The Best Chain Saws For 2018 and Beyond

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You are in the market for a chain saw.

Maybe you got the estimate from your tree guy to take down the apple tree in the back yard, and you thought,”For this much money, I should buy a saw and do it myself.” Maybe you just feel the primal pull that drags many of us to own as many loud, powerful yard tools as we can possibly justify – and it’s Mr. Chain Saw’s turn to be welcomed to your garage.

No matter what the reason, that fact remains you want and need the best chainsaw you can find for your budget.  Stick with me over the next few minutes, and I’ll give you all the tools you need to make the right choice for your particular needs.  I’ll cover the different types of saws along with the various features available (and who really needs them).  We’ll also recommend a few chainsaws that are among the best available in 2018.

 

Our Review of the Best Chainsaws You Can Buy in 2018


Sale
Top Overall Pick - EGO Power+ 14 Inch 56-Volt
  • Hi-efficiency brushless motor with 6300 RPM
  • Up to 100 Cuts per charge
  • 14 in. Oregon bar and chain
  • Weather-resistant construction

Product prices and availability are accurate as of 2018-12-16 at 14:23 CST - Details / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Great Features – Less Hassle

The EGO Power+ earns the Top Overall Pick because it can handle the vast majority of situations you’ll encounter as a homeowner. First, the 56V batteries are able to deliver more energy to the motor than the 40V models we have on our list. This helps to bring the wood cutting capacity up to par with some gas-powered models. The manufacturer claims it can cut through tree trunks of just over 24 inches. Frankly, if you aren’t a professional, you should hire one if you have thicker wood than that to deal with.
Second, the 14″ bar length is a nice compromise between some larger unweildly ones and smaller ones that can’t handle logs of any real size. One reason many people own a chainsaw is to be able to cut their way out if a trunk falls over the driveway. This car length should manage all but the largest and oldest of trees.
Finally, I’m of the belief that battery-power is the way to go for the “average” homeowner. Unless you are a saw fanatic, do you really want to spend time maintaining a saw you use infrequently – but will depend on to work when needed? With Lithium-Ion batteries – just make sure one is in the charger at all times and you’ll be ready to go when the need arises.
The 5 year tool/3 year battery warranty is a nice reflection of how confident EGO is in the quality of their product.


Sale
For Lightweight Duty - Black+Decker 4.5Amp Lopper Corded Chainsaw
  • Hi-efficiency brushless motor with 6300 RPM
  • Up to 100 Cuts per charge
  • 14 in. Oregon bar and chain
  • Weather-resistant construction

Product prices and availability are accurate as of 2018-12-16 at 14:23 CST - Details / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Easiest ‘Chainsaw’ To Use

This chainsaw for Black + Decker is classified as a chainsaw-lopper combo. While it looks different that the average chainsaw, this model is perfect if you are looking for a tool to cut through logs and branches 4″ in diameter and below.
What’s great about the looper is how it both cuts and holds the wood at the same time. It opens up like a large scissors, with the branch held in place against the chainsaw blade. You then turn the switch, it cuts the wood, and shuts off when it’s through. It’s that easy.
Now, there are some caveats. It’s AC powered, so you’ll need to be within 100 feet or so of an outlet to use it. (With the right extension cords you can go out farther). It’s also can’t handle wood larger than it’s “mouth” can grasp around. It’s not an all-around saw replacement – but for the vast majority of homeowners that just want to trim a branch here or there, it’s a great tool to use.


Heavy Duty Power - Husqvarna 460 Rancher 20-inch 2 Cycle Gas
  • X-TORQ - Delivers lower fuel consumption and reduced exhaust emission levels in accordance with the world´s most stringent environmental regulations
  • SMART START - The engine and starter have been designed so the machine starts quickly with minimum effort
  • AIR INJECTION - Centrifugal air cleaning system removes larger dust and debris particles before reaching the air filter. This results in reduced air filter cleanings and improved engine life
  • ADJUSTABLE OIL PUMP - Allows you to control oil flow depending on application and weather conditions

Product prices and availability are accurate as of 2018-12-16 at 14:23 CST - Details / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When Only The Power Of Gas Will Do

There are certain situations that require the power of gasoline-fueled chainsaws. My family owns a few hundred acres of woodland north of the Brule River. It’s heavily-forested, and often we’ll have to cut our way through the trees down on the dirt road after a good storm. There’s one time you need the power and longevity of a gas chain saw.
While I think most people only need a battery-power saw, you generally know if you need gas. If you do, this Husqvarna is a great choice. The 20 inch bar is a good size – long enough to handle big wood, but not so long that you worry about taking a leg off.
I’ve used this model at the woods – we kept the oiler set at medium and found it worked well. We had no problems cutting and stacking the wood we set out to harvest for the day. Well, the stacking was no fun, but that’s part of the deal.
If you can, try to avoid fuel with ethanol added. Husqvarna recommends no more than E-10, and even then using 89-Octane or above. They also recommend keeping no more than 30 days supply on hand to avoid fuel issues. Frankly, I find that a big pain in the butt, so I look for fuel made for marine use when I can – there will often be no ethanol added to that pump.


Sale
Light Yet Gets The Job Done - B+D LCS1240 40V MAX 12 inch Chainsaw
  • 40V MAX Lithium Ion Battery for longer runtime and overall life
  • 12" premium bar and chain. Automatic oiling system
  • Suitable for pruning branches and cutting fallen limbs
  • Tool-free chain tensioning for quick and easy chain adjustments. 40V MAX* 2.0Ah Battery provides over 60 4x4 pine lumber cuts on average per single charge

Product prices and availability are accurate as of 2018-12-16 at 14:23 CST - Details / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Quite Maneuverable

Finally, I wanted to mention the runner up for best all-around chainsaw. This Black + Decker is a good choice if you already have other 40V MAX battery products – much like with other brands, you can swap batteries between product lines within the brand. Purely by chance I’m now in a Black + Decker household. I own the 40V blower, weed eater and lithium-ion lawn mower. I’m happy with the products I own, so it makes sense that I’d try out the chain saw to see how it compares to the EGO Power+.
It holds it’s ground commendably, giving me what I’d average is 45 mins of cutting per 2.0AH battery. That’s less than what you should get with the EGO, but not terribly so. Considering I have 3 other batteries, I’m not too worried – if I run low I pop out the old and put in a fresh one. I’m quickly back to cutting.
I’m a fan of the EGO – and if I were starting to put together a stable of LiIon powered tools today, I’d lean that way if for nothing else the higher voltage. But the slightly-better performance isn’t worth the extra cost of additional batteries that I don’t need to buy if I stay “in-brand”. If you already have a 40V tool or two, keep this in mind when shopping around.

 

Don’t Forget The Safety Equipment

This is for the other guy – you’d never operate a piece of equipment that can go through wood like butter without taking precautions.  You don’t need to gross yourself out seeing what damage can be done if you don’t gear up. (Seriously, that website has some pictures of bad outcomes from poor decisions).

I know that.  You are a responsible guy.

In the off chance you need a refresher on both how to operate a saw, and what to wear to avoid your own private Friday the 13th movie re-enactment, I’ve compiled a list below.

Chainsaw Safety Resources:

 

 

3 Types of Chainsaws – Battery, Corded, Gasoline

Chainsaws can be differentiated from one another according to their features. The one most people begin with is the power source.

Battery Powered Chainsaws

Most battery powered chainsaws are ideal for small to medium duty tasks such as trimming and cutting firewood of less than 8 inches in diameter. Some higher-voltage models can handle much more work – a lot has changes in the past few years. Since the saw is powered by a battery with limited reserves, you do not have unlimited run-time. They are generally easier to carry and less intimidating to handle. These are often a great choice for homeowners with a few trees that don’t use the chainsaw on a regular basis.

Battery Powered Chainsaws

Good

  • Easy to Start: There’s no pulling of a cord or priming of an engine necessary. Press a button, and the saw starts every time.
  • Lightweight: Since there’s no liquid fuel or 2-cycle combustion engine to lug around, it’s generally lighter than a gas-powered saw.
  • No Flammable Liquids: You don’t need to worry about storing the saw in your basement or garage – there are no gasoline fumes to deal with.

.

Bad

  • Takes Time To Charge: The big downside of battery-powered saws is once a battery is drained, you need to wait until it is charged again to continue your work. Having two batteries can mitigate this problem.
  • Cutting Power: High-end gas chainsaws are more powerful that most any battery-powered one. If you are a lumberjack, battery chain saws won’t fill your needs.

Corded Chainsaws

Similar to battery powered saws, these tools are powered by electricity. However, these chainsaws need an extension cord that must be connected to an AC power outlet in order for the machine to work. A corded chainsaw does not have to be recharged or refueled and therefore can be used without any interruption. These machines are easy to start and require very little maintenance.

Corded AC Electric Chainsaws

Good

  • Low Maintenance: This is the easiest chainsaw to maintain. There are no batteries, no gasoline to mix with oil and drain at the end of the year. Plug it in to the electrical mains, press the trigger, and you are cutting wood.
  • Eco-friendly: We can argue this depending on how far down the wormhole you wish to go (it’s really a coal-powered saw in many parts of the world), but there are no fumes created near your face. There’s no need to worry about disposing of bad Lithium Ion batteries or old gasoline either.
  • Long-lasting Power: If your wood problem is within range of an outlet and the power remains on, you don’t need to worry about running out of fuel or electric juice.

Bad

This is where you enter the bad things

Gas Chainsaws

Gasoline-powered chainsaws are usually used for tasks that require a lot of power to complete. Most saws contain a two-cycle engine that requires a mixture of oil and gasoline to operate – though 4-cycle engines are hitting the market. This higher power enables the chainsaw to have longer blades that can easily cut through larger trees. Moreover, these machines do not have to be plugged into a power source. There’s no need to worry about tripping over an extension cord.

Gasoline Powered Chainsaws

Good

  • High Power: Lumberjacks and professionals use gasoline powered chainsaws for a reason – mainly because of the power they generate. Gas is still the go-to for larger-diameter wood.
  • Born-Free: Gas saws are highly-mobile. You can use them deep in the woods, or after a storm when the power is out. As long as you have a gas can along for the ride, you are all good.
  • Longer Saw Bar Sizes: In general, gas saws have longer bar sizes – which means you can cut through wood quicker than a smaller saw could. This does make them a bit more unwieldy though.

.

Bad

  • Noisy: Want to know how loud it is from 70 feet away when a fighter jet takes off on a carrier deck? Run a large chainsaw without ear protection (really, don’t do this) and you’ll find out.
  • More Maintenance: 2 cycle engines require care. There’s oil/gas to be mixed, gas to be drained at season-end, and other engine duties. Some people don’t mind the extra work – if you do, go with one of the electric or battery models.
  • Heavy: Not a deal breaker for most, but gas-powered chainsaws usually weigh more than other types of saws. If you are petite, this is something to keep in mind.


Yard Size
Gas chain saws work best if you have a large yard or you need to fell trees in the forest. The power and speed of the gas chain saw is needed for heavy duty work.
The battery chain saw can easily trim and prune plants in smaller yards. It is also a great alternative where the cord length of the electric chain saw limits you.
For smaller yards, the lightweight of the electric corded chain saw is an option. The chain saw has enough power for most of the cutting required in a small to medium yard. With an extension cord, you should have enough cord length to reach the wood that needs cutting or pruning.


How Close Are Your Neighbors
Chain saws are noisy. With neighbors close by, an electric or battery chain saw may be the better option. If you need a gas chain saw, then use it at reasonable times of the day. Consider purchasing a muffler to dampen the noise of the gas chain saw.
From an environmental perspective, it is better to use corded electric or battery chain saws than the gas chain saw. The fuel-oil blends used in 2-stroke gas chain saw engines are prone to fumes that pollute the air.


How Much Wood You Need To Cut
Gas chain saws are made for heavy duty wood cutting. If you need to cut a lot of wood often, then the maintenance the gas chain saw requires, is no longer an issue.
If the chain saw is not used regularly, then the low maintenance of the electric and battery chain saws are better options. It all depends on the cutting required.
The electric chain saw’s guide bar length is ideal for the small to medium cutting jobs. Even though the electric chain saw can do the job, if there is a lot of wood to cut, it is better to use a gas chain saw that’s more powerful and geared for heavy duty.


Expected Log Diameter
The guide bar length of the chainsaw determines the maximum length size the chain saw can cut in one pass. It is the cutting part of the chainsaw and measured from the housing to the tip of the chain saw. A 16-inch guide bar means the chain saw can cut a 32-inch diameter log. The engine of the chain saw must also be powerful enough to cut through the log.
From a safety perspective, the guide bar length should be 2 inches longer than the log you want to cut.
When you cut a piece of wood with a smaller chain saw, it won’t be done in one pass, but you can still do it.
For normal light cutting a 14-inch guide, the bar is more than enough. Bar lengths of 22-36 inches are for professional use. For medium cutting, a guide bar of 16-20 inches should do the job.
The larger the bar length, the more unbalanced and difficult it is to handle the chain saw.


How Important Is Ease Of Use
Gas chain saws are by far the heaviest to use. Many gas chain saws are equipped with anti-vibration features that reduce the effect of the chain saw actions on arms and shoulders.
The electric chain saw may be lighter in weight but in power too. The electric cord limits the range you can move from the where the power socket is located. It is also vital to always be mindful of the cord to prevent cutting the cord or tripping over it.
Although the gas chain saw is cordless too, the cordless battery chain saw is lightweight and easy to maneuver.
Both the electric and battery chain saws have quick startups compared to the pull chain of a gas chain saw.
A chain saw with heated handles is a feature you may not think about until you need to cut some wood during winter. Cutting firewood is much easier to do with heated handles.
Chain saws are made for righthandedness. If you’re left handed practice with the chain saw without power until you are comfortable in using the chain saw.


Safety Precautions to Avoid Kickback
Large bar length chain saws may cause kickbacks easier than smaller models. The kickback zone is tip where the chain saw changes direction; where the chain starts moving towards you and not away from you as on the top. The severity of the kickback depends on how abruptly and where the chain stop occurs.
Kickback occurs when
• The chain saw is actively moving in a circular direction and the tip of the guide bar hits an object.
• The wood that’s being cut closes in on the guide bar and pinches it.
Take these 5 steps to lessen the chances of kickback.
• Make sure all safety devices are in working condition before you start sawing.
• Keep the guide bar tip away from touching wood, the ground or branches.
• Have sharpened chain according to specifications.
• Make sure the chain has the correct tension.
• When cutting, cut at full power.
• Always cut only one piece of wood at a time.
Use an anti-kickback chain for additional safety precautions.

FAQ about Chainsaws

FAQs about Weed Eaters

1. What is a chain saw?
It is a mechanical saw tool that cuts through hard materials such as wooden surfaces and is used for a number of tasks including felling, limbing, pruning, bucking, and even to cut ice.
2. What information should you know before you decide what type of chainsaw to buy?
The wood diameter and the type of wood you will normally need to cut are important factors to take into account before buying a saw. The amount of wood you think you’ll handle is important as well.
3. What are the three types of chainsaws?
Generally, chainsaws are divided into categories based on the power source they use.  These are: Battery, Corded and Gas.
4. Which type of saw is the ideal chain saw for small tasks?
Battery powered chainsaws are ideal for smaller, faster-to-complete chores. While battery technology is getting better, battery operated tools still can’t totally compete on bigger jobs with gas-powered tools. As the battery chainsaw is powered by a battery with limited storage, it is best to use them for tasks such as trimming and light cutting.
5. Which category of chain saw has a two-cycle engine?
Gas chainsaws have two-cycle engines – both electric types use electric motors to power through wood.  Two cycle engines require a mixture of oil and gasoline.  The engine and gas both make the saw heavier than the electric counterparts.
6. Which chainsaw does not need any recharging or refueling?
Corded chainsaws are eco-friendly tools that do not need to be recharged or refueled. They are powered through your household electricity supply.  While this means you should never run out of juice when tackling a project, the downside is you need to have an extension cord available to reach whatever job you want to tackle.

42 thoughts on “The Best Chain Saws For 2018 and Beyond”

  1. I don’t think I’ll ever use a chainsaw myself, but this is pretty nice. The information is good and I think it’s very convenient for the people who uses chainsaws a lot. I personally find the yellow one pretty neat.

  2. Wow thank you for this very nice article! I’m not a chainsaw user but I feel like I might need one someday. I’m not comfortable asking for an opinion from shops because I know they’re trying to make a sale and are therefore biased. I like the EGO no noise chainsaw; I think it’s perfect for newbies like me!

  3. Great article! I hope you come up with another list as I think there are loads of other brands out there. Having said that, I think the ones you featured on this article are all very good. But we all buy stuff based on what we need or desire. I get tired easily, and my shoulder and arms are prone to fatigue. So I think the best on this list for me is Tanaka.

  4. Corded chainsaw is my least preference. There are just so many things that could go wrong in using it, I’d imagine.

  5. You really have no idea how helpful this article is right now to me. I’ve been looking everywhere for information about how to do my garden, bushes and trees myself but I got no tools. This is useful as I may get the BLACK DECKER LCS1240 for me, it’s small and efficient I need something light so I can carry it myself with no help.

  6. Out of the eight I would say something with no constant need of charging would work for me… WORX WG304, this is a long period chainsaw, perfect for working long hours. Very good article, I like the PROS and CONS sections makes it easier to decide instead of just a review. Good work.

  7. I have tried using chainsaws, and I must say I prefer the battery operated ones. However, though it has his pros, it’s cons matter all the same. It just isn’t fit for long term use especially if it requires higher power. It is safe though, I think.

  8. I hope when people decide to buy the GreenWorks 20312 DigiPro G-MAX 40V Li-Ion 16-Inch Cordless Chainsaw, 4AH Battery and a Charger Inc. they will at least dispose of the battery properly. We need to look after the environment. 🙂

  9. This is one well put together authority article on chainsaws. I have never visited your site before, but after reading this article you have definitely hit an instant credibility homerun with me! If ever I do buy a chainsaw, it will definitely through your site!

  10. This page has a lot to say about chainsaws. Thank you for educating me, now I can choose which is moore reliable, eco-friendly and stress free, at least the least stressful. With so many choices and detailed functions laid, it will be easier to pin down what’s best for my need.

  11. Mechanical tools are more of a man’s doing ever since. Thanks to this article, I’ll have more input on what kind of chainsaw to buy. I thought before, as long as it does what i want it to do, then I’ll buy it. I didn’t know there are other things to consider.

  12. Great article, safety first. I know very little on the subject, but if it were me I’d go with the EGO power 14 inch. I think getting my yard work done efficiently without waking up my neighbours is a rare, but key feature. If I were to buy one of the gasoline trimmers, I’d invest in getting a proper lesson.

  13. Earlier, I had only some idea about the different variety of chainsaws.Now after reading the article and the review of the top 8 chainsaws, I have gained some knowledge about chainsaws, its utility and the different aspects to consider for buying one. The battery powered chainsaw, in my opinion is the best for domestic work and suits me.

  14. This tool is an essential in our family’s cabin by the lake. The trees and overgrowth there can be quite a pain without it. But since clearing the immediate surrounding area of the place is not something done daily, an electric chainsaw had been our choice. That was until we experienced an almost two-week long power outage.

  15. Most of my power tools are from Black and Decker. I’m pretty sure that all the other brands featured here are also good, it’s just that, as per 20 years of using tools from B&D, it will take a lot to convince me to switch.

  16. I’ve never been a fan of the corded or battery-powered types of these. The ones reviewed here seem really nice though. Perhaps I will get one of those battery-operated ones for light tasks.

  17. Actually the prices on these chainsaws are more decent than I thought they would be. Thanks for the detailed review, definitely, I will buy one.

  18. This article has exposed to the different types of chainsaws, the corded, battery and gasoline. In case I want to cut wood I will prefer to use the gasoline saw because it is more powerful and don’t need to be plugged to electricity source.

  19. It looks like a showdown between the light electrical type versus the heavy gasoline type. However the Tanaka with the anti vibration thing sounds like an interesting choice. It also looks like the choices are up to the physical capacity of the user. Good techno run down for all by the reviewer.

  20. I have no knowledge about the differences of these chainsaws, not until I’ve read this page. There are lots of differences in them. And one has to choose for their own convenience and capacity. It is very helpful when we are given such information about a single equipment. It makes it easier to bid for our choice. Thank you, author, for this page.

  21. What an informative article. I’m relieved to see that the chainsaws got increasingly heavy-duty. I was scared for a moment because those first few looked like toys. I didn’t even know corded chainsaws existed. Doesn’t sound too convenient, but whatever suits you, I guess!

  22. I’m not about to purchase a chainsaw myself because I am a 72 year old widow, but my husband when he was still alive did all the work outside the house. We have a big space at the back of our house and my husband’s job was to make sure there are no overgrowth. Anyway, he had a trusted BLACK+DECKER chainsaw but unfortunately I gave it away when he died. We had it for many, many years and not once did my husband complained or replaced it.

  23. Reading reviews such as the article above is a great help for consumer to choose which is the best product or brand to buy. It also adds knowledge about the use of the product. Thanks for sharing this review.

  24. A very informative article, thank you! With hurricane season still ongoing, I am thinking of getting one. It will definitely come in handy for removing debris or cutting branches/tress and choosing one will be easier given the options you provided above.

  25. This list really is very helpful. When others are asked for their opinions, they are likely to have a limited knowledge of how different brands perform, and are more likely to promote whichever model they themselves use. It’s really helpful to have opinions/reviews on a whole bunch of different models, as well as the pros and cons of each. That knowledge is likely to really help someone who doesn’t really know much at all about chainsaws.

  26. Man where do you find this vibrant images? I can just feel the sawdust flaring off the first pic. Makes me want to buy a chainsaw just to feel the sheer power of it in my hands!

  27. I kinda like that WORX WG304.1 Chain Saw 18-Inch 4 HP 15.0 Amp. This looks like just the one I’ve been searching for, thanks!

  28. “the machine also includes a 40V Lithium-Ion battery in order to increase the performance of the machine. ” What I think that, a good machine has good accessories, it might increase the long lasting and increase the efficiency.

  29. This article contains such good reviews of chainsaws. It is easier to choose which one to get basing from the ease of use and the pros and cons of each type. I like the 7th one though.

  30. Whenever someone say’s chainsaw or something, it always reminded me of that movie “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”.
    Awesome article though! Very useful for those who likes using chainsaws haha

  31. I prefer EGO Power+ 14-Inch 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Chain Saw – 2.0Ah Battery and Charger Kit. No noise and I like the look of the chainsaw. Very modern.

  32. I like the EGO Power+ 14-Inch 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Chain Saw – 2.0Ah Battery and Charger Kit. It looks like very easy to use and I love the design of it.

  33. Very informative… two thumbs up for this article! I think this is the most objective review of outdoor equipment. Chainsaws are not to be handed lightly. Even for beginners, there’s a certain amount of skill required when using one. Great suggestion would be to use battery-powered chainsaws.

  34. I like the DEWALT DCCS690H1 40V 6AH Lithium Ion XR Brushless Chainsaw. I love the design of it, that is the one that I’ll purchase.

  35. I prefer battery powered chainsaws because they’re lightweight and efficient. They’re relatively noise-free too unlike gas powered chainsaws.

  36. What a great buying guide for chainsaws! I’ve been meaning to cut down a tree in my back yard, and now I know the perfect chainsaw for the job!

    • Aww. I wish I could comfort your tree for you! I has to do use a chainsaw to kill 3 Bradford Pears this year. I felt soo bad for each one. It’s hard sometimes but at least we know we’re doing the right thing.

  37. “The machine also includes a 40V Lithium-Ion battery in order to increase the performance of the machine.” What I think that, a good machine has good accessories, it might increase the long lasting and increase the efficiency.

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