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Which? tries out new Makita cordless chainsaw

Can the DUS353Z cordless chainsaw match a petrol model?

Makita has released a cordless chainsaw that uses twin 18V batteries to give extra power. In our trials, we haven’t been impressed by many cordless chainsaws, as they often fail to deliver the power needed to cut large logs. So we were intrigued to see whether it could cope in our first look review.

The DUS353Z uses two 18V Li-ion batteries that sit either side of the body. This should, in theory, give it more power than many cordless chainsaws, but this comes at a considerable cost. Including the batteries and charger, this chainsaw will set you back around £400, compared with half that price for a petrol chainsaw.

Makita is best known for professional tools used by the building trade, and this cordless tool is one of many which use the same interchangeable battery. However, can it come close to one of our Best Buy petrol chainsaws from brands that are better known for their chainsaws?

Makita DUS353Z chainsaw

This is Makita’s largest cordless chainsaw and the only one with twin batteries. You can vary the speed using a trigger on the handle that we found easy to use without being too sensitive.

It has a large metal spike bumper, and the chain oil is automatically applied to the bar. There’s tool-free tensioning, so you can adjust how tightly the chain sits on the bar without having to reach for the tool set. This all means that it’s ready to run almost from the moment you get it out of the shed.

The battery-power indicators are easy to read,and the chain-oil reservoir is made of clear plastic so you can plainly see when you need to refill it.

This chainsaw has an auto-power-off feature, which turns the machine completely off after about 10 seconds of inactivity. This is a safety feature, which means you have to press the ‘on’ button again to start.

Find out how we rated this chainsaw when we tried it out in our first look review.

Is a petrol or cordless chainsaw best?

The advantages of a cordless chainsaw are immediately apparent when you use one for the first time. They are far quieter than petrol models and this is a huge boon to those of us that want to cut wood for an open fire or woodburner without disturbing the neighbours. Obviously, they don’t have a cable, which makes them inherently safer than corded electric models, as a cable is a trip hazard and it’s all too easy to cut through it, risking electric shock.

However, cordless models are no lighter than petrol models, as the weight of the batteries is roughly the same as a petrol engine. Also you will have a lengthy recharge time with most batteries, and even those that can recharge in around 30 minutes take longer than refuelling from a petrol can. You will also need access to a power socket to recharge the battery.

When considering power relative to price, there is still a disparity between cordless and petrol chainsaws. Our cheapest Best Buy petrol chainsaw is less than half the price of our only cordless Best Buy chainsaw.

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