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.
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 many feedback on how different chainsaws perform in varying situations.
Here, we will delve into what you should be looking for in a chainsaw to help you select not only the right one for your needs, but also the best chainsaw for your money.
Electric Chainsaw Reviews
|Chainsaw Name||Features We Like||Price Guide||Our Rating|
|Black & Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper||Absolutely outstanding customer reviews, cheap price point, 4.5 amp motor is powerful enough for general use||Cheap Price||4.5 / 5|
|Makita UC4051A||Brilliant customer reviews, mid to higher price point means it is built to last, Built-in current limiter to protect the motor from burnout||Higher Price||4.75 / 5|
|GreenWorks 20232 12-Amp 16-Inch||Another model in the lower price range, 12 amp electric motor provides handy power, tool-less chain tensioning for adjustments, great user reviews||Cheap Price||5 / 5|
|Makita XCU02Z 18V X2 LXT Lithium-Ion||Plenty of user reviews give great confidence in performance and durability, tool-less chain tensioning for adjustments||Moderate Price||4.75 / 5|
|EGO Power+ 14-Inch 56-Volt Lithium-Ion||Efficient brushless motor with 6300 RPM, water resistant, user reviews are very solid||Moderate Price||4.75 / 5|
|DEWALT DCCS690H1 40V 6AH Lithium Ion XR||Chain brake for kick back protection, also a tool-free model for tensioning, adjustable speed, user reviews are very sound indeed||Higher Price||5 / 5|
|Sun Joe iON16CS 16-Inch 4-Amp 40-Volt||Also a tool-less model, efficient battery, powerfull 600 watt motor, great review history online from customers||Higher Price||5 / 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 lackluster results.
- A chainsaw 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 chainsaw. Therefore, these will be the two styles that we will compare.
- Before choosing between the two types of 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 Best?
Smaller & Lighter. Electric chainsaws 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 chainsaw 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 chainsaw 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 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 chainsaw brand is highly recommended?
Best Electric Chainsaw
Best Gas Chainsaws
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 of chainsaw 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 chainsaws 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 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.
Remington chainsaws 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 has models that 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?
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 STIHL Chainsaw.
With 4.5 star ratings average across every category from consumer to professional quality, it’s no wonder STIHL won in our head to head comparison.
From powerful gas engines with high CCs to their lightweight lithium-ion models, check their cordless chainsaw reviews to see why STIHL is the best selling chainsaw brand in the USA.
Only barely beat by the winner, Husqvarna’s gas chainsaws offer the power you need, along with professional features such as 28″ and longer bars, with safety features such as an anti-vibration system.
If you didn’t find what you need from STIHL, Husqvarna might even be the best model available, but the high price a Husqvarna carries kept us from naming this our top overall choice. However, locate a discerning arborist and you’ll probably find a Husqvarna in their hands before others.