The DeWalt 20v Max 12″ Chainsaw – A True Mighty Mite

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Dewalt 20v Max 12" Chainsaw

I’ve been heating with wood for the past 45 years. I’ve almost always processed my own firewood, only buying stove ready wood on the rare occasions I run short or have a temporary interruption in supply. That means I’ve been operating chainsaws for the past 45 years with no major injuries, and very few minor incidents that should give one pause. You would then think that I must be extremely careful, employing a full set of PPE every time I break out a saw. Or, more likely I’ve been blessed with crazy good luck. It took the editor of this fine website to help me peel away the layers of stupid and finally get with the program.

Though I am far more likely to use hearing protection as time and foolishness has taken its toll on my auditory acuteness, I was unlikely to use vision protection, impact protection for my head or chaps, that provide cut protection for the lower extremities. I have generally worn good foot protection as early on in my woodcutting exploits I destroyed a brand new pair of Herman’s Survivors instead of my foot, both of which are dear to me. I now own and use said PPE whenever I break out the saws, even one as cute and easy to handle as the one reviewed here. All that said leads me into a review of the latest addition to a rather extensive collection of chainsaws, the Dewalt 20v Max 12″ chainsaw, the DCCS620P1.

Personal protective equipment
It seemed that after 45 years of good luck it was time to start using the proper PPE when handling chainsaws. A set of chaps, a helmet with integrated hearing and eye protection along with steel toed boots and gloves are essential.
When the chips are flying the protective eye screen is really appreciated.
When the chips are flying the protective eye screen is really appreciated.

Is the DeWalt DCCS620P1 the Saw I’ve Been Waiting For?

In a word, yes. I am not new to the concept of the electric chainsaw, owning a Dewalt 20v Max pole saw as well as a 60v 16″ saw from another manufacturer. I also have half a dozen gasoline powered saws of varying size. No, my name is not Jason, and I do not have a chainsaw fetish, over the years these things just accumulate. The one saw I was missing though was a small saw powerful enough to handle medium sized wood (4″-9″) and be light and easily controlled in awkward or tight spots. This particular DeWalt 12″ chainsaw fills the bill.

chain adjustment for the Dewalt 20v max chainsaw
Chain tension is easily controlled by loosening the large butterfly nut on the chain cover and the rotating the tension knob in the desired direction.

First, the Downlow on This DeWalt 20v Chainsaw

The DeWalt 20v Max 12″ Chainsaw has a number of user friendly features that I think are cutting edge. My favorite of these is the tool free chain adjustment. The side cover is held in place by a large folding butterfly nut that can be loosened by hand. The chain tensioner is another smaller dial on the same side. Chain stretch is a natural result of using the saw, maintaining proper tension on the chain is crucial for efficient and safe operation of the tool. Most saws require a specific tool to accomplish tightening, but with this system on the Dewalt saw adjustments can be made whenever necessary without having to retrieve a tool to do so. I also was impressed with the ease of opening the oil reservoir, also featuring the fold down butterfly nut that allows easy access.

oil reservoir cover
The oil reservoir cap also features an easy to open butterfly knob, ideal when working with gloved hands.
Oil reservoir cap removed
The oil reservoir cap removed, it is tethered to the saw to avoid misplacing it while filling the reservoir.

Keeping The Chainsaw User Safe

Most modern chainsaws employ a low profile chain that is designed to reduce the saw from kicking back at the operator, and this DeWalt 20v Max chainsaw is no exception. The saw also features a chain brake, integrated into the handle assembly. If the saw does buck or kickback, the protective lever on the handle engages a brake on the chain that stops it instantly. There is also a trigger guard that must be engaged to pull the trigger that activates the saw, preventing accidental starts. The guard is placed to allow for easy and natural engagement, no awkward reaching as I’ve found on some tools.

chain stop
The chain stop engages when the saw kicks back at the operator, stopping the chain from moving instantly. Just pull the lever back to reset and start sawing again.
trigger guard
The trigger guard prevents accidental engagement, but is easy to access and is ergonomically placed.

Cutting a Wide Swath with the DeWalt 20v Max Chainsaw

My wife and I are now entering year 3 of our efforts to reclaim and utilize as much of the 80 acres we own as we can. Due to years of neglect nature has had a way of filling the void. The edges of fields and pastures have crept in, and every bank on the ponds or drainage were overgrown with a combination of Hawthorn trees, Multi-flora rose and swamp willow. The edges of the woods were similarly afflicted as was a meadow near the rear of the property where we have a small cabin. Over this time we have gotten more efficient at clearing and disposing the brush, and the addition of the proper tools has been instrumental in our efforts. Upon receiving the DeWalt 20v Max 12″ chainsaw from team yellow to review, we immediately put it to work.

The saw is lightweight, easy to maneuver and plenty powerful enough to tackle most chainsaw applications.

The DeWalt DCCS620P1 – A Saw for All Seasons (Or Persons)

A number of years ago I graced my wife with a gift any woman would lust after, her very own gasoline powered chainsaw. It was a smaller lighter model, I felt she could do limbing and smaller tree and brush clearing. To my dismay, she wasn’t thrilled with the gift, and was actually reluctant to use the saw. She claimed it was difficult to start, was heavy and generally made her nervous. The DeWalt 20v Max was the exact opposite for her and she has embraced operating it as she feels it’s easy to control, stops instantly when you release the trigger, is not loud or smelly and requires no more effort than a pull of the trigger to start it. The included 5ah battery provides extended use, we typically work on clearing for 4-5 hours at a time before calling it quits. The saw is still ready to work after our (human) batteries are drained, and granted those are not hours of continuous running, but we use the saw a lot and rarely run out of power.

slab cutting chainsaw
The saw was able to cut through this 5 x 7 slab of white pine without bogging down. I was unable to rip the entire 10′ length accurately without a jig, though the saw was up to the task.

The DeWalt 20v Max Chainsaw Challenge

At one point I thought I would really put the saw’s power to the test. I have a 10 foot long piece of 5″ by 7″ thick white pine I wanted to split down the middle in order to make a rustic bench out by the firepit by the cabin out back. I set the wood on sawhorses and marked the line with a chalk line and started cutting. The saw dove right in and was making great headway, pulling the long ribbon chips associated with ripping wood with a chainsaw. Unfortunately I was not able to complete the task as with out some sort of jig to guide the saw I wasn’t able to accurately cut the wood, but the saw never bogged down and I have no doubt that had I the skill or jig, it would have completed the cut.

cutting thickets
The saw was the right tool to work our way into the hedgerows of thorny wooded thicket. We were then able to cut the pieces into manageable size.

DeWalt DCCS620P1 20v Max 12″ Chainsaw Conclusions

I was thoroughly impressed by the DeWalt 20v Max cordless chainsaw. It was lightweight, powerful and almost stealthy when operated. The use of hearing protection was really potential overkill. The saw really shined in our particular application where we were having to work our way into hedgerows of thorny wooded thickets and cut chunks out to chip away at the growth. We would then knock the cuttings down to a manageable size and burn as we went along. It really was the perfect tool for this application. I can also see this as a useful tool in any carpenters kit, where the DeWalt line of tools is being used for things like demolition or cutting large beams. It is also a great tool for landscapers as it will handle a wide range of duties, from clearing brush, cutting mid-size trees or cutting landscaping timbers.

The saw was perfect for our application, cutting the brush to a manageable size and burning as we went along. The saw has facilitated a much more efficient approach to our clearing efforts.

Buy Now - via Home Depot

Photo of author

About Stephen

Stephen hails from a family of DIY’ers, the delusion that no job is too big or complex to tackle on your own originally instilled by his father and further reinforced by his brothers, who are equally afflicted. His first real project was the complete restoration of an old farmhouse in Upstate NY, which was followed by another, setting the pattern. After 40 years in the wine and spirits business (sounds far more glamorous than the reality) he recently retired to an 80 acre sheep farm, where he will continue to farm until his retirement savings are exhausted. As a co-owner of 30 something bicycles (a devotee of the N+ 1 theory of bicycle requirements, where N= the current number owned), he is typically found tinkering on his latest build or out testing said results. Stephen spends his spare time (face it, all of his time) drinking good coffee, currying homegrown produce or fixing whatever is currently non-operational. He also spends whatever time he can with an ever growing extended family. When his wife retired they planned to do as much cycle touring as their legs will allow, but the sheep are pretty demanding.

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5 thoughts on “The DeWalt 20v Max 12″ Chainsaw – A True Mighty Mite”

  1. The point about safety is extremely important to me. Good thing the DeWalt 20v Max is equipped with a chain brake. It is important to monitor such moments, to check equipment and to follow safety measures and rules in order to ensure safety and minimize risks.


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