The DeWalt DCCS620P1 20V MAX bas been one of the bestselling cordless chainsaws for many years. Since the introduction of the 60V FlexVolt technology, many view the older 20V MAX cordless tools as second rate. This review is going to pit the old technology against the newer, more expensive model. How do they compare? We’re going to give you the lowdown on the DeWalt DCCS620P1 20V MAX vs DCCS670X1 60V MAX cordless chainsaw.
DeWalt DCCS670X1 vs DCCS620P1
The most striking difference between the DCCS670X1 and DCCS620P1 DeWalt cordless chainsaws is the increased bar length. The older 20V MAX chainsaw offered a 12” bar and chain, whereas the newer 60V model now has a 16” bar and chain. The DCCS670X1 has been completely redesigned with the handle behind the battery and motor. This provides a slimmer and, possibly, more versatile way of working. It also completely changes the weight dynamics. We’ll take a look at how this affects us as chainsaw users when reviewing the two. There’s also a noticeable price difference. The DeWalt 60V MAX chainsaw obviously costs more than the smaller 20V MAX model.
The upgrade from a 20V brushless DC motor to 60V has its advantages. Increasing the voltage makes for more efficient use of battery power. This results in longer working times and improved battery charging. There’s a common misconception that increasing the battery voltage automatically increases the power output. While this isn’t actually true, the new 60V chainsaw is more powerful. This not entirely a result of increased voltage; but it does play a role. After reviewing the DeWalt DCCS670X1 and DCCS620P1 chainsaws, I’ll discuss the FlexVolt battery system in detail. At the same time, I’ll provide more information on batteries in general. Since battery power is becoming the norm, it helps to gain a better understanding of this technology. How do you work out the best combination of volts vs Ampere Hours (AH)? How much power do you get from a 60V vs 20V battery? How does the DeWalt 60V MAX FlexVolt battery work?
Before we examine the ins and outs of battery technology, let’s get down to business. A review of the DeWalt DCCS620P1 vs DCCS670X1 cordless chainsaws.
DeWalt DCCS620P1 20V MAX 12” Cordless Chainsaw
- Low kickback Oregon Bar and Chain
- High efficiency brushless motor
- Tool-free chain tensioning
- Compact and lightweight – only 9LBS including battery
- Up to 90 cuts on 4 X 4 pressure treated lumber on a single charge using 5AH 20VMAX lithium ion battery
When reviewing the DeWalt 20V MAX chainsaw, I had to put things into context. Who buys a small cordless chainsaw? When we get down to it, a 12” chainsaw (gas or electric) is not the type of thing you’d see on a lumberjack’s truck. So I’d think this is more the type of thing you’d use around the yard for clearing up fallen trees and cutting back unwanted growth. I guess it could be useful for cutting firewood. Though this would depend on what size logs you’re dealing with. For these jobs, the DCCS620P1 is a fantastic little machine. The really cool thing about using a cordless chainsaw around the yard is the blissfully quiet operation.
It should also be a nimble little companion on a construction site. Since DeWalt 20V MAX tools are a keen favorite amongst contractors, I’d think this makes for a logical choice. Most of us know, by now, that using one type of battery for all your cordless tools is the way to go. Furthermore, the backward compatibility of the DeWalt FlexVolt battery system, means that you can use the new upgraded batteries with this chainsaw. You can work for about 5-times longer on a single battery. That’s if you replace the 5AH 20V MAX with a 9AH 20V/60V MAX FlexVolt battery. More about this later, when I provide the details on the FlexVolt battery system.
Using the DeWalt 20V MAX chainsaw is an experience all of its own. It’s electric, so there’s no tugging on a cord, hoping it’s going to start. There’s no gas fumes or noise. That’s a fantastic starting point, but this is true for any cordless chainsaw. This saw has a fantastic weight balance. With the motor and battery below your right hand, you can wield this machine with absolute finesse. Think of Texas Chainsaw Massacre set to classical music. The weight of only 8.8-pounds (without battery), or 9-pounds with the battery, makes all of this that much easier.
There’s very little vibration, in part because there’s no growling engine. So, with the soft grip handles, it’s a pleasure working for longer time periods. I also really like the wrap-around font handle, with all important chainguard (doubling as a chain brake) only a couple of inches from your front gripping position. A large knob on the side allows for easy unlocking of the bar. This means quick chain tensioning without the use of any tools. The 12” low kickback Oregon bar and chain is about the best there is, and it has automatic chain lubrication for added convenience.
So, is there anything I don’t like about the DeWalt 20V MAX chainsaw. If had to find a complaint, it would be the absence of any real bucking teeth (or dogs). There are ridges in the front plastic housing, and these provide some grip when bucking. But they are kind of Mickey Mouse – not the real deal. Then again, this is very much a light duty chainsaw. I doubt many home users are going to be working their way around large diameter trees with this little baby. In the end, for its intended applications, this is a mighty fine, easy to use lightweight chainsaw.
While DeWalt aren’t particularly well-known for their chainsaws, this is a brand with a reputation for excellence. The 20V MAX cordless tool range has proven itself. The DCCS620P1 is one of many top-sellers to herald from the incredible lineup of DeWalt 20V MAX tools. Yes, this is older technology. DeWalt, like most tool manufacturers are now moving toward higher voltage batteries and more powerful motors. There is some consolation for the aging 20V MAX technology, prices are coming down as the new technology becomes more dominant. This makes the 20V MAX DeWalt DCCS620P1 superb value for money.
DeWalt DCCS670X1 60V MAX 16” Chainsaw
- Tool-Free chain tensioning
- FlexVolt 20V/60V MAX battery
- Up to 70 cuts on 6 X 6 Lumber on a single charge using 60V MAX 3AH lithium ion battery
- Low Kickback with chain brake
- Auto oiling and easy to use quarter turn oil filler cap.
My first impression, comparing the DeWalt 60V MAX chainsaw to the old 20V MAX, was the new rear handle position. I was really impressed with how easy the old 20V chainsaw was to use. So I wondered why change a great setup. If it aint broke why fix it, right? Well, I can now say that this new design is a genuine improvement. I guess those engineers over at DeWalt know what they’re talking about.
The 60V 16” DeWalt chainsaw obviously weighs more than the 12” version (12.2LBS vs 8.8LBS) – that’s without the battery. The 60V MAX (DCCS670X1) can accommodate an even larger 18” bar and chain (sold separately). All this pushes more weight to the front of the machine. So I was surprised that they moved the main handle further back. I would have thought this would make for a worse center of gravity. But it doesn’t. If anything, the newer, heavier chainsaw is easier to use. This new handle design also makes for a really cool flat spot which makes it more convenient to stand on the ground when you need to take a break or fill the oil reservoir. I love the way the guys at DeWalt come up with such simple, yet innovative solutions to everyday issues.
According to the DeWalt website, the standard battery supplied with the 60V chainsaw is rated at 3AH. I’m left a little confused by this. To the best of my knowledge, FlexVolt batteries are available as 6AH, 9AH, and 12AH. So what is the 3AH FlexVolt battery? Since these batteries are rated with their AH at 20V, and the AH at 60V is three times less than this, I guess they’ve specified the the 9AH FlexVolt battery in its 60V configuration which would be 3AH. If this is the case, compared to the 5AH 20V battery, you get more power for longer from 9/3AH FlexVolt battery. By increasing the battery voltage three times, you’re getting three times more power per ampere.
If all this talk of 20V, 60V and AH seems a little bewildering, keep reading after the review. I’ll explain all you need to know about batteries, and the FlexVolt system, further down the page.
The new 60V brushless DC motor also seems to be a major upgrade. All-in-all, this is a more powerful chainsaw with longer working times. The 60V DeWalt chainsaw, in my opinion, comes remarkably close to a 40 – 45cc gas chainsaw. This is quite amazing – having all that power with a lot less weight. Not to mention none of the hassles keeping a gas engine maintained. Or the noise. Or the fumes. I think it won’t be too long before battery-powered chainsaws (and other power equipment) completely replace gas-powered machines.
After one has taken in the improvements in power and design, the 60V MAX isn’t all that different to the 20V MAX chainsaw in its basic DNA. It is crafted from tough plastic in that, all too familiar, DeWalt yellow and black. The low kickback Oregon bar and chain is longer, but just as safe and easy to use. The front handle provides grip at the top and sides, which has always been great, and the chain guard/brake is just as well positioned. It has the convenience of auto chain lubrication, as well as tool-free tensioning. All things that people have come to appreciate on the older model.
True DeWalt engineering is evident in the DCCS670X1 60V cordless chainsaw. They’ve upped the power, always a good thing. They’ve also changed the general design slightly to make the longer saw more agile. In making these changes, the guys at DeWalt have stuck to the good old-fashioned values that we so love about the brand. Changes have been made only to improve the product, not to throw in all sorts stuff that looks good on paper – or glossy pictures in brochures. Yes, I love this chainsaw and DeWalt are almost ready to take on the establishment of chainsaw aristocracy. Perhaps not quite yet a worthy competitor for Husqvarna, and the other big boys, but getting pretty close. This is, arguably, the best cordless chainsaw available at the moment. I look forward, with keen interest, to see if DeWalt are going to up the ante and bring out a 120V cordless chainsaw. This would truly take battery power into the realm of gas engines used for power equipment.
Understanding Battery Technology
Lithium ion batteries have revolutionized portable electric power. Compared to rechargeable batteries of the past, like lead acid or nickel cadmium, lithium ion batteries have several advantages. The low power to weight ratio is one of the most important of these, especially for handheld power equipment. These batteries are also more forgiving when it comes to charge cycles. Unlike most other rechargeable batteries, lithium ion variants require no maintenance.
Although we all see lithium ion batteries as a new development, the technology has been known for some time. The first research into the electrochemical properties of lithium was conducted as early as 1912 by Gilbert Newton Lewis. Though not much came of this research until the 1970s when the first non-rechargeable lithium batteries came to be.
Introducing a rechargeable lithium ion battery took more time as this is a highly volatile metal. This is probably the only drawback to lithium ion batteries – they can combust without warning if not manufactured to the highest safety standards. Cheap lithium ion batteries have been known to burst into flames at random. For this reason, there are strict regulations with regards to taking lithium ion batteries on to a commercial aircraft.
Despite these safety issues, and the fact that recycling the battery is complicated, lithium ion batteries have become the most popular portable power source in the world. They now provide electricity storage for everything from cars, to power tools, to portable appliances. With correct precautions taken during manufacture, there is very little risk when using these batteries. Because of their huge popularity, I’ll only be discussing lithium ion batteries. Some cheap cordless tools still utilize nickel cadmium batteries, but they are rare.
Using Lithium Ion Batteries
One of the biggest advantages to using lithium ion batteries is the limited effects of battery memory. This term refers to the effect that partial charge and discharge cycles have on a battery. Lead acid batteries are plagued by battery memory issues. Basically, the battery will always attempt to return to the most common state of charge. If a lead acid battery is seldom charged to full capacity, or left for prolonged periods in a state less than full charge, it will always tend to return to this lower state of charge. This means that most rechargeable batteries have to be placed on charge until they reach 100% charge capacity immediately after use. Furthermore, these batteries have to be stored only when fully charged. If stored for longer periods, the battery needs to be periodically placed on charge to retain a healthy battery memory.
Lithium ion batteries can be used or stored at any charge without any noticeable effect on their lifespan. There is, however, one vitally important charge cycle for these batteries that will impact the lifelong battery memory. I’m talking about the initial charge cycle here. All user manuals state that a lithium ion battery needs to be charged for at least 8-hours (sometimes longer) before using for the first time. This is because the maximum charge capacity for the battery is determined by this initial charge cycle. If not 100% charged before using for the first time, a lithium ion battery will never remain at full charge for the rest of its life. Even though it may only take an hour or two to fully charge the battery, it is important to do a longer charge cycle for the first usage period. This ensures that you get the longest lifespan from the battery.
All batteries are affected by temperature. At lower temperatures, a battery voltage will drop but the discharge time will increase. In other words, you will get the best working time from any battery (including lithium ion) at lower temperatures. In general, consider heat as the enemy when it comes to batteries. This applies to using the battery, storing it, or charging it. Always charge and store your battery in the coolest possible conditions. Whenever possible, try using the battery-powered tool in the coolest conditions. This will provide the longest working time and prolong the lifespan of the battery.
Although cold is good for a battery, when the temperature drops too low, the voltage loss will reach a point where the battery is no longer usable. This is something people in Northern Canada (and other extremely cold climates) are quite accustomed too. Although the voltage drop in freezing temperatures makes it impossible to use lithium ion batteries, it has no lasting effect. The moment the battery reaches a normal operating temperature, the voltage will be restored, without any damage to the battery.
Generally speaking, overcharging your batteries is not a good thing. Leaving a battery connected to a charger beyond full charge just generates extra heat which deteriorates the battery. Obviously the first charge is the exception to this rule. Even though most battery chargers now have safety features to prevent over charging and overheating, some heat is still transferred to the battery. It remains best practice to remove your battery from the charger once it is fully charged. It is also a good idea to charge the battery, from time to time, when stored for long periods. Even though lithium ion batteries can usually be stored for up to a year at any state of charge, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
How important is battery voltage?
Just about all power tool manufacturers are now increasing the voltage of their tools. Some use two batteries in series to achieve this, others are manufacturing new batteries with a higher voltage. In some cases both, like the DeWalt 120V cordless tools.
Increasing voltage doesn’t automatically imply an increased power output. You may remember the formula P=VA from you school science class. This is second nature to me, as I worked in the electrical engineering field for most of my life. So, for those of you who may have forgotten this, I want to provide a refresher course on electrics 101. It’s important to understand this, in order to understand battery power.
In this formula, the power produced in watts is represented by the letter P. This would be the amount of power the electric motor produces. Comparing electric motors to gas engines; 1HP = 745.7W. The other side of the equation has the letter V, which is Volts (electric potential difference) multiplied by A, representing Amperes (electric current). When using a cordless chainsaw, or any type of electric equipment, we’re mostly concerned with the power output. In other words, the wattage. This is the amount of usable power that we have at our disposal.
Lets say we’re comparing various cordless chainsaws to one that uses a 1HP gas engine. For any electric motor to match the power we get from this engine, it needs to produce 745.7 watts. Let’s simplify things and call it 750W. Since the review was about 20V vs 60V cordless chainsaws, I’ll use this as an example.
For a 20V cordless chainsaw to produce approximately 1HP, our formula will take on the following values:
P = 750W
V = 20V
A = ?
To determine the Amperage we now have to rearrange the formula: A = P/V (750/20)
This means that a 20V battery suppling 750W will draw 37.5A
Using a 60V battery to supply the same power will draw 12.5A.
What we now know, is that we can derive 1HP from either a 20V or 60V cordless chainsaw. Only the amps change.
What is the significance of amperage?
Now we’re getting to real point of this example. Current (Amps) generates heat. If we increase the amperage, more heat is transferred. Referring to the section on batteries, higher up the page, heat is the enemy. Heat also reduces the efficiency of an electric motor.
By increasing the voltage, we reduce the amperage. Thereby reducing the amount of heat generated. If you want to get the best performance from a battery-powered tool, increasing the voltage is the way to go. Less heat means longer battery time and lifespan. It also means more efficient power delivery from the electric motor.
If your wattage isn’t too high, the heat is not much of a factor as your amps remain fairly low – even at low voltage. As you increase the wattage, higher voltage becomes more advantageous. Electric motors that operate at around 15A (or less) tend to be the most economical. They don’t require heavyweight conductors and have a manageable heat factor.
When we look at battery storage capacity, it is measured in ampere-hours (AH). This indicates how many amps it will supply per hour. Obviously, using a lower amperage per watt is going to mean you’re using less amps per hour. Using a 5AH battery to supply a 15A motor will provide 0.33-hours working time (±20 MIN). If you’re supplying a 30A electric motor with a 5AH battery, you’ll end up with half the working time, approximately 10 MIN.
It should now be clear that the increased efficiency of using a higher voltage offers the best performance from cordless tools and the batteries they use.
DeWalt 20V/60V MAX FlexVolt Batteries.
In a bid to improve performance, cordless tool manufacturers are increasing the voltage. However, higher voltage batteries creates a new conundrum. What do you do with your old cordless tools and batteries?
Using one battery platform for all your power tools is the answer. You don’t need a lot of batteries since you can use the same battery in all your tools. You only need one type of charger which is more convenient and saves on clutter. By upgrading to a new tool that uses a higher voltage, these advantages fall by the wayside. You now need two types battery and charger, even though they may all be from the same brand.
DeWalt found the solution by developing a battery that operates at 20V and 60V. The battery automatically changes the voltage, depending on which type of tool it is inserted into. This means that the same battery can be used for their 20V MAX and 60V MAX tools. They also have a limited range of 120V cordless tools, using two 60V MAX batteries in series. The added advantage being that these 120V cordless tools can also run on 120V AC power. Meaning that DeWalt 120V MAX tools can be corded or cordless, depending on which is most convenient at the time.
How do DeWalt FlexVolt batteries work?
The DeWalt FlexVolt battery consists of 15 X 4V cells. These can all be connected in series (15 X 4V), thereby producing 60V. Alternatively, the cells can be grouped and connected in both series and parallel. By grouping only 5 cells in series, the battery produces 20V. Since there are are a total of 15 cells, 3 groups of 20V cells are created. This means that the ampere-hours are three times more when the battery is configured for 20V. A 12AH FlexVolt battery will produce 20V with 12AH or 60V with 4AH.
The default position for the cells is in the 60V conficuration. When the battery is plugged into a 60V MAX tool, it will produce 60V. If the battery is slotted into the older 20V tools, the wall of battery housing depresses a switch, changing the cell configuration to produce 20V. The new 60V MAX tools have an indent in the battery compartment which prevents this switch from being activated. This means that when inserted into the new 60V MAX DeWalt tools, will remain in the 60V (series) configuration.