I have been using chainsaws for a good number of years so I know how difficult it can be to decide what is the best chainsaw to buy for your particular needs, especially if it’s your first saw and deciding what make or model offers the best value for money.
Buying a chainsaw is not one of the simplest tasks you will ever take on. There are so many options from different manufacturers, each claiming to be the best.
You also have to check on the different powering systems, how reliable they are for your intended job, the pricing, and the reviews from previous users.
It might take you months of research to find your perfect chainsaw. Okay, maybe not months, but it will take some time, especially if it is your first chain saw.
How about you let us do all the hard work on your behalf?
If you are planning to buy a chainsaw and are worried about where to start, then you are in the right place. Read through this guide to help you find the best chainsaw for your situation.
Important Note: You should seriously consider doing a chainsaw operators course even before you purchase a saw. A chainsaw can be a dangerous tool if you do not know what you are doing.
Also, do not forget to order safety equipment like chaps, gloves, boots, helmet or goggles and ear protection as a minimum.
Chainsaw Requirements for Casual and Professional Users
Firstly, you will need to decide what you will be using the saw for. If you intend to use it for casual cutting and trimming tasks around the home then a basic electric saw will be the best option.
On the other hand, professional users need powerful and bigger saws for handling more significant projects like cutting down trees and processing large quantities of firewood.
Best Chainsaws for Home Use
Chainsaws for the home or casual user are generally lighter and less powerful than the professional saws. There are gas, electric and even battery-powered models available.
The best option for occasional use is an electric chainsaw. They are best for small tasks like trimming, cutting needs around the home. They can also be used indoors unlike gas powered saws.
The electric chainsaws are also quieter, easy to use even by beginners, and easy to maintain. You can also opt for battery-powered chainsaws is you want to work over a larger area as it gives you a better range.
The chainsaw should also come with comfort features like an ergonomic handle and include the normal safety features like a throttle lock and a kickback guard.
Casual chainsaw users can comfortably work with shorter bar lengths from around 12 – 16 inches, which can easily cut smaller logs and trees.
Top Chainsaws for Home/Casual Users
If you have to choose between a gas-powered and a cordless electric chainsaw for home use, you should go with the electric one. It is less noisy, easy to use, and can conveniently handle the cutting needs around the home.
These are the top 3 chainsaws for home users we have reached after careful considerations and comparisons;
BLACK+DECKER 20V LCS1020
This Black+Decker Chainsaw is a testimony that size does not matter. This 10-inch bar is quite small yet will conveniently handle any job around the house, like removing dead trees, pruning, and cutting fallen branches.
This chainsaw is low maintenance and low emission for reliability over a prolonged period. It comes with a tool-free blade tension system for quick adjustments and ease of use. Also, the oiling system provides for the natural lubrication of the chain and bar.
Its lightweight (7.2lbs) allows for ease of maneuverability and more extended operations without getting fatigued.
The 20V MAX Lithium stays charged up to 5X longer than the regular battery-powered chainsaws to provide longer run-time and long life.
10Inch chain and bar design for fast and smooth cuts.
Easy start-up using the push start motor.
Fully charge battery only lasts an hour.
Some users have reported issues with the oiler not working.
Zombi ZCS5817 16-Inch Electric Chainsaw
Produced by one of the most reputable chainsaw companies; Zombi ZCS581758 is a reliable home chainsaw best for light and medium cutting duties. It is easily portable and comes with an excellent cutting performance for regular use. It comes with a 16-inch blade that cuts logs of relatively bigger sizes.
You are safe using this chainsaw due to the safe-start system with a lockout button that allows the trigger to only operates when pressed. It also stops almost immediately when you release the trigger.
The Zombie ZCS581758 cuts at a speed of 19 meters per second, which is good enough for most domestic home needs. It comes with a stylish design that includes the throttle trigger and lockout switches for easy and safe starting.
Brushless motor for high-performance power, efficiency, and durability.
16 –inch bar and chain for faster smooth cuts.
Not as robust as a gas powered chainsaw.
Makita UC4051A 16″ Electric Chainsaw
If you are looking for one of the best corded electric chainsaws then the Makita UC4051A is one you should definitely check out. Makita are noted for their quality products and their chainsaws are no exception.
The UC4051A has tool less adjustment of the bar and chain which is great for a beginner. The ergonomically design ensures that it is safe and comfortable to use.
This is a high quality powerful chainsaw.
Easy to use and maintain.
Simple to start compared to gas models
It is one of the more expensive electric saws.
Limited range of operation.
What is the Best Chainsaw to Buy For Professional Use
If you are looking to purchase a saw for more professional use like felling large trees or processing firewood on a regular basis then my top recommendation would be to avoid cheap Chinees chainsaw.
I made the mistake of purchasing one of these saws and found it to be very unreliable, difficult to start and spare parts were not readily available. Go for a top brand as it will save you money in the long run.
A professional chainsaw should be capable of handling demanding work over an extended period while being easy to operate and maintain, and durable. Most professional loggers work in extreme conditions, cutting down large trees regularly.
You, therefore, need a chainsaw that can keep up with the demands of the work. Professional users are better off with gas-powered chainsaw that provides for robust and reliable output.
The bar/chain should be directly proportional in length to the circumference of the trees you intend to work with. A professional user will usually need a chainsaw with a bar 20 to 24 inches and an engine that can deliver enough power normally 35cc to 80cc.
It should be easy to start and have the usual safety features including a kickback guard, chain brake, throttle lock, and chain catcher.
Like any other tool, your chainsaw will experience wear and tear the more you operate it. This calls for a regular maintenance routine. Proper maintenance ensures the expect output even after a long period of use.
A quality professional chainsaw should come with all the tools required to do normal maintenance like cleaning and sharpening the chain. It should also have good availability of spare parts.
Best Gas-powered Chainsaws
Gas-powered chainsaws are much more powerful compared to the electric and battery-powered models. They derive their power from the two-cycle engine. The high-level power allows it to operate a variety of blade lengths to allow for handling more demanding tasks like felling large trees.
Another advantage of the gas-powered chain saw is that it doesn’t confine you to one area. You don’t have to hook it up to any power source or use using limited cords.
Top 3 Gas Powered chainsaws
Husqvarna 120 Mark II 16 in. Gas Chainsaw
The Husqvarna 120 is a reliable chainsaw with exceptional features for home use. It is light at just over 16lbs and easy to start and use. Hence you do not need vast experience to operate so it is a good option for beginners.
This Husqvarna 120 comes with a side-mounted chain tensioner and automatic oiler, the two-cycle 38.2cc (1.88 hp) engine is perfect for cutting jobs around the home and yard and will cut logs upto 10 inches. The X-Torq engine is very economical and has low exhaust emissions.
It comes with a smart start for easy start with minimum effort.
Low vibration design reduces operator fatigue.
It has an air injection feature that prevents dust and debris from entering the air filter for improved engine performance and life.
It can be slow to start unless you follow the instructions to the letter.
Noise level is high 100 dB so ear protection is a must.
Makita EA7901PRZ1 EA7901PRZ2 79 cc Chain Saw is one of the most powerful chainsaws you can find in the market. With an engine of the speed of 12,800 RPM, the EA7901PRZ1 is a reliable tool that will cut even the biggest trees at a rapid rate. It comes with an automatic half-throttle lock and fully electronic ignition for a fast start. Vibration in this chainsaw is not an issue even when it operates at high speeds due to the advanced vibration dampening system. It is built for durability due to the magnesium housing.
This premium model chainsaw comes at a premium price, even though that is justified given the impressive qualities it comes with.
Heated handle for better comfort when operating in cold weather conditions.
High power-to-weight ratio. It weighs 14.7lbs before without a chain and bar
It comes with a decompression valve to reduce the required starting force.
Large metal spike bar for assured productivity.
Expensive but it is a premium brand.
Husqvarna 16 Inch 440e II Gas Chainsaw
The Husqvarna 440E is a cut above your standard chainsaws. It comes with a chain powered by an X-Torq engine that allows it to handle any wood. The engine is designed for durability, efficient fuel consumption, and less harmful emissions. These fantastic features justify the high price tag this chainsaw commands.
The 40.9cc engine has a maximum tree cutting speed of 9000rpm. It will easily cut through trees faster without getting bogged down. The machine is versatile with ease of portability and requires minimal maintenance.
The only concern with this chainsaw is the shorter blade length of 18 inches, even though it does not stop it from delivering exceptional cutting results. The whole machine is generally dependable, easy, and fast to use.
Fast start with an easy to grasp and pull cord.
Easy to use due to the balance in weight and power low vibration.
It can be difficult to start if you do not follow the instructions.
Remington RM4214 Rebel
The Remington RM4214 Rebel 42cc 2-Cycle 14-Inch is a chainsaw that packs a lot of punch considering its price point.. It is powered by a 2-cycle 42cc engine that will easily cut smaller trees and firewood. It has an adjustable inbuilt automatic oiler that steadily provides oil to the chain for smooth operations and soft texture cuts.
The 5-point anti-vibration system in the chainsaw regulates vibrations for comfort during usage. Still, on comfort, it comes with a smooth handle wrapped with a cushion for palm protection during operation. It also has a QuickStart Technology for easier starting.
Great saw for the price
Powerful engine for reliable output
Lightweight and easy to use
The only concern with the Remington RM4214 Rebel is that it produces a lot of heat and it is susceptible to leaking chain oil when stored.
Best 20 to 24 inches Blade Chainsaws
Professional wood cutting involves felling much larger trees that requires a more powerful saw blade with a much longer bar and chain. The main advantage of the 20 to 24 inches is that they have a powerful engine that ensures reliable woodcutting experience with large trees. The larger blades are also made of high-quality materials for durability.
These are the top 3 20 to 24 inches chainsaws;
Blue Max 8901 2-in-1 Combination Chainsaw
If you are looking for an affordable chainsaw for professionals that do not compromise on quality, then the Blue Max 8901 is a good option. The Blue Max brand is not as well known as the more popular brands but can still hold its own with the best of them.
It boasts a powerful 45cc high-performance engine, an anti-vibration handle, an auto chain oiler, and a QuickStart ignition system.
It comes with an interchangeable 14-inch and 20-inch bar and chain to use depending on needs.
Great Saw for the price.
Interchangeable 14-inch and 20-inch bar and chain.
One of the lighter gas-powered chainsaws.
It can be hard to restart.
Spare part not widely available in stores but available at online stores.
Poulan Pro 20 in. 50cc Chainsaw
The Poulan Company is a leading innovative and reliable chainsaw provider for over 100 years, and the Poulan Pro PR5020 does not fall short of expectations. It embodies the company’s ideologies of production quality affordability. The 20-inch blade on the chainsaw ensures its versatility as it can handle a wide range of applications. It can handle large logs, firewood cutting, and cleanup jobs.
The 50cc 2-cycle engine that powers this machine provides a powerful displacement that a professional can rely on. The engine includes an OxyPower design for fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. It is easy to start using the effortless pull starting system.
The air filter in this machine prevents dirt from getting to the air filter for longer engine life. It is also easy to maintain as you don’t need any unique tool to access the air filter and spark plug.
Great features for a really low price.
OxyPower engine provides extra power and efficiency and lower emissions.
Some users have reported problems starting the saw.
Hitachi CS51EAP 50.1CC 20-Inch Saw
Powered by a 50.1cc PureFire engine, the Hitachi CS51EAP 50.1CC 20-Inch Rear Handle Chain Saw with PureFire Engine is a powerful chainsaw capable of handling heavy-duty jobs. It consumes less fuel compared to other chainsaws of similar size and comes with other impressive features like sprocket nose bar and bumper chain brakes for smoother and straighter cuts.
Restarting this chainsaw is an easy task; it has a decompression valve that helps in the restarting process as well as a return choke and primer bulb. The adjustable automatic chain oiler ensures proper working conditions. It also has a spring-type and vibration system to absorb the vibrations for comfort when operational.
This chainsaw has the option to add a 16 inch and 18inch guide which means it is highly flexible as one saw can be used for a number of different jobs like cutting down large trees and also trimming, bucking and cutting firewood.
Features a 50.1cc commercial grade Pure Fire Engine
It comes with up to 7 years warranty.
Optional 16 inch, 18 inch and 20 inch guide available.
The instruction manual is not very clear.
Chainsaw Safety Features to Look Out For.
Most chainsaws come with safety features that you need to look for before you decide to make a purchase. Some of the most common safety features include;
Chain Catcher – The chain catcher prevents the chain from flying back on the user in case the chain breaks or becomes derailed. The chain catcher is located under the chainsaw body towards the rear end.
Right Hand Guard – It protects your fingers from injury in case the chain breaks or jumps off.
Chain brake – Chain brake stops the movement of the chainsaw cutting chain in case of an uncontrolled movement. You can activate the chain brake in two ways; by either striking the kickback guard forward or by the action of the chainsaw during a kickback. The chain brake can also be used to secure the chain when moving between cuts, starting a cold saw or when changing directions.
You operate the chain brake by pushing the top-hand guard forward to engage the brake, and pull back to disengage. The saw can also engage it automatically in case of a kickback.
Throttle Lock – The throttle lock prevents accidental throttle operations. It also prevents throttle activation when you are starting the saw with one foot on the rear handle. The throttle lock is the second layer of protection after the chain breaker; you have to activate it for operations.
Easy Access Stop Button – The stop button is conveniently located for stopping the engine wherever there is a need.
Exhaust – Protects the user from hot and harmful gases coming from the engine. It also ensures the user is not exposed to other extremely hot metals on the saw.
Scabbard – It covers the chain when in storage or during transportation. It protects the user from an accidental injury or cut due to the sharpness of the cutter chain.
You possibly will not be buying another chainsaw for some time to come so you need to choose wisely.
When deciding on a single chainsaw to buy from the many that are available in the market it can be an overwhelming task. I hope this guide makes it a little daunting.
You can always refer to this article anytime you are deciding what is the best chainsaw to buy whether for home use or professional engagements.