The Evolution of the Cordless Saw: From the Operating Room to the Forest--The History and Advancements of Cordless Saws

in News

1. Introduction

Cordless saws have become important tools for woodworkers, increasing their productivity and helping save the environment. Starting from basic designs, these tools have evolved with industrial progress and increased focus on protecting nature.

Whether you're a forest worker, a DIY enthusiast, or a tech lover, the story of cordless saws provides valuable insights into the tools that influence our world.


2. The Early History of the Chainsaw

2.1 Origins and Initial Purposes of Chainsaw

Back in the early 1800s, people were already using saws, including large circular and band saws in England, to cut wood to the sizes they needed. But for thicker trunks, axes were still the go-to tool because saws just couldn't handle them.

Did you know?

According to Jennifer Walker-Journey (2024), in the late 18th century, Scottish doctors John Aitken and James Jeffray adapted a flexible chainsaw, originally designed to ease childbirth.

The Aitkens flexible chainsaw, an innovative tool, made it easier and more precise to remove the pelvic bone during childbirth, causing less damage to nearby tissues. It had a fine serrated chain and teardrop-shaped handles for easy maneuvering behind the pubic bone.

The modern chainsaw's history begins with Bernhard Heine, a German orthopedist. In 1830, he invented the first chainsaw, the "osteotome" (from the Greek words for "bone" and "cutter"), primarily used in medical settings and operated manually.

The chainsaw as we know it today began to evolve in the 1920s. Innovators like Wolf in the USA, Westfelt in Sweden, and Stihl in Germany played key roles. Stihl, which was founded in 1926, quickly became a leading name in chainsaw production, reaching a yearly turnover of 1.6 billion Euros by 2004.

The main idea behind creating chainsaws was to make forestry work, which was very labor-intensive, both easier and more profitable by using machines.

By the late 1920s, petrol chainsaws were introduced, initially needing two people to operate them because of their design and weight, aimed at resembling traditional saws. Petrol chainsaws are used to this day in forestry. Here is an example of an image below:

Despite their potential to make forestry work easier, chainsaws weren't quickly adopted because they were heavy, awkward to handle, and used a lot of fuel, especially the models designed for two people. Early versions of these two-man chainsaws weighed more than 60 kilograms.

The first chainsaw made for just one person came out in 1950, but it was still quite heavy. By 1959, these chainsaws had become lighter, weighing around 12 kilograms, signaling a move towards more manageable designs (modern chainsaws usually weigh between 4-5 kilograms, with the bigger ones weighing 7-9 kilograms).

Chainsaws became more popular and helped address the shortage of lumberjacks in the late 1950s, making the profession more attractive to the younger generation.

However, not everyone was in favor of using chainsaws. Some people called for restrictions, debating whether they were better than traditional tools like axes.

For instance, in 1957, there were worries that the efficiency of chainsaws could lower the rates paid for piecework, leading some lumberjacks to occasionally go back to using hand saws for certain jobs.

2.2 Revolutionizing Forestry: Modern Chainsaw Technological Advances

In 1959, Husqvarna launched the Husqvarna 90 chainsaw with innovative mufflers that greatly reduced noise, setting a new standard. Stihl introduced the first anti-vibration handle in 1964, and Husqvarna improved this with the Husqvarna 180, leading to exports to North America.

A breakthrough came in 1973 when Husqvarna introduced the automatic chain brake, significantly improving chainsaw safety and preventing injuries. In 1980, the Husqvarna 40 used lightweight composite materials, making it easier and more comfortable to use for longer periods.

In 2009, Husqvarna's AutoTune feature automatically adjusted fuel flow, optimizing performance and reducing emissions. Then, in 2012, Husqvarna released battery-powered chainsaws, matching petrol chainsaw performance but with no direct emissions and lower noise, making maintenance easier and further reducing vibration.


3. Technological Evolution: From Corded to Cordless

3.1 Cutting the Cord: The Progression of Chainsaws from Corded to Smart Tech

The evolution of chainsaw technology from corded models to advanced cordless saws represents a significant leap in providing convenience and efficiency for users.

  1. The 1990s: Introduced the first cordless chainsaws, giving users the freedom to work without being stuck to an electrical outlet. These initial models ran on nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries, but they were a bit less powerful and didn't last as long as the corded ones.
  2. The Early 2000s: Saw lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries start powering cordless tools like chainsaws. These batteries offer more energy, have a longer life, and are lighter. This greatly improves the usability and performance of cordless chainsaws.
  3. 2010s: Husqvarna and Stihl, leading innovators in chainsaw technology, have developed more efficient and lighter cordless models with better batteries. These models match the power of gas chainsaws but without the emissions, noise, and maintenance, appealing to professionals and home users alike.
  4. The Mid-2010s to Present: Efforts have been made to improve saws by enhancing their power and efficiency and adding smart technology. Now, it's common to see features like brushless motors that use power more efficiently, Bluetooth connectivity for easy monitoring and adjustments through smartphones, and onboard diagnostics to remind users about maintenance needs.

3.2 Breakthroughs in Battery Technology and Efficiency

Battery technology improvements have played a crucial role in making cordless chainsaws more efficient and popular, both for professional and home use.

The big change came when we moved from nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries to lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Li-ion batteries are lighter, recharge quicker, and last longer than NiCd batteries, making them a game-changer for users.

Li-ion batteries are a better choice than old NiCd batteries, especially for devices like chainsaws that need to run longer. They pack more energy into a smaller, lighter package, meaning you get longer use on a single charge – great for tools that need a lot of power.

Unlike NiCd batteries, Li-ion ones don't have a 'memory effect' that lowers their efficiency if you don't fully drain them before recharging. You can charge them whenever it's convenient without hurting their life or performance. Plus, they hold their charge longer when not in use. This makes them more reliable and easier to use for all sorts of tools and devices.

Recent improvements feature technologies for better battery use, such as Husqvarna's AutoTune. This technology adjusts fuel flow automatically based on the tool's usage, enhancing battery efficiency and life.

Here's a video discussing about Autotune feature:

Husqvarna AutoTune™ Technolgy

These innovations boost cordless chainsaws' performance and are also eco-friendly, reducing emissions and noise pollution.

3.3 The Impact of Portability on Chainsaw Use

The introduction of portable chainsaw technology has significantly changed how these tools are used, making them more versatile and accessible.

In the past, chainsaws were bulky and needed a power source like an electrical outlet or fuel, limiting their use to areas near these sources.

Now, lightweight, battery-powered chainsaws are changing the landscape.

Landscapers can use a cordless chainsaw to prune or clear debris anywhere on a property, without worrying about cord length or needing fuel.

Homeowners also find it easier to take care of their yards without the daunting task of starting and maintaining a gas saw.

Professionals in remote locations, like forest service employees or disaster relief teams, can now easily take powerful tools to places that were difficult to access before.

This improvement in how easy it is to carry chainsaws around not only makes them simpler to move but also results in their use being more efficient, convenient, and better for the environment in both professional and home environments.


4. Industrialization and Commercialization of the Cordless Saw

The introduction of the cordless saw has significantly changed the manufacturing industry and consumer markets. It has made tools more efficient, accessible, and environmentally friendly.

4.1 Transforming Forestry with Cordless Technolog

The adoption of cordless technology in forestry has revolutionized the sector, enhancing both productivity and sustainability.

A prime example is the widespread use of battery-powered chainsaws that match or even exceed the performance of their gas-powered counterparts.

For instance, companies like Husqvarna and Stihl have introduced models designed specifically for professional forestry work, combining the power needed to cut through dense wood with the environmental benefits of zero emissions.

This shift towards cordless tools has also been facilitated by advancements in battery life and efficiency, allowing workers to operate in remote areas without the need for fuel supplies or access to power outlets.

Cordless technology has changed how we manage and maintain forests.

Now, with light, battery-operated tools, tasks like trimming, pruning, and clearing underbrush are much easier. This helps keep forests healthy and lowers the risk of wildfires.

Plus, battery chainsaws are quieter, making work better for people and less disturbing for animals. Moving to cordless tech in forestry isn't convenient, it's a big move toward taking care of our forests more sustainably and responsibly.

4.2 Market Demand and Product Diversification

There is an upward trend in market demand for cordless chainsaws triggered by the corresponding search for ecologically sound and easy-to-handle machinery for forestry.

The way forestry professionals go now about their operations is being shaped by gains in technology and the rising awareness of environmentally responsible practices, and increasingly they procure cordless chainsaws.

This equipment not only offers the advantage of working in remote areas without wires but also creates the ambiance of physical labor. Thus productivity and efficiency increase.

Notably, the reduction of noise and gases made them more attractive for work in populations and modern cities.

Talking about the cordless chainsaw market, its product diversification is also occurring with the idea of models for specific user needs, introduced by the manufacturers.

An example would be where the models are purposely designed with varying blade lengths and varying power options to cater to different cutting tasks, or where the models are deliberately designed with ergonomic purposes to improve handling and hence comfort for those who will be using them for a long time.

The DEWALT FLEXVOLT 60V MAX is a good option for hard work like construction and outdoor chops. Amid that is a 16-inch bar and chain, driven by a FLEXVOLT 20V/60V MAX battery. It may achieve up to 70 cuts on each charge. Listen to the given audio and repeat the given sentence.

The BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 20V Max Lithium-Ion Chainsaw" is our recommendation for those looking for a narrow yet capable option. While that is a lightweight version, it still has a twelve-inch bar and chain for minor pruning and trimming tasks in the yard. 

Another good product that comes to the market today is one of the latest16" Brushless Cordless Electric chainsaw by ONEVAN. This neat cutting tool is driven by Makita 18V batteries, and it will deliver consistent cutting power for diverse chores.
The tool comes with a 16-inch long blade and a high-performing motor that performs accurate and effective wood splitting. It features a wireless interface, and an ergonomic design together with a lithium battery, so that it is more user friendly.

  1. Automatic oil delivery
  2. Rewriteable for the elasticity parameters.
  3. Oil regulating valve

All in all, the mixture of market demand and product diversification is powering the cordless chainsaw market development that follows the growth of forestry professionals globally as well.

4.3 Competitive Edge and Unique Selling Propositions

The competitive edge in the cordless chainsaw market is increasingly defined by a brand's ability to offer innovative features that directly address user concerns and preferences, such as prolonged battery life, reduced noise levels, and enhanced safety features.
These aspects are not just additional characteristics; they are critical factors that influence a professional's ability to work more efficiently and comfortably in various environments.

For example, products like the Ego Power+ 14-inch 56-Volt Chainsaw stand out due to their weather-resistant construction, allowing for operation in diverse weather conditions without compromising performance. This ability to adapt to environmental challenges offers a significant competitive advantage, as it broadens the scope of where and when these tools can be effectively used.

Unique selling propositions (USPs) in the cordless chainsaw market are often centered around user experience and environmental impact.

Chainsaws that offer a low-vibration design, for instance, significantly reduce user fatigue, enabling longer periods of use.

This is a key selling point for professionals who rely on these tools for extended periods. Additionally, emphasizing the ecological benefits of battery-powered versus gas-powered models can attract consumers who are increasingly concerned about their environmental footprint.

The Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14" Chain Saw Kit, with its zero-emission output, caters to this growing segment, showcasing how modern cordless chainsaws are not just tools for cutting but also instruments of environmental responsibility.


5. The Cordless Saw and Environmental Conservation

5.1 Benefits in Noise Reduction and Energy Savings

One of the most significant advantages of adopting cordless chainsaws is the substantial reduction in noise pollution. Traditional gas-powered chainsaws operate at noise levels that can exceed 100 decibels (dB), a range that can cause hearing damage over time according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In contrast, battery-operated models typically function at around 90 dB or lower, diminishing the risk of hearing impairment and reducing noise pollution in both residential and forested areas.

This lower noise level makes it possible for forestry operations to take place closer to urban areas without disturbing communities, thereby expanding the operational scope and hours for tree care professionals and landscapers.

Furthermore, the shift towards battery-powered chainsaws contributes significantly to energy savings and environmental conservation.

Unlike gas-powered models that emit carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and other pollutants, battery-powered chainsaws produce zero emissions at the point of use.

This translates into cleaner air and a smaller carbon footprint. The energy efficiency of these models is further enhanced by the advancements in lithium-ion technology, which provides longer battery life and faster recharging times.

This efficient use of energy not only conserves resources but also results in lower operating costs over time, solidifying the case for battery-powered chainsaws as a savvy investment for both professionals and environmentally conscious consumers.

5.2 Cordless Saws in Sustainable Forestry

Cordless saws are key in making forestry more sustainable. They offer a cleaner, more accurate, and less harmful way to manage forests.

Sustainable forestry aims to look after the environment, society, and economy for both today's and future generations.

To achieve this, we need tools that are less damaging to the environment but still get the job done. Cordless saws fit the bill because they run on batteries, avoiding the pollution that gas-powered tools create.

This helps lower the carbon footprint of managing forests.

By using cleaner technologies like cordless saws, we're helping to fight climate change and keep the air clean.
  1. Zero-emission technology: Cordless saws don't emit pollutants like gas-powered ones do, making them a greener choice for cutting and managing trees.
  2. Precision and efficiency: Modern cordless saws come with advanced cutting technology, making cuts more precise. This reduces waste and helps keep forests healthier by allowing for selective logging.
  3. Reduced noise pollution: Reducing noise helps protect forestry workers' hearing and causes less disturbance to wildlife. This helps keep the biodiversity in forests safe.

Cordless saws are used in sustainable forestry for tasks like clearing underbrush in city forests to lower fire risks, doing selective logging to keep the forest canopy intact and support biodiversity, and upkeep in conservation areas where keeping the peace of nature is crucial.

Using cordless saw technology helps sustainable forestry efforts manage and protect forests efficiently while also cutting down on their environmental impact.

5.3 Eco-friendly Innovations in Cordless Saw Design

In the realm of eco-friendly innovations, cordless saw designs have seen significant advancements particularly in enhancing energy efficiency and reducing environmental impact.

The DeWalt Flexvolt 60V Max Chainsaw DCCS670X1 stands out for its powerful performance and eco-friendly design. It features a high-efficiency brushless motor that makes better use of its 60V battery, leading to longer run times and less energy waste.

This chainsaw is designed to produce fewer carbon emissions and less noise, reflecting a shift towards being more environmentally conscious.

Additionally, its advanced battery technology charges quickly and lasts longer, reducing the need for frequent replacements and minimizing the environmental impact of battery disposal.

Another landmark design in this domain is the Stihl MSA 220 C-B, introduced in 2023 as the most powerful battery-powered chainsaw in Stihl's product lineup. It features a top-notch EC motor that's 20% more efficient than traditional motors, leading to lower energy use and steadier power when cutting.

The MSA 220 C-B also has a quick chain adjustment system, making it faster to use and more productive. This highlights its practical and environmental benefits.


6. Innovation and New Developments in Cordless to Cutting Saw

6.1 Latest Technological Enhancements

In the last decade, the cordless tool market has experienced more demands for cordless tools’ easier operation and mobility. Hence manufacturers have devoted themselves to the ongoing invention of technologies that can improve the capability and ecological efficiency of cordless saws.

Instances of this are in cordless saws with brushless motors. They have no brushes which allows to get rid of many inefficiencies and lowers power consumption at the same time. This performance is better and the lifetime of the battery is longer if compared to others thus rendering few repetitions of recharging.

Also, we are witnessing very important progress in battery technology as lithium-ion batteries are precisely what cordless tools are being supplied with.

6.2 TheFuture Development Trend Of Cordless Saws

With the demand for cordless saws increasing day by day, producers are forever seeking out methods to drive forward their industry and meet the evolving requirements of their customers.

Here are some potential advancements we may see in the future:

  1. Better Battery Life: Whilst lithium-ion batteries have significantly improved battery life over their predecessors, there is still some room for improvement. Manufacturers are concentrating on the production of batteries with higher energy density, which consequently can store more energy in a smaller size. This means longer runtimes and less frequent battery charging.
  2. Wireless Charging: Think about never having to plug in your cordless saw ever again. Now, the same wireless charging technology is already being implemented in mobile gadgets and so, it shouldn't be an impossible thing for power tools. With this elimination of cords and outlets, the work site would become safer and more efficient.
  3. Enhanced Safety Features: Power tools are already designed by the safety requirements, but new technologies will make it even better. As an example, sensing could be implemented in the tool to detect when the user is not wearing any protective gear or he/she is using the tool improperly. It could help to avoid mistakes and injuries at job sites.
  4. Internet of Things (IoT) Integration: IoT is not just about connecting devices to the internet, but also about allowing them to exchange information and collect rich data. For power tools, it could be doing usage checks, noting maintenance, or giving a heads-up on replacements. It can save time and increase effectiveness in workplaces.
  5. Remote Control and Monitoring: Tools that can be managed from a distance are in demand as remote work becomes a trend. Visualize having power drills you can command from your phone or laptop, scaling down the teamwork and tackling difficult positions. On top of that, it allows you to track usage and servicing!

6.3 The Forward Path for Cordless Saws in Industry and Conservation

Cordless saws are leading the way in both industry and conservation, focusing on sustainability and efficiency.

In the industrial world, they're key for jobs needing mobility and a smaller carbon footprint, matching the global push for fewer emissions and greener solutions. Industries like construction and forestry stand to gain a lot from going cordless. .

They can work in remote or environmentally sensitive spots more easily, without the issues and pollution from gas-powered tools. With growing demands for sustainable practices, cordless saws are a promising option for moving forward. .

Cordless saws are becoming a valuable tool for conservation efforts. .

They work quietly and don't produce direct emissions, which means they can help manage landscapes and ecosystems without disturbing wildlife or adding to air pollution. .

This is especially important in protected areas where it's crucial to keep the environment as natural as possible. Thanks to better battery technology, cordless saws can now be used for longer periods without needing to recharge or replace batteries often. .

This makes them not only eco-friendly but also practical for conservation work. Looking ahead, the focus for cordless saws in both industry and conservation will be on improving their environmental friendliness without sacrificing performance.


7. Conclusion

By investing in these modern tools, construction companies can improve their productivity and safety on job sites while also staying ahead of the competition.

As technology continues to evolve, we can only expect further improvements and innovation in the power tool industry for construction. So don't hesitate to upgrade your toolbox with these cutting-edge tools – your company and employees will thank you.