Best Chainsaws In 2023 – Buyer’s Guide, Reviews and Comparison
When you will accept nothing less than pure raw power — you need a chainsaw. These mother-of-all cutters feature a plethora of teeth, integrated into a rotating metal chain that runs along a guide bar. While completely unsuitable for intricate projects, they excel at robust jobs, like felling trees, pruning, harvesting firewood, and shearing timber. Although the real beasts aren’t for the faint hearted, our list of best chainsaws includes manual and lighter-powered versions, for smaller work.
Chainsaw Categories You Can Choose From
With the ultimate in brawn-to-weight ratio — these gasoline-powered machines effortlessly slice through timber. Although the least budget friendly of all chainsaws — they cannot be beaten for raw grunt. The downsides are that they’re heavy, extremely loud, and can be an ominous tool for the novice user.
Lighter than the gasoline models and delivering slightly less power — the corded model is a softer introduction to the chainsaw world. While they won’t make such easy work of felling trees, they still carry an immense amount of heft. However, you do need to take extra care to ensure you don’t slice through the mains cable.
Lacking power cables — cordless chainsaws add versatility, enabling you to work in areas that could be challenging for corded models. They’re ideal for high-level work — such as pruning trees while on a ladder — removing the dangers of dangling cables. However, they are heavy on energy, so you may need a backup battery unit to ensure you complete your project.
Affordable and relatively safe — manual chainsaws feature a chain, mounted between two strap handles that fit over your wrists. The downside is that you need a lot of hand and arm strength to operate them — and they don’t deliver a precise finish.
These machines feature a mini chainsaw at the end of an extendable rod. They allow you to effortlessly trim high-level branches, without having to scale a ladder while holding a saw. Hence, they’re a much safer option and are available in gasoline-powered, corded, and cordless models.
Chainsaw Top Picks From Each Category
||Check Price at AmazonHusqvarna 460 Rancher Review Husqvarna 460 Rancher Review|
||Check Price at AmazonMakita UC4051A Review Makita UC4051A Review|
||Check Price at AmazonBLACK+DECKER LCS1240 Review BLACK+DECKER LCS1240 Review|
||Check Price at AmazonChainmate Pocket Chainsaw Review Chainmate Pocket Chainsaw Review|
||Check Price at AmazonRemington RM1025SPS Review Remington RM1025SPS Review|
Finding the Best Chainsaw – Buying Guide
More often than not people simply overlook some important points when searching for a chainsaw, and could end up purchasing a subpar model at an inflated price. Take a moment to check out our buying guide, where we have listed the most important aspects you should look for, so that you don’t end up overpaying for something that isn’t worth the money.
Different Types of Chain Saws
This type is the one to go with if you’re planning on tackling a big project. One of the main characteristics of gas-powered units is their power output. In other words, they can cut through wood of any density and thickness quite easily. On the other hand, they also produce much more pollution and noise than any other type on the market.
As you can tell, it all comes down to balance and purpose. To find the most efficient deal, you have to think about the purpose. As we said, if you’re often in the woods cutting trees, a battery-powered machine won’t last long. It may cut efficiently, but the battery limitations quickly become apparent.
As far as the price goes, most light-duty machines are affordable, but professional models are likely to be costly. However, it’s a worthy investment as long as you utilize it to its full potential.
Regular maintenance is something you will have to get used to if you opt for a gas-powered machine. The air filter and spark plugs require frequent servicing or they won’t perform as well as they should, and more often than not will affect your overall experience. Therefore, if you’re considering buying this type, make sure you’re happy to comply with a maintenance schedule.
Electric units usually cost significantly less than their gas-powered counterparts. However, they tend to weigh less and will start with a press of a button instead of utilizing spark plugs and fuel. However, all of those conveniences come at a cost — less power and no portability.
Extension cords are a good way of reducing the mobility issues, but it’s far from an ideal solution. Furthermore, you need to have the correct extension cord to get the right amperage for the unit — a 14-gauge or 12-gauge cord is mandatory. Anything less than that might cause power issues and even damage your machine.
Maintenance is less complex than with gas-powered models, which may be beneficial for occasional users more than it is for professionals. Due to the minimal maintenance requirements, corded units are ideal for absolute beginners or for less frequent use.
The best applications for this particular type are trimming, pruning, and cutting smaller trees. For anything beyond that, you should be looking at a more powerful unit. Corded chainsaws tend to cost less than gas models, with a few exceptions.
These cordless machines are strictly for light-duty endeavors, due to their power limitations. As the name suggests, these units run on battery power and solely depend on the level of charge. Also, most of them are limited to a few dozens of cuts before they run out of power and require a recharge.
A battery-powered chainsaw is an ideal solution for garden work, light trimming, or even cutting some thin tree branches. However, anything other than that is likely to cause a great deal of stress because it simply isn’t efficient enough.
As for advantages, there are many. For example, if you’re among those who don’t like having cords lying around, waiting to trip you up, cordless saws are the way to go. Furthermore, if you’re against fumes, pollution, and noise — consider purchasing a cordless unit. These saws do not emit any pollution nor are they as loud as other types.
The price may vary, depending on the quality and integrity of a particular model. More often than not, they tend to have a heftier price than most other types with similar uses. Picking up a good cordless chainsaw is harder than you think.
One of the things you should pay attention to is the power output. On top of that, you should also consider the runtime under full load. Machines that will make less than 50 cuts before requiring a recharge are only useful for very occasional use.
Chainsaw suppliers usually don’t sell manual saws, but there are some exceptions. As the name suggests, this type is powered solely by your hand power. It doesn’t require any fuel or electricity in order to achieve optimal efficiency. Instead, the more labor you invest, the more efficient it becomes. Most of these saws consist of just two main parts — hand grips and a chain.
Manual saws are useful for anyone who can’t afford a mechanical one or simply don’t want to invest in something they won’t utilize too much. The biggest advantage is the fact that they don’t create any noise or pollution whatsoever.
On the other hand, the biggest drawback is — obviously — fatigue. You can guarantee that it’s going to be an exhausting adventure if you opt to use a manual saw.
Price-wise, of course this is one of the most affordable types. In fact, it’s the most affordable way you can go for light-duty applications. Needless to say, you shouldn’t expect to cut down large trees with a manual chainsaw. Instead, these products are more for occasional use by campers, for example, to cut firewood or small branches.
This type refers to a small saw mounted on an extension pole. It’s designed to increase your reach for cutting and trimming remote branches and trees. Even though pole saws may not be classified as chainsaws, they have a lot in common, especially when it comes to the design and mechanical principles.
The power output varies from type to type. Pole saws are usually divided into corded and gas-powered, just like regular chainsaws. Corded models produce much less noise and pollution, but are significantly less powerful than their gas equivalents.
As far as suitable applications go, you can use these for pruning and trimming, although cutting a thick branch isn’t among recommended uses. The efficiency is good, especially if you use the full potential of the pole extension.
As you can tell, this type is ideal for getting at hard-to-reach spots, but if you want anything more than that, consider buying a regular model instead of a mini version. The prices are okay, but be aware that there are many overpriced models on the market. The key to finding the right tool is in the details. If you’re planning on getting a pole saw, pay attention to the pole length, power output, and efficiency.
Thing to Consider When Choosing the Best Chainsaw
We have made a list of things you should look into when choosing the best chainsaw for your needs. Take a few minutes to check it out — we’re sure you’ll find a good piece of advice that might save you some time and — more importantly — money.
Before you even start looking for the best chainsaw for your needs, determine what you need it for. For example, if you have a backyard with a lot of bushes and shrubs, an electric model would almost definitely fulfill the requirements — a gas-powered unit would be overkill. On the other hand, if you’re often in the woods, cutting large trees, you don’t want to take along a thousand feet of extension cord. In other words, you’d be better with a gasoline-powered chainsaw.
If you’re new to all this, we wouldn’t recommend buying the biggest and most powerful model right away. Instead, try to find something that meets most of your requirements but is still fairly simple to use and maintain. We suggest that battery-powered or corded models would be an ideal solution for a beginner.
We often make a pretty common mistake of thinking that if something is expensive then it’s automatically a worthy investment. However, this is a completely wrong assumption, and can be a costly mistake. Before buying the most expensive model you can find, make sure it’s exactly what you’re looking for.
A similar principle applies to underpriced products, too. Don’t fall for cheap offers because more often than not they can do more harm than good, to your pocket and your safety. If you’re on a tight budget, one of your safest bets is to look for an affordable electric chainsaw. Obviously, all the above advice depends on your needs. If you’re all about cutting large pieces of wood, an underpowered corded model will be of no use.
The factor that most people oversee is the level of their personal comfort with a new machine. So, even if you find a great model for a good price, it might not be the most suitable one for you, due to various other factors such as weight, size, noise levels, or the amount of pollution it creates.
Therefore, it’s always advisable to check the model out in person and see if it fits you as far as the size and weight go. If you aren’t able to check a product out yourself, make sure you conduct additional research online, by reading our in-depth review, for example. This way you should find relevant data that can help you determine whether or not to invest in a particular model.
Important Features to Look For In A Chainsaw
Make sure you don’t pay over the odds or buy a substandard product, by paying close attention to certain aspects. Most of these features aren’t premium ones meaning they don’t cause an unreachable increase in price. Take a look at aspects you should think about before deciding on your next chainsaw — it could make the difference between a successful or disastrous purchase.
Even though this particular element depends on your personal preferences, you should always look for a good power output whether you’re searching for gas or electric models. The number of revolutions per minute (RPM) is a significant factor, but it’s often the number that most consumers ignore. However, the more RPM, the smoother the cut.
First of all, you should always wear ear protectors, regardless of the level of noise your chainsaw makes. However, even if you, the difference between 100 dB and 80 dB is more than noticeable. If you live in a high-populated neighborhood, it would be a good idea to go with a quieter machine.
Anything producing more than 95 dB is considered loud and can cause hearing issues, particularly if you don’t protect your ears. Keep in mind that the operator is not the only one who’s jeopardized by high levels of noise — bystanders are in danger too.
Every model requires different levels of maintenance. Chainsaws that are gas powered usually need a lot of attention, while corded models don’t require as much. As you can tell, it all comes down to your personal circumstances.
If you’re a professional, then you probably expect to carry out regular maintenance. However, a strict maintenance schedule can be a burden for the occasional user, especially if they lead a busy life. Corded and battery-powered models are recommended for people who don’t want to spend too much time on the upkeep.
This is one of the key points you should prioritize when buying a chainsaw, or any power tool for that matter. It doesn’t matter how expensive or well-designed a model is, if it doesn’t feature a satisfactory level of safety mechanisms, it’s not worth risking. For example, look for low kickback levels. Kickback is one of the leading causes of chainsaw accidents throughout the world, due to either user negligence or poor design.
Furthermore, pay attention to vibration levels, although some manufacturers choose not to publish the vibration levels. The way you can determine it yourself is by searching for cushioned hand grips and ergonomic designs. Bear in mind, however, if a model is adequately cushioned and well designed, it still doesn’t mean it features low levels of vibration.
Top Chainsaws from Each Category
Our Rating: 4.3
If you’re planning on tackling a demanding job, the Husqvarna 460 is a great tool for the occasion. It offers a good number of useful features, as well as durability. While some inferior models are made to last no more than the warranty period, this particular unit will keep working for many years, as long as you maintain it on a regular basis.
The centrifugal air cleaning system is responsible for eliminating dust and debris before they reach the air filter. This particular concept results in reduced cleaning of the air filter and prolongs the life of the motor. Fuel consumption is relatively low, thanks to the XTorq system, which also reduces exhaust emission and is friendly to the environment.
The complex system of springs and inner design reduces vibrations and thus reduces fatigue. When it comes to user control, the adjustable oil pump allows you to control oil flow, depending on both application and weather conditions.
The idling speed is around 2700RPM whereas the maximum power output is 9000RPM. The cylinder displacement is 60.3 cubic centimeters, and the overall power output is 3.62 HP. As you can tell, this particular model packs more than enough power to cut through any wood like a hot knife through butter.
Husqvarna is a well-known manufacturer from Sweden. As expected, this particular model doesn’t have a lot of disadvantages. However, one drawback is the noise output, which is around 104 dB at operator’s ear level. Even though you can minimize this by wearing the necessary ear protection, it’s still on the louder end of the spectrum.
Many users praise this company, and for a good reason — they know how to pack a powerful machine into a convenient housing and make it as simple as it can be. It’s a great tool for both professionals and occasional users, thanks to its versatility in different applications. As far as price goes, it’s not a cheap piece of equipment, but we think it’s a worthy investment.
Our Rating: 4.6
Our Rating: 4.6
Makita is one of the most respected manufacturers among tool enthusiasts. The company produces everything, from small tools to massive machines, and the vast majority of their products are affordable and accessible, even to people on a tight budget.
When it comes to chainsaws, Makita is usually a pretty safe choice, both for professionals and DIYers. Electric saws usually have significantly less power than gas-powered models, but the sheer power output of the Makita UC4051A will surprise you. On top of that, the motor features a built-in mechanism that regulates the power draw and reduces it when the unit is overloaded, preventing burnouts.
The chain speed of this particular model is around 2900 RPM, which allows efficient and effortless cutting and trimming. When it comes to the design and ergonomics, it may not be the best one out there, but it’s more than satisfactory. The rubberized hand grips help a lot with the reduction of vibrations and fatigue. One of the things we like about the design is the large trigger switch, with a soft start for smooth startups.
If you aren’t keen on carrying out frequent maintenance, you’ll love this saw. It doesn’t require as much servicing as other models because it is well-designed and made of quality materials. For example, the oil reservoir features viewing windows.
Adjustability is also a great advantage of this unit. It allows for “tool-less” blade and chain adjustments, thanks to a convenient switch. As you can tell, it’s a pretty straightforward machine and is suitable for many applications, as long as you use it within the frame of manufacturer’s safety regulations.
The only disadvantage we could find is the lack of mobility due to the limitations of the electric cord. You can use an extension cord, but it’s far from an ideal solution, particularly in remote areas, away from a power source. Therefore, if you’re planning on tackling a project in the woods, for example, a gas-powered saw would be a better choice, to maximize efficiency and convenience.
Our Rating: 4.5
When talking about convenience, we have to mention the LCS1240 model. This battery-powered saw features everything you’ll ever need for quick and efficient jobs. While many people have their doubts about the durability of lithium batteries, you can rest assured that this one is made to last. In fact, the battery holds a single charge for up to 18 months.
To put the battery life in perspective, you’ll get somewhere around 60 4×4 pine cuts with a single charge, which is more than enough for many small projects, or even some more demanding tasks. The bar chain and motor are constantly lubricated, thanks to the automatic oiling system — no need to worry about manually doing it every time.
Tool-less chain tensioning allows you to adjust and fine tune the machine without using additional tools. All you have to do is adjust a knob on the right side of the machine. When it comes to safety, you won’t have to worry much as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
One of the primary safety concerns with almost every saw type is kickback, and in this model, it’s well regulated. The hand grips are a good design and made of durable materials. Furthermore, the amount of vibration is significantly lowered thanks to the innovative ergonomic design of these hand grips.
Two of the biggest advantages of this model are its light weight and ease of use. It comes in handy for people who are unwilling or unable to utilize gas-powered tools. It allows less experienced people to learn how to utilize the machine in a matter of hours.
The biggest drawback of this model is the power limitation. In simpler words, it’s a good machine for cutting small trees and branches, but it won’t perform well with bigger projects. Also, some users mentioned that the automatic oiling system can apply too much oil on the chain, leading to increased oil usage. All in all, if you’re looking for a well-made battery-powered chainsaw, we think this one might be a good candidate.
Our Rating: 4.3
Our Rating: 4.3
This model is the most affordable product on our list. A manual chainsaw, it’s all you’ll ever need for fast gathering of firewood, for example. It features carbon-steel teeth and two durable hand grips. As you can assume by the name, it’s powered solely by your physical strength. The biggest advantages of this tool are mobility, ease of use, and price.
The mobility element is pretty self-explanatory. These units are incredibly lightweight and therefore easy to carry with you, wherever you go. On top of that, you don’t need a power source to operate the Chainmate pocket chainsaw.
There are no complex mechanical components requiring regular maintenance and lubrication. Instead, you’ll get a high-quality chain with hand grips on each end — it can’t get any simpler than that. This particular model is made in the United States which indicates reliability.
It comes with a convenient carrying bag ensuring there’s no risk of accidental injury during transport. The chain features diamond tips, which are well-known for durability and consistency. This product was previously only available for military personnel, but is now available to the general public.
Now for the drawbacks. First of all, you’ll feel exhausted once you’re done cutting. It may not be true for small pieces, but if you decide to tackle a large piece of wood, rest assured you’re going to feel it in your muscles. The other potential disadvantage is the fact that you need a partner’s help most of the time.
It’s not impossible to use it by yourself, but it’s by far more convenient to pull one end while your partner is pulling the other end. However, it’s a great model for survival enthusiasts and campers. Just don’t plan on tackling a massive project — you will certainly give up on it before it’s finished.
Our Rating: 4.0
This 2-in-1 pole saw is a great solution for people with a backyard full of bushes and branches. It features a 10-foot extension pole that offers extra length for unreachable and remote areas. You can prune, trim, and even cut small wood with this unit, with relative ease.
What makes this model special is that you can detach the pole and just use the tool as a regular saw. This is as easy to do as it can be — all you have to do is flip and unlock the security clamps to detach the pole.
The 8-amp motor offers enough power to cut through dense wood, but it doesn’t cope well with particularly large pieces. As for mobility, it’s okay, but it’s not great. The cord is long enough to allow for convenience, but you will have to use an extension cord if you want to reach particularly remote branches.
The anti-rotation pole design is one of the biggest advantages of this model. While some other units may accidentally rotate during use, this one is guaranteed to stay in its original position at all times. Even though it might sound irrelevant, it’s a pretty significant safety feature as well.
Furthermore, the hand grips are non-slip, so you don’t have to worry about accidental slipping during prolonged use with sweaty hands. The price is more than acceptable, even if you are on a tight budget. Heavy-duty equipment often tends to cost quite a bit, but this particular piece is well within reach.
Safety features are at a satisfactory level, although they could have been a bit better. However, all the necessary precautionary measures are indeed built in, and thus it can be considered safe as long as you operate within the determined precautionary conditions. As far as we are concerned, it’s a worthy investment for people if you’re going to use it to its full potential. In fact, even if you’re only an occasional user, you could benefit from having the Remington RM1025SPS hanging in your garage.
Chainsaw Injury Prevention – Safety First
Safety is undoubtedly of utmost importance when using chainsaws. Therefore, keep this in mind at all times in order to prevent accidents and injury. And, you can rest assured that there is a huge potential for something going wrong, especially when dealing with high RPM, sharp blades, and electricity. Below are some of the most important elements you should pay attention to
Steel toe cap shoes or safety boots are a must-have for anyone who’s planning to operate a chainsaw. When you’re cutting trees, there is a high chance that some of the cut parts will fall on your feet. Work boots are incredibly efficient against such occurrences, thanks to the steel plate that is built in.
Make sure you wear either layered clothes or cut-resistant shields underneath your clothes. Kickback is always a possibility, even with the safest models around. The fact that you cannot entirely prevent kickbacks should be a reminder for you to wear thicker clothes, to prevent small shrapnel from penetrating through your skin. For heavy-duty work, invest in Kevlar clothing, which will help prevent even the most serious of accidents.
Hearing protection is also a mandatory element with all except manual chainsaws. Even electric models produce at least 85 dB of noise, which is more than enough to cause hearing issues.
Protective gloves — preferably Kevlar or similar — should be the first thing put on before using a chainsaw. Never operate a chainsaw without wearing gloves, regardless of the situation. Even sawdust can be dangerous, due to the high-velocity element.
Hold Your Grip
This advice applies to all types, but is incredibly important for gas chainsaws in particular. When pull-starting a machine, make sure you’re keeping it on the ground and holding it firmly. Most models usually have a spot on the handle that allows you to secure the unit with your foot while pull-starting.
Make sure you avoid using a saw while on a ladder — this is extremely hazardous. Furthermore, never cut above shoulder level, as this can cause stability issues and thus jeopardize your safety.
Whether you like it or not, you must maintain your tools to keep them in good condition. That means frequent lubrication, cleaning, and replacing worn or underperforming parts. Chainsaws that are maintained regularly have far less chance of causing a kickback or other issues. A chain that’s not lubricated or has worked loose can slip off, causing severe consequences.
Even though it might sound irrelevant, you might be surprised at the importance of your own strength when it comes to safety. In simpler words, if you aren’t able to lift or hold heavy objects, you should consider opting for a lightweight model. Many people can indeed hold a chainsaw, it’s not a particularly heavy object. However, prolonged use can cause fatigue and a decrease in concentration. As soon as you lose focus, the chance of something going wrong increases significantly.
The front hand grip acts as a manual brake if something goes wrong. If the unit kicks back, the guard is designed to kick your hand and stop in that position. However, kickbacks often happen within a millisecond which is not enough time for a natural reaction.
This is why you should look for models that feature an inertial brake. The inertial brake is designed to activate whenever it senses a misalignment in the rotation — one of the first signs of a potential kickback. Needless to say, the reaction time is much faster than any human can pull off.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Even if you feel completely safe under a layer of protective gear, that doesn’t mean everyone else in the vicinity is safe as well. Therefore, make sure there is no one around you while you’re operating a chainsaw, in order to prevent hurting someone else with flying debris.
On top of that, you should NEVER let children use a heavy-duty power tool, even if you’re standing right next to them. As we already mentioned, a great deal of physical strength is needed for safe operation — a child will be unable to handle any chainsaw, even the lightest ones.
If You’re Unsure – Don’t Do It
Last but not least — use your common sense. Many people think they know how to operate a heavy-duty tool because they saw someone else do it and it seemed simple enough — it isn’t.
Make sure you understand the basic principles of operation before you even think about using a chainsaw. Many accidents happen due to negligence and over-confidence. Read the manufacturer’s instructions, seek advice from experienced users, and watch a video or two on how to use a heavy-duty chainsaw before using one yourself.
Chainsaws are among the most versatile tools around. You can use them for many applications, but make sure you know what you are doing. The real danger lies in improper use. Accidents most often happen to beginners due to lack of experience. Read and grasp the basic principles of your new machine before you decide to start it up for the first time.
As far as the best chainsaw model goes, it all depends on your needs. If you want a lightweight, maintenance-free unit, consider the corded versions. On the other hand, if you’re looking for raw power and durability, gas power is a good choice. In order to use the full potential of a particular product, you must buy the right one.
Safety measures are extremely important. Take a moment and check our safety article out, especially if you aren’t familiar with using chainsaws. Furthermore, make sure you read the user manual and confirm that everything is certified and graded as safe. On top of that, don’t ever skip on wearing full safety equipment — the more elements you ignore, the bigger the chances of injury.
After reading our recommendations above, if you still can’t decide which model to buy,, feel free to read our individual product reviews. You don’t need to conduct extensive research and lose hours trying to find relevant and trustworthy data. We’ve reviewed the best chainsaw models we could find, so that you can opt for any of them with confidence.