Regular readers will recall that I recently pitted eight battery-operated chainsaws against each other in an exciting shootout. We're going to take a closer look at each saw and today I'm going to show you the Dewalt FlexVolt Chainsaw (Model DCCS670). It was one of two DeWalt chainsaws in the competition — the other was a 40V Max chainsaw with a 6.0Ah battery. DeWalt's FlexVolt technology is different for reasons I'll explain later, and what better way to test it than by sawing through a bunch of logs?
Editor's Note: Check out the best results for our top picks for battery-operated chainsaws!
DeWalt DCCS670X1 First Impressions
The most obvious standout feature of this saw is the FlexVolt technology, so here's a quick explanation for those who aren't familiar with it: The FlexVolt system uses a uniquely designed battery that can change voltage between 20V and 60V depending on the voltage requirements of the tool. However, DeWalt's 20V Max batteries cannot be used to power FlexVolt tools and are not cross-compatible with DeWalt's line of 40V outdoor power supplies.
Learn more about DeWalt FlexVolt technology.
This DeWalt chainsaw is equipped with an Oregon 90 chain with 0.043" thick drive links, like most of the chainsaws in this shootout.
There is a handy flip tab on the oil cap, but beware: the cap opens easily a quarter turn, and the large diameter makes refilling easy, but part of the cap goes into the tank and dislodges what seems to be an unnecessary amount of oil. If you add too much, it will overflow when you put the lid on.
While some competitors have only minimal trigger safety and some have electronic versions, the Dewalt FlexVolt chainsaw has a mechanical lockout.
Tool-less bar adjustments are certainly convenient, but of course, you're relying on one stud and your own strength, not two studs and the leverage of a wrench. There's also a chain brake that most other saws don't have (similar to how electric blade brakes work on circular saws), which is a nice touch.
The bucking spikes are small and plastic, which affects performance.
flex some muscles
You can see the full test methodology in the shootout article, but suffice to say I wanted to know everything I could about the feel and performance of the saw. As I started making some wood chips, I realized that the FlexVolt's front and rear handles are incredibly wide – in fact, they're the widest of the competition. It gives the saw a solid, secure feel in the hand, especially with the fully wrapped rubber grip on the rear handle. People with large hands will really appreciate the size of the gripping surface.
When you're making vertical cuts in a log, you're using what's called a flex grip because you're rocking or flexing the saw slightly back and forth to speed up the cut. That's why bent nails are useful: they're designed to grab the sides of the log and help you gain downward leverage on the wood. If the bucking spikes are insignificant – like the DeWalt FlexVolts are – then the safety of your leverage on the log with the bucking grip is compromised.
Buckling grip itself is rated good. It performs better in felling grip (the horizontal cut used when felling trees) and is rated very good for grip.
DeWalt Flexvolt Chainsaw Performance
With an average time of 5.93 seconds, the FlexVolt was one of three chainsaws to break the 6-second mark for cutting 8-inch pine logs. It ranks third in battery efficiency, averaging 0.40 in cuts per watt-hour (read: fuel efficiency, or gas consumption). The saw's runtime was surprisingly good for a 3.0 Ah tank, but of course at 60 volts, that's a pretty big tank. The production battery tested was rated at 167 Wh, but the final production model will be larger and rated at a higher power.
I've found that the side cover design allows chips to build up above the tension knob and allow it to jam the saw. This can cause sawdust to be ejected from the front of the saw, affecting visibility. Chips should flow freely from the bottom of the saw. Hopefully a design tweak can fix this in the near future.
FlexVolt 60V Max or 40V Max?
So how do you choose between the FlexVolt line and their 40V line of tools?
Well, consider that FlexVolt offers a whole bunch of cordless construction tools. FlexVolt batteries are compatible with the brand's 20V Max line (but you cannot run FlexVolt tools with 20V Max batteries). Although the DeWalt FlexVolt chainsaw outpaces its 40V sibling in speed, the 40V series is where DeWalt is targeting landscaping professionals. The FlexVolt Series is best for homeowners and construction professionals who need to do a little work on the job site from time to time.
Finally, DeWalt discontinued its line of 40V tools.
the bottom line
Finally, the $369 Dewalt FlexVolt chainsaw came in 4th out of 8 chainsaws in the shootout, 3rd in cutting speed and 4th in runtime. It sits in the top half of every performance test and boasts an excellent feature set. FlexVolt technology lets you use the 60V Max, 3.0Ah battery with any other 60V or 20V DeWalt tool. I really like this flexibility. I think this chainsaw is part of the second tier of this shootout: solid performance but needs some work to get to the top.
Pros include comfortable, generously sized handles, the easiest to use tool-less adjustment system, very good coaster brakes for safe and faster handling, quarter turn oil caps and a large upper flap for easier donning Glove handling, and the best oil injection channel of any brand tested.
Cons include a closed side cover design that lets chips build up above the tension knob and often clogs the saw, sprays chips from the front of the saw which compromises visibility for the user, instead of allowing the chips to flow freely out of the bottom where they should be.
Dewalt FlexVolt Chainsaw Key Features
- Low rebound 16" Oregon handlebar and chain
- Tool-less chain tensioning and rod tightening knobs
- Automatic oiling system with quarter turn oil cap
- chain gate
Dewalt FlexVolt Chainsaw Specifications
- Models: DeWalt DCCS670X1 (Kit), DeWalt DCCS670B (Bare)
- Voltage: 60V
- Weight with battery: 12.24 lbs
- Supporting battery: 3.0 Ah
- Battery Watt Hours: 167
- Chain: Oregon 90
- Pole Length: 16"
- Warranty: 3-year limited
- Price: $369 (bare metal)