What Is the Best Chainsaw in 2021? Our Complete Guide

A chainsaw is known for being an indispensable labor-saver when handled with the correct safety know-how. This is a robust power tool that can help decrease the manpower needed when cutting stumps for firewood, slicing off dangerous broken tree limbs, or tidying up across the garden. When using a chainsaw, you’re guaranteed effortless and rapid cutting. 

Chainsaws are available in various sizes. You can choose between small electric models, which often come with batteries or cords, or larger gas-powered models that are well-equipped for heavier work. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t assume that all-electric models can’t keep up or that all gas-powered chainsaws offer stellar performance. 

In many instances, the price often correlates with size. Bigger chainsaws consisting of a long cutting bar, which is the flat metal arm driving the cutting chain, are typically more expensive than the smaller models constructed with modest limbs. Nonetheless, larger doesn’t always mean better. Yes, a bigger chainsaw is known to tackle larger tasks better. However, these power tools can also be tougher to control. Additionally, the type of chainsaw plays a massive role in its performance. 

We have put together everything you need to know when selecting the best chainsaw. The market is overly saturated with endless options. Knowing what considerations you should make before settling on a purchase can help ensure you get the best chainsaw aligning with your specific needs. Continue reading to find out more. 

What Types of Chainsaws Do You Get? 

Before looking at the various models available, it’s always best to see what types of chainsaws you need to choose from. Typically, you can choose between cordless, gas, and electric chainsaws. This can help narrow your search, as not all chainsaw designs are likely to fit your preferences. Let’s take a look at the types of chainsaws you can get and the features accompanying such constructions. 

Gas-Powered Chainsaw 

Gas chainsaws tend to cut smoothly and rapidly. These gas saws are equipped with a fast chain speed, which ensures the user doesn’t require much pressure when making clean cuts. The amount of pressure needed is significantly less when compared to other underpowered electric models. That’s why gas-powered chainsaws are often seen as the best bet for any heavy-duty work. 

Moreover, gas models run continuously if you continue to add gas, which makes these gas-powered saws the best option if you have a lot of cutting to do. However, most of these gas saws are noisier and heavier than electric alternatives. A gas chainsaw also requires regular service to the tool’s spark plug and air filter and fueling while omitting exhaust fumes. 

These gas chainsaws produce harmful carbon monoxide, like other gas-powered tools. That’s why individuals should never use such power tools indoors. Hence, if you need a chainsaw for an indoor project, gas models should be out of the question. 

Corded-Electric Chainsaw 

Many electric saws are constructed with a plug-in power cord. These typically cost less than gas-powered models and come at a cheaper price. Moreover, corded electric chainsaws weigh less and start effortlessly. All you’re required to do is plug the corded electric saw in and squeeze the trigger. 

However, these corded models have a slower speed, which limits the tool to lighter-duty chores. These might include occasionally trimming small tree limbs or shaping hedges. Additionally, the power cord included in this electric saw’s design leaves you restricted to the nearest electrical outlet. You’re also required to have a 14-gauge or 12-gauge extension cord to ensure you’re gaining the amperage you need for optimal performance. 

It’s best to also consider that extension cords of this size typically max out around 100 feet. Hence, you can’t cut any further than this distance from an outlet. Moreover, you should never try to gain more distance by straining multiple extension cords together, as this poses a fire risk. 

Battery-Powered Electric Chainsaw 

One of the best electric chainsaw options on the market is a battery-powered model. This is because these battery-powered saws free you from a power cord. The cost associated with these electric chainsaws is similar to gas-powered ones while the performance is almost the same. In some instances, these battery-powered electric saws offer even better performance. 

The run time of these electric chainsaws is determined by the amp-hour rating and voltage of the battery. However, you can expect these battery-powered chainsaws to last for 30 to 40 minutes of semi-continuous cutting while the rechargeable battery can take one hour to refuel. 

Safety Recommendations for Operating a Chainsaw

Even if you don’t watch horror movies, it’s normal to have a fear of chainsaws. Who can blame you? These power tools can cause A LOT of damage. When looking at the statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, these chainsaws are involved in more than 27,000 accidents each year. 

The most frequent injuries caused by these power tools are lacerations, specifically to the legs and arms. Some more severe injuries take place when the tool’s chain snags, causing it to kick back toward the user’s head and chest. Nowadays, most chainsaws are constructed with safeguards. These safeguards include an automatic chain brake, which is used to reduce kickbacks from occurring. 

Nonetheless, a model equipped with various safety features doesn’t compensate for the user not performing the necessary safety precautions. That’s why we’ve outlined some of the most crucial safety precautions you should know before using these gas, corded, or battery-powered tools. 

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Get a Grip and Remain Grounded

You should always firmly grip gas chainsaws when you pull-start this tool. While pull-starting, you should keep the saw on the ground. Many models include a spot on the handle for securing this chainsaw with one of your feet while you pull the starter cord. You should never use a saw while on a ladder. 

Moreover, it’s incredibly dangerous to saw above your shoulder height. If you need to cut above your shoulder height, it’s recommended to use an electric lopper. This is because the encased cutting jaw found in the design of this electric lopper makes it safer to use. Otherwise, you should employ a professional. Finally, never saw with the tip of the bar and chain, as this can cause kickback. 

Dress Smart 

You can remain safe by wearing snug-fitting clothing. It’s also recommended to wear some sturdy work boots. The best type would be steel-toed. Additionally, cut-resistant chaps can help shield your legs while protective gloves can help ensure the backs of your hands are protected. A helmet with a face shield is also a great addition to your safety attire. You shouldn’t forget about adequate hearing protection. This is because almost all saws, including battery-powered ones, can easily exceed 85-decibels, causing hearing damage. 

Prioritize Maintenance

Another vital element making up chainsaw safety is upkeep. A properly sharpened, oiled, and tensioned chain helps ensure the saw’s speeds are adequate for cutting. This helps prevent kickback while also reducing wear on the bar and chain. It’s always great to select a saw constructed with an automatic chain oiler. It’s important to remember that a chain that’s too loose can easily slip off of the bar and move toward the user while it continues spinning. 

Consider Emissions 

Even though most injuries associated with saws are amputations and lacerations, gas-powered chainsaws generate carbon monoxide. This is an odorless and colorless gas that’s potentially fatal. That’s why it’s strongly recommended to never run a gasoline-powered tool indoors or in an enclosed area. 

Our Comprehensive Chainsaw Buying Guide

When it comes to selecting the best chainsaw, you need to consider various factors. Of course, there are many tools that can take the titles as one of the best chainsaws available on the market. However, this saw isn’t going to be the best option for you if it doesn’t align with your specific preferences. That’s why we have highlighted a few elements you should consider before making a purchase. These are: 

Motor 

As we have mentioned, you can get three basic types of chainsaws. These are either a battery-powered chainsaw, gas model or electric saw. Electric motors are rated in amps, which is what you should look at before picking your desired model. 

All light-duty electric models typically start at eight amps. However, more robust saws can fall between 12 and 15 amps. It would be best to select a model with amps at the higher end of this range unless you wish to conduct more basic trimming tasks. 

In contrast, gasoline motors are frequently categorized in terms of cc’s. However, you can also occasionally see gasoline engines being rated by horsepower. You can find a range of gasoline models rated with anything from 2cc to 80cc. This rating can even be higher for more professional models. 

Horsepower can vary. However, a mid-range chainsaw might have approximately four horsepower. When looking at heavy-duty models, these motors can pack even more power. Nonetheless, using gas-powered chainsaws is illegal in most cities. This trend is bound to continue as time goes on. 

Battery-operated saws don’t include a motor. Rather, these models are measured in volts. Most of these chainsaws are available with 18 to 40 volts. However, a few models can stretch the power up to as much as 80 volts or more. 

Bar Length 

The chainsaw’s bar is also referred to as the blade. This accessory serves as the chain. These bar lengths typically vary among different models while the range is between 8 and 30 inches. 

Chainsaws with a shorter bar length are easier to handle. However, this shorter length also reduces the chainsaw’s cutting capabilities, as the bar should always be between 1 and 2 inches longer than any wood you’re cutting. Doing this helps avoid kickback, which occurs when the saw’s nose makes contact with the cutting surface and causes the tool to sharply motion upward. 

In contrast, longer bar lengths allow you to make considerably larger cuts of the wood during a single pass. Nonetheless, these longer bar lengths also require a more robust motor and heavier machine. That’s why enhanced caution is needed when using a heavy-duty saw. 

A bar length of 14 inches or less is typically sufficient when shopping for a chainsaw for general homeowner use. If you want something far more than your average yard tasks, a more capable model constructed with a bar length between 14 and 18 inches is the best choice. A heavy-duty chainsaw is typically equipped with a bar length of 18 to 24 inches. Professional saws stretch this bar length to as much as 30 inches. 

Auto Oiling 

For maximum safety and performance, you’re required to regularly oil your chainsaw blade. The blade might become dull more rapidly if you fail to do this. Additionally, the friction heat might cause the saw’s nose to warp. 

Most chainsaws available on the market today are designed with an automatic chain oiler. This saves you time while also ensuring the saw constantly stays in optimal working condition. Automatic chain oilers are available with an adjustable or fixed flow. 

This fixed flow oiler distributes a steady, consistent flow of oil onto the saw’s chain. The adjustable flow oiling system allows the user to adjust the setting to either release less or more oil. Such a setting might be required when placing a greater strain on the saw, like when you’re required to cut harder wood types. 

Whatever type of automatic chain oiler you pick, you should become familiar with the oil reservoir size while paying close attention to the oil level. Most chainsaw models include a small window on the side. This allows you to keep an eye on your saw’s oil supply. 

What Are the Best Chainsaws? 

If you’re searching for a chainsaw, you possibly noticed that the market is packed with endless options. This can make choosing the right one for your specific needs quite challenging. That’s why we’ve rounded up our top eight picks to help you make the best decision. These are the best chainsaws we’ve found that satisfy an array of needs. Let’s take a look: 

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Best Heavy-Duty Model: Huqvarna 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw 

One of the best chainsaws out there for heavy-duty use is the Husqvarna. It can handle a tremendous amount of use and abuse and is difficult to beat when it comes to the model’s reliability and power. Experts have given it exceptional ratings for its ease of use and cutting speed. Moreover, the power tool is equipped with a 20-inch bar and two-stroke engine offering a 55.5-cc power that revs up to 9,000 rpm. 

The chain brakes are included for added safety, which helps reduce the risk of kickback while filtration systems are added to help with the exhaust fumes generated through use. A centrifugal air-cleaning system is included to help the saw’s air filters last longer. Moreover, it offers anti-vibration systems to help reduce hand fatigue while also providing a low-emission X-torq engine. Customers especially love the Smart Start system, as this helps get the model up and running with almost no effort. The ease of use is exceptional and hard to find when looking at other gas chainsaws. 

Pros: 

  • Relatively easy to start and use
  • Offers reliable performance
  • Extremely robust

Cons:

  • Loud 
  • Heavier than other models 
  • Limited to use in cities that allow gas chainsaws 

Best Model for Home Use: Greenworks 40V Cordless Chainsaw

When working on a big job, the last thing you want is getting tangled in a cord while maneuvering a heavy power tool. That’s why you need the Greenworks cordless chainsaw. This tool offers a great bite for the price and can cut through large tree limbs or small trees that are too close to your home. Its brushless motor has significant power and torque. In fact, it can supply 30 percent more torque than other saws of a similar caliber. This chainsaw also gets less wear and tear because of its limited twisting and turning. 

It’s constructed with an automatic oiler prolonging the chain and blade’s life. Moreover, this Greenworks saw has a longer running time than other cordless options available. Hence, you don’t need to stop what you’re doing to recharge this battery to complete your project. Anti-vibration is included in the design to reduce fatigue during a job. However, it’s important to note the charger and battery need to be purchased separately. You might also wish to purchase additional batteries, but this is only recommended. 

Pros: 

  • Easy to start and use
  • Offers great performance 
  • Provides a longer run time because of its brushless motor

Cons:

  • More expensive than other chainsaw brands

Best Cordless Model: EGO Power+ CS1401 Cordless Chainsaw 

Although many battery-powered models are suitable for light-duty and quick jobs, the EGO Power+ is ready to take on even more. It’s equipped with a 6,300 rpm motorized system that’s powered by a 56-volt lithium-ion battery. Moreover, it includes a 14-inch bar, chain brake commonly found on professional chainsaws and pole saws, brushless motor with low fuel consumption, and automatic oilers. The power tool is especially well-liked for its good cutting speed and handling while the chain brake offers additional support and safety. 

This CS1401 includes a low-kickback design with a tension adjustment feature. The chain brake, high-efficiency, and tension adjustment stop the saw’s chain as soon as kickback occurs, which helps offer better support when using the tool. Moreover, the battery is robust enough to handle approximately 100 cuts during a single charge. The battery also recharges incredibly fast while it’s powerful enough to cut through larger trees with limbs up to a foot thick. Nonetheless, it is a little heavier at nearly 12 pounds. 

Pros: 

  • Weather-resistant construction
  • Provides powerful performance
  • Easy to use and start

Cons:

  • Includes a weaker battery compared to other chainsaw brands

Best Model for Small Jobs: Greenworks Cordless Chainsaw

You might require a smaller chainsaw for occasional light-duty use without worrying about having to be close to a power source when using this model. If this is the case, the Greenworks Cordless Chainsaw is one of the best chainsaws you can purchase. This model is equipped with a convenient rechargeable 24-volt battery that’s made from lithium-ion. The bar lengths of these cordless models are similar to each other, and the Greenworks saw is no exception with its 10-inch bar. 

It includes a tool-free chain tension adjustment, inertia activated chain brake, easy-to-grip ergonomic handle, automatic oiler, and various safety features, like a chain catcher. One of the most well-liked chainsaw features about this saw is that it can make up to 35 cuts when pruning thick boards or tree branches. However, it isn’t suitable for heavy-duty jobs and it takes around 45 minutes to recharge. Nonetheless, this is more than enough power to tackle low maintenance yards and small cutting jobs. 

Although this isn’t the most suitable option for work on cutting jobs including large trees, felling trees, or a big tree trunk, this power tool is surprisingly effective for light work on small trees. This small chainsaw also weighs less than 8 pounds, which makes it easier to control for users with limited dexterity or strength. 

Pros: 

  • Constructed to manage small jobs around household yards very well
  • Easy to start and use
  • Offers a lightweight construction 

Cons:

  • Isn’t robust enough to tackle bigger tree limbs

Best Budget Gas Chainsaw: HUYOSEN 18-Inch Gas Chainsaw 

This HUYOSEN model is one of the best chainsaws on the market, as it’s packed with exceptional power while being a great budget option. The tool is sturdy and reliable and is equipped with enough power to easily handle common jobs around the yard. Hence, the HUYOSEN 18-inch chainsaw is great for cutting large tree limbs, pruning trees, splitting firewood, clearing brush, and fallen trees. Moreover, it’s well-liked as a quiet chainsaw. 

Unlike most gas models that are difficult to start, this saw revs to life at the effortless push of a button. You don’t need to pull a chain over and over again to get the motor going. Additionally, the blade offers considerable chew with its sprocket-tipped 18-inch chain and bar while the automatic oiler ensures this bar and chain are in good condition after each job. 

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Overall, the HUYOSEN is the perfect choice for pruning trees and trim jobs. It’s a great investment if you need to conduct pruning on trees and bushes that are too close to a home’s side or other tight spaces. 

Pros: 

  • Relatively easy to start
  • Offers excellent performance, especially for pruning jobs

Cons:

  • Heavier than other models
  • Limited to cities that allow the use of gas chainsaws 

Best Budget Electric Chainsaw: WORX WG303.1 Electric Chainsaw

It’s difficult to beat the WORX WG303.1 as long as you’re okay with straying away from cordless chainsaws. This model is especially well-liked for its exceptional performance while also being available at a budget-friendly price. It’s constructed with a 16.5-inch chainsaw bar and includes a 14.5-amp motorized system. If that’s not enough, experts also highly rate this product for its exceptional ease of use, comfortable handling, and cutting speed. 

Although this model is inexpensive, it still includes many crucial features. Some of the most well-liked features are an ergonomic handle, chain brake, automatic oiler, and automatic chain tension adjustment mechanism. It’s balanced, fast, and can easily handle lightweight duties throughout a typical household yard. Additionally, it isn’t heavy, as it weighs less than 11 pounds. 

Nonetheless, many customers claim that they experience some improper tension when first using the model. They also state that they experience shaking when using this model. It’s designed without any anti-vibration system. Yet, for its price, this model is a great option and is backed by a three-year warranty. 

Pros: 

  • The handle is padded and comfortable
  • Offers great performance
  • Includes an automatic chain oiler and tension 

Cons:

  • The chain adjuster knob of this model is big and maybe turned accidentally while using it 

Best Overall Gas-Powered Chainsaw: Echo Gas 2-Stroke Cycle Chainsaw 

If you’re after a significant amount of power, these Echo Gas-Powered Saws are the right choice. This 2-stroke model is equipped with an 18-inch chainsaw bar and a 40.2-cc engine. Moreover, this is one of the cordless models that doesn’t blink when it comes time to cut through imposing timber rapidly and confidently. Even though it’s equipped with robust power, this saw is also effortless to use and handle.

Moreover, this professional-grade saw includes an automatic oiler, reduced-effort starting system equipped with a digital ignition, heavy-duty air filter, an air pre-cleaner, and a side-mounted chain tensioner. Even though most gas models have the reputation of being difficult to start, this professional chainsaw can be easily fired up while also maintaining balance during use. 

The model is like most professional chainsaws in performance. However, it’s also lightweight weighing a little more than 10 pounds without any fuel. Despite this lightweight feature, it packs enough power to start up against even heavy-duty chainsaws. This fuel tank holds approximately 14 ounces while the entire structure of this saw is covered by an impressive five-year warranty for all non-commercial use. 

Pros: 

  • Relatively easy to start 
  • Lightweight 
  • Extremely robust performance

Cons:

  • Loud motor
  • Limited to cities allowing the use of gas chainsaws 

Best Overall Electric-Powered Chainsaw: Makita UC4051A Electric Chainsaw 

This corded electric chainsaw offers excellent power, especially considering it doesn’t have a gas motor. Its performance is more robust than other electric chainsaws in the same price range. The model also features a 16-inch bar allowing users to cut through even large, dense limbs and logs with ease while the chain speed is at a remarkable 2,900 feet-per-minute. 

Another amazing thing about these Makita UC4051A electric chainsaws is that they are designed with exceptional features. Some of its most well-liked features include a built-in current limiter helping guard against any motor burnout, a soft-start trigger switch, an electric chain brake, an ergonomic rubberized handle, and an automatic chain oiler. Moreover, no tools are required when replacing or adjusting the chain and blade. This tool-free chain tensioning is offered by a lever that can be used to ensure the right chain tension is provided. 

You’re also bound to appreciate how effortless this model is to use. Additionally, you don’t need to deal with a high-maintenance gas engine while still getting plenty of power. Yet, this battery-powered chainsaw weighs more than 15.5 pounds. This is heavier than most saws of similar caliber. It also requires an outdoor-rated extension cord, like other electric models. 

Pros: 

  • Offers powerful performance
  • Easy to start
  • Provides low maintenance 

Cons:

  • The initial assembly of this model is said to be challenging

Wrapping It Up 

If you’re searching for a powerful chainsaw packed with incredible features, we strongly recommend selecting the Makita UC4051A Electric Chainsaw. This model is equipped with a 16-inch bar that many customers state as being robust enough to cut through dense limbs and logs. 

However, the Echo CS-400-18 model is the best gas chainsaw if you’re searching for the ultimate power. This Echo saw is designed as a professional-grade chainsaw that’s loaded with excellent features and is easy to start. 

Nonetheless, it’s always best to evaluate what you’re wanting to get out of your chosen chainsaw. From here, you can look at the specifications that would fulfill your needs and locate the model constructed with these respective features. 

Additionally, the best chainsaws are always the ones that have the necessary safety features. Without these, you aren’t guaranteed safe usability. Hence, it’s pointless to invest in a model that is equipped with your desired functionality while lacking in crucial safety features. Finding a model with your required functionality and quality safety features is going to ensure you’re buying the best chainsaw. 

Itamar Ben Dor

My father is a practical engineer, and as a hobby he was also involved in construction, renovations, carpentry and woodwork at home; So there was always tools, saws, drills and more at home. Already I was a little kid Dad and I would renovate the house. Once we built a shed for garden tools, once we did flooring for the garden, once we renovated the bathroom and that’s the way it is. Long before there was an internet, directories and plans. We would build things, kitchen cabinets, install electrical appliances, do flooring, pour concrete and more ... I in this blog want to pass on to you the experience I have gained over the last 20 plus-minus years since I was a child to this day and give you information about the best tools, project plans, guides and more.

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