Whether you intend to be cutting up downed trees and branches for firewood, cleaning up after a bad storm, or doing some pruning around the yard, a chainsaw is a valuable companion for managing a property’s trees. With today’s advancements in technology, there are more chainsaw types than ever to choose from.
Cutting firewood has long been hailed as a cathartic exercise. This is no less true when you have a high-powered chainsaw that helps you get the job done fast. During the winter months, few things are as personally satisfying as burning wood that you’ve chopped on your own.
With the right chainsaw, you’ll not only be able to chop firewood, but also have the ability to quickly and easily resolve problems caused by falling or weak limbs, downed trees, and other, heavy, organic debris that’s been tossed into your yard by a powerful storm.
In this article, we will present all the different types of chainsaws and which factors you must consider when selecting the best firewood chainsaw, along with our top picks & reviews of firewood saws available on the market!
Table of Contents
- Types of Chainsaws for Cutting Firewood
- Best Chainsaw for Cutting Firewood
- Best Chainsaw for Cutting Firewood Buying Guide
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Types of Chainsaws for Cutting Firewood
Let’s first gain an understanding of the different types of chainsaw. Chainsaws are available as either gas-powered or electric, with the latter involving corded and cordless battery-powered options. Each kind has traits that make them more suited for certain tasks. Let’s take a look at each:
Gas chainsaws are the most powerful type of chainsaw among the varying types. They are powered by a fuel mixture of gas and oil. Most gas chainsaws range in generally have a chain size from 16 to 20 inches. These chainsaws tend to run a lot faster than electric chainsaws, which makes them suitable for bigger jobs, such as removing medium and large trees, and are suited for cutting through hardwoods such as oak and birch.
Gas chainsaws can typically last for between 40 minutes to 60 minutes on a single tank of gas depending on how the chainsaw is used. However, they will require more maintenance than electric chainsaws to ensure the engine runs properly and will cost more.
When it comes to electric chainsaws, corded chainsaws use standard power cords that plug into regular 110-volt outlets, while battery-powered models typically run off rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Electric chainsaws have a push-button start and are generally far more quieter and easier on the environment than gas-powered chainsaws, but they, unfortunately, lack the raw power in comparison to gas chainsaws.
Corded chainsaws tend to have greater chain speed and power compared to battery-powered models as they have access to a consistent supply of 110-volt power. Battery-powered chainsaws are therefore better suited for pruning branches and cutting mainly softwoods such as pine.
Best Chainsaw for Cutting Firewood
Greenworks 40V 16-Inch Cordless Chainsaw
The Greenworks G-MAX chainsaw is one of the top cordless electric models on the market With its 16-inch bar and long battery life. It leverages the power of a brushless motor to make the most out of its 40-volt lithium-ion battery.
This combination is able to provide 30 percent more torque than most brushed motors, allowing this chainsaw to power a 16-inch bar, which will enable you to cut through trees and branches up to 14 inches in diameter.
The lithium battery delivers enough juice to make upwards of 150 cuts, making it suitable for pruning limbs and cutting small trees. With its weight being as little as around 10 pounds, this chainsaw is a lot lighter than comparable gas chainsaws, making it easier to maneuver and use.
Its safety features include a chain designed for low kickback and an electronic chain brake that cuts power in the event of a chainsaw kickback.
- Easy to use
- Good features
- Will struggle with hardwood
Craftsman 42cc 2-Cycle 18-Inch Lightweight Gas Powered Chainsaw
This Craftsman is one of the lighter gas chainsaw models on the market, weighing in at 13 pounds. That doesn’t mean it’s light on features. though. The 16-inch bar is long enough to fell a 14-inch-diameter tree or branch, and it has a high output engine that cranks out 42cc, giving it an exceptional power-to-size ratio.
While gas chainsaws are often notoriously hard to start, Craftsman eases this frustration with its EasyStart technology. Its low-kickback chain allows you to cut through hardwood without binding, while large bucking spikes provide excellent leverage for working through larger-diameter wood.
Its chain brake stops the chain automatically in the event of a kickback. This model also includes Craftsman’s three-point anti-vibration system which makes the chainsaw use more comfortable for the operator. A side-mount tension system makes adjustments easy while also preventing delays.
- Suitable for hardwood
- Easy start technology
- Emits exhaust fumes, hence, only suitable for use outside
WEN 40417 40V Max Lithium Ion 16-Inch Brushless Chainsaw
This Wen 40417 chainsaw has 12 amps of power and features a 16-inch bar capable of cutting through small trees and branches up to 14 inches in diameter. It uses a powerful Oregon chain that efficiently cuts through hardwoods and softwoods, while an auto-oiling system keeps the bar well-lubricated throughout cutting.
A large, easy-to-use dial allows the operator of this chainsaw to loosen or tighten the chain with ease and quickly. The chainsaw is easy to maneuver while limiting fatigue over long pruning sessions as it only weighs 10 pounds. This Wen chainsaw also features a large hand guard that prevents hands from slipping off the handle and onto the blade.
- Auto-oiling system
- Not possible to use with thicker firewood
Husqvarna 445 18″ Gas Chainsaw
Husqvarna 400 Series chainsaws are excellent all-around saws that are suitable for outdoor projects, from tree-pruning to felling trees. They’re known to be compact and versatile with innovative safety features, designed to maximize your cutting power and minimize fuel consumption.
The Husqvarna 445 is no exception. It is a 16-inch, gas-powered chainsaw that provides flawless performance throughout the years. This saw can move through ash, honey locust, mulberry, oak, elm, and other hardwoods with ease.
The chainsaw uses a spring assist and quick spark injection so that a short pull of the starter cord gets your saw running effortlessly. It also features a centrifugal air cleaning system that removes dust and debris particles before they are able to reach the air filter, which results in fewer air filter cleanings and improved engine life.
The LowVib anti-vibration technology ensures safe and comfortable control throughout the operation. Powered by an X-Torq engine for reduced fumes and fuel consumption, this superior all-around chainsaw is ready to tackle your firewood.
- Effortless starting
- Suitable for hard firewood
- Emits exhaust fumes, hence, only suitable for use outside
Makita EA4300FRDB 16″ 42 cc Chain Saw
The Makita EA4300F40B is incredibly easy to maneuver and use due to its rubberized ergonomic grip handles. This 16″ electric chainsaw is lightweight, affordable, and generally a perfect selection for households that want to collect sufficient firewood for keeping their homes warm through colder months.
This unit has a toolless blade and chain adjustment that makes both its maintenance and use very easy and hassle-free. Users get consistently smooth start-ups with the trigger switch and the included soft start feature.
The chainsaw has a built-in limiter that will reduce power to the chainsaw motor whenever the saw gets overloaded or starts to gum up on heavy loads to help prevent motor burnout. This is especially good news if you plan on working on a lot of wet wood or have sappy, softwood trees that you intend to cut.
If you want to minimize your work and get the job done fast, this will be a great option for you. The Makita EA4300F40B has an automatic chain oiler and an easy-view window for checking oil levels so that you can keep the chainsaw in top condition with ease.
While you’ll love this option if cutting firewood for a single home, it isn’t the best unit for clearing away deadfalls on large-acreage properties nor should it be used by people who want to cut lots of extra firewood to sell.
- Suitable for home use
- Hassle-free features
- Not suitable for cutting in bulk
Echo Gas-Powered, 18 In. Bar, 40.2CC Chainsaw
One of the most popular ECHO chainsaws for good reason. The CS-400 is a versatile, user-friendly workhorse built to meet the most demanding professional standards and keep the workday humming.
This durable Echo chainsaw unit features a high-quality commercial-grade 40.2cc engine fitted with an 18-inch cutting bar and a decompression valve so that stater rope pulling is both seamless and easy.
The chainsaw has a heavy-duty, easy-access, automotive-style air filter that provides superior filtration with reduced maintenance time. Its i-30 technology reduces starting effort by 30% while its automatic and adjustable oiler matches the cutting conditions for reduced oil consumption. Finally, the CS-400 is also available with a 16-inch guide bar, depending on your preference.
- Versatile and user friendly
- Reduced oil consumption technology
- Emits exhaust fumes, hence, only suitable for use outside
DeWalt 20V Max* XR 12-Inch Chainsaw
The DeWalt 20V Chainsaw weighs less than 9 pounds, making it difficult to find a lighter chainsaw available than this battery-powered model from one of the most well-known names in power tools.
The DeWalt chainsaw runs on a powerful 20-volt battery that powers a 12-inch bar, making it suitable for pruning branches and small trees around the yard. The chainsaw is powered by a brushless motor, allowing it to run for a longer time than other battery-powered chainsaws, with around one hour of use before it needs to be recharged.
A sizable wraparound handle makes it easy to cut from many different angles, while its auto-oiling system ensures the bar is well-lubricated throughout your operation. Its Oregon bar and chain make this chainsaw suitable for cutting trees or lumber while minimizing kickback.
- Very lightweight
- Brushless motor
- Only suitable for soft firewood of a small diameter (less than 10-inch)
Husqvarna 450 Rancher 20-in 50.2-cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw
The Husqvarna 450 chainsaw is a perfect choice for cutting firewood if you don’t plan on using this unit daily. It is compact yet durable and powerful. With an 18-inch bar, the chainsaw is capable of accommodating a 20″ bar for bigger, tougher firewood/trees.
Weighing in at 13.4 pounds and having a power output of 3.2 HP, this chainsaw can cut through both wet and dry wood with ease. Other than cutting firewood, you can also use this chainsaw to prune and limb your trees, pare off hazardous branches or cut deadfalls down to the right size.
Investing in the Husqvarna 450 provides you with a patented X-Torq engine that impressively lowers fuel use by 30 percent and carbon emissions by 60 percent. With the combination of choke-stop control, you will not have to frustratingly wait for minutes simply trying to get your chainsaw on or worry about the potential of engine flooding.
This model is suitable for use on oak, ash, mulberry, elm, and other challenging and dense hardwood types without having it slow down or gum up on the tough spots. It’s also a suitable choice for moving through countless truckloads of pulpwood for those who live in areas of heavy paper production.
The Husqvarna 450 has an innovative forged 3-piece engine crankshaft that is built to last and boasts a centrifugal cleaning system, designed to keep the engine in optimum condition throughout the years by removing large dust and debris particles before they are able to reach the air filter.
With this crankshaft, maintenance will be a lot easier and you’ll have far fewer problems to troubleshoot, even if you’re regularly putting your Husqvarna up to a number of truly challenging tasks.
- Suitable for challenging and dense hardwoods
- Impressive engine reduces emissions
- Emits exhaust fumes, hence, only suitable for use outside
Greenworks Pro 80V 18-Inch Brushless Cordless Chainsaw
This Greenworks pro 80V battery chainsaw is the equivalent of a 45cc gas chainsaw. In comparison, the Husqvarna 445 is powered by a 45.7cc engine, which means that the GreenWorks 80V is comparable to a light-duty gas chainsaw. This GreenWorks 80V is currently the most powerful battery chainsaw on the market, so this is no ordinary cordless chainsaw.
It ships with a 2.0Ah battery, which will give you about 30 minutes of cutting time, depending on the diameter and type of wood you’re cutting. But, you also have the option to buy a 4.0Ah battery which will provide you with up to an hour of cutting time.
On top of this, having a 2nd battery enables you to use the chainsaw all day as the 2.0Ah battery only takes 30 minutes to fully charge and the 4.0Ah battery takes 60 minutes to fully charge.
This GreenWorks model truly is a modern chainsaw in every respect. It’s built tough and feels secure in your hands while still being designed for comfort and long-term use. It is also lightweight compared to gas chainsaws weighing in at only 13.7 lbs.
If you value convenience and power then this truly is the ultimate chainsaw for homeowners. It’s not designed for heavy-duty cutting like the Husqvarna 460 so make sure the majority of your wood is under 14″ and you’ll just fine with this saw.
The only drawback is the price of having to buy an extra battery. The last thing you want is to run out of battery in the middle of a firewood project, or if you’re doing cleanup after a storm, you may not have the power to charge the batteries so you’ll want to make sure both batteries are fully charged.
Most people think of a gas chainsaw for cutting firewood but with modern battery technology changing so fast, this GreenWorks 80V model is definitely one of the best chainsaws for cutting firewood at home.
- Incredible power equivalent to a gas chainsaw
- Need to buy a second battery
Best Chainsaw for Cutting Firewood Buying Guide
When searching for your perfect best chainsaw for firewood, it’s important to take into account the following factors:
- Wood type
- Size and weight
- Safety features
Since all wood varies in its hardness, different types of chainsaws will cut better through different types of wood. Gas chainsaws are capable of producing far more torque and higher chain speeds than electric chainsaws which enables them to cut through hardwoods such as:
Attempting to use an electric chainsaw to cut through these hardwoods can cause the chain to get stuck in the wood and potentially lead to the motor overheating, ultimately shortening the chainsaw’s lifespan. You should only use electric chainsaws for cutting through hardwood branches that have much smaller diameters or softer woods such as:
Gas chainsaws are capable of operating at greater speeds than electric chainsaws and have longer run times, which make them ideal for cutting larger trees and branches or any similar-sized jobs that involve multiple trees.
Corded saws are unfortunately limited by their power source, while battery-powered chainsaws have run times of about an hour at best. Corded chainsaws are generally limited to extension cords of 100 feet (the longest) and they need to be 10- to 14-gauge. It is not recommended to loop together multiple extension cords as this will creates an unwanted fire hazard.
Both corded and electric chainsaws also don’t run as fast as gas-powered chainsaws. Therefore, they’re more suited for light home use, such as for trimming branches or cutting down small trees for firewood.
Size and Weight
The chainsaw size refers to the length of the guide bar. This is the long metal piece extending from the body of the chainsaw that holds the chain, but we may often refer to the size as the chainsaw chain size (which is the same as the bar).
A general rule of thumb is that your chainsaw bar should be at least 2 inches longer than the thickness of the material you intend to cut to be able to ensure the chainsaw can cut the entire piece in one pass.
This is easy, a 10-inch-thick branch will require a chainsaw with a bar that is at least 12 inches long while a 16-inch-thick branch will need a chainsaw with an 18-inch long bar. Chainsaws vary in size from small chainsaws with 12-inch bars to large gas chainsaws with 20-inch+ bars.
When it comes to weight, you will find that the chainsaws that use gas-powered engines weigh significantly more than electric-powered motors. Electric chainsaws weigh between 6 to 10 pounds while the average gas-powered chainsaw weighs between 10 to 15 pounds.
Gas chainsaws create exhaust due to the gas engines they run on. Gas engines are known to produce potentially harmful or even fatal carbon monoxide gas and gas chainsaws are no different. Therefore, these types of chainsaws can only operate outdoors, where there is adequate ventilation, to prevent the buildup of this gas. The amount of exhaust that a chainsaw will produce is directly related to the size of the engine. So, a bigger engine will create more exhaust and a smaller engine will create less.
Both corded and battery-powered chainsaws are far greener options in that they don’t produce any exhaust. Because of this, electric chainsaws are more suitable for chopping up firewood in an enclosed space, such as a garage, woodshed, or barn.
The buzzing noise of a chainsaw is a sound I’d imagine most people are familiar with. Gas chainsaws are the loudest even if they have mufflers to dampen noise, with an average sound range of 90 to 102 decibels. An electric chainsaw is about 10 to 20 decibels quieter than a gas chainsaw.
An electric chainsaw is between two and three times quieter than a gas chainsaw as sound doubles in intensity every 10 decibels. Regardless of the type of chainsaw you use, ear protection is important when operating the chainsaw to avoid long-term hearing damage.
Chainsaws typically include a variety of safety features designed to help prevent accidents. One very popular feature is a chain brake, which stops the chain motion immediately in the event of a chainsaw kickback. Other features include the chains having guard links that prevent kickback along with a less aggressive cutting profile that only takes manageable bits of wood.
Most models will have a metal chain catcher that extends from under the guide bar to prevent a chain that’s been thrown off the bar from whipping back toward the operator and resulting in injury. Most chainsaws will have a switch on the top of the handle that engages the palm of the hand and must be pressed along with the trigger in order for the throttle to operate.
You will find chainsaws that feature hand guards, designed to prevent hands from reaching the blade by use of a small plastic shield positioned in front of the handle.
Chainsaws require numerous accessories, or PPE, to ensure the protection of the operator. Chainsaw chaps are specially designed pants that clog the chains of chainsaws to prevent the chainsaw from cutting into the operator’s leg. They cause the motor to stall, shut off the chain, and prevent injury.
Safety goggles are essential as chainsaws naturally produce a considerable amount of debris in the form of sawdust and wood chips. Ear protection is also vitally important given that chainsaws operate at 90 decibels and above. Other PPE suitable for using a chainsaw includes a helmet and protective gloves.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is a good chainsaw for firewood?
A good chainsaw for firewood is any of the following: Greenworks 40V 16-Inch Cordless Chainsaw, Craftsman 42cc 2-Cycle Gas Powered Chainsaw, WEN 40417 40V Brushless Chainsaw, Husqvarna 445 18″ Gas Chainsaw, Makita EA4300FRDB 16″ Chain Saw, Echo Gas-Powered 40.2CC Chainsaw, DeWalt 20V 12-Inch Chainsaw, Husqvarna 450 Rancher Gas Chainsaw, and Greenworks Pro 80V 18-Inch Brushless Cordless Chainsaw.
What size chainsaw do I need for firewood?
Many homeowners find that a 14-to-16-inch chainsaw is a good enough length for them to cut firewood suitable for their homes. That’s long enough to limb up trees, cut down small trees, and cut most firewood, but it’s also short enough that it’s super easy and comfortable to control the saw.
What is the best chain to cut firewood?
If you’re looking for chains that work on hardwood and firewood, then a semi-chisel chain is the best option. Full chisel chains are specifically designed for hardwood and will be able to cut through them quickly. However, their square-shaped teeth are known to lose their edge quickly.
What type of chainsaw do loggers use?
It is well-known that gas-powered chainsaws are the best in the field for tasks like logging, farming, land clearing, tree care, and service, or massive firewood-cutting jobs due to their sheer power. Professional loggers will typically go for chainsaws with engine power ranging from 40cc and above, with a guide bar length of at least 14 inches but likely upwards of 20 inches.