Best Chainsaws: Top Picks, Reviews & Buying Guide

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A top-quality chainsaw will be a chainsaw that is powerful and versatile, being capable of being used to prune and cut wood for firewood, property maintenance, and woodworking projects.

In general, gas chainsaws have the most power which makes them capable of cutting larger trees, but, as technology continues to evolve, electric chainsaws are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners and professionals.

Battery-powered and electric (corded) chainsaws require very little maintenance and of course, emit no exhaust fumes, unlike gas saws. Although they generally can’t handle large tree trunks so easily, they do a great job at cutting branches, and smaller trees, and pole saws, for instance, are ideal for cutting saplings or small branches.

This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide on the best chainsaws available on the market with an honest review of each one to ensure you purchase the perfect one for your tasks!

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Best Chainsaws Reviews

If you’re struggling to figure out what is the best chainsaw for you, don’t worry! Here are our top 10 chainsaws and chainsaw reviews to make chain saw comparisons simple, and allow you to pick the best chainsaw for your requirements.

Makita XCU03PT

  • Power type: Battery
  • Bar size: 14”
  • Weight: 11.5lbs

First up on our list is the Makita XCU03PT1. It has next-level safety features which make this mid-size, domestic-use chainsaw very appealing to the casual chainsaw-er, particularly if you’ve got little fingers that want to help.

With its hold-down safety button, it is virtually impossible for an injury to occur, plus it includes an instant chain brake and metal bucking spikes to allow for greater control.

This professional-grade and respectable chainsaw comes with four batteries and can handle some slightly larger jobs too, though you might need to purchase additional batteries if you’re looking to tackle a larger project.

Compared with most other electric chainsaws though, the Makita XCU03PT1 is quite expensive. Coming in at over $400, it’s much more of an investment than Makita’s previous saws but with that, you expect guaranteed quality. However, it’s worth every penny and it’ll likely be the only chainsaw you ever need to purchase.

Pros

  • Low maintenance
  • Low noise
  • Incredible safety features

Cons

  • Need additional batteries
  • Pricey

Greenworks 40V 16-Inch Cordless Chainsaw

  • Power Type: Battery
  • Bar size: 16″
  • Weight: 12.5lbs

The new Greenworks G-MAX 16-inch DigiPro chainsaw is powered with our innovative brushless technology allowing for longer life, greater efficiency, and less noise with more torque making this the first battery-powered chainsaw that can easily replace your gas-powered ones.

The perfect chainsaw for users of all experience, whether it is your first time or a veteran this chainsaw features a heavy-duty Oregon bar and chain, .0375 chain pitch, chain brake, metal bucking spikes, and an automatic oiler to make this easy to use while providing the high performance needed to get your yard work done quickly and efficiently.

This chainsaw is also long-lasting and can do up to 180 cuts on a fully charged battery. 

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Quieter than gas models
  • Long blade means good versatility

Cons

  • Lacks the grunt of gas chainsaws

Echo 14″ Gas Chain Saw

  • Power Type: Gas
  • Bar size: 14″
  • Weight: 8.1 lbs

This Echo chainsaw 30.5cc two-stroke engine delivers enough muscle to cut through wood quickly and smoothly. While also being quite light, weighing only 8.1 pounds.

You’ll want to wear protection like earmuffs or plugs when you are using this chainsaw as it can be quite loud as per reviews, although we recommend taking those safety precautions while using any chainsaw. The plastic and aluminum body is quite sturdy but may take some punishment.

While this is one of the best chainsaws in this category, it may be overkill if you’re not a regular user or you’re facing hefty cutting tasks. If you aren’t going to use it regularly, or don’t have a lot of experience with chainsaws, you may want to look into a less expensive, more manageable model.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Lightweight
  • Durable

Cons

  • Can be loud
  • You must mix your fuel with oil before using

Worx WG304.1 18″ Electric Chainsaw

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  • Power Type: Corded
  • Bar size: 18″
  • Weight: 11.3 lbs

The Worx WG304.1 chainsaw is a lightweight 18” electric chainsaw with enough power to manage larger domestic jobs while remaining easy to use. This affordable and incredibly easy-to-maintain chainsaw is perfect for entry-level chainsaw users. Its light weight makes it maneuverable and comfortable to use. 

With that being said, it’s not suitable for anything more than basic domestic tasks and while some users have reported felling small trees with it, it is generally not recommended.

If you were to push this chainsaw too hard, you will almost certainly damage the saw and could even cause injury to yourself or others. It may not be a chainsaw for life, but it’s a very good entry-level pick for your basic tasks.

Pros

  • 15 amp motor provides good power
  • Ready to use

Cons

  • Corded

Poulan Pro 20 in. 50cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw

  • Power Type: Gas
  • Bar size: 20″
  • Weight: 17 lbs

The Poulan Pro PR5020 is a self-proclaimed suitable chainsaw for any yard, and any task according to the company. Given its size, it’s large enough to manage some of the big jobs, and still agile enough for the small to medium work around the yard. This is quite a heavy chainsaw, but you get power for the price.

With the OxyPower engine technology, you are able to achieve extra power for virtually any task. This technology not only offers a more powerful engine but also 70% fewer emissions and 20% lower fuel consumption. It comes with an automatic chain oiler, tools to help with maintenance, and a protective case for storage.

The user-friendly combined choke/stop control allows faster starting and greater reliability by reducing any risk of engine flooding.

The downside, however, is that it needs idling time during colder weather to be able to prevent it from stalling. This can be quite frustrating and will undoubtedly add to your fuel consumption costs, which is certainly something you should be considering if you live in colder climates.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Bigger bar size allows for more than basic tasks

Cons

  • Quite heavy

Husqvarna 20″ 450 Rancher Gas Chainsaw

  • Power Type: Gas
  • Bar size: 20″
  • Weight: 11.2 lbs

Husqvarna 400 Series chainsaws in general are excellent all-around saws for outdoor projects, from tree-pruning to felling trees. This Husqvarna 20″ 450 Rancher compact and versatile chainsaw is no exception, with innovative safety features, it is designed to maximize your cutting power while minimizing fuel consumption.

The chainsaw has effortless starting which uses a spring assist and quick spark injection so that a short pull of the starter cord can get your saw up and running. It’s designed to reduce the vibration levels of the chainsaw with the LowVib technology, helping to lessen operator fatigue for safe and comfortable control throughout tasks.

This 450 Rancher chainsaw has a centrifugal air cleaning system that removes dust and debris particles before they are able to reach the air filter, resulting in less maintenance on the air filter and overall improved engine life.

Pros

  • Great features
  • Powerful

Cons

  • Can be very loud
  • You must mix your fuel with oil before using

Oregon CS1500 18-inch Corded Electric Chainsaw

  • Power Type: Corded
  • Bar size: 18″
  • Weight: 12.6 lbs

The OREGON CS1500 is an electric-powered chainsaw that offers a unique self-sharpening chain system feature. If you accidentally strike the ground or hit a rock, fortunately, there is no need to remove or replace the chain, you can be up and running again in under three seconds with this feature.

Its Lubri-Tec technology keeps the chain lubricated for less friction and extends the life of your saw chain, even in harsh environments. This chainsaw allows you to adjust your chain quickly and easily so that you can maintain the perfect tension for the ideal cut.

The OREGON CS1500 is a great medium power chainsaw suitable for most domestic tasks. It is a safe and easy-to-maintain electric saw suitable for year-round use in a larger urban or suburban garden.

Pros

  • Built-in chain sharpener

Cons

  • Reported that chain can slip off if not properly tensioned (same on most chainsaws though)

BLACK+DECKER 40V Max Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch

  • Power Type: Corded
  • Bar size: 12″
  • Weight: 9.08 lbs

For a high-powered, gas-free solution, the BLACK+DECKER 12-Inch 40V MAX Cordless Lithium-Ion Chainsaw is a perfect choice. This lightweight, the electric chainsaw will be able to get all your domestic jobs done. This chainsaw is made with a 12” OREGON low-kickback bar and chain for smooth and fast cuts.

When the battery is fully charged it can last for an average of 60 4×4’ lumber cuts. With its built-in automatic oiling system, lubricating the bar and chain is made simple, and the chain tension can also be adjusted without tools.

For increased safety, a front-hand guard protects the chainsaw from debris and a lock-off button prevents accidental activation. The included guide bar scabbard protects the blade when it is not in use. Due to its lightweight and wrap-around grip handles that allow for a variety of angles, the chainsaw is even easier to maneuver.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Lightweight
  • Good safety features

Cons

  • Corded

Remington 40V 12-Inch Cordless Battery Chainsaw

  • Power Type: Battery
  • Bar size: 12″
  • Weight: 12.9 lbs

This compact yet mighty 40V battery-powered chainsaw allows you to trim branches and limbs like a pro. With its 12-inch bar and chain, you will be able to cut trees with the precision of a lumberjack in no time. The automatic oiler keeps your chain lubricated at all times.

It features a mechanical chain brake to quickly stop the chain when needed. The Remington RM4110 chainsaw can quickly reach full charge within 135 minutes using the 40-Volt charger.

Pros

  • Compact

Cons

  • Suitable only for smaller tasks

DeWalt 60-Volt MAX 16-Inch Chainsaw

  • Power Type: Battery
  • Bar size: 16″
  • Weight: 17.11 lbs

If you’re looking for one of the best-rated chainsaws that deliver the performance of a gas-powered model, but come with the convenience of a cordless version, this is the obvious winner.

The major advantage, however, is that the electric motor runs on a Lithium-Ion battery (not fuel) and lasts up to one hour of heavy cutting time. That design makes it a very low-maintenance tool.

The battery is also interchangeable with other DeWalt power tools, which is good if you want to commit (or already have) to this product line. The Manual Chain Brake is a good safety feature and the Automatic (Fixed Flow) Oiler takes the guesswork out of keeping your bar properly oiled.

Finally, like all of the other chainsaws on this list, this popular model also includes a tool-free chain tensioning system in addition to a bar tightening knob for fast adjustments.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Interchangeable battery with other DeWalt tools

Cons

  • Quite expensive compared to others

Chainsaw Buying Guide

Guide Bar

The guide bar is generally considered the heart of a chainsaw. It’s what the chain spins around. The length of the bar determines the thickness of a limb or tree you are able to cut. 12 to 24 inches is the standard length of guide bar for common chainsaw tasks around the yard.

A good rule of thumb is to use a chainsaw bar length that’s 2 inches longer than the thickness of the object you intend to cut. That gives you enough clearance at the tip of the chain for a safer cut and reduces the chance of kickback. If you can only buy one chainsaw, you’ll typically want an 18 to 20-inch bar since they’re the most versatile of all sizes – a happy in-between.

Chainsaw bar lengths increase in increments of 2 inches. The shortest bar length you’ll be able to find is 6 inches, while the longest bar length for non-professional use is technically 20 inches, but some experienced homeowners can use a 24-inch chain saw comfortably.

Shorter chainsaw bars are generally designed for light tasks like pruning and cleaning up tree branches, while longer chainsaw bars are designed for cutting thick tree trunks and splitting firewood.

A 14-inch chainsaw is the most popular choice if you want a chainsaw that’s on the bigger side, but you don’t plan on using it very often. A 14-inch chainsaw will provide enough length for most jobs around the house, like cutting small trees, and they will typically save you a fair bit of money compared to the larger models.

Next up are chainsaws ranging from 16 to 20 inches which are good for people who have a lot of heavy-duty woodcutting jobs to do. Chainsaws of this mid-range length will be more powerful than the smaller chainsaws and offer you a wider range of tasks to complete.

True to their range name (mid), they are built for taking down medium-sized trees and cutting up firewood, but you will also be able to carry out trimming and pruning of small branches if you’re careful.

Finally, 20 to 24-inch chainsaws are where you start to move into the professional-grade category. These chainsaws have the greatest power and are capable of cutting very thick trees in one pass. For larger trees, you will be able to cut up to double the bar length if you make two opposite cuts.

Note: professional chainsaws of greater sizes are generally quite heavy and will cause operator fatigue when used for long periods of time.

Power Source

The power source refers to how the chainsaw operates. You can choose between:

  • Gas-powered
  • Battery-powered
  • Electric (corded)

Gas-Powered Chainsaw

Chainsaws that are powered by gasoline come in two types: 2-cycle and 4-cycle. A 2-cycle chain saw runs on fuel that’s mixed most commonly at a ratio of 40:1 or 50:1 with oil. While a 4-cycle chain saw runs on just gasoline and has a separate tank for its oil.

Battery-Powered Chainsaw

These chainsaws are powered by Lithium-Ion batteries. The advantages of this type of chainsaw are that it’s portable, it doesn’t produce fuel emissions, and is a lot quieter than gas-powered saws. The disadvantage, however, is that they’re less powerful and the largest bar length you’ll be able to find is 18″.

Electric (Corded) Chainsaw

These chainsaws are powered by electricity and must be plugged into a power outlet with a cord at all times. They’re more powerful than battery-operated chainsaws but less powerful than gas chainsaws. The biggest limitation with these corded chainsaws is that they’re not as portable as the others due to cord length limitations.

Type of Oiler

All chainsaw bars and chains must be oiled to reduce overheating and wear. Oilers come in three types:

  • Manual
  • Automatic (fixed-flow)
  • Automatic (adjustable flow)

Manual Chain Oiler

The manual chain oiler is operated through a push-button. You can control the amount of lubrication and when it happens this way which is good for people who want precise control over the oiling process.

Automatic Chain Oiler (Fixed-Flow)

Fixed-flow automatic chain oilers automatically deliver lubricant at a fixed rate of flow. You will never need to touch anything to ensure that proper oiling is taking place.

Automatic Chain Oiler (Adjustable Flow)

The adjustable flow automatic chain oiler is typically the best of both worlds for chainsaw oiling. It provides a constant stream of oil to the chain saw bar while also giving you the option to adjust the rate of flow. This is a perfect combination of manual and automatic oilers.

Type of Chain Brake

Chain brakes are a safety feature that stops the chain from spinning during a chainsaw kickback. A kickback is a sudden thrust of the bar toward the operator when the chain gets pinched or the tip strikes an object. There are two types of chain brakes available on chainsaws:

  • Manual chain brake
  • Inertia-activated chain brake

Manual Chain Brake

This safety mechanism helps prevent injuries during chain saw kickback. The manual chain brake is the larger bar located between the top handlebar and the bar with a chain. When a kickback occurs, the chain brake bar should come into contact with your top hand and instantly stop the spinning of the chain so it isn’t able to cut you.

Inertia-Activated Chain Brake

This is a more sophisticated and safe version of the chain brake that’s activated by the force of inertia instead of physical contact with a bar. When a sudden kickback occurs, the force will immediately stop the chain from spinning.

Additional Features

There are some additional features you should look out for on chainsaws too that could benefit you:

  • Bucking spikes
  • Side-mounted chain tensioning system
  • Anti-vibration system
  • Chain catching

Bucking Spikes

Bucking spikes are metal spikes on the front of a chainsaw at the base of the bar which serves two purposes:

  1. To allow you more controlled sawing by jabbing the spikes into the tree trunk or log so that you can pivot the saw blade downward for a more clean-cut;
  2. As a safety feature grip onto a log or tree trunk in the event of a chainsaw kickback to prevent injury.

Side-Mounted Chain Tensioning System

The side-mounted chain tensioning system allows you to quickly adjust the tightness of the chainsaw chain on the fly. Most versions will be tool-less designs where you can easily adjust the chain tension without the need of a special chain tool.

Anti-Vibration System

The anti-vibration system is a special design that separates the chainsaw rear handle from having contact with the engine. This reduces vibration on the user’s hand and lowers operator fatigue so you will be able to use the chain saw for longer periods of time.

Chain Catcher

The chain catcher is a piece of metal on the bottom of a chainsaw that sits in front of the clutch. This safety feature acts by helping to reduce the risk of being injured if the chain were to break or derail.

It may be worth considering your budget also, ensuring you find the best chainsaw for the money. You may be interested to visit our guide on chainsaw brands to learn which names are the ones you should look out for!

Recap

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Which chainsaw is the best Stihl or Husqvarna?

Stihl chainsaws are typically great for tough, dense wood and brush, but they may not be as quick as Husqvarna chainsaws. On the other hand, Husqvarna saws may not be as effective at cutting through knots and tree joints, despite having a higher cutting speed. Both brands provide high-quality chainsaws which will make light work of the majority of tasks you have around the yard.

What is a good CC for a chainsaw?

Most homeowners will do fine with a chainsaw within the 32 cc to 45 cc range. A chainsaw’s engine size is measured in cubic centimeters (cc) or cubic inches. Essentially, the bigger the number, the more powerful the engine.

Who makes the most reliable chainsaw?

Stihl are one of the best-selling chainsaw brands in the world, they offer a full spectrum of high-quality chainsaws for homeowners and professionals. Stihl is a German manufacturer of chainsaws, string trimmers, leaf blowers, and other outdoor power equipment, known for their reliability and great products.

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