Chainsaws are excellent power tools that everyone can benefit from. These tools cut through tree branches and trunks quickly and easily. They’re great to have on hand if you need to clear your yard, trim a branch that’s grown too close to your house, or cut a fallen branch into pieces for easy removal.
A chainsaw is a mechanical, portable saw that has teeth attached to an endless chain which rotates along a guide bar. This metal chain is where the chainsaw’s cutting power comes from (and its name), providing you with more consistency and power. The original chainsaws were developed in the early 1800s as a surgical tool, but they were soon adapted to cutting wood.
Use your chainsaw for a wide variety of applications, including firewood harvesting, wild land fire suppression, tree pruning, limbing, bucking, and felling. Wondering where to begin? Our chainsaw reviews below outline the top seven saws so you can get a head start on finding the best chainsaw for your needs.
Chainsaw Comparison Chart
|Brand/Model (Click Item Text to Scroll to Review)||Rating|
|1. Husqvarna 20" 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw|
Our Top Pick for 2019
|2. DeWalt DCCS670X1 16" 60V MAX Li-Ion Brushless Cordless Chainsaw Kit||9.6/10||CHECK PRICE|
|3. Greenworks 16" 40V Cordless Chainsaw||9.6/10||CHECK PRICE|
|4. Makita XCU03PT 14" 18V X2 LXT Li-Ion Brushless Cordless Chain Saw Kit||9.5/10||CHECK PRICE|
|5. EGO Power+ CS1400 14" 56V Li-Ion Cordless Chainsaw||9.5/10||CHECK PRICE|
|6. Black+Decker 12" 40V MAX Cordless Chainsaw||9.4/10||CHECK PRICE|
|7. Craftsman 20" 46CC 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw||9.3/10||CHECK PRICE|
Best Chainsaw Reviews
1. Husqvarna 20″ 460 Rancher Gas ChainsawCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
The Rancher Chainsaw by Husqvarna is a dependable and durable all-around saw that’s excellent for projects where you need a long bar. The gas tool has a 20-inch guide bar and chain, and the 2 cycle engine has an adjustable oil pump as well as air injection. This air injection cleaning system improves the life of the engine by preventing large debris and dust particles from getting to the air filter. The chainsaw’s ergonomic design makes it easy to handle the power, and it’s also easy to start due to SmartStart technology. You can cut firewood, cut tree limbs, and prune all with this powerful saw.
Husqvarna aims to make your experience as easy and seamless as possible. Their chainsaw features X-Torqlowers fuel consumption, which reduces emissions without compromising the power of the saw. A quick-release air filter makes it easy to clean the filter and replace it when necessary. Chainsaw sharpeners, oils, and cycle fuels are also available for purchase that work optimally with the chainsaw and provide ultimate safety.
Overall, Husqvarna’s chainsaw was developed for safety and high productivity. The company collaborates with professional forestry workers as well as homeowners so it’s ensured that the tool is exactly what people need. It’s easy to avoid kick back, and the chain catcher is designed to catch and stop the chain if anything breaks or derails while the saw is in operation. However, the trigger often becomes difficult to use and some users found that their chainsaw did not last more than a couple of months.
2. DeWalt DCCS670X1 16″ 60V MAX Li-Ion Brushless Cordless Chainsaw KitCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
This 60V MAX Brushless Chainsaw by DeWalt comes with a 3.0AH battery and features a 16”, low kick back Oregon bar and chain that’s perfect for all of your outdoor cutting and construction projects. There’s also a chain brake, for extra protection from kick back. The chainsaw also has an auto-oiling feature that continuously lubricates the chain and a quarter-turn oil cap for quick refills, so you can cut however much you need without needing to stop; you’ll get up to 70 cuts per charge with this chainsaw.
The chain tensioning andbar tightening knob is completely tool-free, which allows you to quickly and easily make an adjustment to achieve the proper clamping force along the bar. At just over twelve pounds, this chainsaw is also lightweight and very easy to operate. It’s backed by DeWalt’s 3 year limited warranty, and is part of a kit which includes the chainsaw, battery, charger for the battery, and hard bar cover. It’s also a chainsaw that features a low noise level and is one of the easiest chainsaws for working in noise-sensitive environments, including your quiet neighborhood.
DeWalt’s chainsaw is quiet, very easy to maintain, easy to handle, and dependable. However, the bar oil easily leaks and may get all over your work space, and you unfortunately have to drain the oil after you’re done using the chainsaw every time. The self oiling system may also cause some smoke. Some users had difficulty tightening the chain, or had the chain tightener fail within just a few uses.
3. Greenworks 16″ 40V Cordless ChainsawCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
Greenworks’ 16-inch chainsaw aims to take lithium-ion battery technology to the next level and provides you with an electric chainsaw solution that’s comparable in power and performance to gas saws. Backed by innovative brushless technology, the saw has a longer life, less noise, and extended efficiency, as well as up to 30% more torque and up to 70% less vibration. This makes the Greenworks chainsaw perfect for homeowners who need a quiet tool that’s easily controlled and durable with less wear and tear for a better overall cutting performance.
You can also share the battery among Greenworks’ power tool collection, which comprises of more than 25 tools and are all part of the G-MAX 40V Li-Ion system. For each charge, you’ll get up to 100 cuts on the chainsaw. The saw also features increased safety with a low kick back chain and electronic chain brake to prevent any accidents. The heavy duty Oregon bar features an automatic oiler and high performance. The chainsaw is also lightweight and maneuverable and perfect to get the job done.
Greenworks is a viable solution for people looking to replace their gas chainsaw with an electric one, and its smooth operation, low noise level, and performance are tough to beat. However, the bar oil tends to leak everywhere and can cover the saw, including the trigger area. The chain tightening mechanism also constantly needs to be adjusted, which may interrupt your workflow.
For a list of exclusively electric chainsaws, check out our Electric Chainsaw article.
4. Makita XCU03PT 14″ 18V X2 LXT Li-Ion Brushless Cordless Chain Saw KitCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
More contractors, landscapers, and homeowners need cordless alternatives to gas-powered or corded power tools, and Makita meets these demands. The company has expanded its line of cordless chainsaws, including this 18V X2 LXT Brushless Chainsaw Kit, which features less maintenance, a lower noise level, and zero emissions. Whether it’s your job to cut trees or you need to work on your yard, this chainsaw is a great solution for any trimming or cutting application. You get a long run time and 36V power with two 18V LXT batteries.
You’ll also experience high power and long-term efficiency comparable to gas chainsaws with Makita’s outer rotor brushless motor and direct drive system. The saw has a 14-inch guide bar and a variable speed system that delivers increased cutting speed from 0-3,940 FPM. The variable speed trigger provides you with easy operation. You can change the chain without any tools for convenience, and the electric brake ensures maximum productivity. An LED on/off switch has an automatic power-off function, so the saw is automatically turned off if your operation is delayed, providing an extended battery life.
This is an impressive electric chainsaw and is very smooth and easy to use. However, some users felt that the bar and chain are too thin to be effective, and that the machine doesn’t stay oiled well enough and tends to run dry quickly. The chainsaw will also get very hot quickly, and some people had their saw stop working after just a couple uses.
5. EGO Power+ CS1400 14″ 56V Li-Ion Cordless ChainsawCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
This chainsaw by EGO Power+ aims to deliver power that’s unbelievable given that it’s an electric powered machine. The 14-inch bar and chain combine with a high-efficiency, brushless motor that provides up to 6,300 RPM and smooth cuts that are effortless on your part. The motor extends both the run time and the overall life of the chainsaw. The entire construction of the machine is weather-resistant, so you can work in all types of conditions and don’t have to worry about the longevity of your power tool. You get added control and safety with a chain kick back brake, and it’s easy to adjust the tensioning of the chain with a knob.
This chainsaw features the advanced EGO Power+ 56V ARC lithium battery, which is compatible with all EGO Power+ tools to save you money and time. This battery utilizes industry-leading technology to deliver the unbelievable power of the tool, and a standard charger is included in all kits (both a 2.0Ah and 2.5Ah kit are available). All outdoor equipment produced by the company comes with a 5 year, limited warranty, and the battery packs and chargers are each given a 3 year limited warranty as well.
Overall, this chainsaw delivers impressive power and performance, all without the fumes, fuss, or noise of traditional saws. Many users enjoyed it, however the chain sometimes comes off when larger trees are being cut, which means that you may have to stop and continually put the chain back on. After a season’s use, the battery also does not hold up as well.
6. Black+Decker 12″ 40V MAX Cordless ChainsawCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
This chainsaw by Black+Decker provides you a longer overall life as well as longer runtime with its 40V MAX lithium ion battery; once charged, the battery can last up to five times longer than other batteries on the market. The 12” Oregon low-kick back bar and chain are premium and feature an automatic oiling system to ease any worries and enable you to continuously cut. You’ll be able to adjust the chain tensioning tool-free quickly and easily, and can get more than 60 cuts for every charge. A full, wrap-around handle provides you great comfort and control as you cut in several different orientations.
The saw is most suitable for cutting small fallen limbs and pruning branches. It features a design that’s very lightweight and ergonomic, so you get the best maneuverability and ease of use out of it. The standard charger included gives you 4-5 hours of run time, and an LED display shows you how much battery charge you have left so you can plan your task accordingly, and will stay on continuously. The charger and battery are included in this purchase.
With this chainsaw, you can cut for hours with consistent power. It’s very comfortable and easy to use. Some users, however, experienced issues with the oil and felt that the automatic oiling system did not work after just a couple of uses. The oil may also leak and could potentially get all over the clothing of the person using the saw.
7. Craftsman 20″ 46CC 2-Cycle Gas ChainsawCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
This gas powered chainsaw from Craftsman features steady control, simple upkeep, and comfortable use. The high output, 2-cycle full crank engine has pro-grade chassis, which provides you with consistent power. It’s very easy to start with simple pull starts, and you’ll be comfortable the entire time you’re using it with a full wrap handle that’s cushioned. The saw also has a 3-point, anti-vibration system that cuts down on the vibration you feel as it provides a more comfortable, maneuverable, and balanced operation on your end.
The 20-inch bar and chain are low kick back, and the chain brake is inertia activated to protect you as well as provide greater overall control. The automatic oiler is adjustable and ensures you can work worry-free as it keeps both the chain and the bar in optimal condition. It’s also very easy to upkeep this saw with access to the spark plug and filter which don’t require any tools to be used. You can get through the most prolonged and brutal cutting tasks, then easily check over your saw and clean things out afterward. For convenience, your purchase also includes a 2-cycle oil and a heavy duty case for carrying the saw around as well as storage–all backed by Craftsman’s 2-year limited warranty.
While this chainsaw is very easy to use and quite comfortable, users felt that the gas fumes are particularly strong and that the saw is much heavier than other brands. The bar and chain oil also tend to leak while the tool is being stored, and sometimes it can be difficult to keep the chain tensioned properly.
Gas vs Electric Chainsaw
Chainsaws are mainly used for three tasks: limbing, which involves removing limbs and branches from a tree that’s already downed; bucking, which is cutting the trunk of a downed tree to length; and felling, which involves cutting a tree that’s upright in a calculated, safe, and controlled way. You’ll have two options for chainsaws: a gas chainsaw, or an electric one.
Electric chainsaws are attractive to many people, especially those who are homeowners and might not be comfortable with gas engines, as they provide clean energy and don’t require much maintenance. Newer models feature a long battery life, and the cutting power is just as good as gas-powered saws. However, in some cases, a gas chainsaw can’t be rivaled when it comes to cutting speed and power. Understanding which one is best for you and the pros and cons can help you determine which one to invest in.
The pros of electric chainsaws is that they’re very easy to use and carry because they’re compact and light. They’re also much quieter, and won’t leave the scent of gas behind. You also don’t need to worry about achieving that perfect mix of gas and oil, as they start up with the push of a button. However, they’ll lack the stamina and power to cut down large trees to either remove or make firewood from, and corded electric models have many drawbacks as they require extension cords. Overall, you will be limited in what you can cut. Electric chainsaws are great for tasks such as trimming limbs, sprucing trees, cutting small logs and the like.
Gas chainsaws, on the other hand, are perfect for work that’s heavy duty. If you live on a farm, have a lot of trees, or need something more professional, investing in a gas saw will allow you to cut large trees and turn large logs into firewood. You’ll also have a variety of bar lengths available to match your project. You won’t be confined, and you don’t need to worry about battery life. However, gas saws are definitely more heavy and can cause fatigue. They’re also much louder, give off a gas scent, and require a mix of gas and oil. They’re also a more expensive investment and may be intimidating to beginners.
Corded vs Cordless Chainsaw
If you decide to invest in an electric chainsaw, you’ll need to make a choice between two types: corded or cordless. Both kinds perform impressively, however it often comes down to user preference, power, and weight. Notably, both types are quite powerful, hassle free, have zero emissions, and will definitely help you get the job done.
Corded electric chainsaws require a power cable that connects to an extension cord. They’re more powerful than cordless saws, and will cut through logs that are tougher and larger. Usually, you’ll be able to cut within 100 feet of your power supply. Look for a saw that has an automatic bar oiler; this will keep the chain lubricated, which is beneficial because friction between the chain belt and bar can result in serious wear. Corded saws will also be heavier and typically weigh between six to seventeen pounds. Use them for lighter projects and shorter periods of time.
Cordless electric chainsaws utilize a rechargeable battery for a power source and offer a lot more flexibility. You’ll have an unlimited range of usability, especially in remote areas, and can work for about two hours on average. If you’ll be working all day, you can carry extra batteries. High performance will be maintained as you cut, and cordless saws also tend to be more lightweight at five to fifteen pounds. This is the better option for homeowners who are tackling small projects.
Setting up and Maintaining a Chainsaw
Before you start up your chainsaw, you should take a quick look to ensure everything is in place and the chain is tightened and lubricated. Gas chainsaws require two-stroke fuel, which is a mixed blend of oil and gas (about 2.5 ounces of oil to 1 gallon of gas). In order for your chain to stay lubricated, ensure that your bar oil stays full. Many maintenance issues stem from not mixing oil and fuel properly, or leaving leftover fuel in the chainsaw for too long.
To begin to use your chainsaw, place it on flat ground. Push the chain brake forward so it engages, and pull the start/choke control to the ON position. Always use your left hand to hold the front handle, and put your right foot onto the rear handle. Pull the starting handle with your right hand, until the saw fires up. As the saw starts, squeeze the throttle so the high idle is disengaged.
As you cut, hold the front handle with your left hand and the rear handle with your right. Pull the chain brake back to disengage, then squeeze the throttle. Complete your cuts away from the bar tip, since cutting with the tip can cause kick back. Don’t cut above shoulder height or on a ladder; keep it at waist level if possible. Cut from the side instead of hovering over the tool.
When it comes to maintaining your power tool, you should regularly inspect the chainsaw and properly clean it so it operates safely. Every time you use it, check the tension of the chain, inspect the bar and clean it, and check the air filter. When the filter is full, get a replacement. Inspect the oiler, the chain catcher, chain brake, and throttle lockout. The only two tests that require the chainsaw to be running are checking the chain lubrication and chain brake. Otherwise, it’s essential to have the saw off as you make adjustments and perform maintenance.
An important aspect is to always keep the teeth of the chain sharp. Some chains require a certain device, but in some cases you may be able to sharpen manually with a filing kit. The manufacturer should include instructions on sharpening and may recommend enlisting a professional.
Best Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide
As you consider which chainsaw to purchase, there are some basic features to keep in mind that will make your choice easier. For example, it’s important to look at how long the bar of the chainsaw is, the number of cuts per charge it provides (if it’s electric-powered), how easy the saw is to use especially you are a beginner, and whether you need just a saw, or a battery and charger included.
The inch of the bars is one of the most varied features of chainsaws. On our list, the saws vary from 12 inches to 20 inches. If you need a saw with a longer bar, take a look at the Husqvarna and the Craftsman, which are both at 20 inches. The DeWalt and the Greenworks are at 16, while the Makita and EGO Power+ are both at 14. The Black+Decker chainsaw is the shortest on our list at 12 inches. Before you purchase a saw, it’s important to look at this number and question whether the length of the bar will fit your needs.
Battery Life (If Electric)
The number of cuts an electric chainsaw can provide is also essential to consider, and may vary widely. This number indicates how many cuts you can make after a single charge of the saw’s battery, which is essential information as you plan out whether you’ll need extra batteries and how long your project may take. Our DeWalt provides up to 70 cuts per charge, the Black+Decker up to 60, and the Greenworks an impressive 100.
Ease of Use
Whether you consider yourself a beginner or would like a chainsaw to use at home, ease of use, weight, and noise level are all important to keep in mind. The Husqvarna has an ergonomic design and starts up easily with SmartStart technology, taking the worry out of getting your chainsaw going. The DeWalt weighs at about 12 pounds, making it lightweight, and easy to use. It also features a low noise level and is a great option for noise-sensitive environments. Meanwhile, the Greenworks has up to 70% less vibration and is a quiet tool that’s easily controlled. Makita is well known for making power tools that are smooth and quite easy to use, while the Black+Decker chainsaw has a wrap-around handle that provides great ease of use, comfort, and maneuverability. The Craftsman features a cushioned handle and a three-point anti-vibration system, however it is a gas chainsaw, which tend to be to be heavier and louder.
Bare Tool vs a Kit
Additionally, our list varies between bare tools (just the chainsaw itself) and kits, which come with batteries, chargers, and occasionally a hard case or something to store the saw in. If you’re looking for a kit, take a look at the DeWalt, which includes a battery, charger, and hard bar cover, the Black+Decker which comes with a battery and charger, and the EGO Power+, whose chainsaw and battery are both covered by warranty. Otherwise, the chainsaws listed are bare tool only.
Summing It Up
Whether you need to clear a fallen tree from your driveway, trim limbs, or cut up firewood, chainsaws are essential tools that are great for both homeowners and professionals. One of the best aspects to this widely used and beloved power tool is that you’ll have plenty of options: a gas-powered one, or electric one? Corded, or cordless? Do you need a kit, or just the bare tool? Consider your unique needs to find the best chainsaw for you. Whether you require a long bar, comfort and ease of use, or a saw that’s long lasting, our chainsaw reviews provide you a great place to get started.