DeWalt 12-inch 20v Chainsaw (DCCS620P1) Review

When it comes to battery-powered chainsaws, you usually end up trading performance and power for the convenience of power on demand. With the 12-inch DCCS620P1 chainsaw, DeWalt has done a phenomenal job eliminating this trade-off – as the saw offers excellent performance in a lightweight and compact package.

With a 12-inch bar and an overall weight of just 9 pounds including the battery, the saw is ideal for homeowners and property managers, demo and construction use, as well as for clearing trails from fallen trees and branches. It’s not really geared towards felling multiple large-diameter trees (10-inch+), although it performed surprisingly well at this task.

While DeWalt may be a newcomer to the chainsaw game – and the saw has a few minor quirks to prove this – overall, they’ve nailed the compact battery-powered saw with this entry.

Let’s review the DeWalt 12 inch 20v chainsaw in more detail, so you’ll have a better picture of its strengths and weaknesses.

Pro’s

  • Tool-less chain tension knobs.
  • Ultralight, compact, and highly maneuverable.
  • Quiet operation.
  • Excellent battery life.
  • Surprisingly powerful.
  • Quick start and stop.
  • Electric and mechanical chain brake.

Con’s:

  • Bucking spikes (“dogs”) are plastic instead of metal.
  • Knobs are somewhat flimsy.
  • Single-speed trigger.
  • Trigger unlock lever not ambidextrous.

First Impressions

The first thing you’ll notice after picking up the saw is how light it feels. With the included 5Ah battery, the saw weighs just a hair under 9 pounds, which is considerably lighter than most battery-powered saws, and closer to a smaller corded model. It’s fairly easy to maneuver single-handed, so making one-handed cuts is possible although probably not the safest thing you could do.

dewalt 12 inch chainsaw up close

While it’s certainly light, don’t be fooled into thinking that the saw is some type of toy. It’s a serious cutting machine and should be used with the same safety precautions as gas-powered saws.

Another feature you’ll notice right off the bat is that the entire saw can be taken apart with convenient tool-free knobs. This means you can clean it as well as replace or tighten the chain without having to go looking for your toolbox.

tool free knobs
Tool-free tension and locking knobs.

The trigger features a two-step activation, which means you need to depress the small lever near the thumb before you can activate the trigger. This is done for safety reasons, so you won’t accidentally switch on the saw when picking it up from the handle. It takes a little getting used to, but once you begin using it you’ll hardly notice it’s there.

Bare Tool: 

View On Amazon

W/ 5Ah Battery: 

View On Amazon

Specifications 

  • Weight: 9 pounds (with battery)
  • Chain Speed: 25.2 Ft/s
  • Chain Gauge: 0.043
  • Cutting Capacity: Up to 90 cuts per charge on 4×4 pressure treated wood (using 5Ah battery)
  • Bar Length: 12 inch

Preparing the Saw

Before you can start cutting down trees there are a few minor things you’ll need to take care of. Like other chainsaws, you’ll need to fill the internal reservoir with bar oil to ensure the chain stays lubricated.

There’s a small hand-cranked lever on the left side of the saw that opens the bar oil reservoir. This feels a little flimsy, but I’ve had no problems with it.

refilling bar and chain oil
Refilling bar oil.

Next up, you’ll need to adjust the tension on the chain so it’s snug but still pulls freely. This is accomplished with the two knobs on the right side of the saw. First, loosen the larger locking knob, and then rotate the smaller tension knob until you achieve the desired level of chain tension. Then, you retighten the locking knob.

Performance

I’ve had the opportunity to use and review the DeWalt 12 inch chainsaw saw for several weeks so far, and have a pretty good grasp on how it performs at a variety of cutting tasks.

cutting small birch tree

The first task I put the saw through was cutting down several medium-sized birch and pine trees. Most were between 4 and 8 inches in diameter, and the saw had no problem dealing with these. The chain got stuck a few times during the process, but I think that was more to do with my own inexperience using the saw. You can definitely notice the difference when cutting through hardwood and softwood, but the saw still cut through the hardwood without much difficulty.

cutting sapling

One thing I noticed is how nice the saw’s weight is. It feels light when carrying it single-handed, and it’s super easy to get into tight spots that would be difficult with a larger, heavier saw.

The next task was limbing and cutting these trees into manageable sections to haul out of the area. This is where the saw really shines in my opinion. It slices through branches like butter, and due to its lightweight, it doesn’t tire you out during the process.

cutting up log

Next up, I cut a larger birch tree with about a 10 to 11-inch diameter. This is close to the upper limit of what DeWalt recommends cutting with the saw, and it handled the task fairly easily. If felling trees of this size was your primary purpose for buying a chainsaw, I’d probably recommend going with something larger, but I’d have no hesitation reaching for this saw occasionally.

cut up trees and saplings

Lastly, as DeWalt recommends the saw for construction and demo use, I wanted to try cutting something other than fresh timber. I had an old section of a wooden deck that needed taking apart. The saw cut through the treated lumber without any trouble, which was much easier than the fresh greenwood. While this task could also be done with a reciprocating saw, I could see using a chainsaw for this especially if you’re cutting through 4x4s or 6x6s.

Battery Usage

The saw’s battery usage is one of the most impressive things about it. I used a 4Ah battery for the above tasks and was able to get them all done on a single charge.

DeWalt claims the saw can make 90 cuts through pressure-treated 4 x 4 on a single charge, and I’d say this is probably accurate.

Balance

Overall, the saw is fairly well-balanced, with slightly more weight towards the handle. Of course, this will depend on the size battery you’ve got – with smaller batteries giving you more weight towards the front of the saw.

Chain/Bar Oil

The saw uses a surprising amount of bar oil, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the bar oil level, and have some handy to refill it when needed. This isn’t really a negative in my opinion, as it means the saw chain and bar are well-lubricated, and I’d rather the saw use too much oil than too little.

Just remember, your bar and chain oil is going to run out before your battery does!

Key Features

Now that you’ve got a look at how the DeWalt 12 inch chainsaw performs in real life, let’s review some of its key features.

Chain Break

The saw features a typical mechanical chain break as well as an electronic brake. When the brake in front of your hand is pushed by your arm or you have kickback, the saw will immediately stop the chain.

dewalt 12 inch chainsaw mechanical chain brake
Mechanical chain brake.

When the brake is in the forward position, the motor will not turn on even if you depress the trigger, so you’ll need to pull the brake backward before you can start the saw.

Trigger

The trigger is one-speed, which means it has only one speed, essentially on or off. This means you won’t be able to vary the chain speed by squeezing or loosening the trigger.

For a saw of this size, this isn’t a major drawback, and you can actually vary the speed somewhat by feathering the trigger on and off.

One thing that may be an issue for left-handed people – the trigger unlock button is only on the right side of the trigger. I imagine this would be a major pain for lefties to use.

Bar & Chain

The included bar and chain are both of excellent quality, and surprisingly the tension comes well-adjusted right out of the box. Of course, if you prefer a different bar and/or chain, you can easily replace them with the tool-free knobs.

Bucking Spikes

The bucking spikes on the saw are made from plastic instead of the typical metal spikes you find on larger gas-powered models. I’d like to see these replaced with metal ones in the future, but for most cutting tasks you’re likely to do with a saw of this size, it’s not a major issue.

Bare Tool: 

View On Amazon

W/ 5Ah Battery: 

View On Amazon

Wrap Up

To review, the DeWalt 12-inch 20v Chainsaw (DCCS620P1) makes an excellent light-duty saw for trail clearing, pruning, and limbing larger trees, as well as for homeowner and construction use. Its light, quiet, has excellent battery life, and is surprisingly powerful should you need it for some heavy-duty work.

If you’re a homeowner looking for a general use and tree pruning saw, this one would fit the bill nicely. Additionally, if you’re looking for a trail-clearing saw you can throw in the back of the truck or quad, this one makes a perfect option. The saw would also make an excellent complement to a larger gas-powered saw to someone with a large property that requires management.

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