Chainsaws are powerful tools which are extremely helpful for homeowners who regularly cut trees, need firewood, post-storm cleanup, and other yard work. Although they are extremely helpful tools they are equally dangerous. Every year thousands of emergency room cases are registered because of injuries caused by Chainsaws. So it’s really important that you go through important features of various models and make an informed buying decision. Now we know how daunting and tedious this task can be, so we got our expert handymen at BestHomeGears to test and review best chainsaws and compile the results for you.
According to different budgets and needs, chainsaws come in different sizes and types. Based on your needs you can go for an Electric or gas chainsaw, cordless or corded one. While the price of gas saws depends on engine size, it’s the voltage that defines the price for electric saws.
Depending on your usage patterns and access to a convenient power source you have to decide between the two. A gas chainsaw is a good buy if you venture into bigger jobs like sawing big logs while an electric saw will do the job if you are a hobbyist. Additionally, electric chainsaws are more environmentally friendly than gas chainsaws.
Best Chainsaw 2018 – Detailed Gas Chainsaw Review
Be sure to read the complete chainsaw review and buying guide before you choose the best model for your needs.
#1 Echo CS-310 14 inch – Gas Powered Chainsaw
The Echo CS-310 is a lightweight machine that starts quickly making it easier for use for both new and experienced owners. It is ideal for trimming trees, bucking, felling small trees and cutting logs for firewood.
The i-30 starting system significantly reduces the effort needed to start the machine. The chainsaw’s plastic and aluminum body make it lightweight and easy to handle but it may bend if strained too much.
Although the machine comes with essentials like engine oil, scabbard, and owners manual it doesn’t have accessories like sharpening tools which need to be purchased from specialty stores. Even though it is light weighted it has a powerful 30.5cc professional grade 2-stroke engine which means it can virtually cut through any type of wood.
You can make quick adjustments to the chain with the help of the side access chain tensioner so that you can keep working. The automatic clutch-driven oiler makes the machine fuel efficient. Although the machine is not for heavy-duty cutting, it is ideal for beginners and those who are on a budget.
#2 Husqvarna 450 18 Inch – Gas Powered Chainsaw
Husqvarna 450 is one of the most versatile and best chainsaw out in the market for those who cut regularly, while it can seamlessly move through huge trees and firewood; it can be used for trimming around your property as well. The X-Torq engine, delivering 3.2 horsepower, makes it relatively lighter than a lot of its counterparts. The powerful engine also significantly reduces the use of fuel and consequently emissions.
The centrifugal air cleaning system keeps the machine clean even while it’s running which increases the life of the machine significantly. The smart start feature reduces the resistance in the starter cord by almost 40% which makes it easier for you to put the chainsaw into action effortlessly with just one pull, not only this the choke/stop control system reduces the risk of flooding and keeps the fuel lines clear.
The inertia activated chain brake system of Husqvarna 450 reduces the chances of injury due to a kickback. Its low vibration handles make it comfortable and easy to use as they successfully absorb vibration reducing fatigue to the arms.
To conclude Husqvarna 450 backed with a 2-year limited warranty, transparent fuel indicator, tool-less chain tensioning distinct marks for felling precision, snap lock cylinder to save time while cleaning or changing plugs, is great equipment for landowners.
#3 Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14 32.2cc – Gas Powered Chainsaw
Tanaka gas powered chainsaw promises its users clean cuts and professional performance. Although the machine has a powerful 32.2 cc commercial grade engine it is lightly weighted which makes you less tiresome, this also ensures less fuel consumption and reduced emissions.
You can make quick adjustments to the chain with the help of the side access chain tensioner and automatic gear driven oiler so that you can keep working.
The Oregon chain with sprocket nose bar provides greater control for easier cuts. What adds to the convenience of this fine product is it that it comes with an inbuilt lanyard which makes it easier to carry while climbing up a tree. One of the downsides of this machine is that its bar oil can sometimes leak so you will have to refill it more often.
The half throttle choke along with a purge primer bulb help in warm up and easy start. To conclude the low power to weight ratio of this chainsaw improves your productivity and makes you less tired. Additionally, this model of Tanaka gas powered chainsaw machine comes with a 7-year consumer, 2-year commercial and 1-year rental warranty.
Best Electric Chainsaw 2018 – Detailed Electric Chainsaw Review
An electric chainsaw has clear advantages over a gas chainsaw, for beginners they cost less than most gas chainsaws. They are easier and quieter to operate, additionally, you don’t have to worry about fuelling it time and again. There is a wide range of electric chainsaw available in the market in 2018, therefore it’s important you don’t get overwhelmed and buy the best chainsaw for the money.
The power of electric chainsaw is determined by the length of the bar if you need a chainsaw only for trimming purposes and small projects you can go for a saw with a bar length of 12 inches, but for a more bigger project like firewood, you will need a bar length of 16 inches.
At Best Home Gears we tried multiple brands from the budget ones to the higher end ones and made a competitive analysis of their features. Read the detailed electric chainsaw review below:
#1 BLACK+DECKER LCS1020B 20V Lithium-Ion Electric Chainsaw
BLACK+DECKER LCS1020B is the smallest chainsaw in our list. Although you cannot use this on very thick wood, it does a fantastic job of cutting fallen branches, pruning dead and unwanted branches. In fact, its small size makes it relatively easier to maintain, low on emission and noise levels. It goes to a maximum decibel level of 80.
The machine has very low vibration and the wrap around bale handle makes it easy to hold and provides greater control. The electric power source not only makes this more environmentally friendly than gas-powered chainsaws but also safer. To conclude this 10 inches bar, 7.2 lbs weighing chainsaw with a 20-volt lithium battery which gives it a longer run time is one of the best buys in its category and price range. The Oregon low kickback bar and chain gives you a smoother cutting experience.
The tool-free blade tensioning system helps you make speedy adjustments. One of our absolute favorite features is its self-oiling system, reducing wear and tear significantly. To conclude BLACK+DECKER LCS1020B is an absolute value for money for light and medium duty work.
#2 WORX WG303.1 – Electric Chainsaw
Are WORX chainsaw’s one of the best in the market? Yes! This comes as no surprise to anyone who has done even a little research on chainsaws. WORX WG303.1 is one of the best value for money chainsaws in the market today. Been in the market in, since 2004, this brand goes for a head to head competition with BLACK+DECKER.
WORX WG303.1 is ideal for felling wood and trees up to 12 inches, cutting firewood, yard work, and post-storm cleanups. If you are looking for a slightly more powerful version then you can go for WORX WG304.1 as it has a bigger bar and chain.
Let’s face it, chainsaws are dangerous tools to handle and therefore safety becomes an important aspect to consider while buying them. One of our favorite features is the chain brake, which automatically shuts off the chainsaw if a kickback occurs. Almost all of the budget chainsaws in the market lack this feature.
The chainsaw comes with an auto-tensioning system so you don’t have to worry about tightening it; this is especially helpful to new owners as they know very little about the working of the chainsaw. This feature also increases the life of the chain as it removes the chances of over tightening.
The machine weighs a total of just 11 pounds, its light weight makes it easy to handle and comfortable to use for long hours. The all-metal dogs at the base of the bar increase the stability while the machine is in action. To conclude, do not take undue advantage of this machine and limit your use to small and medium weight work.
#3 Makita UC4051A Electric Chainsaw
Makita UC4051A Electric Chainsaw comes with a large trigger switch for a smooth start. Its 16 inches long bar and 14.5 AMP motor make it one of the strongest electric chainsaw in the market, capable of heavy duty jobs. Unlike most electric chainsaws, Makita UC4051A actually gives a lot of gas chainsaws a run for their money. The tool-free blade tensioning system helps you make speedy adjustments consequently making it easier to operate. The rubbered grip makes it further comfortable to use, as it gives you a firm grip and reduces chances of an accident because of vibration.
Its large metal spike enhances the productivity of the saw by leaps and bounds. The large oil reservoir comes with a window view so that you can check the bar oil level at any time and are not left guessing. The saw’s motor has a long life as it is protected from a burnout by reducing the power in case the saw is overloaded with the help of a built-in current limiter. This is a feature you find only in high-end models.
The saw comes with a one of its kind 30-day satisfaction guarantee, as the name suggests if you are not satisfied with the product you can ask for a refund or a replacement. This shows how much confidence Makita has in its craftsmanship and quality. Along with this, it comes with a 1-year guarantee on workmanship and material defects.
If you are already not impressed by this beast, it comes with an Automatic chain oiler, that allows you to keep cutting without stopping for oiling. Since its a corded chainsaw, you also don’t have to worry about running out the battery charge. To conclude, although this is an expensive saw, it is worth the money.
What Features to Keep in Mind while Buying a Chainsaw?
Chainsaws are extremely powerful and dangerous tools; we have villains in slasher movies reminding us that time and again. There are thousands of emergency cases causes due to chainsaws, treated every year in the United States. For beginners, we suggest you should go through online courses on chainsaw safety that will guide you through the basics of operating, storing and maintaining the chainsaw effectively.
While using the chainsaw make sure you are wearing fitted clothes that cover your entire body along with helmets, goggles, gloves and ear protection. Make sure your kids or pets are not on site while you are using the saw.
It is very important to maintain your chainsaw regularly, as a sharp and a well-lubricated chain significantly reduce kickbacks. When you are not likely to use your chainsaw regularly or store them away for a long period of time make sure you drain the oil and fuel from it. In fact, we always suggest routine checks of your machine for any leaks or cracks, choke before you start the machine.
An important thing to keep in mind while buying a chainsaw is to check if it has an anti-vibration feature. Without this your hands will fatigue quickly, making it harder for you to hold the saw firmly and thereby safely.
#2 Tool-free Tensioning System
It is very important to have the right amount tension in the chain of your saw. By keeping it either very loose or tight you risk damaging the bar and thereby compromise on your safety. A tool-free tensioning system has a tensioning nut and a locking disc that allow the user to tighten the chain without the use of a wrench and a screwdriver. A locking disc and tensioning nut allow you to tighten the chain without extra tools.
#3 Chain Brake
A chain brake stops the chain as soon as the front hand guard is pushed forward or if the chainsaw kickbacks. Although most of the gas chainsaws have it, not all electric chainsaws have it.
#4 Automatic Chain Oiler
A well-lubricated chain and bar prevent premature overheating. An Automatic chain oiler allows you to keep cutting without stopping for oiling.
What Are the Different Types of Chainsaws?
A gas chainsaw is powered by gasoline (petrol). These chainsaws are more powerful than electric chainsaws and used by either frequent cutters or professionals. They have a 2-stroke engine which uses a mix of oil and petrol to run. While the gasoline is needed for combustion, the oil keeps the internal parts of the engine lubricated and prevents it from wear and tear.
Gas-powered chainsaws have a higher power to weight ratio which makes it heavier, produce more noise and vibration but this also makes the machine more powerful that helps cut through heavy log faster and efficiently. Gas powered chainsaws are thus way more expensive than electric chainsaws.
To use a gas chainsaw you need to be slightly more skilled and experienced. This is because the starting process is a bit difficult, most of the time you will have to tug on the starter cord at least 3-4 times before the engine starts. The chain bar lengths for gas-powered chainsaws are between 16 to 18 inches for homeowners, but a bit longer for pro models.
Corded Electric Chainsaws
As the name suggests corded electric chainsaws have a cord that needs to be plugged into an outlet or an alternative electricity source. The best part about electric chainsaws is that the motors don’t need time to fire up to max speed and they reach maximum torque in seconds of starting. Additionally, the electric motor generates significantly vibrations in comparison to gas chainsaws.
This makes the cord in-mobile and not suitable for use if you want to go into the woods until and unless of course, you carry a generator with you. This chainsaw is ideal for yard work, felling small trees and for cutting firewood. Unlike gas-powered chainsaws, these are environmentally friendly as they do not produce emissions.
Because of its lightweight, it can be used easily by beginners. Also, electric chainsaws have minimal maintenance as compared to gas chainsaws. Another advantage of electric chainsaws is that it’s relatively quieter than its gas counterparts, so you can work at a time of your convenience without disturbing your neighbors.
Well, even though electric chainsaws are easy to use, safe, reliable, and inexpensive and light weighted, they have certain disadvantages. For instance, it has limited power as a home socket can tops accommodate 15 Amps.
Cordless Electric Chainsaws
Cordless chainsaws are powered by a battery; they counter the mobility issues of corded chainsaws. Since they are battery operated they have a short run time and are best used for light duty work. The bar lengths are usually around 12 inches.
Although they are not as powerful as gas or electric chainsaws, they are much easier to start, operate and maintain. They also make relatively very little noise and produce no fumes.
While buying a cordless chainsaw, make sure you go for one with lithium-ion batteries rather than Ni-cad batteries. This is because lithium-ion batteries do not lose their power as the charging of the battery reduces.
Best Chainsaw Brands You Should Look Out For
Headquartered out of Germany, this brand not only manufacturers chainsaws but also other outdoor tools like hedge trimmers and mist blowers. It was founded 1926 and has been a leading innovator in the chainsaw market since. It produces professional grade chainsaws and is without an ounce of doubt a market leader when it comes to chainsaws.
Even though the chainsaws are excellent, they are difficult to use for beginners. They are mainly used by professionals, farmers, and ranchers. But don’t worry you don’t really have to be a lumberjack to use smaller models like MS170, which have a higher power to weight ratio making this affordable for an average user. One of our favorite part of Stihl chainsaws is that they came with brilliant safety features.
Headquartered in Sweden, Husqvarna is a brand most professionals swear by. They have a reputation for creating very powerful tools and they live up to that name.
Although these chainsaws are more expensive and heavier than a lot of its contemporaries in the market, it is worth every penny. One of our favorite features of Husqvarna chainsaws is the X-TORQ engine that consumes less fuel thereby reducing the exhaust emission levels. They are in accordance with the most stringent emission regulations in the world.
The smart start feature offered by Husqvarna reduces the resistance in the starter cord by almost 40% which makes it easier for you to put the chainsaw into action effortlessly with just one pull, not only this the choke/stop control system reduces the risk of flooding and keeps the fuel lines clear.
Its centrifugal air cleaning system reduces wear and tear and also allows longer operating time between filter cleaning.
ECHO is known for manufacturing powerful and reliable chainsaws since last 30 years. Its 2-Stroke engine along with Pro-Fire ignition system makes it easy to start and subsequently run smoothly. It offers both gas and electric chainsaws at prices way lesser than a lot of its contemporaries making it a go-to choice for budget buyers. Although ECHO chainsaws lack some features that Husqvarna and Stihl have, it has great anti-vibration technology to reduce your fatigue levels making it more comfortable and safe to use.
Headquartered in the USA, Makita specializes in making electric home tools. Although its chainsaws are more expensive than its contemporaries in the market, they are worth the price if you intend to use it regularly. Its easy start system which has a spring assisted starter with a low RPM ignition coil makes it easy to use for beginners.
They have a vast variety of products ranging from bar length of 14 to 20 inches. One of the issues reported in Makita machines is its chain getting loose with time and needs to be readjusted time and again.
Even though WORX is a Chinese brand, its products are very reliable and sturdy. They are mass produced and hence cheaper than its contemporaries. Been in the market in, since 2004, this brand goes for a head to head competition with BLACK+DECKER. Its products are suitable best for light work like felling wood and trees up to 12 inches, cutting firewood, yard work, and post-storm cleanups.
BLACK + DECKER
BLACK + DECKER are a leader in the market of chainsaws for homeowners. Its machines are small, handy, easy to operate and most importantly very affordable. There have been complaining about its chain getting jammed frequently and oil not following into the chain from the pump.
Although you cannot use these chainsaws on very thick wood, it does a fantastic job of cutting fallen branches, pruning dead and unwanted branches. In fact, its small size makes it relatively easier to maintain, low on emission and noise levels.
To conclude, there are many great chainsaws ranging from thousands of dollars to a few hundred dollars. There are certain features like tool-free tensioning that are available in all most all models while there are features like centrifugal air cleaning system that are only available in high-end models. You need to select the one for yourself based on your usage pattern. One of the most important things you have to keep in mind while finalizing your buy is determining your body strength. Don’t go for a very heavy and a large chainsaw if you are not confident about handling it safely as you might lose control of the equipment.
Our favorite chainsaw is without a doubt Husqvarna 450 in the higher price bracket because of its X-Torq engine, delivering 3.2 horsepower and the inertia activated chain brake system that reduces the chances of injury due to a kickback. While in the lower price bracket the absolute winner is BLACK+DECKER LCS1020B. Its 20-volt lithium battery gives it a longer run time and its small size makes it easy to store.
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