Skil PWRCore 40 Chainsaw Easily Meets Homeowner's Needs
When our friend Eli Mosley called us to do some tree work, we thought it would be a great opportunity to see how the Skil PWRCore 40 Chainsaw could meet the needs of homeowners. We're going to cut some not-so-light oak and use it to adjust the Skil's 14" rod and chain.
Oak Vs Skil PWRCore 40 Chainsaw
We have a lot of oak trees in our area and they are a good tree for testing a chainsaw. The wood presents a challenge for underpowered saws that work just fine on softer pine. When hurricane season passes, oak trees are our biggest concern, and the saw's ability to effectively cut through them ultimately earns our recommendation.
Much of the work was done on the smaller branches in the 4" range, but we also had some tougher work lowering the 12" main branch. With its 0.043-inch chain, the Skil PWRCore 40 Chainsaw can quickly cut through these smaller branches.
When the going gets tougher in dense branches, the saw is able to keep up. It doesn't have the kind of power we've seen in EGO's 18-inch model, though. We had to take some pressure off to let the brushless motor maintain its RPM, but it was able to keep the saw cutting all the way to the heartwood.
Pro tip : keep your chain sharp and replace it when necessary for best performance, especially if you know you're going to be doing heavier cuts.
This is exactly how the underpowered saw that failed our test cut. So while you can crank up the power (and price) for better cutting torque, the Skil will do well for your heavy maintenance, storm clearing or even smaller felling needs.
After the chain has warmed up, you need to adjust the tension. It is very easy to use the red dial on the side.
The full bar next to it is also simple and tool-free. As a model aimed at homeowners, we appreciate that the Skil has printed chain direction cues on the bar. It's a simple thing that makes it easier to use for those who occasionally need a chainsaw.
When you're leaning on a branch, the plastic flex pegs give you a little help. The metal spikes bite better, but we don't mind what this size bar and power level calls for. On the plus side, you gain a bit of length due to the spikes being so close to the case.
Determining run times is always a challenge with chainsaws, as branches vary in diameter and different species have different densities. The 2.5Ah battery in the kit balances the weight well, making it a great option when you're trimming or clearing fallen branches during a storm.
There is also a 5.0Ah battery available, which we recommend if you need to chop down an entire tree. On those larger jobs, you may need more than one battery. The PWRJump charger in the kit lets you cycle the two batteries nicely until you're done.
PWR Jump Charger
The Skil PWRCore 40 Chainsaw comes with a PWRJump Charger. Like its counterparts on Skil's PWRCore 12 and PWRCore 20 series, it gives you a really fast initial charge to help you get that last bit of work done. In this case, it can charge a 2.5Ah battery from 0% to 30% in 15 minutes. Some contestants may take more than an hour to reach the same level.
- Anti-recoil brakes
- Automatic oil filling
- Translucent tank for easy viewing of oil level
Additional Field Notes
The side-entry battery design is an interesting title. There is always a danger that a higher capacity battery could tip the balance. This doesn't seem to be the case as long as the battery gets taller instead of using the extra battery for longer.
Like most saws in its class, the Skil pairs a 0.043-inch, 3/8-inch pitch chain with the saw's 14-inch bar. This is a standard configuration and can be easily replaced when required.
There is a bit of a soft start when the trigger is pulled. Whether you like it or not is a matter of preference, so it's good to know it's there before you commit. Our testing team didn't mind.
The Skil PWRCore 40 Chainsaw with 2.5Ah Battery and PWRJump Charger is $219.99. That's a little more than you'd pay for a Hart or Ryobi, but a little less than Craftsman's V60. However, none of these pack an upgraded charger.
the bottom line
We really like the Skil PWRCore 40 chainsaw for homeowners who want battery power but don't need the cutting performance of more powerful and more expensive models. The Skil is a great choice if your primary goals include tree maintenance as well as storm preparation and cleanup.
Skil PWRCore 40 Chainsaw Specifications
- Test model: SKIL CS4555-10
- Power: Skil PWRCore 40 battery (40V)
- Motor: Brushless
- Bar: 14 inches
- Chain: 3/8" pitch, 0.043" gauge
- Fuel tank capacity: 5 oz
- Price: $219.99 with 2.5Ah battery and PWRJump charger
- Warranty: 5 years