How to Pick the Best Chainsaw
There are plenty of online resources out there, including reviews, for people who need help in choosing a chainsaw, especially first-time buyers without much experience.
People that have a lot of experience with chainsaws and professional users might not need much in the way of guidance for choosing the best chainsaw, thanks to their experience with using chainsaws. They already have a good idea of what they need.
However, for new users, here are some of the things you should consider to ensure you pick the very best chainsaw for your needs.
What to Ask when Buying a Chainsaw
• What do you Need the Chainsaw For?
There are different chainsaws made with different sawing tasks in mind. Gas chainsaws, for example, don’t use a cord and are powered with gasoline. Electric chainsaws have to be plugged into an outlet like any other power tool. They are considered the safer option but, due to needing a wired connection, they can be somewhat limited.
Battery-powered chainsaws are becoming more popular lately. These saws are cordless similar to gas-powered chainsaws, but they do require several hours of charging after running out of power.
Gas-powered chainsaws are designed to be used for heavy-duty cutting. They are popular with contractors and landscapers because they have a lot of power, but they might not be necessary for the average homeowner with a small project.
An electric chainsaw would be best for small projects. They are ideal for pruning shrubs and cutting through smaller trees, but they won’t be powerful enough for a large tree.
Electric chainsaws are quieter than gas ones, so they are also a good choice if you have neighbors that don’t like to be disturbed. Consider investing in a heavy-gauge weatherproof extension to get the most out of your electric chainsaw. This gives you more operating room and reduces the risk of injury.
• Where will you Use the Chainsaw?
The environment that you are sawing in is another important consideration when buying a chainsaw. Electric chainsaws are great for indoor use and are good for residential areas because they generate far less noise than their gas-powered cousins. These saws are quiet and shouldn’t disturb family and neighbors.
If you are planning on sawing in a wooded area, then it’s recommended that you purchase a gas or battery powered chainsaw that is easy to use in this type of environment.
Corded electric chainsaws are an inconvenience in those kinds of areas. The cord, assuming you can even power it out there, is likely to become tangled in shrubbery or woods, which would make it difficult to operate the saw.
• How Often are You Going to Use the Chainsaw?
Casual chainsaw users will use their saws for a few months out of the year and store them away for the rest of the year. If that sounds like you, then you should consider picking up an electric chainsaw. They require little maintenance, especially compared to gas chainsaws, and can be stored for months at a time without getting damaged.
If you do purchase a battery-powered chainsaw, be sure to charge it up every so often even if you aren’t using it.
• Do you Have Experience Using a Chainsaw?
If you have absolutely no experience with a chainsaw and are a complete beginner, then you need to choose a light chainsaw with a blade between 12 and 18 inches. Find a saw that has a lot of safety features built in too so that you are comfortable using it.
• What’s Your Budget?
Every potential chainsaw buyer is going to have their budget in mind. You should choose a chainsaw that you can reasonably afford, as well as one that can suit your needs. The good news is that there are lots of different chainsaws from many different brands. You’re sure to find something that you can afford.
• How Fit are You?
Physical fitness is an important consideration when operating a chainsaw. Older and less physically fit people should consider purchasing a smaller, lighter, electric chainsaw that is within their price range.
Not only is using a big gas-powered chainsaw exhausting, but it can also be dangerous if you aren’t fit enough to handle how heavy they are.
2. Check Reviews for the Chainsaw Model and Type Suited to You
After asking yourself the above questions, you’ll be able to choose the best chainsaws for you. Take a look through online reviews and other resources for the different models. They can help you to make a more informed choice and pick the right one from the bunch for you.
3. Compare Different Chainsaws and Choose the Best One
After narrowing down your choices using all of the above factors, check the different chainsaws to assess their safety features. Chainsaws that have a lot of safety features built in are great as they are safer to use and tend to be easier to use as well.
Benefits of Using a Chainsaw
1. Makes The Work Easier
Chainsaws can be used for a variety of different tasks, offering plenty of versatility. All across the world, they are used to cut firewood, logging, fell trees, clearing trees and other debris after a storm, and are even used by firefighters in rescue missions.
All of this would be far more exhausting without a chainsaw, and it would take a lot of effort and manpower to do.
2. Get a Lot Done in a Short Amount of Time
Chainsaws can cut and fell even large trees in minutes. They make sawing, trimming, carving, and pruning quick tasks. Someone with a chainsaw takes a lot less time to do something compared to someone using an axe or hand saw for the same job.
3. They can Save Money
Buying a lot of firewood each year can be a significant cost for your household. Some people would buy firewood that they could have easily chopped from their yard or a forest (with a permit) if they had a chainsaw.
On top of this, a chainsaw allows you to trim the trees in your yard by yourself instead of calling in a professional to do it for you. .Those are just a few of the ways that a chainsaw can save money in the long run.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Operating a Chainsaw
1. Always Wear Proper Personal Safety Gear
Make sure that you are wearing the proper personal safety gear whenever operating a chainsaw to ensure it is as safe as possible. This includes chainsaw chaps, a helmet with a face screen, anti-vibration gloves, ear protection, heavy boots, and any other gear.
2. Ensure you Know the Proper Way to Handle and Use a Chainsaw
Before using a chainsaw, make sure you know how to handle and use it and are comfortable doing so. Practice with the chainsaw until you are comfortable using it.
Never use a chainsaw to cut anything that is above your shoulders. If you were to lose control of it, it would fall on you and cause serious, if not fatal, injuries.
3. Make Sure the Chainsaw is in Good Condition
Make sure that your chainsaw is still in good condition before you use it. Regular maintenance is key to ensuring that the chainsaw is safe to use and is still effective. Maintenance also helps to prolong the life of the chainsaw.
4. Stay Alert
Be sure to avoid any distractions when operating a chainsaw. Even a momentary distraction could cause you to lose your footing, which results in losing control of the chainsaw. That can lead to potentially serious injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions About Chainsaws
1. Do Heavy-Duty Electric Chainsaws Exist?
If you’re looking to do heavy-duty tasks with an electric chainsaw, then we would recommend purchasing a gas-powered chainsaw. While some electric chainsaws can manage medium-to-heavy-duty tasks, most of them don’t have the power to get the job done. Keep in mind electric chainsaws are built for small-to-medium cutting tasks.
2. How Often Should the Saw Chain be Sharpened?
A dull saw chain does more than make the work more exhausting; it also makes it more dangerous as it increases the risk of kickback.
Ideally, chainsaws should be sharpened every 2-3 hours of heavy-duty sawing. However, be sure to get the chain sharpened as soon as you notice that it is getting dull because it takes longer than expected to cut through a tree.
The most common sign of a dull chainsaw is when they produce plenty of sawdust rather than just smoothly cutting straight through the wood as usual.
However, if you want to ensure that your saw is kept sharp at all times, sharpen it whenever you fill the oil tank. Remember that having a sharp chainsaw makes the cutting job much easier and safer to do.
3. What is Meant by “Kickback”?
A kickback happens when the tip/nose of the guide bar comes into contact with a solid object, causing the rotating saw to get stuck. Kickback is the name given to the force that happens when the saw gets stuck. It typically sees the saw get thrown back in the opposite direction; towards the user.
The impact from the rotational force can cause the chainsaw operator to lose control of their chainsaw, which may cause severe injury, loss of limbs, or potentially even death.
The injuries that could occur as a result of kickback can be drastically reduced by wearing protective gear, such as protective chaps, when using a chainsaw.
6 Things to Know Before Buying a Chainsaw
1. The size of a chainsaw engine is measured in cubic centimeters (cc) or cubic inches. The higher this number is, the more powerful the engine. The average homeowner can get by comfortably with a chainsaw between 32 and 44cc.
2. Bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to bar size. A 16-in bar is more than enough for most homeowners. Longer bars might get in the way, and they increase the chances of a kickback occurring.
3. Generally, the more expensive saws are made from better materials and last longer, but the average DIYer will never wear out a less expensive one, so don’t invest more than you have to.
4. Safety gear is required, not optional. You will need a helmet with a face guard, leather gloves, hearing protection, and chainsaw chaps at the very least. These can set you back around $120.
5. For most cases, you’ll be able to buy the same chainsaw with or without extra features like tool-free chain tensioning. It’s often possible to save money by not investing in the convenience these features provide.
6. If you don’t have much experience with chainsaws, consider purchasing yours from a full-service dealer. They can help you get the saw set up and show you how to start and use it. To learn more about safe chainsaw usage and how to cut safely, take a look at Using a Chainsaw Safely.
Why Do Manufacturers Recommend Using Specific Kinds of Oil for Specific Kinds of Chainsaws?
The lubrication used for the chain and bar can be as important as the fuel. It’s essential that you use the recommended type and grade of chainsaw oil and always use the right gas-to-oil ratio.
Don’t use regular oil as this may lead to damage to the internal parts of the engine of the chainsaw.
If you aren’t able to properly mix the gas and oil by yourself, then you can purchase pre-mixed fuel from a chainsaw dealer or service outlet. Just be sure that you use oil that is compatible with your saw engine.
Why is Chainsaw Oil Pre-Mixed?
The saw chain on a chainsaw needs to be lubricated so that it runs smoothly on the bar guide. The oil will also keep the chainsaw cool during operation. Gasoline is necessary to get the chainsaw started, but oil helps to keep the chain lubricated and cooled down the engine.
When you normally buy gasoline, it won’t be mixed with other oils, which is why you have to mix it with the right chainsaw oil to ensure your chainsaw runs smoothly and efficiently.
Getting the right quality and the correct fuel mix balance will also extend the overall lifespan of the chain and guide bar.
Best Chainsaw Brands
Husqvarna produces top quality lawn and garden power equipment. Their inventory includes mowers, trimmers, blowers, and chainsaws, among others. The company has built a reputation for the quality and performance of their products, which are put together with over 325 years of experience within the business.
Stihl is a brand that has become synonymous with chainsaws, as chainsaws are the critical product Stihl offers. They also have a full range of other outdoor power equipment including blowers, trimmers, augers, as well as fuels, oils, and lubricants. Stihl has been producing professional quality products and innovative products since their formation in 1926.
ECHO is a relatively new player in the power equipment world. The company was originally founded in 1972 in Illinois, under a different name. It was rebranded into ECHO in 1978. The company has built up a great reputation for manufacturing professional quality straight shaft grass trimmers, brush cutters, blowers, and chainsaws.
Makita began their journey over 100 years ago in 1915 as an electric motor sales and repair business. Since then, Makita has grown to become a global name in power tools. Whether it is powered by batteries, electricity, or gas, chances are Makita makes a professional quality version of it.
Remington has been making gas and electric powered drills and saws since all the way back in 1921. They have built a solid reputation for their reliable tools. Their line of products includes cultivators, trimmers, pole saws, and chainsaws, among others.
Oregon was founded in 1947 when the founder discovered there was a better way to create chainsaw chains. This new chain was more efficient and required much less maintenance. The design for the saw that he used is still the foundation of the chains used today and Oregon has since grown to include outdoor power equipment, forestry harvesters, and lawn and garden tools. They also have a wide selection of replacement parts for tools and equipment.
DeWALT was founded back in 1924 with the creation of their universal woodworking machine. The company has since become a household name known for their durable and professional grade products. They also have a vast product line, including radios, axes, work lights, and nail sets.
8. Black & Decker
Black & Decker is one of the most recognized names in tools, and the company has something of a unique history. It was originally started in 1910 and had nothing at all to do with tools. The company originally produced milk bottle caps. They changed the tool world forever in 1916 when they patented the very first electric drill with a pistol-grip and trigger-switch. These days, Black & Decker produce consumer grade versions of just about everything; power tools, appliances, home and garden equipment, and even some home cleaning products.
Chainsaws are not toys and should not be treated as such. They are powerful, versatile machines that can be dangerous if they are used other than for their intended purpose or by someone without any experience using them.
This is why a lot of consideration and planning goes into purchasing a chainsaw. The idea of a “best chainsaw” is somewhat relative. One chainsaw could be the best chainsaw for one individual task and user, but not be right at all for another.
The factors discussed above should help new users choose the right chainsaw for them based on what they need the saw for, their budget, their experience with chainsaws, and other factors.
There are dozens of different chainsaw brands available on the market. If you want a durable, high-quality chainsaw – and have the budget for it – then take a look at what Stihl, Echo, and Husqvarna offer to find something that suits your needs.
However, those who need their chainsaw for light and medium tasks around the yard should avoid spending too much on an expensive gas-powered chainsaw when an electric one would be best. There are lots of great chainsaws available at a good price from brands like Remington, WORX, Poulan, Oregon, and Makita.
If you aren’t comfortable using chainsaws, then it’s recommended that you get in touch with a professional or get assistance from a friend or family member that does know about using chainsaws. Never forget that chainsaws are dangerous machines that can cause serious injury and potentially even death if they are misused.