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Consumers nowadays have a broad variety of chainsaws to choose from – gas-powered, battery operated, or electric – all of which have particular strengths and weaknesses.
Gas powered chainsaws are the most powerful and are selected by professionals and people that are looking to cut down very large trees.
Battery operated cordless chainsaws are perfect for light jobs and branch trimming in a quiet, ergonomic fashion
Quick look: the best chainsaws in 2019:
- Husqvarna 460: very powerful chainsaw from a very well known and reputable brand, pro level product
- DEWALT DCCS670X1: awesome cordless model that is perfect for homeowners
- BLACK+DECKER LCS1240: budget friendly battery unit that is good for small projects and yards
- Greenworks 20312: 16″ model that is low on vibration, but still provides good power and torque
- Makita XCU03PT1: powerful chain saw kit that includes 2 batteries that provide twice the power and runtime
- Oregon CS1500: self-sharpening electric model from a company with a long standing reputation
- Poulan Pro PR5020: consumer grade gas powered model that is priced right with reduced fuel consumption
- WORX WG303.1: super simple to use and own, good for small jobs
- EGO Power+ CS1401: 14″ brushless chainsaw with long runtime
- Ryobi P547: compact model that is great for getting into small spaces
- Remington RM4620: 20″, powerful machine designed for more use and larger jobs
How I Rated the Chainsaws
I have read and carefully compared hundreds of reviews of chainsaws with the goal of providing you with information that will help with your purchasing decision. The 11 chainsaws reviewed above are among the best in their class – gas-operated, cordless (battery powered) chainsaws, and corded electric chainsaws.
When purchasing any chainsaw, it is very important to consider the reliability of the machine and what type of warranty it comes with.
All of the models that I have recommended have at least a 2 year consumer warranty.
Chainsaws are available in 3 different power types – gas, battery, and electric. Engine size measures gas chainsaw power (either CC (Cubic Centimeters) or Cu. In. (Cubic Inches)). The higher the CC, the more powerful the engine. Typical homeowner chainsaws range between 24-50CC.
Electric chainsaw power is measured in amps or amperage (A). The higher the amps, the more powerful the chainsaw will be. Unfortunately, electrical outlets are only geared for a maximum of 14 amps, so all the corded electric models reviewed here today have amperages of 14.5 to 15.
Battery chainsaws are measured by volts or voltage (V) – the higher the voltage, the more powerful the chainsaw will be. Lithium-ion is the superior battery type available for chainsaws.
Gas-powered chainsaws are renowned for their fast cutting speed. Smaller bars will increase the cutting speed of your saw, and larger bars will slow down the cutting speed. The gas-powered chainsaws reviewed here today have an average cutting speed of 55-60 MPH (88 FPS).
Battery-powered chainsaws are judged by the number of cuts that can be made on one charge. Our battery-powered saws under review ranged from 70 cuts on a 3.0 amp hour battery to 150 cuts on one 4.0 amp hour lithium-ion battery.
Corded electric powered chainsaws are limited since they can only receive 15 amps of power maximum from an electrical outlet. A few of the corded chainsaws reviewed here today offer a variable speed trigger which allows cutting of a wider variety of thicknesses.
Chainsaws should have a suitable number of safety features. The chain must be properly matched to the saw and the guide bar, and it should be properly sharpened. Kickback reduction is important. The chainsaw you select requires correct chain sharpening. If your chainsaw chain is blunt, it will cut poorly, and this may lead to increased bar loading as well as operator fatigue.
The chainsaw you select should have a chain brake which is located between the chain and the actual top-handle and will engage the brake if the saw ever kicks back while you’re using it. Chain catchers and safety throttles are other important features of good chainsaws.
Finally, operator instruction is essential for safety. All chainsaw users should provide themselves with protective gloves, non-slip work boots, hearing protection, and safety glasses.
Ease of Use
Many electric and cordless chainsaws now include some extra features that provide ease-of-use. These beneficial features include an oil reservoir window, which allows you to check the chainsaw’s oil level at a glance, an automatic chain oiler which keeps the chain well lubricated during use, and tool-less chain adjustments, which eliminate needing a toolkit to be able to adjust the tension in the chain.
How to Pick the Best Chainsaw for You
Gas powered chainsaws are for commercial as well as residential use and are necessary if you plan on cutting substantial trees ranging in size from 12” to 24”, or hardwoods.
Gas saws are larger, heavier, and require a certain amount of strength to use. They also require gas and oil to operate. They are loud and cannot be used in neighborhoods where there are strict noise ordinances. These chainsaws come in a range of different bar lengths, and they typically have better bar-oiling systems.
Electric chainsaws are a good choice for residential users who plan on only sawing occasionally, and want to cut limbs and smaller trees. Because the motor is quiet, you won’t have to worry about local noise ordinances. The motor requires no gasoline mixture and needs no maintenance – simply turn it on and go.
They are lightweight, simple to start, and ideal for general-purpose light tasks like pruning. Their biggest drawback is their extension cord, which must be plugged into a nearby outlet.
Cordless chainsaws eliminate the cord problem. They are powered instead by rechargeable batteries and are easier to maneuver. They are lightweight, low-maintenance, have unlimited mobility, and are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
No extension cords, gas, or oil are necessary. Mini cordless models are comparable in power to electric chainsaws, and a few can even reach the higher power typically provided by gas chainsaws. Their biggest drawback is that their battery must frequently be recharged.
Many owners of cordless chainsaws have solved the battery problem by purchasing two or three batteries so that they won’t have any downtime mid-project.
What Will You Be Cutting?
If your primary purpose for buying a chainsaw is for cutting firewood, do NOT buy a cheap chainsaw. Cutting firewood is a high-energy activity that requires a good deal of power; you’ll want to buy a chainsaw that features anti-vibration technology so you won’t develop Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome. You will need to get a gas chainsaw that comes with at least a 20” bar and chain.
If you have a small yard and will only be needing a chainsaw for small and medium-size limb cutting, and have an electrical power outlet close at hand, a corded electric chainsaw might be perfect for you. They are lightweight, there is no oil or gas to carry around, they’re quiet and clean, and they are very reasonably priced.
If you don’t want to be hampered by a cord and don’t mind a little extra weight, a cordless electric chainsaw could be right for your small-to-medium jobs. They are more expensive than corded models, their batteries will need recharging, and they’re heavier to carry, but cordless chainsaws are quiet, easy to start, low-maintenance, and have no harmful emissions.
Have You Ever Used a Chainsaw Before?
If you are a newcomer to chainsaws, it is recommended to start with a lighter weight corded or battery-powered smaller saw with a guide bar no longer than 14”-16”. This will be more than adequate for light yard work. Once you have experience operating a chainsaw you can then move on to larger and more powerful models, in particular, heavy-duty gas-powered chainsaws.
How Often Will You Use the Chainsaw
If you only plan on using a chainsaw occasionally and have a smaller property, then you will do better with a corded electric or a battery powered saw. On the other hand, if you plan to use a chainsaw frequently, and have a larger property with many large trees, then we recommend that you purchase a gas-powered chainsaw.
Type of Chainsaw (Power Source)
Three main types of chainsaw are reviewed here today – gas-powered, cordless electric, and battery powered chainsaws.
Gas powered chainsaws are usually 2-cycle or 2-stroke engines that will run on a mixture of engine oil and fuel. They are more powerful and faster at cutting wood, but they also produce more vibrations, require frequent refueling, and are noisier and heavier than battery-powered or electric chainsaws.
Cordless or battery-powered chainsaws utilize rechargeable batteries instead of fuel or direct electricity. Newer lithium-ion batteries are portable, lightweight, and are specifically designed for lighter trimming and cutting tasks.
Corded electric chainsaws are the perfect choice if you’re a newcomer to chainsawing and only have lighter smaller jobs to do around the house. These saws plug into an electric outlet with a power cord, they are quieter, don’t emit any fumes, and they are more eco-friendly.
Guide Bar Length
What chainsaw bar length is right for you? You should choose a blade or saw bar that is capable of cutting the average typical limb or tree trunk that you work with.
If you’re a beginner, and you want a chainsaw for yard work like pruning, trimming, and limb lengthening, then an electric chainsaw with a guide bar size between 8”-12” should be right for you. This size saw can also be used for smaller trees and larger limb removal, but it should not be used for cutting firewood, larger trees, or performing storm damage clean-up.
A gas-powered light-duty chainsaw with a standard bar size between 10” to 14” and an engine displacement between 30 to 45 CC’s should be adequate for most users.
If you are a more experienced user, you should purchase a medium to heavy-duty chainsaw, probably gas-powered, with a standard bar size between 14” to 18” and an engine displacement of 40 to 50 CC’s.
Larger chainsaws with a standard bar size between 20” and 24” should only be used by experienced residential and commercial users. This size saw can be used for felling larger trees, cutting firewood, or any other larger tasks.
Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Models
Chainsaws very greatly in weight size, shape, models, features, capabilities, types, and prices, and you’ll want to make certain that you’re purchasing the chainsaw that is best for your particular needs.
In general, the more power that the chainsaw provides will probably result in a higher price tag, but it will be worth the added money if your job requires an excessive amount of power and brute strength.
When purchasing a gas-powered chainsaw, thousands of online reviews have demonstrated that the most expensive gas-powered chainsaw will in all probability be number one on the bestseller list, and so on down the line.
The most expensive gas chainsaws will have longer bar length, chain, and a bigger power unit. Prices are doubled If you purchase a chainsaw with a 20” bar and a 55CC engine instead of a chainsaw with a 14” bar and a 42CC engine.
Other factors that contribute to a higher cost for gas chainsaws are lighter weight, a smaller but more powerful engine, a better quality chain, and more safety features.
It will have tool-free tensioning, an easy start system, a narrower body width, a carbide toothed chain instead of a standard steel chain, an upgraded fuel gauge, air purge, anti-vibration system, easy access air filter, etc.
Electric Powered Corded and Battery Powered Cordless Chainsaws
Electric powered corded chainsaws are the cheapest chainsaws available in the marketplace today. They are easy to carry around and are good lightweight alternatives for seniors or those people without body strength or much experience using chainsaws.
Corded chainsaws do have drawbacks, however. The biggest drawback is that the user must constantly have to deal with an extension cord. The second biggest drawback is that home electrical sockets are constructed to accommodate only 15 amps of power.
Battery powered cordless chainsaws are in the mid-range of price between gas powered and corded saws. The more expensive cordless chainsaws have high-quality lithium-ion batteries, longer recharge times, and a number of backup batteries.
More expensive chainsaws will have auto tensioning systems, tool-free chain replacement, safety chain brakes in case of kickback, ergonomic fully wrapped front handles, over-molded rubber rear handles, metal gears instead of plastic gears, easy start systems, adjustment levers, large trigger switches, more powerful motors, and are double insulated for the protection of the operator.
Best Selling & Top Rated Brands
- Poulan Pro
How Much Should I Expect to Pay?
I would expect to pay at least $100 for a good quality corded chainsaw. A pro level gas model will cost you at least $500. The more powerful and longer bar length will generally add to the cost.
Husqvarna 460 Rancher Gas Powered Chain Saw
- Easy access is provided by a side mounted chain-tensioner
- 3-piece forged crankshaft gives superlative durability on the hardest jobs
- Features a CARB compliant quick-release air filter
- Bar oil blocks up when wet logs with bark are cut
- Air filters are not reusable and must be replaced periodically
The Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw, with its high torque X-Torq engine, choke and stop control, air injection, LowVib, and Smart Start is the premier ergonomically designed chainsaw available in the marketplace today.
This powerhouse of a saw is gas powered, has a 20-inch MAX bar length, a 3-setting adjustable oiler.
DEWALT DCCS670X1 Brushless Chainsaw
- Lightweight, ergonomic chainsaw features a chain break for kickback protection
- Every bit as powerful as a gas powered 55CC chainsaw
- No exhaust fumes and the sawdust ejects out the front, so you’re not sprayed like usual
- To cut up a full-sized ash tree, you’ll need a minimum of two batteries plus a fast charger
- Uses a quite a bit of chain bar oil
The Dewalt DCCS670X1 operates on a 60V 3.0Ah lithium-ion battery and provides approximately 70 cuts per charge.
It features a 16” Oregon bar and chain, a bar-tightening knob, tool-free chain tensioning, auto-oiling continuous lubrication, and a quarter turn oil cap for rapid refills.
BLACK+DECKER LCS1240 Lithium-Ion Chainsaw
- 40-volt lithium-ion battery can hold a charge for up to 18 months
- Oregon low kickback bar and chain minimizes vibration and improves cut speed
- Window provides easy visibility for gauging oil level
- Battery only lasts about 30 minutes with continuous use
- Chain speed is lower than a gas chainsaw
The Black & Decker LCS1240 Is a 40V cordless electric chainsaw with a 12” bar that provides fast, efficient cuts and some serious cutting power.
It features a full wrap-around handle, a lightweight design that eliminates user fatigue, and convenient auto oiling.
Greenworks 20312 Cordless Chainsaw
- Fully-charged 4Ah 40V battery provides up to 150 cuts on 4” x 4” wood with one single charge
- Instant electric start, lightweight, and provides 70% less vibration and noise than gas powered saws
- No pull cords, no maintenance, and no gas required
- Chain oiling system has a poorly-designed plastic micro-oiling pump
- Too much bar oil leakage
The Greenworks 20312 features brushless motor technology, lower vibration and less noise, and 30% more torque and an 80% longer life than earlier models.
This machine has a .0375 chain pitch, a chain break, an automatic oiler, and metal bucking spikes. This chainsaw is compatible with 14 different G-MAX lawn tools.
Makita XCU03PT1 Cordless Chain Saw Kit
- Improved ergonomic design provides zero emissions and greatly reduced sound levels
- Two 18 volt batteries run concurrently to provide twice the amount of power and runtime
- Features protective seals inside the saw engineered to channel debris, dust, and water away from key internal components
- Safety switch turns off too quickly
- Power switch is hard to operate with gloves on
The Makita XCU03PT1 comes with 4 batteries and provides equivalent high-powered efficiency to a 32CC gas chainsaw.
It features a variable speed trigger, tool-less chain adjustment, a built-in lock-off lever, and a built-in LED off/on switch with automatic power off function.
Oregon CS1500 Electric Chain Saw
- Has an 18” guide bar and a convenient tool-less chain tensioning system
- 15 amp high-powered motor and a reduced kickback guide-bar and chain
- Ergonomic lightweight design and comfortable, balanced, over-mold low vibration handle
- Low chain lubrication could cause saw failure
- Lube fill cap is located on the wrong side and allows chips to accumulate around the cap
The Oregon CS1500 is unique in the marketplace because it features a PowerSharp chain that sharpens itself in approximately 3 seconds!
It also combines low noise, minimal maintenance, and instant starting by simply pulling the trigger.
Poulan Pro PR5020 Gas Powered Chain Saw
- Special OxyPower engine provides 20% lower consumption of fuel and 70% fewer emissions
- Has a user-friendly combined stop/choke control which allows increased reliability and faster starting by significantly reducing engine flooding risk
- Features a protected purge bulb and an integrated combi-tool inside the rear handle
- Plastic handle is liable to break
- Temperamental in warmer weather, and requires some fine tuning before use
The Poulan Pro PR5020 chainsaw features a 2-stroke engine, an EPS (Effortless Pull-Start System) and a filtering system which guarantees reduced fuel consumption and longer air-filter life.
This powerful chainsaw makes firewood cutting, tree felling, and any other clean-up jobs a snap.
WORX WG303.1 Electric Chainsaw
- Built-in oiler keeps bar and chain lubricated
- Lightweight 16” chainsaw features a specially engineered chain break for protection in case of kickbacks
- Has an oil level indicator to keep track of auto lubrication
- Corded chainsaws are limited by how far away they can operate from electricity
- Doesn’t cut well at tip because of its special no-kick tip
The WORX WG303.1 Chainsaw has an auto-tensioning system, a simple-to-lubricate bar nose sprocket which helps to preserve the life of the tool, and all metal dogs at the bar base which add extra stability while cutting.
It also has an efficient 14.5 amp motor and an ergonomic full-wrap front handle.
EGO Power+ CS1401 Cordless Chain Saw
- Available with either 2.0Ah or 2. 5Ah 56V lithium-ion battery kit
- Water resistant construction and ANSI compliant low kick-back chain design
- Reversible bar, chain tension adjustment, and a .043”gauge-chain with a low pro pitch of 3/8”
- Uses a great deal of bar and chain oil, and chain comes off bar occasionally
- Doesn’t have sufficient teeth to grab onto larger wood pieces
The EGO CS1401features a highly efficient brushless motor (6300 RPM), which extends run-time and the life of the saw, and a 56 volt ARC lithium-ion battery, which can deliver 90-100 cuts per charge.
This quality chainsaw has a chain kickback brake for safety, weather resistant construction, and a 14” Oregon chain and bar.
Ryobi P547 ONE+ Cordless Chainsaw
- Features a 10” maximum cutting diameter
- Lightweight and simple to operate, even for a supervised child
- Quiet, small, creates no smoke or fumes and never gets hot
- Cuts a little on the slow side
- Factory chain only has cutting teeth every other link instead of every link
The Ryobi ONE+ P547 chainsaw provides all the power and benefits of a higher-priced gas model. It has a push-button oiler, easy side access to chain tensioning adjustment, and can cut, trim, limb and prune twice as fast as its predecessor.
It’s compatible with all ONE+ batteries, chargers, and tools.
Remington RM4620 Outlaw Chainsaw
- Chrome bore cylinder increase durability and extends the engine life
- Features a five-point special anti-vibration system
- Has an adjustable automatic oiler
- Occasionally stalls out when chain is locked
- On the heavy side and comes in a flimsy plastic case
The Remington RM4620 is a powerful machine that has been designed with larger jobs in mind.
It features a diecast professional-grade chassis, an easy to adjust side access tensioner, and comfortable cushion grip handles which keep vibrations to a minimum.
It’s hard to pick one “best chainsaw”.
There are many variables including budget, type of use, user experience, etc. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the models above. Do your research and figure out which features are most important to you.
I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below or reach out to me and I can help out more if needed.