Milwaukee M18 Chainsaw Review (2023)

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Having personally tested a myriad of chainsaws, I can attest to Milwaukee’s reputation for producing high-caliber tools. Their M18 chainsaw model, in particular, stands out as a testament to power and durability. 

If you’re wary about spending on unreliable power tools, I’ve worked tested and evaluated the Milwaukee M18 chainsaw in this review.

What I Like

What I Don't Like


The Milwaukee M18 is a lightweight saw that is easy to handle. Its battery platform is just 14.37 lbs.,  which is less than most of the gas-powered chainsaws on the market. 

Because of this, its construction guarantees superior handling and convenience. Moreover, you can move it around with minimal effort and without experiencing any discomfort in your arms. 

I worked nonstop with this chainsaw for half an hour and experienced no arm fatigue. In comparison, I can’t use gas-powered chainsaws for longer than 15 minutes at a time.

Milwaukee M18 Features

Overview of Specifications

Bar Length 16-inch
BatteryLithium Ion (Red)
ChargerIncluded on the package
FilterMesh Filter
Power SourceBattery 
Weight14.37 lbs.
Warranty Coverage 3 years (battery and parts)

Battery Power and Compatibility

Among Milwaukee’s line of battery-operated chainsaws is the M18. 

The red lithium-ion battery of this saw provides 20% more power and 40% more run time than its predecessor. It can be recharged 50% more often, significantly extending its useful life.

However, the manufacturer suggests upgrading to a battery with a higher capacity for continuous long-term use with no power interruptions. 

Brushless Motor

The Milwaukee M18 Chainsaw stands out among other electric-powered and gas-powered chainsaw and tools with its brushless motor. 

Since this motor’s internal friction is drastically reduced, it can consistently supply a high amount of power for an extended period without needing to be recharged, making it ideal for long-term use on demanding projects. 

These motors have a long life and low maintenance needs because there is no brush inside that can wear out. 

(But you can also consider the CAT DG230 18V brushless chainsaw as an alternative.)

Multi-Angle Handle

The handle’s ergonomic design offers a multi-angle layout. This made the chainsaw comfortable to hold both vertically and horizontally. It certainly made shaping rough wood blocks a breeze for me.

You can give it a shot to find that it makes chopping much less of a chore than you had anticipated.

Bar and Chain

I love the special stainless-steel bar measuring 16 inches in length, included with this Milwaukee model. It is strong, sturdy, corrosion-resistant, long-lasting, and lightweight.

Compared to other battery-powered saws on the market, the chain of Milwaukee chainsaws is incredibly sharp, and its teeth have been fully upgraded.

However I advise users to be careful when checking the teeth, its sharpness can cut your skin. When using the chainsaw, exercise extreme caution and follow all safety protocols [1]; your well-being must always come first.

Automatic Oiling

Milwaukee M18 chainsaw features automatic oiling that will greatly facilitate your work. The button is conveniently located above the trigger to ensure the chain’s fuel is always pumped before use.

The automatic oiling ensures the chainsaw operates with minimal friction and wear. Plus, it ensures chains are always well-oiled for consistent, powerful performance over time.

You can rest assured that this powerful tool can efficiently complete small jobs to medium woodcutting tasks, thanks to this feature.

Performance and Ease of Use

Compared to other cordless chainsaws models, the M18 is among the easiest to operate. This Milwaukee M18 chainsaw offers an efficient method of starting with the chain brake, safety switch, and variable speed trigger.

Regarding performance, Milwaukee’s M18 is a high-quality power tool that ranks among the best. Sawing through small trees and medium-sized wet logs with this model was among the quickest I witnessed during the testing period.

When chopping wet wood, I can turn to Milwaukee M18 Fuel as a go-to saw. Unlike other models and tools, this one does not require wind-up time before it can begin cutting. Metal bucking spikes and a lengthy body provide extra leverage, allowing you to put your full weight on the saw for cutting through tough materials.

In terms of power, I’d say this chainsaw is on par with a 40cc gas-powered model. However, it provides less power compared to other brands like Blue Max and Poulan Pro. This means chainsaw users shouldn’t count on it to make quick work of extremely thick wood trunks or trees. 

Also, it lacks tool-less tension or chain maintenance features found on many comparable battery-powered chainsaws.

Variable Speed Trigger

The Milwaukee M18 chainsaw was the first I used with a trigger that controlled speed sensibly. Depending on your task, you can quickly adjust the chain’s speed up or down. 

The chainsaw will begin immediately after you press the trigger. And it doesn’t need a strong push to get going.

This is one of the reasons I chose this cordless chainsaw over others like the Blue Max and Poulan Pro units.

Redlink Plus Intelligence

What’s unique about the M18 Chainsaw from Milwaukee is its notable Redlink Plus Intelligence. This reader-supported technology allows the hardware and battery to communicate with its internal program
This data will be used to regulate the chain’s rotation and safeguard it from overload.

Customer Experience

Apart from my Milwaukee chainsaw review and testing, I also took into consideration what users have to say about this battery-operated saw: 

Milwaukee M18 Alternatives

#1: DeWalt 20V MAX XR Chainsaw

DeWalt 20V Max XR

This Dewalt 20V bar chainsaw is an excellent alternative for those who need a more compact chainsaw. With its high-performance 20-volt battery, this cordless saw stays true to the M18’s original design.

Compared to the M18, this lightweight and maneuverable alternative weighs only about 9 lbs. thanks to its brushless motor and long-lasting battery. It’s also much cheaper and can be tightened without any special tools.

#2: Greenworks Corded Chainsaw

Greenworks Corded Chainsaw

Greenworks’ corded electric (with a cutting depth of 18 inches) is also a reliable choice. It has a strong performance, requires no tools for maintenance, and automatically oils itself so that it can run for an unlimited number of cuts. 

This 12-pound corded saw is ideal for homeowners with a modest yard or construction site with access to an electrical socket. Additionally, this has adequate speed and features for basic tasks and costs a bit less than you’d expect.

#3: Husqvarna 435e Gas Chainsaw

Husqvarna 435e Gas Chainsaw

This gas-powered option from Husqvarna has the same value and size as the M18. This 435e saw has 2.2 hp with a 40.9 cc engine. This gas saw is a workhorse, with a long bar and 9 lbs weight, as well as its anti-vibration technology, allowing you to maintain peak performance at full throttle.

You’ll need a few tools to make adjustments, but it’s very easy to maintain and runs smoothly with its auto-oiling and some convenient features. 

This is a good gas-powered option if you need a powerful and full-sized chainsaw but you don’t want to be bothered by charging it up.

#4: Milwaukee M12 Mini Chainsaw

Milwaukee M12 Mini Chainsaw

I consider the Milwaukee M12 mini chainsaw as M18’s little brother. It’s ideal for trimming because it has a brushless motor, a long battery life (about 120 cuts), and the same Red Lithium tech as the M18. 

Additionally, the kit is available at a more reasonable cost than the M18, making it the best compact chainsaw option.


How fast does this chainsaw charge and last?

The rate at which the battery charges are affected by several factors, including the battery’s age and its charge when you plug it in. In most cases, however, a full charge will be achieved within the hour.

How much can you cut with this chainsaw?

The M18 chainsaw’s Red Lithium battery will allow you to make up to 150 cuts before recharging.

Will it need oil?

Lubricating the chain and bar is the only place chain oil is required for the Milwaukee M18 fuel. No need to add oil to the engine.

Can its chains be replaced?

If you need to, you can swap out the chains. Ensure that the chain oil you’ll swap measures 16 inches in length and that links are exactly the same.

Does it have a free case?

The M18 saw does not have a free storage case but comes with a blade cover to keep the chains safe when not in use. 

Review Conclusion: Milwaukee M18

Wrapping up my thoughts on this Milwaukee M18 chainsaw review, it’s clear to me that this unit boasts strong performance, a durable motor, and efficient battery usage. Plus, it’s fuel-free, easy to transport, and user-friendly from my experience.

I highly suggest Milwaukee M18 Fuel if you want a battery-powered tool with a lightweight design and excellent performance. The price is high but quite reasonable. 

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

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