The Ultimate Chainsaw Buyers Guide

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It doesn’t matter if you have smaller shrubs and hedges in your garden or large trees – a chainsaw is going to allow you to trim and prune hedges and branches, or even completely cut down trees should you need to!

There are MANY different types of chainsaws out there to choose from! Smaller, electric models are perfect for if you have less trees or hedges that just need tidying up, whereas larger, petrol chainsaws can be used to do pretty much anything! We created this Ultimate Buyers Guide to give you all the information that you are going to need to make the right decision.

What is a chainsaw and how does it work?

A chainsaw is a power tool used to effectively cut down branches and trees. It is powered by a ‘power head’, which is the engine, which activates a metal chain driven by a clutch. The chain moves around a guide bar at high speeds and when the teeth make contact with the wood they drag across the wood, cutting at it.

Chainsaws are used in a number of professions such as landscapers, gardeners, carpenters and even firefighters. Essentially anyone with the need to cut trees, which includes homeowners.

In A Hurry?

Before you look any further into purchasing a chainsaw, you need to ask yourself three questions. What will your chainsaw be used for? How far away is the power source? And how much experience do you have?

Your answers to these questions will determine what type of chainsaw suits your needs.

Our Best Pick Chainsaw – Bosch UniversalChain 18 Cordless Chainsaw

Sale
Bosch Cordless Chainsaw UniversalChain 18 (battery 2.5 Ah, charger, SDS system, blade length: 200 mm, 18 Volt System, in carton packaging)
1,375 Reviews
Bosch Cordless Chainsaw UniversalChain 18 (battery 2.5 Ah, charger, SDS system, blade length: 200 mm, 18 Volt System, in carton packaging)
  • Exceptionally light weight at only 3 kg including battery
  • Streamlined Bosch SDS-system enables tool-free tensioning and chain replacement
  • Tip Protector with grip-teeth for clean undercuts with minimal branch damage
  • Switch between delicate pruning, waste management, and cutting firewood easily
  • Exceptionally light weight at only 3 kg including battery|Streamlined Bosch SDS-system enables tool-free tensioning and chain replacement|Tip Protector with grip-teeth for clean undercuts with minimal branch damage|Switch between delicate pruning, waste management, and cutting firewood easily|

Last update on 2022-09-06 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Types of Chainsaw

There are three main types of chainsaw for you to choose from.

Petrol

  • Petrol chainsaws offer the most power out of the three types
  • They are better suited to the more difficult cutting jobs and the more experienced user due to the fact that they have a two-stroke engine.
  • They are portable and so are good for use on larger gardens.
  • The petrol chainsaw is heavy and noisy and requires regular maintenance.
  • Has additional costs of buying petrol.

If you decide to look for a petrol chainsaw then make sure to look at the power and size of the engine – measured in cubic centimeters/cubic capacity (CC). You also want to look at the size of the fuel tank so you can see how much it will hold.

Electric Cordless

  • There is no cord to limit your movements making it an ideal choice for a larger garden.
  • Is lighter, quieter and requires less maintenance than the petrol.
  • Reasonably priced.
  • Safer as you don’t have to worry about cutting through the wire.
  • They are less powerful than the petrol and therefore, most suited to smaller gardens and smaller tasks.
  • Potentially having to pause during jobs to recharge the battery.

The power of a cordless chainsaw model is determined by the power delivered by the battery. The power is measured in volts (v). The battery most commonly found in these models is a 36V lithium-ion battery. It is recommended that you also look at the amp rating/ ampere-hour (Ah) as this is the measure of electric charge, which determines the battery capacity. The higher the capacity, the longer the battery will last.

Electric Corded

  • It is lightweight, quiet and does not require much maintenance.
  • Can be more powerful than those operated by a battery but still cannot match the power of the petrol chainsaw.
  • Generally cheaper than cordless or petrol models.
  • Can be used continuously as you don’t have to worry about a battery/fuel running out.
  • Can only offer limited movement as it must be plugged into a mains socket – this also leaves you with the potential of cutting through the wire by mistake.
  • The corded chainsaw’s power is measure in watts (W).

Best Budget Chainsaw – BLACK+DECKER CS2040-GB Chainsaw

BLACK+DECKER Corded Chainsaw 2000 W 40 cm with Anti Vibration System and Chain Brake System CS2040-GB
436 Reviews
BLACK+DECKER Corded Chainsaw 2000 W 40 cm with Anti Vibration System and Chain Brake System CS2040-GB
  • EFFECTIVE CUTTING : 2000W high torque motor with 12.5m/s chain speed, for fast cutting
  • AUTO OIL SYSTEM : Integrated auto oil system lubricates the chain, for reduced wear and greater cutting efficiency, and an easy fill oil system with large tank to minimise spillages when filling
  • PRACTICAL : Low kick back chain for smooth, fast cutting though wet and dry timber and quick easy chain fitting and adjusting
  • EXTRA SAFE : With the chain brake system, power automatically cuts out within 0.15 seconds if the chainsaw kicks back, for added safety
  • COMFORTABLE : Anti-vibration system and rubber overmold rear handle, for optimum comfort

Last update on 2022-09-07 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Key Chainsaw Features

Bar length

The size of the bar length determines the size of the log that can be cut in just one pass. You are still able to cut larger pieces of wood with a smaller bar length but it will just take more passes. For the safest cutting you should purchase a bar length that is 2” longer than what you want to cut.

Bar length is measure in centimetres (cm) and refers to the length of the cutting bar on the chainsaw. The size of the bar length determines the size of the log that can be cut in just one pass. You are still able to cut larger pieces of wood with a smaller bar length but it will just take more passes. For the safest cutting you should purchase a bar length that is 2” longer than what you want to cut.

If you are looking to purchase a chainsaw simply for light cutting around the home, a 14” bar should suffice.  Medium cuts will require around 18” and heavy duty cutting or those beginning a profession should look to purchase a bar around 30”.

Manufacturers should also provide you with guidelines as to what the recommended lengths are for each model they supply so ensure you check these.

It is also worth noting that the larger the bar, the heavier and more difficult it is to balance and manoeuvre, so please take this into consideration.

Chain speed

The chain speed ultimately determines how quickly you can cut through the wood. Measured in metres per second (m/s), the corded and cordless are usually somewhere around 9m/s and the petrol around 20m/s. Obviously, a quicker speed is going to allow you to get the job done quicker but they are going to require more power and aren’t always suitable for complete beginners.

Weight

It is worth comparing weights as this can significantly affect the movement. The weight of the chainsaw is measured in kilograms (kg). Petrol models tend to be heavier than the corded and cordless.

Kickback break

Kickback is the term used to describe the movement in which the chainsaw is thrust towards the user when it connect with the wood. Manufacturers have now designed a number of models that attempt to minimise the risk of this which is extremely important to keep you safe! Look out for models that come with anti-kickback designs – this safety brake is automatically stops the chainsaw if kickback takes place.

Chain tensioning

Maintaining good chain tension is important to ensure the chainsaw is safe. Chain tensioning refers to how tight the chain is on the chainsaw. Models that have a tensioning tool with which you can tighten the chain as and when required, is recommended where possible.

Handle type

Many models offer various grip features such as anti-vibration, ergonomic soft grip and wrap around handles. All of which, increase the accuracy of cutting but also the comfort when you are working which is important to reduce fatigue in your hands and wrists when you are working.

Chainsaw Safety Features

One of the most important things to be aware of when purchasing a chainsaw is the dangers of use. The chain on a chainsaw cannot be guarded; therefore, the chainsaw is one of the most dangerous hand-held power tools.

Your safety is important therefore, you should also purchase safety clothing to wear when using your chainsaw. Yes, this does add to your cost but is it worth the risk of not wearing?!

We recommend buying the following protective gear.

  • Safety helmet. Much like a hard hat worn in construction, it is designed to protect your head from kickback. They cost around £15.
  • Ear defenders. All models of chainsaw should be used wearing ear defenders. Many helmets come with ear defenders built in but you are able to buy them separately for around £10.
  • Safety trousers. These are designed with materials that snag to slow the movement made by the chain to create less injury. These cost between £50 and £200 dependent on the fabric.
  • Gloves. Chainsaw gloves are padded and made from a similar material to the pants to protect your hands. They cost between £10 and £35. Here are some of our favourites.
  • Boots. The safety boots have a steel toecap and a strong grip. Prices start from around £50.

It is worth noting, that some manufacturers offer a whole protection clothing kit which could save you money.

Best of the Rest

Makita UC3541A/2 240V 35cm Electric Chainsaw Large,Blue
1,688 Reviews
Makita UC3541A/2 240V 35cm Electric Chainsaw Large,Blue
  • New adjustment lever for easier tool-less chain/ tension adjustment
  • Adjustable automatic chain oil pump
  • Large separte type metal spike bumper. The spike grips the work piece firmly to provide more control
  • Large trigger switch
  • Oil fill level window to easily check oil level

Last update on 2022-09-07 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Greenworks Cordless Chainsaw GD40CS40 (Li-Ion 40 V 11 m/s Chain Speed 40 cm Sword Length 180 ml Oil Tank Volume Powerful Brushless Motor Without Battery and Charger)
145 Reviews
Greenworks Cordless Chainsaw GD40CS40 (Li-Ion 40 V 11 m/s Chain Speed 40 cm Sword Length 180 ml Oil Tank Volume Powerful Brushless Motor Without Battery and Charger)
  • EASY TO START - Insert 40 V battery and get started: With the cordless chain saw you can immediately saw branches and tree trunks free and without cables in your garden - battery and charger are not included
  • POWERFUL - The cordless chain saw has a chain speed of 11 m/s and a 3/8 Inch pitch as well as automatic chain oiling - so gardening and forestry work is no longer a problem
  • FULL POWER - Greenworks chain saw convinces thanks to the brushless DigiPro motor with 30 Percent more power and longer running times - for your safety the saw is equipped with a safety switch
  • COMFORT - Due to its low weight of 5.4 kg, the cordless saw is easy to handle and has an ergonomic handle and hand guard for comfortable and safe work in the garden
  • ONE BATTERY FOR ALL - The Greenworks 40 V batteries from 2Ah up to powerful 4Ah are versatile and compatible with many Greenworks products in the garden and workshop

Last update on 2022-09-07 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Sale
DEWALT DCM565N Cordless XR Brushless Chain Saw, 18 V, Yellow, 30 cm
761 Reviews
DEWALT DCM565N Cordless XR Brushless Chain Saw, 18 V, Yellow, 30 cm
  • 18V cordless XR brushless chainsaw 30cm (body only)
  • Powered by 18V XR 5.0Ah li-ion battery (Not Included) for extended run time (70 cuts 4" x 4" pressure treated spruce)
  • Lightweight and compact (3.6kg), ideal for one-handed cuts
  • Model number: DCM565N

Last update on 2022-09-06 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Frequently Asked Questions

Are chainsaws suited to users that are left-handed?

Unfortunately, chainsaws are made for right-handed use, making it difficult for those who are left-handed. If you are left handed, you may find it difficult to find a comfortable grip, therefore, it is recommended that you practice holding and moving the chainsaw with the power off before tackling the job it is needed for.

How do I take care of my chainsaw?

Like most power tools, the better care you take of them, the longer they will last and the more efficiently they will work. To help prevent rust use chain lubrication oil, to prevent the chain from becoming blunt, use a chain sharpener and ensure you replace any worn chains.

What warranty will I get with my chainsaw?

Most chainsaws will come with a two year warranty however there are variations in this. If your chainsaw is being used for commercial use then chances are you will only get a 12 month warranty so this is worth checking for.

About Mike Jones 193 Articles
I have been a keen DIY enthusiast for over 15 years, I’m constantly tinkering in my garage, taking things apart and building things. Along the way, I seem to have acquired a bit of a tool collection, as you do. The issue I found was that the information online when it comes to finding out what you need to know when buying new tools was somewhat limited. I didn’t necessarily need to know which tool to buy, but more what was important when making that buying decision. Also, a bit like a child in a sweet shop when I see new tools and things I can do with them I find it hard to resist. I started this blog back in 2017 to try and put together some buying guides, not really reviews but more what you may want to know before going and deciding on a new tool. I’m also a keen gardener and if there is a tool or gadget that helps me in the garden I’m going to let you know. I hope these musings and buyers guides are of use to you in some way. All the best, Mike.

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