One question we get frequently is “What is the best chainsaw for women?”
For way too long, operating a chainsaw has been considered to be a man’s job. Thankfully though, with each passing year more and more women are using chainsaws to limb trees, cut firewood, etc. Today we have more female arborists than ever before, and the number keeps growing as manufacturers strive to make chainsaws more accessible for everyone.
There is no doubt that some women who have grown up in a lumberjack family are more than capable of matching the best males at cutting and felling trees with a chainsaw. Still, we can’t deny the fact that large gas- powered models aren’t something you want to gift your wife or daughter as their “first chainsaw”. With proper practice and training, a woman can limb and fell trees without any trouble but on average they are smaller than men and lack the upper body strength required to wield a large professional chainsaw such as the 22.3lb Stihl MS 880 or the 22.9lb Husqvarna 3120 XP.
To clean and maintain a gas chainsaw you must remove the bar and chain, clean the oiler holes, check the spark plug, mix fuel and oil in the correct ratio, and do plenty of other stuff that is way too messy and time consuming. Most women (and men) don’t want to deal with any of this, which is why electric chainsaws are so popular nowadays. The average homeowner doesn’t need a big, loud 100cc gas- powered chainsaw unless you’re interested in felling giant trees. Most of the stuff you’ll be doing with a chainsaw is some light pruning in the yard, or firewood cutting.
Excellent Quality and Lightweight | Husqvarna 120i (36.5V)
In this article, we are going to review 5 of the most popular chainsaws for women. We selected these models very carefully, taking into account factors such as-
- Weight (anything under 10 pounds is perfect for women)
- Ergonomics and usability (handlebar shape, grip design, anti vibration, etc.)
- Ease of maintenance (toolless chain and bar adjustment, oil level view window, etc.)
- Price to performance ratio (nobody wants to spend 300 dollars on a chainsaw for pruning fruit trees in the backyard)
- Safety features (anti kickback inertial chain brake, chain catcher, low kickback chain, etc.)
BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 — 20V
This is an excellent compact chainsaw. It’s the perfect combination of size, weight, build quality and price. This is an excellent choice for women, and anybody else looking for an easy to use chainsaw.
Ideal for : Pruning, limbing small branches, light DIY work (cutting 2 x 4), and firewood collection
- 20V MAX* Lithium Battery for long run-time and long life — stays charged up to 5x longer
- 10″ Bar and chain designed for smooth and fast cuts
- Oiling system for lubrication of bar and chain
- 10″ Cut capacity for a wide range of cuts
- Tool-less chain tensioning for fast and easy adjustments
For the price, it is hard to find anything better. And with a weight of just 7.2 pounds, this is one of the lightest 10” cordless chainsaws on the market. It is perfect for taking along with you on camping trips, anytime you see a fallen tree or log on the ground this chainsaw will help you turn that into fuel for a campfire. It packs just enough runtime for 100 to 120 cuts on 5” thick branches with the included 2.0Ah 20V MAX lithium ion battery.
The chainsaw comes with the bar and chain assembly separate from the power head so you must remove the side cover and mount the bar yourself.
The large black dial on the side cover lets you adjust chain tension and bar position without requiring a screwdriver or wrench like in most traditional saws. We love the position of the oiler cap, it is located right on top of the chainsaw, where you can access it easily without spilling bar oil all over the place. Unfortunately, this chainsaw model doesn’t have an automatic oiler so you must press a little primer bulb on top of the oil cap about 3 times before making each cut.
However, an automatic bar and chain oiler is found on the BLACK + DECKER 40V LCS1240 12” cordless chainsaw. At least you get a transparent bar oil view window with the LCS1020, so you know when to refill the oil, and you don’t overflow the tank when doing so.
BLACK+DECKER LCS1240 (40V) | Has an Auto Oiling System
We highly recommend the LCS1020 for women, senior citizens, and teenagers learning to operate their first chainsaw. It is extremely easy to start (press the throttle lock off and pull the trigger at the same time), weighs less than most other cordless chainsaws, and is just the right size for you to reach those awkward spots while limbing a fallen tree after the storm. It isn’t as robust as a commercial grade saw and uses a manual bar oiler. But you can start operating it with confidence in just 15 to 20 minutes, which is what we value the most in a true beginner’s chainsaw.
Greenworks 20262 | 40V Battery-Powered
12″ bar and chain
Ideal for : limbing small branches (5 to 6 inches diameter), pruning trees in the yard, cutting 2 x 4 and 6 x 6 for DIY projects
- 12″ Oregon bar and chain, perfect for cutting branches and limbs with ease
- Tool-less chain tensioning for quick adjustments so you can get back to the task at hand
- Automatic oiler applies oil to the bar and chain to ensure durability and extend the life of the chain
- Translucent oil tank for clear view of oil level
- Compatible with GreenWorks G-MAX 40V Li-Ion System for higher efficiency and longer run time with an assortment of tools to complete your yard work
It costs about 40 percent more than the BLACK + DECKER LCS1020, but we still believe this is a great chainsaw for amateurs. Mainly because of two things- it is more powerful and uses an automatic bar oiler. The automatic bar oiler is a huge deal, since it reduces the complexity involved in making a cut. You don’t have to prime an oiler bulb anymore before every cut, the chainsaw will lubricate itself continuously whenever you pull the trigger.
Upon first look, the Greenworks 20262 seems quite tall for a tiny 12” cordless chainsaw. That’s because the 40V 2.0Ah lithium ion battery pack mounts on the top instead of the side, resulting in a much more balanced weight distribution. It also means you can wrap your forearm around the left side of the chainsaw since there is no battery over there. This allows you to make cuts while holding the chainsaw sideways, which is super helpful if you’re trying to fell a tree. Not that this chainsaw is intended to fell trees, but you can take down a small tree with a 10” trunk if the battery has full charge.
VIDEO | A Closer Look at Greenworks 20262
Handling and maneuverability are excellent, thanks to the compact size and even weight distribution. The front hand guard and throttle lock off switch guarantee a high degree of safety, and it also includes over current protection circuitry to prevent the motor from drawing too much power and damaging itself. Toolless chain tension is a must- have in a chainsaw for women, and the Greenworks 20262 has one of the most intuitive chain tensioning systems we have ever seen on a cordless saw. It also has a conveniently located bar oil filler cap, along with a transparent oil level view window on the side.
Oregon CS300-A6 — Oregon CS300-R7
Ideal for : firewood collection and post-storm cleanup
Features (CS300-A6) :
- PowerSharp System – Sharpens on the saw, on the job, in seconds. From dull to sharp in as little as three seconds
- Brushless Motor – High performance; high torque and power for fast cutting with a 16″ (40cm) bar
- Includes Tool-less tension system
- Instant Start – No gas-oil mixing, No pull cords, No warm-up & No emissions
- 40V Max Lithium Ion power for 66% more run time over the CS300-E6 Chainsaw
- Premium cell technology means constant no-fade power and holds a charge in storage for month
- Run Time – Cuts approximately 400 branches 2-3 Inch in diameter on a single battery charge
- Tool Weight with Guide Bar and Chain: 12.0 lb (5.4kg) with battery
If money isn’t a concern, and you simply want the best — this is it. The CS300 series of cordless chainsaws from Oregon is available in 4 variants :
- CS300- R7: CS300 chainsaw + 6.0Ah battery pack + C750 rapid charger
- CS300- A6: CS300 chainsaw + 4.0Ah battery pack + C600 standard charger
- CS300- E6: CS300 chainsaw + 2.4Ah battery pack + C600 standard charger
- CS300: Tool only (just the chainsaw)
Self-Sharpening System | OREGON CS300-R7
The standout feature of this chainsaw which makes it perfect for women is the self sharpening chain. Just press down on the red “PowerSharp” lever in front of the handlebar and rev the motor for about 3 seconds. You’ll see sparks flying out the bottom of the saw as the cutters on the chain grind against a bar- mounted sharpening stone. Sharpening the saw chain on the field doesn’t get any easier than this.
The CS300- A6 is what we recommend for most casual chainsaw users, since its B600E 4.0Ah battery pack has just enough juice for up to 400 cuts. Charging the 40V MAX 4.0Ah battery takes 240 minutes with the standard C600 charger included within the box. If you’re a professional working on the construction site, the CS300- R7 is what we suggest. Its extra high capacity 6.0Ah will last up to 50% longer than the one on the CS300- A6, which allows you to make up to 600 cuts in a single session. What is really impressive however, is the rapid charging system provided alongside every CS300- R7. It takes the B650E 6.0Ah battery from zero to full in just 90 minutes!
Limbing big pine and oak trees on a multi-acre property? Get the CS300- R7 and significantly boost your productivity while spending less time charging. On the other hand, if you just want to clear out fallen branches from the driveway or cut some firewood every now and then, the CS300- A6 is more than adequate for the job. The CS300 cordless chainsaw uses a brushless DC motor, delivering 40% more power than its predecessor- the CS250. And what really seals the deal is its anti- kickback chain brake- a feature absent from many low- end cordless chainsaws which use a cheap plastic hand guard instead.
Worx WG320 JawSaw : A Safer Alternative
Ideal for : pruning trees and limbing thin branches high above the ground
- Innovative auto-tension feature guarantees optimum tension at all times
- Features an automatic chain oiler with oil level indicator
- Blade housing allows for safe cuts directly on the ground
- Powerful and lightweight MaxLithium battery delivers long-lasting performance
If all you need is a chainsaw for pruning fruit trees in the orchard, there is no reason to struggle with a traditional style chainsaw as you try to reach branches that are 7 feet above the ground. Not to mention, operating a standard chainsaw above shoulder height is a huge risk since it can easily swing around and take off your arm or put a big cut on your face. But Worx has a great alternative- the WG320 “JawSaw”. Basically, it is a regular chainsaw with an extension pole and a protective housing around the bar. The bar itself pivots along with the motor, and the jaws on either end of the mouth act as clamps for when you cut loose debris on the ground like twigs or 2” thick branches.
VIDEO | A Closer Look at the Worx WG320 JawSaw
The protective housing saves your body from harm, so you can operate the WG320 without wearing any gear such as chaps or metal toe boots. That is a huge deal for the average woman who just wants to prune a couple branches in the yard, and doesn’t want to change into full PPE before the task. Another benefit of the JawSaw is its light weight- with the battery installed, it only weighs 7.9 pounds! Cutting fallen twigs and thin branches doesn’t get any easier, especially since you don’t have to worry about the saw chain making accidental contact with the ground. For even more reach, you can purchase the WA0169 extension pole which increases your total reach up to 12 feet.
DEWALT DCCS620P1 20V MAX
Ideal for : DIY enthusiasts and construction/ landscaping crews
- Low kick back 12 in. Oregon bar and chain for construction and outdoor cutting applications
- Compact, lightweight design (just 9 lbs. with battery) for maximum user control
- High-efficiency brushless motor maximizes runtime and motor life
- Up to 90 cuts per charge on 4×4 pressure treated wood (using a 20V MAX* 5Ah battery)
- Tool-free chain tensioning and bar tightening knob for proper bar clamping force
- Part of the 20V MAX* system of tools
The DCCS620P1 is a great cordless chainsaw for both homeowners and jobsite workers. It can limb a 20 to 40 foot long hardwood tree within a single charge of the 20V MAX 4.0Ah lithium ion battery. And there is enough safety built into this chainsaw to ensure that you never accidentally cut something you don’t intend to cut. For instance, there is the usual electronic throttle lock off switch which needs to be depressed alongside the trigger in order for the chainsaw to spin its chain. On top of that, you also have a front mounted chain brake which will save you from kickback accidents by mechanically stopping the chain drive within a fraction of a second.
DEWALT claims that the DCCS620P1 can handle 90 cuts through a 4 x 4 beam of pressure treated pine, which is pretty good for a cordless saw weighing just 9 lbs. The 12” anti-kickback bar and chain is provided by Oregon, and it is lubricated by a fixed speed automatic oiler. We would have preferred a variable speed trigger instead of the single speed one that is installed in this chainsaw, since a variable speed trigger allows for slightly more control when you’re limbing or pruning around the house. Nevertheless, there is a slight delay built into the throttle response so you can feather the trigger while making small cuts around the home or jobsite.
Read our indepth review of the Dewalt DCCS620P1.
What you need in a chainsaw for women
After extensive research and reading several user reviews for all sorts of chainsaw models, we concluded that women value these two things the most in a chainsaw-
- Ease of Operation
While there are other factors that we also need to consider such as safety, performance, etc., finding something that’s both light and easy to operate takes priority when it comes to choosing a chainsaw for women. We will discuss more about gas vs electric in the next section, but for now let’s focus on what you need in a chainsaw for women. Here is what you need to consider-
This is going to be decided by the type of work you do, and how frequently you do it. For pruning and trimming ornamental/ fruit trees in the orchard, you don’t need a bar longer than 10”. The Worx WG320 JawSaw is our personal favorite for such tasks. For the occasional firewood cutting you can step up to a 14” or 16” bar size. Most people focus too much on chain speed, amp rating of the motor, etc. and forget about the most important thing- maneuverability. A smaller bar means the bulk of the weight is focused between the grips of both your hands and you can move the saw around without it getting stuck in twigs or branches as you try to limb a fallen tree after a storm. A more maneuverable saw achieves cleaner cuts, and you don’t tire out as quickly.
A lighter chainsaw is easy to move around, but you also need proper ergonomics along with the decreased weight. By ergonomics, we are referring to the way a chainsaw feels in your hands and how it affects your posture as you cut wood. Handlebar position, shape, and grip design are very important to make sure that you stay comfortable while operating a chainsaw. There should be enough space between the rear and front grips for you to maintain a strong hold on the chainsaw so that you can counter a kickback when it happens. Which is why, we don’t recommend top- handled chainsaws for beginners. Gripping a solid chunk of metal during the cold isn’t fun either, so make sure there is enough foam and rubber padding on the grip of the handlebar.
Before purchasing a cordless chainsaw, check the spec sheet for its battery type. Anything other than lithium ion is a no- go in 2019. Lithium ion batteries boast higher energy density and don’t suffer from memory effect as much as their predecessors — NiCad (nickel cadmium) and NiMH (nickel metal hydride). Make sure to carry at least 2 battery packs if you’re cutting outdoors, so if one gets depleted you can charge it while using the backup battery.
Some chainsaw models support rapid charging, such as the Makita XCU03PT1 with the 18V LXT 5.0 Ah battery which you can charge in just 45 minutes using the DC18RC rapid optimum charger. Don’t get fooled by the Voltage ratings of batteries, what you need to focus on is the Ah (Ampere- hour) rating. A 3.0 Ah battery can supply a steady 3 ampere stream of current for 1 hour before running out of charge. With a 5.0 Ah battery you can draw up to 5 amps of current for one hour, which means the chainsaw is going to run longer on a single charge. Manufacturers often rate the runtime of a cordless chainsaw based on how many cuts it can make in a 6 x 6 in. board of pressure treated pine.
Unless you’re going to fell large hardwood trees like oak, ash, hickory, cherry, etc. there is no need to get worried about power. Most decent cordless chainsaws these days have more than enough power for the occasional firewood cutting. Remember- with more power, you get more weight (larger motor) so look for a nice balance of performance and maneuverability.
A chainsaw won’t differentiate between a log of oak and your arm. And when purchasing a chainsaw as a woman, it is extremely important that you go for a model which comes with a low- kickback chain preinstalled from the factory. Kickback is a deadly phenomenon that happens when a chain cuts too deep into the wood fiber and gets pinched, causing rotational inertia to bounce the chain back at the operator with tremendous speed.
Low kickback chains use special bumper links between tie straps, to limit the amount of “bite” that a chainsaw chain has. Anti kickback chain brakes are a must- have, these will activate through inertia alone when the chainsaw bounces at the operator. You can also manually activate them by pushing the handle forward with your forearm. Chain catchers are little pins located underneath the side cover, which will trap a broken chain mid air and prevent it from whipping at your arm or leg. Modern chainsaws also come with a throttle lock off feature which is basically a switch on top of the rear handlebar that must be depressed at the same time as the trigger in order for the motor to start revving.
Features to Consider
Most women don’t want to mess around with cleaning and maintaining chainsaws, so we recommend cordless models. But not all cordless chainsaws are created equal. Some require a little more effort in order to maintain and clean. Look for chainsaws with tool-less chain tension adjustment, these allow you to tighten the chain by simply twisting a knob on the side cover. No need for a scrench. Large bar oil caps are preferred for easy oil refills on the field. We also love transparent oil level view windows which let you keep an eye on bar oil levels, so you don’t burn up the chain by running it dry. Some cordless chainsaws have battery packs with built- in LED gauges which show you charge levels in real time, like the battery bar on your phone.
Electric vs Gas Chainsaws
An electric motor has unique advantages over an internal combustion engine. First off, you get instantaneous torque which is extremely helpful while cutting through highly fibrous wood or sappy logs. The chain won’t get bogged down in the beginning of the cut, allowing you to make a smoother entry which results in a straighter line across the log. Throttle response is pretty much instantaneous unlike gas engines which require a couple milliseconds to rev up before entering the power band. And you are much less likely to suffer from Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, which is a huge health hazard in the professional logging industry where loggers use powerful gas chainsaws for several hours daily.
Let’s not forget the noise either — gas chainsaws are extremely loud, generating nearly 120 dB(A) of noise at full blast which is comparable to a jet taking off from a distance of 60 meters. A commercial grade gas chainsaw like the Husqvarna 390 XP generates 117 dB(A) of noise. Sometimes, you have no other choice but to pick up a powerful gas chainsaw because you must fell trees in the forest and cut several cords of wood on a regular basis. As a compromise for all that raw performance, you have to deal with the maintenance of a gas chainsaw- cleaning the chain and bar, replacing the spark plug, cleaning the air filter, tuning the carburetor, inspecting the fuel filter, mixing 2- stroke engine oil and gasoline.
Electric chainsaws don’t die if you leave them sitting in the garage for a year, since there is no carburetor to be clogged. Winter starts are a nightmare with gasoline saws, you have to adjust the choke and pull that heavy starter cord a dozen times before the engine sputters to life. With an electric chainsaw, you just push a button and it starts revving. The only bit of maintenance on an electric chainsaw is when you refill the bar oil or adjust the chain tension.
Learn more by reading : Electric vs Gas Chainsaws
Why not get a corded electric chainsaw?
While corded electric chainsaws are cheaper AND lighter than their cordless counterparts, they come with a bunch of drawbacks that prevent us from recommending these to female operators. Number one being the fact that they are always tethered to an extension cord, which can easily get tangled if you’re not careful. The cord limits your movement and is a pain to untangle. Imagine you are working with a fallen tree, and all of a sudden you notice that the chainsaw died in the middle of a cut. What happened? Well, the cord got detached because it was stuck around a branch.
And while the powerhead itself is lighter than a cordless chainsaw’s powerhead because there is no battery pack, don’t forget the fact that you are lugging around a 50- foot long 12 gauge extension cord to feed that 15amp motor. Talking of motors, cordless chainsaws use brushless DC motors which run smoother and more efficiently than brushed AC motors on corded models. Brushless DC motors also last longer because there is no internal friction, hence they run much cooler for longer periods.
Corded electric chainsaws do have their drawbacks, such as :
- They are costlier than cordless models
- They are heavier than cordless models
- They tend to lose power as the charge goes down
- You need to walk around with 2 or more battery packs if you intend to cut firewood in the forest
But these drawbacks are a small price to pay for the freedom of movement and infinite range (no cords). Zero emissions compared to a gas chainsaw, with all the power you’ll ever need for light to medium duty tasks. Certain professional grade cordless chainsaws are even used by arborists and construction crews to chop down trees, slice through wooden beams, and for tearing down old structures. These days we have rapid chargers and high capacity lithium ion batteries which last long enough for a 1 or 2 hour work session.
Learn more about choosing the right extension cord for you chainsaw or other power tools.