Last updated: September 11, 2020

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A chainsaw can become your best friend if you need to prune or cut wood. This powerful tool will save you a whole lot of time and sore muscles, whether it’s to trim your garden’s hedges or to remove a stump. Modern machines offer plenty of power and improved performance that can make your life easier.

In today’s market, chainsaws are designed for all kinds of uses. They come with different guide bar sizes, adjustable power levels, and either gas or electric motors. There truly is a chainsaw for every job and every budget. We’ve designed the following article to help you find the model that best suits your own needs, as well as to introduce you to the very best chainsaws on the market.

Key Facts

  • There are different types of chainsaws depending on their motors. The most common and powerful chainsaws use gasoline and are ideal for tougher work. You can also find models with electric motors, both cabled and wireless, which are more suitable for lighter work around the yard.
  • You’ll need a very strong gas-powered chainsaw with a large guide bar to cut down entire big, thick trees. On the other hand, smaller and less powerful models will be enough to prune your trees or chop thinner lengths of wood.
  • The length of the guide bar will determine the size of the trees you can cut. A larger guide bar will allow you to go through larger trunk diameters. Each chainsaw has a specific blade length as well, so don’t overlook this feature when shopping for a new chain saw.

Our selection: The Best Chainsaws on the U.S. Market

There is a great variety of chainsaws out there, with different motors, guide bars and power sources. It can be challenging to choose the right model or type of tool for your needs. For this reason, we’ve designed the section below to introduce you to the best options available on the U.S. market. We’re confident this will help you when you buy your next chain saw.

Greenworks 16-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw with Extra Chain, Battery and  Charger Included

Make your life easier with this cordless Greenworks DigiPro G-MAX 16″ Chainsaw. The innovative brushless motor technology providesup to 80% longer life andup to 30% more torque. It also creates less noise and lower vibration for user comfort–making this the first battery-powered chainsaw that can replace your old gas chainsaw. This is the perfect chainsaw for users of all experience levels, whether it is your first time using a chainsaw or you are a veteran lumberjack, you can get started quickly without the hard-to-manage pull cords, the mixing of oil and gas, the fumes and the mess.

Featuring a heavy duty 16″ Oregon bar and chain, .0375 chain pitch, safety chain brake, metal bucking spikes & an automatic oiler, the torque & durability of this chainsaw will be sure to meet your expectations.  Whether it’s chores around the home or natural disaster clean up, our G-MAX 40V Lithium-Ion system will make your life easier. Once you have tried this digital chainsaw you will not want to go back to gas powered. Available with a G-MAX 40V 4Ah li-ion battery , the G-MAX system is compatible with 14 different lawn tools to offer a complete yard work solution for the serious lawn care home owner. When looking at comparable lawn tools, Greenworks G-MAX system is the right solution to turn to with the power and performance, longer run time and versatility to get the job done.

WORX WG304.1 Chain Saw 18-Inch 4 15.0 Amp

Another electric model with plenty of power is the WORX WG304.1 This electric tool is powered by electricity, so it produces no noxious emissions. Different from gas-powered chain saws, the WG304.1 doesn’t require you to mix oil and gas or deal with difficult startups. And unlike the competition, the WG304.1 features an automatic oiler that provides constant lubrication to both the bar and chain. Just as all WORX models, the WG304.1 is equipped with a 6.75-ounce oil reservoir with an oil level indicator.

The WORX WG304.1 includes a built-in safety brake that stops the chain in seconds when improper contact is made, protecting you in the event of kickback. Additionally, a rubber over-molded rear handle and ergonomic full-wrap front handle provide optimum operator control and comfort.

Craftsman 2-Cycle 16-Inch Gas Powered Chainsaw – With Carrying Case

Priced right and highly-rated, the Craftsman CMXGSAMA426S gas powered chainsaw features a 42cc full-crank high output engine to deliver steady power. The 16-inch low-kickback bar and chain goes through wood quickly and easily. It is equipped with Easy Start technology for simpler and more efficient pull starts.

The cushioned full wrap handle and 3-point anti-vibration system makes this chainsaw balanced, maneuverable, and comfortable to operate. Features such as the automatic oiler, inertia-activated chain brake, and tool-free access to filter and spark plug enhance the design of the chainsaw to make cutting a breeze. Comes with a heavy-duty carrying case and 2-cycle oil for your convenience. Backed by a reassuring 2-year limited warranty.

Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw

The ergonomic design of the Husqvarna 20″ 455 Rancher gas chainsaw allows the homeowner to handle the power of the saw with ease. Powerful, yet easy to start thanks to smart start technology, This gas powered chainsaw is ready to cut trees, whether you need to prune, limb or cut firewood. The air injection centrifugal air cleaning system helps keep larger dust & debris particles from reaching the air filter, to improve engine life. The low-vib anti-vibration system reduces vibration levels, for more comfortable chainsaw operation.

The 455 Rancher is an ideal saw for landowners and part-time users who require a high powered, heavy-duty and responsive workmate for all cutting conditions. It combines the best characteristics of its predecessor with new, facilitating technology and ergonomics.

DEWALT  FLEXVOLT 60V MAX Brushless Chainsaw

Weighing in at number 5 is from another trusted brand–DeWalt. The DEWALT DCCS670B 60v MAX Brushless Chainsaw, features a low kick-back 16″ Oregon Bar and Chain for construction and outdoor cutting applications. It also offers a chain brake for added kick back protection. A tool-free chain tensioning and bar tightening knob allows for proper bar clamping force.

This chainsaw also features auto-oiling for continuous lubrication, with a quarter-turn oil cap for quick oil re-fills. Up to 70 cuts per charge (on a 6″ x 6″ pressure treated pine wood). Specifications: Bar length at 16.0 inches, Bar type – Oregon, unit weight at only 12.2 lbs. Backed by Dewalt’s 3 year limited warranty.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Chainsaws

Chainsaws are tools designed to help you in your tree chopping and cutting work. These heavy machines can save you time when you’re cutting wood or pruning trees. A chainsaw is your best option whether you want to cut firewood or cut down an entire tree. In the next section, we looked at the most frequently asked questions by past users to help you choose the right model.

cutting wood with a chainsaw

Most chainsaws have their own carburetor settings so you can set the air-fuel mixture.
(Source: byrdyak: 45340029/ 123rf.com)

What exactly is a chainsaw?

Sometimes spelled as two words: “chain saw,” this powerful handheld cutting machine consists of a set of cutting teeth (saw teeth) attached to a chain and powered by an engine. This makes the chain spin at a very high rate. Chainsaws are designed for forestry work such as felling, pruning or cutting wood.

These mechanical saws have different types of motors. The most common chainsaw motors are gasoline powered – or “two-stroke” – engines. These saws require oil to lubricate the internal parts. Electric motor chain saws are also available and tend to come with a cord. The latest models, however, use lithium batteries for power and are lighter to hold but can be less powerful.

What are the different parts of a chainsaw?

A number of different parts make up a chainsaw. On the one hand, the engine is the system that triggers the machine’s cutting by spinning the chain. In that regard, make sure to check the CC (cubic centimetres) and HP (horsepower), which ultimately determine the cutting power of the tool. You also want a quality guide bar and chain, as the two parts combined are responsible for the cutting.

We’ve listed the key components of a chainsaw for you:

  • Guide bar: This is the oval metal support on which the chain spins. Each model will come with a different length. We encourage you to check the technical characteristics and stick to the recommendations of the manufacturer when using the saw on different types of wood.
  • Oiling system: This prevents your saw from overheating. Two different systems exist: chain lubrication and engine lubrication. If you have a gasoline model, you need to make sure your engine is always lubricated.
  • Chain tensioner: This system is designed to keep the chain taut. Otherwise, the chain could break or fly off and cause accidents during use.
  • Speed control: Generally located on the left side, it allows you to control the speed and acceleration of the chainsaw.
  • Chain catcher: This is a key safety feature. It will block the chain inside the frame of the tool in case it suddenly breaks. It generally comes with a protector on the left hand.
  • Chain brake: This special brake will stop the tool in case of kickback.

How should I adjust my chain saw’s carburetor?

As mentioned earlier, most gas-powered chainsaws feature their own carburetor settings. These allow you to set the air-fuel mixture delivered to this component. These settings let you adjust the idle speed and the low and high RPMs (revolutions per minute). While these are initially factory-programmed, you mayeventually want to reset them.

Man cutting with electric chain saw. Work on the farm. Wood preparation for heating. The woodcutter works with the saw.

Stihl is one of the most prestigious brands in the manufacturing of chainsaws, with some of the best models in the world. 
(Source: martinfredy: 99510638/ 123rf.com)

You will need to reset the factory settings if, for instance, the chain starts idling or if it stops working. If the carburettor is slower after choking, you may also have to adjust it then. You should always clean the air filter and the screen muffler before configuring it again. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Turn the chainsaw on and let the engine warm up.
  2. Find the adjustment screws of the carburetor. These are usually labelled with letters: H, L and LA. The H screw adjusts the air-fuel mixture at high speed, while the L is for the mixture at low speed. Finally, the LA screw adjusts the idle speed of your chainsaw.
  3. Check the air filter. Replace it if it is not clean. Check the muffler filter and make sure that is clean, too. Change it if it’s not in near-new condition.
  4. Turn the H screw counterclockwise with a small flathead screwdriver. Don’t turn it more than one three-quarter turn. Turn the L screw clockwise until it stops, then counterclockwise one quarter of a turn.

What types of chainsaws are available?

As we explained earlier, the different types of chainsaws are identified based on their engine. Each model is designed for one type of use. Battery-powered tools, for instance, are not tailored for heavy forestry use. This is why you need to know which type of chainsaw suits your use before buying a specific model.

Here is a table explaining the different types available to you:

Type Motor Guide bar Cut Use
Electric Electric motor connected to a power socket 35 to 40 cm in diameter Soft wood up to 20 cm in diameter Domestic gardening: cutting hedges and fine wood
Battery-powered Electric motor with lithium batteries ranging from 18 to 36 volts 20 cm in diameter Soft woos up to 15 cm in diameter Tasks where high power isn’t required, such as pruning hedges and trees
Petrol Two-stroke gasoline engine 40 cm in diameter All types of wood, even thick and hard Intensive daily work, logging, pruning and cutting

What are the best chainsaw brands?

The best brands are known to manufacture the best quality chainsaws. They use the best materials, integrate the latest technologies and features, and have the best after-sales services. This is a factor that you shouldn’t neglect. Access to spare parts, accessories and a maintenance service is fundamental for a lifetime of great service from your chainsaw.

One of the most prestigious chain saw brands in the world is Stihl. While their models may be on the more expensive side, they are the best you can find to date. Husqvarna is another traditional brand that sells a wide range of models, sizes and features. Other well-known brands include Bosch, Black+Decker, Craftsman and DeWalt.

What care does a chainsaw require?

Maintaining your chainsaw in optimal condition is fundamental to good performance and to safety. You’ll need to take good care of it and keep it clean if you want your tool to last. This is the only way to extend the useful life of a chainsaw. Here is a list of maintenance tips for your power tool:

  • Clean the chain after each use.
  • The chain must always be sharp. Check the teeth and sharpen it regularly.
  • Two-stroke gasoline engines must always be lubricated. Change the oil whenever necessary.
  • Keep the chain lubricated and ready to cut. The chain needs clean oil to operate properly, just like the engine.
  • Each chainsaw supports a specific guide bar and chain length appropriate to its power. Anything different will negatively impact its performance. If you use a longer guide bar than recommended, the tool will lose speed and cutting power. If it’s smaller, it will rev too much and also lose power.
  • Keep the machine’s filters clean.
  • Check the chain tension before every use. Overly tight chains can break, or free themselves if they are too loose.
  • Replace your chain immediately if you notice that it has deteriorated or if the saw teeth are badly worn.
  • Check the spark plugs if your chainsaw has a gasoline engine. They must be clean and in good condition.

What are the important functions in a chainsaw?

Some chainsaws have special functions and features that make them a better option for certain users and tasks. Most models on the market, for instance, have an “easy start” system. This allows you to quickly and easily start the tool without having to pull too hard on the starter rope. It also prevents the chainsaw engine from flooding.

Some models have self-lubricating systems for the chain, meaning that you don’t have to worry about changing the oil. The chain tensioner is also an important aspect to consider, and you can tighten and loosen the chain on certain chainsaws without tools. The handles should also absorb vibration for optimal use.

What type of care do the chains require?

The chain is naturally one of the most important components of your saw. You’ll need a sharpening tool or block to keep it sharp and aligned. As we’ve mentioned before, you must always check the chain’s tension and maintain it properly to prevent the chain from breaking or snapping off.

Place your chainsaw in a bench clamp or secure it firmly to prevent it from moving when you get ready to sharpen its teeth. Fasten the chain brake to prevent it from sliding, and place the gauge so that the blades point toward the guide bar. Place the sharpening block at a right angle to the rollers and sharpen each tooth with one smooth pass.

Close-up chainsaw and many tree trunks

Some chainsaw models have special functions and features that make them a better option than others for specific jobs.
(Source: byrdyak: 45339907/ 123rf.com)

What safety measures should I take when using a chainsaw?

This tool is essentially a motor that makes a chain equipped with blades spin endlessly. Over time, safety features have been added to this elementary and very functional invention, as being a tool that can easily cut a tree limb off of a tree, it presents some very serious risks. Here’s what you should do before, during after you use your chainsaw to be safe at all times:

  1. Always wear protective gloves, safety goggles, a helmet and hearing protection.
  2. Wear safety clothing if possible: leg protectors and safety overalls.
  3. Keep the chainsaw clean and fit for use at all times
  4. Always operate the chainsaw alone. The user should always be the only one in a wide radius of action of the tool.
  5. Keep the tool turned off and the guide bar sleeve on whenever you move.
  6. Always hold the chainsaw with both hands.
  7. The tool must always be revving during use.
  8. Work with the lower part of the guide bar and the chain on reverse whenever possible.

Shopping Criteria

You will find a wide number of types and models of chainsaws available on the market. The right tool will allow you to perform the required tasks inthe most efficient way. To choose the chainsaw that most suits you, you’ll have to consider aspects such as the power, the weight and the length of the guide bar,as well as the jobs you plan to do with the saw. We’ll now look at the following criteria to help you make the best decision:

Type of Wood and Uses

The type of wood you want to cut will naturally influence your purchase, just like the jobs for whcih you want to use the chainsaw. Cutting soft, thin wood in your garden isn’t the same as intense and professional forestry work. Make sure you know exactly how you expect to use the saw and on what types of wood before buying your chainsaw.

You should also decide on a model that offers the necessary power to complete all your tasks. In that regard, opt for a gasoline engine if you perform demanding work on hardwoods on a daily basis. On the other hand, you are advised to choose a more affordable electric chainsaw if you’ll use it only occasionally in your garden or to cut down the odd branch here and there.

Length of the Guide Bar

This is another key element that will have an impact on your purchase. The length of the guide bar will determine the diameter of the trunks and the size of the trees you can ultimately cut through Longer guide bars allow you to cut down large trees and thicker trunks. On the downside, it will also increase the weight of the tool and make it more uncomfortable to use.

Stick to smaller guide bars if you don’t need to cut thick trees. More affordable electric chainsaws generally feature these bars. They are ideal for odd jobs at home, such as taking care of a garden, cutting firewood or pruning trees. These lighter models can even be held with a single hand by some people.

Chainsaw Weight

You should also take into consideration the overall weight of the tool before buying a specific model. You will find working with a lighter chainsaw much more comfortable. Light tools are ideal for those of us who have never used a chain saw before. These models absorb vibrations better and are therefore more suitable for beginners.

The one problem with light chainsaws is that they tend to be less powerful. Heavier tools require engines with greater power, allowing you to do more demanding work on harder woods. If you need to carry out professional forestry work, you’ll definitely want to go for a heavy, well-balanced model that gives you greater stability.

Frequency of Use

If you want to accurately choose a chainsaw that suits your needs, you need to estimate how often you’ll be using this tool. Electric models, as well as those operating with a battery, are ideal for short periods of use. This includes cutting firewood for a fireplace or to tidy up a small garden.

Daily professional use in forestry requires you to opt for a model with a gasoline engine. While these chainsaws will need more maintenance, they are also more powerful and more durable. Take good care of your tool and you’ll be able to carry out the most demanding tasks on a daily basis without problem.

Quality and Warranty

When it comes to power tools, it is always a good idea to choose a product made by a trusted brand. We’ve mentioned the best manufacturers earlier, and they sell top-quality tools made with the very best materials and engineering. These chainsaws will also offer the best features and the latest safety systems.

We also encourage you to find out about the warranty and after-sales service your tool comes with. The best brands will give you access to accessories and spare parts whenever you need them. There is a reason why those top brands have earned the trust of professionals, and that’s partly because their products come with top-notch after market services.

Front Handle

The gripping system is another criterion that you cannot overlook. If your front handle isn’t comfortable, prolonged use of your chainsaw will be almost impossible. If you’re not used to using these tools, you are advised to look for models with ergonomic grips and quick on/off buttons built into the handle.

Certain electric chainsaws are lighter and can features soft grips and ergonomic handles. Perfectly tailored to homeowner jobs, these models are very comfortable to handle. For safety reasons, we recommend that you choose a chainsaw that has a protective plate for your left hand.

Transmission and Safety

Certain chainsaws available on the market have anti-kickback systems. Kickback is the main cause of accidents involving chainsaws. Kickback is a lightning-fast reverse reaction, kicking the guide bar up and back toward the operator. Chainsaw transmissions are devices designed to minimize such accidents by immediately stopping the saw chain in the event of kickback. We strongly advise you to make this feature a priority when choosing your chainsaw.  Even f the saw ceases to run in the event of a kickback, you can still suffer a serious injury from the non-moving guide bar and chain suddenly striking your face. A full-face safety guard is a great idea to keep sawdust out of your eyes and to protect your face.

The type of chain transmission is the last factor we want to highlight for your consideration. These parts are generally made with high-strength metal. This prevents wear on the tool and improves the useful life of the chainsaw. The transmission is also responsible for the power of the chainsaw, meaning you need to buy one that fits your needs.

Summary

A chainsaw is an ideal tool to help maintain your garden and yard. This tool will also allow you to prune branches and trees to keep them healthy and neat. Chainsaws are complete and versatile tools, with which you can also cut firewood for your fireplace as well as to carry out forestry work such as cutting down entire trees.

The U.S. market offers a wide range of chainsaws, and now you know all about the key criteria to take into account when making your purchase. These aspects include its maintenance, weight, power and the length of the guide bar. If you pay attention to these factors when making your purchase, we’re confident you’ll get the chainsaw that best suits your individual needs.

If you liked our shopping guide, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. You can also share this article on social media so that others can learn all about chainsaws, too.

(Source of featured image: Dmitrii Balabanov: 116141907/ 123rf.com)

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