All electric chainsaws are quieter than gas models and require much less maintenance; there's no need to worry about mixing oil and gas, cleaning up after spills or cleaning fouled spark plugs. You do have to haul a heavy-duty extension cord along behind you, but most users who do light work in a relatively small area say that running a quiet but reasonably powerful electric chainsaw is well worth that minor inconvenience.
Our Best Reviewed Husqvarna 316E (Est. $300) is the quietest of them all without sacrificing performance. In tests conducted by the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse, the 14-inch 316E was the quietest of 15 electric and four gas models evaluated, and came in a very close second in cutting performance. Its 1,600-watt/13-amp inline motor makes for a slim, lightweight design that's easy to handle: You can apply your weight more readily and, since you don't have to torque the saw to counterweight the bulk of a motor on one side, it's easier on the wrists.
The runner-up Worx WG303.1 (*Est. $100) also draws praise for its convenience and power. One post at Amazon.com says "it cut through 22 inch green oak rounds like butter," although most users and experts prefer it for light work. They say its 16-inch bar and 14.5-amp motor can handle 8- to 15-inch logs easily, and it's also very quiet when idling. Of course, no chainsaw is quiet when cutting through wood, so ear protection is recommended even with electric models.
While the Worx WG303.1 comes out of the box fully assembled, the Husqvarna 316E requires some minor assembly to the bar and chain, which most reviewers say is easy to do. Both also have auto-tensioning and auto-lubing chains and similar safety features, including inertia-activated chain brakes and safety locks. Yet the 316E easily takes the top spot because the WG303.1's ejection port is sometimes prone to clogging, it has a side-mounted motor that makes it slightly harder to handle, and it goes through chain oil very quickly.
Another alternative is the Craftsman 34118 (*Est. $100) , which draws a recommendation from Michael Springer at Tools of the Trade for its excellent value.