Whether you're a homeowner, rancher or someone with a large area of land to manage, one question you may have is: what size chainsaw should I buy?
Some people I know have several saws in their collection. These are different sizes and types (gas, electric or battery operated) and they choose the appropriate saw for the job they have to do. The size of saw you need depends on several factors. Is it for occasional or more frequent use? Are the jobs quite small or pretty demanding? What is your own personal experience and handling capability? Below, we look at a variety of saws to match cutting requirements as well as considering what else you need to consider before parting with your cash.
Let’s start with the basics. If you have some light pruning or need to cut some small limbs and saplings, then you should look for something with a small engine, battery or motor. These saws are likely to be light in weight, and therefore more easily to handle, and a shorter guide bar will also enable you to maneuver the saw more easily. The table below provides some recommendations:
Guide Bar Length
18-40 Volts - 2 Amp Hours
There are a couple of saws we would recommend for this type of work. Our favorite electric saw is the very popular Remington RM1425 Limb N Trim.
This has a number of great features, is easy to operate, inexpensive and very quiet. Weighing around 6lbs, it is also one of the lightest saws around so it should be within the handling capabilities of most people.
If you prefer a gas powered or battery operated saw, our recommendations are listed below. Just click on the link to be taken over to our review of the product.
Gas - Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14
Electric - Remington RM1425 Limb N Trim
Battery – Black and Decker LCS1240
If you just want a product to prune and cut the really small stuff (up to around 4 inches thick) then we would recommend the Black+Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper. This fun to use saw is ultra-safe and efficient, making it ideal for both novice and experienced users alike.
The lopper has a different cutting action to most chainsaws which means that you can cut close to the ground without having to worry about the chain coming into contact with the dirt. Any experienced chainsaw user will tell you that one of the quickest ways to dull or ruin a chain is for it to come into contact with the ground.
With superb cutomer ratings and costing well under $100, the Alligator LP1000 won't let you down.
As you probably know, unless you are trained, you should take your chainsaw up into a tree or use it with ladders. If you need to prune branches which are out of your reach, therefore, you may benefit from a pole saw. This is basically a small chainsaw at the end of a chain and there are plenty of models out there to choose from.
Our favorite pole saw is the Sun Joe SWJ802E.
With its feisty 6.5 Amp motor and a pole which extends up to 8.7 feet in length, the Sun Joe will help you cut all those tough to reach branches. The 8 inch bar and multi-angle head will let you cut at awkward angles in the some of the tightest situations.
The SWJ802E is a much safer option than risking climbing into a tree or using ladders (both of which are not recommended for non-professionals). Not only this but you can get the saw for less than $100.
Medium Duty Cutting Tasks
The type of work in this section includes:
• Felling small and medium sized trees
• Bucking medium sized logs
• Cutting modest amounts of firewood
• Light storm damage clear up
As you would expect, a slightly more powerful chainsaw with a longer bar is required for this type of work. The table below gives an indication of the size saws you should be looking at for this type of work.
Guide Bar Length
40-80 Volts - 2-4 Amp Hours
They are plenty of great candidates to choose from. Our favorite is the best-selling Worx WG303.1, which offers a great combination of high ratings and low price.
For a chainsaw which costs around $100 it has some great features, including a tool-less, auto chain tensioning system and automatic oil lubrication. And it’s not just us who love this saw. There are well over a thousand online reviews, with almost 90% of buyers rating the saw as either good or excellent.
As above, if you prefer a gas powered or battery operated saw, our recommendations are listed below. Just click on the link to be taken over to our review of the product.
Gas – Husqvarna 445
Electric – Worx WG303.1
Battery – Ego Power+ 56 Volt
Heavy Duty Cutting
Now we get on to the larger stuff. Here we are talking about saws which can be used to fell large trees, buck large logs as well as clearing up heavy storm damage and cutting large amounts of firewood. The table below indicates the type of model which should be up to these tasks.
Guide Bar Length
20 Inches +
As you can see, electric and battery operated saws aren’t really suited to this type of task. You may find that some electric and battery saws can occasionally handle larger trees and logs but they certainly won’t be as efficient and effective as a gas saw.
There are 3 great saws in this class which we like.
Husqvarna 460 Rancher
Sometimes you need to pay a little bit more for quality and this is exactly what you get with the Rancher. This robust, all round chainsaw is perfect for the more demanding cutting jobs where extra power and a longer bar are required.
It comes with all the great features you would expect to see on a top of the range Husky, including:
• Powerful 62cc X-Torq engine designed for lower emissions and better fuel consumption.
• LowVib system which substantially reduces the vibration levels on both the front and rear handles.
• Smart Start system for easier starting.
• Adjustable oil pump to control the flow of oil
• Air-injection cleaning system to reduce time spent on maintenance.
Although it isn’t cheap, consumers love this saw and it is easy to see why? When you buy a Rancher, you will have a high performing chainsaw which will last you for years to come.
Echo CS-590 Timberwolf
With its 59.8cc professional grade engine, this beast of a saw will handle the toughest tasks around the home and farm. If you have firewood to cut, storm damage to clear or just large areas of land to maintain, the Timber Wolf will take care of it.
It is equipped with some great features, including decompression valve and digital ignition for easy starting; translucent fuel tank making fuel level checks quick and easy, and an excellent air-filtration system reducing the time spent on maintenance. At just under $500, the Echo isn’t cheap but as with the Rancher you are paying for a quality product.
Overall, you won’t go too far wrong with the Timber Wolf.
Timberpro 62cc Petrol Chainsaw
The Timberpro is all about value. If you are looking for a powerful and effective, high performing saw for less than $200 then the Timberpro is the saw for you. Many people are surprised by the quality of the Timberpro. Sure, it may not have some of the features of the Husqvarna and Echo saws featured above, but is does a great job and costs a third of the price of these models. Overall, a great chainsaw for the money.
Other factors to consider
When deciding on the size of saw you need, you also need to consider your own personal capabilities. If you struggle with heavy power tools, you may find some of the larger models to be beyond your capabilities. Our ‘Compare Chainsaw’ section gives you full details about the weight of each individual saw.
Your own experience using saws should also be factored in. If you are a novice, then I wouldn’t recommend you go out and buy a 60cc Rancher. (If you do you should certainly get some professional training beforehand). Start off with a smaller saw, perhaps electric or battery. After you get comfortable using chainsaws, then graduate up to a larger model.
So that’s it. As always, I hope you found this article useful. If you want to learn more about any of the saws discussed today, head over to our review section for a full report.