The Husqvarna 316E is one of the quietest electric chainsaws available, but experts say its cut quality remains among the best. Consumers praise its quiet, exhaust-free operation and start/stop convenience. As long as you're not covering a large area, it's worth the trouble of hauling an extension cord along. Critics are fans of the inline motor, which makes for less grip torque and lets you apply your weight more efficiently.
Can hold its own. Although a few users initially fret about how well the 14-inch, electric Husqvarna 316E could measure up to a gas-powered saw, an independent test from Noise Pollution Clearinghouse ranks it a very close second in terms of cut quality. Owners agree, saying the 316E does a great job on small-scale projects up to 14 to 16 inches in diameter.
It's also the quietest of the 19 models tested. "Nice not to have a smoke-belching, always running, incredibly noisy two-cycle engine operating near your face," says one user at ChainsawsDirect.com. The saw's inline motor makes for particularly easy handling.
Excellent safety features. In addition to the Husqvarna 316E's low-kickback bar and chain, its chain brake is "impressive," says Neil Soderstrom at Mother Earth News. The brake will activate if your left hand bumps against the left hand guard, and it's also activated by inertia if the chain ever catches the topside of the bar and kicks the saw back toward you.
When Michael Springer at Tools of the Trade tests nine chainsaws, the 316E is one of only three models whose brakes are readily activated by the inertia function. It also has a chain lock to keep you from accidentally starting the saw when you pick it up.
A worthwhile leash. You'll have to resign yourself to hauling an extension cord around behind you, but most reviewers say this is a small price to pay for the Husqvarna 316E's quiet, efficient cutting and easy start/stop operation. "Even though I am confined to working near a power source, for me, the trade off is that I don't have to worry about gas, oil, and pull starts," says one woman at ChainsawsDirect.com.
The 316E's anti-vibration handle makes it a good choice for long or frequent cutting sessions. An automatic oiler is fairly standard equipment, and users say the bar and chain are easy to assemble.
Our Sources: Husqvarna Chainsaw Reviews
1. Tools of the Trade
This review compares the Husqvarna 316E to eight other electric chainsaws based on tests that include cutting two sizes of square timbers. Springer calls it a "nimble powerhouse," and praises the saw's excellent balance and low grip torque.
Review: Electric Chainsaws, Michael Springer, March- April 2007
2. Noise Pollution Clearinghouse (NPC)
This international nonprofit focuses on reducing noise pollution, but also evaluates 15 electric and four gas chainsaws for cut quality and general handling characteristics. The Husqvarna 316E is the quietest model tested, and editors like the quality of its cut.
Review: Is a Quiet Chainsaw an Oxymoron?, Editors of Noise Pollution Clearinghouse, Summer 2005
3. Mother Earth News
Soderstrom, the author of a book on chainsaw use and maintenance, tests three electric chainsaws at different price points but doesn't compare them with directly competing models. He recommends the midrange Husqvarna 316E for its good safety features, and says it has "good heft and a solid feel."
Review: Electric Chain Saws, Neil Soderstrom, October/November 2005
The Husqvarna 316E gets 4.5 stars out of 5 from more than 20 users here. Site expert Nick Flanc recommends the 316E, but his write-up is brief and doesn't seem to include any hands-on testing. A video review features a chainsaw salesman not associated with the site.
Review: Husqvarna (16") 1600 Watt Prosumer Electric Chainsaw, Contributors to ChainsawsDirect.com, As of July 2013
5. The Wall Street Journal
This novice chainsaw user tries out several gas models along with the electric Husqvarna 316E. She says the latter "earned praise from my initially skeptical pros for being quiet, environmentally sound (no gas fumes) and extra safe with a power-trigger lock that prevents setting the chain in motion when you pick it up."
Review: Joining the Chainsaw Gang, Gwendolyn Bounds, Feb. 4, 2006