The chainsaw conjures up images of a frightening, loud, and heavy contraption, meant only for the bravest professionals. While it’s true that chainsaws are high-powered, efficient machines, today’s chainsaws are lighter, more versatile, and easier to use than ever, making them accessible to homeowners, novice landscapers, and seasoned professionals alike.
Whether you’re looking for an easy-to-use chainsaw for small-scale yard work or something a little more powerful for heavy-duty jobs, at least one of today’s many top rated chainsaws is sure to satisfy your needs. There are a number of important considerations to keep in mind while seeking a chainsaw. This chainsaw comparison will help you decide what kind of saw you need and what brand and model will be best for you.
Different Types of Chainsaws
Before diving into the nitty-gritty of the vast array of chainsaws available today, let’s go through a brief overview. A chainsaw, as defined today, is a portable mechanical saw, powered by electricity, gas, hydraulic power, or compressed air. Chainsaws, depending on type, can be used for a number of purposes, including tree felling, pruning and shaping, harvesting firewood, and even chainsaw art (who doesn’t love ice sculptures?).
Basically, whatever your chopping, cutting, or sawing needs, there is likely something for you in the following chainsaw reviews. There are a few important distinctions between chainsaws that you should consider before shopping. For example, today’s chainsaws fall into two main categories based on power type: electric and gas.
Electric saws are usually smaller, lighter, and more user-friendly than their gas-powered counterparts, and they’re perfect for low-intensity yard work.
Gas chainsaws, on the other hand, are typically more powerful but also require more maintenance and care. Then there are pole saws, essentially chainsaws on a stick, used for trimming higher branches out of reach, which can be either electric or gas-powered. Let’s explore these differences in more depth.
Electric: As mentioned above, electric chainsaws are typically smaller and better for yard work that requires less power, such as pruning, trimming, small tree cutting, etc. They also tend to be much lighter and quieter than gas saws. Some added bonuses of electric chainsaws: they require less maintenance, are easier to start and store, and have a much smaller risk of kickback (in which the guide bar reverses direction and can cause serious injury to the operator).
Electric are either corded or cordless chainsaws. Battery-operated chainsaws are portable and convenient, but their batteries tend to be rather short-lived, whereas corded chainsaws can last forever, but they have shorter range. The downsides of these convenient, easy-to-use chainsaws? Electric saws tend to have smaller bars (the part of the saw from the tip of the chain to the top of the body) and are less powerful than gas saws.
Gas: A gas chainsaw uses a two-cycle engine fueled by a mix of oil and gasoline. These saws tend to be more powerful and mobile (as they don’t require batteries or cords). These saws are a good choice if you plan on doing more demanding jobs, like cutting down trees and large shrubs or more heavy-duty pruning and yard work.
Gas-powered saws are equipped with a longer bar length (up to 42 inches) for more reach and cutting capacity. However, these saws require more maintenance: they need to cool down after use, and all the oil and gasoline needs to be drained before storing. Gas saws need to be stored in an upright position in a well-ventilated place.
Pole Saws: A pole saw is a typical chainsaw attached to a long shaft that can extend up to 10 feet. These saws are perfect for trimming and cutting in places that are out of your reach without requiring the use of a ladder. Like a typical chainsaw, pole saws can be electric (via cord or rechargeable battery) or gas-powered, and they’re an excellent addition to any landscaper’s arsenal.
Our Top 5 Favorites
Today’s best chainsaws provide an ideal combination of power, versatility, and convenience. All of the chainsaws listed below are highly rated and popular among both homeowners and professional landscapers. The following article will give you an idea of what type of chainsaw is best for what purposes and will help you select a saw that is right for you.
The Black & Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper is rated the best chainsaw of 2015. Its unique design, featuring clamping jaws rather than the usual extended bar, is intended for easy use and convenience. This corded electric saw also features a powerful 4.5 amp motor. At less than 7 pounds, this is one of the lightest chainsaws out there and is perfect for small-scale yard work.
With a 6-inch bar, this chainsaw is not intended for heavy-duty tree or branch cutting, but can accommodate logs and branches up to 4 inches in diameter. This popular chainsaw is a great choice for homeowners looking for an easy, affordable, and powerful tool for standard trimming and pruning.Click Here to See Price on Amazon!
Black and Decker also steals the second spot in this year’s chainsaw reviews with its highly rated LPP12 Cordless Pole Saw. This battery-operated pole saw features an extendable shaft that offers lengths from 6.5 to 10 feet, with an overhead reach of up to 14 feet. It also comes with a 20-volt lithium ion battery with extended lifespan and charge retention, with a capacity of up to 100 cuts per charge.
This Black and Decker Pole Saw comes equipped with an 8-inch cutting bar, which accommodates branches up to 6 inches in diameter. This pole saw is an easy, convenient, and portable option for homeowners needing to do some light trimming and pruning in high places.Click Here to See Price on Amazon!
A powerful engine, lightweight body, and excellent safety features combine to make the WORX WG303.1 Chain Saw one of this year’s best chainsaws. This corded electric saw from WORX features a 14.5 amp engine, making it as powerful as some of its gas-powered counterparts. Its 16-inch bar makes it ideal for both small-scale and higher-intensity cutting, trimming, and pruning.
This affordable saw also offers a number of safety features, such as a safety chain stop that helps prevent kickback. For extra convenience, the WORX WG303.1 also provides easy, tool-free chain replacement and installment. At 11 pounds, this saw is a convenient, user-friendly choice for homeowners and professionals alike.Click Here to See Price on Amazon!
This dual-purpose saw is a versatile option for any user, with an easily detachable saw. When attached to its 10-foot shaft, the Remington RM1015P Branch Wizard 2-in-1 saw can reach heights up to 15 feet, making it a great tool for tall trimming. The detachable saw can be removed from its pole to become a generic handheld saw without the use of tools, and it features a 10-inch bar that is perfect for cutting small- and medium-sized branches.
Its 8 amp motor is a little less powerful than other saws of its size, but it makes up for its lack of power with its convenient, user-friendly, and lightweight (just 11 pounds with the pole attached) design.Click Here to See Price on Amazon!
WORX makes its second appearance in this list with its WG308 Electric JawSaw. Like the Remington 2-in-1, this electric saw offers an optional, easily attached extension handle for trimming higher branches up to 12 feet high, and its unique clamping design offers an easy grip and one-motion cutting.
This corded saw features a powerful 5 amp engine and a smaller, 6-inch bar that can accommodate branches up to 4 inches in diameter. This top rated saw is an affordable and versatile option for beginning landscapers.Click Here to See Price on Amazon!
Other Notable Choices
- Powerful gas engine with super clean air filter system
- 20-inch bar for larger branches
- Weighs just 10 pounds
- Easy pull starting system and reduced vibration handle
- Comes with carrying case
- Corded electric saw with 8 amp engine
- 14-inch low kickback bar
- Compact and lightweight design (just 6.25 pounds)
- Equipped with push-button oiler and external chain tension adjuster
- Gas saw with powerful 3.2 HP X-Torq engine with increased efficiency and reduced exhaust
- 18-inch bar for greater cutting capacity
- CARB-compliant air cleaning system
- Equipped with vibration dampening and easy start features
- Weighs 10.8 pounds
- Corded electric saw with powerful 12 amp motor
- 16-inch bar for small- and medium-sized branches (also available with 14-inch bar)
- Automatic oiling feature and tool-less chain tension adjustment
- Most affordable saw in top 10, at less than $70
- On the heavier side (weighs 12 pounds)
- Battery-operated saw with 4 amp motor, includes 4AH battery and charger
- Brushless motor delivers up to 30% more torque for higher performance and 70% less vibration
- Low kickback chain with built-in chain brake for added safety
- Less than 7 pounds
While Stihl didn’t make into the top 10, its saws are widely considered some of the best chainsaws on the market. German-owned Stihl is a reputed manufacturer of heavy-duty saws and is renowned for having constructed the very first chainsaw way back in 1926. Stihl is the best-selling brand of chainsaws and is known for making well-crafted and reliable gas-powered saws for both homeowners and professionals, although they are best for more demanding jobs.
I should note that Stihl chainsaws can only be purchased via the Stihl website or local serving dealers (they are not sold at major chain hardware stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s), although used Stihls can often be found elsewhere. Because these saws are exclusively sold through dealers, prices vary, but Stihls are known for being on the pricier side. If you are in the market for something more budget concious, read our Homelite reviews.
Echo is another popular chainsaw brand that narrowly missed the top 10, owned and distributed by Japanese manufacturer Yamabiko. Like Stihl, Echo produces predominantly gas-powered chainsaws intended for more heavy-duty tasks. Its bestsellers are its CS-310 model with 14-inch bar and the CS-400 18-inch bar saw. As saws intended for higher-intensity jobs, Echo chainsaws tend to be on the heavier and more expensive side, but are an excellent, reliable choice for any experienced landscaper or professional.
The Husqvarna Group is a Swedish-owned manufacturer and world’s largest producer of outdoor power products, including, of course, chainsaws. Husqvarna provides a variety of chainsaw styles and sizes, making it one of the more versatile chainsaw brands on the market today.
Beginning landscapers and professional tree surgeons alike can find a Husqvarna saw to meet their needs. Largely gas-powered, these saws are a more affordable (but still high-quality) alternative to their Jonsered, Stihl and Echo cousins for more demanding yard work.
If you plan on using your new saw for lighter jobs around the home there may not be a need to invest in the more expensive well known brands. If this sounds like you, you should check out our Poulan reviews before you buy!
Choosing The Right Chainsaw
When shopping for a chainsaw, there are a number of important considerations to keep in mind. First and foremost, you should think about how you intend to use your chainsaw. Are you looking for something to help you trim and prune smaller trees and shrubs? Or do you need a product that can handle thicker branches and can fell trees? Answering these questions will help you determine what kind of engine and bar length to look for.
Electric saws with shorter bar lengths are great for homeowners who are looking to do some standard trimming and pruning. With a quality chain, they’re usually safer and easier to take care of and store. Although recharging batteries and being tethered by a cord can be inconvenient. More powerful, longer gas saws are more portable and are generally better suited for more heavy-duty trimming and tree felling, but they require a little more maintenance and care.
Whatever your intended use, reading product reviews like these and seeking in-store advice are both great ways to get a clearer idea of what you’re looking for and will help you select the chainsaw that is right for you.
Time To Choose…
A chainsaw is a great addition to any landscaper’s arsenal of power tools. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, you can find a chainsaw that is perfect for you. Today’s chainsaws are safer, more powerful, and more user-friendly than ever.
From lightweight electric saws for small-scale trimming to their high-powered, heavy-duty gas-powered counterparts, there’s sure to be a chainsaw on the market that perfectly suits your needs. Chainsaw comparisons like this one will help you sort through today’s top rated saws to help you find and select the best product for you.