Whilst carrying out research and writing reviews of numerous chainsaws, one question which crops up all the time goes along the lines of: is this chainsaw suitable for women? So, just what is the best chainsaw for a woman?
This is obviously not a simple question to answer as different individuals have different capabilities. Some girls have grown up using chainsaws and are expert users capable of handling some of the most demanding machines. They are comfortable operating gas powered saws and not worried about all the issues which come with them – mixing gas
and oil, pull starting and all that maintenance! Many of them are quite capable of going toe to toe with the guys when it comes to operating a saw.
However, it’s fair to say that the majority of women are pretty wary when it comes to picking up a chainsaw and this article is aimed at them. When considering many of the comments left by users whilst reviewing different models, the main themes which tend to crop up for female users are ease of use, machine weight and safety. So, when coming up with my Top 3 recommendations I considered the following:
Ease of Use
This is clearly important and covers aspects such as:
- How easy is it to start and stop the machine? Gas saws can be quite temperamental, whereas these days electric saws have push button, instant start systems which get you up and running in no time. Stopping the saw is just a case of releasing the throttle trigger.
- Is it easy to manoeuvre? Depending on the tasks being carried out, some saws are more difficult to handle than others. Models with shorter bars tend to be easier to control than those with longer bars, especially in tight cutting situations.
- What is the saw’s design? Most saws have rear handles, as well as either a half wrap of full wrap front handle. Top handle saws are available but these require a slightly higher level of skill to use and I have therefore discounted them from my list.
- Does the saw have any particular features which makes it easier and more convenient to operate? This includes things like tool-less chain tensioning and automatic oiling systems.
This subject is high on most people’s list of priorities. Modern saws have a range of safety features, some more than others. When looking at suitable products I considered things like:
- Low kickback chains and reduced kickback bars. These days, most if not all electric chainsaws have chains which meet the low kickback standards of ANSI B.175.1. If you’re not sure what it is, kickback tends to occur when the bar and chain are thrown unexpectedly and violently back towards the operator and is usually caused by incorrect contact with the wood. Whilst not eradicating kickback entirely, they do reduce the likelihood and severity.
- Front and rear hand guards. These will help protect the hands from debris as well as from coming into contact with the chain.
- Chain catcher. This is a small hook designed to catch the chain should it slip from the bar, ensuring it does not come into contact with the operator’s hand.
- Chain brake. This often doubles as the front hand guard. It is activated when the left hand pushes against it, often as a result of severe kickback.
- Safe start systems. This usually involves activating a lockout switch before the throttle trigger can be depressed, preventing accident start up.
- Bucking spikes, also referred to as bumper or dog spikes. These are large metal teeth on the front of the powerhead unit which provide stability and safer cutting.
As well as the above, the following were also considered when coming up with my Top 3 selection.
- Performance – How well does it cut?
- Reliability – Are there any issues surrounding this?
- Build quality – Have any construction and design problems been reported.
- Consumer ratings – How well does it rate and what is customer feedback like.
In light of the above criteria, it was decided to rule out gas chainsaws. The following list is in no particular order. I have chosen 3 very different products based on different cutting requirements. If you are interested in learning more about a particular saw, just click on the heading and you will be taken straight over to the review.
3 Great Chainsaws
Black+Decker LP1000 Alligator
This is a lopper style chainsaw which cuts in a slightly different way to a traditional chainsaw. Instead of cutting from the top or bottom of a branch, the lopper cuts sideways using a scissor motion as shown in the video below.
It is ideal for pruning, as well as cutting branches and small logs with a diameter up to around 4 inches. Weighing just 6.5lbs, it is one of the lightest saws you will find and the patented jaws which protected the user from coming into contact with the chain make this product super safe.
What we like about the Alligator
• Very light
• Easy to operate and perfect for the inexperienced user
• Extremely safe
• Has automatic oiling system
• Costs less than $70
• Thousands of online reviews – 93% of which rate the saw as either excellent or good.
For very light cutting and pruning jobs, it is difficult to find a better product than this lopper.
Our second choice is again a light duty chainsaw but with a little more power than the Alligator. It is the Black and Decker LCS1240. This is a cordless, battery operated saw designed for pruning and cutting logs up to 10 inches in diameter.
It has a 12 inch bar and weighs in at 8.4lbs, making it one of the lightest battery powered saws available. Furthermore, user feedback suggests that it is a particularly popular saw with women and the elderly.
What we like about the LCS1240
• Instant start and easy to operate
• One of the lightest portable saws available
• Tool-less chain tensioning
• Automatic lubrication system
• Powerful 40V 2 Amp Hour Battery
• Based on hundreds of online ratings, has a 90% approval rating
For our final choice, we have something a little more adventurous. The Worx is a step up from the other two models reviewed in that it is capable of more demanding cutting tasks. With a 14.5 Amp motor and 16 inch blade, this saw is capable of cutting through 14 inch diameter wood in a single pass. This makes it ideal for clearing minor storm damage as well as cutting firewood and felling small and medium sized trees.
Weighing 11 lbs, it is heavier than the other two saws on the list. However, if you are looking for a medium duty saw, this is about as light as it gets.
What we like about the WG303.1
• Capable of dealing with most homeowner jobs
• Powerful 14.5 Amp motor
• Patented auto-chain tension system
• Automatic oiling system
• There are over a thousand reviews on line and 85% of buyers rate the product as either excellent or good.
The WG303.1 is one of the most popular home use chainsaws currently on the market. It has been on sale for many years and its consistently high consumer ratings, together with the fact that you can get it for slightly over $100, make this one product which should be on your list.
So there you have it. Three very different products, any of which would provide an excellent beginners’ chainsaw. The article is called ‘best chainsaw for a woman’, although in reality these would make great buys for the elderly or other people wishing to invest in their first saw.