Best Chainsaws of 2021 | Reviews and Buying Guide
Looking for the best chainsaw in the market is a rather vague objective. You need to find the best chainsaw depending on the type of work you need it for.
For example, professionals usually go for gas chainsaws of over 50 cc energy because they are powerful enough to cut large trees and they last a long time. However, the best chainsaw for a homeowner would be a noiseless fuel-efficient electric chainsaw for light yard maintenance.
With so many different types of chainsaws to choose from, the search can get confusing. That’s why in this article I’ve given you a comprehensive guide on purchasing the best chainsaws. I start with reviews of the top 10 best chainsaws in the market, across various different types and budgetary constraints.
If you’re in a rush, and if you already have a good understanding of chainsaws, you can use this comparative guide to help narrow down your list by ticking off chainsaws that don’t fit into your category. However, if you’re a first time chainsaw buyer, I highly recommend that you read the whole article on best chainsaws before making any decision.
1. Husqvarna 455 Rancher/Gasoline-powered Chainsaw
Husqvarna is one of the most premium world-renowned brands in the manufacturing of chainsaws. As such, no best chainsaws list would be accurate without this at the top. Husqvarna chainsaws are known for their rugged strength and ability to cut through wood quickly.
Husqvarna 455 Rancher definitely lives up to that reputation. With a 20” bar powered by a 55.5 cc 2-stroke engine. As such, it can powerfully cut through big branches and large trees on just a few strokes. One of the best features of this chainsaw is that it makes use of the x-torq engine technology, which is a standard Husqvarna technology that cuts down fuel consumption by 20 percent and gas emissions by 60 percent. As such, this chainsaw is incredibly fuel efficient and eco-friendly as well. Furthermore, the x-torq engine produces the lowest vibrations possible in a gas chainsaw. This, along with the LowVib handles of the chainsaw, ensures that the operator’s body receives minimal vibrations, thus preventing arm fatigue. This allows the operator to use to chainsaw for extended periods. Another great feature of this chainsaw is the presence of the centrifugal air cleaning system, which effectively filter out all the debris and dust before sending fresh air to the engine. This also enhances the performance and the life of the engine.
Ideal for: Professionals who need a powerful chainsaw for mass tree felling purposes. R
- Low vibrations
- Low fuel, low emission
- Centrifugal air cleaning system
- Low vibrations
- Low fuel, low emission
- Centrifugal air cleaning system
2. GreenWorks 20312/Serious cuting power from a battery powered product
GreenWorks 20312 is a battery powered electric chainsaw. It comes with a 16 inch bar powered by a 40V 4AH Battery. It makes use of a DigiPro brushless motor technology which can deliver up to a 100 cuts of a 4” x 4” piece of wood on a single charge. GreenWorks delivers one of the strongest cutting performances amongst all electric chainsaws, and the DigiPro brushless motor imbues the chainsaw with 30% more torque than its competitors. Furthermore, this chainsaw also offers up to 70% less vibrations than all of the competitors, and as such it can be used for long periods of time without any arm fatigue.
In addition to the performance, this GreenWorks chainsaw also comes with some great features. It comes with a chain brake that can automatically stop the chainsaw during a kickback, thus preventing potential injuries. And furthermore, it makes use of Oregon chains, which are known for providing minimal kickback to begin with. As such, this chainsaw is designed with utmost safety taken into consideration.
Ideal for: Homeowners who want a portable electric chainsaw for light pruning and yard maintenance. R
- Great safety features
- 30% more torque than others
- 70% less vibrations than others
- Battery finishes very fast
- Takes 60 minutes to 120 minutes to charge
3.Echo CS-310-14/Best for Fuel Efficiency
Echo is a Japanese company known for producing powerful chainsaws that are also very easy on the pockets. They usually only produce gas chainsaws, and while these aren’t as powerful or premium in quality as Husqvarna or Stihl, they’re still pretty great.
Echo CS-310-14 is a gas chainsaw with a 14 inch bar powered by a 30.5 cc professional-grade, 2-stroke engine. It is known for its outstanding cutting abilities. One of its most important features is the tool-less air filter cover which can easily be detached when the time comes to clean it. Furthermore, it comes with an i-30™ starting system which ensures that the chainsaw starts immediately upon the cord being pulled.
The chainsaw also comes with several other important features. For example, it has a clutch driven auto-oiler feature which slowly leaks oil onto the bar as you use it. This ensures that the bar remains well lubricated and running smoothly throughout use. There’re also a chain tensioner available on the side of the body for easy access.
Finally, the handlebar of the chainsaw is designed in a manner so as to reduce vibrations felt by the operator, thus allowing him to use the chainsaw for longer periods without getting tired. This makes it useful for beginners and novices as well.
Ideal for: Homeowners who need a gas chainsaw to cut firewood, and occasionally cut down small backyard trees and branches. R
- Low vibrations
- Great Performance
- i-30™ starting system
- Tool-free chain tensioner
- Heavy fuel consumption
- Not meant for heavy duty use.
4.Poulan Pro 967061501/Best Power Chainsaw
Poulan Pro 967061501 is a gas chainsaw with a 20 inch bar powered by a 50 cc OxyPower 2-stroke engine. The OxyPower engine technology is trademark Poulan, and it delivers extreme power for difficult tasks. Furthermore, the engine produces about 70% less emissions than other similar chainsaws, and uses 20% less fuel than other competitors. As such, it’s fuel-efficient and eco-friendly.
In addition to this, the chainsaw also comes with an effortless pull starting system that requires 30% less energy to wield and starts the engine almost instantly. Furthermore, the purge bulb is protected, which ensures that the carburetor always receives the necessary fuel, starting the machine with fewer pulls.
Ideal for: Heavy duty tasks such as sawing through large trees. R
- Powerful engine
- Easy pull starting system
- Eco friendly and fuel efficient.
- Pull cord sometimes gets stuck.
5.BLACK+DECKER LCS1240/The Best Cheap Chainsaw
The BLACK+DECKER LCS1240 is an electric battery-powered chainsaw that comes with a 12 inch bar powered by a 40V MAX Lithium Ion Battery. The chain used in the chainsaw is of Oregon make, and as such it ensures minimal kickback and maximum cutting efficiency. The battery can deliver over 60 cuts of a 4” x 4” piece of wood for every charge. Furthermore, the chainsaw comes with a tool-free tensioning system which allows you to tension the chain by simply turning a knob on the side of the chainsaw body. It also comes with an auto-oiler feature with which oil keeps dripping onto the bar as you use it to ensure the bar runs smoothly.
Ideal for: Homeowners who require light maintenance of the yard by pruning the bushes and cleaning fallen debris. R
- Doesn’t require fuel
- Comes with an auto-oiler and a tool-free chain tensioner.
- Not ideal for heavier tasks
- The battery has a very short lifespan and needs to be recharged constantly.
6. EGO Power+/Best Battery Power Chainsaw
EGO Power+ is an electric battery-powered chainsaw that comes with a 14 inch bar powered by a 56-Volt Lithium-Ion 2.0Ah Battery. It makes use of a high-efficiency brushless motor that can cut at the speed of 6300 RPM. In addition to speed, the chainsaw can deliver up to 100 cuts of a 4” x 4” piece of wood per charge. The chain used is of Oregon make and as such it’s ideal to minimize possibilities of a kickback. The body of the chainsaw is highly weather-resistant and as such can be used during rainfall, winter, or snow. Furthermore, this chainsaw has great safety features. It comes with a chain brake that immediately engages and stops the chainsaw during kickback.
Ideal for: Homeowners who want to use it for yard maintenance. R
- Chain brake
- Low kickback
- Weather resistant construction.
- Battery needs to be recharged regularly.
7. Makita XCU02PTX1/Best for Little and Medium Works
Makita XCU02PTX1 is battery-powered chainsaw with 12” bar and 36 5.0Ah Lithium-Ion battery. The motor can deliver cuts at the rate of 1650 RPM. The motor is powered with the help of two Lithium-ion batteries, both of them 18V. This chainsaw is also ideal for use indoors or in crowded places because it generates little noise at 60.6 db.
It comes with a tool-free chain tensioner with which you can easily tension the chain by simply turning a knob on the side of the chainsaw body. The auto-oiler feature ensures that the bar remains in smooth working condition. Furthermore, the transparent oil port window allows you to gauge the level of oil in the reservoir in case it needs a refill. This chainsaw is a top-handle designwith a rubberized grip, and as such it provides maximum comfort for the operator.
Ideal for: Cutting branches on top of trees. R
- Auto-oiler feature
- Tool-free tensioning
- Top handle design with rubber grip.
- The oil tank sometimes leaks.
8.Remington RM1425/Best for small branches and trees
Remington RM1425 is a corded electric chainsaw that comes with a 14” bar powered by an 8 Amp motor. The design is extremely lightweight and the body is narrow, thus making it ideal for use by beginners and novices. The chain produces low kickback because it’s Oregon make. Furthermore, you just need to push a button to let the oil flow into the bar. This prevents leakage or wastage of oil. The tool-free chain tensioner allows easy tensioning of chain.
Ideal for: Homeowners who need a chainsaw for light yard work. R
- Light weight
- Low kickback
- Extremely cheap.
- Doesn’t last a very long time
- You need to remember to push the button to lubricate the bar.
9.Oregon CS1500/Great for backyard and home need
Oregon CS1500 is an electric corded chainsaw with an 18 inch bar powered by a 15 Amp motor. This delivers high energy and can be used to cut through large branches or even small trees, though it might require a bit of an effort. However, the best aspect of this chainsaw is the self-sharpening feature with which you can sharpen the chain in a matter of seconds with the push of a button.
Ideal for: Homeowners who need a chainsaw to cut firewood or de-limb backyard trees. R
- Large bar
- Self-sharpening chain
- Ergonomic light weight design
- Not very portable because of the cord
10. WORX WG303.1/Inexpensive chainsaw for occasional use
WORX WG303.1 is an electric chainsaw that comes with a 16 inch bar powered by a 14.5 Amp motor. The best part about this chainsaw is that it comes with all the necessary additional features that make it convenient to use. The tool-free chain tensioner makes it easy to tension the chain, the auto-oiler keeps the chains and mar lubricated during use, and the chain brake immediately stops the chainsaw in case of kickbacks. These features not only make the chainsaw easy to use, but also very safe. Additionally, the chainsaw comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Ideal for: Pruning and trimming the bushes. R
- Safe to use
- Great features.
- Doesn’t have a long life span
- WORK doesn’t see repair parts for any of the individual parts.
If you want to find out more about chainsaws you can read on for a detailed guide. In the next part I’ll tell you about the different types of chainsaws, the key factors you need to look out for, care and maintenance tips, etc
Which types of Chainsaws are you need?
There are two primary types of chainsaws in the market — Gas chainsaws and Electric chainsaws. I’ll run you through the basics of both of these chainsaws along with a summary of their pros and cons.
Power Gas Chainsaws
As the name suggests, gas chainsaws run on fuel and gasoline. These chainsaws can run for a long period of time. Not limited by either the length of a power cord or by battery.
However, you have to know that these chainsaws also produce a lot of emissions that are harmful for the environment, and they use a lot of fuel. As such, these are definitely not eco-friendly in nature as they run on fossil fuels. Furthermore, they are also a lot heavier than electric chainsaws, and they produce very strong vibrations that only people with rugged physical strength can handle.
There are various different types of gas chainsaws as well depending on how powerful they are. Light-duty gas chainsaws with small bars are best for yard maintenance work, they cost less than $200. Rancher chainsaws are larger in size and they can be used to cut firewood and even saw through small trees, and they are usually priced between $300 and $500. Finally, the Professional Gas Chainsaws are meant for large scale forestry work such as felling large amounts of trees, and they cost over $500.
Electric Chainsaws run on electricity, as the name suggests. These are available in one of two types — corded chainsaws, and cordless/ battery-powered chainsaws. We’ll get to the specific qualities of both of these chainsaws later.
Electric chainsaws aren’t as powerful as gas chainsaws and they’re usually used for light-weight to medium-duty work around the house and yard. However, they are a lot easier to start as you can simply plug them in (or charge the battery) and then squeeze the trigger. They are also a lot more light weight and as such can be used by even beginners and novices. Furthermore, they don’t require any fuel and they don’t generate harmful emissions, making them eco-friendly as well. If you’re surrounded by neighbors, or living in a noise-sensitive surrounding, then these are your only option as they’re the least noisy amongst all chainsaws.
These are the two types of Electric Chainsaws:
- Electric Corded Chainsaws: These are electric chainsaws that have to be plugged into a power source in order for them to work. As a result of this, they aren’t very portable and have a limited range. If you want to use the chainsaw in the yard, you’ll have to drag an extension cord along, which can also be hazardous as someone may trip on the wire. However, because they don’t run on batteries, you can work with them for a longer period at a stretch.
- Electric Cordless/ Battery-Powered Chainsaws: These are electric chainsaws that run on battery power. The battery has to be charged regularly and generally lasts for 100 to 200 cuts on a wood piece of 4” x 4”. These chainsaws are a lot more portable than corded ones, however they run out of energy pretty fast.
Well these were the two main types of chainsaws. In the next part, I’ll tell you all about the main features to look out for when buying chainsaws.
Key Factors for Best Chainsaw
All chainsaws come with bars, chain, and a motor or battery. These are necessities. They may differ in width or power, but they’re alway there. However, chainsaws also come with some additional features that aren’t entirely necessary, but they’re very useful. These are the features you should look out for and make sure you nab as many of these features in a single purchase as possible.
Tool-Free Chain Tensioner
Tensioning the chain means loosening or tightening it to optimal tension so that it runs efficiently. Generally, you would have to stop working every couple of times, find a wrench and screwdriver, and tension the chain manually. The process is tedious and consumes a lot of time, and furthermore it’s hard to determine what’s optimal tension. If a chain hasn’t been tensioned properly it can further damage the bar that it sits on.
However, if your chainsaw comes with a tool-free chain tensioner, you can simply turn a knob on the side of the machine. That’s it. With that, your chain will be tensioned correctly. This feature is well worth shelling a few extra dollars for.
Easy Start System
Chainsaws, especially gas chainsaws, are notorious for being difficult to start. You have to keep pulling the cord over and over. It can be quite tedious and painful. That’s why you should get a chainsaw that comes with some feature that can make the process of starting the chainsaw simple.
The chainsaw brand with the best starting feature is definitely Stihl. They create chainsaws with the Easy2Start pull system. This system makes sure that even the heaviest of chainsaws are easy to start. They lodge an extra spring between the crankshaft and the starter rope rotor. As such, even if you pull the cord with two fingers, that’s enough. Furthermore, you can pull at it about two-thirds time slower than you would have to otherwise.
The Easy Start System has some clear advantages:
- The amount of energy you need to exert to start the chainsaw is drastically reduced.
- The chainsaw starts smoothly.
- You can pull the starter rope slower than you usually would.
- It’s very reliable.
Does the chainsaw have a wide body side to side, or is it narrow? High end chainsaws designed by Stihl or Husqvarna generally come with very narrow bodies, whereas lower end chainsaws are quite wide.
The only difference between the two is that a narrow body is a lot easier to work with. It’s lighter, easier to maneuver, and it can be used for a longer period without arm fatigue. As such, if you need the chainsaw for mass scale regular use, you should go for a narrow body chainsaw. However, if you’re gonna’ be using the chainsaw sporadically, and if you’re strong enough, a wide body chainsaw is alright.
Type of Chain
There are two types of chains available in the market — standard steel chains, and carbide toothed chains. There is a lot of debate about which one is better, and there are plenty of arguments on both sides of the aisle. However, finally it all depends on what works best for you.
The standard steel chain is used regularly as a standard chain. Most chainsaws come with standard steel chains. The major drawback of a standard steel chain is that it immediately dulls upon contact with the slightest of dirt, or rotted lumber, or even nails. As such, you always need to keep your sharpener within easy reach.
The carbide-toothed chain can cut through anything even if there’s some dirt or rot set in. It doesn’t become dull on contact with either dirt, rot, or nails. However, the major drawback here is that the carbide-toothed chainsaw is approximately $50 more expensive, and furthermore, once it does dull eventually, it’s very difficult to sharpen without professional help.
Which is the Best Chainsaw Chain?
Chains are arguably one of the most important aspects of a chainsaw. However, chains also have the tendency to dull after some use. You can use chain saw sharpeners on them, however they’re never as good as they were originally. There are a lot of factors to consider when buying a chainsaw. However, after much deliberation, we’ve come to the conclusion that the Oregon S56 is the best chainsaw chain in the market.
Why is Oregon S56 the Best Chainsaw Chain?
Oregon S56 is a low kick back chain with high efficiency, and it can work with most of the major chainsaw companies such as — Husqvarna, Craftsman, Homelite, Poulan, Echo and Remington. As such, it can be used on a vast range of chainsaws.
Beside the compatibility, this chain is a hard-chromed cutter chain, which means that it can deliver high precision and highly efficient cuts smoothly and quickly. Furthermore, Oregon chains in general are famous for the fact that they provide minimal kickback. The notched bumper drive link ensures that you don’t experience a kickback even when you’re using the chain on rugged firewood. The only drawback of this chain is that it’s incompatible with WORX chainsaws.
Now you’ve been introduced to all the different parts of a chainsaw. In the next part I’ll share some care and maintenance techniques that will help you extend their life span.
These might be important features, however in the next section I’ll tell you about the essential safety features that might just save your life.
Safety and Other Considerations
While the general features mentioned above can help make your chainsaw convenient to use, you also need to look out for essential safety features. A chainsaw is a very dangerous device if not handled with utmost care and precaution. In fact, chainsaw injuries and fatalities are far too common.
It’s natural, as humans, to sometimes lose focus, no matter how skilled you may be. However, if you don’t have precautions in place, that tiny lapse in attention can cost you dearly. Having said, the following are some of the safety features you must ensure your chainsaw has.
Kickback is the biggest risk of handling chainsaws, especially large chainsaws. This refers to a tiny error wherein your chainsaw bounces back towards you when it strikes an obstruction such as a nail. This kickback can also occur when you’re cutting with the tip of the chainsaw because then the section force moves upwards towards the operator.
As such, the operator must be properly trained in how to avoid kickbacks. You need to stand a bit to the left, you must avoid uneven surfaces, and you must avoid letting the tip of the chainsaw come in contact with the surface. However, it’s helpful if your chainsaw also comes with a kickback reduction feature.
Most chainsaws come with a safety throttle located on the handle. The throttle only works if the safety is engaged. This is done to prevent accidental starting of the machine by pushing the trigger.
This is a feature that has recently become very common in chainsaws. It prevents the chain from spinning when it comes up against some obstruction. This is vital during times of kickback as the chain brake will simply stop the chainsaw before it can do any damage. The chain brake is a handle on the top of the chainsaw which can be pushed up or down to engage or disengage. During times of kickback the chain brake engages automatically.
Chainsaw Care and Maintenance
Most tools like lawnmowers require only occasional maintenance work. You can clean them and look into maintenance after you’re done working. However, a chainsaw requires constant work. You need to make sure the tension is right, that the chain is well lubricated, amongst many other considerations.
When you purchase a chainsaw, you should ideally aim for one which comes with an auto-oiler feature. This means that the chainsaw bar comes with a little reservoir and oil is poured into it. As you work with the chainsaw, the oil slowly drips onto the bar, thus ensuring that it remains lubricated, thus working smoothly. In a cordless battery-powered chainsaw, the oil reservoir empties at around the same time that the battery dies. It’s highly advised that you keep checking the reservoir to make sure that the hole isn’t clogged, thus preventing the oil from “leaking” onto the bar.
The chain tension also needs to be specific. New chainsaw have a propensity to stretch out and loosen. If you don’t have an auto-tensioner, you’ll need to use a wrench and a screwdriver to tension the chain manually. However, if your chainsaw comes with a tool-free chain tensioner, you need only turn the knob every once in a while.
Finally, your chain needs to be kept sharp at all times. If you have a standard steel chain, you need to make sure that it doesn’t touch the ground or the dust. Even a single swipe against rotten logs, dirt, or rocks, can dull the chainsaw’s effect. You need to invest in a chainsaw sharpener so that you can keep the chains sharp. Alternatively, you can purchase a carbide-toothed chain which can withstand coming in contact with dirt, rot, etc.
These maintenance tips are useful, however they won’t mean anything if you don’t regularly clean your chainsaw. In the next part I’ll show you how to best to clean the different parts of your chainsaw.
How to Clean your Chainsaw?
In the previous part I gave you a detailed intro on how to maintain your chainsaw. However, maintenance is never complete without regular cleaning. Cleaning the chainsaw not only keeps it working smoothly, but also minimizes the risk of any mishaps or injuries. Furthermore, cleaning the chainsaw regularly is also economical in the long run as it will increase its life span. Below, you can read up on how to keep the different parts of the chainsaw clean.
Pull the fuel filter out of the gasoline tank and dip it into a strong solvent. This will ensure that all built up gunk gets dissolved.
If the chainsaw has been lying around unused for a long time, you need to drain out all the fuel from the gasoline tank. After the gasoline tank has been emptied, you need to clean it up with a solvent and remove the varnish with the help of kerosene.
Pull out the spark plug from the socket and examine its electrodes. If there are a lot of brittle black deposits on it, you need to use a file to remove them. If they are beyond cleaning, you need to replace the spark plug.
Air filters are used to prevent dust and debris from entering the engine of the chainsaw. It should only allow clean air to get through. However, over time, the air filter may get clogged with all the blocked debris and dust. This will even prevent clean air from passing through. The reduced airflow will decrease the strength of the engine, and eventually your chainsaw won’t start properly. The engine will also start burning more fuel to make up for the lowered horsepower.
To prevent this, you need to remove the air filter by turning the hold on the cover 90 degrees. You need to dip it in warm soapy water or clean it with compressed air. After you use the water, rinse the filter carefully and hang it out to dry naturally, before replacing it into the chainsaw again.
Located behind the muffler, the spark arrester filters the exhaust before it can reach the muffler. Over time, it may get clogged with exhaust fumes, and thus the engine might start stalling. You need to spray the spark arrester with a brake cleaner, or pull it out and clear out the debris using a tooth brush. If it’s too badly damaged, you need to replace it.
Spray the chain with a degreaser, or use hot water and soap, to get all the grease out. Allow it to soak in the solution for 10 minutes. Following that, scrub out both sides of the chain with a tooth brush. Use an air gun to get rid of all the moisture before fitting it back on the chainsaw.
The guide bar can be cleaned with hot and soapy water along with a rug. Make sure that you get rid of all the gunk and debris stuck between the grooves of the bar. A pipe cleaner or nail can be used to clean the oil inlet hole.
Tip: Always clean a chainsaw when you have the time, patience, and a quiet distraction-free environment. Make sure all the parts have been reinstalled exactly as they were originally. A single part out of place can prove fatal. Also make sure that all parts are completely dry before installing them again as wetness may cause the chainsaw to rust and lose efficiency quickly.
So now you know all there is to know about chainsaws in general. You know what they are, how many types there are, how to clean them, and maintain them. In this product roundup article ,I’ve also shortlisted top 10 best chainsaws in the world so your options are narrowed down. You can use the guide given at the end to help determine which chainsaw is ideal for you.
Husqvarna 455 Rancher is a powerful gas chainsaw that can be used by professional to cut down big trees. GreenWorks 20312 is the best chainsaw in the market amongst all electric battery-powered chainsaws and it can be used for pruning and trimming purposes.
Echo CS-310-14 is a lightweight gas chainsaw that can be used by homeowners to cut down firewood. The Poulan Pro 967061501 is a heavy duty gas chainsaw that you can use if you want a powerful chainsaw for forestry work but don’t have the budget for the more expensive chainsaws.
BLACK+DECKER LCS1240, EGO Power+, and Makita XCU02PTX1 are all lightweight battery-powered electric chainsaws that can be used for light wood sculpting and yard maintenance work. If you don’t like a battery-powered chainsaw, you can go for the Remington RM1425 or Oregon CS1500, both of which are electric corded chainsaws meant for light homeowner use. The latter of these even comes with a unique self-sharpening system.
Finally,WORX WG303.1 is one of the more powerful electric battery-powered chainsaws, and it can be used for pruning bushes, or cutting firewood, or even de-limbing trees.
Whatever you decide to purchase, please feel free to comment about it down below and let me know if you found this guide useful. I look forward to hearing from you!