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7 Best Chainsaw Reviews for Home Use and Professionals in 2017

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7 Best Chainsaw to Buy for the Money

Whether you are maintaining your garden, cutting firewood, or taming tall trees in a forest, a chainsaw is designed to make your life easier. But one chainsaw does not fit all. There are many different types of chainsaws, they come in different sizes; are designed for particular jobs like general maintenance or for commercial use, they use different power sources, and they have different price tags.

Our pick

THE BEST CHAINSAW

Makita UC4051A Electric Chain Saw

The Makita is a tough chainsaw that can easily power through everyday trimming up to the felling of medium sized trees, but it has managed to cut larger sized trees as well. Although it is powered by electricity, and if you move away from a power outlet you will need a heavy-duty extension cord, it is as powerful as a gas-powered chainsaw.

How to Choose the Best Chainsaw For You

Before you choose a chainsaw, consider these six questions:

What will you be using the chainsaw for?

If you are going to be using the chainsaw a few times a year for clearing away debris after a storm, or downsizing a fallen tree branch, then an electric chainsaw with a smaller sized engine is the best choice. Electric chainsaws are also ideal for residential areas as they are quieter, so you can stay on good terms with your neighbours.

For larger jobs or if you need to work in a remote area where you will be felling a medium sized tree or multiple trees in a forest, then a portable gas powered chainsaw with a larger and more powerful engine is ideal.

What is your level of chainsaw experience?

If you have never used a chainsaw before, it is probably not the best idea to go out and buy a bulky and powerful model that you might find difficult to control. Choose a smaller chainsaw with a less powerful engine that is easy to handle, but can still get the job done. Small models are easier to maneuver especially if you working in a tight spot.

A heavier model can put a lot of strain on your arms and hands and can pose a serious safety risk if you are a beginner. But if you need to use a larger and heavier model, make sure you have someone with you while you are working.

How often will you be using the chainsaw?

If you are only going to be using the chainsaw for light duties a few times a year around your home, then once again it is best to choose an electrical model or a battery-operated model as

they require less maintenance than gas-powered models.

What kind of trees will you be cutting?

If you need to fell large trees, especially hardwood like dogwood, ash, hickory, beech and oak, them you will need a chainsaw with a more powerful engine. If you choose a small chainsaw, cutting hardwood will put too much strain and wear and tear on the chainsaw. So remember: for hardwood - choose a powerful engine, for softwood - choose a smaller engine.

What is the diameter of the wood you will be cutting?

When it comes to cutting different log sizes or diameter, you have to consider the length of the guide bar on the chainsaw. A shorter guide bar is best for logs with a small diameter. A larger guide bar is more suited for logs with a bigger diameter and for heavy duty cutting work.

Two Key Specifications to Consider Before Buying a Chainsaw

There are two key specifications to consider before you buy a chainsaw: guide bar length and power source.

1. Guide Bar Length

The guide bar extends out from the chainsaw housing and it has a rounded end, which is surrounded by the cutting chain. As the guide bar is the part of the chainsaw that cuts through the wood, the guide bar length is important. As I mentioned above, choosing the right guide bar length will depend on what kind of wood you will be cutting and whether you will be using the chainsaw for light or heavy duties.

The guide bar length will also determine how many passes it will take to cut through wood. If you are going to be cutting a smaller piece of wood, then you will be able to cut through it with one pass of the chainsaw. If it is a thick piece of wood, and you are using a chainsaw with a smaller sized guide bar, you may have to cut it using two passes.

An overview of guide bar lengths

If you are going to use the chainsaw to cut smaller pieces of wood, then a guide bar length of 10- 12 inches will be sufficient for the job. For heavy-duties and larger pieces of wood, especially hardwood, you will need a guide bar size between 16 to 20 inches. If you are working on a large property, and felling large trees like a redwood, you will need to choose a guide bar length between 22” to 36”.

Here are some guide bar specifications.

  • Pruning – 10”- 12”
  • Removing tree limbs – 12” to 14”
  • Felling small trees – 12” to 14”
  • Light firewood cutting – 14’ to 16”
  • Felling medium trees – 16” to 18”
  • Medium firewood cutting 18” to 20”
  • Large hardwood trees - 22’ to 36”

2. Power Source

There are three main types of chainsaws: gas-powered, electric (corded), and battery- powered. Once again, your choice will depend on whether you will be using the chainsaw for light or heavy duties, around your home, or in remote areas.

Gas-Powered Chainsaws

Gas-powered chainsaws are the most popular. They usually have two stroke or two-cycle engines that will need a mix of fuel and engine oil. Gas-powered chainsaws are portable and ideal for remote areas where there is no access to a power outlet. They are more powerful, faster and usually more effective at cutting wood. The downside is they are heavier, noisier, produce more vibrations than other models, they require refueling, and can be more expensive than electric or battery-powered chainsaws.

Electric (corded) Chainsaws

Electric (corded) chainsaws are a great choice if you are new to the chainsaw world and only have smaller jobs to do around your home. If you are working to a budget, they are cheaper than gas-powered chainsaws. They are more environmentally friendly as they do not emit any fumes, and they are quieter, so they are perfect for suburbia. The downside of using an electric (corded) chainsaw is that you need to be close to a power outlet and may have to use an extension cord.

Although they are ideal for cutting small trees and semi-thick branches, they are not as powerful as gas-powered chainsaws. If you are using an extension chord, and you want to get the most out of your electric chainsaw, use a heavier extension cord between 12 and 14 gauge.

Battery-Powered Chainsaws

Battery-powered chainsaws use rechargeable batteries instead of direct electricity or fuel. Most battery operated chainsaws use lithium-ion batteries that are lightweight, which means they are portable and are designed for lighter tasks that may include pruning, trimming,and cutting small trees.

The downside of lithium-ion batteries is that they can degrade over time when you are not using them, and they can explode if you leave them in the heat, so store them in a cool, dry place.

Like the electric powered models, battery-powered chainsaws are also environmentally friendly, but they do need constant recharging, so you will need access to a power source at some point. But they are not as powerful as a gas-powered chainsaw, and they can be the most expensive type of chainsaw on the market.

Nine Operation and Safety Tips for Using Your Chainsaw

Above all, the most important thing to remember when using a chainsaw is operator safety. Operating a chainsaw is one of the most dangerous household tasks, so before you start to use your new machine, take note of these essential operator and safety tips.

1. Read the manufacturer's instructions. Make sure you understand how to use the chainsaw properly before operation.

2. Use safety gear. Wearing shorts and a T-shirt and flip flops is not the kind of clothing you should wear while using the chainsaw.

Remember: wear the following:

  • Hearing protection
  • Eye/face protection
  • Leg protection
  • Foot protection
  • Hand protection

3. Check to see that the device is in good working order. Check the controls, make sure the chain is sharp, and you have enough fuel. If you are working with an electric chainsaw make sure it is firmly plugged in and be aware of the extension cord. Here are some more safety tips on how to operate a chainsaw.

4. Guide Bar Length. When you are choosing the guide bar length, remember that the longer the bar the harder it will be to maneuver. You may injury yourself if the machine becomes unbalanced and if you use it over a long period of time. So take breaks from cutting so that you do not become overtired and lose concentration.

5. Kickback. Kickback is when the nose or the upper tip of the guide bar/chain hits another object and recoils or throws the saw upwards and back toward you. Kickback can be a common occurrence when you are working with a chainsaw that has a longer bar length.

Kickback can result in serious injury, so if you are new to chainsawing then make sure you choose a chainsaw this is comfortable for you to use. Check to see that the chain is sharp, or choose a chainsaw that a low kickback.

Here are some more basic tips for using a chainsaw.

6. Be aware of sparks. Chainsaws can throw sparks and ignite grass and brush. Always carry a shovel and a fire extinguisher or water in case of a fire.

7. Be careful when using a chainsaw up a tree. If you are felling trees in a remote area it is best to have someone with you. And make sure that you notified either family or friends where you will be located in the event of an emergency.

8. Take a course in how to use a chainsaw. If you have never used a chainsaw or it has been a while since you have used one, then it is a good idea to take a course first. Most cities or towns offer chainsaw safety courses.

9. Dripping Oil. Some electric-powered chainsaws can drip oil from the oil reservoir during operation, so a good tip to keep this under control is to regularly clean the reservoir.

Product Comparison and Reviews

Gas-Powered:

1. Husqvarna 967166101 450 2-Cycle 50cc 20 Inch Gas Chainsaw

Husqvarna is a well known and trusted brand name that has been supplying high quality and powerful chainsaws for over 50 years. The Husqvarna 450 20 Inch Gas Chainsaw is an all round classic chainsaw that has great power and balance. It is powered by a 3.2 horsepower 2-Cycle X-Torq engine with low fuel consumption, and air injection system that stops any dust or debris from clogging the filter.

The chainsaw is equipped with Smart Start® technology, which means is easy to start every time. There is an auto return stop switch, side mounted chain tensioning, a visible fuel container, and the ergonomic rear handle with a soft inlay provides that much needed operator comfort. Although it is a bit heavy at first, it is ideal for small to medium sized jobs and can easily cut logs for firewood and limbs from trees, even hardwood.

What we like:

  • High quality
  • Durable
  • Good value for money
  • Powerful torque
  • Ideal for small to medium jobs

What we don't like:

  • Expensive
  • Over tightening the chain can cause the saw to loose power and catch on wood
  • Not ideal for heavy duty cutting

2. Echo CS-310 30.5cc Gas 14 Inch Chain Saw

The Echo CS-310 14 Inch Chainsaw is a good workhorse that is ideal for beginners, and although it is lightweight, it is equipped with a powerful 30.5cc professional-grade, 2-stroke engine, which means it can cut through almost any type of wood. It is ideal for a wide range of cutting jobs: trimming trees, cutting small trees into logs (bucking), cutting logs for firewood, felling small trees, cutting wood up to 12 inches in diameter, cleaning up after a storm, and general yard clean-ups.

It is easy to start and the side access chain tensioner allows you to quickly make adjustments to the chain so that you can keep on working. The automatic clutch-driven oiler means that the chainsaw is fuel efficient and will reduce the strain on your cash flow.

What we like:

  • Easy to start
  • Lightweight
  • Ideal for a small to medium sized yard
  • Great for trimming and pruning
  • Quiet
  • Does not produce a lot of smoke.
  • Comes with a chain cover

What we don't like:

  • Not recommended for heavy-duty cutting
  • Can leak oil

3. Remington RM5118R Rodeo 51cc 2-Cycle 18 Inch Gas Chainsaw

The Remington Gas-powered Rodeo Chainsaw is ideal for cutting tree limbs, cutting firewood and cleaning up trees after a storm. With a powerful 51cc 2-Cycle Engine and the 18″ guide bar, this chainsaw will make light work of those tough tasks around your home. It has a QuickStart™ system that will dramatically reduce the effort that is required with most pull-starts.

It is durable with a die-cast chassis. The 2-Step Auto Choke sets the choke position & throttle to high idle for a fast warm up. The Automatic Oiler provides consistent lubrication to chain & bar for smooth cutting. The Front & Back Anti-Vibration Grips give you that much-needed operator comfort. A quick tip for easy starting is to make sure that you correctly mix the oil, and make sure the starting switch is in the ON position.

Additional features include a Heavy Duty Case so that you can safely store and transport the chainsaw, as there is an additional guide bar and chain oil.

What we like:

  • Good value for money
  • Durable
  • Powerful
  • Ideal for for small to medium cutting
  • Easy to use
  • Well balanced
  • Low vibration

What we don't like:

  • Filter gets dirty easily
  • Chain needs to be regularly sharpened

Electric (corded):

4. WORX WG 304.1 15.0 Amp 4 HP 18 Inch Chainsaw

If you are looking for an electric chainsaw that is lightweight, with a low sound output, and will have no problems powering through any kind of cutting task, then the WORX WG 304.1 is a great choice for a home-owner. The chainsaw is powered by a 4 horsepower 15 amp motor, and has an automatic chain lubrication with oil lever indicator so that you do not have to manually keep the chain oiled. It can easily prune, trim, cut logs for firewood, and cut through limbs from medium sized trees up to 16 inches in diameter.

Safety is a key factor in the design of this chainsaw as it has a quick-stop chain brake to prevent you from accidentally cutting yourself while you are working, and the low kickback bar minimises the chance of the chainsaw recoiling during operation. A metal spike bumper helps the guide bar grip onto the wood for easier cutting. You can also install and tighten a replacement chain with no tools. The chainsaw has an ergonomic full-wrap front handle, which makes it more comfortable to use over long periods.

Although this chainsaw is not ideal for cutting wood in a remote area, it is highly recommended for work around the home where there is access to a power outlet.

What we like:

  • Good value for money
  • Durable
  • Powerful
  • Ideal for for small to medium cutting
  • Easy to use
  • Well balanced
  • Low vibration

What we don't like:

  • Filter gets dirty easily
  • Chain needs to be regularly sharpened

5. Makita UC4051A 15 Amp 16 Inch Electric Chain Saw

The Makita 16 inch Electric Chainsaw is a tough, durable machine that is reliable, powerful and effective. With its innovative engineering and overall design, you will find that the Makita is comfortable to use, and with a massive 15 amp motor and a 16 inch guide bar, it can easily power through everyday trimming, pruning, cutting logs for firewood, and can even be used for professional purposes like felling large trees.

You will never find yourself struggling to start the machine as it has soft start and a large trigger switch, and extra smart features like the built-in current limiter, which helps to protect the motor from burning out when the saw becomes overloaded.

You can easily keep your eye on the oil level as there is a viewing window in the oil reservoir, and the ergonomically designed rubberized grip handle provides that much needed comfort when you are using the chainsaw for long periods.

Another highlight of this chainsaw is that it requires very little maintenance, so if you need to alter the chain or blade, there are no tools required. As this unit is powered by electricity, you may need an extension cord, but it is still as powerful as a gas-powered chainsaw.

What we like:

  • High quality
  • Quiet
  • Easy to start; just squeeze the trigger
  • Powerful
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Exceptional cutting performance
  • Ideal for small to medium sized cutting jobs
  • Low kick-back
  • Low maintenance

What we don't like:

  • The oil filter can drip
  • Not portable
  • Need to keep your eye on the cord

Battery-powered:

6. GreenWorks Pro GCS80420 80V 2Ah Lithium-ion Battery 18-Inch Chainsaw

The Greenworks Pro 18 inch Battery-powered Chainsaw is a high quality and durable cutting machine, and it is reputed to be one of the most efficient and powerful battery chainsaws on the market.

The powerful DigiPro brushless motor guarantees a reliable performance, which is equivalent to a 45cc gas engine, and the 80 volt 2ah lithium-ion battery can deliver up to 150 cuts on a fully charged battery. That‘s a lot of cutting power from just one battery charge! A significant feature of the brushless motor is that it contributes to 30% more torque, and there is less noise, and 70% less vibration. Also, brushless motors use less power, therefore maximizing the battery life.

The solid 18″ bar and chain, the large metal bucking spikes, and automatic chain oiling system will allow you to effortless prune, clear dense brush, cut firewood, clear storm debris and fallen trees. It can also cut logs up to 16″ in diameter and large trees up to 30″ in diameter.

For operator safety and comfort the chainsaw has an electronic chain brake, which helps to prevent the operator from being struck by a running chain, and the wrap-around metal handle makes the saw easier to position and maneuver. The oil filter has a viewing window so that you see when the oil is running low. Additional features include a 2AH Battery and charger.

What we like:

  • Good quality
  • Easy to use
  • Powerful
  • Great chain tension
  • Ideal for small to medium jobs
  • Quick battery charge in 30 minutes
  • Cuts quickly
  • Works well on hardwood logs
  • Low vibration
  • Automatic oiler

What we don't like:

  • Expensive
  • Not as powerful as a gas-powered chainsaw
  • Not ideal for heavy-duty work
  • The chain can slip off

7. BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 20V MAX Lithium-Ion Battery 10 Inch Chainsaw

As one of the most well-known manufacturers of high-quality electrical power tools, Black & Decker delivers a strong, durable and powerful chainsaw. Although it has a smaller guide bar at 10 inches and is lightweight at 7.2 lbs, it powered by 20V max lithium-ion battery, which means it will give you a longer run time and the battery will stay charged for 5x longer than other battery-powered chainsaws. The Oregon bar and chain is designed for low kickback, so you can expect a smoother cutting performance.

The Black & Decker chainsaw is ideal for beginners as it is easy to use and start with an oil priming button. It works best for light duties like cutting wood up to 6 inches in diameter, cleaning up after a storm, pruning, and other general clean-up duties around your home,

What we like:

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Solid
  • Easy to use: ideal for beginners
  • Great for pruning, firewood, and felling small trees
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Portable – ideal for camping.

What we don't like:

  • Not ideal for medium or heavy-duty cutting
  • Battery needs recharging after long jobs

Our Top Pick

Our top pick for the best chainsaw is the Makita UC4051A 16” Electric Chainsaw. There is a lot to love about this powerful and effective chainsaw. It is well built and with its innovative engineering, it has the operator in mind. The machine is lightweight and easy to use, with an ergonomically designed rubberized grip handle. It requires very little maintenance, and the most important feature is that it has a low kickback.

Our pick

THE BEST CHAINSAW

Makita UC4051A Electric Chain Saw

The Makita is a tough chainsaw that can easily power through everyday trimming up to the felling of medium sized trees, but it has managed to cut larger sized trees as well. Although it is powered by electricity, and if you move away from a power outlet you will need a heavy-duty extension cord, it is as powerful as a gas-powered chainsaw.

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