Dynamic Duo – Skil PWR CORE 20 Chainsaw and PWR CORE 40 Brushless Polesaw

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I’ve nearly lost track of the number of battery powered chainsaws that have passed through my hands in the last 3 years. My wife and I are working to reclaim a portion of the land on our 80 acre farm that has been overtaken by nature due to years of neglect. Though that doesn’t necessarily make me an expert on the subject of battery powered chainsaws by any means, it does go a long way to informing my opinion on what I like and what works for my particular application. We recently received a pair of battery powered saws from Skil to review – the new PWR CORE 20 brushless 12″ chainsaw kit and the PWR CORE 40 brushless 10″ Polesaw kit. Each one of these tools represent a lineup of outdoor tools from the folks at Skil, and The line was new to me. I have to say after using them in the field for the last month they have become my go to saws for brush clearing and general yardwork where a polesaw or smaller chainsaw is the best option. Here is the breakdown on these saws.

20v saw
The Skil PWR CORE 20 chainsaw kit features a 4ah Lithium Ion battery, automatic oiling, a chain brake and a powerful 20 volt brushless motor.

The 12″ PWR CORE 20 Chainsaw – With Brushless Power

Get power and performance in a compact lightweight cordless chainsaw powered by PWRCORE 20™ lithium technology. Industry-leading technology wraps each cell of the PWRCORE 20™ battery for longer run time and battery life. The saw features tool-less chain tensioning and auto-lubrication and anti-kickback brake. This top handle chainsaw comes equipped with a brushless motor that delivers high cutting speeds to tackle the job at hand. The electric chainsaw kit comes with a PWRCORE 20™ 4.0Ah lithium-ion battery and charger, plus an Easy Storage Bracket that allows you to conveniently store all your SKIL PWRCORE 20™ outdoor equipment with ease.

The included battery and charger are compatible with all SKIL tools in the PWRCORE 20™ family. During our time with the saw we were impressed with the run time we experienced. It wasn’t unusual to be out in the field for 4 hours at a time, and not have the battery run down. I was also impressed with the power the saw demonstrated, easily the equal of similar sized gas powered chainsaws. I would not hesitate to grab this saw for any limbing activity or even felling smaller trees.

skil pwr core polesaw 40v
The Skil PWR CORE 40v 10″ Brushless Polesaw is part of the Skil family of 40v outdoor power tools. It features a quick charge 2.5ah 40 volt lithium ion battery and a range of 7.5 – 10 feet with a lightweight aluminum shaft.

The 10″ PWR CORE 40 Polesaw – Brushless and Lengthy!

We were thoroughly impressed with the industry-leading performance of this cordless pole saw powered by SKIL PWRCORE 40™ lithium technology. I felt this saw easily rivaled the power of similarly sized gas powered saws, in a much lighter and more convenient format.

The PWR CORE 40 Polesaw in action.
The PWR CORE 40 10″ Brushless Polesaw in action.

Skil provides a great opportunity to add more power and durability to your tool shed with this telescopic cordless pole saw powered by a brushless motor. The lightweight telescopic aluminum shaft extends from 7.5 to 10 feet in length, while the 10” bar & chain angled head provides greater control for the hardest to reach jobs. This tree pruner features an auto lubricating chain to reduce friction and enhance durability, while tool-less chain tensioning allows for hassle-free adjustments. This Pole Saw kit includes a PWRCORE 40™ 2.5Ah 40V Battery and an Automatic PWRJUMP™ Charger.

tensioning the chain
Both saws utilize an easy to work tool-less chain tensioning system. Simply loosen the big dial that secures the chain cover and then move the thumb wheel in the desired direction to increase or decrease chain tension. Bonus: this operation is easily accomplished without having to remove your gloves.
oil reservoir
Both saws feature easily accessible oil reservoirs. The oil level is easy to determine with a quick glance.

Skil PWR CORE – Feature Rich Saws

One of my favorite developments in the battery powered chainsaw is the tool-less chain tensioning capability. I can’t begin to remember the number of times I would be in the woods, and as a natural consequence of the nature of the work, the chain would stretch and lose tension. Then, guess what, I left the tool back at the shop, or had the wrong one and I was done sawing for a while.

With the tool-less system tensioning is a no brainer, and you are far more likely to to perform this simple, but necessary task. The Skil PWR CORE 20 chainsaw and the PWR Core 40 polesaw share the same tool-less tensioning system. Simply loosen the chain cover and rotate the thumb wheel in the indicated direction to either increase or decrease tension.

The chainsaw also features a handle mounted guard/chain brake, which is standard safety equipment in the chainsaw world. Both saws have easily accessible oil reservoirs for chain oil. The pole saw has an extendable aluminum pole that extends to a full 10 feet and an angled head that drops naturally onto limbs and facilitates engagement and ease of control when reaching to trim limbs.

pole length
The Skil PWR CORE 40 polesaw has an effective reach of 7.5 feet when collapsed, but extends to 10 feet on an easily adjustable lightweight aluminum pole. The angled head rests on the branch to be cut and facilitates easy removal.
Pole length is adjusted easily by loosening the larger red knurled hand grip and extending the aluminum shaft to the desired length.
adjustable handle
The Skil PWR CORE 40 polesaw features an adjustable handle with a quick release mechanism for quick adjustment in the field. The handle was one of the best designed I have ever used, allowing the operator full control of the fully extended saw.
The Skil PWR CORE 40 battery will charge from 0% to 30% in fifteen minutes, and will go to fully charged in an hour.

Letting the Chips Fall

We used both saws in a number of applications. The Skil PWR CORE polesaw was perfect for trimming branches that were intruding into the spaces outside our paddock fences that we keep mowed. I was tired of getting scraped off the mower, so my wife trimmed away the offending branches under my thoughtful supervision. She had been nervous using gas powered saws in the past, but the battery powered saws have increased her comfort level due to the lightness and added control.

easy rest
easy rest
It took longer to clean up the brush than it did to clear a path for the mower. The PWR CORE 40 polesaw made quick work of the necessary trimming.

Cutting a Clear Path

There was a small pond in the back meadow that had silted in over the years. We wanted to excavate the pond and refill it with water to use to irrigate our back gardens and high tunnel, but first we had to clear the area of all the opportunistic brush and trees that had flourished in the old pond site. One of the most prolific was the willow that had sprung up and put on substantial growth in a short period of time. We took the Skil PWR CORE 20v 12″ chainsaw to see what it could do. The pond area was maybe a third of an acre, we had cleared the smaller brush with a brush cutter mower on the tractor and left the trees to the Skil saw. It easily cut through 6″ – 8″ trees, was nice to limb with due to the light weight, and was handy for felling the trees right at the base due to its compact size and powerful motor.

medium sized
The saw easily cut through 6-8″ logs, never bogging, providing power equal to gas powered saws of equal size.
The Skil PWR CORE 20 chainsaw was perfect for felling the smaller willows. Its compact size allowed me to cut flush to the ground.
The saw’s light weight made limbing a breeze.

Skil PWR Core Conclusions

With the advancements in battery technology and motor efficiency, battery powered chainsaws are making real inroads into the woodcutting world. I still rely on my large gasoline powered saws for really big jobs, cutting large trees for lumber or even firewood. Lately, I am more often reaching for the battery powered saws for everything else.

I don’t own a gas powered polesaw anymore, and can’t imagine what I’d need it for. Skil has come up with a couple of excellent saws here, the polesaw is lighter and easier to use than any others I have tried and I’m very impressed with the power of the 12″ chainsaw. Battery life on these saws is also impressive, the quick charge featured on the 40volt system is nice, but we never found we needed it – we were usually out of energy before these saws were!

We usually ran out of power long before the saws did.
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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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