If you need to tackle some tough jobs in difficult terrain without all the issues which come with gas powered saws, then the GreenWorks Pro GCS80420 80V Chainsaw could just be the solution.
When you think of cordless electric chainsaws you don’t automatically think of power. In this review, however, I’ll tell you why this portable unit would make a great addition to your power tool collection.
As this product is aimed at the small gas chainsaw user, I’ll make reference to how it compares with these models throughout this review.
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Performance and Handling
With an 80 volt battery, the GCS80420 is one of the most powerful cordless, non-gas saws available and as such you would expect it to reach some pretty high performance standards. So what exactly can this saw do?
It has been designed to carry out a full range of light and medium cutting duties around the home and farm, such as basic limbing, felling and woodcutting as well as the removal of buttress roots. With the equivalent power of a 45cc gas saw it packs a pretty powerful punch and this is clearly evidenced in its cutting ability.
It will easily and quickly cut through logs with a diameter up to 10 inches and is quite capable of undertaking more demanding tasks. Many users have commented that they have used the saw to buck hardwood logs up to 20” in diameter which is impressive for a battery saw. You may find that with some of the larger logs the saw’s overload protection system will kick in. This is designed to stop the chainsaw if too much strain is being placed on the motor but don’t worry. All you need to do is remove the guide bar from the wood, restart and then continue cutting. In fact, this is an excellent safety feature as it prevents damage to the saw and cutting equipment.
Starting up the GCS80420 couldn’t be easier and involves a three step process. First push the power button to activate saw and then press the safety lock button which makes the trigger switch operational. Finally press the trigger switch and the saw will start immediately. Compared to starting a gas saw there is no contest when it comes to both speed and reliability. No mixing gas and oil, no pulling cords or tinkering with the carburetor. To stop the saw you simply need to release the trigger, although there is also a chain brake which will stop the saw in the event of kickback.
When it comes to handling the GreenWorks, the large guide bar means that it isn’t the best saw if you have a lot of very light cutting and need to get into tight spaces to make the cuts.
It isn’t a particularly light saw compared to other cordless models available and is similar in weight to some of the small gas chainsaws. If you are used to handling a gas saw you shouldn’t therefore have any problems with the GCS80420.
There are just a couple of other points to mention. Firstly, although the company has not issued any figures, feedback from experienced chainsaw users suggest it suffers from less vibration than gas saws, which makes it better for people who suffer illness or injury which makes operating a gas saw inadvisable. In terms of noise, many users point out that it is quieter than a gas saw. The manufacturer advises that the noise level is 91 dB(A) and at these levels it is recommended that hearing protection is still worn.
Finally, the saw has an automatic cut off after 15 seconds of inactivity. This is designed to conserve battery power and therefore increase runtime. Some users find this a little annoying, however the saw is very easy to start up again so shouldn’t prove to be too much of a hardship.
You can learn more about the GCS80420 below.
The GCS80420 is equipped with an 18 inch guide bar and chain.
The bar is an Oregon Double Bar 91, which is a lightweight bar with a small radius nose tip which helps to reduce kickback. The bar has a nose sprocket, which means you will need to lubricate the bar using a grease syringe. If you’ve never done this before, it’s a really simple task and involves injecting a little grease into the lubricating hole, usually on a weekly basis.
The chain on this product is an Oregon Low Profile Chamfer Chisel 91PX. The ramp shaped depth gauges on this chain help to reduce kickback without affecting cutting performance. The chain itself has a 3/8” pitch, 0.05” gauge and 62 drive links. This is a popular sized chain which can be sharpened using a 5/32” round file and file holder. It is also designated as low kickback, meeting the ANSI B.175.1 standard in this regard.
Some experienced users have changed the chain on this saw for more aggressive equipment and this will definitely improve cutting performance. That said, the low kickback protection is lost and only experienced users should consider doing this. The more aggressive chain for use on this saw is an Oregon 91VXL062G. The chain speed is 15 meters per second, which is excellent for a cordless saw.
Although not a big issue, some users mentioned that the chain has a tendency to slip, especially when cutting light brush. It’s therefore important to keep the chain properly tensioned at all times, especially when it is new and more prone to stretching. To properly tension the chain you will need to use the all-purpose tool which comes with this product. Firstly, the bar cover nuts are loosened and then the chain tension adjusted by turning the adjustment screw. Whilst this isn’t as handy as some of the tool-less tensioning systems, it’s a reasonably straightforward process which should only take a couple of minutes.
Provided the chain is kept properly tensioned, as per the manufacturer’s instructions, you shouldn’t have any issues with regard to slippage. Note: You cannot use other size bars with this chainsaw.
Design and Construction
The GCS80420 is a well-designed machine made from hard plastic and metal.
The on/off switch is positioned just above the rear handle. The handle itself houses the safety lock and throttle trigger which will stop you from inadvertently starting the saw. The rear hand guard will protect the right hand from flying debris and from getting caught up in any foliage while you are cutting.
The battery slots into the top of the saw (and not to the side as with some other models), which helps give it a nice balance when using.
On the left side of the saw is the cap for the oil tank. This is large and easily accessible so you won’t have any issues topping up with chain oil. The cap sits just above the reservoir window.
There is a large metal front wraparound handle which helps to provide excellent grip and this sits just behind the front handguard, which also doubles as the chain brake. On the front of the saw, just out of view, is a set of metal bumper spikes which help to provide stability when cutting.
On the right side of the saw, as shown above, you will find the chain cover with lock nuts as well as the chain tensioning screw.
The chainsaw comes fully assembled and one neat feature is that the tool supplied with the product is stored onboard so you will always have it to hand should you need to tighten the chain.
Battery and Motor
One of the concerns of many people thinking about buying a cordless saw is runtime. So how does the GCS80420 fare in this regard?
First things first, it is equipped with an 80 volt rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery which is about as powerful as it gets in a chainsaw. It has a rating of 2 Amp Hours (2AH), which means that it can draw a load of 2 amps for an hour, 4 amps for 20 minutes, 1 amp for two hours and so on. Amp hours are important because they will impact on how quickly a battery will run down. The amps drawn will depend on the intensity of cutting.
GreenWorks advises that one battery charge is sufficient to make 150 cuts of 4 x 4 treated lumber. If, however, there is one user complaint about the GreenWorks GCS80420, it is that the battery runs down very quickly. Feedback from users who liked the saw, suggest that you will get around 13-20 minutes of continuous cutting depending on the intensity of use. In terms of cutting, users advised that they got around 85 cuts per charge, probably enough to fell and buck a medium sized tree. If your sessions are likely to involve quite a fair amount of cutting it's worth thinking about getting an additional battery, which will cost in the region of $100. The other option is to get a 4AH battery which will provide longer runtime. This will, however, cost in the region of $230. Also, bear in mind that the 4AH battery is heavier and may therefore make the saw more difficult to handle.
On a positive note, most users didn’t find battery life too much of an issue, thanks to the ultra-fast charging time. The 2AH battery which comes with the product can be fully charged in just 30 minutes.
This model is fitted with a digitally controlled brushless motor, designed to increase torque (and therefore cutting power) as well as increasing the life of the motor itself. These are typically 85%-90% efficient compared to brush motors which are 75-80% efficient.
Chain Oil System
Ensuring that the chain is kept properly oiled is crucial and the GreenWorks does this through its automatic fixed flow oiling system. This isn’t quite as convenient as the adjustable flow oilers which allow you to adjust the rate of flow depending on the conditions.
The oil reservoir capacity is 1.9 oz. (around 60 ml) and you can easily keep an eye on your oil level thanks to the tank’s translucent window.
As with most chainsaws, you may find that the GCS80420 leaks chain oil during storage. The manufacturer recommends that after use the cap is opened to release any possible vacuum which can push the oil out. In addition, if the saw is being stored for any length of time the reservoir should be drained and the saw wiped down.
In terms of the oil you can use, the manufacturer confirms that any generic bar and chain oil is suitable. If pruning, this should be vegetable based to protect the trees.
There are a number of safety features incorporated, some of which have already been mentioned and these include:
- Reduced kickback guide bar and low kickback chain. These will reduce (but not eliminate) the risk and severity of kickback which sees the bar thrown back violently towards the operator.
- Chain Brake. As mentioned earlier the front hand guard doubles as a chain brake. In the event of severe kickback, the left hand is forced against the brake, pushing it forward and bringing the chain to a halt.
- Front and rear hand guards. These will protect the hands from flying debris and issues with the chain. Although they offer some degree of protection, it is still recommended that appropriate gloves are worn.
- Bumper spikes provide stability when cutting.
- Overload protection. This will prevent damage to the saw if too much stress is placed on it.
With the 2AH battery in place, this model weighs 14.2lbs. As a comparison, the Husqvarna 445 45cc gas saw weighs 13lbs, so there is no particular weight advantage when compared to gas saws.
As well as an operator’s manual, the GCS80420 comes with a wrench/screwdriver, protective bar scabbard and a small amount of chain oil.
- Excellent power for a cordless saw.
- First rate cutting performance
- Easy to start and operate
- Full battery charge in only 30 minutes.
- Minimal maintenance required.
- Runtime for the 2AH battery could be better.
Consumer Ratings for GreenWorks Pro GCS80420
There are several hundred product reviews online and just under 90% of buyers rated their saw as either good or excellent. Buyers are overwhelmingly positive about the saw’s power and cutting performance. They also like the ease of use and convenience it offers when compared to gas powered products.
In terms of negative reviews, these mostly center on the runtime of the 2AH battery. Interestingly, this was not a major issue for most buyers who mentioned this and were positive about the overall package.
You should buy this chainsaw if:
- You are looking for gas saw performance with electric saw convenience.
- You have some light/medium cutting duties around the home or farm to take care of.
- You don’t have access to a power outlet.
- You have other products in the GreenWorks 80v range (as the batteries are inter-changeable)
- You want a low maintenance product.
You should not buy this saw if:
- You want a budget product.
- You only need something for very light cutting duties.
- You need to do several hours of intensive cutting in each session.
GreenWorks Pro GCS80420 80V Chainsaw Price
Priced in the $200 - $300 price bracket, this isn’t a budget saw. However, in view of its gas saw like performance as well as the excellent consumer feedback, we feel that this is a fair price.