Updated: June 8, 2015
Chainsaw Reviews:Chainsaws can come in handy when cutting down large trees or branches that would take too long with a regular saw. Whether you are a homeowner cleaning up trees in your yard or doing heavier cutting of logs in forests or on farms, a chainsaw is the type of power tool that will save you hours of hand sawing. Professional loggers know just how powerful a full size chainsaw can be and in recent years DIY homeowners have seen an increase in electric chainsaws and even pole saws that help them with yard cleanup. For the average home owner, the lightweight, easy to handle chain saws for occasional use are the best bet. Stihl, Husqvarna and Poulan are 3 recognized names in the industry and Makita, Black & Decker, and Earthwise have some of the most popular electric chain saws on the market. Not everyone needs the power of a gas chainsaw around the house and with the improved performance of electric models (and battery powered as well), homeowners have lots of options these days. Most of the electric chainsaws cost between $50 and $100 while the Makita models go beyond $200 but reviews say they are worth it. The gas powered chainsaws start at $100 and go upwards of $400 for the high end ones from Stihl.
Buying Guide - When it comes to buying a chainsaw - most experts agree that seeing them in person is a good idea. You want to be able to hold the saw and see how it feels in your hands for weight, balance, and cutting ability. Some dealers let you test them on wood logs in the back of their shops. You can also go to home improvement stores like Home Depot, Lowes or even Sears to see what they carry in terms of brands and sizes. First, you need to decide on gasoline powered versus electric chainsaws. Gas chainsaws are perfect when power and mobility are necessary. The 2 cycle engines found on gas saws will mean you have to mix up the gas and oil but that is very basic. Maintenance is a bit more on gas powered chainsaws compared to the electric models and they tend to be louder when operating as well. If you plan on doing mostly yard chores with your chainsaw, then consider the electric chainsaw as your tool of choice. Owners prefer them to gas since they tend to be easier to start, are quite lightweight, and maintenance is a breeze. The two big drawbacks to an electric saw is that it's not nearly as powerful as the gas models and you have to deal with a cord dangling behind the saw. Some of the new cordless electric chainsaws that run on battery power are gaining in popularity, but we say stick with the corded models for now. You'll often hear chainsaws referred to as 14-inch or 16-inch models. The measurement refers to the bar length (cutting tip to the housing where the chain enters) - most saws have a cutting ability that is double the bar length. You can cut through a 32" log with a 16 inch bar. Stick with bar lengths from 14 to 20 inches for home use or light wood cutting. Sometimes you will see chainsaws advertised based on engine displacement either represented as cubic inches or cubic centimeters. If you want more power, go with the higher CC number. The large saws will give you lots of power and potentially more vibration along with added weight. Other features to consider are noise, anti-vibration technologies, quick start engines, mufflers, chains that get automatically oiled, and chains that let you adjust them without a hassle. Protective clothing is a must whenever handling a chainsaw and always keep them away from children.
Chainsaw reviews - We found some excellent feedback online from expert loggers and woodcutters. Wayneofthewoods.com, About.com (Forestry section), and Insidewoodworking.com all offer up great advise on chainsaws (comparisons on features and prices). One of our trusted sources is Popular Mechanics and they recently tested 7 new chain saws in head to head cutting. They scored them on starting ease, power, vibration, cutting speed, balance, and weight. The Stihl MS 210 C-BE and the Husqvarna 240e won out as top rated, although when we went online to Amazon.com to search out what consumers thought of the 240E the findings were not the same as several people were disappointed with it. Husqvarna has one of the world's widest range of chainsaws and with easy start capabilities, innovative handle designs, and smooth shapes, the Husqvarna are our favorites. Echo chainsaws offer excellent balance, near perfect control, and vibration reduction technology to help keep muscle fatigue to a minimum. McCulloch is another superior chain saw maker and owner reviews mention their chain brakes, automatic oilers and electronic iginition as features they appreciate. You can browse the list of best-selling chain saws online here.