Milwaukee M18 Fuel Top Handle Chainsaw Review

Milwaukee Introduces More Electric Chainsaw Options For Lawn Care Pros and Arborists

When you’re cutting down small trees, especially at height, you want a reliable chainsaw that’s going to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel lineup includes a top handle chainsaw, which boasts competitive and pro-grade performance. We give you our take on how this tool will benefit lawn care professionals so you understand what to expect.


Editor’s Note: Check out our best battery chainsaw article for our top picks.

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Top Handle Chainsaw: The Big Deal

Milwaukee Tool actually includes two sizes of top handle chainsaw in the M18 Fuel lineup. You’ll have the option between a 12-inch and a 14-inch model, both of which Milwaukee claim cut faster than 35cc gas chainsaws. They have the power to cut hardwoods without the headaches that come with gas power, like fumes, maintenance, and cost.

Which Milwaukee Top-Handle Chainsaw is Right for You?

The primary outdoor power tool here is the 14-inch model top handle chainsaw. Milwaukee touts that as the optimal tool for arborists looking for a quiet and powerful solution for climbing and limbing. Some applications make sense for the smaller saw, however. The first thing that comes to mind is the lineman. When you simply want a smaller saw for cutting back branches that get in the way of powerlines, 12-inches does the job.

I don’t know about you, but I want the weight of that saw as small as possible if I’m up in a bucket near power lines. If you need something more than a 12-inch bar, you don’t need to be dealing with that branch!

Performance and Electronics

Milwaukee 14-inch top handle chainsaw

The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Top Handle Chainsaw features the expected electronics that let it reach full throttle quickly. How quickly? We pulled the trigger and it got to full speed in less than a second. Thanks to this technology, you can expect it to be easy to control and reduce downtime.

While Milwaukee told us that these chainsaws maintain their speed without bogging down, we had to test for ourselves. After watching others make several cuts using this saw with an XC 8.0 battery pack, we took our turn. On what we estimated was an 8- to 9-inch diameter log, we made nearly a dozen cuts—pushing the saw as we would a gas tool.

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Top Handle Chainsaw

The Milwaukee M18 FUEL top handle chainsaw is STRONG. I can stall a gas saw—and I could have stalled this one by applying an unreasonable amount of pressure to the chain as it cut. With that said, it didn’t stall on any of those cuts, and I had a crowd of people around me staring. I wasn’t about to baby the tool with an audience!

So what about speed? Well, this chainsaw operates at around 15 meters per second (that’s around 49 feet per second). That’s not as fast as many gas-powered top handle chainsaws—which is where most of the complaining comes from online (we know who you are!) What Milwaukee does, however—like most battery-powered saws we’ve seen and used—is drop the speed and give you torque. That means you don’t really see the chain speed drop very much as you go through the cut. It’s very confident.

Milwaukee M18 FUEL Top Handle Chainsaw Runtime

After making these cuts and wondering at the efficiency of the tool, I took a look at the battery. I still had three bars out of four. Having not been the first person to use this tool, I can see why Milwaukee would claim up to 150 cuts per charge in 4×4 cedar with an M18 RedLithium High Output XC8.0 battery. We were working the tool a lot harder than you would on 4×4 cedar.

Field Testing

We took our 14-inch model out to the ranch to deal with an oak tree that lost one side in a storm. We were tackling the main branches with a larger saw, but we first wanted to limb the smaller ones to clear out a safe working space and called on Milwaukee to get it done.

The saw made the work incredibly fast, clearing our work area in just a few minutes. Of course, the top handle design and low weight were a big help in clearing everything from down low to up high and at a wide range of attack angles.

Additional Features

  • Easy-access chain tensioner
  • Automatic oiler
  • Translucent oil reservoir
  • Metal bucketing spikes
  • Onboard scrench storage
  • Lanyard loop
  • Climbing scabbard that covers the bucking spikes

The only niggle we had with this chainsaw was the small, thin trigger. I often had to adjust my grip to get the Milwaukee 2826 top-handle up to full speed. With time, I figured it out, but I always like tools to intuitively work as I expect. We plan to do more testing when we get this tool in for a full review.


Milwaukee M18 Fuel Top Handle Chainsaw Price

The 12-inch model retails for $339 as a bare tool (2826-20C). The 14-inch model comes as a bare tool for $349 (2826-20T). There are also two kit options for the 14-inch model. With one 8.0Ah High Output battery and a rapid charger, it’s $499 (2826-21T). With an 8.0Ah High Output battery, a 12.0Ah High output battery, and a simultaneous dual-port rapid charger, it’s $699 (2826-22T).

The Bottom Line

Our field work verified what we initially thought during our very first testing. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Top Handle Chainsaw is a highly convenient, fast-cutting tool that can replace your gas saw without a problem. Whether you’re in a bucket clearing power lines, you’re a professional arborist, or you simply need a supplement to your primary rear handle saw, give the Milwaukee 2826 some serious consideration.

Specifications

  • Model: 2826
  • Chain speed: 15 m/s (~49 fps)
  • Bars: 12- or 14-inch
  • Working Weight: 11.1 lbs with 14-inch bar and oil

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