In our search for the best in category, we have researched an extensive lineup of electric chainsaws. There are so many variants out there and this is a huge task, but the DEWALT 20V Max XR Compact 12-inch chainsaw has risen to the top.
Here, we give you a rundown of the features of this little workhorse and let you know what it can do and which uses it is best suited for.
If you already are familiar with the DEWALT 20V Max XR, you can click to check the price on Amazon right now.
Brief History of DEWALT Products
Raymond DeWalt, inventor of the radial arm saw, started the DEWALT company in 1923. In 1960, the company was sold to Black & Decker, which is now a subsidiary company of Stanley Black & Decker. The company has seven manufacturing plants in the USA.
Little Workhorse DEWALT 20V Max XR Compact
The DEWALT 20V Max XR Compact 12 inch chainsaw is a surprising little powerhouse in a small package. Lithium-ion batteries have improved and moved the battery-powered tool market forward by leaps and bounds in recent years.
This saw does not have the ultimate power of a gas-powered saw, but it has its advantages for the homeowner or construction professional for low maintenance and quick starting.
Features of the DEWALT 20V Max XR (model DCCS620B):
No liquid fuel means less mess
There’s a reason you choose an electric chainsaw. For many people, that’s the advantage of avoiding the mess and inconvenience of gas engines. There’s no need for storage or mixing of gas and two stroke oil.
There’s no draining fuel at the end of the season. You don’t have to maintain or adjust the carburetor and there are no nasty exhaust fumes.
Cordless for freedom of movement
In the electric chainsaw market, cordless models win the day for those who need to use their chainsaws away from electrical outlets. There’s still a need to have electrical resources for charging the batteries, so you’ll need a spare or a means of charging the batteries if you intend to run long out in the woods.
Quick, reliable start up
Unlike a gas-powered chainsaw, the electric chainsaw is immediately on call at the squeeze of the trigger. No priming the engine. No yanking the starter rope multiple times.
This feature makes it a shoo in for best chainsaw for lighter weight people, particularly women – and I’m allowed to say that. 😎
Long run time with included battery
If you purchase the DEWALT 20V Max XR Compact 12-inch chainsaw with an included battery and charger (model DCCS620P1), you’ll get a 5 amp-hour (Ah) lithium-ion battery. This should give you up to 1.5 hours of trimming time out in your north 40, or 90 cuts of a 4×4. Your mileage may vary.
The lithium-ion battery does not hold a “memory” so you don’t need to worry about undercharging it. And the battery will generally not lose power during storage, so it will be ready to go when you are.
Quiet compared to gas chainsaws
Electric chainsaws in general are quieter than their gas chainsaw counterparts and the DEWALT 20V Max XR Compact is no exception. Users tout that it is especially quiet. Without the noise of the internal combustion engine, the decibel level is significantly less.
Does this mean you don’t need hearing protection? Probably not. Hearing protection is still recommended, but you may be able to get away with a less robust headset or even just earplugs.
Brushless technology for longer motor life
The DEWALT 20V Max XR is equipped with a brushless motor, enhancing the longevity of your chainsaw motor. Brushless technology negates the heat build-up of brush friction and the resulting voltage loss.
A brushless power tool is likely to outlive its brushed counterpart. For a more detailed explanation of brushless technology, see here.
Lightweight and compact for less user fatigue
The distance from the handle to the bar on the DEWALT 20V Max XR is generally shorter allowing you to keep the weight of the machine closer to your body.
The unit weights 7.8 lbs without the battery. The 5 Ah battery adds about 2 more pounds.
Between the compactness and the overall lighter weight of the unit, the user will experience less fatigue over a comparable period of time using a gas chainsaw.
Batteries are interchangeable with other DEWALT power tools
This chainsaw uses the 20V Max series of lithium ion batteries made for a wide variety of DEWALT power tools including impact drivers, saws, drills, and others. The 20V Max batteries are available in 2.0 Ah to 6.0 Ah.
If you purchase the battery/charger package with this chainsaw, it comes with a 5.0 Ah battery. The smaller batteries will work with the DEWALT 20V Max XR chainsaw, but the larger sizes of battery will provide better longevity of use.
Another option for power source is the new DEWALT Flex-Volt battery which can be used for 20A or 60A power requirements. This battery will automatically switch from parallel for the 20A applications to series for the 60A tools with no user input.
Simple chain and bar adjustments without tools
The unique design of the DEWALT 20V Max XR Compact chainsaw allows the chain to be adjusted with just the turn of a knob. No tools are needed. The case surrounding the bar compartment is opened by flipping up a flap handle and turning the attached bolt. No tools are required.
Low kick back bar and chain for added safety
This chainsaw comes standard with a 12 inch Oregon brand bar. The chain features special links that help minimize the tendency of the saw to kick back as it rounds the top of the bar. This type of chain provides an element of added safety to the user but extreme caution is still necessary and proper safety gear is still recommended.
Easier on the environment and your health
No exhaust emissions means lower environmental impact. Plus you will not be breathing the exhaust from a 2 stroke engine.
Fantastic Warranty and Service
Per the manual, DEWALT offers a 3 year limited warranty on defects in materials and workmanship. Additionally, they will maintain and repair parts worn by normal use for up to one year from date of purchase, free of charge. Some battery models have 2- and 3-year free service.
And, if you really don’t want to keep your chainsaw, DEWALT will take it back within 90 days, no questions asked.
You can see more about the warranty, service and return policies here.
What’s not so great about the DEWALT 20V Max XR Compact 12 inch Chainsaw
There’s not much to put in the negative column for this handy little saw. But there’s always something we need to mention.
main complaint about this saw is that the plastic bar and chain oil
port cap is difficult to open the first time, to the point of seeming
like it might break. The cap has a flip-up handle that could possibly
break if forced.
While this is definitely something that should be addressed by the manufacturer, it appears to be a relatively temporary problem if you manage to get it open the first time without breaking it.
This can be done by adding a little lubrication (some bar oil) around the threads and gently turning with a padded wrench or leaving it in the sun for a while so the volume of air inside heats and expands to help break the tension on the threads.
Another complaint that goes up against this chainsaw is that it leaks bar and chain oil in storage. We see this complaint a lot on chainsaws in general. It seems that manufacturers generally haven’t figured out how to prevent this, because pretty much all chainsaws leak bar and chain oil when in storage.
For this reason, the manufacturer recommends you drain the bar and chain oil from this particular chainsaw between uses. Or you can put absorbent material around your chainsaw. You may find this inconvenient, but we have to say this is pretty much par for the course with chainsaws.
One last thing we might mention, the chain speed of this saw (25.2 ft/s) is slower relative to its gasoline counterparts (in the 60’s ft/s). This doesn’t seem to be such an issue for the smaller branches and lumber that the saw is ideal for cutting. It may be an issue if you are intending to use the saw for larger trees regularly. You might want to consider a larger saw if this is the case.
What we really like about the DEWALT 20V Max XR Compact 12 inch Chainsaw
This chainsaw really packs a lot into a small package. It is designed to be quick to set up, easy to handle and efficient to operate. It can be ready to operate with the click of a battery after the addition of bar and chain oil.
With a squeeze of the trigger, the saw is up and running without pulling a cord. There is no mixing of oil and gasoline, no draining of the fuel tank for storage. The saw is ready for action when you are.
We like the light weight of this saw that makes it easy to handle for smaller people as well as less tiring over all. The relatively short 12 inch blade is ideal for limbing, general trimming and cutting small diameter trees, and is particularly useful for contractor work in place of a reciprocating saw or cut off saw.
The relatively quiet operation is great, too, and the lack of exhaust gases, so it’s a “healthier” option for both you and the environment.
And best of all, the batteries are interchangeable with other 20V DEWALT products so you can have one power source and charging station for multiple tools.
Who should choose the DEWALT 20V Max XR Compact 12 inch chainsaw?
- Homeowners with light chainsaw needs such as limbing, brush clearing and occasional tree removal up to 10 inch diameter
- Homeowners who process small amounts of firewood
- Infrequent chainsaw users
- Construction professionals with modest chainsaw needs such as cutting beams and 4x4s
Check out the price of the DEWALT 20V Max XR Compact 12 inch chainsaw now on Amazon.
- Ready at a moment’s notice
- Easy on and off
- No mess mixing of fuel and oil
- Lightweight and well balanced
- Quiet relative to a gas chainsaw
- Batteries are interchangeable
- Great warranty and service
- Oil cap sticks initially
- Leaks oil during storage
- Slower chain speed
Not the right chainsaw for you?
Check out our overview of best chainsaws to find the one that best suits your needs.
* Bar scabbard
If you purchase the power package, you’ll also get:
* 5 Ah battery
This chainsaw requires a chain with 3/8 inch pitch and .043 inch gauge.
Replacement chain for DEWALT 20V Max XR Compact 12 inch Chainsaw
Any quality bar and chain oil will work. You can see a selection here.
Chain sharpening file
Filing kit with guide
Yes, it’s quiet, but you should still protect your hearing. It’s the only pair of ears you’ll get!
You can find some options here.
Eye and Face Protection
Here are some choices for eye and full-face protection
Unfortunately, DEWALT does not make a case specifically for this chainsaw. Here is one possible option for you, but it will require putting a slit in the side of the bag to accommodate the bar (leave the scabbard on!).
If that idea does not suit, here are some other possible options:
Find the manual here.