Best Chainsaws Reviews 2020: A Complete Buying Guide

can chainsaws get wetGot a huge tree in your backyard that really needs to come down? Sure, you can call a tree removal company and spend thousands of dollars. However, you could also check out our roundup of the best chainsaw reviews of 2020 and take matters into your own hands.

That’s not all that chainsaws are good for, of course. They’re also useful for cutting branches, smaller pruning and trimming jobs, cutting firewood, and of course, reinforcing your manhood (or womanhood). Chainsaws are also great time-savers, with experts estimating that it’s as much as ten times faster to cut with a chainsaw than a hand saw.

How to choose a chainsaw

Those who are new to chainsaws may not realize that there’s a huge variety of these tools to choose from. The selection can be dizzying, which is why it’s vital to read the best chainsaw reviews. Some are designed primarily for smaller tasks while others would do a professional woodsman proud. Additionally, some have extra safety features ideal for people who have difficulty driving a nail without smashing their finger.

Because they’re one of the most dangerous tools you can buy, it’s also important to learn about the dangers of chainsaws before buying. Choosing the wrong model could not only cost you time and money, but it could also cost you a finger. Here’s a quick primer on chainsaws, followed by a roundup of the best chainsaw reviews of 2020 to help you make the right choice.

How Tight Should a Chainsaw Chain Be?

Chainsaw chain tension should be checked and tightened often. So which is the proper tension?

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Chainsaw basics

Standard chainsaws have three basic components: handles and a trigger at the back of the saw, a cutting bar with sharp teeth (the chain) at the front, and a motor or engine surrounded by a safety housing in the middle. A chain-and-sprocket system connected to the motor drives the cutting bar to do the actual work. Finally, a clutch ensures that the blades don’t move when the saw is simply idling.

Components

Standard chainsaws have three basic components: handles and a trigger at the back of the saw, a cutting bar with sharp teeth at the front, and a motor or engine surrounded by a safety housing in the middle. A chain-and-sprocket system connected to the motor drives the cutting bar to do the actual work, and a clutch ensures that the blades don’t move when the saw is simply idling.

Can Chainsaws Cut Through Metal?

Can a chainsaw cut through metal? It is almost comical to pose this question to people from all walks of life and see the types of answers that you get. 

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Variations

There are several variations you’ll often see on modern chainsaws, including additional safety housings or jaws around the cutting bar, or clamps that act like pliers and hold the branches you are cutting. Some also use the term chainsaw to refer to pole saws, which extend to reach high or distant branches.

Types of chainsaws

Chainsaws are available in electric (both corded and cordless) and gas-powered models.

Electric Chainsaws

Electric saws are naturally quieter and “green-friendly” and don’t need as much attention or maintenance. They’re less powerful, so they’re ideally suited for pruning and trimming rather than taking down 50-foot oak trees. The only real maintenance required is cleaning and oiling the cutting saw regularly. Obviously, cordless electric versions give you more mobility but corded ones won’t force you to interrupt your work for recharges.

Can Chainsaws Get Wet?

If you're looking for the answer as to whether a chainsaw can get wet, well, they sure can. And if they aren’t, then probably you are not working hard enough.

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Gas Chainsaws

By comparison, gasoline-powered saws are usually designed for big jobs (although light-duty models are also available), make the familiar loud noise we all associate with chainsaws, and can be used anywhere without needing an external power source. However, they have two-cycle engines meaning they need an oil-gasoline mixture to run, so you either have to purchase already-mixed fuel or mix it yourself. You’ll also need to regularly check or add oil to the engine, change the air filter, clean the carburetor and so on.

Husqvarna 531300440 20-Inch FT280-72 Chain Saw Bar

The Husqvarna range of lawn and garden equipment offers everything from lawnmowers and ride-on mowers to trimmers and chainsaws to let you master your great outdoors. You and Husqvarna - together we will make your yard the envy of the neighborhood.

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Size

The primary way that the size is measured is by the length of their cutting bars, since shorter blades can’t do heavy work but longer ones can cut through a thick log with one motion. Personal-use electric saws will have blades anywhere from six to eighteen inches long, while most gas-powered ones will have cutting bars ranging between one and two feet in length. There’s always a tradeoff for size; the longer the blade, the heavier the chain saw will be and the more power it will require.

Are Chainsaw Blades Universal?

Most of us who have used chainsaws know just how exciting but dangerous it is to use one. While chainsaws are one of those things that you would need to use from time to time, chainsaw blades can be dangerous if not handled properly.

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While a cutting bar can normally cut through wood that’s twice its length in circumference, that’s really pushing things and you’ll probably need at least a couple of passes. The best rule of thumb is to choose a chainsaw with a blade that’s at least two inches longer than the circumference of the wood you’ll be cutting most frequently. That means choosing one between 6-14 inches for light duty and 14-20 inches for serious work. Cutting bars above 20 inches (and commercial ones can go up to 36 inches) are for experienced users with large trees to attack.

Engine Power

Gasoline/electric and cutting bar size are the two most critical factors in choosing the right chainsaw. Right behind them is power, since a huge blade won’t do much good if there’s no “oomph” behind it. Small gas-powered saws should have an engine with displacement between 30-40cc, and larger ones should be on the order of 40-60cc. Professional saws can run much higher than that, over 100cc at times. Electric ones are measured by amperage, and as it increases, so does the output of the chainsaw.

Tips for Sharpening Chainsaw Blades

If you have been having problems with your chain saw then it’s probably time to sharpen the blade. Many people feel that they are unable to sharpen their own chainsaw blades and would rather pay someone to do the job for them.

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Other helpful chainsaw features

There are several more important considerations when buying a chainsaw. For one thing, these can be dangerous so safety features are something you should look for. More powerful saws should definitely have an anti-kickback chain to prevent the blade from pushing too far toward you when it hits something unexpected and stops abruptly; for the same reason, there must be a chain brake (sometimes called a safety shutoff). Anti-vibration systems are highly desirable on more powerful models, as are automatic oilers to keep the chain lubricated while you work. And look for spring-assist starting systems on gas chainsaws, which make it much easier to pull the starting rope.

A note on chainsaw maintenance

It’s also important to note that chainsaws require regular maintenance both to ensure best performance and the safety of the user. Although chainsaw blades are incredibly sharp, they will occasionally need sharpening (see our tips for sharpening chainsaw blades) or replacing, especially if you’re doing something like cutting metal with your chainsaw. If you’re wondering if chainsaw blades are universal, the answer is no; you’ll need to seek out one that’s compatible with your particular chainsaw. And while chainsaws can get wet, you’ll want to dry them after each use to prevent corrosion.

Now that you’re primed on basic chainsaw features, let’s dive into specific models. Here now, a look at the best chainsaw reviews of 2020 for home users.

The Best Chainsaw Reviews Of 2020

WORX WG303.1 16-Inch Chain Saw

Worx WG303.1 16-inch Corded Electric Chainsaw

The WORX 16” 3.5 HP 14.5 Amp chainsaw is a cut above the rest. For starters, the exclusive WORX patented tool-free chain replacement and the auto-tensioning system eliminates the headaches faced with most other chainsaws.

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The WORX WG303.1 16-inch Chainsaw claims to be as powerful as a gasoline one. We’re not so sure about that, but it’s pretty close. The 14.5 amp engine has no trouble powering the 15-inch bar for bringing down branches and small trees, in addition to more mundane pruning and trimming. There’s a built-in safety brake, an automatic oiler, and something you don’t always see on tools of this size, an auto-tension system that maintains proper tension for the chain while you’re cutting and eliminates the hassle of constant adjustments. The WG303.1 weighs 11 pounds and is affordable, making it both easy to handle and easy to pay for. It’s definitely not hard to see why this model has some of the best chainsaw reviews of 2020.

ProsCons
Convenient auto-tension system.Cord can get in the way.
Affordable price.No-kick tip makes precision jobs difficult.
Electric, meaning fewer emissions.No replacement parts available.
The Best Chainsaw Reviews of 2020

Husqvarna 450 18-Inch Gas Powered Chain Saw

Husqvarna 450 18-Inch Gas Powered Chain Saw

The Husqvarna 450 is a powerful all-round saw for people who value professional qualities in a saw. Equipped with Smart Start and fuel pump to every time ensure easy starts.

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The Husqvarna 450 18-inch Chainsaw has power. There’s a 50.2cc , 3.2 HP X-Torq low-emission engine effortlessly driving the 18-inch blade, complete with a three-piece crankshaft and a centrifugal air cleaning system. The 450 has the safety and comfort features you’d expect from this premium manufacturer: an inertia-activated chain brake, anti-vibration dampeners, a SmartStart system for easy pulls and starts, an automatic chain oiler, and very comfortable, ergonomic handles and trigger. It’s also surprisingly light, at about 11 pounds. While we wouldn’t take this out into the forest to hack at giant trees, it will do just about anything you need to do around your house and property.

ProsCons
Comfortable ergonomic handle.Buyers report chain coming loose.
Lower emissions.Starting can be tricky.
Great safety features.Buyers report chain dulls quickly.
The Best Chainsaw Reviews of 2020

Poulan Pro PP5020AV Gas Powered Chain Saw

The Poulan Pro PP5020AV isn’t as complete a machine as the chainsaw we just discussed, but it’s not that far away (a good indicator is that Husqvarna also owns Poulan and operates it as the company’s “budget” line) – and the price tag is certainly attractive. The Poulan Pro has a 50cc DuraLife engine, and its 20-inch blade is what might also make this chainsaw more interesting to you than the Husky’s 18 inches (but stay tuned). There’s an automatic chain oiler, a reduced-vibration system also used on Husqvarnas, and an easy-start pull system, making this one of the best chainsaw reviews of 2020.

ProsCons
Budget-friendly price.Fewer features.
20-inch blade for bigger jobs.Buyers report difficulty with pull-start.
Automatic chain oiler.Budget price means cheaper construction.
The Best Chainsaw Reviews of 2020

Black & Decker LCS1020 Lithium-Ion

The Black & Decker LCS1020 has a 20-volt lithium-ion battery that will run for about an hour, letting you use the 10-inch low-kickback blade to trim and clear branches and brush (it’s rated by the manufacturer for 1½ inch branches) to your heart’s content. There’s a vibration-minimization system, a self-oiler for the chain, and an easy-adjust tension system; we also like the wrap-around handle and lightweight (seven pounds). The performance is reliable, and that’s the most important thing when paying for a mid-range priced light-duty chainsaw.

ProsCons
Lightweight for easy handling.Small blade only suitable for the smallest jobs.
Battery-powered means no emissions.Have to remember to charge battery.
Comfortable grip.Battery may run out mid-job.
The Best Chainsaw Reviews of 2020

Poulan P3314 14-Inch Gas-Powered Chain Saw

Poulan PL3314 14in Gas- Powered Chainsaw

The Poulan PL3314 chainsaw is equipped with a 14 in. steel bar and chain. Lightweight and perfect for cutting firewood and tree limbs around the house.

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The Poulan P3314 14-inch Gas Powered Chainsaw is equipped with a 14 in. steel bar and chain. In some of the best chainsaw reviews of 2020, buyers say it’s lightweight and perfect for cutting firewood and tree limbs around the house. If the Poulan PP5020AV’s price was attractive, the cost of the P3314 is downright beautiful for a 33cc engine and a 14-inch steel bar. You also get an automatic oiler, an inertia chain brake and an easy-start pull system. What’s the downside? It’s only powerful enough for the type of the light yard work we’ve talked about, and the “easy-start” system can be very temperamental. In a nutshell: not bad, not great, but definitely utilitarian.

ProsCons
Great price.Can be difficult to start.
OxyPower technology for lower emissions.Lightweight & only suitable for smaller jobs.
Intertia chain brake for safety.Some buyers report idling issues.
The Best Chainsaw Reviews of 2020

Husqvarna 460 Rancher 24-Inch Chain Saw

The Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw is a robust all-round saw for jobs that need a longer bar. Timber! If the Husky we’ve already discussed isn’t enough chainsaw for you, try this puppy out. The price is in the mid-range scale, but that gets you a bulldog of a 60cc engine, more than enough to juice the large 24-inch blade. It has all of the terrific features of the 450, including an inertia chain brake, a LowVib anti-vibration system, SmartStart, and an easy-to-use side-mounted tension control – and it weighs less than 13 pounds. The company’s “Rancher” label is reserved for its models which are a notch above consumer level, considered semi-professional; unless you’re a real pro, you’ll find there’s nothing you’ll encounter that this model can’t handle.

ProsCons
Hefty 60cc engine.No tool-less chain tension adjustment.
Longer bar for big jobs.Buyers say controls feel a bit "flimsy".
LowVib anti-vibration system for easy handling.Considerably higher price.
The Best Chainsaw Reviews of 2020

Husqvarna 440E 16-Inch Gas Powered Chainsaw

Husqvarna 440E 16-Inch Gas Powered Chain Saw

This lightweight and efficient chainsaw are ideal for those who want a reliable workhorse that's simple to use. The starter cord is easy to pull, and the engine is quick to start.

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The Husqvarna 440E 16 inch Gas Powered Chainsaw is ideal for those who want a reliable workhorse that’s simple to use. Yes, there are a lot of Husqvarna models on this list; that should tell you all you need to know about the quality of this manufacturer’s products. For its mid-range price, the 440E is a more approachable Husqvarna gas saw for those on a budget than the units we’ve listed so far. shorter, 16-inch cutting bar. Other than that, it has all of the outstanding construction and features of the other Husky saws we’ve discussed, and it’s just as good a buy as those others.

ProsCons
Budget-friendly price.Shorter cutting bar makes bigger jobs difficult.
Reliable brand.Buyers report clutch cover is hard to remove.
Solid construction.Some buyers complain of flimsy choke switch.
The Best Chainsaw Reviews of 2020

WORX WG304.1 Chainsaw

WORX WG304.1 18-Inch Chain Saw

The WORX WG304.1 18-inch Chain Saw is a robust and lightweight power tool that is perfect for quick, easy jobs around your yard or farm, such as cutting firewood, clearing brush, trimming trees, and more. In addition, the WG304.1 produces no harmful emissions and has minimal operating costs when compared to gas-powered chain saws.

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The WORX WG304.1 Chainsaw is a robust and lightweight power tool that is perfect for quick, easy jobs around your yard or farm, such as cutting firewood, clearing brush, trimming trees, and more. If you were intrigued by the WORX electric model we reviewed at the start of these listings, you’ll be even more interested in this one. That model had a 14.5 amp engine and a 15-inch blade; this one has a 15 amp engine and an 18-inch cutting bar, doesn’t weigh any more, and is still on the low-price range. You’ll see all of the same nice features on the WG304.1, plus all-metal dogs at the base of the blade for added stability. And of course, the extra three inches on the saw means you’ll be able to handle bigger trees with this model, the biggest plus for the WORX WG304.1.

ProsCons
Quieter than gas-powered models.Buyers complain of cheap plastic gears.
Longer blade for bigger jobs.Chain tensioner can be difficult to adjust.
Budget-friendly price.Low price means lower quality.
The Best Chainsaw Reviews of 2020

So you’re ready to buy a chainsaw…

That is, enough to understand the basics of chainsaws, and enough to make a smart decision on purchasing one. As you now know, the process is much simpler than it might seem at first. Once you’ve figured out what type of work you’ll be doing with your new tool (clipping, trimming, cutting small branches or firewood, or serious tree takedowns) and the size of the average trees or branches you’ll be dealing with you can make an informed choice between electric and gas, and on the size and power of the saw that will be best for the job.

Then it’s simply a matter of comparing features and comparing prices – using a list that contains only a few possibilities that match your criteria, instead of hundreds chosen at random. It’s always a good idea to actually hold the saw in your hands before buying, to check out the feel and the weight. That’s not always the way things work anymore these days, though, as more and more people buy online than in person. For the online purchase of equipment, we lean heavily toward manufacturers and brand names with a solid history of performance. However, our goal here was simply to present the best chainsaw reviews of 2020. We hope it’s been helpful in getting your hands on the best chainsaw for your needs.

Furthermore, if you’ve narrowed your options down to a gas-powered chainsaw, check out our picks for the best small gas chainsaws.

The Dangers of Using a Chainsaw

An inexperienced person is trying to use a chainsaw to do some trimming around the house, may run into a few unexpected things that can turn deadly in the blink of an eye.

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