw around this area before removing the cap as you may get debris in the reservoir.
You should be aware that this model does go through a large amount of chain oil and unfortunately there is no way to regulate the flow on the oiler. Some people see this as problematic, though my own view is that it is better to have too much oil released to the bar than not enough. If using the 4AH battery you should get a full tank of oil per charge but you should always keep an eye on the oil level. Using one of the larger batteries may mean that the reservoir runs dry before the charge is depleted.
Perhaps more of an issue is that the saw will leak quite a bit of oil when in storage. The manufacturer recommends that the oil reservoir be emptied after use. This is a little inconvenient and something that you don’t have to do with other machines. However, better this than an unsightly stain on your garage surfaces.
Keeping a handy supply of oil with you is definitely recommended. Please note, oil is not supplied with this purchase.
A number of safety features are incorporated to help protect both operator and machine.
Firstly, the reduced kickback bar and low kickback chain are designed to reduce the likelihood of kickback. Further protection against kickback is provided by the chain brake. In the event of kickback, the operator’s left hand will push the hand guard/chain brake forward bringing the saw chain to an immediate stop.
The saw incorporates a lockout switch which prevents the unintentional operation of the trigger switch.
To provide stability during cutting, the saw has ribbed bumpers. These are also known as bumper spikes and are used to pivot the saw and maintain stability whilst cutting.
Finally, the front hand guard will provide protection against flying debris and wood chips as well as any problems encountered with the chain.
Without the battery, the operating weight of the DCCS690M1 is 12.3lbs. Once the battery is fitted the weight is almost 16lbs, which makes a pretty heavy saw compared to its peers.
In addition to an operator’s manual, this saw comes with a scabbard to protect the bar, a 40v 4AH battery and battery charger. Note, you can also purchase versions with either no battery or 40v 6AH battery.
- Well designed, balanced saw.
- Easy to start.
- Excellent cutting ability.
- Reasonable battery life.
- Uses a lot of chain oil, which can also leak during storage.
- Chain can jump when cutting smaller branches.
There are over a hundred reviews on line for this product and feedback suggests this is a popular power tool. Almost 90% of consumers rate this product as either good or excellent, which is an excellent endorsement.
Buyers like the robust feel of the saw and its excellent power and cutting performance. Traditional gas users also like the fact that it starts up easily.
The main negative comments centered on the fact that it does use a great deal of oil, although many buyers accepted this and weren’t too worried. There were also a few negative comments about the chain jumping off the bar, which reinforces the point that the chain tension should be checked regularly.
You should buy this saw if:
- You don’t have immediate access to a power point and want an alternative to gas.
- You require a saw for occasional use.
- You want a saw able to handle a range of light/medium cutting tasks.
- You already own power tools in the DeWALT 40v range and have spare batteries.
You should not buy this saw if:
- You want a lightweight saw.
- You want a budget saw.
DeWALT DCCS690M1 40V Price
At the time of writing, this saw is available for just under $300. This is for the 4AH version. You can upgrade the battery to 6AH but this will cost you around $80 extra. Alternatively, if you already own DeWALT 40v power tools and don’t need a battery you will be able to knock around $20 off the asking price.
To put it into context, the Greenworks 20312 is a comparable 16” 40v 4AH battery operated saw and currently costs around $90 less. That said, DeWALT are a reputable, well known power tool brand and offer their famous 3-1-90 warranty. This is a 3 year limited warranty, 1 year free service and 90 day money back guarantee.
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