If you’ve never used a chainsaw in your life, it’s probably a good idea to start out with something on the smaller side. You don’t want to come out of the gate felling thick trees. Enter the BLACK + DECKER 40V Max 12-inch Cordless Chainsaw.
With only a 12-inch bar, it’s not the largest chainsaw on the market. Rather, it’s on the smaller side as it can only cut trees and limbs that are 12 inches or less in width. Don’t worry – you’ll be able to take care of a lot of jobs around the yard with this BLACK + DECKER. Those dead limbs on the tree? No problem. A scraggly small tree that you need to remove? This chainsaw can handle that.
With a 40V battery, this chainsaw lasts long enough to get most jobs done. Although, when the battery is depleted, it does take quite some time to charge up. Surprisingly, I thought a 40V battery would mean a more powerful chainsaw, but I was left a little disappointed. Sure, it can cut through things well and efficiently, but it took a little longer (and more work on my part) to complete a job.
That being said, this BLACK + DECKER chainsaw is well-priced, and with the BLACK + DECKER brand name, you can trust that it’s made with quality materials and craftsmanship. Read on to see my full review of this chainsaw and why it’s a solid choice for most buyers, then head to our best chainsaws buyer’s guide to see how it compares.
Alex Temblador is a Dallas-based award-winning author and freelance writer who has covered home, design, architecture, and art in publications such as Tech Radar, Tom’s Guide, Real Homes, Gardeningetc, Home & Gardens, Dwell, Architectural Digest, Insider, among many others. She recently bought her first home, a green Sears & Roebuck house that's over 103 years old, sits on half an acre of land, and features a stunning wraparound porch, original hardwood floors, pocket doors, and a butler pantry.
Alex loves to test products for Top Ten Reviews, Tech Radar, and Tom’s Guide buying guides and reviews, which has helped to expand the richness of her first-time homeowner life. The Mixed Latine writer can usually be found working or relaxing in her outdoor spaces.
BLACK + DECKER 40V Max: Key specs
|Maximum cutting thickness:
|Less than 12 inches
|28.56"L x 8.81"W x 9.63"H
|Weight (with battery):
BLACK + DECKER 40V MAX: First Impressions
This chainsaw was ordered online and shipped to me in a cardboard box. Upon opening the box and removing the items within, I was really surprised that the battery was fitted into the chainsaw. That didn’t seem like a very safe thing to do until I realized that there was a zip tie around the trigger that prevented it from being engaged. I’d suggest removing the battery before cutting that zip tie off, just in case the trigger somehow becomes engaged. Nobody wants an accident. The battery wasn’t fully charged, but it did have some power.
I’d already tested a 12-inch chainsaw prior to receiving the BLACK + DECKER 40V MAX 12-inch Cordless Chainsaw. Even so, my first impression upon pulling the chainsaw out of its box was, “Wow, that bar looks longer than 12 inches.” It’s interesting how different designs can make same-sized chainsaws look different.
I placed the battery on the charger and let it charge for about four hours. This battery takes 4-5 hours to fully charge, which is quite long. This is perhaps due to the unique charger provided. Rather than a traditional battery charging port, the battery is quite small and compact so that it fits only on the terminal or the part that the battery connects to the machine for it to start.
BLACK + DECKER 40V MAX: Price & availability
If you look up the BLACK + DECKER 40V MAX 12-inch Cordless Chainsaw on the BLACK + DECKER website, you’ll see that it’s priced at $218.99 at full price. This, of course, includes the chainsaw and the battery (chain oil is not included in the price and must be bought separately). However, I’m here to tell you that the chainsaw can be bought for as low as $169.95 on Amazon and Walmart.
It’s also sold through Home Depot for $140.00 but without the battery and charger included if, for instance, you already have a 40V BLACK + DECKER battery on hand at home.
No matter what version you buy, the BLACK + DECKER is well-priced when you consider the wider market. Anything under $200 is an affordable chainsaw, and while there are some battery-powered chainsaws that are cheaper, most don’t have the name and brand recognition of BLACK + DECKER.
BLACK + DECKER 40V MAX: Design
This orange and black chainsaw is lightweight with a 12-inch bar that comes with a removable cover that should be used when the chainsaw is stored away. The battery fits on one side of the machine, while the built-in tension tool is on the other side. To tighten the chain, all you have to do is turn the tool to the right. It was tightened to perfection upon arrival, so I didn’t have to adjust the chain before using it the first time.
Atop the chainsaw is the oil container with a somewhat opaque viewfinder on the side so you can see how high the chain oil level is. It’s not as see-through as I would like. The container seems smaller than the others I’ve tested. Not to mention, it’s outfitted with a plastic basket that catches the oil and then filters it into the container. I can see the point of the basket as it forces the user not to pour a ton of oil in too fast and causes an overflow. However, it is a bit of a bother as it takes so long to pour oil into the container.
There are two handles. The back handle has a trigger on the bottom as well as a button on the top that has to be pushed forward. Both the trigger and the button must be engaged at the same time for the chainsaw to start up. This two-trigger system and the chain brake at the front of the chainsaw are two great safety features. The chain brake engages if the chainsaw kicks back while working. Unfortunately, I couldn’t engage the chain brake on my own. It seems it only engages if the chainsaw kicks back.
The front handle is a wraparound handle that allows users to turn the chainsaw in different ways if the project requires it and still maintain a two-handed grip. However, the handle extends out to the left only, which could make it a bit uncomfortable for left-handed individuals to hold the chainsaw straight on.
BLACK + DECKER 40V MAX: Performance
Once I added chain oil and the battery to the BLACK + DECKER 40V MAX 12-inch Cordless Chainsaw, I took it to the front of my yard, where I have a lot of brush. Within that brush are some trees that have found a way to grow among the mess. It’s an eye-sore in my yard, and though I’ve used some brush-cutters in the past, the brush-cutters can’t cut through some of the thicker trees and such. This is where the BLACK +DECKER chainsaw came in.
When the BLACK + DECKER chainsaw is running, it doesn’t vibrate much, and it isn’t that loud. I tested the noise level, and it came out to 87 dB, which is fairly average for battery-powered chainsaws.
I got to work on some smaller trees and branches first. The chainsaw cut through them quickly and efficiently. From there, I moved to cutting some 8-inch limbs from a tree. These limbs had already been cut before; I was going to shorten them. While the chainsaw sliced through these thicker limbs efficiently, it seemed to do so very slowly.
When I saw that this chainsaw had a 40V battery, I expected a more heavy-duty performance. I was surprised by how much strength and effort I had to add toward the chainsaw so that I could essentially push it through the limb. I’ve tested three other chainsaws recently, and I didn’t have that experience with the others. This BLACK +DECKER chainsaw does cut well, but it seems to take a bit longer and requires more energy from the user to do so, especially if you’re cutting a tree that’s 8-12 inches in width.
I should note that the chainsaw does have plastic bumper spikes that are built into the main part of the machine. I didn’t feel like they made much of a difference in assisting me with controlling the chainsaw. In fact, they didn’t seem to ‘catch’ onto the bark in the same way that metal bumper spikes do.
Overall, this chainsaw does an average job. It’s not the fastest in terms of cutting, but at least it can cut efficiently – and isn’t that the most important thing you need in a chainsaw? Plus, it is lightweight and easy to maneuver for different jobs thanks to a wrap-around handle and the battery lasted over two cutting projects. For those who are new to chainsaws, they’ll see the worth in this BLACK + DECKER.
Should I buy the BLACK + DECKER 40V MAX?
|Price & availability
|High-quality brand with a great price tag; sold at Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot.
|Lightweight chainsaw with a wrap-around handle, two- trigger system, and a chain brake that engages when the chainsaw kicks back.
|Can cut through limbs that are 12 inches or smaller efficiently but does take some time and effort to do so.
Buy it if…
Your yard is mostly full of small trees, limbs, and trunks.
This BLACK + DECKER is a good choice for the homeowner who is willing to do small pruning projects around the house. That is – they’re willing to cut trees, tree limbs, or trunks that are less than 12 inches in width.
You would like a chainsaw that’s easy to start up.
Add some chain oil and the battery, and this chainsaw starts right up. It’s even equipped with a built-in chain tension tool.
You need a good chainsaw for a good price.
Although this chainsaw is about $219 at full price, we’ve seen it sold for as low as $170 on Amazon, making it a quality buy for a good price.
Don’t buy it if…
You want a battery that charges faster.
The BLACK + DECKER 40V battery (when fully depleted) takes 4-5 hours to charge, which is quite slow. A back-up battery may be needed, especially if you have a big project to complete.
You want a chainsaw that has more power.
When testing this chainsaw, I quickly realized that although it’s really efficient in cutting trees, it didn’t seem to have the kind of power output that would allow me to quickly get through a project. This was surprising, considering it has a 40V battery.
You want a chainsaw that isn’t limited by battery power.
A battery-powered chainsaw is powered by battery and eventually, that battery will die on you. While you could purchase an extra battery to have on hand, if you want a chainsaw that isn’t limited to battery power, you’ll want to go with a gas-powered chainsaw.
How does the BLACK + DECKER 40V MAX Chainsaw compare?
Despite having a 20V battery, the Dewalt 20V Max XR DCCS620P1 12 in. Battery Chainsaw feels like it’s a lot more powerful than the Black+Decker chainsaw. Yes, it’s pricier, but that speaks to the quality of materials and power you get from the 12-inch DeWalt chainsaw.
The Greenworks 40V 12-inch Cordless Compact Chainsaw may be a little more expensive, but it has a 40V battery and a design that makes it a little more suited to both right- and left-handed people. A hassle-free push-button start is a nice addition too.
If you’re really on a budget and just need something to cut 6-inch or smaller limbs, go for the Bomves Cordless Mini 6-inch Chainsaw. It’s a one-handed chainsaw that’s super easy to use and has a battery that lasts 25-30 minutes.
How I tested the BLACK + DECKER 40V MAX
The BLACK + DECKER 40V MAX 12-inch Cordless Chainsaw was the fourth chainsaw I tested in a month. Like the others, I tested this chainsaw on different types of trees and stumps in my yard. All trees and stumps were less than 12 inches, as is required of a chainsaw that has a 12-inch bar. To write this in-depth review, I made sure to test all the features of this chainsaw.
Find out more about how we test.