Though these machines are often more expensive than their gas or corded electric counterparts, they offer a number of major benefits.
They are much quieter, lighter and less harmful to the environment than gas tools, as well as infinitely more portable than corded electric ones.
The Oregon PowerNow CS250E is probably the absolute best consumer cordless chainsaw on the market and maybe the best overall, even taking into account the pro models.
If you are in the market for a new chainsaw and you are ready to join the cordless chainsaw revolution, you should start your shopping with a close look at the PowerNow CS250E.
Oregon chainsaw review: the PowerNow CS250E
Key features at a glance
What can the Oregon PowerNow CS250E be used for?
Starting and operating the Oregon PowerNow CS250E
Design and handling
Chain and guide bar
Pros and cons
Key features at a glance
- 40 Volt Lithium Ion battery pack
- Tough, 14 inch bar
- Trigger-pull start
- Instant start
- Weighs just 10.5 pounds
- Power Sharp integrated chain sharpening system
- Automatic chain and bar lubrication
What can the Oregon PowerNow CS250E chain saw be used for?
Rather than try to describe in detail what this cordless Oregon chainsaw can do, I thought it might be best to let you see it in action with this video from Oregon.
One word of warning, unless you’re into heavy metal, I suggest you turn the sound down.
As you can see, the CS250E is capable of cutting through logs as large as 10 to 12 inches in diameter.
It is ideal for cleaning up from storm damage, plus it is perfect for homeowners in residential areas thanks to its quiet and clean operation.
Since it is cordless, you do not need to stay tethered to an electrical outlet while you use the machine.
Even though it runs on a battery, the Endurance battery pack that this machine comes with can give you enough power to trim up to 250 two to three inch branches on a single charge.
Want to know how fast this saw can cut? This is what Oregon says about cutting speeds with the Endurance battery pack (which is what the CS250E is fitted with):
With an Endurance battery pack, in 2 to 3 inch (5-7cm) diameter limbs, the chainsaw will make a cut in approximately 1 second. In 3 to 6 inch (7-15 cm) diameter limbs, the chainsaw will take approximately 4 seconds, while large 8 to 10 inch (20-25 cm) diameter cuts will take approximately 25 seconds. This performance may vary with user technique, chain sharpness, and hardness of the wood. Cutting speeds with a Standard battery pack are very similar in small diameter limbs.
If you require a quiet and clean running chain saw with maximum power, the CS250E could be the ideal machine for you. It can be used indoors and outdoors with equal effectiveness.
Starting and Operating the Oregon PowerNow CS250E chainsaw
If you’re used to the mix, prime and pull experience of starting gas-powered chainsaws, you will be taken aback by how easy this machine is to start and operate.
When you have the battery charged, it starts immediately. No recoil cords need to be pulled, and there is certainly no priming or choking necessary.
The machine is equipped with a soft ramp start up system, which means that it does not immediately kick into its top speed when you start it. This greatly reduces fatigue and the chance for injuries. On full speed the chain spins at a maximum 6,400 rpm when spinning free.
This chainsaw is definitely more powerful than you might initially give it credit for.
Because of this, you can begin your cut lightly and let the saw do the work for you. You will be pleasantly surprised by the machine’s ability to do its work.
Design and handling
The CS250E is designed to be light and ergonomically sound.
It weighs 12lb (5.4kg) when complete with bar and chain and battery. The battery pack weighs 2.7lb (1.2kg), so the unit alone weighs only 9.3lb (4.3kg)
This is actually pretty impressive, since cordless products are often know for the extra weight caused by the battery packs. In comparison, the Husqvarna 450 gas powered chain saw weighs 11lb without bar and chain and the Makita UC3530A corded electric chainsaw weighs 14lb with bar and chain.
Because of this, operating it is almost effortless.
Its rear handle has a soft and pleasant grip, while the top handle is situated perfectly for using the machine in an up and down cutting motion.
Since it is powered by electricity and not gas, you will also notice the lack of fumes, which can make cutting with a gas-powered machine an unpleasant experience.
The absence of noise is also a great benefit when using the saw. You can actually think in the silence between cuts!
At the heart of any cordless power tool is the battery. This is what makes or breaks a tool since it affects all aspects of performance and usability.
And this where the Oregon PowerNow CS250E scores very highly. The CS250E is fitted with Oregon’s (nominal) 37 Volt lithium ion Endurance battery pack.
Lithium ion batteries are superior to other battery types used in cordless hand tools, such as Nickle-Cadmium (Ni-Cad), because they:
- have a high power to weight ratio
- do not fade, delivering constant power throughout the charge
- have no ‘memory effect’, which means you don’t have to fully discharge the battery each time before recharging
- stay charged even when left off the charger for months at a time.
The Endurance battery pack differs from Oregon’s Standard battery pack in that it has 20 cells compared to the Standard pack’s 10 cells. Although the Endurance pack weighs more ( 2.7lb compared to 1.7lb), it delivers a longer run time and much increased power for faster cutting speeds, especially with large diameter wood.
Key battery pack facts
- The Endurance pack will deliver about 250 cuts of 2 to 3 inch diameter limbs per charge (the Standard pack will deliver about 50% of this performance
- Cuts per charge decrease substantially as the diameter of cuts increase
- When completely discharged, the Endurance pack will take about 2 hours to recharge fully (compared with 1 hour for the Standard pack)
- Both types of pack will last for about 1000 charge-discharge cycles.
Chain and guide bar
The Oregon PowerNow CS250E comes with a 14 inch guide bar, which is bigger than virtually any other cordless chainsaw.
The bar and chain are kept lubricated by an automatic oiling system, so you do not need to worry about keeping the components oiled while you are using the machine.
One terrific feature of this saw is the Power Sharp system.
Incredibly, this system allows you to sharpen the chain in 3 to 5 seconds while the saw is in use.
This is simply one of the most efficient and useful innovations in chainsaw technology and works by means of a specially engineered diamond resurfacing link/sharpening stone.
You’ll get 10 20 sharpenings per chain and none of the delays that occur when you have to sharpen by hand.
The chain itself is 3/8inch low profile with a .050 inch gauge.
You can use other chains on the saw but the self-sharpening feature will only work with Powersharp chains. If you fit a different kind of chain you’ll need to remove the sharpening stone.
Chainsaws have a well-deserved reputation for being dangerous and the most dangerous aspect of working with chainsaws is dealing with kickback.
Kickbacks happen when the chainsaw hits a hard pocket and it bounces back toward the user.
To combat this phenomenon, Oregon has fitted the PoweNow CS250E with a low kickback chain and guide bar combination.
The CS250E also features a chain brake so that the chain is stopped in the event of a kickback.
Additionally, the machine includes a safety trigger interlock so that the saw cannot be started accidentally.
If you are averse to assembly, you will be happy to know that the Oregon PowerNow CS250E comes fully assembled in most cases.
In cases where the saw has been shipped with the bar and chain detached, you will need to install those parts. Fortunately, it only takes a couple of minutes to install them. You should also fill the oil reservoir with Oregon bar and chain oil before you begin to operate the saw.
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Here are the main dimensions of the Oregon CS250E:
- Cutting bar length – 14 inches
- Total weight – 12 pounds (including battery)
- Battery pack weight – 2.7 pounds
- Chain pitch – 3/8 inch
- Chain gauge – 0.5 inches
One of the great pleasures of owning an electric chainsaw versus a gas-powered model is the fact that there is very little maintenance to perform.
Basically, all you will need to do is make sure the machine is kept clean, undamaged and lubricated properly.
Inspecting the saw for cracks or other damage is important, as is making sure that the chain is tensioned properly before each use.
This saw does not have a tool-less chain tensioning feature, but tensioning the chain only involves turning a screw, so it’s not difficult.
One luxury you might allow yourself, so as to ensure that you always have power on demand, is to keep a spare Oregon PowerNow Endurance Battery Pack.
Pros and Cons
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There are a lots of good things about this Oregon chainsaw. Here are some of them:
- Light weight
- Very quiet operation
- No emissions
- Great power
- Lithium Ion battery for no-fade power
- Power Sharp chain sharpening system
- Automatic bar and chain oiling
- Ergonomic design
- No need for gasoline or power cords
- The ultimate in portability.
These are the downsides, although they mostly come with the territory of cordless chainsaws, rather than with this particular saw:
- Somewhat expensive
- Not as powerful as higher grade gas-powered saws
- Work stops when the battery needs charging
- no tool-less chain tensioning
Amazon.com is a great place to read customer product reviews and ratings. At this time, there are a total of 12 reviews for the Oregon PowerNow CS25E on the site.
Out of a maximum of five stars, the saw has achieved an outstanding rating of 4.8 stars. Ten users gave it the maximum score, while the remaining two reviewers awarded it with four stars. So that’s 100% of reviews at 4 stars or more.
There are a lot of positive comments regarding this chainsaw. For the most part, consumers have been pleased and even a bit surprised at the amount of power this saw provides. One reviewer stated that she has been reluctant to use chainsaws since she is a 65 year-old widow. That changed when she used this Oregon machine thanks to its light weight, ergonomic design and ease of use.
People have had very few negative things to say about the CS250E. One reviewer stated that this machine would probably not suit those who perform larger jobs consistently. Another reviewer said that the CS250E would not be well-received by those who like to lean into their chainsaws for more power.
Here are a couple of review extracts:
Fist a 4 star reviewer:
We used it to cut through a variety of wood, ranging from branches less than an inch thick, to a fallen spruce tree 14 inches in diameter. The power was sufficient to pull the PowerSharp (3/8 inch low profile) chain through almost anything we asked, as long as we let the saw do the work.
Battery powered saws are not for everyone. If you cut big timber, like to lean on your saw, or expect high revs, they are not for you. If you do occasional cutting, need a grab-and-go saw for maintenance tasks, don’t want to (or can’t) store gasoline, this is one you should definitely look at.
The saw is much quieter than a gas chainsaw; about as loud as an electric reciprocating saw. The noise stops when you are not actually cutting. There are no 2-cycle fumes. There is no pulling of a starter rope or the frustration of Read more …
Second a 5 star review (and from a cordless saw skeptic, at that):
Due to the skeptic I am, I was prepared to return this saw when it arrived because I just knew that there was no way a battery powered saw could do much of anything compared to a gas powered saw, especially since the directions state not to apply alot of downward pressure while cutting. I figured that the chain would just sieze up if you did that. Well, I was sadly mistaken! Right out of the box, after putting a charge into the battery, I tested it out on some 5″ and 6″ limbs on my trees, what an amazing job it did! I couldn’t ask for a better cutting saw. Oh, and by the way, you don’t need to Read more …
The Oregon PowerNow CS250E is not a cheap option, but then it is not a ‘cheap’ machine.
It is a well-built, high spec, innovative chainsaw that comes highly recommended by Outdoorpowerbuddy.com and others.
Check out the links below for the latest price. Amazon is usually the cheapest online for this saw.
Buy the Oregon PowerNow CS250E 14-Inch 40 Volt Max Lithium-Ion Chain Saw With Endurance Battery Pack now at Amazon. It is often available with free shipping.
If you are looking for a lower-cost alternative to the CS250E, you might want to consider the Oregon PowerNow CS250S cordless chainsaw.
It is identical to the CS250E, but it comes with the less-powerful Standard battery pack.
Although the battery is not as powerful, it takes half the time to charge and reduces the overall weight of the saw by 1lb.
The CS250S sells for approximately $100 less than the CS2500E, making it a more affordable alternative to its big brother.
What do you think?
If you’ve got one of these Oregon cordless chainsaws, do you agree with this assessment?
Let us know what you think in the comments or reviews section below.
Ready to buy
Buy the Oregon PowerNow CS250E 14-Inch 40 Volt Max Lithium-Ion Chain Saw With Endurance Battery Pack now at Amazon. Often available with free shipping.