The two of the first things that come to mind when you think about chainsaws? They’re loud, and they can cut some serious wood, right? Well, believe it or not, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, the first chainsaw was invented by a German doctor in 1830, and it was used for cutting bones, not wood. We know — it’s frightening. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on only the best chainsaws of 2021, and we’ll leave it up to you to do more research about the gruesome uses of early chainsaws, if you feel so inclined.
Modern chainsaws are used to power through all kinds of tree cutting, pruning, and wood projects. They come in all different styles, models, and sizes, from mini chainsaws with a four-inch guide bar up to the more standard 22-inch guide bar and can be powered by gasoline, electricity, battery, even using your own two hands.
Different Types of Chainsaws
Gas Chainsaws: Powered by gasoline, this type of chainsaw is used for heavy-duty wood and tends to have more power — and you can take them anywhere. However, gas chainsaws involve a little more maintenance and are noisier than their non gas counterparts, and not to state the obvious, but the smell of gasoline fumes are inevitable.
Electric Chainsaws: Electric chainsaws give you the option of doing continuous work without having to recharge a battery or add more gas. However, to achieve that goal it has to always be connected to a power outlet and your mobility will be limited by the length of your power cord.
Cordless Chainsaws: Also known as battery-powered chainsaws, these chainsaws give you the flexibility to move freely without worrying about dragging an extension cord around. The battery lifespan will vary by brand and the type of wood you’re cutting. The softer the wood, the longer that battery will last. Of course, if you have a backup battery, just replace and resume, it’s that easy.
Manual Chainsaws: Also called pocket chainsaws, these basic tools are 100% powered by you, using both of your hands. If you are an environmentalist and also looking to get a workout, this just might be the best option for you. Plus, these manual chainsaws are handy, easy to transport and store, and can get the job done slowly, but surely.
How Much Should They Cost?
Chainsaws are available at all different prices. Prices vary based on the brand, features, size and power sources they use. You can expect to find chainsaws for as low as $50 for smaller, more simple styles, up to $300 or more for those that offer all the bells, blades and whistles.
What to Keep in Mind When Buying Your Next Chainsaw
When you are considering purchasing a brand new chainsaw, think about how often you will use it, the type of trees or wood you’ll be cutting and your preferred — or available — power source.
For small jobs, a cordless or manual chainsaw can work just fine. If you need to chop strong wood and big trees –– think oak, walnut, and maple –– these will require more power and a longer guide bar, which is where the chain actually goes. In this case, a gas chainsaw is the best option.
Another element to consider in your purchase is the length of the chainsaw guide bar. The guide bar comes in different sizes, from several inches long for a mini chainsaw up to 22 inches for a large chainsaw. The smaller the bar and chain, the smaller the job it can tackle, so make sure to keep this in mind as you finally pick which one will work for you.
1. Ryobi 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw
This Ryobi chainsaw is top-rated and a preferred choice for homeowners. It’s just about the perfect size for all tree work around the yard with a 16-inch guide bar. This gas chainsaw is great looking, powerful, smooth to use and comes with a 32cc engine, a self-oil feature for better performance, and an anti-vibration handle offering more stability while in use. In addition, it comes with a safe tip protector for unexpected kickbacks and a hard case for easy storage.
2. Greenworks G-Max 40 Volt Cordless Chainsaw
This Greenworks chainsaw is a solid second choice. It’s lightweight and cordless and offers great power capabilities with its brushless motor. The Greenworks chainsaw has strong cutting capabilities without the noise, smell and maintenance required by its gas-guzzling counterparts. It comes with a 4AH lithium-ion battery that lasts for as long as 140 cuts, features an auto-oiler and can recharge fast, making it a great pick for medium to large projects all over your property.
3. Echo Gas 2-Stroke Cycle Chainsaw
BEST HEAVY DUTY
If what you are looking for is a powerful chainsaw that cuts through any kind of wood and size, small or big, this ECHO chainsaw is the one. Thanks to its professional-grade 40.2 cc motor and its 18 inch guide bar, there is no wood that should stop it. What’s more, it self lubricates the chain to meet cutting demands, has a low vibration and has a chain brake for a quick stop.
4. Blue Max 2-in-1 57 CC Gas Chainsaw Combo
The 2-in-1 Blue Max chainsaw is the perfect tool for all those with trees of all ages and sizes. It comes with two different guide bars — a 22 inch perfect for big trees with diameters of up to 44 inches, and an 18-inch bar, great for medium and smaller trees. This chainsaw runs with gas and has a powerful 57 cc engine, an auto oil and anti-vibration feature and can run up to 10,500 RPM. One thing to keep in mind is that it weighs almost 25 pounds.
5. Ryobi 40 Volt Brushless Cordless Battery Chainsaw
This beautiful cordless Ryobi chainsaw is a sweet tool to have. It is environmentally friendly, it has a similar torque gas and comes with its respective 40V lithium battery and charger. Plus, it has a 14-inch guide bar and a brushless engine that automatically feeds oil to the chain while operating. Another great thing about this Ryobi chainsaw? Its 5-year tool warranty.
6. Homelite 9 Amp Electric Chainsaw
BEST ELECTRIC CHAINSAW
This chainsaw is made for all those nonstop wood cutting sessions. The Homelite electric chainsaw is lightweight, affordable and has a 14-inch guide bar and a 9 amp engine to power through all kinds of wood and pruning. It conveniently comes with a retention hook to avoid loss of power and has particularly impressive anti-kickback features. Keep in mind that you will need an extension cord to operate it.
7. Sportsman Pocket Chainsaw
BEST POCKET SAW
If you are into camping, outdoor activities or just really enjoy exploring the woods, the Sportsman pocket chainsaw is the best chainsaw for you. This chainsaw has a 36-inch long chain, weighs less than five ounces, and it is easy to use. You just place it around the tree or branch you want to cut, hold both handles tight, and vigorously pull back and forth. Bonus? It will give you a good workout since you are the source of power.
Read More: Best Pocket Chainsaws
8. DeWalt 20v Max Lithium-Ion Cordless Brushless Chainsaw
BEST DEWALT CHAINSAWS
With a 12-inch bar and a battery-powered engine, this DeWalt chainsaw is just right for small jobs such as tree pruning, minor tree cutting and general DIY landscaping. It’s super user-friendly with an easy electronic ignition and self-oiled capabilities. This small but powerful machine can cut up to 10.5 inches in diameter and comes with its charger and one battery. In addition, it is easy to maneuver and only weighs 13 pounds.
9. Oregon CS1500 15 Amp Self-Sharpening Electric Chainsaw
A powerful, self-sufficient and highly rated choice among users, this electric Oregon chainsaw will become your best friend among all your wood cutting projects around your property. It comes with 15 amps of power and an 18-inch guide bar, it lubricates itself and most importantly the chainsaw stays sharp and ready to use all the time thanks to its self-sharpening feature. Get your extension cord and safety gear, and start getting things done.
10. New Huing Mini Cordless Chainsaw Kit
BEST MINI CHAINSAW
If you are new to chainsaws or you’re only in need of a chainsaw for minor pruning around your property, start small. The New Huing mini chainsaw is compact in design and might just be what you didn’t know you even needed. It features a short, 4-inch bar guide and weighs less than four pounds. It can be operated with only one hand. This handy kit comes with two saw chains, a charger, a lithium-ion battery, and a packing kit.
11. Kutir High Tree Limb Hand Rope Chainsaw
BEST FOR HIGH LIMB
This manual chainsaw might become one of the coolest tools you own and there’s no doubt you will want to brag all about it. The Kutir 48 inch chainsaw allows you to cut high tree branches from the safety of the ground. It comes equipped with pouch bags to add weight, a 25-foot rope, and a sharpener. One of the coolest features of this chainsaw is its double edge, so however it lands, you are set to start cutting right away.
A Note About Safety Gear
It is extremely important that you wear safety gear while operating any kind of chainsaw. This includes safety glasses, work gloves, work boots, and a helmet if the situation calls for one. Make sure to read your chainsaw’s manual before you choke that chain and hit that throttle. Lastly, always keep chainsaws and any other power tools away from the hands of children.
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