Chainsaw Face-Off: Ego CS1804 vs. Jonsered CS2245

Can a battery-powered Ego hold its own against a gas-powered Jonsered?

The Ego CS1804 electric chainsaw (left) and the Jonsered CS2245 gas chainsaw
The Ego CS1804 electric chainsaw (left) and the Jonsered CS2245 gas chainsaw

In the past 10 years, Ego has earned a reputation for making some of the best battery-powered tools around. Jonsered, on the other hand, is a Swedish manufacturer of gas-powered tools—one that has been making premium chainsaws for almost 70 years. 

Together these two brands embody a battle that has been unfolding in the aisles of home centers. Battery-powered tools, prized for effortless starting and minimal maintenance, have slowly but surely stolen market share from gas tools. But gas has retained a loyal following. After all, can a battery tool really match the power, and provide the run time, to tackle some of the toughest jobs in the yard? 

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To find out, we’ve pitted the Ego CS1804, $350, a 56-volt battery-powered chainsaw, against the Jonsered CS2245, $320, a heavy-duty gas-powered chainsaw. Both models score well in our tests and earn CR recommendations. Both have an 18-inch cutting bar, which means they can tackle trees or limbs at least 18 inches in diameter. The big difference, of course, is the power source for each tool. 

“Ego’s tools, which are all powered by the same 56-volt battery, are really some of the best around,” says Misha Kollontai, CR’s test engineer in charge of evaluating outdoor power equipment.

The battery can be used interchangeably to power not only the chainsaw but also the brand’s lawn mowers, string trimmers, leaf blowers, and even single- and two-stage snow blowers. (If you already own one of those tools, you can buy the Ego chainsaw without a battery or charger, and save about one-third off the price.)

With the Jonsered, you never have to worry about recharging a battery because it’ll keep running as long as you fill it up with gas. 

Read on to see whether the battery-powered Ego can keep pace with a powerful gas Jonsered. You can learn more about chainsaws in our chainsaw buying guide or jump right to our ratings of more than 50 gas and electric chainsaws

Vitals

Ego CS1804 battery-powered chainsaw: The Ego is a battery-powered chainsaw that looks and feels like a substantial tool. It weighs 15 pounds, making it slightly heavier than the Jonsered. (Much of the weight comes from the large, 5.0-amp-hour battery.) You can buy it at Lowe’s and on Amazon.

Quick Take

Ego CS1804

Price: $350

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Jonsered CS2245 gas-powered chainsaw: The Jonsered is a premium gas chainsaw that has essential features but relatively few extras. It weighs 13 pounds and, like the Ego, has an 18-inch cutting bar that’s the sweet spot for a residential saw—anything smaller limits the size of tree or log you can cut, and anything larger can be tough to control for a typical user. It’s sold at independent outdoor power equipment dealers as well as at Menard’s. 

Quick Take

Jonsered CS2245

Price: $320

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Test by Test

Get the details on how the two chainsaws compare in the battery of performance tests we conduct at Consumer Reports.

Cutting speed: This test makes or breaks a chainsaw by determining how fast each tool can cut through a 10-inch-square oak beam. We use oak because it’s a notoriously hard wood to cut.

Both the Ego and the Jonsered earn the top rating of Excellent in this test; they cut through an oak beam in under 20 seconds, cut after cut. That’s nothing unique for a heavier-duty gas chainsaw like the Jonsered; more than half the models currently in our ratings also earn an Excellent rating. But the Ego is one of only four battery-powered chainsaws (of the 23 in our ratings) to earn this top score. It’s a tie in this test.

We also use a smaller, 6x6-inch oak beam just to test how many cuts a battery tool can make on a single charge. The Ego cut through this beam 80 times on a charge, and while we don’t score battery-powered saws for this test, it’s worth noting that many max out around 20 to 40 cuts. The Ego made more cuts on a charge than any battery chainsaw we’ve ever tested. 

Safety: Considering how dangerous a chainsaw can be, it’s important that it’s designed with every possible feature to minimize risks. We check the safety features that come with a chainsaw and assess how well those features work. Chief among those is a design that helps avoid accidents. We look for—and test—the chain brake, which is the feature that stops the blade from spinning if the tool hits a knot or an obstruction and bucks back up toward your face while you’re cutting. We also look for metal bucking spikes, which are at the base of the blade near the handle and help you dig into a log and stabilize the chainsaw while you’re cutting. Both the Ego and Jonsered have each of these features. 

To test for possible kickback, our testers repeatedly press the tip of the chainsaw into a log—which you should never do—to see whether the chain brake engages properly. We also note blade cover or sheath to prevent cuts when the tool is in storage. Both the Jonsered and the Ego have a chain brake that works well, but only the Ego includes a sheath for the blade, which most chainsaws have. 

Another difference: Like all gas chainsaws, the Jonsered has a muffler that’s close to the handle and can get hot enough to burn you if you’re not careful. The Ego, like all electrics, doesn’t have a muffler, because electric motors, unlike gas engines, don’t need a muffler to get rid of exhaust gases. That makes for a safer tool. This, and the fact that the Ego comes with a sheath for the blade, help the Ego earn a rating of Very Good for safety, while the Jonsered musters only a Good. The Ego has the edge here.

Ease of use: This test assesses how easy a chainsaw is to start, use, and maintain. The Ego has an obvious leg up on the Jonsered: Because it’s electric, the Ego starts instantly, without your having to pull a cord, and it doesn’t have any oil filters that need changing or spark plugs that need to be replaced. Plus, it has a simple dial on the side for tightening the chain when it becomes loose; the Jonsered requires a wrench, and you need to remove a plastic cover before tightening the chain. The Jonsered earns a rating of Very Good for this test, and the Ego earns a rating of Excellent. Again, the Ego wins out.

Handling: Cutting down tree limbs or trimming a bush can be unwieldy work. So it’s essential that your chainsaw is easy to handle. This test captures how easy a chainsaw is to hold, handle, and cut with. To test handling, we make horizontal and vertical cuts on oak, consider weight and balance, and use a tool to measure vibration. The Jonsered has anti-vibration springs to help minimize vibration while cutting. The Ego, like all battery chainsaws, doesn’t need these springs: Electric chainsaws automatically cut smoother because they don’t have an idling engine. Both chainsaws excel at handling, earning ratings of Excellent. Each is balanced, easy to control, and smooth through the cutting process. So it’s a tie. 

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