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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.

I am both a freelance writer and an avid technology enthusiast. I write about a wide variety of topics for both business and pleasure, but always with the reader in mind.

Pieter Marneweck
Expertise: Technology, Travelling and Finances
More about the author

Chainsaw Leaderboard  2020

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I am both a freelance writer and an avid technology enthusiast. I write about a wide variety of topics for both business and pleasure, but always with the reader in mind.

Pieter Marneweck
Expertise: Technology, Travelling and Finances
More about the author

What Is a Chainsaw?

A chainsaw is a tool that is widely used in forestry to fell trees, to prune bushes, to pollard shrubs and to cut firebreaks.

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?

The Best Chainsaws in review and comparisonBecause 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?

Types of the Best Chainsaws in review and comaprisonAs 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.

Typically, they will not start if there is a fault. If that is the case with yours, then it is best not to assume that the failure to fire up is the fault itself – it may well be that a safety mechanism has kicked in instead. If so, it is best to proceed with caution!

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

The Best Chainsaws Buyer's Guide in review and comparisonAnother 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.

Self-oiling systems

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

Another problem that you can notice with a new chainsaw, or one that you are putting through a practical test for comparison before buying a model, is related to the saw chain itself. When you review any such saw, be sure to adjust the chain’s tension. Even if the chain is properly tensioned without any slack, it is best to loosen it off and then adjust back to the correct tension.

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.

Teeth sharpening

Problems of the Best Chainsaws in review and comparisonIf 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.

Chain brakes

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.


The Best Chainsaws in Consumer ReviewsAmong 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.

If you can put up with that, then the easy starting system, the ability to cut through tough materials and good safety rating could well mean it is the saw for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for great value for money, then the WORX WG304.1 – which is less than a third of the weight of the aforementioned Husqvarna – certainly packs a punch.

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.

  • Stihl
  • Hyundai
  • Black and Decker
  • Makita
  • Husqvarna
  • Bosch
  • Timberpro
  • Ryobi
  • Hecht
  • Mountfield
Founded in 1926, Stihl is one of the best known chainsaw brands of all. The company also makes other powered tools, such as trimmers, leaf blower and motorised edgers. Stihl’s chainsaws are available in various sizes and with differing power ratings so there are plenty of options to review. The German company makes products with a distinctive orange and black design. Key features to look out for with their range includes automatic lubrication, anti-vibration systems and chain brakes which operate under inertia. Stihl employs in the region of 15,000 across the globe.
A South Korean manufacturer, Hyundai was formed in 1947. Although it is most famous for making cars, the manufacturing business also makes smaller engines that it puts into products like chainsaws and other power tools. Nearly all of Hyundai’s power tools are, therefore, petrol-driven. Most of the current range of Hyundai chainsaws are aimed at the general use market rather than professionals in the forestry sector. The saw chains it uses are among the easiest to remove and replace. Some, but not all, of the range of saws made by Hyundai are equipped with an easy-start system. This is best to consider if you find pulling on a start cord tiresome.
Black and Decker is an American manufacturer of all sorts of power tools and workbenches which are aimed at DIY enthusiasts as well as professionals. In addition to its small, handheld powered saws, the best chainsaws made by Black and Decker come with long-life batteries that provide several hours worth of continuous usage. A typical battery-powered Black and Decker chainsaw will have a 30-centimetre blade and a battery which can hold its charge, if unused, for over a year. Corded products it makes include 2000-Watt chainsaws and pollarding tools called pole saws, which are effectively chainsaws in all but name.
A Japanese company that makes power tools that are sold around the entire world, Makita makes a large number of different chainsaws. All of its products have a light blue livery which makes them stand out from lots of others on the market. Makita specialises in electrically driven chainsaws. You can review its range for both battery-powered and corded versions, depending on your preference. Each of its products has been designed with an ergonomic handle that offers a soft gripping surface. They tend to be favoured by people looking for a lightweight product but it is worth checking the exact weight of a particular product before purchasing it because some are heavier than others.
With a bright orange and grey design, Husqvarna‘s power tools are often regarded as the professional’s choice. Although you can find saws which are good for garden maintenance and general jobs, many of them are heavy duty and designed for day-to-day usage. High torque petrol-driven engines provide adequate power for the tricky initial cuts that are needed for felling trees and dealing with sticky sap. The Swedish maker also has a number of products that are worth reviewing if you want to cut masonry and concrete. It also makes plenty of other cutting tools which are used in the construction industry.
Although Bosch makes some relatively lightweight battery-powered chainsaws, it also has a number of more powerful corded ones in its range. The German consumer electricals manufacturer is mostly in the chainsaw market to cater for general users but its products are widely used by professionals, as well. Many of Bosch’s saw use an SDS system which makes tensioning the saw chain as simple as possible. Founded in 1886, Bosch also makes drills, measuring systems, vacuum cleaners and stoves. Most of its chainsaws are supplied with only a small sachet of oil so you will need to purchase more if you intend using the tool immediately.
A logging equipment manufacturer, Timberpro is an American firm that produces general usage chainsaws as well as its professional products. Its range tends to come to the market via professional dealerships only but you can find some of its less powerful tools available on the general market. Each chainsaw it makes comes with a small maintenance tool kit which is useful. The saws in its range are brightly coloured which makes them easy to spot in a densely wooded patch of land. Light pull starters and a measuring jug for mixing the fuel are other key features to look out for within its range.
A company that has earned itself the reputation of one of the best die cast product manufacturers around, Ryobi also makes some very reliable power tools. Among the chainsaw range that the Japanese brand makes, you will find some powerful petrol-driven models. Ryobi also makes its own lubricants for its saw chains, something that you don’t necessarily need to buy but which is best to consider. A typical product you could opt for will offer tool-free chain tensioning and anti-vibration handles. All of Ryobi’s power tools are made with a zesty green and black livery.
Established in the mid-1990s. Hecht is a leading maker of power tools in the Czech Republic. It makes corded, battery-powered and petrol-driven chainsaws so it is best to consider this maker if you want one manufacturer for all of the various power systems available. Many users of chainsaws consider Hecht to be a maker of power tools which sit somewhere between DIY and professional use. However, it has more than enough products in its ranges to really cater adequately for both markets. All of its products have a distinctive red finish. Hecht has subsidiaries in other central European countries including Slovakia and it employs in the region 600 people.
Best known for its extensive range of lawnmowers, Mounfield is a British brand of pruning equipment and chainsaws. It began trading in the 1960s from its factory in Maidenhead but now has its headquarters in Plymouth. The manufacturer produces lithium ion battery-powered saws which are aimed at the general market rather than the forestry industry. All of its saws have a red and black design in keeping with the brand’s visual identity. The company offers warranties for all of its products that begin on the day of purchase whether or not the saw is registered at that time. Look out for Mountfield’s handy quick side tensioning system and its lightweight products.



The development of the chainsaws over time

The Best Modern Chainsaws in review and comparisonAccording 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.

The proximity of a two-stroke engine turning a saw chain at high speed can be very noisy so ear defenders are best if you are operating one. They are frequently measured at 120 Decibels which is louder than a jet taking off a few hundred metres away.

Is making a chainsaw yourself viable?

making Best Chainsaws by yourself in review and comparisonBasically, 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

Step 1

Step 1

Make sure the working environment is safe before you begin operating your saw. A quick review to ensure no one else is close by and that the ground is firm is always worth it.

Step 2

Step 2

Electric chainsaws should only be started once they have been connected to a circuit breaker. If you have a petrol-powered one, then make sure you have enough fuel. Either way, a review of the oil level should be made to ensure you will get a smooth operation when you start up.

Step 3

Step 3

Activate the chain brake before you start. This is usually done by pushing it forwards, away from your body although the mechanism varies from model to model.

Step 4

Step 4

Remember to remove the cover or scabbard that your saw was supplied with. This is there to protect the saw chain and to keep it sharp. It will be ruined if you start your chainsaw with it still on.

Step 5

Step 5

Chainsaws with a decompression valve should have this engaged. Doing so will help your engine to turn over properly.

Step 6

Step 6

Place your chainsaw on a flat surface and put one foot on the handle to ensure it cannot shift around. Now review the blade’s position so that the saw chain is not in contact with anything. Grab the tool’s starter handle – most petrol-driven ones will have one – and pull it firmly up towards you without letting the chainsaw itself to move. Allow it to return to its starting position if the engine does not fire up before trying again.

Step 7

Step 7

Once the chainsaw is up and running, review the motor is working correctly. This is best achieved by briefly adjusting the speed by touching the throttle control. When the motor has gone back to its usual idling speed, you can carefully lift the saw up by its handle and prepare to make your first cut.

10 tips for the care and maintenance of chainsaws

Tip 1

Tip 1

It is best to review your chainsaw’s tension level every time you prepare to use it. Loose chains can work their way free of the guide bar causing injuries. Therefore, the best approach is to tighten it frequently.

Tip 2

Tip 2

Check your guide bar on the underside of your product and review it for any wear and tear. This happens throughout the life of a chainsaw under normal usage and you need to know whether or not it is time to change yours.

Tip 3

Tip 3

Adequate lubrication is one of the best ways to prevent undue wear on your chainsaw. Since the saw chain will revolve at high speeds, it requires frequent oiling to keep it from overheating.

Tip 4

Tip 4

Store your chainsaw with its cover in place. This should be pushed right down over the entire blade to help keep the teeth in good condition.

Tip 5

Tip 5

Review your saw chain’s teeth every few times you use your chainsaw. As the product ages, so its teeth will blunt. Never attempt to sharpen them with the saw chain still hot from cutting.

Tip 6

Tip 6

If you are doing any maintenance work on your saw chain, then make sure the device is not powered up. Rotate the chain by hand and don’t turn your chainsaw on to move it on.

Tip 7

Tip 7

Another key step is to review the motor’s air filter for residue. This builds up over time especially if you have been cutting into soft materials. Ensure proper air flow is possible for the best results.

Tip 8

Tip 8

Confirm that any screws or bolts that your chainsaw has been made with have not worked loose over time. A visual review is all that is needed to make sure none are in danger of falling out due to the vibrations all chainsaws suffer from.

Tip 9

Tip 9

It is best to keep your petrol-driven chainsaw’s tank empty if you are not going to use it for a period of several months.

Tip 10

Tip 10

It is best to avoid using a petrol-driven chainsaw unless you have a supply of high-quality two-stroke oil available. Relying on general purpose motor oil is inadvisable.

Useful accessories for chainsaws

Best Chainsaws accessories using in a review and comparisonChainsaw 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.

However, it is not possible to uses these in every situation that modern forestry demands. When cutting back hedges and shrubs, chainsaws can often be much more powerful than you need. In such circumstances, it is best to opt for a powered hedge trimmer instead, a tool which is much easier to wield.


Are chainsaw gloves necessary?

Questions about Best Chainsaws in a review and comparisonYes. 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?

They often do. Nails and screws in wood can be cut through using a chainsaw. If you want to saw through metal continuously, then it is best to purchase a saw chain designed for the purpose.

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?

All about Best Chainsaws in review and comparisonThis 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.


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