Battery powered chainsaws have been gaining in popularity in recent years and while you aren’t going to find many arborists giving up their gas saws it does make sense for more occasional users. Gas tools, especially 2-stroke also bring a host of other potential issues from EPA, noise restriction, mixing gas and other problems nobody wants. With so many of the Makita 18V LXT batteries and tools already out in the field this bare tool HCU02ZX2 ($394, Amazon) will make a lot of sense for some people.
Performance wise we were very happy with this compact saw. The 12” size is ideal for most occasional users and cutting through 5”-10” logs it zipped right through no problem. We had anticipated some slowdown under load but really did not seeing much slowdown even through the monster 20” log we cut through in the video below. Clearly not the intended task for this tool but it handled it very well, probably could have used a more experienced operator if anything.
The tool-free chain adjustment feature is very nice and would be ideal for any field maintenance. The chain oiler was pretty much idiot proof as well as 2 safety switches to keep you from doing something stupid. If we had any complaints for this saw it would be that the two batteries positioned in the far back leave a little to be desired in terms of tool weight balance.
We do really like what the concept of two 18V to 36V because in the future there can be a lot more development to the 36V platform which most manufacturers have pretty much abandoned. Hopefully with higher 18V amp hour batteries we will see some new larger cordless tools, possibly 10” or 12” miter saws, SDS-Max rotary hammers, lawnmowers, etc.
Another good sign that Makita will be investing in the 18Vx2 platform is that they just announced a 4 port sequential 18V charger which will actually have 2 controllers so it can charge 2 batteries simultaneously before moving to the next.