Are you interested a chainsaw which incorporates some of Husqvarna’s best features into a relatively inexpensive package? If so, the Husqvarna 445 18 inch 45.7cc gas powered chainsaw is well worth checking out. Incorporating the latest technology, this second generation saw is packed with some great features.
Versatile, easy to use and offering great performance this could be the perfect saw for all your cutting requirements. Carry on reading this review to discover more.
Performance and Handling
The 445 delivers all the great performance you would expect from this long established brand. It is one of Husqvarna’s second generation saws designed to carry out light and medium duty work, which makes it ideal for the home and farm owner.
Let’s first take a look at what the saw is capable of doing. If you need to cut cords of firewood on a regular basis, have quite a lot of trees to manage on your property or want something to clear up some light/medium storm damage, the 445 would fit the bill. It can cut through logs with a diameter up to 12 inches without breaking sweat and this is probably where it performs at its best. Having said this, the 445 is capable of dealing with much larger trees, as many people have attested to. Users have confirmed that it has been able to buck logs in excess of 20-22” diameters with a little bit more work. You may, however, find that for regular cutting of trunks in excess of 15 inches the saw is a little under-powered and it’s possible that you will go through more bars and chains than you want to!
Starting gas chainsaws can sometimes be a difficult and frustrating process and is just one of the reasons why many people choose an electric saw. However, thanks to Husqvarna’s Smart Start system, firing up the 445 is relatively hassle free. As well as reducing the resistance in the starter cord by up to 40%, the Smart Start system also features a decompression valve which reduces pressure in the cylinder making starting easier. To cold start you simply need to ensure the brake is on, press the decompression valve, pull out and lift the choke, press the fuel primer bulb around six times and pull the cord until the saw starts up. The choke can then be flicked back into the off position. The manufacturer provides instructions on how to start the saw in both cold and warm conditions and you should follow these carefully. Users have suggested that the saw starts up well even in sub-zero temperatures which is good news if you live in a cold climate.
Handling the saw isn’t going to be an issue for most people, thanks to its lightweight design. Whilst it is heavier than the average electric saw, it fares pretty well compared to other gas powered machines. This should reduce fatigue and enable users to cut for longer.
Another feature of this saw is its reduced vibration. One great thing about Husqvarna saws is that they are designed with plenty of vibration dampeners to reduce vibration on the handles. In the 445, vibration to the front handle is measured at 3.1 m/s2 and to the rear handle at 4.9 m/s2. In terms of power tools a value below 5 m/s can be considered low which means that the recommended time you can use the saw is increased. In this case you should be able to use the saw continuously for two hours in an eight hour period without breaching safety recommendations. Obviously safe use depends on other factors such as body stature and temperature and the use of gloves will provide further protection.
When in use, the 445 generates a noise level of 103 decibels at the operator’s ear. This is typical for a gas powered saw and ear protection is recommended for use where noise levels are over 90 decibels. If you plan on using the saw for an extended period you should therefore invest in some ear defenders.
Overall, user feedback overwhelmingly suggests that this chainsaw is very easy to handle. The saw is ideal for limbing, felling and bucking small/medium sized trees and cutting cords of firewood. Some users also use it for carving which shows its great versatility!
The Husqvarna is equipped with an 18 inch guide bar with a nose sprocket (nose wheel). The chain has 72 drive links, a 0.325” pitch and a 0.05” gauge. The saw runs a slightly narrower chain than some other saws and is what might be termed as a ‘high speed’ chain. At full power the chain speed is 17.3 meters per second which is respectable for a saw of this size.
Different size guide bars can be used on the 445 and the recommended lengths are between 13” and 20” so you can opt for the most suitable depending on your regular cutting requirements. The saw is most suited to the use of 16” or 18” bars. You should note that some ads show this saw to be similar to the Husqvarna 450 which has a two nut attachment for the bar. The 445 on the other hand only has a single nut attachments which might concern some users. This should not be an issue for this saw, which has been designed for homeowner rather than professional use. Providing the chain and bar are properly maintained the single nut system will be fine.
The bar itself has a nose sprocket which must be greased regularly to prevent the wheel seizing or failing to operate properly. This is done by inserting grease from a grease gun into the sprocket hole on the guide bar and this should be done on a regular basis. You can pick up a greasing gun for less than $10.
As will all chainsaws, the chain must be kept properly tensioned at all times. This is done by using the combination tool provided to adjust the chain tensioning screw on the outside of the saw. This is a pretty easy and quick operation which shouldn’t take you more than a few seconds when you have the hang of it. Full instructions are provided in the user manual, however you may find the video below useful. It shows how to fit and tension the chain properly and whilst the Husqvarna model is slightly different, the procedure you need to follow is basically the same.
Finally, to ensure that you get optimum cutting performance as well as staying safe, the chain should be kept sharp at all times. Full instructions are provided in the user manual about this should be done.
Design and Construction
The 445 is made of hard wearing durable plastic. Obviously this is not quite as robust as some of the bigger, metal professional saws but it does help to keep the weight to a minimum and you will have no worries about corrosion. It also has a forged three piece crankshaft for added durability.
The rear handle has a hand guard, throttle trigger and throttle lockout switch positioned on the top. Unlike some saws it doesn’t have a rubberized grip so you may wish to wear gloves for comfort and further protection against vibration. There is a half-wrap style front handle and just in front of this a left-hand guard which also acts as a chain brake.
On the left side of the saw, just in front of the handle, there is a combined start and stop switch. As well as using this to start the saw, it also acts as a ‘kill’ switch to turn it off.
The fuel oil cap is positioned at the rear of the saw just in front of the handle and the oil cap to the front of the half-wrap front handle. Both caps have tethers which keep the caps attached to the saw when filling with chain oil and fuel. The tethers can, however, be removed should you ever wish to drain the saw. Also on the left hand side of the saw unit, you will find the pull cord and an air-purge primer bulb which is used during the starting process.
The clutch cover is positioned on the right side of the saw and can be removed by unscrewing a single bolt with the multi-purpose tool. The chain tensioning screw is positioned on the clutch cover.
The top cover of the power unit can easily be removed. It has three catches which can be snapped open using the multi-purpose tool. This provides quick access to the engine, which is convenient when it comes to replacing the spark plug and cleaning the air filter. The air filter itself is made from felt and can easily be removed by simply snapping open a release bar. On top of the power head unit there is a cutting line which is useful for lining up your cuts when cutting and felling.
On the front of the unit there are some bucking spikes which are an important safety feature in keeping the saw stable during cutting. Also on the front of the power head unit is the muffler to keep noise levels as low as possible and direct fumes away from the user.
Finally, there are a number of oscillation springs on the powerhead unit. These are excellent for dampening the vibration on the handles which in turn helps to prevent user fatigue.
The Husqvarna 445 has a 45.7cc 2 stroke X-Torque engine capable of delivering 2.8hp. The X-Torque engine has been designed to improve fuel consumption and also to meet strict environmental guidelines for emissions. It’s fair to say that the power generated by this saw is more than adequate for the home and farm user.
In operation, the saw has a maximum speed of 9,000 revs per minute (rpm) and an idling speed of 2,700 rpm. The fuel tank capacity is 0.95 US pint, which equates to just over 15 fluid ounces. Fuel consumption is rated at 481 g/kWh. You may be wondering what the heck this means. Using some basic math we can calculate that if operated at full power (that is at 9,000 revs per minute) you would use around 0.41 gallons per hour. This depends on the type of fuel used but this figure will be there or thereabouts. As you can see it is clearly a reasonably cheap saw to run.
With regard to the fuel itself, you should use unleaded fuel with a minimum octane level of 87, although the higher the better in terms of performance. This is especially important if you are running the saw for a while at maximum revs and using 90 octane of above fuel will definitely be of benefit in the long run. The gas should be mixed in a ratio of 50:1 with a good quality two stroke engine oil. Oil designed for four stroke engines or water cooled engines should NOT be added and Husqvarna recommends that their own specially formulated oil should be used. So, for every 10 liters of unleaded gas, 0.2 liters of two stroke oil should be added. One handy feature is that there is a window on the fuel tank which makes it easy to check the fuel level in your saw which takes away the need to remove the cap and guess!
If you want to get the most from your saw you need to ensure that it is properly maintained at all times. The 445 has some features which help in this regard, such as the air injection system which removes the larger dust particles before they reach the air filter. This will cut down on how often you need to clean the filter but remember that this is a task you will still need to carry out from time to time. Thanks to the snap-lock cylinder cover and screw less design this is very easy.
All in all this is a powerful, well designed engine.
Chain Oil System
When it comes to oiling the chain, the 445 has an automatic oil release system. This means that you don’t have worry about doing this manually. Unfortunately it is a fixed flow system so there is no way you can adjust the flow of oil which is particularly useful when adapting to different cutting conditions.
There is no window to check the level of chain oil in the reservoir. However, the 445’s system should ensure that, provided you use the recommended fuel and oil types, the oil and gas will run out before the chain oil. Husqvarna recommend use of their own premium chain oil, a quart of which can be purchased for just over $10. Even with this system, it is recommended that the oil reservoir is checked and topped up regularly.
The reservoir itself has a capacity of 8.8 fluid ounces. Husqvarna’s technical specifications state that the pump capacity is 13ml per minute so based on this the oil should provide around 20 minutes cutting time. This will obviously depend on the intensity of your cutting.
User feedback doesn’t highlight any issues with the oiling mechanism itself, although there are quite a few reviewers who advise that it does have a tendency to leak oil when not in use. Some leakage is inevitable with most chainsaws, however as this is a pump system rather than gravity fed there should not be oil spillage to the levels highlighted by some users. The manufacturer suggests that if problems are encountered with leaking oil, you should, after use, allow the saw to cool down then unscrew the oil cap to relieve any pressure build up in the tank. This will ensure that oil is not forced out by the pressure through the feed line.
Either way, it is a good precaution to find somewhere suitable to store the chainsaw in a place where oil spillage won’t be too disastrous.
You should note that oil is not supplied with the saw so this will need to be purchased separately.
The 445 incorporates a raft of safety features to keep both user and machine safe from harm. These include:
• There is a chain brake which can be activated manually with the left hand by pushing the front hand guard forward. It can also be activated automatically by inertia by an inertia release mechanism. This will be triggered in the event of a serious and violent kickback. You should note that the inertia mechanism will not always be activated in the event of kickback as it depends on the severity.
• Throttle Lock-out switch. This must be activated before the throttle trigger can be used, thereby preventing accidental start up.
• A chain catcher situated on the bottom of the saw will help to catch the chain if it snaps or jumps off providing protection to the hands.
• Hand guards. Front and rear hand guards help protect the hands and stop twigs and foliage interfering with grip. In addition, the right hand guard provides further protection against problems with the chain.
• Anti-vibration protection. The 445 is designed with dampening springs which help to keep much of the vibration isolated in the power head as opposed to transferring it to the handles.
• Kill switch. The on/off button can be pushed down to cut the power immediately.
As always these safety features help to reduce but not eliminate risk entirely. The only way to ensure you stay safe is to use the chainsaw in the correct manner.
Without the cutting equipment and fuel this saw weighs 10.8lbs. With the bar and chain added, the weight is in the region of 13.5lbs. This is relatively light for a home use gas powered saw and compares well with other products, such as the Poulan Pro AV5020 which weighs in the region of 16lbs.
The 445 comes with a user manual and guide bar scabbard.
It doesn’t come with a carry case although you can pick up a heavy duty Husqvarna canvas case for around $30.
• Plenty of great features
• Light and easy to handle for a gas saw
• Low vibration
• Simple chain tightening system
• Good performance and quality cut
• Solid construction
• Good fuel consumption
• Requires a great deal of maintenance
• User manual could be clearer
Consumer Ratings for the Husqvarna 455 Gas Chainsaw
There are hundreds of on-line reviews of this product and the vast majority are positive. The Husqvarna definitely gets a thumbs up from buyers.
Positive reviews center on excellent performance, ease of handling, low vibration and the range of excellent features.
Negative reviews mention the poor user manual and some issues starting the saw. That said, the majority of users didn’t have issues starting the saw so in some cases it may be that the correct start up procedure was not followed.
You should buy this saw if:
• You want an easy to handle, maneuverable gas saw.
• You require a saw to carry out light and medium duty tasks.
• You want a reliable saw which delivers excellent performance.
You should not buy this chainsaw if:
• You want a saw on which you don’t have to carry out a lot of maintenance.
• You need a saw capable of carrying out regular heavy duty assignments.
• You don’t wish to go to the trouble of mixing gas and oil.
• You are looking for a low cost chainsaw.
Husqvarna 445 Gas Chainsaw Price
This chainsaw falls in the $300-$400 price bracket. This is not cheap and if you only require something for very occasional use around the yard may not be worth the investment. However, if you need a reliable home saw for regular use this is definitely an option worth considering and we consider the price to be fair for this top brand product.