The Husqvarna 450 50.2cc Gas Chainsaw has been attracting eager buyers since 2009. With its great handling, powerful engine and excellent cutting performance it’s easy to see why this top selling product has proved so popular.
That’s not to say the 450 doesn’t have some faults. In this review we’ll tell you exactly what’s great and not so great about this member of the Husqvarna family and help you to decide if it is the right chainsaw for you.
Performance and Handling
The 450 incorporates Husqvarna’s Smart Start system, designed to make starting the chainsaw much simpler. This system features an air purge and decompression valve as well as a combined choke/stop control. Husqvarna claims to have reduced the resistance of the pull cord by 40% as well as having a specially optimized fuel pump to keep the fuel lines clear. So does this work? Will you actually save precious minutes getting up and running as the manufacturer claims?
User feedback is very mixed on this point. No saw is perfect and if the 450 has an Achilles heel this might very well be it. Some users aren’t happy with the all in one choke and on/off switch believing it to be overly complicated and would much prefer the traditional set-up of separate switches. Secondly, there is a lot of negative feedback relating to difficulties actually starting.
There is a sequence which must be followed precisely to get the saw up and running. Failure to do this will inevitably lead to frustration. It seems, however, that even when the procedure is followed to the letter the saw is sometimes temperamental and difficult to kick into life. Many reviewers who provided extremely positive reviews of the saw mentioned starting difficulties so there is clearly some validity in these claims. The video below shows how to start a Husqvarna chainsaw.
Although the model in the video is the 455, the start up procedures are very similar. Read the manual and watch the video and you should quickly pick up the correct starting technique.
Let’s now talk about the 450’s handling and performance. For a gas powered saw it is reasonably lightweight and most users will find it both maneuverable and easy to control. It has been ergonomically designed to incorporate anti-vibration dampeners which help to reduce fatigue and enable the user to cut for longer. Front handle vibration is 4.9 m/s2 and rear handle 3.1 m/s2. Anything below 5 m/s2 is considered as low. This saw therefore operates within safe limits although we would always advocate the wearing of anti-vibration gloves.
In terms of performance, this saw definitely packs a punch. Don’t plan on cutting down any large trees – there are more suitable saws for that. However, it’s perfect for light and medium sized cutting. The 18 inch blade will buck logs up to 16 inches in diameter in a single pass. You will be able to fell small and medium sized trees, clear up medium storm damage as well as cutting cords of firewood. Many users have used it on locust, oak and mesquite, which indicates that this saw is comfortable cutting hardwoods.
The manufacturer mentions that there is an ‘auto return stop switch’ making the saw easier to handle when cutting. All this means is that when you stop the saw using the stop/start button it will automatically flick back to the on position in readiness for restarting.
If you were wondering how noisy this saw is, it produces noise levels of 104 dB(A) at the operator’s ear. Long exposure to noise levels above 90dB can lead to permanent ear damage so the wearing of ear defenders is definitely recommended.
The Husqvarna 450 is equipped with an 18 inch guide bar and chain. The chain itself has a 0.325” pitch, 0.05” gauge and 72 drive links.
This chain uses narrow kerf technology, requiring less power to make the same length of cut. It is designated a low kickback chain. The bar itself has a gentle curve and small nose radius which help to reduce kickback and promote good cutting. It has a nose sprocket which needs to be regularly greased with a syringe. The chain speed is around 17 meters per second. To put this into context some of the high end electric saws will average around 12 m/s so the 450 has plenty of cutting speed.
As always the chain needs to be maintained and sharpened using the appropriate tools. This particular chain sharpens with a 3/16” round file.
When it comes to maintaining chain tension, this is done by adjusting a chain tension screw which is positioned on the side of the saw. Note, it does NOT have a chain tensioner wheel like the 450e model. You should check the check tension each time you refuel and more often when it is new. This is a straightforward process, carried out using the combination spanner to loosen the clutch cover bar nut and adjust the tensioning screw.
If you don’t follow the instructions closely here and disengage the chain brake you will have difficulties replacing the cover. This is something a number of users have experienced and they have had to take it to a professional to resolve. This isn’t a great design feature but you can avoid it by following the instructions.
Some users pointed out that the guide bar is only attached by a single nut (as opposed to two on other products). Some concern was expressed that this is insufficient to hold the bar in place but no major issues with this have been reported.
Finally, this saw is versatile enough to accept different size bars, with the recommended lengths being from 13” to 20”. It is certainly powerful enough to cope with a 20” bar.
Design and Construction
Constructed mainly of hard plastic, the 450 is a well built, nicely designed chainsaw. It has a standard plastic rear handle featuring throttle control and lockout switches to prevent accidental starting. On the left hand side of the saw just in front of the handle you will find the fuel tank cap and as you can see from the second diagram the fuel tank has a useful window so that you can easily check your fuel levels. The oil reservoir cap is positioned towards the front of the powerhead unit. Both caps are easily accessible.
Also on the left side of the saw you will find a plastic starter handle as well as the air purge bulb to help make starting easier. The cylinder cover clips are also positioned on this side of the saw and can be snapped open using the multi-purpose, allowing easy access to the engine and filter.
Next to the handle on the back of the powerhead unit is located the combined start and stop/choke switch and on top of the unit there is a felling line to help with straight cutting.
On the right side of the saw, as shown below, you will see the single clutch cover nut and chain tensioning screw, as well as the rear hand guard.
The front hand guard acts as a chain brake and is positioned just in front of the half-wrap handle. On the front of the saw you will also find the muffler, metal bumper spikes for more stable cutting and a chain catcher to help prevent problems in the event the chain derails.
Power to the 450 is provided by a 50.2cc engine, which Husqvarna points out uses a three-piece crankshaft providing it with greater durability so that it can withstand years of use. The engine is part of the company’s X-torque range, designed to provide better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. This should hopefully offer a slightly better operator experience than the old saws which could certainly pump out lots of noxious fumes.
The engine generates a very respectable 3.2hp which is more than powerful enough for homeowner use. The maximum engine speed is 9,000 revs per minute and it idles at 2,700 rpm, which is typical for this type of engine.
A quick release mechanism assists with the easy removal of the air-filter to facilitate cleaning and replacement. Linked to this, the engine incorporates a centrifugal air cleaning system which removes the larger particles of dust before they get to the filter. This helps to keep the engine clean and reduces the number of times the filter needs to be cleaned and replaced.
Moving on to the fuel, you will need to mix a ratio of 50:1 (Gas to oil). The gas needs to be unleaded with a minimum octane level of 87 (although you will get better performance user higher octane levels). When working with continuous high revs a higher octane fuel should definitely be used.
Note here, fuel containing high levels of ethanol can cause damage to the engine. To avoid this you should use only premium low/non ethanol fuels or Husqvarna's pre-mix.
With regard to the oil, 2-stroke engine oil should be used. You should note that when mixing, even a slight error can put the ratio well out and impact on performance. If you are not used to mixing gas and oil you can buy pre-mixed Husqvarna gas and oil mix which is specially formulated for use in their chainsaws.
The fuel tank on this saw has a capacity of 0.95 US pint, which is 15.2 oz. and there is a window to allow you to see the fuel levels. Fuel consumption is 501 g/kh, which means that if you are operating the machine at full capacity you will use around half a gallon of fuel per hour.
Chain Oil System
This saw employs a fixed flow, automatic chain oiling system. This means that oil is released immediately to the chain during operation. As it is fixed flow there is no way of altering the flow of oil to the bar, which can be useful when working in different conditions or cutting different types of wood.
Unlike the automatic oilers on some saws, this one works reasonably well and there have been no complaints from users. One thing you should look out for is that the oiler can get clogged if you are cutting wood in wet conditions but this can easily be removed so shouldn’t cause you too many problems.
The oil reservoir volume is 0.55 US pints and the rate of oil flow is 13 ml per minute. This means that the reservoir, when full, will provide you with around 20 minutes of cutting time. As always, this is just a guide so you should check chain oil levels regularly. Unfortunately, there is no window on the 450’s reservoir so you need to keep an eye on the guide bar to ensure oil is running off.
The manufacturer recommends the use of a good quality bar and chain oil and note it is important to use the correct viscosity oil to match the temperatures in which you are working.
When it comes to operator safety the 450 doesn’t fall short. To help protect user and machine, the safety features include:
- Low kickback chain and reduced kickback guide bar.
- Chain brake. This can be operated manually by pushing the front guard forward with the left hand. In the case of severe kickback, the brake will be operated by inertia.
- Bumper spikes on the front of the saw help to provide stability whilst cutting
- Hand protection is provided from debris and the chain by front and rear hand guards.
- A chain catcher on the bottom of the saw will provide protection should the chain slip off the bar.
- Anti-vibration features reduce the likelihood of getting conditions related to the use of power tools, such as white finger.
These features can’t fully protect the user. Correct handling of the saw and wearing the correct protective clothing will minimize the risks.
The operating weight of this saw is 13lbs. This is considered light for a gas powered saw and should therefore be reasonably comfortable to handle for most people.
In addition to an operator’s manual, an impact resistant scabbard for the bar is included.
A case is not included, but should you wish to purchase one, the Husqvarna 10000017 Powerbox is suitable.
- Excellent power
- Good cutting ability
- Low vibration
- Easy to handle
- Solid construction
- Good features e.g. fuel window
- Starting can be complicated at first.
- Adjustments to the carburetor may be required if not running smoothly
- Requires regular maintenance
There are hundreds of consumer ratings on line for this product with around 80% of them being positive.
Consumers like the 450’s handling, ease of use and its excellent power. They also like the fact that it cuts most woods really well, making it an ideal home use saw.
A fair number of users did find the saw difficult to start. It is possible that users were not following the instructions carefully. It is, however, fair to say that the start-up process is on the complicated side and can take a short while to get used to. Other users mentioned that the saw didn’t operate as well as expected at first and had to take it to a local service center for adjustment.
You should consider buying this saw if:
- You want a powerful gas saw for light/medium work around the home or farm.
- You want a saw which is easy to handle.
- You don’t mind mixing gas and oil
You should not buy this saw if:
- You want a saw which will start every time at the push of a button.
- You don’t want to do a lot of saw maintenance.
- You are looking for a budget saw.
Husqvarna 450 50.2cc Gas Chainsaw Price
In the $300-$400 price bracket this saw isn’t cheap. However, its solid build should ensure that it will be with you for many years. Added to this, given the fact that it is a top branded, American made saw, we believe it is fairly priced.