When it comes to chainsaw brands, Husqvarna is definitely one of the big hitters. The company has a proud tradition, dating back to the late 1600s when it opened as a weapons factory! Things have moved on quite a bit since then for this Swedish company.
The late sixties saw the introduction of Husqvarna’s revolutionary integrated anti-vibration system and the company has been innovating ever since, as well as adding other brands like Jonesered and Poulan to its portfolio.
In the late 1800s it started producing sewing machines, kitchen equipment and bicycles so it was nothing if not versatile. The early 1900s saw motorcycles and lawn mowers added to the product range and then finally, in 1959, their expertise in engines enabled Husqvarna to launch a range of chainsaws.
The company’s reputation endures today and they are the first port of call for many chainsaw devotees looking for a top quality, long lasting product.
Homeowner Saw Comparison
In this article we are going to take a look at a selection of popular homeowner chainsaws. This list is by no means exhaustive as the company has a huge range of models for both professional and occasional users.
The table below contains a wealth of information, but you may not be familiar with many of the terms, especially where they relate to Husqvarna specific technology.
|240||435||440e||445||450||455 Rancher||460 Rancher||120i|
|Max Bar Length (Inches)||16||18||18||20||20||20||24||14|
|Engine Size (cc)||38.2||40.9||40.9||45.7||50.2||55.5||60.3||36.5V Battery|
|Weight (Exc. Bar and Chain) in lbs.||10.3||9.2||9.7||10.8||11.2||12.8||12.8||8.6|
|Type of Cutting||Light||Light||Light||Light/Medium||Light/Medium||Medium/Heavy||Medium/Heavy||Light|
|Chain Tensioner||Tool-Front Screw||Tool-Side Mounted||Tool-less||Tool-Side Mounted||Tool-Side Mounted||Tool-Side Mounted||Tool-Side Mounted||Tool-less|
|Snap Lock Cylinder||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||N/A|
|Combined Choke/Stop Controls||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||N/A|
|Ineria Chain Brake||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|3 piece Crankshaft||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||N/A|
|Sound pressure at operator's ear dB(A)||100.7||102||102||103.3||104||104||104||97|
|Front hand vibration (m/s²)||2.1||3.8||3.8||6.1||3.1||3.4||3.5||-|
|Rear hand vibration (m/s²)||2.7||4.2||4.2||5.5||4.9||4.5||4.5||-|
|Fuel Tank Size (US Pint)||0.63||0.78||0.78||0.95||0.95||0.93||0.90||N/A|
|Fuel Consumption (g/kWh)||-||652||510||481||504||470||437||N/A|
|Oil Pump Type||Auto-Fixed Flow||Auto-Fixed Flow||Auto-Fixed Flow||Auto-Fixed Flow||Auto-Fixed Flow||Auto-Adj Flow||Auto-Adj Flow||Auto-Adj Flow|
|Oil Reservoir Size||200||237||250||260||260||322||331||200|
|Max Oil Flow (ml per minute)||8||13||13||13||13||17||17||6.5|
|Min oil flow (ml per minute)||8||13||13||13||13||6||6||3.5|
|Maximum Power Speed (RPM)||9,000||9,000||9,000||9,600||9,000||9,000||9,000||N/A|
|Minimum Power Speed (RPM)||3,000||2,900||2,900||2,700||2,700||2,700||2,700||N/A|
|Chain Speed (meters per sec)||16||17||17||23||17||20||20||11.5|
|Consumer Ratings (Out of 5)||3.7||3.7||4.1||4.6||4.1||4.5||4.5||N/A|
|Number of Reviews||301||370||355||524||474||1,040||574||2|
|Price Range||$100 - $200||$200- $300||$200- $300||$300 - $400||$300 - $400||$400 - $500||$400 - $500||$200 - $300|
Here then is a brief description of all the terms mentioned in the table and an explanation of how this could affect your buying decision.
The table shows the maximum length of bar that the saw can take. Most of these saws will take smaller bars and, in some instances, function better with these fitted. When it comes to bar size, the engine needs to be powerful enough to handle it. If the bar is too large for the engine, the saw will feel under powered and won’t cut well. You can see from the table that three saws can take a bar size up to 20 inches long. Of these, the Rancher 455 is the most powerful and best equipped to handle a 20 inch bar.
Engine/Motor and Horsepower
The size of the engine is displayed in cubic centimeters. The larger the engine, the more power the saw will be capable of generating, as reflected by the horsepower. You should choose a saw which can accommodate the type of cutting you are likely to undertake. If you only intend to use the saw for light cutting, you are unlikely to need a 60cc engine and it would be wise to go for a smaller model, which is also likely to be lighter and easier to handle.
This is provided in pounds. Bear in mind that this relates only to the powerhead unit. You can add between 2-3 lbs. to this to cover the cutting components and remember this is the dry weight. You will also need to add gasoline and oil when using the saw.
Type of Cutting
This describes the type of cutting the model is suitable for. Light cutting, for example in the case of the 240, indicates that the saw is capable of felling small trees, limbing and bucking small logs. This type of saw is ideal for clearing light brush and minor storm damage from around the yard.
At the other end of the spectrum, medium and heavy duty chainsaws are capable of felling medium/large size trees and bucking larger logs. For example, the Rancher 460 with a 24 inch bar, is capable of cutting a log with a diameter of 22 inches in a single pass. This type of saw is ideal for cutting large amounts of firewood and clearing major storm damage. One point to note, although these are pretty powerful saws, they are designed for occasional home owner use. There are other more powerful and versatile saws available for professional users.
There are basically three types of chain tensioning system. A tool-less system usually offers the greatest convenience and consists of a few knobs on the side of the saw. One is used to loosen the bar cover and the other to tighten or slacken the chain. Both the Husqvarna 440e and 120i chainsaws employ this system.
Next, there is the side tensioning system. This involves loosening the bar nuts with a wrench and then using a screwdriver to turn a screw to tighten the chain. It is quite easy to tension the chain using this system and the majority of saws on the list use this.
Finally, some chainsaws have the tensioning screw on the front of the powerhead unit. These screws can sometimes be difficult to get access to, making it tricky to tension the chain. The 240 employs this system.
Snap Lock Cylinder
These snap locks enable the user to release the cylinder cover quickly and easily so that the air filter and spark plug can be accessed. Where the snap locks are not in use, the cover is usually held on by screws and a screwdriver is required. This is a really handy feature if you need to open the cover when you are in the field and don’t have access to the right tools.
This is simply a line on the powerhead unit which enables the user to fell with greater precision.
This is Husqvarna’s registered engine design. It has helped the company to achieve greater fuel efficiency in its saws, as well as reducing emissions to meet environmental regulations.
Combined Choke/Stop Controls
This has been designed to both stop the chainsaw and also to make it easier to start up by preventing the engine from flooding.
We all know that some gas saws can be a real pain to start, especially when warm or after a long period of inactivity. This is the manufacturers system for making it easier to start the chainsaw with the minimum of effort.
Again, this is another feature which should help to make starting easier. Press the air purge button a few times and it will get rid of any air in the carburetor and fuel system.
Inertia Chain Brake
If you’ve ever used a chainsaw you may have been taken by surprise by kickback, which can on occasion be quite violent. Here we have a very important safety feature. In the event of severe kickback, the brake will be activated bringing the chain to an immediate stop.
Sound pressure at operator’s ear
This is basically the noise level experienced by the operator. Continued exposure to noise levels over 85 dB(A) can impair your hearing. Most gas models tend to be quite noisy and you will see from the table that the levels range from 97 to 104 dB(A).
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that noise levels should be controlled under 85 dB(A). For every 3 dB(A) increase above this, they recommend that the exposure time is cut in half. So, for example, if the noise level increase to 100 dB(A), the recommended exposure time would be 15 minutes per day. This illustrates exactly why ear protection should be worn when using power tools.
Front and Rear Hand Vibration Levels
It is a well-established fact that the vibration caused when using power tools can cause hand problems, such as hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) and carpal tunnel syndrome. Anyone who suffers from these conditions knows that they can be both painful and debilitating.
Vibration can be measured in meters per second squared (m/s²). Generally, any level below 5 m/s² is
considered low, between 5 m/s² and 9.9 m/s² as medium and 10 m/s² and above high. The lower the number the more time you can safely use the power tool for at any one time. So, for example, at a level of 5 m/s² you could safely use the saw for around 2 hours in any 8 hour period. At 4 m/s², the permitted time increases to 3 hours. At a level of 6 m/s², the time reduces to 1 hour 30 minutes.
One strength of Husqvarna chainsaws is their LowVib system which is very effective in reducing the levels of vibration experienced by the user. As you can see from the list, all models with the exception of 445, have recorded vibration levels of less than 5 m/s².
On a final note, some sites recommend the use of anti-vibration gloves with the suggestion that you may be able to use the saw for longer periods. I would always advocate wearing gloves when using a chainsaw (for overall hand protection), however there is no evidence to suggest that they are effective when protecting the hands against vibration. Always use your chainsaw in accordance with recommended guidance.
Fuel tank size/consumption
The tank size is self-explanatory and is shown in US pints.
Fuel consumption is measured in grams per kilowatt hour (g/kWh). The lower the number indicates the greater fuel efficiency.
Oil Pump Type
All Husqvarna chainsaws have automatic lubrication systems, which means users do not have to release oil manually to the bar during cutting.
Mostly, they are fixed flow systems, which as the name implies means you cannot alter the rate of flow to match the cutting conditions. Adjustable flow oilers offer more flexibility and the Rancher models score well in this regard.
Oil Reservoir Capacity and Flow Rate
These figures are shown in milliliters and provide an indication of how long a reservoir full of oil should last. So, for example, the 450 has a reservoir capacity of 260 ml and a flow rate of 13 m per minute. You should therefore get around 20 minutes cutting time before reaching for your bottle of bar oil.
Chain speed, which is measured in meters per second here, can be an important factor when it comes to cutting performance, with the higher the speed leading to improved cutting efficiency. Although it doesn’t have the largest engine, the 445 has the fastest speed of 23 m/s. This is partly down to the fact that it runs a lighter, slightly less robust chain than the other saws.
Consumer ratings have been pulled form a number of online sites, including Amazon, Lowes and Husqvarna’s own site. There are hundreds of reviews online for these products and a rating out of 5 has been given for each saw. This has been calculated using a weighted average score based on the number of reviews on each individual site. The total number of reviews included in the calculation has also been included.
The price range of each model has been provided.
Summary of Each Saw
In this section, we will provide a summary of each product, noting the impotant points. If you want to learn more about a particular model, click on the link and head over to the full review.
With a recommended maximum bar length of 16 inches, this saw has been designed to carry out light cutting duties.
It has the smallest engine of all the models and, as you would expect, generates the lowest HP. It is reasonably light but doesn’t possess all the same features as the others. In addition, it also has the least user-friendly tensioning system.
On a positive note it is the quietest of the saws and has the best vibration numbers, which should make it an easy and comfortable saw to handle.
In terms of customer feedback, the 240 returned one of the lowest scores. Some of the feedback was a little unfair, with many buyers having slightly unrealistic expectations. After all, the saw costs less than $200 and many buyers were expecting the same quality and features you would get on a much more expensive model.
With its 40.9cc engine, the 435 is a touch more powerful than the 240, but is another saw best suited to light cutting, such as limbing, clearing light brush, cutting small amounts of firewood and felling small trees.
This saw also has fewer features than other models but with a powerhead weight of 9.2lbs it is the lightest saw on the list. The other number which stands out is fuel consumption, which is the worst on the list.
So, what do customers think? As with the 240, the ratings aren’t the highest of all the models but nevertheless around 70% of people rate it as either excellent or good. Coming in between $200 - $300, this is reasonably cheap but doesn’t offer quite as good value as the 440e (See next).
The 440e is the third light duty cutting saw on the list.
It has the same 40.9cc engine as the 435 but produces slightly more horse power. It weighs slightly more than the saws mentioned above, but has more features, including tool-less chain tensioning.
As far as ratings go, it is evident that buyers like this saw which is reflected in scores which beat the previous two models mentioned. Although in the same price bracket as the 435, it is slightly more expensive, which reflects the additional power and quality.
With its 45.7cc engine capable of producing 2.8 HP, the 445 is suited to light and medium cutting duties. This makes it useful for clearing modest storm damage and for occasional firewood cutting. It can be used to fell small and medium sized trees and, with its 20 inch blade is capable of bucking an 18 inch log in a single pass.
As you would expect, the 445 is slightly heavier and noisier than the light duty models mentioned above.
It has the fastest of all chain speeds but this is reflected in the vibration numbers, which are the highest of all the saws reviewed.
That said, it incorporates all the manufacturer’s latest technology and is the most highly rated saw reviewed.
It is currently priced in the $300 - $400 price range.
This light/medium duty saw is a step up from the 445 in terms of power, though still has the maximum 20 inch bar.
It has a 50.2cc engine capable of delivering 3.2 HP. It is heavier and noisier than the previous saws mentioned, reflecting the size of the engine. It is equipped with all the latest Husqvarna technology and has lower vibration readings than the 445.
In terms of popularity, this saw has reasonably good ratings with an 80% approval rate. It is also currently priced in the $300 - $400 range.
The Rancher series offers some of the most powerful saws on the Homeowner market and are designed for medium/heavy duty cutting.
This makes them suited to cutting firewood, clearing storm damage and bucking medium/large trees. The 455 has a 55.5cc engine capable of delivering an impressive 3.49HP. It has a 20 inch blade and with its power is able to handle the tougher cuts easier than the 445 and 450.
Considering the engine size and power generated by this saw, the vibration levels are low and the fuel
consumption more than reasonable. It also has the advantage of an adjustable flow lubrication system, which is handy when cutting in different conditions.
Consumers also love this saw. There are hundreds of ratings on line producing a weighted average score of 4.5/5.0. It has all the features you would expect from a saw which is priced in the $400 - $500 price bracket. This is definitely one for the serious buyer.
This is similar in most respects to the 455 Rancher in that it is designed to handle similar cutting applications.
The main differences are that it has a 60.3cc engine capable of delivering 3.62HP. This makes it capable of coping with a 24 inch bar for slightly heavier duty cutting. Despite its larger engine, the 460 is also slightly more fuel efficient.
In all other respects the saws are identical. They are similarly priced and the 460 enjoys the same excellent consumer ratings.
This represents a bit of a curve ball in that it is not a gas powered chainsaw.
The 120i is part of Husqvarna’s cordless power tool range and is driven by a 40 volt 4 Amp Hour battery which should give you around 45 minutes cutting time on a single charge. It is ideal for carrying out light cutting duties around the home, such as pruning, felling small trees and cutting small logs.
As you would expect it is the quietest and lightest of all the saws on the list but does have the slowest chain speed. The other advantage, of course, is that
by their nature cordless saws tend to be much easier to start and you don’t have to worry about buying and then mixing gasoline and oil.
There are some excellent features on this saw, including the brushless motor, tool-less chain tensioning and adjustable flow oiler.
This saw is currently priced in the $200 - $300 range. As it is a new product to the market, there are insufficient reviews to provide any meaningful customer feedback.
So, there you have it. Eight Husqvarna chainsaws, each one different. Head overto our review section to learn more.