Makita HCU02C1 LXT Cordless Chainsaw, 36-volt Lithium-Ion
In its class, the Makita HCU02C1 cordless chainsaw is the top of the woodpile. Makita practically invented cordless tools and their reputation speaks for itself. If you want the benefits of a cordless chainsaw but demand top performance, then the Makita is your tool especially if you are already invested in their suite of other 36 volt tools.
The price may scare some folks off and it’s a hefty one, but in this case you get what you pay for. Make no mistake, if you a truly a weekend warrior and just plan on pruning back your property twice a year, you can make due with other quality cordless units for much less money. But if you plan to regularly limb and cut trees, or you need a saw that can handle carpentry and framing needs, the additional cost of this Makita cordless chainsaw will more than pay for itself in performance and quality.
Weighing in a 10 pounds puts this saw on the heavier size for its class but it is extremely well balanced and quite easy to handle from a ladder or when doing overhead work. Much of the weight comes from the battery but most will appreciate the trade-off between weight and power delivery.
If you have used any other 36 volt Makita gear, then you won’t be surprised by the output and capacity of the included lithium ion battery. Cordless chainsaws are notorious battery eaters and having a spare on hand is great for extended work times although one battery is plenty for the average homeowner’s typical usage. If you haven’t upgraded your cordless kit to 36 volt yet (we can’t blame you for suffering for sticker shock on a 36 v kit) Makita actually makes an adapter that allows most 36v tools to run on two 18 volt batteries. This backward compatibility is a great way to help out loyal Makita customers and a real positive nod to customer-centric attitude of the company.
As with other cordless saws, maintenance is a thing of the past. This Makita has adjustable automatic chain lubrication with large oil reservoir and large oil filling port with view window to easily add and check bar oil level
The 12” bar on the HCU02C1 is big enough for most jobs in the yard and the job site and contributes to the overall balance of the tool. The chain performance is good and replacements are readily available. Of course, like with any cordless saw, keeping the chain sharp is the key to extending the run time of the battery as a dull blade will force the motor to work much harder, especially in hard woods such as oak or hemlock. Chain adjustments are tool-less and easy although rarely required under most conditions. As expected, the Makita has a front hand guard which engages the electric brake, something to be appreciated on a saw this strong.
In the field, the Makita cordless chainsaw performs admirably, whether cutting trees down or bucking them up. The 1650 FPM motor is fast and rock solid and doesn’t overheat or stall under normal use. In fact, it is preferable for limbing work and its lightweight makes it perfect for working off a roof or ladder. It makes an excellent tool for framing or timber framing and is great for cutting beams or joists.
We put one through a weekend of demolition during testing and outside of additional chain sharpenings due the materials we were working with, it performed like a champ. It’s great when you need more than a sawzall but less than a full-bar chainsaw and a must when working indoors. We avoided downtime by using two batteries but found that even one battery provided an entire day of occasional use. The Makita is reasonably quiet too which is nice if you have a full day of cutting in store.
The Bottom Line
You might balk at the price of this unit, especially considering other options in the cordless category as well as comparable gas units that are available. To address both concerns; there is not a cordless unit that can compete head to head with the Makita’s combination of performance, quality, and reputation. Similarly, the Makita eliminates the hassles of gas units: mess, maintenance, and weight. And this cordless unit will pay for itself in saved fuel costs, storage safety issues, and it will start and run reliably regardless of weather conditions or state of repair.
Bar Length: 12 in.
Batteries Included: 1
Battery Type: Li-Ion
Chain Speed: 1,650 FPM
Noise: 89 dB (No Load), 90 dB (Load)