Chainsaws are kind of an intimidating yard tool. They make a lot of noise and can cut down trees, and we’ve all seen a horror film where the bad guy chases someone with one. I have a little trepidation around them, too. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been scared of chainsaws because after testing the Sun Joe 24V-X2-CS16 48-Volt IONMAX Cordless Chainsaw, I realized that there are some battery-powered chainsaws that can make the experience less nerve-racking.
I’m a big fan of the move toward battery-powered yard tools. They’re easier to set up, not as loud, and better for the environment – and that’s exactly the case with this Sun Joe chainsaw. Outfitted with two 24V batteries, it’s the perfect chainsaw for new homeowners or those who are just starting to handle their own yard work.
With a 16-inch bar, this chainsaw can cut through 15.5-inch trees. For most people, this is all you need, especially if you’re not interested or ready to fell a tree in your yard. It’s the perfect length to cut through decent-sized dead limbs or to chop up some firewood to a more convenient length to fit in the fireplace or firepit.
Did I mention that it doesn’t require any tools for setup? All you have to do is buy some chain oil, add the batteries, and use the two-trigger system to get it started.
Keep reading to learn more about how this Sun Joe chainsaw did during my testing period in December. And don’t forget to check out our guide to the best chainsaws to see where this one ends up.
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.
Sun Joe 24V-X2-CS16: Key specs
|Two 24V batteries
|Maximum cutting thickness:
|33.1 x 9.45 x 8.7 in
|Weight (with battery):
Sun Joe 24V-X2-CS16: First Impressions
I’ve tested other Sun Joe products, so I wasn’t surprised that the Sun Joe 24V-X2-CS16 48-Volt IONMAX Cordless Chain Saw had the same lime green branding. The chainsaw arrived fully assembled in a box on my porch with a cover on the bar to protect the chain.
Inside the packaging were two batteries and a charging port that fits two batteries. I appreciated this aspect of the charger as I’ve tested some yard tools that require two batteries in the past and they only came with a charger with a single port. I put the batteries on the charger immediately.
The first few things I noticed about the chainsaw was how lightweight it was and that it didn’t require any tools to adjust the chain or to set it up. Although the two 24-volt batteries do equal 48 volts, it would be nice to see Sun Joe update this chainsaw to only need one battery one day. I have found that single-battery chainsaws have more power.
Sun Joe 24V-X2-CS16: Price & availability
The Sun Joe 24V-X2-CS16 48-Volt IONMAX Cordless Chain Saw is sold through Sun Joe, Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Lowe's. Although it’s fully priced at $209 for the machine, two batteries, and charger, you can find it for much cheaper on different sites, so it's worth shopping around. For instance, Amazon currently sells the lot for about $130. If you already have two Sun Joe 24V batteries on hand, you could save more money by buying the tool only for about $93 at Walmart.
I’d say that this battery-powered chainsaw is fairly affordable, or at the least, the price matches the quality of the machine. Take note that a bottle of chain oil is not provided in the box, so you’ll have to run out and get some before you can use it. This is a bit of a drawback, especially since I’ve tested lawn mowers in the past where oil was provided. However, I should note that I’ve tested three battery-powered chainsaws recently, and none had oil provided. Perhaps this is an industry-standard.
Sun Joe 24V-X2-CS16: Design
As I mentioned above, the Sun Joe 24V-X2-CS16 48-Volt IONMAX Cordless Chain Saw is light green, lightweight, and designed in a compact way. The 16-inch bar puts it in the category of medium-sized chainsaws.
The two 24-volt batteries fit on the side of the chainsaw, while the oil cap is found atop the main body of the machine. I like that it’s on the top, as it’s easier to pour chain oil into the chainsaw. There is even an oil indicator window that lets you see how full the oil container is. Also on the side of the chainsaw is a built-in tension mechanism that lets you tighten or loosen the chain without a need for tools.
There are two handles on the machine – one in the front and one in the back. A two-hand grip is always better with yard tools. Unfortunately, the front handle extends out to the left (and not equally to the right), which makes it seem like this chainsaw is better suited to right-handed individuals. I’m sure a left-handed person could use the chainsaw, but it might be a little awkward.
At the front of the chainsaw is a chain brake (it kind of looks like a handle). This chain brake will engage and lock the blade if the machine feels the chainsaw kick back. It’s a safety mechanism that you’ll definitely want in order to protect yourself.
On the back handle are the two triggers. One is located under the handle; you grip this one. The other is a button on the side of the handle. You have to pull and press both of these triggers at the same time for the machine to start. There is no power button, so essentially, once you put the batteries into the chainsaw, it’s powered up, and you should use it with caution and care.
Last but not least, on top of the chainsaw is an indicator light. If it shines yellow, that means the chainsaw is ready to use. When it’s green, that indicates the chainsaw is working normally. If it turns red, the chainsaw engine is overloading and will turn off. I doubt you’ll see the light turn red for most yard projects.
Sun Joe 24V-X2-CS16: Performance
Testing the Sun Joe 24V-X2-CS16 48-Volt IONMAX Cordless Chain Saw was an overall positive experience. It was the second battery-powered chainsaw I had ever tested.
When it comes to testing a chainsaw, I like to start out with smaller logs before working my way up to larger limbs or stumps, and that’s what I did with the Sun Joe. I tested it in my yard and my parents’ yard.
To get started, I checked the chain tension. It was tight enough, so I didn’t need to adjust it with the built-in tensioner, though I played around with it to get a feel for how it worked. I like that I didn’t need any tools to tighten the chain.
I added chain oil into the oil compartment on top of the machine. It automatically oils the chain. From there, I added the two batteries on the side. I had to press the sides of the batteries while I pushed them into the battery port.
Since I’m right-handed, I felt really comfortable with my grip on the machine. It didn’t hurt that the Sun Joe chainsaw was lightweight and produced little vibration. The Sun Joe doesn’t have a power button, so it did start up immediately when I pressed both triggers on the handle at the same time. When I wasn’t using the tool or moving from one area to another, I pushed the chain brake forward to lock the chain in place – just to be extra careful. I’d then pull it toward me to unlock the chain when I was ready to use the chainsaw.
While there is an indicator light on top of the machine that tells you when it’s ready to use or working normally, I honestly didn’t pay attention to it that much while testing the chainsaw. I’m not sure it’s useful unless the chainsaw overloads during a project and the light turns red. Even then, I might not notice it.
Now to the good part – how well does the Sun Joe chainsaw cut through tree limbs? Overall, it did about as I expected in terms of the quality and the price of the chainsaw. It sliced through small logs and limbs that were less than 15.5 inches in diameter very well. However, I was surprised that with two 48V batteries, it wasn’t more powerful than it was. I tested another chainsaw that had one 40V battery, and it was noticeably more powerful than the Sun Joe. I’m not sure why this is.
That’s not to say that this Sun Joe isn’t a quality chainsaw. It just takes a second or two longer for the chainsaw to work its way through a limb, especially if it’s a very thick limb or tree. I don’t think this will be noticeable to most consumers. It probably is only noticeable to me because I tested four chainsaws within a single month. If the Sun Joe had a boost mode, that would have likely “boosted” (sorry for the pun) my rating of the chainsaw.
Even then, I have to convey that this chainsaw will be great for most homeowners who want to prune the trees in their yards. With the bumper spikes, I was able to control this chainsaw impeccably; plus, the batteries did not die after two 30-minute testing sessions, which is a win in my book. It doesn’t have a bar length that will allow you to cut through super large trees, but it’ll do well on most pruning projects.
I measured a noise level reading of 86dB when testing this Sun Joe chainsaw. This is equivalent to a food blender. It was the quietest chainsaw that I had on review at the time of writing.
Storing this chainsaw is easy enough because it’s fairly compact. I’d suggest hanging it on a hook on the wall with the cover on the bar, of course.
Should I buy the Sun Joe 24V-X2-CS16?
|Price & availability
|Affordable chainsaw that’s sold at lower prices on Amazon, Walmart, etc.
|Lightweight chainsaw that feels more suited to right-handed individuals.
|Can cut through limbs that are 15.5 inches or smaller at a decent pace.
Buy it if…
You want something that’s easy to start up
There is nothing easier to use than a battery-powered gardening tool. This Sun Joe chainsaw starts up once you’ve placed the two batteries onto the machine and pressed and pulled the two triggers.
You would like a lightweight chainsaw
Chainsaws can be heavy, especially gas-powered ones. That said, I’ve tested a battery-powered one that was particularly heavy, too. The lighter the chainsaw, the longer it takes for your arms to become tired. When you’re tired, you make mistakes. This Sun Joe doesn’t vibrate or weigh that much, making it a solid buy.
You need a quality chainsaw for a decent price
For about two hundred dollars (likely less), you get a quality chainsaw that comes with two batteries. Those batteries can be used on other Sun Joe products, which is a nice bonus.
Don’t buy it if…
You have super thick trees to cut
This chainsaw can cut through a 15.5-inch-wide tree, which is quite good. However, if you have anything that’s thicker, you’re going to have to upgrade to something with a longer bar.
You want something that’s incredibly powerful
While the SunJoe can cut really well, I’ve tested other powerful battery-powered chainsaws that offer more power for a quicker, smoother cut. Plus, it lacks a boost mode.
You don’t want a chainsaw with a limited power source
Like anything that is battery-powered, the Sun Joe batteries will eventually die, so if you have an extensive pruning project, you could run into the issues of the batteries dying. You’ll need two additional backup batteries to keep going or will have to wait for the batteries to recharge for about an hour. A gas-powered chainsaw can always be refilled when the gas is used up.
How does the Sun Joe 24V-X2-CS16 compare?
If you want something more powerful that can cut a thicker tree, go with the Husqvarna Power Axe 350i Cordless Electric Chainsaw. Despite having only a 40V battery, I noticed the horsepower was considerably better than the Sun Joe when I tested it. Plus, it comes with a boost mode for an even more powerful cutting experience. If only it didn’t cost over twice as much.
Ego offers a 16-inch battery-powered chainsaw called the Power+ CS1613 16-inch 56-volt Lithium-ion Cordless Chainsaw. It has a lot of the same features as the Sun Joe – including a built-in tensioner and chain brake. While the Ego might be slightly more expensive, with a 56-volt battery, it’s likely to be more powerful than the Sun Joe chainsaw.
If you’d rather have a gas-powered chainsaw, go with the Poulan Pro PR4016 16-inch chainsaw. Remember – a gas-powered chainsaw is not limited by a battery dying during a pruning job. In addition to a chain brake feature, Poulan Pro provides 2-stroke oil in the purchase of this similarly priced product.
How I tested the Sun Joe 24V-X2-CS16
The Sun Joe 24V-X2-CS16 48-VOLT IONMAX Cordless Chain Saw arrived quickly at my door. After charging the battery and adding chain oil, I set to work testing the chainsaw on pre-cut logs and trees in my own yard and my parents’ yard. I made sure to test all the elements of the chainsaw to provide a comprehensive review.
Find out more about how we test.