Tool Review -  Husqvarna 540i and T540i XP

Husqvarna 540i and T540i XP - First Impressions

Recently, we spent a couple of weeks demoing the Husqvarna 540i/T540i XP battery saw combo, and I must say, the technology has advanced significantly! Both saws were a pleasure to use, and we were impressed by the practicality of the rear handle for ground work and the ergonomics of the top handle while climbing. The convenience of not having to start the saw, wait for it to warm up, or avoid rushing into high RPMs was a standout feature. This was particularly helpful for quick cuts needed to maneuver a stubborn branch through a chipper or to clear a stub while advancing in a tree. Simply press a button, unlock the bar, saw away and get back to what you were doing!

The T540i we tested came with a 16-inch bar, which seemed a bit long for a saw of its size. A 14-inch bar would ideally extend its performance, and a 12-inch bar (the typical size I'm seeing sold with the T540i XP) is more than sufficient for its intended purpose. It's crucial to align your expectations with the saw's size. I've seen many try to cut through 24-inch logs and end up underwhelmed. The 540i can handle it, but it's not the primary function for which this saw was designed.

Battery life was impressive. The smaller battery (BLi200X), slightly lighter and less bulky than the BLi300, made a significant difference when cutting in challenging positions aloft. As an example of its endurance, a single climber was able to brush out three 25-foot Leyland cypress trees and bring the stems down to about 10 feet on a single BLi200x charge, which is comparable to, or even exceeds, a tank of gas for those who tend to leave their saw running.

The power-to-weight ratio is decent, though the saws are slightly heavy. Factors like chain type, sharpness, bar length, and the operator's cutting-technique play a big role in an objective and measurable user experience but we won’t dwell on this too much. Performance-wise, the saws are comparable to a 35-40cc gas saw and they operate well within this weight-class.

The rear-handled 540i felt like a different beast. We quickly discovered the convenience of a battery-powered saw, and our ground crew preferred it over gas saws for most limbing and brush work, as well as for making relief cuts on unwieldy branches for smaller chippers that may have trouble feeding them.

The interlock for the trigger, though understandable, feels overly cautious. It’s a bit annoying in the top-handle and seems unnecessary for the rear-handle. While the saw doesn't make noise when active but not in use, I don’t believe this poses more risk to a climber than a gas saw.

The only other issue was the saw’s performance in extremely cold weather. It didn’t oil the bar as efficiently, even with thinner oil. Gas saws usually have their muffler positioned above the oil reservoir to warm the oil and reduce viscosity. The oil pump works, but there's a noticeable performance dip in colder temperatures.

Overall Impression:

I am very pleased with the performance. We’ve added several battery tools to our arsenal and plan to include more substantial battery saws in the near future. The convenience and improving performance of battery-powered tools make them increasingly attractive. A big thanks to Tim from Husqvarna’s marketing group for the opportunity to test out these saws, which have intrigued us since we saw them at TCIA!

About the Author:

Nate Hardy

Founder & Sole Member, Crown Down Tree Service LLC

ISA Certified Arborist - MA-7004A

With over a decade in the green industry, Nate is passionate about sharing the extensive knowledge he has accrued in tree care and the tools he uses daily. As the owner of Crown Down Tree Service LLC, he champions innovative practices and technologies that advance tree care sustainability and the broader arboriculture industry.

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