Best Chainsaw 2020 • 7 Chainsaws Reviews
A portable, powered saw, chainsaws are so-called because of the rotating cutting chain that they use to cut through materials. Our review of chainsaw reviews follows.
Chainsaw Leaderboard 2020
What Is a Chainsaw?
They are also used in a creative way with some people fashioning ice and wood sculptures from them. Such saws come in a variety of sizes and power ratings, powered by either electric or petrol-driven motors.
How Does a Chainsaw Work?
The engine of a chainsaw drives a chain which has teeth cut into it around its perimeter. Unlike other rotating saws – such as circular saws, for example – the chain that a chainsaw uses is flexible which means that it can be run around a supporting blade that is elongated. In effect, this means that the rotational power of a chainsaw creates a long cutting edge which means it can be operated like a motorised knife. The operator can alter the speed of most chainsaws which is best for conducting fine work as well as preventing pinching when the saw is being used to fell trees or to pollard branches.
Advantages and Applications of Chainsaws?
Because chainsaws have a unique design, they are often best for working with live or recently cut timber which has not dried out completely yet. As such, they are the mainstay of the modern forestry sector, used to maintain and to fell trees all over the world. Their speed of operation also means that they have a role in firefighting. They are sometimes deployed by firefighters to cut emergency firebreaks in a wooded area, for example.
Although they are considered to be highly powerful tools, modern chainsaws are sometimes used to create art and they can make very delicate cuts when used by a skilled operator. In addition to wood, chainsaws are often favoured for cutting into ice. Since they have a cutting edge that wraps all the way around a blade, they can be plunged into ice, to form holes in sheet ice, for example, to fish through. In some cases, these saws are also used in the construction industry to cut through stone, brickwork and even concrete in some cases.
What Types of Chainsaw Are There?
As mentioned, there are two main types of chainsaw, those which are powered by an internal combustion engine and those which are powered by electric motors. Other than the size of the blade and the power of the motor, most of the main differences between chainsaws are best reviewed according to the various saw chain designs.
Low-profile chain teeth are often used on consumer saws and these are the best type to go for if you are not experienced with this sort of tool as they offer the lowest potential for kick backs. Full chisel saw chains are used in professional settings and are particularly effective with softwoods.
Semi-chisel saw chains are usually fitted to chainsaws which are for general purpose use. They are best in situations where you need to cut through knotty wood and things like tree stumps. Chipper chains tend to be used where other chainsaws might be overloaded. Their teeth throw cut away segments of material alternately to the left and the right as each tooth engages with its cut. They can put up with very tough materials and are best at cutting into stone as well as hardwoods.
The Big Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide
Even though chainsaws are usually reliable power tools which have plenty of safety features to keep their operators – and people around them – safeguarded, they must be reviewed before they are used every time. Even a quick visual review, rather than a thorough technical evaluation, could save you from injury by spotting something that is out of place or not quite right.
The problem of running slowly
In certain circumstances, you may find that your chainsaw gets going but that it does not run at its best. If so, your engine may need a tune up or, if it is an electric version, your power source may not be quite right. Small adjustments to petrol-driven engines are often all that is needed to get them running at their best operational speeds. Unless you are a mechanic who is used to working with carburettors, it is best to seek out professional help to do this.
Power dropping out
Another issue that some chainsaw owners experience from time to time is when their tool fires up properly but starts dropping out and then coming on again. If you notice this potential flaw in a petrol-driven version, then it may be that there is a blockage in the fuel pipe from the tank that needs to be cleaned out. You can usually determine this is the case if the saw cuts out when it is tipped to a certain angle. For electrically powered chainsaws, power drop outs may occur because there happens to be a loose connection. It is best to unplug your chainsaw before carefully reviewing all of the power cable for nicks and worn sections. Don’t touch any you notice to be on the safe side.
Because the majority of powered saws require lubricants to keep their chain revolving at high speeds, they tend to have a self-oiling system. Any chainsaw product test you conduct over a test run or two should show you that this system is working properly. However, wood shavings can work their way into the oil reservoir so inspect this to make sure the product you are sampling does not trap them excessively.
Saw chain tensioning
By doing so during your examination, you will be able to study how the mechanism works. Simply put, some tensioning systems are easier to operate than others and the best ones are intuitive. If you find that getting the chain under the correct level of tension is tricky when the product is brand new, it is likely that your analysis won’t get any better as the saw ages. True, you can replace the tensioning system on many of the big manufacturer’s chainsaw products. However, it is best to avoid this extra cost in the first place by choosing one that you have experimented with yourself and feel at home with.
If you are carrying out an inspection of a chainsaw and test it on a piece of wood but it fails to cut properly, then it is likely that the teeth on the saw chain are not sharp enough. This tends to happen when full chisel saw chains, for example, have been used to cut hard materials like paving slabs. You can replace the saw chain if you like, but it is often best simply to sharpen up the blunt teeth of the chain after a review of each one. Try to avoid sawing through wood which has nails and other bits of sharp metal in it to avoid dulling the cutting edge of your saw chain.
Finally, one of the most important features to compare in any test run of a chainsaw is the chain brake. Indeed, it is best to check this works properly even if you have bought a model that you know and trust. Essentially, the chain brake disengages the forward propulsion of the chainsaw’s motor when the blade starts to come into contact with material that is gripping it. By automatically kicking in within a few milliseconds, it helps to prevent the potential injuries that might occur from a kick back. Without it functioning properly, a pinched saw blade could throw the operator off his or her feet.
Results and Experiences of Consumer Tests
Numerous consumer tests and product comparisons are made of chainsaws in any given year. Often those tested are put into different categories so you can tell which ones come out on top in the budget market while others are tested for reliability in professional settings.
Among the many studies that have been made of this type of power tool, reviews have tended to pick out certain models for certain applications. For example, Which? conducted a review on Bosch’s UniversalChain 18 which noted that it was the best product to have ever been reviewed for its size – this product has a cutting length of just 13.5 centimetres.
There again, the same well-known reviewing company picked out Lidl’s Florabest saw as a top-quality product, given its relatively low price tag for general consumers who want a petrol-driven model. When trying out these various saws, the reviewers decided to try out a range of product types and to cut through several different materials to get a feel for each, sound advice if you will be trying before you buy.
When you review the various different consumer tests that are available to read, it is best to check more than one so that you gain a more rounded picture. In recent test runs by SawingPros, for instance, several different review sites have named Husqvarna’s 460 24-inch chainsaw as one of the best. This product only has one real drawback that any reviewers mention, which is its considerable weight.
However, it has not automatic lubrication system which may put you off. Finally, if quiet operation is important to you, then trial the Black and Decker LCS1240B for yourself. This battery-powered model is one of the lightest chainsaws on the market, too.
There are plenty of different power tool brands to choose between. When it comes to chainsaws, some of the biggest global toolmaking companies avoid the market.
- Black and Decker
The development of the chainsaws over time
According to most accounts, the chainsaw was invented in 1830 in Germany. The very first one was not much like the modern chainsaw we know today because it was originally designed as a tool to cut into bones. Various other surgical chainsaws were developed by doctors over the course of the next hundred years or so. However, at the start of the twentieth century, engineers tried to upscale these designs in order to apply them to forestry and industry.
A patent was issued in 1905 for an endless chain saw which was designed to cut down trees but this was still not a truly portable item. However, by 1918, a Canadian called James Shand had started to produce modern chainsaws that we might recognise today. After a decade or so, his ideas were being developed by a German firm called Festo. At this time, another German engineer named Andreas Stihl started to make an impact in chainsaw development. The company he founded is still a big player in chainsaw production to this day. In the war years, German chainsaws could no longer be imported to North America. At this time, US manufacturers started to make them. Asian manufacturers began to enter the global market in the 1970s and 1980s.
Facts about chainsaws
Chainsaws are professional tools that require people working with them to be trained if they are employed in forestry. The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations in the UK cover the use of chainsaws. People who have received training on their use will need to undergo a review every few years even if they are highly skilled. However, DIY chainsaw use is still possible even if you have not passed any chainsaw training courses. In Finland, winter swimmers will often take to the countryside with a chainsaw. They use them to cut a hole in the ice of frozen lakes so they can get into them. Because petrol-driven chainsaws have two-stroke engines, they require lots of lubricants.
Is making a chainsaw yourself viable?
Basically, even if it were at all practical to make your own chainsaw it would be best to avoid such a project. Given the potential danger levels of even very well made chainsaws, a home made one could be lethal. Even if you could adapt a motor to turn a saw chain, making one sharp enough to be any good would involve so much work that it would not be cost effective.
Safety instructions when dealing with chainsaws
Review and test your chainsaw before you begin to cut with it. If there are any problems then it is best to spot them at the review stage than when you are fully committed to a cut. Ensure you have the right personal protective equipment available before you begin. With chainsaws, this means protective trousers or chaps plus a jacket. Many sawing injuries lacerate the legs of the operative because he or she slips and the rotating blade falls onto their limbs. Protective clothing does not prevent this but it can lessen the impact of injuries. In addition, you should wear work boots with steel toecaps to prevent foot injuries from both your chainsaw and the material you are cutting. It is best to wear a hard hat, safety goggles and workmen’s gloves, as well. It is also best to take safety measures to protect your ears. If you don’t have ear defenders, then put plugs into your ears instead. Never work with a saw off the ground – for instance, after having climbed up a tree to reach a particular bough you want to cut – unless you have had the necessary safety training and are working with at least one other person. Doing so can lead to serious injuries and even fatality.
How to set up a chainsaw correctly in seven steps
10 tips for the care and maintenance of chainsaws
Useful accessories for chainsaws
Chainsaw sharpeners are one of the best accessories to purchase if you want to keep your saw chain in good working order. These work once you have removed the saw chain and help to automate the process of sharpening each tooth. Another one of the accessory ranges you should review is the relevant chainsaw bars. These are best considered as consumable items when it comes to motorised saws, so you ought to have a couple available to use if you will be using your chainsaw regularly. Most battery powered chainsaws utilise lithium ion batteries these days.
If you will be using your chainsaw all day, then a second battery pack can certainly be worth it so you can charge one up while using the other one. In addition, you may want to purchase other woodworking tools, such as felling axes, rope and tackle, if you will be using your chainsaw to cut and pollard trees.
As well as the accessories for the chainsaw itself, it is best to purchase high-quality safety equipment regardless of how often you will use your tool. Ear defenders, safety goggles, gloves and a hard hat are all essential items. You should also consider protective trousers which will protect your body from the waist down. Chainsaw jackets are also available to protect your upper body with mesh if you were to slip whilst using your tool.
Alternatives to chainsaws
There are plenty of other ways to cut wood, stone and concrete if you don’t have a chainsaw. Although a chainsaw is best in certain situations, you can usually do just as well with a handsaw even if the job will take longer to complete. People who use chainsaws to cut sections of concrete to size will often find that a circular saw is just as good, especially if they can use it on a flat surface. When cutting up lumber or taking branches out of a tree, another possible alternative that you might want to review is a so-called jaw saw. This tool uses a powerful hydraulic cylinder to chop branches between two metal jaws.
Are chainsaw gloves necessary?
Yes. Although you can operate one with your bare hands, gloves provide some degree of protection against accidents. They are also best worn if you wish to avoid exposure to excessive vibrations.
Which chainsaw is best?
There is no single measure by which you can judge one product as the best. It comes down to the job that it will do, how the operator chooses to use it and personal preference.
Which chainsaw chain do I need?
You need to purchase a saw chain that is the correct size for your product’s bar. After that, it simply comes down to the tooth configuration for each saw chain. Some are designed for general usage while others perform specific roles best.
Are chainsaw chaps worth it?
The products go over your normal trousers to help protect your thighs and shins. If you don’t have proper chainsaw trousers, then it is best to wear them.
Can chainsaws cut through metal?
Can chainsaw oil go bad?
If the level of viscosity alters in your saw’s oil, then it won’t work at its best. Contaminated oil should be replaced for a new two-stroke lubricant.
Can you chainsaw through wet wood?
Although it is best to take extra care when cutting anything slippery, there is nothing to stop you cutting through wet wood with these tools.
When does a chainsaw kickback occur?
This tends to happen when insufficient tension is holding the saw chain in place. When a branch pinches back on the tool, it can grab the saw chain causing a kickback to happen.
Why will a chainsaw not start?
The most common reasons for a petrol-driven saw to fail is that it has no fuel, that the starter cord is jamming or that the fuel in the tank needs to be thinned as it has got too sticky. Electrically powered ones should be reviewed to make sure they are plugged in or that their batteries are properly charged up.
How are chainsaw chains measured?
Nearly all saw chains that you can find on the market are a little oversized so that they can fit onto the saw and then be tensioned. All of them have a length that relates to length of the blade, or bar, given in centimetre, inches or, more frequently, both.