What can we say about the Oregon Cordless 40V CS-300 A6 Chainsaw? If you could sum it up in a single sentence it go something along the lines of: A powerful, premium quality cordless saw with a range of superb features.
The CS300 is the successor to the popular and highly rated CS250 model. Offering more power, the CS300 has retained some of the great features which made the 250 so well regarded. In particular, its PowerSharp chain sharpening system takes all the hassle out of keeping the cutting gear in tip top condition, guaranteeing excellent performance over and over again.
This review will concentrate on the A6 version. Note, however, that the product can also be purchased with a 2.4AH battery (the E6) or a 6AH battery
(the R7) and I will also make reference to these throughout this article.
Read on to discover more.
Performance and Handling
The CS-300 is an occasional use, light and medium duty saw suitable for use by both homeowners and arborists alike. It can be used for a whole range of tasks such as felling small and medium sized trees, bucking logs, as well as limbing and pruning.
The manufacturer indicates that it is suitable for cutting trees and logs with a diameter up to 15 inches. User feedback suggests that it can deal easily with logs up to 10 inches in diameter and although it’s certainly capable of getting through larger logs, it does tend to draw more battery power when doing so. If you are planning on cutting the occasional larger trees and logs you should be fine but if you want something primarily for heavy duty tasks then a gas saw may be preferable. It does, however, have more than enough cutting power to clear up storm damage and would also be useful for all those trips to the woods.
When it comes to handling, if you have used gas saws in the past you will have no trouble with the CS-300. It weighs around 12lbs which is lighter than most gas saws but heavier than many smaller cordless electric saws. It weighs slightly less than the Greenworks 20312 which is a very similar saw in terms of specifications.
You will find that the Oregon is quieter than gas powered saws, although with a noise power level of 100 dB(A), it is still recommended that hearing protection is worn when operating. Long periods of exposure to levels above 90 db(A) can cause harm to your hearing.
Vibration levels on this saw are 0.794 m/s² on the front handle and 1.89 m/s² on the rear handle. Anything below 5 m/s² is considered low so from this point of view the vibration measurements on the Oregon are very low. This means that operating the saw is likely to be much easier and you will suffer less from fatigue during use.
First things first, let’s start with the basics. The CS-300 has a 16 inch guide bar and chain.
The guide bar is Oregon’s 160SDEA041 model. This has a narrow nose to help reduce kickback and is designed specifically to hold low profile chains. It has a sprocket nose which must be get greased to ensure that it does not seize. This can be done with a simple grease gun which can be purchased for around $10.
The chain itself is an Oregon PowerSharp, which has a 3/8” pitch and a 0.05” gauge. It is a low kickback chain which complies with the low kickback performance requirements of ANSI B.175.1 and CSA Z62.3. As this model has a self-sharpening feature this is the only type of chain which can be used with the saw. The replacement chain is code 560510. At around $40 this costs more than standard chains, which is something cost conscious buyers may wish to bear in mind. This also covers the cost of the sharpening stone which needs to be replaced at the same time as the chain.
Chain speed plays an important part in cutting performance and the CS300's speed is 14.2 m/s. This isn’t as fast as a typical gas saw, a fact that was mentioned by a few users. However, it is at the top end of speeds you will find in corded electric saws.
One major downside of owning and running a chainsaw is the constant need to keep the chain sharp. A dull chain can impact cutting performance, not to mention the fact that it can also be dangerous. Thanks to Oregon’s PowerSharp system, you no longer need to worry about getting the right tools or having it done professionally. All you need to do is get the saw up to full speed and then pull the PowerSharp lever for between 3-5 seconds. That represents either a great time saving (an expert would take 10 minutes to sharpen a chain) or a cost saving (spending $15 to get it done professionally). The other advantage is that you can sharpen up whilst doing a job without having to take a break and come back later.
Having ensured that the chain is always sharp, the next challenge is to make sure it is kept properly tensioned. Again the CS-300 makes it easy for you thanks to its tool-less tensioning system. This simply involves removing the battery, loosening the large side cover release knob and turning the tensioning ring to get the chain properly taut. As with all new chains you should tension carefully and often during the first half hour of use and then periodically throughout its life.
Design and Construction
The Oregon CS300 is a solidly constructed, well designed saw.
The diagram above shows just a few of its features. It has a rubber grip rear handle which houses the throttle trigger and a lockout switch (out of view). Just above the handle is the battery port which holds the pack and just below this is the battery release button.
On the side of the saw, there is the side cover release knob and tensioning ring to keep the chain correctly tensioned. You will also note the large PowerSharp lever which is used to sharpen the cutting equipment. The full wraparound handle sits just behind the handguard, which also acts as a chain brake.
The oil cap is on the left hand side of the saw (out of view) and is positioned as such that you will need to lay the saw on its side to fill up with bar and chain oil. There is also a transparent window next to the cap which indicates how much oil is in the reservoir.
As you can see from the video above. This is a robust solid looking product. You will need to fit the bar and chain upon receipt and a few users commented that this was a little tricky. If you struggle with this sort of thing you may wish to enlist the help of a friend or family member.
Brushless Motor and 40V 4AH Battery
This saw has plenty of power and stamina thanks to its 40 volt 4 Amp Hour battery. In terms of power, the motor provides around 40% more power and torque than the CS250 – the CS300’s highly rated predecessor. The Lithium-Ion battery provides fade free power, which means that there will be no drop off in performance as the battery loses its charge.
In terms of run-time, the CS300-A6 has a 4 Amp Hour (AH) rating, which just means that the battery can deliver of a load of 4 amps for 1 hour, or 2 amps for 2 hours and so on. The higher the AH rating usually indicates increased run time. In practical terms, the manufacturer indicates that this battery is capable of making 400 cuts of 2”-3” branches in a single charge. You should be able to use your saw for around 1.5-2 hours before it needs recharging. If you’re anything like me that’s more than enough cutting in a single session.
Note, you can also buy a 2.4 AH battery version (CSS300-E6) but you will get 66% less runtime than with the A6. Alternatively, if you have some serious cutting you could opt for the 6AH battery version (CSS300-R7) which provides 50% more power than the A6. These differences are reflected in the price (see later).
A charger is supplied with this purchase to enable you to recharge the batteries. A full recharge will take around 4 hours, which is slightly longer than with some other comparable products. That said, provided you plan carefully in advance this shouldn't cause any problems. Some users mentioned that they purchased spare batteries to provide extra runtime when undertaking larger jobs and this is something worth considering.
The battery pack has a handy charge level indicator which tells you exactly how much charge is remaining in the battery. The charger also has an LED indictor which indicates the state of the charge and it will stop charging when the battery is fully charged.
Another aspect of a cordless saw’s efficiency is the type of motor it has. Many models have traditional brushed motors which are around 75%-80% efficient. The CSS300 comes with one of the newer brushless type motors which are generally 85%-90% efficient meaning that they are better at converting the energy supplied by the battery into power and performance. You can read more about this in our article: Chainsaw Motors Brushed vs Brushless.
Chain Oil System
As well as keeping the cutting equipment sharp and properly tensioned, it also needs to be lubricated. The CS300 has an automatic lubrication system which means you can get on with the job without having to remember to manually release oil to the chain. The oiler is a fixed flow type, so you can’t adjust the rate of oil flow to the bar which is a useful feature in some circumstances. However, provided you use a good quality bar and chain oil this should not be an issue as these oils are designed to work effectively in a variety of conditions.
In this instance Oregon recommends use of its own brand bar and chain oil which is widely available online. A small quantity of this is provided with the purchase. Filling the reservoir is pretty simple. The saw is rested on its side so that the oil cap is facing upwards and then the oil added, making sure it is visible in the transparent reservoir window. This window is also useful for letting you know when it is time to refill.
When adding oil for the first time you will need to carry out a small test to ensure the bar is being correctly lubricated. This involves running the chain for about two minutes, then removing the battery and side cover and checking that oil has been released to the bar pad. This is a straightforward procedure which doesn’t require the use of tools.
Finally, the oil tank has a capacity of 4.1 oz. (120ml). This is reasonably small so if you are planning on any prolonged cutting you should keep a supply of oil close by.
When it comes to safety, the CSS300 has all the protection you would expect, including:
- Reduced kickback bar and low kickback chain which, as mentioned earlier, complies with the low kickback performance requirements of ANSI B.175.1 and CSA Z62.3. This doesn’t eliminate the possibility of kickback completely but will reduce both the likelihood and severity.
- Front and rear hand guards. These are designed to protect the user’s hands from both harmful debris and also from coming into contact with the chain. Although they do provide good protection, gloves should always be worn when using a saw.
- Chain brake. This is designed to stop the chain immediately when activated. If kickback occurs, the saw will rotate backwards forcing the operator’s left hand to push forward against the hand guard, thereby activating the brake. The brake can also be activated by the inertial forces generated by a kickback event.
- Chain catcher. This is a small device on the bottom of the saw which will protect the user from the chain if it breaks or derails.
- Safe starting. A trigger lockout switch must be manually actuated before the throttle can be pressed, thereby preventing accidental start-up of the saw.
As is the case with all chainsaw safety features, they can only provide you with a certain amount of protection. The best way to ensure your safety is to wear the appropriate safety gear (as described HERE) and operate the tool in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
The overall weight of this tool, together with the guide bar and battery attached is 12lbs. With the 6AH battery the saw will be around 0.5 pound heavier.
The CSS300-A6 comes with:
- 4AH battery and charger
- Protective bar scabbard
- Operator’s manual
- Bar and chain oil
- Self-sharpening chain system
- Powerful battery and brushless motor
- Automatic oiler
- Solidly built
- Battery charge time
Although there are only around 50 reviews online for the CS300, we can take some comfort from the fact that its predecessor the CS250 was highly rated based on several hundred online reviews.
In terms of the CS300, reviews are also excellent with 90% of buyers rating the saw as either excellent or good. Buyers particularly like the cutting performance and the chain sharpening system. It was difficult to find too many negative trends, although a few users mentioned that the chain speed is slower than with gas saws making it slightly more difficult to cut through large diameter logs.
You should buy this saw if:
- You want a portable alternative to a small gas saw
- You have occasional light and medium cutting tasks to carry out
- You don’t want to sharpen your own chains or pay somebody to do it for you.
- You can handle reasonably heavy power tools
You should not buy this saw if:
- You want it predominantly for large trees and logs
- You want a budget saw
Price of the Oregon CS300-A6
At over $300 this isn’t a cheap saw to buy. However, given its solid construction, reliable performance and excellent features we think it offers great value for anyone looking for a premium quality chainsaw.
Note, you will pay around $95 more if you want the 6AH battery version (R7) or $50 less if you opt for the 2.4AH model (E6).