Redback 40V Lithium Ion Cordless Pole Chainsaw (106070): Product Review
Very good cutting performance - when it works correctly.
Available on Amazon
So you’ve decided that it’s time to buy a cordless pole chainsaw. You’ve looked at several options but are still undecided which way to go. What brand, model, voltage, and features do you want?
Enter the Redback 40V Lithium Ion Cordless Pole Chainsaw.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Redback brand, that’s because it’s a relative newcomer in the US 40V tool market. Redback is now being offered in the US by an American company (Frictionless World) and its joint venture partner NGP (an overseas manufacturer). Currently, Frictionless World is the exclusive distributor of Redback 40V branded products in North America; they warehouse, ship and support the products out of their headquarters in Westminster, CO.
Note: We also have a video review of the Redback pole chainsaw. Just scroll to the end of this review to watch it in action!
|Battery Voltage:||40 V (Volts)|
|No Load Speed:||19.68 feet per second|
|Bar Length:||8 inches|
|Oil Tank Capacity:||2.02 ounces|
|Battery Capacity:||2.0Ah (Amp hours)|
|Battery Type:||Lithium Ion (Li-Ion)|
|Charging Time:||70 minutes (for full charge)|
|Battery Run Time:||25 minutes (approximate)|
|Cutting Thickness:||7.0 inches (approximate)|
|Head Angle:||200 (approximate)|
|Saw Length w/o extension pole:||6’ – 8”|
|Saw Length w/ extension pole:||8’ – 10”|
|Overhead Reach:||15 ft|
|Weight (w/o pole extension + battery):||9.0 lbs (no extension pole)|
|Weight (w/ pole extension + battery):||11.0 lbs (incl. extension pole)|
The Redback 40V Lithium Ion Cordless Pole Saw came packaged in a single box that included a battery charger and battery, a shoulder strap, a waistband strap/pocket, a saw head connected to a pole, a separate extension pole, and a pole that holds the battery and throttle mechanism.
When I received the box all the components came through without any damage.
The kit did not come with bar and chain oil (probably a good thing as this would have the potential to leak while in transit). A local hardware store or professional arborist supply store that stocks chainsaws will have the right oil for the saw.
Operator’s Manual Missing Important Details
Overall, I found the manual to be overly simplified. It covered some of the basic points on how to assemble the saw but it lacked detail.
There was a section on chain sharpening that was helpful, but nothing about proper cutting and pruning techniques. There was no mention of what a waistband pocket (included with the package) was used for. I had to find this out by looking at an Amazon picture to discover that it was not an extra battery holder which I had originally thought, but rather a pocketed waist belt to hold the saw for support while cutting (kind of like one of the waistband flag holders you see at a parade). On the whole, I found that the operations manual needed a lot more information.
Easy Assembly, No Tools Required
There are three sections to the pole chainsaw that need to be put together to use. One section holds the battery compartment and controls, the second part is an extension pole, and the final pole is the cutting head.
For maximum reach, the extension pole is added in between the cutting head and the battery/controls section. The pole saw can also be used without the extension pole for shorter reach applications. By adding the extra center extension pole, you can expect to get about two extra feet of length.
The pole sections are held together with a spring-loaded bumper pin that fits inside a hole on the side of each pole. There’s also a tightening screw that clamps the pole sections together. I thought there would be less play in the poles when I used the tightening screw but there was still some wiggling back and forth. This, however, did not affect the performance of the unit.
Charging the 40V BATTERY
The pole chainsaw uses a 40V 2.0Ah Lithium Ion battery that comes with the 106070 kit. The battery arrives from the factory partially charged but must be charged to its full capacity before first use.
It takes about 70 minutes to top off the battery using the 2 Amp Quick Charger (EC20) that comes with the 10607 kit.
For complete information about Lithium Ion Batteries See our FAQs About Li-Ion Batteries
LUBRICATION IS CRITICAL
Once the battery is fully charged, you’ll have to add the bar and chain oil to the reservoir located at the saw head. The oil is designed to lubricate the chain as it slides over the chainsaw bar. Without this lubrication, the friction would be so high that the chain and bar would start to quickly degrade and essentially burn the metal of both components. It’s critical that you check the oil level frequently even if the saw battery isn’t dead.
ADJUSTING THE CHAIN TENSION
Tool-less tightening of the bar and chain is becoming more standard on battery-powered chainsaws and pole chainsaws. The same is true for the Redback 40V Lithium Ion Cordless Pole Chainsaw. It has an adjustment ring (orange ring on the outside) and a locking knob (inside knob, gray color).
It was very easy to loosen or tighten the bar and chain to the exact tightness it needed to be, sans tools. This is a really nice feature and works well.
The final thing I had to do to power up the saw was to insert the battery into the battery compartment located at the rear of the unit (behind the throttle/safety and handle assembly). Once inserted, the saw was ready to go.
The battery has an integrated plastic clip that secures it into the pole saw and battery charger, and can also be depressed to remove the battery. I found the clip worked well in either application, unlike some other brands I have tested.
The battery has a power meter that lets you know how much battery life you have at any point in time. All you have to do is depress a small button located at the rear of the battery and a 4 LED display lights up. Battery power is measured in ¼ increments.
I found this feature particularly helpful. As the power dropped from full power (4 illuminated lights) to the next level down (3 illuminated lights), and so forth, I got a good visual idea of how much power/cutting time I had left before I had to either recharge the existing battery or installing a second charged-up one.
The saw by nature is pretty heavily weighted toward the cutting head, even when the battery is installed at the back end of the pole. When the pole chainsaw is extended to its full length (from 6 ft. 8 inches to 8 ft. 10 inches), the weight and balance distribution become, even more, front heavy.
The shoulder strap that comes with the saw kit really helped with holding the saw stable at any length and helped distribute the weight of the saw. It also kept me from having to muscle the unit into place each time I wanted to make a cut. Weighing in at just over 11 lbs (with the extension rod installed) it would take a lot of physical energy to operate this saw for any length of time without using the provided shoulder strap.
Of even greater help (while using the extension pole section) was the waist strap with a pocket for holding the battery/saw assembly. Instead of using this as a waist strap, I used it as a shoulder strap. It worked equally well in this configuration.
Excellent Cutting Performance But …
The Redback 40V Lithium Ion Cordless Pole Saw has a tilted saw head that’s approximately 200 off center. This has the advantage of resting the chainsaw bar and chain on the top of the branch/limb to be cut, thus reducing arm and body fatigue while cutting. This helped a great deal, especially when the extension pole was attached.
The cutting was smooth, efficient and aggressive when it actually operated correctly.
The real issue came when the saw stopped arbitrarily in the middle of a cut. This happened on several occasions while cutting through the very first limb (about 4 inches in diameter). At first, I thought it might be a thermal overload of the system (the saw is designed with circuitry that prevents the motor or battery from overheating). The ambient temperature where I was testing the saw was only about 800 which isn’t hot enough to have affected it. Still, I let the saw sit for an about a minute to cool down. This did not alleviate the problem. The saw would start to cut then stop after only a few seconds. I finally cut through the 4-inch branch but it took 4 attempts. At this point, I stopped using the saw and contacted Redback customer service. They were great. They sent me a new saw immediately.
My second saw was something totally different. It cut through piece after piece of 4-inch wood without a hitch. There was one time when it stopped for just one second but fired up right away and continued to cut. Other than that one brief stop, the saw continued to cut 4-inch limbs until I ran out of wood to cut, and I had a lot of wood!
BAR AND CHAIN OIL CAP COULD PRESENT PROBLEMS
The bar and chain oiler cap is a nifty design; it snaps together rather than having a screw top. At first, I thought that this was an improvement over traditional screw cap methods. But I quickly found out that the snap cap caught on branches. After a few cuts, I inspected the bar and chain tension and noticed that the snap cap was starting to pop open. No oil leaked out, but the potential was there. As previously mentioned, no oil in the reservoir means bar and chain failure. After thinking that this snap cap was the bomb, I saw that it needed some engineering improvements to its design or to go back to a conventional screw cap (I’ve never seen a screw cap open when working in brushy areas).
The saw has a nice safety feature built into the throttle mechanism. Before the saw will start, a safety switch must be depressed. Nicely integrated into the handle on the opposite side of the throttle is a grip bar that when depressed starts the saw.
PERSONAL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT (PPE)
When operating any chainsaw, I recommend a certified “hard hat,” hearing protection, gloves, pants, protective chaps (a chap that goes over your pants that prevents chainsaw cuts), long sleeve shirt, boots and safety glasses.
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 Redback points out that, “Our customer service team tries to bend over backward 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 is considered consumable and as such has a limited lifetime. 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.
See It In Action
Curious to see how it works? Watch the video to see me using the pole chainsaw on an old mesquite and hear what I thought of it.
The Redback 40V Lithium Ion Cordless Pole Chainsaw (106070) is a decent pole chainsaw that cuts aggressively but can stop unexpectedly. I had to stop after problems with the first saw I tested, but Redback Customer Service quickly sent me a replacement that didn’t have the same issues (for the most part – there’s still room for improvement here). It’s well balanced, easy to use with the included shoulder strap and will run for about 25 minutes when fully charged. The instruction manual needs a major revamp and the bar and chain oiler cap has the potential to leak while the saw is in use.
WHERE TO BUY
The Redback 40V cordless pole chainsaw kit is available for purchase on Amazon for $209.99.
Now over to you – have you tried a pole chainsaw before? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!
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