Redback 40V 12” Li-Ion Cordless Chainsaw (106068): Product Review
One of the best 40V cordless chainsaws on the market
Available on Amazon
So you’ve decided that it’s time to buy (or upgrade to) a new chainsaw. You’ve looked at all the pros and cons of gasoline vs. electric and decided that for you, electric is the way to go. But there’s a quandary. What brand, model, voltage and features do you want? Well if it will make your buying decision making process any easier, you should know about a chainsaw that I just tested by Redback, their 40V Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) unit, model 106068.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Redback brand, that’s because it’s a relative newcomer in the US market (they’ve already had great success in Europe and Australia). Redback is now being offered in the USA by an American company (Frictionless World) and its joint venture partner NGP (an overseas manufacturer). Frictionless World warehouses, ships and supports the products out of their headquarters in Westminster, CO.
|Battery Capacity:||4.0Ah (Amp hour)|
|Charging Time w/ 2 Amp charger:||2 hrs. 15 mins.|
|Battery Run Time:||50 mins. (approximate)|
|No Load Chain Speed:||33 Feet/second|
|Bar Chain Length:||12” (it’s also available with a 14” bar)|
|Cutting Thickness:||10.5” (approximate)|
|Oil Tank Capacity:||5.4 oz.|
|Weight (w/ 4.0Ah Battery Installed:||19 lbs (approximate)|
The chainsaw came in its own box and was packaged in a much larger boxed that also housed the battery charger and battery. Both the charger and battery were boxed separately. The reason behind this type of packaging is that if a customer only wants a tool and not a charger and/or battery, the unit would be shipped in one smaller box. When kits (tool, battery charger, battery) are sent, they arrive in a larger box.
When I received the saw it came as a kit so had three boxes inside the larger box: chainsaw, battery charger and battery. It was packaged well and no items were damaged in transit.
Note that the kit does not come with bar and chain oil (you wouldn’t want that to leak while in transit). It’s easy to buy this at your local hardware store or professional arborist supply store that stocks chainsaws.
Easy Assembly & Good Instructions
The chainsaw came with the bar and chain disassembled from the saw body but there were excellent instructions on how to assemble it.
To put it all together, all I had to do was place the chain on the bar, remove the chain cover from the saw, attach the guide bar to a pin on the side of the saw, adjust the tensioning pin to fit into the bar, and attach the chain to the drive sprocket. After that, it was as easy as adjusting the chain tension with the chain tensioning wheel (separate knob) and replacing the chain cover (separate wheel).
Redback is following a growing industry trend by using brushless motors in power tools. Some have used the phrase “smart tool” to describe tools with these motors. In layman’s terms, a brushless motor senses when more power is required. For example, when the chainsaw encounters large logs its sophisticated electronics sense that it needs more power to cut through this stuff. Conversely, when cutting brush, or smaller diameter branches and limbs, the microcircuits sense that less power is needed and the motor’s energy is reduced.
Basically, “smart tools” regulate the amount of power to the motor based on the task at hand, thereby increasing the battery life available to the tool.
VARIOUS 40V Battery OPTIONS
Redback offers both “kits” (which include the recommended battery and charger), AND chargers and batteries that can be purchased separately, (i.e. when a chainsaw is sold as a stand-alone product). This gives you the flexibility to use different batteries and mix-and-match with other Redback cordless tools.
I tested the chainsaw kit that includes the 40V 4.0Ah (Amp hour) battery.
All 40V Li-Ion products offered by Redback use the same battery platform. The only difference is the Ah for each piece of equipment. So while the chainsaw I tested came with a 4.0Ah battery, I could’ve run it on another Ah battery.
Redback currently offers 3 different Ah batteries; the 2.0, the 4.0 and the 6.0. The real difference between Ah batteries is the run time – the greater the Ah the greater the run time. It’s pretty linear for the most part. With the chainsaw I used (12” bar) the run time is approximately 25 minutes with a 2.0Ah battery, approximately 50 minutes with a 4.0Ah, and 70 minutes for the 6.0Ah.
Redback offers a plethora of 40V tools from lawn mowers to chainsaws, leaf blowers to hedge trimmers, and pole saws to string trimmers. All these tools operate with the same 40V battery platform. This gave me the flexibility to have an extra battery for the chainsaw, and to choose a higher Ah (let’s say 6.0Ah) for applications where I didn’t want to change batteries as frequently.
For complete details about Li-Ion batteries used in chainsaws, see our Li-Ion Battery FAQ’s
Battery Run Time
Redback claims that the 40V Lithium Ion Chainsaw (model 106068) will cut for 50 minutes on a 4.0Ah battery. This seems about right based on what I was cutting.
I was able to get a run time of just over 30 minutes when cutting large logs that ranged in size from 6” to 10” in diameter. This uses considerably more battery power, even with the saw’s highly efficient brushless motor. Cutting smaller diameter material in the range of 4” typically yielded the battery’s suggested cutting time.
The easy-to-read LED battery power light let me know how much battery life was left with just a simple push of a button at the end of the battery.
The saw has a ventilated opening to keep the brushless motor and battery cool during operation. Most cordless, Li-Ion saws these days have built in battery and electronics overload circuitry. This is to protect both components from overheating while cutting, which can result in battery and motor damage.
Unlike other battery-powered chainsaws we’ve tested, the Redback 40V Lithium Ion Chainsaw (model 106068) never had an overload problem, even though I was cutting dead Mesquite wood (which is extremely tough) at ambient temperatures in the mid 80 degrees F level.
Reminds Me Of A Gasoline-Powered Chainsaw
The Redback 40V Lithium Ion Chainsaw (model 106068) has a lot of nice features. It reminds me of a gasoline-powered saw in so many ways, probably because many of the features of a top grade gas powered saw are incorporated. Things like:
- Both a handle bar guard and anti-kickback chain brake for added safety
- An over-sized handle with an integrated switch interlock safety button
- Electrical and mechanical brake
- A tool-less chain tensioner
- A handy chain scabbard (or chain hood as Redback calls it), which is a protection sleeve to protect the operator while the saw is in the OFF position and ready for transport
- An oversized throttle trigger that’s easy use when wearing gloves
- A large bar and chain oil reservoir so it doesn’t have to be filled so often
- Metal bumper spikes
- A standard 40Ah battery (included with kit), and an available 6Ah battery for longer cutting time
- An easy to read battery power indicator so you always know how much more “juice” you have
- An excellent operator’s manual
Impressive Cutting Performance
I was impressed by the cutting power of this saw. It made quick work of smaller branches and limbs in the 4” – 6” range. And when it came to cutting through larger limbs, like 10 to 11 inches, it had no problems whatsoever. I was amazed at the power this saw delivered. I cut log after log in the 10.5” diameter range and the saw didn’t skip a beat.
The automatic chain oiler worked extremely well in delivering just the right amount of bar and chain oil to each cut. And the large oil reservoir window quickly told me how much oil I had at a glance.
The power to weight ratio is excellent. The saw is extremely powerful and not overly heavy.
The bumper spikes are all metal, which is a definite plus. Some saws I’ve tested have plastic spikes and they are essentially useless. The bumper spikes are used for leveraging the saw into the wood as you’re cutting, making it less stressful on the shoulders, arms, and hands while cutting through large logs. You probably won’t use the spikes for small diameter wood, but for the large stuff they work like a charm.
Excellent Safety Features
I particularly liked the safety features of both the mechanical (anti-kickback chain brake) and electrical brake (the chain stops when the throttle is in the OFF position). I also appreciated the switch interlock that acted as yet another safely feature – the button (on the side of the grip handle) must be engaged before the throttle can be pulled to energize the cutting chain.
You can’t be safe enough when working around chainsaws and Redback engineers really designed a stellar saw when it comes to safety.
When operating any chainsaw, I recommend a certified logging helmet (preferably with ear muff hearing protection and a pull down chip screen), gloves, pants, protective chaps (a chap is a cut-resistant material that is worn over the pants), long sleeve shirt, boots and safety glasses.
WARRANTY & Customer Service
Redback offers a 36-month warranty on all its 40V line of products. This covers both stand-alone purchases and kit purchases (where the charger and battery are included). The warranty is a pretty standard one that covers against material defects and workmanship. It doesn’t cover consumables, misuse, abuse, loss, theft or unreasonable/outrageous customer requests. But Reback points out that, “Our customer service team tries to bend over backwards to handle reasonable customer issues. If a customer has an issue, Redback recommends calling them directly and they will try to remedy (within reason) the problem”. From my perspective, they are clearly trying to set themselves apart as a proactive, customer satisfaction based company. As Redback puts it, “we take it personally”. This is very refreshing in today’s buying environment where customer service is becoming more automated (and sometimes worse) and less personal. Redback is trying to step outside this box.
The batteries are warranted for 36 months as well. But remember that Lithium-Ion are considered consumables and as such have a limited lifetime warranty. A battery will only hold about 80% of its charge after 500 discharge cycles. That doesn’t mean it’s defective, it’s just wearing out and will need to be replaced eventually. The batteries are geared toward homeowners and not towards the commercial user, so someone who only has one battery and charges/discharges it every day, multiple times a day might wear out the batteries in just a year.
Redback prides itself on customer service, so they encourage anyone with concerns to contact the customer service department for help.
To reach Redback’s customer service:
Toll Free: 877-487-8275 (Press “2” at the message to skip straight through to Customer Service)
Real people are available 7AM-5PM Mountain Time Monday – Friday
I can’t say enough positive things about the Redback 40V 4.0 Li-Ion Chainsaw (106068). It has all the necessary power to cut through anything from small brush to 10.5” logs, making it comparable to a consumer-grade, gasoline-powered chainsaw. It’s lightweight, easy to use, has a plethora of built-in safety features and is sturdy enough to tackle just about anything. I recommend it without any reservations – it’s simply the best cordless chainsaw I’ve tested to date.
Where To Buy
Redback tools are found mostly online so your best option is to buy on Amazon where the 12” model tested in this review costs around $160 (without the battery). There’s also a 14” model for around $180 (without the battery).
Replacement batteries can also be found on Amazon where a 40V 4.0 Ah battery costs about $125 – if you don’t yet own any Redback cordless tools.
Now over to you – have you tried a battery-powered chainsaw? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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