The WEN 4017 Electric Chainsaw may not win any prizes for being the greatest saw in the world but it does everything it promises and comes with a price tag which won’t empty your wallet.
Quiet, light and easy to handle, this would make an excellent saw for the first time user who needs to do some light cutting or tidying up around their property. Not only this, but it is pretty low maintenance and has some great features which make it a handy tool to keep in your garage. Read our review to discover more.
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Performance and Handling
The WEN 4017 is a no nonsense, uncomplicated chainsaw designed for light and medium cutting duties around the home.
As is the case with electric saws you will find it to be a reliable starter. Just press the safety button, squeeze the trigger and it will start immediately. Releasing the trigger will stop the saw. This convenience means that you don’t have to worry about taking short breaks during your work and then worrying about whether the saw will start up again, which is sometimes the case with gas models.
If you have lots of firewood or large trees to cut then the WEN is not the product to use. However, if you have some small/medium trees which need felling and limbing or some
light storm damage to clear up around the yard, then the saw will take care of it. With its 16 inch bar, you should in theory be able to cut through 14 inch diameter wood in a single pass and several users confirmed that this is the case. Feedback suggests it has plenty of power and cuts easily through branches up to 10 inches in diameter and although it can deal with larger limbs, the cuts can take a little longer. If you have some general yard clear up to take care of you may very well find that, given the price of the 4017, it is much cheaper to invest in this saw than pay a professional to come and do the work for you. It is certainly far easier than using a hand saw on your trees and shrubbery.
When it comes to handling, the 4017’s plastic construction makes it a lightweight saw which should be within the capabilities of most users. It is well balanced and users will certainly find it less intimidating and easier to control than a gas saw. One negative might be that with its 16 inch bar, cutting in confined spaces might be a little trickier than with a smaller model.
As indicated above, the WEN has a 16 inch bar and chain, both of which are Oregon products.
The guide bar is an Oregon Double Guard 91 which is a light and symmetrical bar and which can be reversed for longer life. It has a small radius nose which helps reduce the likelihood of kickback, as well as a sprocket nose which helps to reduce friction and therefore improve cutting performance. As it has a nose sprocket, the tip of the bar will need to be greased on a regular basis (before each time it is used) by using a grease syringe to inject grease into the sprocket hole. This only takes a matter of seconds.
The chain is an Oregon 91PX. It has a 3/8” pitch, 0.05” gauge (thickness) and 57 drive links. This is a good quality and very popular chain found on many home owner saws. It has been designed by Oregon to incorporate all the benefits of a professional chain in a homeowner saw, with the main benefit being that its design offers low kickback performance.
The manufacturer advises that the chain speed is just under 13 m/s. Whilst this isn’t as fast as the speed of gas saws, it is perfectly respectable for an electric model.
You will find that the saw will perform better when the chain is both sharp and correctly tensioned. Users are advised to check chain tension on a regular basis, at least every ten minutes and more often when the chain is new and prone to stretching. One excellent feature on this saw is the tool-less tensioning system which makes the job of keeping the chain taut very easy. All you need to do is turn the bar adjustment locking knob and then rotate the tensioning wheel. Compared to models where tools are required to carry out this operation, you will find this to be a real time saver.
The other part mentioned above is keeping the chain sharp – regrettably they do dull after a while! You can pay someone to do this for you or alternatively sharpen it yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. To do this you will need a 5/32” round file and holder. Full instructions are provided in the manual about how to do this.
A couple of users mentioned that they initially put the chain on the wrong way round. This isn’t an issue – you will simply find that it doesn’t cut and you will need to change it round.
Design and Construction
The WEN 4017 is constructed mainly from hard plastic. This means it isn’t as robust as some saws available but ensures that the product is light and easy to use.
In terms of design, the right side of the saw is shown below. It has a traditional rear handle with a large trigger switch for easy operation. The handle also has a hand guard as well as a cable strain relief notch which helps to prevent the extension and power cords separating during use.
The oil cap is positioned on the top of the saw at a slight angle and just below this is the reservoir window. The diagram above also shows the controls for keeping the cutting equipment properly tensioned. As you can see these buttons are large and easy to use.
The diagram above shows a view of the left side of the saw. On the front of the saw is a set of metal bumper spikes which help to provide control and stability during use. There is a front guard to protect the operator’s left hand and just behind this is the wrap around handle to give the user leverage from different angles. You can also see the small safety button which is used to start the saw.
The saw does require assembly, however clear instructions are provided and a common theme amongst users is that this is very easy to do and takes little more than 10 minutes.
As mentioned, this isn’t the most durable product on the market, however it is perfectly capable of standing up the type of cutting for which it was designed.
The 4017 is driven by a 12 Amp motor which is capable of delivering just under 2hp and 2.2Nm torque. If you’re not sure what torque is, it is simply a measure of how much force is placed on an object causing it to rotate. The greater the torque generally means the better the cutting power and performance. As indicated, this saw delivers 2.2Nm of torque which is just slightly less than say the Husqvarna 445 45cc Gas chainsaw (2.4Nm) so the WEN has a reasonable bite.
As this is an electric model, you will of course require an extension cord to go along with it. The extension should be suitable for outdoor use and be the correct gauge. Using the wrong gauge can either result in not enough power being delivered to the saw or even worse cause damage. The manufacturer recommends that the maximum length cord should be 100 feet and that this should be a minimum of 14 gauge. In my view a 12 gauge cord would be more suitable, however as these can cost almost as much as the saw itself this is really a judgement call.
In summary, this tool is plenty powerful enough to cope with the cutting tasks for which it was designed.
Chain Oil System
It is important to keep the cutting equipment properly lubricated at all times. The WEN has an automatic oiling system which means that there is no need to release the oil manually to the bar.
All you need to do is to ensure that the oil reservoir is kept topped up at all times by adding oil through the cap on top of the saw. Any quality bar oil can be used and this should be vegetable based if you are pruning.
The oil reservoir has a capacity of 3.4 oz. (100ml) and you can expect around 10 minutes cutting time for each 100ml used. There is an oil level indicator which shows exactly how much oil is remaining and the tank should be refilled when the level falls below one quarter capacity.
Please note: No oil is supplied with this purchase, although these days this is not uncommon.
This saw is equipped with a number of safety features, including:
- Front and rear guards to protect the hands from flying debris or problems with the chain.
- Low kickback cutting equipment. The Oregon Low Profile chain meets all the low kickback requirements of ANSI B.175.1.
- Safety lock which prevents accidental start-up.
- Bumper spikes to provide stability when cutting.
Even though this is a light and easy to use saw, it is recommended that appropriate safety gear such as eye wear and gloves are worn during use.
Thanks to its plastic construction this saw weighs just under 10lbs. This is very light for a 16 inch saw and should be within the handling capabilities of most people.
The 4017 comes with an operator’s manual and protective sheath for the guide bar.
- Cuts well
- Easy to start and use
- Tool-less chain tensioning system
- Low price
- Not the most solid construction
- Chain can come off if not kept properly tensioned
At the time of writing there are only around 45 reviews online for this product so any conclusions have to be treated with an element of caution.
That said, overall the reviews were positive and the weighted average of reviews on various websites scored this product at 4.4/5 which is a decent score.
Consumers like the fact that it is lightweight, easy to use and has good cutting power. They are also impressed with the low price.
In terms of negatives, the main problem people reported was that the chain has a tendency to slip off the bar, although a number of users did concede that this was because they had neglected to keep an eye on the chain tension.
You should buy this saw if:
- You have light/medium cutting work to do around your property.
- Your cutting is within 100 feet of a power outlet.
- You want a saw which is quiet and easy to use.
- You want a lightweight saw which is easy to handle.
- You want a low cost saw.
You should not buy this saw if:
- Quality is important to you.
- You have a lot of heavy cutting tasks to carry out.
The WEN comes with a 2 Year limited warranty covering defects in materials and workmanship.
Price of WEN 4017 Electric Chainsaw
This product is currently available at under $60 which we believe represents seriously good value.