Chainsaws are multipurpose tools. You can use them for home improvement projects, lawn maintenance, and to clear out fallen trees blocking the road/ driveway after a storm. I recommend buying a quality chainsaw that will last you at least 5 to 6 years (provided you maintain it). Husqvarna, EGO, Remington, and Stihl are my top brands when it comes to chainsaws. Especially Husqvarna and Stihl if you’re looking for that gas muscle and top notch customer support. Their products are built tough and are easy to operate. In the electric chainsaw realm Makita, DeWalt, Greenworks, and EGO make top tier products.
Table of Contents...
- 1 Best 16” Chainsaws | Reviews
- 1.2 Oregon CS300 40V : 16″ Cordless Chainsaw
- 1.3 Greenworks 20312 | Best 16″ Battery Chainsaw
- 1.4 Remington RM4216CS | 16″ Gas Chainsaw
- 1.5 Husqvarna 130 | Best 16″ Gas Chainsaw
- 1.6 Makita UC4051A : 16″ Electric Chainsaw
- 1.7 WEN 4017 | 16″ Electric Chainsaw
- 1.8 Professional 18″ Gas : Stihl: MS 251 C-BE
- 1.9 Related posts:
A 16” chainsaw is ideal for homeowners and DIYers, because it isn’t too short or too long. There is ample power in a 16” chainsaw to cut through any tree, as long as it isn’t over 32 inches in thickness. I have prepared a list of 16” Corded, Cordless, and Gas chainsaws for you to choose from. Cordless is the most convenient since there are no wires and zero fumes. Plus, you don’t have to bother with carburetors, recoil starters, spark plugs, etc. Just keep the chain greased and charge the batteries, it will work like a charm. Corded electric chainsaws are lighter and cheaper but they also need a power source. So you are tethered to a cord, this limits your range of motion and the area in which you can work.
► One of the best 16” cordless chainsaws : Milwaukee M18 Fuel (2727-21HD review)
“If you’re a contractor or the owner of a multi-acre property, this Milwaukee is seriously worth considering. With power rivaling 40cc gas saws, the M18 Fuel chews through everything from oak and cherry to maple and birch. It will make short work of tree stumps and roots, even if they are filled with dirt. And unlike cheap cordless chainsaws from other brands, it keeps trucking until the battery dies completely. This Milwaukee will go out in a flash instead of losing power over time as charge levels decrease. This means you get consistent cutting performance and can accurately predict the depth/ angle of your cuts. It suits the needs of professional landscapers and contractors, so you can bet it’s good enough for cutting small trees and 2x4s in your backyard. Plus, the response time on this thing is insanely fast- it hits full throttle in less than a second.”
Gas is what most people own since it has tons of power and can be take anywhere. But this comes at a price — more maintenance and extremely high noise levels. Plus, you have to mix your engine oil and gasoline in the correct ratio before fueling the chainsaw, because gas saws use 2 stroke motors. If you mess up the ratio (usually 1 part oil to 50 parts gasoline) you could clog up the carburetor and spark arrestor. Too much oil means your chainsaw will spew black fumes and it won’t generate enough power. Too little oil, and the internal components of your engine will wear down much faster.
Note: For most homeowners, I recommend electric (corded or cordless) since it is so convenient. But if you’re an experienced chainsaw user or don’t mind some elbow grease, go for gas since it’s the most versatile.
Before you dive into the reviews, here’s is a list of things to focus on:
- Weight- Anything over 12lbs is unwieldy for anybody who isn’t a professional landscaper or lumberjack. Most 30 to 40cc gas chainsaws like the Stihl MS 171 and Husqvarna 125 weight under 10 to 12lbs (powerhead only). If your powerhead is light to begin with, you can slap a longer bar and chain on there in the future depending on your needs. Your wrists and shoulders will thank you for choosing a lighter saw.
- Ergonomics- A chainsaw should be considered an extension of your own body; all the controls should be within reach of your thumb. The choke lever, the start/ stop switch- these are basic controls that everyone should be able to find and manipulate within minutes of picking up their chainsaw.
- Safety- A chainsaw isn’t a toy; it can chop off your arm or leg just as easily as it chops off a tree branch. The razor sharp teeth on the chain of your saw won’t differentiate between wood and flesh. So apart from taking chainsaw safety classes and wearing the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment), you also need to ensure that the tool you’re using has been designed to be safe. It needs to have an inertial chain brake if it is a gas saw, even some electric saws have this feature. And there has to be a chain catcher along with a low kickback chain (common in any homeowner model).
- Ease of Maintenance-If you’ve owned chainsaws in the past, you probably know your way around chains and small engines. Changing a spark plug or tuning the carburetor shouldn’t be too hard for you. But for first time buyers, it is imperative that they choose a chainsaw which demands little from them. Hence, I advocate the use of electric chainsaws (since a lot of you are buying your first chainsaw in 2023). Purchase a chainsaw with toolless chain adjustment and an oil level view window. If it is a gas saw, the spark plug and air filter should be easily accessible.
TIP: If you’re buying your first chainsaw, make sure to buy a nice pair of chainsaw chaps along with it. They come in a variety of sizes and will protect your legs in case things don’t go as planned. Buy wraparound chaps instead of chainsaw aprons, the former will provide extra protection around the back of your legs and calves. And don’t cut trees in casual clothing, wear rugged clothes that cover the whole body (also include ear protection if you’re using a gas chainsaw). Get a pair of chainsaw pants like these Husqvarna Technical Pants. Chainsaw safety should be your top priority before ever turning on your chainsaw. Yes, chainsaw chaps cost extra money but nothing is as valuable as your life.
Best 16” Chainsaws | Reviews
Oregon CS300 40V : 16″ Cordless Chainsaw
Highlight : This chainsaw is top recommendation for most homeowners for one simple design feature — it has a built-in self sharpening chain. Most people don’t know how to sharpen a chain, nor do they want to. With the CS300, pull the lever and the chain will be sharp in SECONDS!
- Brushless motor
- 16″ (40cm) bar length
- Automatic oiler with 4.1 oz tank capacity
- No load chain speed 2796 fpm
- Tool-less tensioner
- Only 12 lbs with battery
“If you just want to do some pruning and jointing, don’t buy a massive 50cc gas saw. It’s like owning a Lamborghini when all you do is drive around in city traffic. Too much maintenance, and too much noise. Instead, get a cordless chainsaw like this Oregon CS300. It is light, requires no maintenance other than refilling bar oil, and even has a built-in chain sharpener.”
Oregon is a name that’s well recognized and respected within the chainsaw community, since they’ve been making quality woodcutting equipment since 1947. In fact, their very first product wasn’t a chainsaw but a whole new type of chain- one that revolutionized the way chainsaws work. Oregon was founded by Joseph Cox, inventor of the chipper style chain. His inspiration for this new chain design came from nature. Joseph based the chipper tooth design on the jaws of a timberman beetle larva whose ability to easily go with and across the wood grain impressed him. Unlike previous “scratcher” chains, this new chain type used curved C-shaped teeth with depth gauges. It was more efficient at removing material from the cut and allowed for faster, safer cutting.
VIDEO | A Closer Look at the Oregon CS300
A lot has changed in the chainsaw world since 1947, but the basic chipper tooth design can still be found in all chainsaw chains today. In fact, a huge portion of Oregon’s revenue comes from manufacturing chains and bars. A lot of chainsaw manufactures ship their saws with Oregon bars and chains installed from the factory (sometimes rebranded). Oregon themselves make excellent chainsaws that are built tough. If you’re looking for a proper cordless chainsaw that handles everything you throw at it, the Oregon CS 300 is just right for you. It is powerful, easy to use, and reliable. Perhaps the best feature of this cordless chainsaw is its built-in chain sharpener tool.
Basically, Oregon have installed a specially designed sharpening stone right in the sprocket cover. It activates whenever you pull on the red lever next to the front handle. The sharpener is C- shaped and grinds against the chain which is travelling at 50 to 60 mph. That’s why the entire sharpening process can be completed within just 5 seconds.
The Oregon CS300 utilizes a brushless motor which results in incredible speed and torque. It makes short work of trees, stumps, boards, poles, etc. You can use this chainsaw for felling, bucking, limbing, and pruning. If you are using the massive B650E 6.0AH battery, the CS300 will last for approximately 600 cuts (each 2 to 3 inches). You can fell a small tree, remove all the branches, and cut up the trunk into little logs on a single charge.
One of the things that makes the CS300 such a pleasure to use is its incredibly fast response time. With gas saws, there is a bit of “lag” or delay between you pressing the trigger and the engine revving up accordingly. Not the case with an electric saw since the response is instantaneous. Not to mention, instant torque (you get close to max torque from zero RPM) just like a Tesla. Additionally, the weight of this chainsaw is very well balanced so you won’t feel fatigued as quickly. Chain tension can be adjusted without any tools, and the bar oiler works automatically.
- Excellent performance for its size and weight
- Really well balanced with good ergonomics
- Built-in chain sharpener
- Toolless chain adjustment
- Automatic oiler
- Low kickback chain
- Low maintenance and much quieter than a gas saw
- Plastic bucking spikes
- Battery takes a while to charge (over 2 hours for the large 6Ah battery)
Greenworks 20312 | Best 16″ Battery Chainsaw
- Brushless motor for more torque, quiet operation, and longer life
- Brushless motor delivers up to 30% more torque for the greatest cutting performance
- Brushless motor design offers up to 70% less vibration for user comfort while working
- 16″ bar and chain perfect for tackling the tough jobs
- Automatic oiler applies oil to the bar and chain to ensure durability and extend the life of the chain
- Electronic chain brake prevents from accidental kick-backs
- Hassle free push button start
- Includes one 40V 4.0 Ah battery and charger
- 3 Year Limited Tool & Battery Warranty
“This little 16” cordless saw from Greenworks is adequate for the needs of most homeowners and DIYers. Unlike a gas saw, it has very little vibration thanks to the exceptional brushless motor. And the torque is all there at zero rpm, so it’s very hard to bog down even in dirty wood. With an electronic chain brake, this is also one of the safest cordless chainsaws you can buy.”
Don’t let the plastic exterior scare you, this is no toy and it certainly doesn’t feel like one when you actually hold it. The Greenworks 40V cordless chainsaw packs lots of power into a slim, lightweight package. Ideal for post-storm cleanup in your driveway or backyard, or when you just want to chop up some firewood for the winter. It is very controllable, thanks to the low kickback chain and good weight balance. Plus, this is one of the few cordless saws with an electric chain brake which immediately stops the chain as soon as you push on the lever in front of the handle.
The power is instantaneous and linear, it doesn’t bog down at all if you’re cutting 4 to 6 inch branches. Even with 12 to 15 inch logs you can get through at least a dozen before you have to change the battery. The Greenworks 40V chainsaw is a truly multipurpose tool, you can use it for everything from felling small trees to bucking and even pruning. Yep, you don’t need to invest in a small 10” saw just for pruning. You can fell, limb, buck, and prune with just one machine. Oh, and it works brilliantly for DIY projects. Whether you’re building a new table or cabinet, this saw is sure to come in handy.
The battery is very easy to insert and it makes a nice positive click sound to let you know it’s locked in. The side cover comes off easily if you want to clean up the sprocket and oiler holes. And chain tensioning requires no tools, all you have to do is twist a knob on the side of the chainsaw. Monitoring battery levels is very easy, thanks to the LED display above the rear handle. Sawdust is flung out the bottom, and since this is an electric saw you don’t have toxic fumes flying into your face as you cut. Plus, vibrations are minimized thanks to the brushless motor and soft grip handles. I really appreciate the fact that Greenworks put metal bucking spikes in the front instead of plastic ones like most other cordless chainsaw manufactures. The metal spikes are more durable and dig into the wood much better so you gain a ton of stability while bucking logs (your chainsaw is less likely to slip around).
- Uses a rugged Oregon guide bar (model 164MLEA041) with a 3/8” low kickback chain
- Powerful brushless motor that provides instant torque and lasts longer than brushed motors
- Much less vibration than any gas saw
- Intuitive controls and battery charge level LED built into handle
- Oil reservoir cap is large, and located in an easily accessible spot
- Bar oil level indicator on the side lets you know when your saw is running dry
- Switch safety lock so you don’t accidentally depress the trigger
- Electric chain brake for additional safety
- Toolless chain tensioning
- Even though the tool itself is quite affordable, it nearly doubles in price when you buy the battery + charger kit
- The plastic exterior will get scratched if you toss this saw in the back of your truck, it isn’t a contractor’s tool and isn’t built as such
- 4.0Ah 40V lithium ion battery takes 2 hours to charge
Remington RM4216CS | 16″ Gas Chainsaw
“Ideal for first time chainsaw buyers who want the power and versatility of gas. The Remington 4216CSS is one of the safest and lightest 40cc gas chainsaws you can buy. It even has some neat little features for prosumers such as an adjustable automatic oiler and metal bucking spikes. You can even upgrade to a larger 18” guide bar and chain in the future, the engine is powerful enough to handle it. The internal components are built sturdy and can be replaced easily, plus the chassis is die cast with a metal crankcase. You won’t get a better gas chainsaw at this price.”
The history of Remington as a company is quite interesting. They started out as a firearms manufacturer in 1816, and occasionally ventured into other fields such as farm implements, personal care, etc. If you’re reading this article on a computer or phone, you’re probably using a keyboard with the QWERTY layout. Guess what, Remington influenced the popularity of this character layout. They made the very first QWERTY typewriters in collaboration with Christopher Latham Sholes, an amateur inventor from Milwaukee. Remington sold their typewriter company in 1886 which later merged with the Rand Kardex Corp to make office equipment such as filing cabinets and adding machines. These days, Remington makes everything from chainsaws to electric shavers. And guns too (the NATO standard 5.56mm cartridge is based on the .223 Remington introduced in 1957).
Moving back to chainsaws, specifically gas powered chainsaws- the Remington RM4216CS is perfect for a first time chainsaw buyer. Now hear me out, I know I’ve said gas chainsaws are a poor choice for most first time chainsaw buyers (especially homeowners). But this is actually one of the best gas chainsaws in terms of weight and ergonomics. This chainsaw sits just around the 12lb mark, and it has a full wraparound aluminum handle on the front. The handle is covered in a soft touch material that feels grippy and comfortable. Plus, there is a 3-point vibration dampening system so your hands won’t go numb after an hour or two of working with this machine. As long as you are wearing ear protection, it is actually not an unpleasant machine to operate.
And the engine cover can be removed without any tools, so you can quickly do a field inspection/ replacement of the spark plug or air filter within minutes. The recoil starter is definitely more taxing on your arms when compared to hitting a simple start/ stop switch on an electric saw. But this Remington chainsaw has a QuickStart system which reduces the amount of pull force needed to start the engine. And it starts in just one or two pulls, every time. The chain tension can be adjusted easily from the side, all you have to do is use a scrench to turn the two bolts on the sprocket cover. Filling bar oil and fuel is super easy, thanks to the conveniently located reservoir caps for both.
While it is easy to use for newbies, the Remington RM4216CS also packs some nice features for more seasoned chainsaw users. Like the metal bucking spikes which help you keep the saw steady while sawing through large logs of hardwood. And it even has an adjustable automatic oiler so you can lower or increase the oil flow rate depending on the type and size of wood that you’re cutting.
- Extremely affordable compared to most other 40cc gas chainsaws
- Built to be robust
- Low kickback chain
- Adjustable automatic bar oiler
- Comes with 2 cycle engine oil in the box
- Tool free access to spark plug and air filter for quicker, easier maintenance
- Lighter when compared to other 16” gas saws on the market
- The 3-point anti vibration system is good, but you’ll still need padded gloves if you wish to use this saw for prolonged periods and not just in short bursts (the 4216, 4218, 4618, and 4620 have 5-point anti vibration systems which makes these saws feel much smoother)
- Some customers have complained about the saw’s oiler leaking bar oil when stored
Husqvarna 130 | Best 16″ Gas Chainsaw
“A great project/ yard saw, the Husqvarna 130 is both compact and robust. It uses Husqvarna’s famous X-Torq 2 stroke engine which delivers superior torque over rival engines of the same capacity (38cc). With lower fuel consumption too, so you get maximum runtime whenever you step outside for a day of work. At just over 10lbs, this is one of the lightest 16” gas chainsaws which is why I highly recommend it to homeowners. “
Husqvarna is a well known name in the chainsaw community. It competes with Stihl for the title of best chainsaw company in the world. Both go back and forth, encouraging healthy competition and innovation. Husqvarna has X-Torq while Stihl has 2-MIX. Husqvarna has LowVib while Stihl has AV. You get the idea. Whether you go for Swedish ingenuity or German excellence is up to you. These days we are spoiled for choices with so many good chainsaws to choose from.
Like it’s American counterpart Remington, Husqvarna has a storied past. These guys started all the way back in the late 17th century as a musket manufacturer (yep, Remington started out with rifles while Husqvarna started out with muskets). If you notice the Husqvarna logo closely, you can see it looks like a gun’s iron sights (the 3 sight posts at the top with a barrel underneath). Husqvarna eventually moved on from making firearms and got into bicycle manufacturing towards the late 19th century. In 1903 they upgraded to motorcycle manufacturing using imported engines. Husqvarna made bikes that competed in various long distance road races, and even got into motocross later on when that became a popular trend. They were acquired by KTM in the later parts of the 20th century.
Now, let’s get back to the 130 chainsaw and what makes it so good for homeowners. First, there’s the excellent engine- it consumes less fuel while simultaneously putting out more torque than the competition. Now, you might be thinking “isn’t it bad for homeowners to own a chainsaw with a really powerful engine?”. Well, not really- as they say, a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one. You want a tool that cuts cleanly and effortlessly, so you fatigue less and can stay focused longer. Plus, weight is all that matters- if your chainsaw is powerful while being lightweight it’s a good thing.
Husqvarna’s Air Injection technology uses the specially designed flywheel/ cooling fan driven by the engine crank to create a whirlpool of air inside the housing of the chainsaw. This whirlpool sucks up debris and ejects it outside the chainsaw before it can get to the air filter. Heavier and larger particles are prioritized, like with any centrifugal filtration system (similar to the bagless vacuums that Dyson makes). The end result is you get more consistent performance out of your chainsaw even under harsh conditions (lots of sawdust flying around like in a jobsite). The air filter doesn’t have to be cleaned as frequently, and this is a major benefit from a homeowner perspective.
- Excellent build quality
- X-Torq engine increases runtime while decreasing emissions
- Air Injection system keeps the air filter clean for longer, so you don’t have to worry about maintenance as frequently as you would on a normal gas chainsaw
- Weighs just over 10lbs (powerhead only)
- LowVib spring assisted vibration dampening
- Combined choke + stop control
- No oil level view window to monitor bar oil levels
- Bar and chain oil not included within the box
Makita UC4051A : 16″ Electric Chainsaw
- Tool-free blade and chain adjustments
- Rubberized grip handles make it comfortable to hold
- Large trigger switch with soft start for smooth start-ups
- Built-in current limiter helps protect motor from burnout by reducing power to motor when saw is overloaded
- Large oil reservoir with view window allows operator to check bar oil level
- Automatic chain oiler for heavy continuous cutting
- Electric chain brake for maximum productivity
- Zero emissions and reduced maintenance
- Soft start for smooth start-ups
- Current limiter helps protect motor from damage caused by heat
“A basic, no-frills design for people who want to cut some wood. Unless you’re out in the forest or trying to climb a tree, the cord shouldn’t be a huge issue. It does limit your movement, but the nice thing about a corded chainsaw like this is how little the actual saw weighs. Of all 3 chainsaw types, on average, corded chainsaws are the lightest. The UC4051A is almost as fast as a small gas saw as long as you’re cutting branches 6” or less in diameter. Go for it, you will appreciate the lack of fumes and noise. Plus it will start right up with the push of a button irrespective of how long it has been sitting cold.”
Makita was founded in 1915 as a Japanese electric motor sales and repair company. They have come a long way since then, leading the industry if we consider advancements in lithium power tools. Makita’s battery and charger technology is up there with the best, and they make some excellent corded/ cordless chainsaws. The UC4051A is a DIYers dream with how light and powerful it is. If you want a literal plug and play chainsaw, this is it. Plug it into a generator or wall outlet, and it keeps on revving. An overload protection system prevents the motor from overworking and burning itself up, so the chainsaw will shut off automatically if you’re trying to push past its limits.
The UC4051A has a net weight of 12.3lbs. Doesn’t seem all that impressive at first glance, right? After all, there are 40cc gas saws around the same weight. But this is the weight of the entire chainsaw, fully assembled with bar and chain. Most manufacturers only list their powerhead weight, the bar + chain is an extra 4 to 5 lbs. When you look at like that, this 12.3lb net weight is extremely impressive. It’s much lighter than most cordless saws while also being more powerful. The UC4051A is excellent if all you do is cut firewood in or around your garage. Unlike a gas chainsaw, this is very safe to use indoors since there are no fumes. So you could technically operate one of these in your basement while working on a project.
- Adjustable automatic chain oiler
- Toolless chain tension adjustment
- Oil level view window so you can easily monitor bar oil levels
- Electric chain brake for safety
- Current limiter for overload protection
- Comfortable rubberized grip handles
- Like with any other corded electric saw, you’ll have a limited range of motion
- The oiler needs a bit of tuning, it either under-oils or leaks too much
WEN 4017 | 16″ Electric Chainsaw
“THE cheapest corded electric chainsaw you can buy that isn’t a complete pile of garbage. The WEN 4017 is fairly dependable, as long as you’ve got reasonable expectations. After all, this thing costs less than half of other cheap corded electric chainsaws and it has a 16” bar + low kickback chain. I don’t know how WEN managed to create a functional chainsaw at this price, let alone a good one.”
Looking for a basic woodcutting tool that is much faster than a handsaw but don’t wish to invest in a 300 dollar Husqvarna? I have got just the right thing for you- the WEN 4017 corded 12 amp electric chainsaw. It won’t break any records in terms of cutting speed, but anything under 6 to 8 inches- this saw will handle it just fine. Don’t go around trying to fell 20- foot trees with this saw. It just isn’t designed for work like that. Even if it is physically capable of felling a medium sized tree thanks to the 16 inch bar, it’s going to take a long time and you’ll probably burn out the motor halfway through. It is quite impressive that WEN managed to put an Oregon chain on this saw when you look at the price tag. It even has an automatic oiler and tool free chain tension adjustment. If you want a slightly more robust machine with faster cutting speeds, check out the WEN 40417 which is a 40V cordless model. It is more rugged, and you aren’t tethered to any cords so you can even use it for cutting firewood deep within the forest.
- Basic, utilitarian design
- Anyone can learn to operate this thing within minutes
- Requires next to zero maintenance
- Costs as much as an Xbox controller (and way better than buying a 10 year old used gas saw)
- Not very durable
Professional 18″ Gas : Stihl: MS 251 C-BE
“The Stihl MS 251 C-BE is an excellent 18″ gas chainsaw if you want to fell small tress or cut firewood. It is ergonomic, lightweight, and fuel efficient. The old MS 251 Wood Boss is also a solid chainsaw, but Stihl have made improvements in their technology. While the C-BE model shares the same engine as its older cousin, it has a new Easy2Start system which significantly lowers the pull force needed to overcome engine compression. And the new Quick Chain Adjuster (QCB) allows for easy chain tension adjustment in the field without any tools.”
Note : There’s a reason why you don’t read a lot of reviews on Stihl chainsaws online, and it stems from the fact that Stihl does not sell their products online in North America. If you want to buy a Stihl chainsaw you need to drive to your local dealer and purchase it like people would do in the 1960’s. This is my singular gripe with Stihl. Why don’t they sell their chainsaws online? Other than that, Stihl chainsaws are exceptional but in 2023, people want the option to choose how they buy things and most people don’t want to drive down to their local Stihl dealer, put on their face mask and test out a chainsaw.