Husqvarna Electric 536 LiXP Chainsaw

01
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Unboxing the Husqvarna 536 LiXP

Husky 536 LiWP Electric Saw
Husqvarna Battery Powered Chainsaw. Steve Nix

I have a lot of operating hours on small gas chainsaws. I wanted to use a quality "untethered" battery-powered saw to experience the difference in feel and performance from a gas powered saw. Until now, there have been very few, if any, electric saws powered by a battery that garnered professional arborist approval. There are now two highly recommended - the Husqvarna 536 LiXP (buy on Amazon) and the Stihl MS 150T.

These chainsaws have been recommended by professionals for light work and a great saw for a new sawyer to "learn on". That does not mean that these saws are safer than gas-burning chainsaws, but they are fairly light, less powerful/less loud and are more forgiving of operator error.

I was lucky enough to get a boxed Husqvarna 536 LiXP for review They are sold at some local Husqvarna dealers assembled but also sold online boxed and needing minor assembly.

Unboxing the Husqvarna 536 LiXP Chainsaw

After unpacking the saw from the box my expectation of a major assembly job was squelched. The Husqvarna representative indicated that most of these saws will be dealer-assembled and purchased as a whole unit. I had no idea what sort of assembly I would have to do. 

Not a problem. I got the chainsaw as a separate shipment from the Li battery shipment (probably because of shipping regulations on the battery). The only assembly I had to do was find the chain, remove the sprocket cover, fit the chain over the bar and sprocket, then replace the sprocket cover. It was the quickest chain assembly I have ever done and the chain tension adjustment is easy and simple.

To be honest, the saw was heavier than I thought it would be (which is good for sawyer control during the cut) but the weight is acceptable. The chainsaw body seemed as sturdy and well made as comparable Husqvarna gas burners. The bar and chain looked a little thin but turned out to be exactly the same size and thickness as the one on my gas powered Echo CS-310.

 

02
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Under the Hood of a 536LiXP

Husky electric vs Echo gas. Steve Nix

The Engine and Battery Specs

You can forget about cylinder displacement, choke control, air injection, filters and gas with this saw. You will have a Husqvarna BLi150 36V Li-ion battery running a powerful "brushless" motor. The saw will immediately start every time you pull the trigger and the battery is turned on by pressing a small combination of keys. You obviously do not need gas mixes and the amount of vibration is much reduced.

Husqvarna’s battery powered chainsaws are "highly efficient and equipped with a powerful 36V Li-ion battery" says a Husky promotion and I have to agree. The company's claim of a "quiet, lightweight and well-balanced electric cordless chainsaw" is only partially correct when comparing it to my CS-310 gas Echo.

The 536 LiXP is only ounces lighter, the body is longer by over an inch and although not as loud as a gas saw, it is not quiet and has a rattle typical of most electric chainsaws. Their owners guide tacitly recommends wearing head gear that includes hearing protection.

Husqvarna as developed a powerful brushless motor that "delivers full torque at low revs" with "25% higher efficiency" than a standard brush motor. I am no expert on an electric motor but it is powerfully responsive to the trigger pull and works extremely well on limbs and sprouts over 1 inch in diameter. Smaller brush tends to vibrate on and off the chain to give a "ragged and chewed" cut which is typical of all electric saws.

The BL150 battery and the QC330 charger are sold separately and significantly adds to the price of the $460US 536LiXP. The charger and batteries have good warranties as does the chainsaw and are reported to perform for years. This is a new saw brand so I am not so certain about the potential life of the equipment. Time will tell.

The battery will charge in less than an hour and two batteries can keep you working through most projects. An extra battery pack can be purchased and will provide up to 10 hours of run-time between charges.

 

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03
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Is a Husqvarna 536 LiXP Worth the Investment?

Husky electric chainsaw battery
Husky 536 LiXP power pack. Steve Nix

The tree care industry and orchard managers are impressed with what they have seen. The saw has increased production with less stress on the user. The saw has been used in Europe for several years and good reports and testimonials are increasing on Internet reviews and social media.

North American sales are not as brisk. Husqvarna dealers have seemingly hesitated to stock the item. I would have to guess that some dealers may be unaware that the product is available if they know it even exists.

Husqvarna US wants to change all that. Here is their video promotion on Facebook.

My impression of the saw after "assembly" and operation is positive.  The big hurdle for this saw, in my opinion, would be a US resistance to changing from traditional, more powerful gas burners to an unproven and expensive (on the front end) battery-powered saw.

The Pros:

  • The saw has the perfect size and weight with power adequate for sawing limbs for pruning and tree reductions (especially orchards). It has an off/on battery button and trigger for immediate starts.
  • The saw has minimal vibration, low noise decibels and no gas fumes or spills for comfortable operation in an urban setting over longer periods. You can also purchase a 10 hour battery pack.
  • Using several batteries charging through the day may offset their upfront cost vs.  gas saw costs associated with fuel, maintenance and service.

The Cons:

  • This saw fills the requirements of a niche user that only cuts smaller limbs. It is not for continued use on large limbs and logs, mainly because of the drag on the battery charge and small chain/bar size.
  • Most arborists will still need a more powerful gas operated saw as an additional piece of toolkit equipment.
  • There seems to be a significant loss of battery power as limb diameters increase. I stretched to nearly a days work on one battery charge by sticking to smaller limbs.
  • The uncertainty that this saw will catch on in the American market.