DeWalt 12” Chainsaw: A Surprisingly Punchy Little Saw


While your average arborist would probably laugh at the sight of DeWalt’s compact chainsaw with its 30cm (12 inch) bar, for many other people it is the perfect saw.

The body is very plastic and the log spikes are essentially non-existent. I store mine on its side otherwise it leaks bar oil, which it drinks quite a bit of during use, especially for such a small chainsaw.

But that’s where the complaints end.

The DCM565 is nice and light and – being 18 volts – it runs off any of DeWalt’s range of 18v or 54v FlexVolt batteries, the latter of which offer great runtime for this particular tool but do add some weight.

Which isn’t a bad thing. The weight of a chunky 9.0aH or 12aH batter can actually help this little saw cut better, and it already performs well for its size.

Simple, compact and surprisingly capable.

The short bar tells you immediately that this thing isn’t built for massive logs, but it will cut most things of appropriate size relatively easily. Like all electric motors the torque comes on hard and fast and the DCM565 handles most jobs surprisingly easily. It sounds like a bit of a toy but don’t be put off by that.

The bar and chain are sourced from Oregon, meaning not only are they good quality but replacements are easy enough to source online. Any mower shop worth its salt could also order in a replacement without hassle.

Overall the design of this chainsaw is very good. The battery recesses neatly at the rear and the handle is comfortably moulded. The chain adjustment is tool-less and the bar oil cap is sturdy. The traditional-style chain brake is a little redundant but it helps the little DeWalt feel like a “real” chainsaw.

Over the past year I’ve had a few large branches come down and have found the DeWalt ideal for clearing the mess. It cuts the small branches away with ease and still manages the larger trunks even if they become a little too big for a single cut.

If you already have DeWalt cordless tools then all you need is this saw. If not, getting into the game costs a bit more but DeWalt offers a comprehensive range of outdoor power equipment to make the purchase more worthwhile. The twin battery mower is one of my favourites.


So who is this chainsaw for? Well, not for loggers or any heavy commercial use. It’s simply too small but that’s not who DeWalt would have had in mind with this product.

Campers? You bet. Performance is satisfactory and the compact size means it won’t take up much space in the car. Pack a few batteries and some bar oral and you’re set. If you’re heading to somewhere like the High Country you might want to bring a bigger saw just in case you need to clear a large tree but for most destinations the DCM565 will have you covered.

For most home use this will also do the job. It’s light enough to use with one hand on small jobs and packs enough punch to handle most other domestic tasks.

Older folks who still want to maintain their own gardens would like a saw like this, too. It’s light, simple and safe with its automatic chain brake.


At the time of writing you can purchase this chainsaw with a single 4.0aH battery and charger for $329 from the retailers below. It is also available as a “skin-only” if you already have DeWalt gear. However the cheapest skin price I could find was $299, so an extra battery and charger for only $30 is a hell of a bargain.

Total Tools:

Sydney Tools:

DeWalt also produces a 16” (400mm) chainsaw in their 54v range but this unit is significantly larger and more expensive. This saw is much more powerful but that power comes at the expense of run time compared to the 18v DCM565.



Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The DCM565 packs a big punch for its size and comes in a lightweight, compact package. Plenty of battery options and quality aftermarket bar and chain replacements make it an attractive option. The bar oil issue is partially solved by storing the tool on its side instead of its base, but I still feel it uses oil a bit too quickly.

Besides that, it’s a reliable, powerful little saw ideal for campers and general home use.

Disclaimer: this is an independent review, not a sponsored post.