DeWalt 20V MAX 8 in. Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw review

It'll cut small trees, limbs, and logs quickly and smoothly

Dewalt 20V MAX 8 in Brushless Cordless Chainsaw
(Image: © Alex Temblador)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

The DeWalt 20V MAX 8 in Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw weighs less than 9 lbs. and is the perfect size for small jobs around the yard. Even with a 20V battery, it packs a lot of power and provides smooth and even cuts with little effort on your part. It can cut through 8-inch logs, trees, and branches with it’s auto-oiling chain bar. While it may not have a kickback brake or best suit left-handed folks, it does have a tip guard and a two-handed trigger system for some safe assurances.

Pros

  • +

    Tip guard

  • +

    Lightweight

  • +

    Auto-oiling 8-inch chain bar

  • +

    Powerful and efficient cutting

  • +

    Tension tool included in bar cover

Cons

  • -

    No kickback brake

  • -

    Not designed for left-handed people

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With an 8-inch bar, the DeWalt 20V MAX 8 in Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw is your go-to for smaller jobs around the yard, whether it be pruning small branches or splitting firewood to a better size. Just because it’s small doesn’t mean this DeWalt chainsaw has any less power or capabilities. In fact, its power output impressed me (just as every other DeWalt tool does!) and it’s cutting capabilities were superb.

Although it’s compact and fairly lightweight, unfortunately, I don’t think you can use this chainsaw with one hand. At least I couldn’t and feel safe and secure of body. And if I were a left-handed person? I don’t think I could use this chainsaw comfortably. 

I tested all the different features of this chainsaw on the trees in my own backyard and I share all my findings below. Keep reading to see who this mini chainsaw best suits and why it’s one of the best chainsaws to have on hand.

Alex Temblador
Alex Temblador

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.

DeWalt 20V MAX 8 in. Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw: Key specs

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Model no.:DCCS623L1
Fuel/power source:20V battery
Maximum cutting thickness:8 inches
Size/dimensions:20.5 x 9.5 x 4 in
Bar length:8 in.
Weight (with battery):8.4 lbs

DeWalt 20V MAX 8 in. Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw: First Impressions

Upon removing the DeWalt 20V MAX 8 in Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw from the cardboard box it arrived in, I thought it was quite compact. It came fully assembled with a sheath over the 8-inch bar.

At first, I thought the chainsaw could be used one-handed but when I picked it up, I realized that there was no way I could safely use the chainsaw with one hand due to the positioning of the triggers and the weight. Maybe someone who had a larger hand and was stronger than me could, but that's still pushing it. 

The chainsaw came with a 20V battery and charger. It took the battery about three hours to fully charge. There was no oil provided, so I used some oil that I had on hand to fill the small oil container.

I also noticed right away that the chainsaw didn’t have a kickback brake, but rather, was outfitted with a tip guard. This was the first chainsaw I would be testing with a tip guard.

DeWalt 20V MAX 8 in. Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw: Price & availability

Although this is a pretty small chainsaw, don’t expect it to come cheap. The DeWalt 20V MAX 8 in Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw is sold for about $219 with the battery and charger included. You can buy the tool only for $169. Oil is not included with the purchase of this chainsaw.

It’s not sold on the DeWalt site, but if you click “Buy Now,” you can see that this tool is sold through reseller sites such as Amazon and Home Depot.

The price tag on this tool doesn’t surprise me. DeWalt is a little pricier than most brands but that has to do with the quality of the tools they produce. If you want a little more bang for your buck, go with the DeWalt 20V MAX XR DCCS620P1 Battery Chainsaw. The bar is 12 inches and the price is about $30 more than this chainsaw at Home Depot. I even think it has a better design for a two-handed grip. 

Score: 4/5

DeWalt 20V MAX 8 in. Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw: Design

While the DeWalt 20V MAX 8 in Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw is compact and lightweight, it’s not light enough for me to comfortably hold it with only one hand. That being said, the hand grip is comfortable and has a trigger. There is a button on the left side, above the trigger. The button and the trigger must be pushed and pulled at the same time to start the machine. Unfortunately, because the button is on the left side, it makes it unlikely that a person who is left-handed could use this tool (unless they're willing to hold it like a right-handed person). 

Another handle is placed right on top of the main handle. It’s like an extension of the main handle, only a bit thinner. I wish it was perpendicular to the main handle to allow me to better place both my hands for a more comfortable and secure grip. 

The oil cap is on the left side of the tool's body. There is an opaque viewfinder on the oil chamber but it’s not clear enough to easily tell the oil level. Not to mention, the oil cap is easy to screw off but it takes a little bit of finesse to screw it back on.

The battery is placed at the back of the chainsaw. An eight-inch bar extends out the front. There are some plastic built-in ridges on the front of the chainsaw. They’re a version of bumper spikes.

This chainsaw comes with a sheath that clips together over the bar. Built into the sheath is a spot that holds a tension tool that can be used to adjust the tension of the chain. The DeWalt mini chainsaw doesn’t have a kickback brake. Instead, there is a removable metal tip guard on the front. DeWalt says it’s designed to “provide stability during upcuts.” They can also reduce kickback. A lot of people don’t like them because they can get in the way of cutting if you're not used to them. 

Score: 4/5 

DeWalt 20V MAX 8 in. Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw: Performance

I was really hoping that I could use this mini chainsaw with just one hand. It’s only 8.4 lbs., but I could tell right away that using only one hand would be a bad idea.

After fitting the battery to the chainsaw, I took it into my backyard and found a variety of limbs, branches, and logs that ranged from 1.5-7 inches in diameter. The chainsaw didn’t vibrate that much in my hand, and it had an 84 decibel output. This is about what I expect from battery-powered chainsaws.

I started by cutting some trees between 4-6 inches in width and was amazed by the quality. Every time I use a DeWalt product, they’ve been consistent in great power output. This mini chainsaw was no different. It sliced through trees with ease and little effort on my part. I only had to guide the chainsaw and it did all the work for me. This surprised me a bit because the chainsaw only uses a 20V battery. That goes to show that you don’t always need a 40V or 60V battery to get good performance.

The chainsaw did well with logs and branches that were larger too, as long as they were less than 8 inches of course. For smaller branches, I had to use the chainsaw on the part of the limb closest to the trunk. 

Like I said, I wish I could have used this chainsaw with one hand, but I found it a lot more comfortable to use two hands with this chainsaw because I had more control. There is a second handle above the main one, but it didn’t feel comfortable to put my left hand there for control, so I put it on the main handle. Perhaps if that second handle was perpendicular to the main handle, it would have made for a better design.

As for the plastic bumper spikes, I really didn’t notice them. I don’t think they make much difference in me controlling the chainsaw. The tip guard didn’t get in my way when cutting, though perhaps that's because I was mindful of it. If I had cut anything that was exactly 8 inches, it might have been a slight issue, but I mostly cut things that were 7 inches or smaller.

If you’re looking for a small chainsaw that can do quick jobs around the yard, this DeWalt mini chainsaw is a great choice. The battery lasts long and the tool itself cuts quickly and smoothly. Once again, I’m impressed with DeWalt.

Score: 4/5

Should I buy the DeWalt 20V MAX 8 in. Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw?

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Score Card
AttributeNotesRating
Price & availabilityPrice reflects the brand and performance, but somewhat pricey for a small chainsaw; sold at Amazon, Home Depot, etc. ★★★★
DesignMini chainsaw with an 8-inch bar that isn’t suitable to left-handed folks ★★★★
PerformanceGreat power output cutting through limbs, trees, and logs less than 8 inches. Better to use two hands to control. ★★★★

 Buy it if… 

You need a chainsaw for smaller jobs

This chainsaw has an 8-inch bar, meaning it can cut anything that’s eight inches or less in diameter. It's the perfect tool for small jobs.

You like the eco-friendliness of a battery-powered chainsaw

Say no to noise and air pollution with a battery-powered chainsaw like this DeWalt chainsaw. Plus, having a battery means it’s quicker to start up.

You want a smaller chainsaw with great power output

Just because the chainsaw is small, doesn’t mean it’s “weaker” in power. Like the other battery-powered DeWalt products I’ve tried, this mini chainsaw has great power output that helps it to more easily slice through tree limbs and logs with little effort.

 Don’t buy it if…  

You want better safety features

While it does have a two-trigger button system, it lacks a kickback brake that engages if the chainsaw should kickback. The tip guard on the bar is helpful in preventing kickback but it can kind of get in the way when you’re cutting. Even an additional power button would provide an extra level of safety.

You are left-handed

This mini chainsaw has a two-trigger system – a button and a trigger. Unfortunately, the button is on the right side of the handle so if you tried to hold the chainsaw with your left hand, you couldn’t push the button with your pinky finger (or at least, it’d be difficult to do).

You’re on a budget

You can absolutely find chainsaws of this size for much cheaper. There are even some larger chainsaws that are priced the same as this smaller one.

How does the DeWalt 20V MAX 8 in. Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw compare?

If you want a small chainsaw, but one that can tackle small to medium jobs, go for the DeWalt 20V Max XR DCCS620P1 12 in. Battery Chainsaw. The 12-inch bar means you can handle larger tree limbs. Plus, it has a kickback brake and is only $30 more.

The Zeeksaw 8 inch Cordless Mini Chainsaw also has an eight-inch bar but it’s designed so that you can hold it with one hand. It doesn’t hurt that the chainsaw has a built-in tension tool and is way cheaper to boot.

Let’s say you don’t necessarily need an 8-inch bar. If you have super small jobs, go for the Milwaukee M12 Fuel Hatchet. The lightweight chainsaw has a built-in tensioner and can cut tree limbs that are less than 6 inches in diameter. Unfortunately, it’s a bit expensive for such a small chainsaw.

How I tested the DeWalt 20V MAX 8in Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw

I tested the DeWalt 20V MAX 8in Brushless Cordless Pruning Chainsaw in my backyard a few times. It’s the fifth chainsaw I’ve tested and the smallest one. I made sure to test it on trees and pre-cut logs that were less than 8 inches in diameter. Every element of the chainsaw was tested to provide a full review.

Find out more about how we test.

Alex Temblador

Alex Temblador is a Dallas-based award-winning author and freelance writer that has covered home, design, architecture, and art in publications such as Real HomesGardeningetcHome & GardensDwellArchitectural DigestTech Radar, Tom’s Guide, among many others. She recently bought her first home, a green Sears & Roebuck house that's over 100 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, GardeningetcReal Homes, and Homes & Gardens buying guides and reviews which has helped to expand the richness of her first-time homeowner life. The Mixed Latinx writer can usually be found working or relaxing in her outdoor spaces.