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A recurring theme here at A&A is our love for manual tools. We love anything that require you to put in a little elbow grease to use properly. It must be the primal nature of it that makes it all so appealing.
But, there's a time and place for manual tools, and there's a time and place for when using technological advancements like the combustion engine makes the most sense. When you need to cut down a lot of trees on a short amount a time, and axe might not do it. You'll probably go the chainsaw route.
However, just like all the tools we cover here, choosing a chainsaw that's best for you requires a bit of legwork. We've tried to do most of that legwork for you below.
What to Look for in a Quality Chainsaw
There is no shortage of chainsaws on the market, so knowing how to find a quality one is very important. A good one is going to meet a few criteria: suitable for the job(s), fits your budget, reliable, and safe.
If it doesn't meet all four of those, then you might want to keep looking.
Aside from that, you also need to consider there are actually different types of chainsaws. By deciding what type you want early on, you greatly narrow down your options.
The four major types are:
- 1Gas Powered
- 2Corded Electric
- 3Battery Powered
The most common type is gas-powered. This is the type of chainsaw you can hear the neighbor using down the street. They are noisy, but they are powerful. A gas-powered chainsaw is going to be able to handle most tasks you throw at it.
The corded electric versions are exactly what they sound like. They require an electrical outlet for power. They aren't as powerful as gas powered options and are far less mobile, but for small tasks they are fine. They tend to be less noisy and less expensive than gas models too.
Battery powered models are similar to corder ons except they are much more mobile as you wont be anchored anywhere. You of course need to mind how much work you can get out of a battery, and you might need to buy and carry extras to get a full day's work in.
Lastly, there are still manual chainsaws. They are rare and unless you're camping or hiking, they aren't incredibly common.
Reviews of Our Top Picks
There are so many options to choose. Take a look below to see what we feel are going to give you the best results. We picked two from each major type.
Looking for a gas-powered chainsaw? Here are two top options.
About the 455 Rancher
The 455 is a 2-stroke gas-powered monster. It's bar is a little smaller than many professional super high-end models measuring in at 20 inches instead of 24. But, you can swap it out for a 24 inch bar if you really want.
Pros & Cons
About the TCS33EDTP
This model has a 12 inch bar, but there is a 14 inch bar model as well if you need something thats a little bit bigger.
Pros & Cons
There are plenty of electric chainsaw options but these two stand out above many of the lesser choices.
About the UC4051A
It's just extremely easy to maintain as chain adjustments can be done without and special tool and you can easily check the oil level due to a transparent window on the revision.
And, as already stated, it can handle most home jobs since the 16 inch bar gives you plenty of chain and the 2900 FPM of cutting gets work done quickly.
About the WG304.1
It's very easy to use and maintain. The 200 ml oil reservoir has a transparent window so you can easily check the level whenever you want. And, it's safe coming with a kickback bar and chain brake.
There aren't many bells or whistles, but it has everything you really need.
Battery powered chainsaws give your the portability of gas models with the environmental benefits of electric models. Here are two very solid options that won't disappoint.
About the DCCS620B
This little monster is on the smaller size, with a 12 inch bar. It uses a 20V battery so you get the best of both mobility that corded options don't give you and being environmentally friendly that gas options don't give you.
About the LCS1240
Like the DeWALT model above, this one has a 12 inch bar. However, it uses a 40V battery that you can swap around with other Black+Decker battery powered tools. You can purchase the LCS1240 with or without a battery.
These two choices are for those of you looking for more of an emergency tool for survivalism or long distance hiking.
About the LIVWILD Kit
There's not much to go on about as far as the inner workings as this is not a machine. However, you do get a well designed product. You get chain with 26 inches of cutting teeth. It also has a convenient carrying pouch.
But, you get some more survival tools too. You also get a Mylar emergency blanket and a small wilderness survival guide book.
About the S.I. Emergency Saw Kit
Many people feel short chains make cutting more difficult, so this model has a much longer 36 inch chain, and that does not include the handles. So, you get a full 36 inches.
This is a kit though so aside from the saw you also get nylon carrying pouch and an 8mm magnesium fire starter.
In the world of chainsaws, there are plenty of quality options for no matter what your personal preferences are. If you want pure power, you can go with a gas-powered model. Or, if you like to go with electric, there are both corded and battery pack powered models. You even hand manual hand chains for those of you needing something lightweight.
The most important factor you'll always want to keep in mind when choosing any saw including the best of best featured above is that it must be the right tool for the job you are planning to use it for.
Happy cutting, and if you're looking for some help with all of the logs you're about to make, check out these top splitters.