Most guys love the idea of owning a chainsaw, and I am certainly one of those. There is nothing quite like firing up that engine, and watch it going to work on trees and lumber.
When these were first made they were designed for industrial use, but today, so many different models have been made, that making the right choice, can get a bit confusing. Hopefully my chainsaw buying guide will be able to help you out.
There is probably no saw more popular than the chainsaw. If you want something that will just power through wood with ease, then this is the tool for you. The big issue for most people to concern themselves is their safety when using these. These are not toys for boys and they should be taken really seriously indeed.
Just below we have included all the major chainsaw brands. There are of course a few other smaller brands, but those listed below are certainly the most popular and the best known.
If you are searching for some helpful information on the best chainsaw, that will suit your needs best, then hopefully the remainder of this detailed article will really help you out.
There are quite a number of chainsaws on the market, powered in different ways, and all designed for specific purposes. They are basically all made in a similar fashion but as you can imagine they are not all created equally.
Before you make any buying decisions it is a good idea to understand what brands make these, what the different types of chainsaw are, what they can be used for and get a really good idea of the price points in the market. That way you can make a much better and informed decision before spending your hard earned money.
Best Chainsaw Brands
Let’s start by looking at who makes the different types of chainsaws available on the market. The main brands are:
- Blue Max
- Black and Decker
We found some smaller brands, but the reviews were pretty poor, so we have left those off. We see little point in reviewing brands that offer a low quality product. Of the ones we have listed above, the most popular choices are Poulan and Husqvarna.
The Forestry and Professionals in the main use STIHL, which are great saws, but you do pay a heavy price.
Different Types of Chainsaws Available
In days gone past your only real choice was a chainsaw that was powered by an engine of some type. This in turn would turn a chain and make everything work. Today though, we have more choices as to what actually powers our saw. The choices are:
- Gas powered – typically 2 cycle gas (2 stroke gas) – typically a 50 cc engine
- Electric chainsaws – plugs into an electrical source
- Cordless chainsaws – powered by Lithium-Ion batteries
All of these work really well, and your choice will come down to what you want to use it for, how often you are going to use it, and how much you are willing to spend on your saw. Let me help point you in the general classification of chainsaws, as that will help narrow down the choices.
As the title would suggest these are for people who are either professionals and use these every day. These will have optimum performance and well designed ergonomics as they will be getting a lot of use. They are also very expensive to buy.
Good All Round Chainsaws
These are strong and robust. They are built in a similar manner to the professional version but they will be slightly less powerful than the professional. These are perfect for part-time use and for general purpose wood cutting.
These are simple, easy to use chainsaws that are ideal for the home owner who needs to do a bit of tree maintenance, or do some cutting from time to time. For the majority of home owners, the recreational type of saw is ideal.
Personally I use mine for keeping some trees in check and I also use it to get logs for my wood burning stove. I would use mine about once a month so I would class that in the typical consumer class.
There are of course tree saws and a lot of people do confuse a tree saw with a chainsaw. They are not the same thing as they have been designed for two different purposes.
Tree saws usually come with some type of reciprocating saw and will often have a pole attached to help deal with higher branches. Chainsaws on the other hand are for serious wood cutting.
Gas Powered Chainsaws
Below we have reviewed and rated the top 5 gas powered chainsaws that are currently available in the market place.
[table id=28 /]
The Husqvarna 440E seems to represent the best value here, though the Husky 450 gets a slightly higher rating.
How To Use A Chainsaw Safely
There is a huge variation in pricing depending on the power and quality of the saw that you want to buy. These prices range from as low as $50 and all the way up to several hundreds of dollars. As a guide the average price for a good quality chainsaw is around $200-300
For home owners who will be occasional users of a chainsaw the average price is around $150-200.
Understanding Chainsaw Sizing
This element can get really confusing for people as it is the one thing I get the most questions about. The size of a chainsaw is determined by just two factors:
- Piston displacement – this is usually measured in cubic centimetres
- Engine Power – Measured in hp and KW
If you are a first time chainsaw user, I would recommend picking a smaller saw as it is more portable and easier to use. Unless you plan to do some heavy duty cutting one of these will almost certainly do most jobs.
The larger saws are heavy and put a lot of strain on the arms and hands, and that can quickly lead to accidents.
However if you need to fell larger trees, then you will want a bigger blade and a more powerful saw. For one off cutting we would also recommend either getting a professional in to do this, or renting, as buying the larger powerful saws can be very expensive.
Chainsaw Buying Guide
As I have mentioned earlier the design of chainsaws has really moved on and there are plenty to choose from. How on earth do you know which one is right for you?
My advice is to ask yourself a number of selected questions and you can then very quickly find which one will suit you best. I have created a list of questions below to help you through that process.
- What is your budget? – we are all constrained by this and we all want the best value for money
- Have you much experience in using this type of saw? – for your own safety this is very important
- What is the main purpose for using this saw? – general purpose, hard wood, soft wood, small trees, bigger trees
- Will I be felling large trees? – If this is the main purpose, then you need a high end chainsaw and a lot of experience
- How often will I be using this? – daily, weekly, monthly, a few times a year
- How important is service and maintenance? – changing oil, changing blades, air filters, spark plugs etc
When you have answered these questions then your decision becomes much easier.
For example if you are just doing some basic light work in and around the home, and you do not want to be annoyed with oil, spark plugs etc, then an electric chainsaw or a cordless one will probably do your job.
If on the other hand you are working where there is no power source, then it will have to be either a cordless or a gas chainsaw. Cordless works fine for short bursts but if you plan on some serious hours then it would have to be a gas powered one.
Chainsaw Safety Gear
These are dangerous tools to work with and can cause serious injuries and even death. A slip or a fall when holding one of these can be lethal.
The biggest risk when using a chainsaw is loose clothing which can easily get snagged up. The professionals will always wear gloves, eye protection and helmets.
There are also some safety requirements that you need in the actual chainsaw:
- Kickback guard
- Chain Brake
- Throttle Lock
- Chain catcher
- Hand Guard
- Stop Control
All of these have been designed to keep the user safe when using a chainsaw. I hope you have found this chainsaw guide useful, informative and helpful. Just a final reminder that this is the one saw that causes more accidents more than any other, so please exercise great care.
That said they are a very useful tool to have and almost a necessity, if you have to cut a whole lot of wood or logs.