In this article we share our recommendations for the best chainsaws in a wide-range of categories. We go far and wide in this article, not only giving you our top recommendations, but we also give you the information you need to choose the best chainsaw for your needs and budget. Let’s get started with these two high-value chainsaws, that come in a package that the average homeowner can afford.
Table of Contents...
- 1 Best Chainsaws : 2023
- 2 Best Heavy-Duty Gas Chainsaws
- 3 A Guide ► Favorite Chainsaws
- 4 Editors’ Picks — Chainsaws you’ll Love
- 5 Black+Decker : 20V or 40V / Cheap Cordless Chainsaws
- 6 Worx Nitro WG385
- 7 Chainsaw Safety Clothing
- 8 2020 ★ Chainsaw Model Guide
- 9 Top 3 Chainsaws 2020
- 9.1 Greenworks 80V Chainsaw — Powerful
- 9.2 Oregon CS300 : Cordless Chainsaw
- 9.3 Makita UC4051A | Best Pro-Grade Electric Chainsaw
- 9.4 Underrated : Oregon CS300 / Integrated Self-Sharpening Chain
- 9.5 Runner-up : WORX WG384 / 40V
- 9.6 Runner-up : Sun Joe iON100V-18CS-CT
- 9.7 Runner up : DEWALT 60V FLEXVOLT
- 9.8 Runner-up : EGO Power+ Chainsaw
- 9.9 Runner-up : BLACK+DECKER 40V : LCS1240
- 9.10 Runner-up : DEWALT 20V MAX XR
- 9.11 Makita UC4051A : Professional Quality
- 9.12 Runner-up : Oregon CS1500
- 9.13 BEST Gas Chainsaw : Husqvarna 455 Rancher
- 10 Chainsaw Safety
- 10.1 Husqvarna 120i — Battery-Powered
- 11 Chainsaw Alternative?
Best Chainsaws : 2023
Some chainsaws endure over time. They continue to sell year after year, rising to the top of the sales charts. In this article we take a deep dive and cover the best chainsaws in every category, for the specific type you’re looking for. There’s no ‘one chainsaw fits all, ‘ although I’ve had emails from readers requesting the one absolute recommended chainsaw for everybody. It doesn’t exist, but in this article, we give you our top recommendations.
Let’s look at two more excellent gas chainsaws.
Best Heavy-Duty Gas Chainsaws
10″ Compact / Best Cordless Chainsaw for Pruning
What’s the most suitable chainsaw for you? Do you have an idea what you want? Need? In this article we paint the full landscape and show you a diverse range of recommended chainsaws. It’s up to you to pick the one for you. We give you chainsaws worth buying, but you have to decide on your requirements and thus make the choice.
Another way to look at it — pick any chainsaw on our recommended list and you can be sure you bought a high-quality chainsaw. Just don’t buy a cordless to fell your 38″ walnut tree in the backyard. Bad choice.
A Guide ► Favorite Chainsaws
Best Cheap Electric — Oregon CS1500 / 18″
Chains sharpens itself!
One of the main drawbacks of a corded-electric tool is having to constantly manage the extension cord. If you can live with that, you’ll be happy with this. If not, get a cordless.
Proprietary Chain Sharpening System
All you need to know — it has a built-in self-sharpening chain. Simple. Cutting with a sharp chain means it’s safer to use. Do you want to sharpen your chain? My top recommendation for homeowners.
- PowerSharp self-sharpening system. Think about it!
- Powerful 15 Amp
- No tools needed
- 18” bar & chain
- Chain brake
- 12.9 lbs. / Comfortable
I’m a big fan of Oregon products because they do what they’re supposed to — reliably. If you want a self-sharpening cordless, get their 16″ CS300 model. It’s important to cut with a SHARP chain to avoid kickback.
Consider ‘Good Enough”
Do you really need “the best” chainsaw? Do you need the best anything? Car, TV, sofa, drill, laundry basket, bed sheets, shoes…etc. You get the idea? We use the term “best” a lot on this site for one reason — that’s the term everyone uses when they shop for things, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this, especially with the state of the economy and the uncertainty of the world we live in. Truth is, I don’t need the best of most things, in fact, ‘good enough’ is all I really need most of the time, as long as the thing I’m buying does what I need it to do reliably. The term for that is ‘satisfice.’ What satisfies your needs, no more, no less. It’s simple but yet we all strive for the best of everything.
I think it’s a fruitless pursuit, and largely a waste our precious time; constantly trying to find that perfect thing — in this case, a chainsaw. I’m actually trying to convince you that you don’t need the very best chainsaw. Save your money. Buy the chainsaw that meets your needs and then move on.
Example: A task is to sew a patch onto a pair of jeans. The best needle to do the threading is a 4 inch long needle with a 3 millimeter eye. This needle is hidden in a haystack along with 1,000 other needles varying in size from 1 inch to 6 inches. Satisficing claims that the first needle that can sew on the patch is the one that should be used. Spending time searching for that one specific needle in the haystack is a waste of energy and resources.Wikipedia
Black+Decker : 20V or 40V / Cheap Cordless Chainsaws
20V Black + Decker : LCS1020
Very easy to hold and use for extended periods of time. Weighs only 7.2 lbs. Has a 10″ bar and chain making it ideal for wood under 8″ in diameter. Reliable. Affordable. Automatic oiling and tool-free tensioner. Great buy!
40V Black + Decker : LCS1240
More power at 40V and a 12″ bar and chain. Can make up to 60 cuts on a single battery charge. Nothing fancy but it’s very reliable and well-engineered. This is the bigger brother of the 20V model.
Older Designs = Better Value
Decisions are hard to make if you don’t know exactly what you need. Both these Black+Decker chainsaws have been on the market for over 5 years so they’ve been proven to be reliable, well-made and easy-to-use. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be so popular and surely, Black+Decker would have discontinued them, but these little saws are still here — alive and thriving in 2020. It’s coincidental. These are great chainsaws.
What makes them good? Because they are exactly what homeowners need. Lightweight and easy to use. They aren’t the latest and greatest, but the advantage of these chainsaws is in their affordability. Over time, manufacturers optimize their production, enabling them to make the same product but for less money, which reduces the price for homeowners — for you. Newer products are generally more expensive, if you compare apples to apples, which means you benefit by buying a chainsaw that’s been around for a few years— you save money!
Another advantage of buying an older design is in their overall reliability. Over time, manufacturers refine the engineering of the chainsaw, making it more robust and efficient. Of course, they don’t tell you this, but behind the scenes, they do in fact make it better.
Need And Affordable Cordless Chainsaw — get this :
Worx Nitro WG385
This is a new release from WORX. It’s a 40V cordless with a 16″ bar and chain. Overall, it’s durable and has features you’ll appreciate like a tool-free tensioner and a automatic oiler. It’s cuts wood fast even though it’s battery-powered. As with all WORX tools, this is very affordable. One of the best lightweight chainsaws for homeowners in 2023.
It includes 2x Power Share PRO intelligent batteries, which are designed to last longer than standard batteries.
Chainsaw Safety, Let’s Talk 💬
Before we go any deeper into reviewing and discussing our favorite chainsaws, we need to talk about something important. Yes, we need to talk about chainsaw safety. You can read all the specifics at the end of the article or in our dedicated chainsaw safety article (which we will be updating shortly). For now, let’s just go over a few facts that you need to be aware of before ever turning on your chainsaw.
- Over 3 million chainsaws sold every year in the US
- Over 28,000 injuries every year related to chainsaws
- 90% of injuries to Hands and lower extremities
- 10% of injuries are to the head and neck.
- Top cause of injury : Kickback, pushback and pull-in.
- Between 2009 to 2013 there were 115,895 emergency visits to a hospital due to chainsaw injuries
- 58.6% of those accidents occurred at home.
Do I have your attention? Chainsaws can be dangerous is used improperly and wearing safety gear is absolutely essential when operating a chainsaw. It’s not optional. I don’t care what people tell you. Do you want to be a statistic? Most people don’t die from chainsaw accidents, but the consequences and long-term repercussions of one accident may alter the course of your entire life. Chainsaw accidents are horrific, we’re not talking about getting a little cut with a few stitches. The majority of injuries are deep lacerations of a serious nature. Read this report of a neck laceration in Brisbane, Australia when the chainsaw ‘kicked-back’ when hitting a knot in a tree..
Last week I received an email from a concerned doctor who reached out to me, reminding me of the dangers of chainsaws as he deals with the injuries firsthand. He made an important point — the cost of investing in safety gear is nothing compared to the cost of your hospital visit. That’s basic math. Going to the hospital will cost you money if you live in the US. Beyond that, the cost to your health and recovery is priceless.
What’s a few hundred dollars to protect your life? Don’t be naive and think it can’t happen to you. As individuals, we tend to believe that we’re smarter than everyone else, that bad things won’t happen to us, they only happen to other people — until it happens it to you and then it’s too late. Don’t be a fool. Drop your ego, accept the potential for injury and take preventative action. Buy safety gear!
Chainsaw Safety Clothing
From the moment you turn on your chainsaw, you’re at risk, but if you’re wearing safety gear, then you lower your odds of injury to a very small percentage. The cost of buying safety gear is nothing in comparison to the cost of what you will pay if you have an accident. Over 28,000 people in the US every year thinks that it won’t happen to them — and it does.
The Rise of Battery Chainsaws
We live in an age of rapid technological change, and our smartphones have become our tool of choice, but I promise you this — if you need to fell a tree, or cut logs for firewood, your phone won’t do you any good. In the real world we need real tools, not virtual ones.
Battery power is increasing at a rapid rate, which means that the traditional view on chainsaws is obsolete. Most purists swear that gas chainsaws are superior, and as far as raw power, it’s true. Gas can’t be beat — BUT, for the majority of homeowners, a well-made and powerful battery powered chainsaw is as good as gas, and in many ways better.
⭐️ Recommended — Greenworks 20312 : Great for the yard.
As I stated earlier, we show you the landscape of chainsaws and you can decide which model and power type matches your needs.
Choosing the right chainsaw in 2020 can be confusing for some people, and there are a few guidelines to consider — for starters, choose the right size. Why buy a bigger chainsaw than necessary? Don’t waste your money!
What Size Chainsaw do you NEED?
Chainsaw or JawSaw?
But first, I have to ask a simple question…There are alternatives, depending on your needs. For example, the WORX JawSaw, as seen below, can cut branches up to 4-inches in diameter. If that meets your needs, then buy the JawSaw. End of story. But, if you need more cutting capacity, then continue on, we have some great chainsaws for you to consider. Think about what you need and match the product to your needs, not the other way around.
Honestly, what will you be cutting? Branches in your backyard? What’s the maximum diameter you’ll be cutting? Look in your backyard, walk around, take out a tape measure and figure out what you truly will be cutting, for today, next month, next year. What’s the maximum? Then let’s work backwards.
- Buy a well-known brand, like : Greenworks, Black+Decker, DeWalt, Husqvarna, Makita, Worx, etc
- Choose a chainsaw with a high average rating (★★★★ 3.8/5 and above)
- Safety features are worth spending money on
- Read the reviews on Amazon. What are customers saying?
2020 ★ Chainsaw Model Guide
We review a wide range of chainsaws in this article, of all power types — gas, corded electric, and battery-powered. There’s something here for everyone here. Truth is, what’s the best chainsaw for you? It depends on these things :
- First, what do you actually need it for — What is your intended usage? Felling trees? Pruning? Limbing?
- What’s your budget? Typically, the better the chainsaw the more money it costs, so doesn’t it make sense to choose a model within your budget with the understanding that it is also good, reliable, safe and well-made. Does anyone want to buy a ‘horrible’ chainsaw? For ideas of chainsaws within budget ranges read our article focused on budget.
- Do you truly need a chainsaw or can you get away with a safer alternative, like the Worx JawSaw?
If you haven’t found something yet, keep reading. I’m confident that one of these chainsaw will fit your needs — well, unless you’re a logger — and in that case you’ll need one of these professional chainsaws.
DEWALT 20V : DCCS620B / 12″
Fast Facts : 20V 12″ Dewalt
- Easy to carry, hold and use around the yard
- Very well-made and durable.
- Low kick back 12″Oregon bar and chain
- Compact, lightweight design (8.8 lbs. with battery)
- Up to 90 cuts per charge on 4×4 pressure treated wood (using a 20V MAX* 5Ah battery)
- Tool-free chain tensioning
- Compatible with 20V MAX Dewalt tools
Read our indepth review of the 12″ Dewalt chainsaw.
Top 3 Chainsaws 2020
Winner for each Power Type : We’re continually adding to this article, shifting things around, removing old chainsaws that are no longer relevant or have been discontinued. This section was a major need edition in August of 2020.
In this next section we share with you some of the top chainsaw for homeowners, spanning across a wide variety of manufacturers, covering the 3 different power types : battery, corded-electric, and gas. While each power type has its unique strengths and weaknesses, it is up to you to decide which chainsaw suits you the most depending on your individual needs. Remember, there is no definitive answer as to which chainsaw is the “best”.
Our goal is to provide you with the most likely options based on performance data, features, and build quality. Some chainsaws are all- rounders and offer incredible value for money which makes them easy to recommend. Other chainsaws aren’t as straightforward, because they perform exceptionally well in niche applications but aren’t suited to everyone.
Greenworks 80V Chainsaw — Powerful
Gas chainsaws are hard to maintain, and weigh more than their electric counterparts. You’ve got to mix fuel and oil in the correct ratio, clean up the carburetor when it inevitably gets clogged up from fuel sitting in the lines for too long, and clean up the air filter. Even after all that your chainsaw might refuse to start on a cold day, as you angrily yank on the cord a dozen times with all your might to no avail. Turns out you didn’t set the choke, which is why the chainsaw was refusing to start. Other times you might have left the choke on for too long, or pressed the primer bulb one too many times which results in a flooded engine.
A lot of homeowners simply want a product that works out of the box, which is why electric chainsaws are becoming so popular. Cordless electric models have been around for a while, but their limited mobility restricts them from being used in certain scenarios. For instance- you wouldn’t want to be tethered to a cord, as a 40- foot tree is falling down next to you. And that extension cord tends to get detached when you’re trimming stuff in the yard, because a section of it got stuck in a bush somewhere.
Fortunately, battery technology has advanced a lot in the past few years. We’re now at the point where lithium ion battery packs and onboard electronics are advanced enough to deliver gas- like cutting performance, but without any maintenance hassles. You get quiet, eco- friendly power that is good enough for everything from light trimming to bucking and even felling, in the case of top end cordless models like the Milwaukee M18 FUEL chainsaw.
Quick Overview : In this section we provide an overview and short synopsis of the models we love and then go deeper, providing more details alongside the runner-up chainsaws.
Oregon CS300 : Cordless Chainsaw
Battery-Powered Chainsaw with self-sharpening chain.
- ✓ Pull the lever, the chain sharpens in seconds.
- ✓ Well-made
- ✓ Quiet between cutting
- ✓ Easy to use
- ✓ No maintenance
- ✓ Oh, it has a built-in sharpener.
Overview — Oregon CS300
✘ None, other than it can’t compete with a gas chainsaw, but don’t blame the saw for that. It’s for light-duty cutting.
Proper ergonomics, good cutting performance, and a lightweight design- the Oregon CS300 has it all. It’s one of our favorite cordless chainsaws alongside the Milwaukee M18 FUEL 2727-20 16”. Thanks to its all-round nature and rugged construction, this battery- powered woodcutting beast takes the no. 1 rank among the list of cordless chainsaw we’re reviewing today. It has everything a homeowner could possibly desire within a chainsaw, and is extremely easy to maintain. Read our full overview to learn more about the Oregon CS300 and its capabilities.
VIDEO — A Closer Look : Oregon CS1500
Makita UC4051A | Best Pro-Grade Electric Chainsaw
Best Corded-Electric Chainsaw. Engineered with high-grade metal components.
- “Tool-less” blade and chain adjustments for convenient operation and easy maintenance
- Rubberized grip handles are ergonomically designed for comfort
- 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
OVERVIEW / Makita Corded-Electric
Founded as an electric motor sales and repair company in Japan over 100 years ago, Makita has grown to become one of the industry leaders in electric power tools. They make excellent products, continuously innovating with rapid advancements in battery and motor technology. Their UC4051A corded electric chainsaw is an example of fine engineering- it packs pro grade cutting performance coupled with the Makita reliability that we’ve all become familiar with by now. If you don’t plan on straying too far from the power outlet and can work your way around a long cord dangling off the back of your chainsaw, this Makita might be perfect for you.
►Read our full review on this Makita Corded-electric. It truly is the best electric chainsaw you can buy, if you want quality. Everything else is second best.
Underrated : Oregon CS300 / Integrated Self-Sharpening Chain
40V lithium ion / 16” / Best Cordless Chainsaw
Ideal for: Storm cleanup, limbing, firewood — anything involving cutting wood.
Pros: The quiet, zero fume operation makes this chainsaw a brilliant choice for every homeowner who just wants something that works out of the box without any tinkering.
✓ It is powerful enough to rival a 35cc gas chainsaw in cutting performance, and PowerSharp gives it an edge over cordless chainsaws from competing brands like Milwaukee and Makita.
✓ It’s the ideal chainsaw for average homeowners who really want to migrate away from gas power.
✘ Cons: Extremely long battery recharge times- takes anywhere from 3.5 to 4hrs, which is far behind what the rest of the competition offers. You’ll need at least 2 or 3 battery packs if you intend to carry out any serious cutting tasks with this chainsaw. Especially if you wander off into the woods for collecting some firewood.
Overview : Oregon CS300
Finally, a worthy successor to the highly successful CS250 cordless chainsaw. The Oregon CS300 is our personal pick for best overall cordless chainsaw among all the models we’re reviewing today, and for good reason. It manages to blend entry- level gas performance with excellent ergonomics, and wraps it all up into a well- built durable package that includes a bunch of really cool features.
VIDEO | A Closer Look
One of those features which makes it perfect for homeowners is “PowerSharp”. This proprietary built-in chain sharpening technology will take your cutters from dull to razor sharp on the field, within seconds. And you don’t have to know what a round file is. How does it work? Well, PowerSharp is a combination of 3 things-
- The PowerSharp chain: specially designed 3/8” low profile standard complement chain with unique chisel- style cutters that sharpen from the top. These have diamond- coated dresser links which resurface the sharpening stone, ensuring perfectly flat stone to cutter contact.
- Sharpening Stone: Located right behind the drive sprocket, this is what grinds against the cutters to sharpen them. When you give the motor some revs and depress the red lever at the same time, it presses the stone against a spinning chain. Material is rapidly filed away from the edges of cutters, making them sharp within 3 to 5 seconds.
- PowerSharp guide bar: Similar to a standard low- kickback guide bar, except the alignment and latch pinholes are positioned in a way that ensures perfect contact between the stone and chain.
Normally, you’d have to stop cutting once you start noticing fine sawdust instead of small wood chips exiting the back of the chain. And then you would pull out a round file, depth gauge, flat file, and start sharpening each tooth manually. We have an article on how to sharpen your chainsaw chain. And believe us, it’s a pretty tedious process which can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes if you do it by hand. The average homeowner can’t be bothered to go through all that fuss. Instead, they will just hand over the chain to a shop where a professional will sharpen it for slightly less money than a brand new chain.
Right now, Oregon is the only manufacturer that makes cordless chainsaws with a built-in sharpening system. You don’t have to waste money on getting your chain professional sharpened. And you can work longer, since a dull chain will no longer hinder your workflow. But the CS300 has a lot more going for it than just PowerSharp.
This is a well- balanced chainsaw and feels just like a Husqvarna or Stihl when you hold it by the front handle. Almost 50 – 50 weight distribution, which is crucial for making clean cuts at every angle. And the rubberized texture on its handle allows you to get a positive grip on the saw at all times, which is essential for reducing the chances of kickback. Just in case it kicks back, you will be protected by the anti- kickback chain brake. The bucking spikes are made from metal, which will dig into wood and help you pivot the saw more easily when crosscutting logs.
Runner-up : WORX WG384 / 40V
2x 20V lithium ion battery / 14” / 1hr runtime on average
Ideal for: Pruning, trimming, DIY projects. Will cut through softer woods like pine, juniper, cedar, etc. with relative ease, and can even handle small oak logs (under 10”).
✓ Pros: Dual 20V lithium ion batteries give it adequate power to cut through branches and small tree trunks around the house. It requires zero maintenance other than a quick bar oil refill from time to time. Comes with a 20V dual charger which lets you charge two 20V batteries at the same time.
✘ Cons: It isn’t as rugged as the Makita or Oregon cordless chainsaws, but that’s to be expected at this price point.
Overview : WORX WG384
WORX uses what they call the “POWERSHARE” system to combine the power of two 20V lithium ion batteries, resulting in a total operating voltage of 40. This generates enough power to spin the chain at 26 feet per second, which is right up there with some of the corded electric chainsaws. You also get a 14” low kickback bar, and a low kickback chain- both from Oregon. Mounting the bar and chain to the saw is very easy, if you follow the instructions in the owner’s manual.
Once you’ve mounted the bar and chain, adjusting chain tension should be a quick process thanks to the toolless adjustment system. You get two 20V 2.0Ah batteries, and a dual charger to charge both at the same time. We recommend purchasing two more batteries (model WA3525) if you want to do some serious work. Expect to get about an hour of runtime from one pair, if you’re doing light work like chopping up 3” branches or 2x4s. Coincidentally, the batteries take around an hour to recharge from zero to full so there won’t be any significant downtime in between charges.
Runner-up : Sun Joe iON100V-18CS-CT
100V 2.5/ 5.0 Ah lithium ion battery/ 18” / 1500 watt motor
✓ Ideal for: Limbing, bucking, and felling small trees. It can be used by gardeners, DIYers, landscapers, construction workers, and linesmen who need lots of eco- friendly power in a compact form factor.
✓ Pros: One of the most powerful cordless chainsaws you can purchase. It packs a 1500 Watt motor, which is comparable to what you get in corded electric chainsaws. The 18” bar allows you to cut larger logs, and an anti-kickback chain brake keeps you safe while cutting.
✘ Cons: For around the same price, you can get the WORX WG384 which includes a chainsaw, two batteries, and dual charger. In contrast, the SunJoe Ion100V-18CS-CT only contains the tool. You’ve got to purchase the batteries and charger separately. It is also heavier than most cordless chainsaws, due to the larger motor and heavy 100V lithium ion battery pack.
Overview : Sun Joe Ion100V-18CS-CT
This is a review of the Sun Joe Ion 100V-18CS-CT which is a standalone tool, i.e. just the chainsaw- no battery or charger included. We were intrigued to learn that it’s powered by a massive 100V lithium ion battery pack, which is available in both 2.5Ah and 5Ah versions. The usage of a 1500 watt brushless DC motor allows this chainsaw to shred through the thickest of hardwood logs with utter ease.
Video | 100V Chainsaw from Sun Joe
We cannot recommend the iON100V-18CS-CT enough for homeowners who live off grid, as it allows you to chop your yearly supply of firewood just as fast as an entry level gas chainsaw. In fact, this cordless saw actually outperforms some of the 38cc gas saws. And, if you buy the 5Ah battery pack it will guarantee a runtime of at least an hour even when you’re cutting firewood or logs larger than 12”. Battery technology is constantly progressing, and manufacturers are coming up with new and innovative ways to entice buyers into purchasing their battery platforms.
For example- if you purchase the 5.0Ah battery pack, you get a built-in 0.35W LED light which can be used for emergency illumination in camping. And these 100V Sun Joe lithium ion battery packs even have USB charging ports which can charge your phone on the go. Talk about multitasking!
SunJoe recommends that you purchase their 100V quick charger (model iON100V-RCH), which is capable of fully charging the 2.5Ah 100V battery pack in just 50 minutes (if battery is at room temp). One of the neat things about these batteries is their power doesn’t taper off as charge levels decrease. So you get fade- free power until the battery dies out completely. Cutting performance isn’t compromised in favor of getting a few extra minutes of runtime just so they can print larger numbers on the spec sheets.
As a side note, they have also released a new 100V snow blower, which means you can share one battery between both tools. This is the latest in battery powered tools. If you like innovative power equipment, the Sun Joe 100V is a true contender.
Runner up : DEWALT 60V FLEXVOLT
Model : DCCS670X1 — 60V 3.0Ah lithium ion battery / 16” / brushless motor
✓ Ideal for: Construction work where you’re trimming up wooden beams, 6×6, and 4×4. It will rip through 8 to 10 inch logs with ease, and is great for clearing out fallen trees from an area. You can limb and buck with this chainsaw, it will handle everything from pine to oak.
✓ Pros: The 60V FLEXVOLT battery platform let’s you use the exact same battery across a wide range of cordless DeWalt tools- circular saws, angle grinders, rotary hammers, etc. If you already own a 60V FLEXVOLT battery, you can purchase the DCCS670B brushless 16” chainsaw as a standalone tool.
It’s powerful enough for occasional felling and bucking, along with light construction work. The 16” low kickback chain keeps things safe for the operator, and toolless chain tensioning + auto oiling makes it easy to operate.
Up to 70 cuts per charge —- 6″ x 6″ pressure treated pine wood
✘ Cons: The trigger safety isn’t ambidextrous, so accessing it may be hard if you’re a left- handed user. And the plastic bucking spikes are a disappointment, since they do tend to get worn down after just a few months of regular use. Not something we expect to see on a premium cordless chainsaw.
Overview : DEWALT DCCS670X1 FLEXVOLT
The ideal cordless chainsaw for homeowners who have bought into the DEWALT family of FLEXVOLT power tools. If you already own a 60V MAX 7 ¼” circular saw from DEWALT, you don’t have to buy the whole chainsaw kit. Save some money, and grab the DCCS670B standalone tool. You get an excellent brushless chainsaw that comes with a 16” low kickback Oregon bar and chain assembly.
For the jobsite or homeowners who need high-quality
Toolless chain adjustment is a standard feature on most cordless saws, but DEWALT’s implementation of this system deserves a special mention as it feels more rugged. The bar and chain adjustment are separated from each other. This helps you make sure that the bar is secured tightly to the powerhead, so it doesn’t flop around while cutting through a wooden beam on the jobsite. And you can zero in on the chain tension with pinpoint accuracy once you’ve figured out the bar alignment.
I know, it isn’t as good as a dual bar stud setup like you’d find on a gas chainsaw. But this is the next best thing and is very convenient for homeowners who just want to cut wood without having to fiddle around with tools. Besides, its not like you’re running a 70cc gas engine in this saw. Vibration levels are very low thanks to the brushless electric motor, so the bar won’t loosen that easily. Once you tighten it, expect to get at least an hour of work done before you have to rotate the adjustment dial again.
When you purchase the DCCS670X1 chainsaw kit, you get a 60V MAX FLEXVOLT lithium ion battery pack which can operate in two modes — 60V and 3.0Ah, or 20V and 9.0Ah. This chainsaw is hardwired to operate at 60V and 3.0Ah all the time, but the variable speed trigger does give you a fair bit of versatility when cutting through different types and thicknesses of wood. You can choose to feather the throttle and gently cut your way through a 2 x 4 to conserve battery life, or go full Rambo and rip through a 12” log of oak within seconds.
Runner-up : EGO Power+ Chainsaw
56V Power+ lithium ion battery / 14” and 16” configurations / weather resistant ipx4 construction
Ideal for: Light trimming and pruning work around the yard, and DIY projects like building a kitchen cabinet or wooden deck.
Pros: The weight balance feels really good, and distributes load between your main and supporting arms quite well. This reduces operator fatigue during long work sessions, and allows you to make cleaner cuts. A fast chain speed allows this cordless saw to effortlessly slice through hardwood, and ipx4 weather resistant construction keeps the internals safe from water. It even has a 5- year warranty (on the tool).
Cons: At over 13lbs with the 5.0Ah battery installed, this is one of the heavier cordless chainsaws. Especially when you consider it has a 16” max bar length, and there are 18” cordless saws which weigh the same as this one. Also, plastic bucking spikes. Decent enough for most homeowners, but if you want to buck some logs, they won’t give you much of a grip on the wood.
Runner-up : BLACK+DECKER 40V : LCS1240
40V lithium ion / 12” / Basic cordless chainsaw
Ideal for: Pruning branches and trimming fallen limbs. Just enough power for basic tasks like cutting some 2 x 4, and it will even handle a bit of firewood cutting. Linesmen and arborists might find it appealing due to its small profile and low weight, although a top handle chainsaw might be better suited for those jobs.
✓ Pros: Extremely light, weighs just 8.3lbs. Perfect for senior citizens, women, and pretty much anyone with limited chainsaw experience. Runs quiet, and has a large oil view window. The oil reservoir cap is positioned on the top of the chainsaw, so you don’t have to tilt the saw in order to refill bar oil.
Ergonomics are excellent, and it is highly maneuverable due to the small size which makes it a great choice for anyone working in thick brush with a lot of branches and twigs which would trap a larger gas saw/ corded electric saw.
✘ Cons: There is no anti- kickback chain brake, as is the case with a lot of electric chainsaws. It’s because unlike gas saws, electric models will shutdown the motor immediately as soon as you let go of the trigger. There is no delay, and they are less powerful compared to gas saws, while also being easier to handle — but we would’ve liked an inertial chain brake for that extra bit of safety, just in case like the EGO CS1600 Power+ 16” cordless chainsaw.
Overview : BLACK+DECKER LCS1240
An extremely basic cordless chainsaw for people who want to experience portable electric power but don’t have a lot of money to spend. It is lighter than a lot of corded electric saws, and that is before you even factor in the weight of an extension cord. In terms of features, this BLACK + DECKER is fairly unexceptional, but we weren’t expecting too much since this is a budget model after all. You’ve got the usual tool-less chain tension adjustment, a bar oil level view window, automatic oiling, and battery pack charge level indicator. Fairly standard stuff.
One area where they could have made improvements is the placement of the battery- it is located on the left side of the saw which causes issues when you try to rotate your grip for horizontal cutting. You can’t take full advantage of the wrap- around front handle, particularly while wearing thick gloves, because the battery receiver gets in the way. At least this allows the oil filler cap to be placed in an extremely convenient spot- right on top of the saw, and in front of the rear handle.
Weight balance is slightly off center, and focused around the left side of the saw because that’s where the 40V 2.0Ah battery sits.
Runner-up : DEWALT 20V MAX XR
Model : DCCS620B — 20V MAX lithium ion / 12” / top- handle cordless chainsaw
Ideal for: Cutting wooden beams, demolition, and forestry. Arborists and firemen who cut branches in tight spaces at extreme heights will appreciate the compact form factor afforded by using a top- handle chainsaw design.
✓ Pros: The brushless motor maximizes power efficiency, resulting in a fairly long runtime per charge (90 cuts on 4×4 pressure treated pine). As a DIYer or contractor, you’ll spend less time recharging and more time getting work done. Despite it’s low weight of just 7.8lbs, the DCCS620B is a fairly powerful chainsaw and cuts fast thanks to a maximum chain speed of 25.2 Feet/s.
✘ Cons: The top- handle design makes it more prone to vertical kickback, which is why you should practice a fair bit with this chainsaw before you go out and do any actual work. And some customers have complained that the oil filler cap isn’t very durable, although we believe it has been fixed in later iterations of this model.
One of the lightest 12” cordless chainsaws we’ve ever reviewed, the Dewalt DCCS620B was designed with arborists and linesmen in mind. If you’re chopping wood at a height and don’t have the freedom to use both hands for gripping a chainsaw, this DEWALT top- handle model is for you.
Tree maintenance professionals hanging from a rope 50 feet above the ground will be able to talk with the ground crew without having to raise their voice because there isn’t any noisy 2- stroke gas engine running next to their face. But if you aren’t chopping off branches from the bucket of a crane lift, is this chainsaw worth buying? Will it fit into the arsenal of a DIYer or average homeowner who just wants to prune some trees in the yard?
Absolutely, as long as you take the time to familiarize yourself with the operation of a top- handle chainsaw. The DCCS620B is very easy to start, you just pop in a charged battery pack and pull the trigger. If you’re running low on bar oil, refilling it is extremely convenient thanks to the specially designed filler cap which opens with a quarter turn. Want to adjust the chain tension in the middle of work? No need to start searching for your scrench, just turn the toolless chain adjustment dial and you’re good to go.
Best Corded-Electric Chainsaw
Makita UC4051A : Professional Quality
47.6 Feet per second chain speed / 16” /
✓ Ideal for: Pruning, delimbing, light firewood cutting, and DIY projects. Perfect for use around the home, or on a jobsite if you’ve got access to a portable generator. You can use it to cut 2 x 4, wooden pallets, reclaim old lumber, etc. Can handle all types of hardwoods such as oak, walnut, hickory, and cedar.
✓ Pros: If you’re willing to discount the weight of an extension cord behind you, this chainsaw is fairly easy to maneuver thanks to its ergonomic shape and proper weight balance. You can adjust the amount of oil flow to the bar, depending on the type of wood you’re cutting as well as its thickness. Toolless chain tensioning, coupled with an oil level sight makes operating the UC4051A a fairly easy task even for novice chainsaw users.
✘ Cons: The oil filler cap is located right underneath the chain brake, which makes filling bar oil very hard unless you use a funnel or hold the saw with both hands.
It’s obvious that Makita put a lot of thought into making this electric chainsaw the best it could possibly be. All you have to do is look at the small details. Like how the motor’s cooling system works. Intake vents are located in the hand guard area where the air should be relatively cool and dust- free. A fan pulls in air from here, passes it on the motor, and pushes it out from the front right side of the powerhead. This also has the side effect of cooling your hand and keeping it sweat free.
Rubberized grips help you maintain a firm hold on the chainsaw at all times, which is essential for making clean cuts with minimal chances of kickback. There are little black tabs on either side of the saw, which help you change out the motor brushes with ease. This tells you that Makita wants the UC4051A to be serviceable by end users, and they have built a product which will last for a really long time. Another neat little detail most people will gloss over is the overcurrent protection system which keeps the motor safe if it ever draws too much current.
Makita deliberately went with a 14.5A motor instead of a 15A motor, to reduce chances of tripping the breakers. A nice touch if you are using some portable jobsite generator to power it, since most portable generators come with 120V duplex outlets which top out at 15 amps of current. The trigger safety is located where you’d normally put your thumb while operating the saw, so it feels natural.
Like a lot of premium electric chainsaws, the UC4051A has an anti- kickback chain brake. But it’s electric instead of mechanical, which means it doesn’t tug on a metal band to stop the drive sprocket from spinning. Instead, the chain brake will cut off power to the motor when activated. This ensures that you don’t accidentally burn out the motor by trying to rev it when the chain brake is active. Really nice feature to have, when you consider that electric motors produce close to maximum torque right from zero RPM.
Runner-up : Oregon CS1500
15 amp motor / 16” / Best corded electric chainsaw
✓ Ideal for: Cutting firewood, trimming, pruning, and reclaiming old lumber. Since there is no exhaust fumes you can use it within confined spaces, like your garage or basement. Perfect companion for DIYers who want to make some cabinet doors or dinner table legs.
✓Pros: PowerSharp semi- automatic chain sharpening system will grind away the dull edges on your chain within a matter of seconds, so you don’t have to pause in the middle of work. Powerful motor combined with a great grip design helps you chew through piles of lumber all day with ease. Automatic oiling system keeps the chain running smoothly, and toolless chain tensioning helps you make adjustments on the fly without having to pull out a scrench.
✘Cons: While the built-in chain sharpener is a very handy feature, it will only with very specific types of chains. You will need to use proprietary PowerSharp chains, i.e. the model 91PS from Oregon (supports a max guide bar length of 18”).
Overview : Oregon CS1500
Think of this as the corded version of Oregon’s CS300. If you’re okay with dragging a 50- foot long cord behind the chainsaw and don’t intend on venturing too far away from a power outlet, the CS1500 will serve as a great woodcutting companion. It can slice through pretty much any hardwood logs, and the 16” bar allows you to buck logs that are close to 32” in size (cutting from both sides of the log).
PowerSharp 40V : Built-in Chain Sharpener : CS300
Features — Oregon CS300
- ★ Instant chain sharpener built-in (sharpens in seconds)
- High torque, lightweight chainsaw
- 40V Battery-powered — Brushless motor
- 16″ (40cm) bar length
- Automatic oiler
- No load chain speed 2796 fpm
- Tool-free chain tensioner
- 12 lbs with battery
Alright, back to the CS1500 (corded-electric) version. It’s good to know your options so you can make the smarter choice. We all have different preferences.
One thing we don’t recommend however, is using this chainsaw to fell trees. In fact, you should never use any corded electric saw for felling because it can be quite dangerous. Your range of motion will be limited by the cord, and you need to be able to make quick adjustments in position while taking down a tree. Corded chainsaws aren’t much good for storm cleanup either, if the debris is more than 50 or 100 feet away from the nearest outlet.
The CS1500 is equipped with Oregon’s PowerSharp chain sharpening system, so you don’t have to pull out a bunch of tools in the middle of work to sharpen the chain. It weighs around 13.2lbs with the bar and chain attached, which is about the same as an EGO Power+ 56V cordless chainsaw. But this is built tougher, as both the front handle and bucking spikes are made from metal. The chassis is quite slim, so you can weave your way through the branches of a fallen tree while doing some quick trimming in the yard.
BEST Gas Chainsaw : Husqvarna 455 Rancher
55.5cc / 18” / Prosumer- grade : Gas-Powered Chainsaw
✓ Ideal for: Medium to occasional heavy- duty tasks. Will handle bucking, felling, and limbing. Can cut through 18” oak and cherry, great chainsaw if you want to clear land or cut large amounts of firewood on a regular basis. Designed for farmers, tree workers, landscapers, and homesteading.
✓ Pros: 55.5cc Husqvarna X-Torq engine is much more fuel efficient compared to standard 2- stroke gas motors, and generates more torque at lower RPMs for smoother cutting. Air Injection centrifugal air filtering keeps your filters clog- free for longer in dusty environments, resulting in less maintenance and fewer pauses on the field. Side mounted chain tensioner is convenient to access, and there are felling marks to help you line up the cut while felling a tree.
✘ Cons: No oil level view window. And while the air filter is a quick- release type, you’ll need a tool to remove the engine cover which grants access to the filter and spark plugs.
Overview : Husqvarna 455 Rancher
If you cut wood for a living, only the best performing, and most rugged chainsaws will satisfy your needs. The Husqvarna 455 Rancher is one of those saws- it is equipped with a powerful 55.5cc 2- stroke commercial engine which is both lightweight, yet extremely powerful and rugged.
Most people think that prosumer- grade chainsaws are incredibly heavy; therefore they are not suitable to be used by the average homeowner. While there is some truth to that statement, weight by itself isn’t a metric you can use to evaluate the worth of a chainsaw. For example, let’s consider a hypothetical consumer- grade chainsaw which weighs 10lbs and has a 1.8hp engine. That’s more than enough power to fell a small tree (around 15 to 20 feet tall), and do some light firewood cutting.
Excellent Firewood Cutting Chainsaw : A True Classic
Now, let’s take another chainsaw which is advertised as prosumer- grade. It weighs 15lbs, literally 50% more than our consumer grade saw. But, here’s the twist- it has an engine which generates 3.6hp. That’s 100% more power, for 50% more weight. And the engine has tougher internals + better heat dissipation, so it’s capable of working several hours daily without seizing up or overheating. Now that’s what heavy duty chainsaws are all about- power to weight ratio.
Yes, they are bulkier. But the power advantage you get more than makes up for that extra weight. We still wouldn’t recommend that you prune fruit trees in your garden with a 455 Rancher, since your arms will tire out after a few minutes. But you will be able to fell trees and buck logs much faster. In the ranch or landscaping business, any productivity advantage you can get is worth it even if your arms have to bear a little extra weight. At least you don’t have to worry about getting numb fingers, because the 455 Rancher has Husqvarna’s patented LowVib vibration dampening system.
When you’re cutting several hundred dollars worth of wood each week, investing in a good quality prosumer grade chainsaw from a reputable brand like Husqvarna, is the way to go. This is an exceptional gas chainsaw that won’t disappoint you!
So, who is this saw for? Well, if you’re the type of guy or gal who cuts multiple cords of firewood each season and builds log cabins, you already know the answer. While the 455 Rancher comes with an 18” bar and chain from the factory, you could fit a 24” bar on it. The engine packs enough power to drive a longer chain and a lot of people who buy chainsaws like these prefer to use their own chains. They are willing to sacrifice the safety of a low kickback chain for the increased cutting speed of an aggressive chisel tooth.
To summarize our opinion on the Husqvarna 455 Rancher- it is an excellent prosumer chainsaw, but a tad overkill for the average homeowner. Unless you live on a ranch or are an avid DIYer, you’ll be better off with something like the Remington RM4620 Outlaw. Or a Husqvarna 135 Mark II.
Here are a few chainsaw tips you need to be aware of. Read our detailed safety guide for more information.
The first thing you need to do before using your chainsaw is to read your entire manual and follow its guidelines precisely. Every chainsaw is different and manufacturers have their own recommendations. Heed the advice of the manufacturer and for your specific chainsaw.
Safety Gear : Essential!
- Wear protective head gear : Face, head and ears.
- Wear chainsaw gloves to protect your hands
- Wear chainsaw chaps (pants) to protect your legs.
- Wear protective boots in case the chainsaw hits your feet.
VIDEO | Part 1 : Practical Advice on Chainsaws
Before Starting your chainsaw
- Have a look at your chainsaw. Check controls, chain tension, and all bolts and handles to ensure that they are functioning properly and that they are adjusted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Only cut with a sharp chain. A dull chain will cause kickback.
- Always Start the chainsaw on the ground, with two hands, or on another solid support. Never drop start.
- Make sure you are at least 10 feet away from your fueling area.
- Ensure chain brake is engaged
When Fueling —
- Check the manufacturer’s manual and ensure you are using the correct oil/fuel mixture.
- Never refuel with the engine running.
- Start your saw at least 3m (10 ft.)from the refuelling spot.Always fill the oil tank at the same time as the fuel tank.
- Never let the oil tank run dry. This will damage the bar and chain.
- NEVER smoke when you are refueling your chainsaw.
- Have a fire extinguisher nearby. Avoid spilling fuel.
VIDEO | Part 2 : How to Use A Chainsaw
Breaking in a New Chain
- Place the chain on the guide bar and tighten until it is snug, while still allowing the chain to be turned freely by hand
- Start your chainsaw and let it run for a couple of minutes without cutting wood to allow the parts to loosen.
- Let the saw to cool down and then readjust the tension
- Make a few cuts in a log to test the chain. Allow it to cool down before readjusting the tension
Starting : Recommended Method
- The safest, and recommended, method is : Start with the chainsaw firmly on the ground.
- Make sure the ignition switch and choke are both “ON” and the throttle control latch is engaged.
- Stabilize the chainsaw by placing your right foot through the rear handle.
- Grab the front handle with your left hand and with your right hand grab the starter cord.
- Pull the cord until you feel resistance from the starter. Then, pull fast to start the engine.
- Hold on to the handle, and allow it to slowly retract. Let the engine rev for a few seconds, then release the throttle control latch and allow the chainsaw to idle.
Method 2 : Starting Off Ground
Ensure your chain brake is engaged, grasp the front handle of the chainsaw with your left hand. Keep your arm on the front handle in a locked (straight) position. Hold the rear handle of the saw tightly between your legs, above the knees. Make sure your balance is solid and strong. Pull the starter cord slowly with your right hand until you feel some resistance, then quickly pull.
Learn more about chainsaw safety :
- Echo USA : Online Safety Guidelines
- STIHL Safety Videos
- Chainsaw Safety : University of Oklahoma
- Husqvarna Chainsaw Academy
How to Decide on the Right Chainsaw
It’s human nature to strive to make the optimal decision, to maximize our money when buying a product, but it’s a slippery slope because what often happens is we spend a lot of our time pursuing the perfect purchase — as if that exists, as though their is only one chainsaw (in this case), that’s suitable for us. But it’s not true.
In fact, there are a wide range of chainsaws available in any given moment, and we’ve recommended some great chainsaws in this article — but there are more chainsaws on the market. And to spend all of your time trying to find the illusory “best,” well, you have to ask yourself : What’s your time worth?
Choosing A Chainsaw : Personality Type
Let’s look at buying a chainsaw a different way. Let’s make a decision based on who you are — your personal preferences.
If you’re the type of person who — doesn’t like to do anything related to maintenance — which may include things like : changing the oil, spark plugs and filter. You’re not the mechanical type. You choose cleanliness over chaos. You like to fold all of your clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer. Using a chainsaw scares you but you have wood to cut so you feel you have no choice but to buy one.
Oh, and the thought of sharpening your chainsaw seems beneath you — well, for you I recommend one these chainsaws.
Husqvarna 120i — Battery-Powered
The Husqvarna 120i (14-inch / 36.5V) is a great example of homeowner chainsaw as it was specifically designed to satisfy the needs of most homeowners. Husqvarna calls this a “casual” chainsaw because it’s geared toward people who require a light-duty chainsaw. Typically, Husqvarna creates chainsaws for professionals but they’ve recognized that most people need a chainsaw that’s light, comfortable. quiet, doesn’t pollute and has the convenience of battery power so you don’t have to worry about maintenance.
In 2020, Husqvarna started selling the 120 Mark II gas chainsaw, which has become quite popular with homeowners. Read our full review to learn more about this new series.
Our Definitive Best Chainsaw list
There you have it — something for everyone — many excellent chainsaws for any budget. I understand that everyone has different requirements when shopping for a chainsaw and tthe model suitable for you is not necessarily the right chainsaw for your neighbor or friend. There are many factors that go into making a buying decision and I realize that we all have our own personal preference. My preference is to buy battery-powered devices as I like the convenience of not having to wrestle with wires, but that’s what works for me.
If you ask ten people “What’s the ultimate chainsaw?” you’ll probably get ten different answers. But the truth is, some chainsaws are better than others, and in every category there’s only a handful of chainsaws that are well engineered by reputable companies. Everyone has a preference but when you look at the facts of specific brands and models then the decision is much easier to make. I truly hope this article helps to simplify your buying decision. I hope that I’ve made it easier to choose.
Also, budget is always an important factor. If you’re only going to use your chainsaw intermittently then it’s not necessary to buy the most expensive model, but I do encourage you to buy a chainsaw with good safety features if you can afford it, even it you only plan to use it once-in-a-while. It only takes one accident to ruin your life so spend the money if you have it.
If you haven’t kept up with the market over the years you need to know about two excellent alternatives to chainsaws. Yes, it’s true. There are safer options for you if all you need to do is light cutting, pruning and trimming. Manufacturers recognize that not all homeowners feel comfortable using a chainsaw and so they’ve started developing other products for consumers like you.
The great thing about these alternative chainsaws is that they’re really inexpensive which is probably due to the fact that they’re quite popular since they appeal to a greater majority of homeowners and are manufactured at higher numbers than regular chainsaw which inadvertently drives down the prices. It’s a win-win for both sides.
We have full comprehensive reviews on both of these products and I encourage you to read them if you want to know all the details.
And, if you’ve never heard of these products before here’s what they look like.
WORX JawSaw | Top Chainsaw Alternative
The WORX JawSaw is the safest chainsaw-like tool for homeowners. You have the choice between buying an electric JawSaw or a battery powered WORX JawSaw. It’s very well made and easy to use, and it can also be used with an extension pole to cut branches up to 12 feet off the ground. It’s a great alternative to chainsaws if you want something safer and easier to handle.
Although not a traditional chainsaw it provides you with the same result and therefore a great alternative to consider.
- View or download the MANUAL for the WORX JawSaw WG307/WG308.
- View or download the MANUAL for the WORX JawSaw WG320/WG321.
- Fully-enclosed bar and chain provides exceptional user safety.
- Patented auto-tension system sets the proper tension for you.
- Steel teeth hold work in place while cutting for greater stability.
- Blade housing allows for safe & easy cutting directly on the ground.
- Automatic chain oiler with oil level indicator helps extend the life of your bar & chain.
If you’re looking for a chainsaw with a bar and chain 14″ or smaller then you’ll be interested in reading our in-depth article on small chainsaws including a couple excellent chainsaw alternatives that you may not have considered.