When it comes to chopping down lumber, you’d be hard-pressed to find a tool that’s better than a chainsaw. There are several different types to choose from, some better for certain applications than others. Some are dangerous, and some are a rip-off, some simply cut wood better than others and that’s why it is important to do a research before purchasing one.
Although you’d think that by now most chainsaws would have evolved to have a long lifespan and be pretty durable, that is not always the case. For this reason, it’s important to consider the feedback on how different chainsaws perform in varying situations.
Here, we will delve into what you should be looking for in a chain saw to help you select not only the right one for your needs, but also the best chainsaw for your money.
Electric Chainsaw Reviews
1. Makita XCU02Z
|●Our Top Choice|
●Long lasting batteries
●Great for all types of cutting/sawing
●Well built and lightweight
|4.9 out of 5|
2. Makita EA4300F40B
●Tool-less filter access
●High Power to weight ratio
|4.7 out of 5|
3. Makita UC4051A
|●Quick stop after trigger release|
●Great after multiple uses
|4.6 out of 5|
|●Strong lithium battery|
●Good customer service
|4.4 out of 5|
|●Good power for size|
●Ideal for small tree or bush
|4.3 out of 5|
Take note of the fundamentals first
- To find the best chainsaw for your needs, you should take heed to star ratings and customer feedback to make sure that you’re selecting the right option.
- However, before you can accurately compare chainsaws, you need first to separate the different styles. As with any other project, if you end up using the wrong tool for the job, you will face lacklustre results.
- A chain saw can be gas-powered, electric, cordless, compressed air or hydraulic. The most expensive models will have a high power-to-weight ratio. You’ll also notice that there are consumer and professional models.
- Most buyers with basic needs of chopping down trees, or cutting larger pieces of wood for firewood will choose an electric chainsaw or a gas-powered chain saw. Therefore, these will be the two styles that we will compare.
- Before choosing between the two types of a chainsaw, it’s important to dig into the expected use to see which one will be best. Each style has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, but knowing more information about the two will help you decide which is right for you.
What Type of Chainsaw Do You Need?
Are Electric Chainsaws the Best?
Smaller & Lighter. Electric chain saws are right when you are focusing on a more trivial task. If light tree trimming, pruning, and chopping are what you’re intending to do, then, an electric-powered saw might be the best choice for you.
The bar (cutting edge) will generally range from 8 inches to about a foot and a half of an electric model. For this reason, electric models are usually lighter and require less effort to maintain.
Easier to Handle. Because it’s lighter and less powerful, an electric saw will carry less of a kickback than a gas powered model. The kickback is the jolt that you feel when the tip of the saw hits whatever it is that you’re chopping. Because an electric model will have less power, overall there is less chance of the kickback being more than an inexperienced user can handle.
An electric chain saw also requires less of a cool down period once your work is done. Often, you can just unplug it and set it aside.
Less Noisy. Electric models are much less noisy than their gas-powered siblings. You can probably picture lumberjacks off in the woods with a gas powered chainsaw, but the electric models are what you’re more likely to see for a casual Sunday afternoon trimming job.
Continuous Power. Electric saw models that come with a cord will give you a continuous power and you won’t have to worry about the gas running out right in the middle of your job.
However, if you choose a cordless model, the battery can run out of juice, so we’ll touch on cordless models in just a little while.
Cordless Option. Some electric chainsaws have cords while others don’t (cordless). A cordless chainsaw is mainly a convenience purchase. Similar to a cordless drill, it’s great for light work.
But when you need a more heavy-duty operation, you’ll want to choose a corded model (especially since you’re losing some power already by going with an electric model).
However, a cordless model is easier to maintain (and has much less odor) because you just plug it in to juice up the rechargeable battery.
The best use of an electric cordless saw is light pruning of shrubbery, clearing tall weeds, and shaping foliage. If you’re looking to chop woods, you’re better off going with a more sturdy alternative.
Less Power. An electric chainsaw will almost always have less power overall than the gas powered alternatives. Power is the main reason you’d choose a gas chainsaw over an electric one.
The Cord. If you go with a corded model, you’ll get a continuously powerful motor without worries about your juice or fuel running out, but you’ll have to contend with the cord throughout your job.
Besides less power, the cord is generally the biggest drawback in an electric model. You can only go as far as your cable length will travel, and if you’re not careful, you can cut the cord or fray the cord with the saw edge.
This will not only damage the saw, but also carries the risk of electric shock.
More Powerful. A gas chainsaw uses a mix of gasoline and oil to push its two-cycle engine through the hard jobs.
The biggest strength of a gas chainsaw is its power. You can distinguish a more powerful gas engine by the larger CCs of its engine.
Fully Transportable. You can take your gas chainsaw anywhere, which is why you generally imagine the footage we talked about with a plaid-clad lumberjack in the forest.
Bringing a decent-sized gas and an oil reserve, you can already handle most of any jobs mother nature can throw at you.
Bigger Bar. The bar of a gas chainsaw can approach 3.5 feet in length. A gas model can carry the size that you’ll need to chop down large diameter trees.
Harder to Handle. The kickback from a gas chainsaw makes it harder to handle than an electric model. A powerful gas chainsaw is better suited to someone with experience.
Safety is a primary concern with any chainsaw, but most especially with a gas powered model.
More Maintenance. With a gas chainsaw, you often need to let it cool down before doing any refill. You also have to be careful where you store it because of the flammable liquids inside that could spill if handled incorrectly.
Before you put it away for safekeeping, you’ll want to drain the fluids from the chainsaw and make sure to store it in a well-ventilated area.
Which chain saw brand is highly recommended?
Best Electric Chain Saws
Best Gas Chain Saws
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of the different models we can finally get into the reviews and ratings. We have handpicked our top 5 brands and we’ll give you insight about why these 5 brands made our list.
In scoring the models below, we took into consideration the overall star rating from various online vendors, cutting speed, safety, ease of use and handling, weight, engine CC/amperage, and bar length availability.
[In alphabetical order] –
A brand that makes jobs both safe and easy, Greenworks chainsaws are meant for light duty use. They are extremely high rated saws, with ratings between 4 and 5 stars just about everywhere they are found.
Being electric chainsaws, the power can suffer a little, but for use around the house, GreenWorks is the way to go. Prices are generally in the low hundreds, so GreenWorks models are as friendly on your wallet as they are with the environment.
A brand that prides itself on being able to fit comfortably in many situations from light use on the farm all the way up to timber harvesting for forestry and arborists, Husqvarna makes gas alternatives that guarantee more power and better performance.
They are known not only for their power but also for their ergonomic design. You’ll regularly see Husqvarna chainsaws at around 4 star rating level. You’ll pay for the extra power and performance, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Remington electric chainsaws are both affordable and powerful, the RM5118R uses a 51cc engine that can be started even if the engine is still heated from the last use.
Remingtons are both powerful and durable but often they suffer in the area of the power to weight ratio, being more heavy than similarly powered alternatives.
STIHL electric chain saw models range from 12″ to over 36″ in bar length. Regularly rated at higher than 4 stars, it’s no wonder STIHL is the sponsor of TIMBERSPORTS games, which recently celebrated their 30th year anniversary.
The brand has a wide selection from consumer to professional models for both light and professional use. For just about every use, what you might have there is a STIHL model that will perfectly suit your needs.
For lightweight use, WORX is not only famous for their cordless lawn mower but also with their electric chainsaws, which carry a 3.5 horse power motor with an auto tension system that automatically maintains the proper amount of tension during use.
When your chain becomes worn out, worry not, WORX has a painted tool free replacement system. Know that your chainsaw is designed both for safety and comfort, with features such as a built in safety brake that will stop the chain in seconds when it detects improper contact. Models are available at under $100.
So what is the best chainsaw to buy?
1. Best Overall: Most Powerful + Cordless Chainsaw – Makita
Finally, we wrap things up by picking an overall winner based on the highest scores across all of our categories. And the winner is… the mighty Makita Chainsaw!
- Makita-built motor delivers 1,650 FPM for increased cutting speed.
- Two 18V LXT Lithium-Ion batteries (not included) deliver the power and run time for corded demands without leaving the 18V LXT platform.
- Lower noise level at only 89 dB(A) and zero emissions for improved user comfort.
- 12″ guide bar for increased capacity.
- “Tool-less” chain adjustments for convenient operation and maintenance. Includes tool only (batteries and charger not included).
- Refer to page 8-10 “Assembly” on instruction manual.
Best Corded and Durable Chainsaw – Makita UC4051A 16″
This Makita saw is designed for heavy, continuous use. Its electric chain brake promotes productivity while requiring little to maintenance. Since it’s electric it also has no emissions, which means less to clean up.
The oil reservoir has a clear window so you can make sure it’s always greased up and the motor will be protected. Additionally, it has a systematic overheat protection to make sure you can cut for as long as you need to. It even has ergonomic handles so that your hands won’t chafe during use.
This is NOT a pruning saw and it can easily cut down 12 inches of branches (though it can still cut bigger ones).
The bar and and tension system may take a little bit of time to get used to, but once you do it becomes a cutting machine with an awesome auto oiling mechanism. You can’t go wrong with this Makita power tool.