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Purchasing a chainsaw is a large, exciting investment. No one wants to spend more than they must for a decent product, yet no one wants to get halfway through the trunk of tree with a 10-inch diameter only to realize their budget chainsaw is piffling out on them. (If this has never happened to you, let us assure you, it is not a pleasant situation.)
Even if you don’t use it regularly, you will expect the tool you buy to hold up to some pretty hefty work when you do pull it out. Cutting through wood will never be easy, but you want your chainsaw to make it feel like it is.
You may have other stipulations as well, such as weight, size, engine type, and safety features. Naturally, you will be looking to shell out your cash only for the best chainsaw for you and the jobs you’ll want to accomplish with it.
Table of Contents
- Top Choice
- Choosing the Right Chainsaw for You
- 9 Best Chainsaw Reviews
- 1. Best Overall Choice – Greenworks 16-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw, 4.0 AH Battery Included 20312
- 2. Best Compact Choice – DEWALT DCCS620B 20V MAX XR Compact 12 in. Cordless Chainsaw
- 3. Best Value Choice – Remington RM4216 16-inch Gas Powered Chainsaw with Carrying Case
- 4. BLACK + DECKER LCS1240 40-volt Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch
- 5. Husqvarna 455, 20 in. 55.5cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw
- Bonus Choice – Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14″ Chain Saw Kit with, 4 Batteries (5.0Ah)
- Best Product Overall and Best Value Product
Unlike many other products, a chainsaw isn’t really something you want to bring home, try out for size, and return if it doesn’t work out. At the same time, it’s overwhelming to even consider wading through the millions of chainsaw reviews on the internet.
So, to simplify the process for you, we’ve done the legwork and compiled a list of five of the greatest chainsaws out there right now. These chainsaws are winning five-star reviews from the vast majority of their purchasers, and the reasons behind it are sound, as we’ll explore further on.
With some tools you may find yourself saying, “They just don’t make these like they used too…” and the same can be said about chainsaws—but in an entirely positive way. You’ll see some favorite, familiar brands on this list, but with a whole new dimension.
As technology advances, chainsaws have advanced right along with it, which is why some of our top picks for the best chainsaws may surprise you.
Our top choice, after extensive review, for the absolute best chainsaw is the Greenworks 16-inch Cordless Chainsaw. This chainsaw simply combines an unbeatable blend of versatility, ease of use, and power. It’s the perfect saw for an average user and won’t disappoint an experienced chainsaw enthusiast.
Battery-powered chainsaws still meet a bit of doubt and resistance in the experienced chainsaw community, but this handy little guy is wowing everyone with its strength and endurance and ease of operation. It’s actually converted some die-hard gas-motor zealots, and that’s saying something.
Last update on 2020-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Choosing the Right Chainsaw for You
What exactly makes one chainsaw stand out from another or stand out from other models such as the jigsaw brand? What is the best chainsaws for pruning trees? Who makes the top quality chainsaws among long-standing tool manufacturers? These may be questions you’re asking yourself, and they’re questions we asked ourselves as we compiled this chainsaw review.
Chainsaws are necessary for a variety of settings and come in a wide array of sizes and strengths. This is why one good chainsaw—even one great chainsaw—may not be the chainsaw for you. When shopping for a chainsaw, you’ll want to have a clear idea of what type of work you’re looking to get out of it and how much work you’re willing to put in with it.
Even the best chainsaws vary in power, ability, and versatility. A huge gas-powered model with a 24-inch blade is going to be the lumberjack’s best friend. It’s going to chew through every piece of timber it touches with greedy delight. However, it’s also going to spew a steady smoke of exhaust, demand some high-density ear protectors, and need regular, in-depth maintenance.
A light-weight, cordless electric chainsaw will be an absolute joy to a busy orchard tender or homeowner. It will constantly surprise with its competence and please with its convenience. But when it comes to leveling the Limberlost (not literally), this fine fellow just may not cut it (…literally).
In compiling these chainsaw ratings, we have chosen chainsaws based on the following criteria
- Power type (electric, cordless, gas)
- Durability and sustainability
- Size (length, weight, and maneuverability)
- Ease of use
All five of the options we have chosen stand out in all of these areas, but some are more suited for one use over another. Before you jump into those reviews, it would be helpful for you to consider the following questions.
How Do You Plan to Use the Chainsaw?
The type of work you intend to do with your chainsaw should definitely play into your choice of a product. For lighter, more versatile work, you will likely want a smaller, less muscular saw that offers flexibility and ease of handling.
Many battery-powered saws fulfill these requirements while still supplying enough power to chew some fairly tough tasks.
Smaller 12-14-inch chainsaws are generally best suited to pruning limbs, clearing your yard of fallen branches or small trees, cutting firewood, or sawing lumber. Saws with a 16-inch bar and heftier horse-power can be relied on for cutting down more medium-sized trees, clearing trails, etc.
Bigger is not always better, but for heavier work, you’ll likely consider power tools to be of more importance than weight, and you’ll want a motor that will keep up. For this list, we’ve only included one saw over 16 inches a 20-inch Husqvarna. This is the type of saw you’ll want to consider if you are planning to fell larger trees or clear large areas of land.
As you continue your chainsaw comparison, you’ll notice that smaller saws are more often powered by a battery, while larger, more powerful saws continue to utilize gas-powered engines. If you’re looking for a gas chainsaw designed for maximum fuel efficiency, check out the Echo chainsaw review for more in-depth information. You may also notice, however, that the lines are beginning to blur between these motors, and plenty of medium-strength to just plain strong battery-powered models are becoming common.
A third type of chainsaw we won’t be discussing in this article is the pole saw, which is useful for tasks such as pruning small branches that are out of your reach.
Gas vs. Electric Is One Better Than the Other?
Many chainsaw users are finding that they love the convenience of a battery-powered or electric chainsaw. Battery-powered chainsaws don’t have to be fueled with a carefully-measured combination of gas and oil. They just need their batteries charged every once in a while. And with advancing battery technology, they’re needing that charge less and less often.
Battery-powered chainsaws also offer quick and easy starting, time and again. They don’t need to warm up, like a gas chainsaw, and they don’t need repeated jerks of a starter cord. They also start more reliably in variable temperatures or altitudes.
They are much quieter than their gas counterparts, making them a smart choice for neighborhood use, as well as an overall safer, more pleasant choice in the opinion of many. Even more important for some users is the fact that electric chainsaws do not emit any exhaust fumes, making them environmentally cleaner and less smelly and headache-evoking than gas chainsaw engines.
Another great benefit of battery-powered chainsaws is reduced vibration from the motor. They are also markedly lighter than gas chainsaws. Operating them is less difficult and fatiguing because of this.
The battery-powered models we’ve included in the following reviews impress users with their strength and long-lived battery life. However, they still may be considered to run slightly behind gas chainsaw motors in this aspect, which offer almost unlimited hours of sawing—as long as you have fuel.
Another thing you may lose with a battery-powered model is power and torque. While battery-powered motors continue to improve and amaze, larger chainsaws still generally utilize a gas motor because of the force it can produce. These chainsaws are still preferred for large, heavy cutting and commercial purposes.
Price also factors into the discussion between electric vs. gas-powered motors, as gas-powered chainsaws continue to command a higher price.
What Safety Measures Should You Take Into Consideration?
No matter what you plan to do with your chainsaw, safety should also be of utmost importance. Smaller lighter saws, as well as powerful, heavy-duty ones, can cause severe injuries when used carelessly or incorrectly. Also, using a chainsaw that is unfit for the task at hand (i.e., too large or too small) can compromise safety.
All chainsaws incorporate certain safety measures, including a chain brake. If the bar kicks back while you are operating the chainsaw in a regular position, the chain brake will be engaged by contact with your forearm, locking the chain before it reaches you.
Some chainsaws also implement a manual chain brake, with which you can freeze the chain within a second or two if the chainsaw gets out of control. You can also manually engage the chain brake by pushing the handle forward.
Each chainsaw will also have a stop control—a button or lever that allows you to turn the chainsaw off immediately when necessary.
Most chainsaws come with a bar guard, sometimes called a chain protector, which can be fitted over the bar and chain. This will both protect the chain (from being broken or dulled by bumping things) and anything the chain may come into contact with. A sharp chain is actually safer and will help your chainsaw run more smoothly than a dull one.
You will also notice that almost all of the chainsaws we’ve reviewed below have an automatic chain oiler. This will keep your chain running smoothly as long as you remember to refill it whenever you see it is getting empty.
What Other Features Should You Look for in a Chainsaw?
If you are considering a battery-powered chainsaw, take the time to note battery voltage of the one you choose. If you want to have a chainsaw on hand for the occasional odd branch or bit of firewood, a 20V saw may be fine for you. A 40V battery, however, will give you at least twice the working time and power, and you can even get up to an 80V battery-powered model.
Also keep in mind that all batteries are not created equal. An increasingly popular choice is the Lithium Ion battery, which will not cause your saw to lose power until it’s absolutely ready to be recharged. Lithium Ion batteries also recharge much more quickly than a regular battery, usually taking only an hour or so, as opposed to 12 hours or more.
Some of our top picks listed below contain a brushless electric motor. Brushless motors are the most cutting edge among electric motors and come with multiple benefits
- They are more reliable.
- They require less maintenance.
- They increase power while decreasing weight.
- They create less noise and vibration.
- They don’t wear out as quickly as other electric motors.
One final feature that is super convenient and available in both electric and gas-powered models is a tool-free tension adjuster. This usually means there is a handy dial on the side of the saw that you can turn to adjust tension—rather than having to pull out a screwdriver.
Now that you’ve been inundated with far more information than you probably felt that you needed about the various types and trappings of chainsaws, let’s get into our top five chainsaws reviews.
9 Best Chainsaw Reviews
Our top pick is the Greenworks 16-inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw. One problem you can run into with electric chainsaws is a lack of power. This cordless, battery-powered saw bucks that trend and is comparable to a gas chainsaw of a similar size. Its brushless motor ensures amazing durability and a long life-span.
The Greenworks chainsaw offers easy versatility, making it a great overall choice for homeowners who want a saw that can handle both small and larger tasks. It’s not overly hefty or lightweight. A few key features include
- Medium-length, 16-inch bar
- Brushless motor, which decreases noise, vibration, and overall wear
- Long-lasting 40V battery that can be used for all Greenworks tools
- Chain-brake safety features
- Easy push-to-start button
This chainsaw is getting rave reviews from users, making it one of the best rated chainsaws among battery-powered tools. Purchasers praise the long life of the battery, claiming that it never wears out before they do.
This chainsaw is also impressing with its power, which many find easily matches the power of similar-sized gas chainsaws. It offers more than enough umph for clearing trails, taking down medium-sized trees and cutting firewood without all of the noise, fuel-changes, fumes, and vibration that come with a gas-powered engine.
- Up to 70% less vibration
- Up to 30% more torque
- Long-lasting, quick-charging battery
- Durable and efficient
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Tool-free tension adjustment knob
- Not for larger trees
- Automatic bar oiler may leak slightly unless drained before storing
With its remarkable power, lightweight versatility, long life, and ease of use, we believe that this is the best and high quality chainsaw for homeowners.
Overall rating 4.5 out of 5 stars.
DeWalt has been producing tough, dependable tools since the early 1900s. It is one of the most trusted tool brands, and recently has taken steps to join the best and high quality chainsaw brands as well. This DeWalt Compact Cordless Chainsaw is definitely one of the best home chainsaws on the market.
The DeWalt cordless is lightweight and easy to handle, making it perfect for construction, yard cleanup, or branch trimming. Compact and gas-free, it’s the perfect saw for hauling around to do different projects. Key features include
- Compact, 12-inch bar
- Efficient, long-lived brushless motor
- Long-lasting 20V battery that can be used for other 20V DeWalt tools
- Easy push-to-start button
- Chain-brake and low-kickback chain
- Tool-free tension adjustment knob
DeWalt users praise the astonishing power of this little chainsaw, noting that it has chewed through every test they’ve put it to. The long-lasting battery keeps the saw running strongly for hours of work. This saw lives up to its claim of efficiency in every way.
For what this saw is designed to do, it is not likely that you’ll find another that does a better job, and most claim it is superior even to its gas-powered brothers.
- Powerful brushless motor
- Hours of battery life
- Lightweight and versatile
- Battery Powered
- Not for large trees or logs
- Seems to go through chain oil rather quickly
DeWalt continues to live up to the name they’ve built for themselves. We’ll even let them claim to be among the top chainsaw brands. It’s no wonder we rate this powerful but compact model as another of the best chainsaws for homeowners.
Overall rating 4.4 out of 5 stars
If you have yet to be won over by our cordless, battery-powered chainsaw reviews, the Remington 16-inch Gas-Powered Chainsaw may be the best homeowner chainsaw for you. This powerful saw combines a traditional gas engine with cutting edge anti-vibration technology and a carefully cushioned comfort grip.
The Remington offers solid value, which is why we have chosen it as our budget pick, perhaps the finest chainsaw for the money you spent. A few key features of the Remington brand include
- 42 cc, 2-cycle gas-powered engine
- Durable, pro-quality components
- One-pull start system
- Battery Powered
- 16-inch bar
- Tool-free access for engine maintenance
This medium-sized saw has been praised by users for its solid construction, balance, readiness to start, and smooth running. It’s a good gas-powered chainsaw at an affordable price that will get the work done.
- Easy to run
- Cushioned handle for comfort
- Great balance
- Included carrying case
- Heavy-duty construction
- Heavy, at around 22 lbs.
- More noise and vibration than an electric chainsaw
In conclusion, this is a solid choice for a gas-powered, about-the-house chainsaw. It can take on fairly large branches, deadfall, and medium-sized trees with ease, and it has been built to last.
Overall rating 4 out of 5 stars
Black + Decker is another well-known name that have many claiming it as the greatest chainsaw brand for smaller machines like this one. The Black + Decker 12-inch cordless chainsaw is another great, compact chainsaw that will work like a much more physically impressive machine.
It’s small, solid construction and wrap-around handle make it one of the handiest chainsaws you’ll ever use, while its 40V Lithium Ion battery supplies more than enough power for most of the tasks you’ll want to use this saw for.
The Black + Decker’s key features include
- 40V Lithium Ion battery
- Automatic oiling system
- 12-inch bar
- Wrap-around handle
One thing this little saw’s users agree on Never mind appearances and petty bias—this is not a toy! With its compact build, the saw may seem like it won’t be able to keep up with the big boys, but purchasers have found that this is not the case. The Black + Decker easily chews through medium-sized limbs, firewood, and lumber, and holds up strong under heavy use.
The chainsaw is lightweight and easily maneuverable, making it a great choice for smaller users and beginners. However, it works so well, even experienced chainsaw users find themselves grabbing this convenient little machine for smaller tasks. The manufacturers estimate the average battery length to be 60 cuts through 4×4 pine lumber.
Another affordable option, the saw offers solid value for the price.
- Lightweight and maneuverable
- Holds up well under regular use
- Easy to start
- Tool-free chain tensioner adjustment
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Goes through oil pretty quickly
- Not a brushless motor
As you may have gathered, the Black + Decker may rival the Remington as the best value for the price. The main difference is that this is a smaller, battery-operated machine best used for smaller branches, firewood, etc. Another great option is the Homelite chainsaw which can help you do the heavy or light-duty work you need at the shortest period possible.
Overall rating 4.4 out of 5 stars
Most of the chainsaws we’ve included on this list are smaller machines suitable for multiple tasks like clearing deadwood, pruning trees, and cutting firewood or lumber. This final one doesn’t win leading chainsaw for home use mainly because of its size and the fact that it is gas-powered.
The Husqvarna 20-inch 55.5cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw is a hefty saw meant for hefty cutting. It is what you probably more traditionally think of when you think of a chainsaw—heavy-duty, powerful, and ready to rip through any log or tree you turn it to. This Husqvarna’s key features include
- 5cc, 2-cycle gas motor
- 20 in. bar
- Rubberized, wrap-around handle
- Tool-less chain tension adjustment
- Centrifugal air cleaning system
- Quick-start technology
This chainsaw has users expressing satisfaction over how it combines long-held standards of power and quality with cutting edge technology. It’s a real workhorse that will run for hours without slowing down. The stout horsepower and 20-inch blade make it suitable for heavier tasks, including decently thick timber with a centrifugal air filter.
The quality of this saw is nearly professional grade, making it a great choice for farmers, ranchers, loggers, and others who plan to use a chainsaw regularly and heavily. With proper care, it will hold up for years of use, and given the chance will probably be cutting wood as eagerly as ever long after you’ve retired, making it well worth its higher price tag.
- Powerful, smooth motor
- Uses less fuel and produces less exhaust than counterparts
- Vibration-reducing technology for less stress
- Centrifugal air filtering system keep system cleaner
- Sturdy, lifelong structure
- Not for smaller tasks requiring more maneuverability
As you can see, Husqvarna continues to pursue every-higher standard of quality. The high-powered husqvarna chainsaw is more environmentally friendly than ever and can be depended on to keep up with most hard-working lumberman.
Overall rating 4.3 out of 5 stars
Bonus Choice – Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14″ Chain Saw Kit with, 4 Batteries (5.0Ah)
Another great cordless choice that we just couldn’t leave off this list is the Makita 36V Cordless Chain Saw Kit. Chainsaw ratings place this little machine pretty close to our top picks in battery-powered models.
The Makita boasts a highly-efficient brushless motor and runs on a combination of two 18V batteries (making it the equivalent of a 36V motor). It’s a high-powered saw with a capable 14-inch bar. Key features of this kit include
- Four 18V Lithium Ion batteries, which can also be used for other Makita tools
- Highly-efficient brushless motor
- 14-inch bar
- Tool-free chain tension adjustment
This is a great saw for smaller, around-the-house tasks. Users agree that it is very quiet and cuts appropriately-sized branches and saplings, etc. quickly and easily. It’s a perfect chainsaw to keep handy for random clearing or trimming that needs to be done with minimum fuss, and it has comparable torque, versatility, and durability to several of our top picks.
- Very easy to maintain
- Good power for the size
- Quiet and easy to start
- Comes with extra batteries
- Light and maneuverable
- Additional safety starting features may frustrate experienced users
- Doesn’t have an extremely long battery life
For the occasional woodcutter, this saw offers an amazing combination of convenience and power. It equates favorably in force and ease of cutting even to gas-powered saws of similar size and is much quieter and easier to use.
The Makita Cordless is a good first chainsaw for beginners and a nice alternate tool for experienced users.
Overall rating 4.4 out of 5 stars
Quite honestly, every one of these saws thoroughly impressed us. Gas-powered chainsaws are still as stout as they’ve ever been and continue to benefit from subtle updates. Cordless chainsaw technology continues to improve by leaps and bounds.
You can now buy a smaller, lighter, cleaner chainsaw that delivers the same amount of long-lasting power and durability for almost any average task. Lithium-ion batteries in chainsaws last longer than nickel-cadmium or nickel metal hydride batteries
Do you feel fully prepared to make an informed chainsaw purchase now? We hope this review has helped you sort through everything you’re looking for in a chainsaw and settle on the model that is right for your lifestyle.
There are more options available than ever, with better features and greater versatility. At the same time, with so much information available, it’s become easier to narrow your choices down to exactly the type of tool to fit your needs.
The rest is up to you now. Here’s to regret-free buying, happy sawing, and more enthusiastic reviews!
Best Product Overall and Best Value Product
Though every one of these saws could be perfect for someone, the clear overall winner, and best value, is the Greenworks 16-inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw. Just, wow! This handy, capable saw fulfills almost every one of the requirements for a great saw.
With its 16-inch bar and impressive amount of power, the Greenworks Cordless comes out on top in both electric and gas models of a similar size. It’s small and light enough to be easy to handle and maneuverable enough to use on smaller projects, such as tree pruning. At the same time, it’s strong enough to chew through some pretty hefty logs as well, making it a perfect, all-around tool.
This winner boasts all the benefits of an electric motor with almost none of the drawbacks. It’s easy to maintain, quiet, smooth, and fumeless. It has a powerful, efficient brushless motor and a 40V battery that can keep running for hours!
The Greenworks Cordless is designed with all of the necessary safety features, plus an automatic oiler, tool-free adjustable chain tension, a wrap-around handle and an easy electric start.
And all of this comes at a very affordable price as well—much less than you would regularly pay for a gas-powered chainsaw with similar or even fewer positive features. You won’t find many machines that can match this value.