If you don’t like gas-powered chainsaws but need to conduct some cutting remotely from a power source, a battery-powered saw might be the way to go. In this review, I’ll explain why the Black & Decker LCS1020 20V Lithium Ion Chainsaw is an excellent tool for dealing with small projects around the house, as well as why it would complement a larger saw in your tool collection.
This flexible small saw is both easy to use and maintain, plus it’s made by a long-established and reputable power tool manufacturer. Continue reading to learn more.
Black and Decker 20v lithium chainsaw review
For a quick detailed review, check out this video:
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details!
Handling and Performance
First, let’s have a look at what this saw is capable of. The LCS1020 is ‘excellent for pruning operations and cutting small logs up to 10 inches in diameter,’ according to the maker. This statement is unquestionably correct, but does it tell the complete story?
For minor pruning, the saw is ideal. It’s lightweight and agile, and the lack of a cord makes it ideal for close quarter cutting when the saw bar needs to get into small and tricky spaces. If you have a small yard that has been overgrown with brush, the LCS1020 will quickly remove it.
Because it’s battery-powered, it’s also a great saw to bring along on camping vacations if you need to cut up some light firewood or do work around the house where an extension cord won’t reach. Sure, your gas-powered saw can do the same thing, but it doesn’t always make sense to bring out the “big guns” only to do a few simple projects. Do you really need a 20-inch blade or the hassle of combining oil and gas to cut through a few little branches?
After establishing that this is an excellent pruning saw, what about Black & Decker’s claim that it is good for cutting small logs up to 10 inches in diameter? While the saw will surely cut through a 10 inch log, extended use at this level is likely to drain the battery soon. Many customers have stated that the saw can easily cut through branches up to 5″ or 6″ thick, but that anything thicker than that causes it to struggle. The LCS1020 will struggle more with thicker branches, and you’ll run out of battery power faster. If you have a huge one-time operation in mind, such as felling a 10-inch diameter tree, this saw can probably handle it with a little patience (and potentially a spare battery), but you’ll get the most use out of it for smaller cuts, tiny trees and shrubs, and little portions of firewood.
The LCS1020 is easy to start, much as most electric saws. All you have to do is squeeze the trigger switch after engaging the lock off switch (located on top of the rear handle). This should start the tool, at which time you can release the lock switch. Simply remove your finger from the trigger switch to stop the saw.
To summarise, this saw is simple to start, operate, and maintain. The only issue you may encounter is that the saw is so light that it bounces around on the limbs. This has been mentioned by a few users, but it shouldn’t be an issue as long as you maintain complete control of the saw. It may not be the world’s largest saw, but it is certainly deadly!
Equipment for Cutting
A 10 inch premium Oregon low kickback bar and chain are included with the Black and Decker LCS1020. Oregon is a top manufacturer of guide bars and chains, so you can be certain in the quality.
The guide bar has a useful indication on it that shows you which way the chain should be installed. This may seem self-evident to a seasoned user, but there are lots of people who have put the chain on backwards, only to find their error when the chain fails to cut. One more remark on the bar: on this saw, you cannot replace it with a larger or smaller one.
The Oregon Micro-Lite chain is the one in question. It features 40 links with a 3/8″ pitch (distance between links) and 0.043″ gauge (link thickness). This is a popular size that has been shown to have an excellent weight-to-cut ratio. You should maintain it in good shape and sharpen it as needed, just like any other chain. One thing to keep in mind is that, like other chains, if the cutters come into contact with the ground or a nail while cutting, they will quickly dull.
To sharpen the chain, use a 4.5mm file and a file holder to guarantee you achieve the proper sharpening angles every time. If you don’t already have the appropriate tools, you can buy up a sharpening kit for less than $15.
When used for its intended function of light cutting, the chain performs admirably in terms of cutting capacity. A typical issue among customers is that the chain loosens easily and needs to be adjusted on a regular basis. This would be a significant problem with some saws that require tools to adjust the chain tension. The huge chain tensioning knob on the outside of the LCS1020, on the other hand, makes tensioning the chain simple. The manual contains detailed instructions, but this is a straightforward procedure that can be completed fast and easily.
Finally, when it comes to chain tension, the manufacturer recommended that you check it frequently throughout the first few hours of operation when the saw is fresh. (After the battery has been removed.) This is the period when a chain is most prone to stretching, as it is with all saws.
Construction and Design
The LCS1020 is made of metal and durable plastic, which contributes to its lightweight. It’s not the most durable saw you’ll ever come across, but then again, it wasn’t made to be thrown around.
To avoid accidental starting, there is a lock-off button on the top of the rear rubberized handle, which works in conjunction with the trigger switch. A protection on the back handle protects the right hand from flying debris.
The front handle is the ‘half wrap’ design, which is normal on most chainsaws today, as you can see from the photos. If you prefer to grab the front handle on the side rather than the top, the battery unit on the same side of the saw may make it difficult to do so. As a result, you’ll need to hold the handle above the battery unit. A plastic guard for the left hand is located just in front of this handle.
When it comes to the powerhead, the oil cap and oil primer bulb are conveniently located on top of the unit. The screw off cap actually includes the priming bulb. On the oil reservoir, there is also a translucent window that allows you to keep an eye on the crucial chain oil level. When filling up, it also helps to avoid overspill.
The power unit, into which the battery is inserted, is located on the saw’s left side. A sprocket cover on the right hand side must be removed in order to fit the bar and chain. Because the saw does not come fully constructed, you will need to install the bar immediately after receiving it. Both the manual and the side of the sprocket cover have instructions on how to accomplish this. It’s a rather straightforward task on the LCS1020 that can be completed without the use of any tools.
Of course, if you like electric saws, the main advantage is that you won’t be restricted by a cable. If you aren’t near a power outlet, you won’t have to bother about buying the suitable length, gauge extension cord, or bringing a portable generator with you. You also won’t have to worry about a cord getting in the way of your cutting.
Black and Decker vs Dewalt 20v battery
That leads us to the power supply. A Lithium-Ion 20v 2 amp hour battery is included with the LCS1020.
Lithium-ion batteries are essentially rechargeable batteries. It offers various advantages over other types of rechargeable batteries, including being lighter, retaining a charge longer, and not having a memory effect (meaning it does not need to be entirely emptied before recharging).
It has a voltage rating of 20 volts, even though the nominal voltage is 18 volts. If you’re unsure, the nominal voltage (also known as the normal voltage) is the voltage measured halfway between fully charged and entirely depleted.
The battery is rated at two amp-hours, which means it can give two amps of electricity to a load for one hour, one amp for two hours, and so on. There is a lot of theoretical information about amp hours that you don’t need to be concerned with. It’s handy for comparing batteries (for example, a four amp hour battery has higher capacity than a two amp hour battery, therefore it will last longer if used on the same device), but the only thing that matters is how long the charge lasts. We’ll get to that in a minute.
The battery will take between 3-5 hours to fully charge with the battery charger provided, according to the manufacturer. In case you were wondering, the battery is also included and is a normal Black and Decker product that can be used with other Black and Decker battery-powered equipment. If you already possess a Black and Decker tool that uses this size battery, such as a drill or a weed whacker, you’ll have a backup battery supply. The battery supplied is part of Black and Decker’s 20V Max system, as you can see in the video below.
It takes only a few seconds to slide the battery into the saw, and it’s just as simple to remove it with the release button.
Now comes the all-important question of how long the battery will survive. This is very dependent on the type of work to be done. For light cutting, 30 to 45 minutes of continuous use is recommended. If you were cutting 1.5-inch thick limbs, for example, you’d get roughly 200 cuts. When doing more intensive labor, the battery may be exhausted after only 20-25 minutes of continuous cutting. It’s usually a good idea to have a replacement battery on hand, especially if you have a project that can’t be left unfinished. After all, you wouldn’t want to leave a tree that has been partially felled! It’s worth noting that if you put too much strain on the saw, the battery will overheat and shut down. You’ll have to wait for it to cool off and, in certain cases, recharge before you can use it again.
Upgrade to the 20V 4 Amp hour battery (Product reference: LB2X4020-OPE) for more battery life. It costs little more than $50 but has twice the capacity of the 2AH.
Oil Chain System
Because the LCS1020’s chain oiling system is manually operated, you must remember to release the oil during use. This is accomplished by tapping the primer bulb three times on the oil cap before each cut. This is clearly not as convenient as an automatic oiling system, but it will become second nature after a while of operating the saw.
The oil is added through the screw cap on top of the device, and the oil level is visible through a translucent glass and indicator. Oil should never be permitted to dip below a quarter of its capacity. The reservoir has a capacity of just over 50 milliliters (1.7 fl. Oz.) A quart of oil will set you back about $10 and will fill the reservoir 19 times.
You should use a high-quality bar and chain oil, just like you would with any other saw. You can use a non-detergent SAE30 weight motor oil as a temporary substitute, according to the manufacturer. A vegetable-based bar and chain oil is recommended for tree pruning because it is not detrimental to the trees.
Now for the drawback. Unfortunately, the 1020’s chain oiling method is the most common customer complaint. Many consumers have reported that the manual oiler does not operate and that no oil is released when the priming bulb is depressed. This issue appears to be hit-or-miss since it works fine with a variety of saws.
It’s possible that the problem is caused by trapped air in the system. Several customers said that gently pushing air from a compressor through the rubber pump breathing hole fixed the problem. Obviously, you shouldn’t have to go to the hassle of doing this, and if you do obtain a saw with a faulty oil pump, you should contact the manufacturer to get the problem resolved. Interestingly, despite the oiler issues, a number of users have elected to keep the saw and manually oil the chain from an oil can. Please note that you will not receive any oil with your purchase.
Features of Safety
The LCS1020 is equipped with a number of security mechanisms, including:
- Low kickback bar and chain (as defined by the ANSI B175 standard) to reduce kickback effects. You shouldn’t count on this to protect you completely because backlash can still happen. Help is available through proper handling and the avoidance of specific activities. Keep your left arm’s elbow locked so that it is straight, for example, to ensure good control against kickback. Also, avoid touching items with the guide bar’s nose or tip.
- There’s a lock-off button. This must be depressed in order for the trigger button to work, preventing an unintentional start-up.
- Handguards on the front and back of the handle to protect the hands from flying items and a snapped or derailed chain.
As always, you should not rely solely on the saw’s safety features to keep you out of harm’s way, and you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when using the product.
The product measures 26 inches long, 9 inches broad, and 10 inches high, including the bar.
Fully built, it weighs 7.2 lbs.
It’s a tiny, lightweight saw that’s easy to transport and store.
The saw comes with a user handbook and a scabbard for the guide bar. It doesn’t come with a carrying case, and finding one that fits is tough. This saw, on the other hand, will easily fit in a sports hold-all, which can be purchased for as low as $15.
With all the information above, now you know why we consider the black and decker 20v chainsaw a brilliant purchasing choice!