9 Best Chainsaws | December 2016

9 Best Chainsaws
Best Mid-Range
★★★★
Best High-End
★★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 33 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you are tidying up your own yard or you are a professional landscaper, you're sure to find something that perfectly suits your cutting needs among our selection of hard-working chainsaws, rated by torque, run-time, and value. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best chainsaw on Amazon.
9
The SunJoe SWJ800E Electric conveniently extends to over 8 feet, allowing you to reach those high-up branches without having to use a ladder. It's a must-have for the homeowner or landscaper with lots of light pruning projects ahead.
  • rubberized ergonomic handle
  • meets etl mandated safety standards
  • head is not multidirectional
Brand Snow Joe
Model SWJ800E
Weight 9.7 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
8
The creatively-designed WORX WG320 Jawsaw integrates a set of solid steel teeth with a 6" chain blade that cuts whatever the jaws are holding. The saw's auto-tension feature will use the right amount of gripping force every time.
  • scissor design limits kickback
  • cordless for easier maneuverability
  • no emissions from lithium battery
Brand Worx
Model WG320
Weight 12.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
7
Get double the performance in one machine with the 2-in-1 Blue Max 8902. This 2-stroke, gas-powered unit, which includes its own protective case and two interchangeable bars, features an auto oiler to keep things running smoothly.
  • runs at an impressive 2800 rpm
  • epa approved design
  • set-up and configuration can be hard
Brand Blue Max
Model 8902
Weight 24.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
6
For smaller jobs around your property, like limbing saplings and pruning shrubs, the Remington RM1425 Limb N Trim 14-inch should be potent enough to handle the work. Its small price tag certainly won't cut too deeply, though.
  • zero assembly required before use
  • moderately powerful 8-amp motor
  • heavy for an electric model
Brand Remington
Model 41AZ52AG983
Weight 8.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
5
Built-in brushless technology allows the Greenworks DigiPro to provide best-in-class battery life, while also creating less noise than the majority of its competitors. It also boasts as much as a 70% reduction in vibrations.
  • kit includes a charger
  • maneuverable 16-inch bar and chain
  • oil tends to leak in carrying bag
Brand Greenworks
Model 20312
Weight 20 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
4
The sprocket, crank case, and chassis on the Remington Rodeo are made of a durable die-cast material that is ideal for tackling heavy-duty sawing tasks. Its QuickStart technology makes firing the unit up easy in all conditions.
  • features a powerful 51cc engine
  • efficient electronic ignition
  • blade dulls quickly
Brand Remington
Model 41BY80AG983
Weight 25.7 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
3
Designed for comfort and longevity, the Poulan Pro PP5020AV offers an effortless pull start system and greatly reduced vibration, which alleviates operator fatigue. Its DuraLife engine is intended to last for years of hard use.
  • ergonomic handles
  • includes a carrying case
  • tool-free access to air filter
Brand Poulan Pro
Model 966055201
Weight 20.7 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0
2
The WORX WG303.1 delivers just as much force and cutting power as almost any gas-powered unit. It includes a specialized chain mechanism to prevent over-tightening and to maintain tension while it cuts its way through legions of wood.
  • features a safety stop
  • tool-less chain replacement
  • electrically powered so fume-free
Brand Worx
Model WG303.1
Weight 15 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
1
The Husqvarna 460 Rancher delivers high torque over a wide RPM range, and features a forged 3-piece crankshaft for optimum performance even in tough conditions. This powerful machine is suitable for logging, fire suppression, and more.
  • 20-inch bar for easy handling
  • quick release air filter
  • meets carb standards
Brand Husqvarna
Model 966048330
Weight 21.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

The Chains on the Saw Go Round and Round

When I was growing up I never thought, despite its name, that there was actually a chain on a chainsaw. I thought it just had teeth all around a big blade and that the teeth moved somehow. Once I realized there was a chain involved (still a kid at this point), I thought that it was just a chain with no blades, and that it moved so fast it could cut through anything.

Then, I got to use a chainsaw, and it was made very clear to me how it worked before I was allowed to sink it into some wood.

Most of the chainsaws you'll encounter move their chain, complete with its little shark fin-like blades, the way a motorcycle moves its chain. In fact, the systems aren't all that dissimilar. There's a small, gas powered motor that creates a bit of combustion. That combustion moves a piston in a cylinder that's connected to an arm. That arm spins a mechanism through a simple clutch that determines the power delivered to the chain.

Yes, if you're wondering, somebody did make a motorcycle that runs on chainsaws.

The big difference between the motorcycle's power system and the chainsaw's is the final drive. On the bike, that chain is designed to move your rear wheel and push forward a bike that can weigh anywhere between 200 and 2000 lbs. The chain on the chainsaw doesn't have to move anything, unless you count its teeth. And with all that speed in the blade and all that tasty torque, the cutting is easy.

Safety Can Be Fun, I Promise

Some people can be pretty loose about their chainsaw safety, relying on their thick boots, hard hats, and goggles to keep the worst possible injuries at bay. Me, I prefer to get my confidence from knowledge and the application of proper technique. It's why, for example, I'm not afraid to bowl in front of a date.

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of fun to be had wielding a chainsaw. Just remember that, in 1999 (oh, boy; feeling old), there were a little over 28,500 chainsaw injuries that required an average of over 100 stitches each.

The shame of it is, it's such an easy thing to manage. It's all about kickback. No, I'm not talking about the chainsaw lobby giving kickbacks to politicians who pass laws that favor their industry. I don't even think there is a chainsaw lobby, but if there was, I wouldn't mess with them.

Kickback is the phenomenon you see in the picture there, when a chainsaw violently jerks back at its user. There's a magic little spot on the front end of every chainsaw that's known as the kickback zone, and if you manage that properly, your safety is all but guaranteed.

Down to the Bone

In the late 18th century, around the early 1780s, a pair of wily Swedish doctors came up with the idea of adhering a series of small cutting surfaces to a chain. That chain was spun by a hand crank, and it was meant for the excision of diseased bone.

That's kind of funny, if you think about it. All this talk about protecting the body, and the first chainsaw was actually designed for cutting bone!

The Swedes didn't release their saw until around 1790, and the chainsaw itself was only really used in medical fields until the 1920s.

It was in the 20s that Stihl released mass-produced versions of electrical and gas powered chainsaws, though these were meant to be operated by two men, instead of one, with controls on one end and an additional handle at the end of the blade arm, in what we now call the kickback zone.

Advancements in the metals used for both the blade arm and the chain allowed for the creation of one man saws, and from there the majority of developments that came about were either in the chain or the motor. Saws got sharper, stronger and more durable, and now they even cut through flying sharks. Hooray!



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Last updated on December 27, 2016 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.


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