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With DIY hobbies on the rise, operating power tools is becoming commonplace. This is why we decided to help you in your choice of the right chainsaw to fulfill your needs, whether they are of the professional or purely entertainment variety.
Finding the right chainsaw for you can seem like a daunting task for anyone who hasn’t got a lot of experience with woodworking. Understanding the ins and outs of the machine you’re buying is very useful, but also a challenge in itself.
To make your life easier, we sifted through the various options and models of some of the best companies out there and we present you with our top findings. When faced with a choice between reliable Husqvarna and the giant Stihl, it’s easy to become stumped: but fear not, using our trusty guide will aid you in making the right choice.
If you’re in a hurry, note that my top pick is the Husqvarna 455 Rancher 20-Inch 55-1/2cc 2-Stroke Gas-Powered Chain Saw, which has all the feature a chainsaw could ever need.
In a Rush? Here is Our Top Choice
Husqvarna 455 Rancher
Top Choices For Your Money
How Does a Chainsaw Work?
Starting with the basics: a chainsaw is a portable power tool that features a powerful engine hidden in a shell and a saw blade. The operator is able to start it up by a simple press of a button, which kick-starts the engine.
The engine then pulls on the chainsaw’s cord and the chain placed around the saw blade starts its circular movement around the blade, and is then able to cut through most objects pushed against it.
By the very nature of things, operating a chainsaw is a task best left to the responsible people of the world. The chainsaw “teeth” can be dangerous even when the engine isn’t running, and the danger increases tenfold when it is.
Make sure you always have a stable grip on the handle and be sure to keep it at a distance with your body at all times.
Features to Look for in a Chainsaw
There are some typical sorts and features of chainsaws, which you should be aware of before making your choice, check out our top 10 chainsaws buying guide.
There are three types of chainsaws available in the market. Let us go through each of them and their usage in different tasks.
These chainsaws are the most prominent and commonly-used type. Since gasoline powers them, they make for a more powerful and heavy-duty option against cutting wood. That being said, keep in mind that they are more expensive, heavier, and noisier in operation than other types of chainsaws. They also require more maintenance (which can be an issue for some).
If you are someone working in the woods as a professional, cutting medium to large-sized trees, then a gas-powered chainsaw is the way to go.
As the name suggests, electric-powered chainsaws run on electricity directly out of a power outlet. Since there is no engine, they weigh much less and produce less noise and vibration.
However, they are less than ideal for cutting down trees in remote areas.
Their corded nature binds them to the availability of a power outlet. Also, considering they are less powerful than gas-powered chainsaws, they are best suited for people who see themselves using the chainsaw once or twice throughout the year.
These cordless, battery-powered chainsaws rely on rechargeable batteries to draw juice to function. They provide mobility but are not reliable regarding how long you can use them; they require a frequent recharge.
They are ideal for small tasks, such as trimming or cutting down small trees.
You can always pack a couple of spare batteries, but who wants to carry extra luggage?
Length of the Guide Bar
The guide bar is the length of the chainsaw. To put it simple: the longer the guide bar, the bigger trees can you cut down.
This will, however, come with the tradeoff of a heavier chainsaw that is harder to handle.
Professionals felling trees in the forest will find 18” and above an ideal size. For beginners, a guide bar of 12” or less in length is suitable.
The Safety Features
The very nature of chainsaws makes them dangerous, even for professionals. Accidents can occur due to lack of safety features and education.
Some chainsaws come with a two throttle trigger that requires you to press them to engage the engine simultaneously. Vibration makes it difficult to hold a chainsaw, so look for chainsaws that advertise low vibration operation.
Other safety features include a chain brake. It immediately halts the chain from moving. That’s always a good option to have- definite recommendation.
The Overall Feel of the Chainsaw
Chainsaws are tough to handle, especially the powerful ones. They create high vibrations that you will constantly fight against to keep the chainsaw stable and cut precisely.
This can prove difficult if the chainsaw is not ergonomically perfect to hold.
Additionally, your physical fitness plays a role in how well you can handle a chainsaw.
Operating this tool will give you the work-out of your life, but if you’re out of shape be sure to stay away from the more powerful options.
Husqvarna is one of the leading manufacturers of chainsaws. Based in Sweden, Husqvarna manufactures power products such as:
- Garden tractors
- Power cutters
- Leaf blowers
- Pressure washers
….and much more.
It has been in business for over 300 years – yes, you heard that right. So, you can definitely count on its products to be reliable.
Husqvarna is part of the Husqvarna Group which includes more note-worthy brands, including Gardena and WeedEater. Its expertise extends beyond power equipment as it manufactures motorcycles too.
Husqvarna Chainsaws to Consider
1. Husqvarna 455 Rancher
20-Inch 55-1/2cc 2-Stroke Gas-Powered
The Husqvarna 455 Rancher boosts a X-torq engine that seriously reduces fuel consumption, so it is sure to not only cut down anything that needs cutting, but also to save you a pretty penny while doing it. It reduces around 60% of emissions and 20% of consumption, which are impressive numbers in themselves.
There will be no issues with starting this saw up, making the risk of flooding the engine minimal and the air cleaning system it features will ensure that the air filter will not need frequent replacements. It’s a heavy-duty tool and not for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely one of the best products Husqvarna has to offer and will cut through any type of wood with ease.
It can become a member of your household for a little over $410
2. Husqvarna 460 24-Inch Rancher
If you’re looking for a saw that will last you a lifetime, this just might be it. The gas-powered product features a 60cc two cycle engine capable of producing enough power to cut through medium (and sometimes even big) sized trees. It also includes the HAVS (Hand to Arm Vibration) system, and a chain brake that is inertia activated.
Thanks to the HAVS technology and the fact that it comes equipped with padded interiors which absorb much of the vibrations, you will be able to use it for hours without ever needing a break. It is a bit on the heavy side and it fires on the first pull, so it’s better suited for more experienced woodworkers.
It will run you just above $400, which is a solid price for a solid tool.
3. Husqvarna 450 Chain Saw
18-Inch 50.2cc X-Torq 2-Cycle Gas Powered with Smart Start
As the name itself says this saw features a smart start button, making it super easy to start up the saw. It also boosts with an X-torq engine with ensures maximum fuel efficiently and minimal harm to the environment. Much like the previous item on our list, it has an air cleaning system in place, as well as a chain brake activated by inertia.
What makes it special is the fact that the fuel level is visible at all times, making it easier to handle. The engine is built to last, so you can be sure this chainsaw will be around for years. Its frame is designed to minimize the stress placed on your body and this, combined with the anti-vibration technology will allow you to use it for hours without becoming exhausted.
Priced at under $370, it will be a worthy investment and one your yard will thank you for.
Husqvarna 240 2 HP
If you’re on a tight budget, and woodworking is more of a hobby than anything else, Husqvarna has though of you as well. The 240 2 HP model is perfect for yard work, pruning and lighter cutting tasks and it will run you under $200.
You won’t be compromising on quality, as it boosts the same X-torq engine its more expensive cousins have, as well as the same anti-vibration technology.
It is light to hold, as well as light enough not to put a dent on your wallet.
STIHL (pronounced “steel”) is a German manufacturer of power equipment, which hails itself as the world’s best-selling brand of chainsaws. So, we can definitively say that it is most known for its chainsaw lineup.
Founded in 1926, STIHL it has a lot less history under its belt. But the German-based manufacturer’s hundred-year worth of experience is nothing to shrug off so easily.
Stihl’s portfolio of products include:
- Trimmers and brush cutters
- Blowers and shredder vacs
- Bed redefiners
- Pressure washers
- Concrete cutters
….and much more.
The thing that makes STIHL unique that it manufactures its guide bars and saw chains. A capability, which STIHL says, has allowed it to become the number one selling brand of chainsaws worldwide.
A tall achievement that offsets their shorter history, at least when it comes to chainsaws.
STIHL Chainsaws to Consider
1. STIHL MS181
The chainsaw is equipped with an anti-vibration system which oscillates vibrations produced by the engine, giving you a safer working experience.
The 2-MIX engine guarantees fuel savings of up to 20% compared to other STIHL engines without 2-MIX technology and up to 50% fewer emissions.
Husqvarna 455 Rancher
Honestly, even if you decide to go against my personal favorite Husqvarna 455 Rancher 20-Inch 55-1/2cc 2-Stroke Gas-Powered Chain Saw, and opt for one of the other saws listed here, you won’t be making a mistake.
Though the 455 Rancher boosts some of the best features, including unparallel HAVS technology and greener than most X-torq engine, the other choices here are just as attractive.
Keep in mind your needs, always keep safety first and cut away!