In this article we review the Top Rated Chainsaws on the market. Basically, we take a close look at the chainsaws that consumers rate the highest. These are the chainsaws that have withstood the test of time and rigors of day-to-day usage. It’s far more accurate to consider buying a chainsaw that has proven itself to be reliable, efficient and well-worth the money by a large group of people who have purchased and used the chainsaw rather than rely on one singular review by one person.
Intro | Top Rated Chainsaws
We often discuss the best chainsaws on this site. But this always means that there is measure of subjective opinion in the chainsaw review. If we’re going to talk about the top rated chainsaws, this means reviewing chainsaws that have been rated highly by the people who buy and use them.
In a way, this is the best way of doing things. I will always have an opinion as to which is the best chainsaw. This would be my personal rating and will be affected by my brand preferences and may often relate more to brilliant engineering and specs, rather than the actual user experience. As much as any review should take user experiences into account, simply talking about the best chainsaws is going to be open to debate.
Well-Balanced Gas Chainsaw | Pro-Grade | Husqvarna 450
So this review is going to focus entirely on the opinions of the general public. People like you, who have bought the products and are pleased with their purchase. By researching customer ratings, their opinions and experiences when using the products, we’ve come up with the most highly rated chainsaws on the market.
In reviewing the top rated chainsaws, you get an idea of how they perform in the real world – not just on paper. Often, the best will be the most expensive. But how many people actually buy the most expensive products? High-end chainsaws are great, but can often be more of a “wish list” item and not an “add to cart” item. Our research has indicated that it’s in the upper end of the mid-price range that you find the top rated chainsaws, with a few that are a little cheaper. For the most part, we’re looking at popular brands like DeWalt and Makita. We’ve also found a very popular Tanaka chainsaw.
It seems that the common trait among all of the top rated chainsaws is the value for money. I mean real value for money, not just cheap products. Buying top of top range tools is expensive, whereas the brands mentioned in this review are very reasonably priced when you consider the high spec level and quality materials used in their construction. This appears to be what most people are looking for.
Affordable Top Rated Chainsaw | Powerworks CS60L2510PW — 60V
Today’s tool buyer is an informed one. Most of us know the value of paying a little extra for a quality product. We respect this. Which is why this review of top rated chainsaws is aimed at the informed and educated DIY and professional user, as well as homeowners who mostly use a chainsaw for garden cleanups and cutting firewood.
A chainsaw is used for many purposes and this means that people are looking for different types of chainsaws. For some a gas chainsaw is the way to go, but many homeowners prefer the easier to use, often cheaper, electric chainsaws. Battery-powered chainsaws are becoming increasingly popular and people rate them very highly. Because there are top rated chainsaws in all of these categories, we’re going to review quite a few battery-powered chainsaws, as well the highly rated Husqvarna 455 and 460 gas-powered chainsaw, and a corded electric model from Makita.
For those of you who do a lot of branch trimming high in the treetops, we’ve include the top rated Tanaka top handle chainsaw. Jaw Saws are incredibly popular with homeowners, who want to fell small trees and cut firewood as easily and safely as possible. While a seasoned lumberjack my scoff at these chainsaws, for our domestic uses, they’re excellent and many rate the Worx 20V jaw saw as the best (and quite affordable) alternative to a conventional chainsaw.
Makita Quality is Top-Notch | Makita XCU03Z 18V X2 (36V) LXT
Reviews | Top Rated Chainsaws
To help you find exactly what you’re looking for without too much searching, this review of the top rated chainsaws has been divided into easy to follow sections. Battery-powered tools are certainly the flavor of the moment. So we’ll kick off with the best selection of highly respected battery powered chainsaws, under the heading Top Rated Battery Chainsaws. This will be followed by sections to include Top Rated Gas Chainsaw (Husqvarna 455 & 460); Top Rated Electric Chainsaw (Makita UC4051A); Top Rated Top Handle Chainsaw (Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14). We’ll end off with a review of the Top Rated Jaw Saw. This being the ever popular Worx WG320.9 20V battery-powered jaw saw.
After reviewing the top rated chainsaws, I’ll provide a buyer’s and user’s guide for chainsaws. Here I’ll discuss the pros and cons of the various chainsaw types and provide some valuable tips on chainsaw safety.
Top Rated Battery Chainsaws
Although battery-powered tools tend to be quite expensive, their popularity has grown in leaps and bounds over the past two decades. There’s no doubt that battery chainsaws are the ultimate in convenience. You have all the advantages of electric with none of the drawbacks. A chainsaw that starts at the touch of a button, no recoil starter to contend with and no cold weather hassles. There’s no mixing of oil and gas. Well, there’s no gas at all, so you don’t have to keep gas cans that have all their own complications. Then there’s the huge advantage of very little maintenance.
Of all the chainsaws, battery-powered machines have the lowest running costs. Thanks to super-efficient brushless DC motors, they use a fraction of the electricity compared to corded electric chainsaws. Despite their low energy consumption, these chainsaws have the power to compete with any electric or smaller gas chainsaw. So the advantage of battery vs electric goes beyond the mere fact that you don’t need an extension cord. I’ll provide a detailed discussion on gas vs battery vs corded electric chainsaws after the review.
Makita XCU02PT 18V X2 (36V) LXT
Best rated top handle chainsaw. Ultra-lightweight and built to last.
- Makita-built motor delivers 1,650 FPM chain speed for faster cutting
- “Tool-less” chain adjustment for convenient operation and maintenance
- Cordless for reduced maintenance; no need to change engine oil or spark plug, clean air filter or drain fuel for storage
- Front hand guard actuates chain brake when engaged
- 12″ guide bar for increased capacity
- Low noise level at only 87 dB(A) and zero emissions for operator comfort
- Weighs only 10.1 lbs. with batteries for reduced operator fatigue
- Two 18V LXT Lithium-Ion batteries deliver power and performance without leaving the 18V LXT platform
- Features Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) which is engineered to provide increased dust and water resistance in harsh job site conditions
- Rubberized soft grip top handle is engineered for the user to more easily apply even cutting pressure
- Instant start-up: simply load two 18V LXT batteries and the saw is ready to use
- Electric brake for maximum productivity
- Adjustable automatic chain lubrication with large oil reservoir
- Large oil filling port with view window allows operator to easily add and check bar oil level
- L.E.D. battery indicators show charge level for each 18V LXT battery
- 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 5.0Ah battery BL1850B features an integrated L.E.D. battery charge level indicator
- 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 5.0Ah battery BL1850B provides up to 65% more run time per charge compared to 3.0Ah battery BL1830
- 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 5.0Ah battery BL1850B reaches a full charge in 45 minutes or less
- Dual Port Charger charges two (2) 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 5.0Ah batteries in only 45 minutes
- Dual Port Charger features a built-in USB port for charging portable electronic devices
- The Makita Rapid Optimum Charger communicates with the battery’s built-in chip throughout the charging process to optimize battery life by actively controlling current, voltage and temperature
- Built-in fan circulates air through the battery during the charging process to cool the battery for faster charge time.
- 3-year limited warranty on tool, battery and charger
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Makita XCU02PT.
Makita was the first consumer brand to introduce battery-powered tools to the public. They’ve been researching and developing battery-powered tools for about 40-years and this counts for a lot. It’s little wonder that so many in the know, rate Makita as one of the top battery-powered tool brands. The 36V LXT battery tool range is their most sophisticated and powerful battery technology to date. The 18V LXT range has been around for a long time. This doesn’t mean that it’s outdated technology.
When Makita introduced these batteries, chargers, and tools, they were the world leaders in battery-powered tools. There has been no need to improve on this cutting-edge technology in the interim. Using the tried and tested 18V LXT lithium ion battery, the XCU02PT chainsaw operates at 36V by using two batteries connected in series. By doubling the voltage, you get a more powerful chainsaw with longer working times.
Makita have been prudent in using two 18V LXT batteries, instead of developing a high-voltage battery to replace the existing range. This means that you can use the same battery for the 36V tools as you do for their extensive range of 18V LXT tools. DeWalt has taken this principle a step further with their FlexVolt batteries, but I’ll discuss this when reviewing the DeWalt cordless chainsaws. Regardless of what the other brands have developed since, the Makita 18V LXT battery and charger combination is a marvel of modern technology and are hard to beat.
The Makita XCU02PT kit includes two 18V LXT 5AH batteries and a dual-port LXT rapid charger with intelligent battery management and cooling. This provides just about the fastest battery charging time (±45-minutes for the 5AH battery), whilst ensuring the longest possible battery life. Advanced LXT technology extends to the chainsaw as well, by using Star Protection Computer Controls. So the battery is monitored while you work to provide the best power, at the same time protecting the battery from overheating, overloading, or running dangerously low on charge.
While this is one of the smallest chainsaws, with a 12” bar and chain, it delivers the power to contend with anything in its way. What’s probably most remarkable, is that a robust and powerful chainsaw can be this light. The Makita XCU02PT weighs only 10.1 LBS. Add to this, perfectly designed handles and a trigger switch just where you need it, and you have one of the easiest and most comfortable chainsaws around. The large chain guard, which actuates the chain brake, is also positioned for maximum safety and ease of use. This is also an exceptionally quite chainsaw, with a noise level of only 87dB.
The Makita XCU02PT has a very efficient cutting rate, with a 1650 FPM chain speed. To increase your productivity, an electric brake brings the chain to an immediate standstill when the trigger is released. There’s no waiting for the chain to stop before you put the chainsaw down. Adjustable, automatic chain lubrication is another feature that makes your life much easier. You can set the flow of oil to the chain so that it matches your working conditions. A really large oil reservoir, with viewing window and an over-sized filling port, adds to the convenience. As with so many user-friendly chainsaws, this one has tool-free chain tensioning.
Anyone who’s familiar with Makita power tools, knows their never say die attitude. True to form, the Makita XCU02PT is one tough little machine. Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) is used in most Makita tools, including the XCU02PT chainsaw. This prevents moisture and dust from entering the inner workings of the tool. In doing so, maintenance and wear on the components is reduced to a minimum. Although they’ve opted for a plastic casing for this chainsaw, it’s incredibly robust and shock resistant. I know from experience, that all Makita tools can endure some of the roughest treatment and remain reliable for many years. They are probably among the most indestructible tools that you can buy.
Based on customer reviews (and my own experience of the brand), I can see why this is one of the top rated chainsaws. Limited only by its size, the Makita XCU02PT can compete with the very best. The advantage of the compact lightweight design is that this chainsaw is perfectly manageable. If my grandmother were still around, I’d bet even she would be able to wield this tame beast of a machine. In the end, most homeowners would prefer a small lightweight chainsaw for the kind of work we typically do around the yard. When it comes to warranty and after-sales service, Makita also come up tops. Their excellent 3-year warranty is probably something you’ll never need, considering the quality of their tools, but it’s good to know that you have this reassurance.
DEWALT DCCS670X1 FLEXVOLT 60V
Since its release, this has quickly climbed the charts as one of the absolute top rated chainsaws on the market. DeWalt chainsaws are very-well made.
- Tool-Free chain tensioning and bar tightening knob for proper bar clamping force
- Auto-Oiling for continuous lubrication. Quarter-turn oil cap for quick oil re-fills
- Chain brake for kick back protection
- Up to 70 cuts per charge* *on a 6″” x 6″” pressure treated pine wood
- Low kick back 16 in. Oregon bar and chain
- Auto-oiling for continuous lubrication, quarter-turn oil cap for quick oil re-fills
- Chain brake for kick back protection
- Up to 70 cuts per charge on a 6 in. x 6 in. pressure treated pine wood
- Includes 3.0 Ah battery and charger
- Includes bar and chain cover
I briefly touched on the topic of the DeWalt FlexVolt battery when reviewing the Makita XCU02PT. Now it’s time to discuss this battery in more detail. Even though Makita have the most experience building battery-powered tools, DeWalt has stolen much of their glory in developing this battery. In recent times, DeWalt has (in the opinion of many tool owners) become the top rated brand in the battery tool market. In part, this has to do with huge variety of battery-powered tools that they manufacture. Then with the advent of the 20V/60V FlexVolt battery, DeWalt has revolutionized how we view lithium ion batteries.
VIDEO | DeWalt 60V FlexVolt Chainsaw
The trend toward increasing battery voltage has been embraced by all the major tool brands. This is a good thing. A higher voltage means more power with less amps. There’s less heat produced and the machines are generally more efficient. The problem is that a higher voltage battery cannot be used in the older tools that use previous generation, low-volt batteries. DeWalt found a unique solution to this conundrum by developing a battery that can operate at either 20V or 60V.
A simple electronic detection chip determines the required voltage for the tool into which the battery is inserted. By reconfiguring the cells inside the battery, it will provide either 60V or 20V. They have a few battery tools that use two 60V batteries in series – running at 120V. These tools can be used with either mains or battery power. However, the DeWalt DCCS670X1 uses a single 60V battery. You still have the advantage of using this battery with any of their new 60V or 120V tools, as well as their 20V MAX tools.
As much as many chainsaw users may appreciate the nimble size of the Makita XCU02PT, there are those who require a better bar length. It is in this category of 16” battery-powered chainsaws that the DeWalt DCCS670X1 is rated as being the top dog by the majority of seasoned buyers. One of the big benefits is that, despite being extremely powerful with a large capacity, the DCCS670X1 is not much heavier than a small 12” chainsaw. At only 12.2 pounds, the 16” DeWalt is quite miraculous.
Using the DeWalt is where most people rate it so highly. Apart from the superbly low weight and excellent center of gravity, this chainsaw has wonderful padded handles and the front handle has a full wraparound design. The large trigger switch allows for easy and safe control over the chainsaw. The chain guard is positioned only inches from the front handle and is perfect for emergency stopping when used as a chain brake. In keeping with our need for hassle-free convenience, the DCCS670X1 has automatic chain lubrication and a tool-free chain tensioning knob.
The DeWalt DCCS670X1 kit includes a 3AH 60V MAX battery and charger. On their website, DeWalt state that this battery provides enough working time to make 70 cuts on 6” X 6” pressure treated pine on one charge. This is a pretty impressive figure. Though you can triple this time by using the 9AH 60V MAX FlexVolt battery, this provides unrivaled working time for any lithium ion battery.
VIDEO | Learn More About the Power of FlexVolt Batteries
DeWalt has an uncanny knack of knowing exactly what we want from our power tools. This understanding of our needs and an extremely high quality standard has made them one of the top rated tool brands. While chainsaws form only a small part of their extensive battery tool range, the same attention to detail is evident in the DCCS670X1 battery-powered chainsaw. DeWalt is famous for their outstanding 3-year warranty, 90-day guarantee, and 1-year free service plan. With one of the biggest dealership networks and helpful service, they have a loyal following among power tool aficionados.
DEWALT DCCS620P1 20V MAX
Another top rated chainsaw from DeWalt. Excellent lightweight 20V chainsaw
- 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
It may come as a surprise that the DeWalt DCCS620P1 20V MAX is still one of the top rated chainsaws. In the fast-paced world of battery-powered tools, this model is a dinosaur. Compared to the new and improved DCCS670X1 16” chainsaw, this 12” model might seem redundant. I guess it’s the price that attracts so many chainsaw buyers. A few years ago, the DCCS620P1 was on the cutting edge of battery power-tool technology and has earned much acclaim in its time. So, while it may not meet the standards set by the newer technology, it is still a very capable chainsaw and costs way less than any modern equivalent.
With less power, it may be a slight compromise. But for the money that you save, there are plenty of people who consider this a fair payoff. In terms battery life, the FlexVolt system allows you to get the best of modern design in a backward compatible format that can be used with this older chainsaw.
When one looks at the specs and general appearance of this saw, the only thing lacking when compared to the 60V model is the advantage of more power and 2” extra bar length. For the rest it has everything that any modern chainsaw should have. The high-grade, 12” low-kickback, Oregon bar is legendary and is used in many top rated chainsaws. This is one of the many advantages that this chainsaw has over others that cost more.
The 20V brushless motor may not be as powerful as the new 60V version, but is every bit as efficient. Using the 5AH 20V MAX battery that’s supplied with the chainsaw, DeWalt claim up to 90 cuts on 4 X 4 pressure treated wood. If you upgrade to their range-topping 9AH FlexVolt battery, this will be as much as 320 cuts on the same wood from a single charge. All I can say to that is wow, try beat that.
The handles and trigger switch are as great as any DeWalt tool, and almost identical to those on the new model. The chain guard / brake is also pretty much the same as the DCCS670X1. Combine this with an almost unbelievable weight of 9-pounds, and you have one of the easiest chainsaws to use.
There are enough people out there who feel that it simply isn’t worth paying more for the 60V DeWalt DCCS670X1, when the DCCS620P1 20V MAX is almost as competent. As much as I can see the advantages of the newer chainsaw, I can see perfectly well where these guys are coming from. It’s a great chainsaw and may, very likely, remain on the top rated chainsaw list for many years to come.
Top Rated Gas Chainsaw
Professionals in the tree felling business will probably tell you that gas-powered chainsaws are the only machines that will get the job done. Lumberjacks, large-scale landscapers, even many contractors and farmers, really need a more powerful chainsaw. Because there are many instances where a gas chainsaw may be your only option, like working for long hours far from an electric power source, a gas chain saw may be your only viable option.
Husqvarna 455 (20″) / Husqvarna 460 (20″)
- 20-inch. 55.5cc engine. 3.5 hp.
- 12.8 lbs (excluding bar and chain).
- X-Torq Engine: Designed to reduce emissions while providing lower fuel consumption.
- Quick-release air filter: Easy to clean and replace, when needed.
- Convenient combination of choke/stop system, allowing easy starting while reducing the chance of flooding the engine.
- Air Injected Centrifugal air cleaning system keeps large dust particles and debris out while improving engine life.
- Side-mounted chain tensioning system for easy access.
- Durable 3 piece crankshaft.
- Ergonomic front handle provides a comfortable grip while reducing fatigue.
- LowVib System greatly reduces vibration and minimizes fatigue.
- Adjustable oil pump enables you to control the amount of lubrication depending on your needs.
- Felling marks help you fell trees with precision.
- Smart Start: The Husqvarna 455 Rancher is engineered to be easy to start with minimal effort.
- Air Purge: Makes starting easier by clearing air from the carburetor and fuel system.
- Inertia activated chain brake for increased safety and reducing the chance of kickback.
- CARB compliant.
To my mind, Husqvarna is the go to brand when it comes to gas-powered tools. So I can agree, wholeheartedly, with the popular opinion that the Husqvarna Rancher has to rate as one of top gas chainsaws. Able to compete with the heavy-duty, commercial chainsaws, at a price that’s more acceptable to the non-professional user, Husqvarna chainsaws have an excellent position in the market. Husqvarna have an extensive selection of chainsaws, ranging from light-duty models up to extremely heavy heavy-duty professional grade machines. As the name suggests, the rancher is aimed at the farmer or rancher. This makes it a medium-duty chainsaw. Though I’d say that it has traits that can compare with many top rated commercial chainsaws.
I’ll be reviewing the Husqvarna 455 and 460 together, as they are both 20” chainsaws with the Rancher trademark. Although, the 460 Rancher is also available with a 24″ bar and chain. If you’re wondering what the difference is between the Rancher 455 and 460, I’ll put your mind at ease. Basically, they are the same chainsaw with a 20” bar and chain. The only difference being a slight difference in engine size. Both these chainsaws use the highly acclaimed Husqvarna X-Torque engine, a power plant that is renowned for its reliability, durability and great economy.
The Husqvarna 455 uses this engine in a 55.5cc (3.39 cubic inches) format and produces 3.49 HP, with a maximum torque of 3.2Nm and a top engine speed of 9000 RPM. The more advanced Husqvarna 460 uses a 60.3cc (3.68 cubic inches) X-Torque engine, providing 3.4 Nm torque and a maximum 9000 RPM. The Rancher 460 offers a bit more power, but has a slightly higher fuel consumption. In all other respects, the Husqvarna 455 and 460 are the same. To avoid confusion, I’ll be referring to both models as the Husqvarna Rancher.
More Powerful Husqvarna 460 | Top Rated Chainsaw
Rated for a maximum bar length of 23”, the Rancher comes with a 20” bar and chain as standard. It has the power to cope with anything using the standard 20” bar. The X-Torque engine has many remarkable features, making it one of the top rated chainsaw engines. The Air Injection system is one of the features that make it so well-suited for a chainsaw. We all know how sawdust and woodchips clog up the air filter on a chainsaw. To reduce all that wasted time, constantly cleaning the air filter, Husqvarna use a centrifugal air cleaning system to remove most of the larger particles form the air before they reach the filter. This increases the overall performance of the engine and reduces the need to clean the air filter as often.
The smart start system is intended to simplify things and make the X-Torque engine easier to start. This means that the start stop and choke are operated with a single lever which reduces the chance of engine flooding. An air purge system removes air from fuel line. This engine is remarkably easy to start. Even in cold weather, it shouldn’t take more than a tug or to on the recoil starter to get going.
User comfort also comes up tops. The low vibration technology used in the Rancher does a lot to reduce user fatigue, 3.8 m/s² at the front handle and 6.9 m/s² at the rear. The front handle is also expertly designed for longer working hours with reduced fatigue. By offsetting this handle by 7°, you have perfect control with a greater level of comfort. The chain guard and brake are angled in line with this handle for greater safety. Thick rubber grips on both handles also contribute to a greater level of user comfort. The inertia activated chain brake goes some way to ensure your safety in the event of a kickback situation.
Features Overview | Husqvarna 455
User-friendly design features, like an adjustable oil pump for chain lubrication and a quick release air filter are some of the reasons why this chainsaw has received its top rating. It doesn’t have a tool-free chain tensioning knob, however. Though this is an indication as to the more heavy-duty nature of this chainsaw. Even though you need an Allen wrench to adjust the chain, the mechanism is conveniently placed at the side to make this as simple as possible.
For professionals and home users alike, the Husqvarna Rancher has become a legend in its own lifetime. It’s plain to see why this is such a highly rated chainsaw. Husqvarna is one of the oldest manufacturers in the world, they were producing rifles as far back as the 1600’s and were one of the first companies in the world to manufacture chainsaws. With centuries of technical experience, who can deny that this is one of top rated chainsaw manufacturers ever?
Husqvarna has a rich history of manufacturing
For more information please read our dedicated reviews of the Husqvarna 455 Rancher and the more powerful 460 Rancher. Choosing the right model depends on the size of trees you need to cut. These chainsaws are typically for people who want to fell and/or limb medium-sized to large-sized trees. If you only need to do light-duty pruning and fell 8-inch trees then in all honesty, you don’t need a 455 or a 460 Rancher — instead, consider something much small, like a Husqvarna 120i (battery-powered) or the compact Husqvarna 240 (16″ gas-powered).
Top Rated Electric Chainsaw
Because of their affordability and ease of use, corded electric chainsaws are often the number choice for homeowners. For cutting firewood, close to an electric socket, these chainsaws make a lot of sense.
Makita UC4051A | Top Rated Electric Chainsaw
- “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
There are some ridiculously cheap corded electric chainsaws, but they generally end up being a huge disappointment. Because of its proven reliability and exceptional performance, the Makita UC4051A has rightfully earned the top rated position in the 16” electric chainsaw category.
Electric chainsaws often have a reputation as being second rate machines. The Makita UC4051A turns this theory upside down. At a glance, it’s clear that this 16” chainsaw can compete, head on, with gas chainsaws in the same size range. You just need to look at the heavy-duty steel bucking teeth, and you immediately realize that this is no ordinary electric chainsaw.
Although this chainsaw has all the traits to match medium to heavy-duty machines, it’s extremely lightweight and has all the convenient features that make our lives simpler. As far as weight goes, 12.3 LBS (excluding bar and chain) is fantastic for such a highly capable 16” chainsaw. All the stuff that we expect find on a top rated chainsaw are there, like tool-free chain tensioning and automatic chain lubrication. Similar to all Makita chainsaws, the oil reservoir is designed for ultimate ease of use. It’s enormous, with a 6.8 oz. capacity and has a viewing window so you can easily check the oil level.
Rubberized handles and a large trigger switch help to make this an easy, safe chainsaw to use. The chain guard / brake is perfectly positioned and an electric chain brake stops the chain immediately after you release the trigger. The motor is protected by a current limiter. Should the chain become jammed, the motor will shut off automatically to prevent a burnout or any type of damage.
Why the Makita UC4051A is the top rated electric chainsaw, needs little explanation. The brand kind of says it all. For a very long time, people have trusted Makita to bring us top grade products, without the huge price tag of many other high-end products. As far as corded electric chainsaws go, this 16” model is almost as big as it gets. It’s got heaps of power and legendary Makita reliability.
Top Rated Top Handle Chainsaw
A top handle chainsaw is more specialized than the more general purpose offerings. By placing the handle at the top of the machine, you’re afforded a better grip for cutting branches when working up in a tree. It’s safer for these working conditions and, therefore, preferred by people who do a lot of tree felling and pruning.
Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14 | Top Rated Top Handle Chainsaw
Affordable top-handle chainsaw.
- 32.2 cc 1.6 hp PureFire two-stroke engine meets emissions levels without sacrificing power, adding weight, or creating maintenance headaches
- Commercial grade engine provides excellent cutting performance and reliability
- 14″ Oregon sprocket nose bar and chain reduces kickback and provides excellent cutting performance
- Outstanding power-to-weight reduces fatigue resulting in higher productivity
- Side access chain tensioner provides for quick and easy chain adjustment
- Half throttle choke and purge primer bulb for easy starting
- Built-in lanyard ring for easy climbing
- Advanced anti-vibration system provides maximum comfort to get more done with less operator fatigue
- Covered by Tanaka’s two-year commercial use warranty, seven-year consumer use warranty and one-year rental use warranty
The Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14 is designed with its purpose in mind. Because this chainsaw is going to be used in trying conditions, it is compact, lightweight and has a built-in lanyard ring. The top handle design, along with an extended chain guard make, it one of the easiest and safest, chainsaws to use when pruning and shaping trees or shrubs. When looking at durability and usability, the Tanaka is an obvious choice as one of top models in this chainsaw category.
The Tanaka Pure Fire, 2-stroke, 32.2cc engine is pure brilliance. With exceptionally low emission levels, this engine can compete with any of top manufacturers. Along with its very clean-burning attributes, this engine is incredibly fuel efficient and easy to start. In a bid to make this chainsaw manageable when working high above the ground, they’ve expertly balanced the power to weight ratio, coming in at only 12.4 LBS. In reducing the weight, they have in no way compromised on commercial grade toughness. Both professionals and home users consider this to be the top rated chainsaw with a top handle.
The automatic chain lubrication is gear driven, making it reliable and effortless to use. Because of the nature of the work that you’ll typically be using this chainsaw for, it has a sprocket nose bar and an Oregon chain. Tensioning the chain is not tool-free, but side access to the tensioning mechanism does make this quite simple. Rear access to the air filter is another area where the Tanaka makes your life easier.
Comfort is also tops, with low vibration and truly magnificent, large, well-padded handles. The 14” bar that comes standard with the chainsaw is of the highest standard and you have to option of, an equally great, 12” bar for lighter weight and greater maneuverability.
Few products have received the type of customer ratings that the Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14 has. People absolutely love this chainsaw, both for its quality and ease of use. The brand, generally receives top ratings and it’s easy to see why. Not least of which is the excellent 7-year warranty for residential use, 2-years for commercial use and 1-year for rental.
Top Rated Chainsaw Alternative
For those guys that don’t have much experience using a chainsaw and don’t intend to use them all the time, using a powerful machine like this can be daunting. Many home owners who want an alternative to a regular chainsaw, that’s much easier and safer to use, have chosen a jaw saw as their top choice.
Personally, I don’t quite see the point of these hybrid chainsaws. I call them hybrid, because they have a bar and chain like any chainsaw, but these are generally quite small. While the jaw makes it one of the safest ways to cut small logs and prune branches, especially for novices, you are limited what you can do with the machine. You can’t, for instance, use a jaw saw for construction work.
Since this is a review of the best rated chainsaws, I should put my opinions aside and see which jaw saw comes up tops. The people have spoken, and it appears that the Worx WG320.9 Jaw Saw 20V has come up with top ratings.
Worx WG320.9 Jaw Saw 20V
- Cut or trim materials up to 4 inches in diameter
- 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
- Charging time : 3 hours
- Machine Weight : 7.9 lbs
The Worx brand stands out as one of the top names in power tools for the garden. They are in no way pretending to be commercial grade machines, and that’s fine. For the homeowner, affordability is a top priority and, while quality is important, it may seem senseless to pay exorbitant prices for a tool that we use seasonally and, even then, only occasionally. So, if we’re looking at affordable quality for home use, it’s easy to see why the Worx WG320.9 20V, battery-powered jaw saw is the top rated model for this type of chainsaw. It’s incredibly easy to use, has the convenience of cordless power and, best of all, it’s by no means expensive.
By the rather small 6” guide bar, it’s clear that the Worx Jaw Saw is not intended for heavy-duty work, no jaw saw is. This bar and the size of the jaw opening, gives you the ability to cut branches and firewood up to a diameter of 4-inches. For these applications, the Worx jaw saw is about as safe and definitely as easy as it gets. The incredibly lightweight design (only 7.9 LBS) adds to this ease.
Fully automatic chain tensioning and automatic chain lubrication mean that you really don’t need to be an expert to use the Worx Jaw Saw. Though this tensioning mechanism needs to be “reset” quite regularly and that requires some input from you. The user manual properly explains how and when to do this. As far as safety goes, you can’t beat the Worx, the jaw that grips the piece that you’re cutting. Along with the long handle, you are never in harm’s way. In addition to this, it has an enclosed blade housing.
The 20V Max lithium ion battery that’s sold with this jaw saw, along with the charger, is used in quite a number of Worx garden tools. Sharing batteries with other tools in your shed is always a good thing. Though, if you intend using several Worx garden tools with the same battery, you need to be aware that some of their tools use a 24V battery, and others 20V. It would be advisable to stick to one battery type. It’s very convenient to have several batteries for extended working time and using these batteries in all your tools is going to save a lot on battery purchases.
So what do the people have to say about this jaw saw? I think it’s clear by the 4.5 star rating on Amazon (out of 334 customer reviews), that the Worx Jaw Saw has been incredibly well received. A product that has received this many reviews, gives us a very accurate idea of what people actually think. If there only a few customer reviews, we don’t get enough varied opinions. It’s obvious that people rate this product very highly, most of them giving it top marks. The 3-year warranty and 30-day guarantee is another indication that Worx are confident about the quality of this product.
Gas vs Electric vs Battery Chain Saws
Not everyone uses their chainsaw in the same way or in the same environment. So a gas machine may be the top choice for some, whereas corded electric, or battery-powered chainsaws could be better for others. To help you decide which is going to work for you, I’m going to compare these three types of chainsaws – pointing out all their pros and cons.
We have a comprehensive article focused on the advantages and disadvantages of each type of chainsaws. It will provide you with additional information if you’re unsure which chainsaw power type you need.
If we rated these machines purely on their size and power, gas chainsaws would be at the top of the list. When you need a bar length greater than 20-inches, gas-powered chainsaws are likely to be your only option. Unlike corded electric chainsaws, you can use them anywhere – there’s no need to for an electric supply. When compared to batteries, gas engines can work all day long, at full power with few interruptions. For these reasons, gas power is used for the top rated heavy-duty chainsaws. A gas engine is considered to be more durable, they can be repaired many times and the same can’t be said for electric motors.
Affordable Gas Chainsaw | Remington RM4216 Rebel — 42cc,16″
There are some cons to offset these pros. Gas engines require extra maintenance. The spark plug and filters need regular cleaning and replacement when they have reached the end of their service life. This requires some skill and there’s a cost involved. Gas engines are noisy and are not the best for residential gardens. They emit fumes, which can be unpleasant. It takes more effort to start a gas chainsaw and they tend to be heavier than electric machines.
For their affordability, electric chainsaws have to be rated as the top choice. When looking at any type of power tool, a corded electric model is always going to be the cheapest. They require very little maintenance. Routine maintenance on the chain is going to be the same for any chainsaw. But, when it comes to an AC electric motor, you only need to change the brushes occasionally. It takes no effort to start an electric chainsaw.
The most obvious disadvantage to using a corded electric chainsaw is the fact that they need to be plugged into an electric socket. The fact that chainsaws have high-watt motors that draw a lot of amps, means that you can’t use a very long extension cord. Although the top brands manufacture very durable electric motors, even these have a limited lifespan. Unlike gas engines that can be repaired for years (probably decades), an electric motor can’t. They have an expiry date, at which time it becomes economically unviable to repair.
By using a battery, these electric chainsaws eliminate the disadvantages of the electric cord. You are, however, limited by the charge in the battery. Fortunately, lithium ion batteries have good standby times and aren’t as heavy as the older rechargeable batteries. By using several batteries, you can work for as long as you wish. The brushless DC motors used in modern battery-powered chainsaws require no maintenance whatsoever. They are also highly efficient, giving cordless chainsaws the lowest running costs.
40V Battery-Powered Chainsaw | Toro PowerPlex 51880T
The only real downside to battery-powered chainsaws is their price. A cordless electric chainsaw is going to cost more than other type of the same size. If you intend to work for long periods of time, you will need several additional batteries and this is going to push your cost up even further. Some of your initial purchase price is going to be offset by the very low operating costs, but you can’t get away from the fact you’ll be paying more for the machine and the batteries.
VIDEO | How to Use Your Chainsaw | Safety Tips
When using a chainsaw, safety should rate as your top priority. These are powerful machines and cut through a limb as easily as they do a tree. Here some tips on how to use your chainsaw safely.
- If you’ve never used a chainsaw before, get the correct training from someone with enough experience.
- The correct safety gear is vital. These include safety boots, ear and eye protection, leather gloves, and thick protective clothing. Ear protection is highly recommended as these are noisy machines.
- Regularly inspect your chainsaw for damage or excessive wear. Pay particular attention the condition of the chain and guide bar.
- Always ensure that your chain is correctly tensioned. A slack chain will come loose and be flung back toward you, causing serious harm. If the chain is over-tensioned, it will snap and the result will be as dangerous.
- Make sure the chain is properly lubricated at all times.
- Before starting your chainsaw, engage the chain brake and ensure that the chain is not obstructed in any way.
- Always use full power when cutting and use even force to avoid kickback.
- If the chainsaw jams, engage the chain brake immediately and ensure that the chain is free from obstructions before reengaging.
- Always use a gas chainsaw in a well-ventilated area and never refuel it when the engine is running.
- Make sure that you have a good footing, stand with your feet about 12” apart and always hold the chainsaw with both hands.
- If you’re working above the ground, use a safety harness.
- Never start a gas chainsaw by holding it with one hand. Place the chainsaw on a firm surface, hold it down firmly and use your free hand to pull the recoil starter.
VIDEO | Chainsaw Safety Tips & Advice