A chainsaw will become your best friend if you need to prune or cut wood. This tool will save you a whole lot of time and sore muscles, whether it's to trim your garden's hedges or to remove a stump. Modern machines offer a lot of power and an improved performance that will make your life easier.
Nowadays, chainsaws are designed for all kinds of uses. They come with different guide bar sizes, adjustable power, and petrol or electric motors. There truly is a chainsaw for every job and every budget. We've designed the following article to help you find the model that best suits your needs, as well as to introduce you to the best chainsaws on the market.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our recommendation: The best chainsaws
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about chainsaws
- 4.1 What is a chainsaw exactly?
- 4.2 What are the different parts of a chainsaw?
- 4.3 How should I adjust my saw carburettor?
- 4.4 What types of chainsaws are available out there?
- 4.5 What are the best chainsaw brands?
- 4.6 What care does my chainsaw require?
- 4.7 What are important functions in a chainsaw?
- 4.8 What care do chains require?
- 4.9 What safety measures should I take to use a chainsaw?
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- There are different types of chainsaws depending on their engine. The most common and powerful chainsaws use petrol and are ideal for hard everyday work. You can also find models with electric motors, cabled or wireless.
- You'll need a very strong petrol chainsaw with a large guide bar to cut down big and thick trees. On the other hand, smaller and less powerful models will be enough to prune your trees.
- The length of the guide bar will determine the size of the trees you can cut. A larger guide bar will naturally allow you to go for bigger trunk diameters. Each chainsaw has a specific length ,so don't overlook this aspect.
Our recommendation: The best chainsaws
There is a great variety of chainsaws out there, with different engines, guide bars and power. It can be challenging to pick the right model or type of tool for your needs. For this reason, we've designed the section below to introduce you to the best options available on the market. We're confident this will help you in your purchase.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about chainsaws
Chainsaws are tools designed to help you in your forestry work. These heavy machines can save you time when you're cutting wood or pruning trees. A chainsaw is your best option whether you want to cut firewood or a whole tree. In the next section, we look at the most frequently asked questions by past users to help you choose the right model.
What is a chainsaw exactly?
These mechanical saws have different types of motors. The most common ones are petrol – or two-stroke – engines. These models require oil to lubricate the internal parts. Electric motor saws are also available and tend to come with a cable. The most recent models use lithium batteries for power and are lighter but less powerful.
What are the different parts of a chainsaw?
We've listed the key components of a chainsaw for you:
- Guide bar: This is the support on which the chain spins. Each model will come with a different length. We encourage you to check the technical characteristics and stick to the recommendations of the manufacturer.
- Oiling system: It prevents your tool from overheating. Two different systems exist: chain lubrication and engine lubrication. If you have a petrol model, you need to make sure your engine is always lubricated.
- Chain tensioner: This system is designed to keep the chain taut. Otherwise, the chain could break off and cause accidents during use.
- Speed control: Generally located on the left side, it allows you to control the speed and acceleration of the chainsaw.
- Chain catcher: This is a key safety feature. It will block the chain inside the frame of the tool in case it suddenly breaks. It generally comes with a protector on the left hand.
- Chain brake: This special brake will stop the tool in case of kickback.
How should I adjust my saw carburettor?
You will have to reset them if, for instance, the chain starts idling or if it stops working. If the carburettor is slower after choking, you may also have to adjust it. You should always clean the air filter and the screen muffler before configuring it again. Here's how you can do that:
- Turn the chainsaw on and let the engine warm up.
- Find the adjustment screws of the carburettor. These are usually labelled with letters: H, L and LA. The H screw adjusts the air-fuel mixture at high speed, while the L is for the mixture at low speed. Finally, the LA screw adjusts the idle speed of your chainsaw.
- Check the air filter. Replace it if it is not clean. Check the muffler filter and make sure it is clean, too. Change if it's in bad shape.
- Turn the H screw counterclockwise with a small flathead screwdriver. Don't turn it more than a three-quarter turn. Turn the L screw clockwise until it stops, then counterclockwise one quarter of a turn.
What types of chainsaws are available out there?
Here is a table explaining the different types available to you:
|Electric||Electric motor connected to a power socket||35 to 40 cm in diameter||Soft wood up to 20 cm in diameter||Domestic gardening: cutting hedges and fine wood|
|Battery-powered||Electric motor with lithium batteries ranging from 18 to 36 volts||20 cm in diameter||Soft woos up to 15 cm in diameter||Tasks where great power isn't required, such as pruning hedges and trees|
|Petrol||Two-stroke petrol engine||40 cm in diameter||All types of woods, even thick and hard||Intensive daily work, logging, pruning and cutting|
What are the best chainsaw brands?
One of the most prestigious brands in the industry is Stihl. While their models may be on the more expensive side, they are the best you can find out there. Husqvarna is another traditional brand that sells a wide range of models, sizes and features. Other well-known brands include Bosch, Black+Decker, Giantz and MTM.
What care does my chainsaw require?
- Clean the chain after each use.
- The chain must always be sharp. Check the teeth and sharpen it regularly.
- Two-stroke petrol engines must always be lubricated. Change the oil whenever necessary.
- Keep the chain lubricated and ready to cut. The chain needs clean oil to operate properly, just like the engine.
- Each chainsaw supports a specific guide bar and chain length appropriate to its power. Anything different will negatively impact its performance. If you use a longer guide bar than recommended, the tool will lose speed and cutting power. If it's smaller, it will rev too much and also lose power.
- You must always keep the machine's filters clean.
- Check the chain tension before every use. Overly tight chains can break, or free themselves if they are too loose.
- Replace your chain immediately if you notice that it is deteriorated or if the saw teeth are badly worn.
- Check the spark plugs if your chainsaw has a petrol engine. They must be clean and in good condition.
What are important functions in a chainsaw?
Some models have self-lubricating systems for the chain, meaning that you don't have to worry about changing the oil. The chain tensioner is also an important aspect to consider, and you can tighten and change the chain of certain chainsaws without tools. The handles should also absorb the vibrations for optimal use.
What care do chains require?
Place your chainsaw in a bench clamp or secure it firmly to avoid it from moving to sharpen its teeth. Fasten the chain brake to prevent it from sliding, and place the gauge so that the blades point towards the guide abr. Place the sharpening block at a right angle to the rollers and sharpen each tooth with a smooth pass.
What safety measures should I take to use a chainsaw?
- Always wear protective gloves, safety goggles, a helmet and hearing protection.
- Wear safety clothing if possible: leg protectors and safety overalls.
- Keep the chainsaw clean and fit for use at all times.
- Always operate the chainsaw alone. The user should always be the only one in the radius of action of the tool.
- Keep the tool off and the guide bar sleeve on whenever you move.
- Hold the chainsaw with both hands.
- The tool must always be revving during use.
- Work with the lower part of the guide bar and the chain on reverse whenever possible.
You will find a wide number of types and models of chainsaws available out there. The right tool will allow you to perform the required tasks in an efficient way. To pick the chainsaw that most suits you, you'll have to consider aspects such as the power, the weight and the length of the guide bar. We'll now look at the following criteria to help you make the best decision:
- Type of wood and uses
- Length of the guide bar
- Chainsaw weight
- Frequency of use
- Quality and warranty
- Front handle
- Transmission and safety
Type of wood and uses
The type of wood you want to cut will naturally influence your final decision, just like the use you want to make of it. Cutting soft, thin wood in your garden isn't the same as intense and professional forestry work. Make sure you know exactly how you want to use it and on what types of wood before buying your chainsaw.
You should also settle for a model that offers the necessary power to complete all your tasks. In that regard, opt for a petrol engine if you carry out demanding work on hardwoods on a daily basis. On the other hand, you are advised to choose a more affordable electric chainsaw if you'll use it occasionally in your garden.
Length of the guide bar
This is another key criterion that will have an impact on your purchase. The length of the guide bar will determine the diameter of the trunks and the size of the trees you can ultimately cut. Longer guide bars allow you to cut down large trees and thicker trunks. On the downside, it will also increase the weight of the tool and make it more uncomfortable to use.
Stick to smaller guide bars if you don't need to cut thick trees. More affordable electric chainsaws generally feature these bars. They are ideal for odd jobs at home, such as taking care of a garden, cutting firewood or pruning trees. These lighter models can even be used with a single hand.
You should also take into consideration the weight of the tool before settling for a specific model. You will find working with a lighter chainsaw more comfortable. Light tools are ideal for those of us who have never used a mechanical saw. These models better absorb vibrations and therefore more fit for beginners.
The one problem with light chainsaws is that they tend to be less powerful. Heavier tools require engines with greater power, allowing you to do more demanding work on harder woods. If you need to carry out professional forestry work, you'll definitely want to go for a heavy, well-balanced model that gives you greater stability.
Frequency of use
If you want to accurately pick a chainsaw that suits your needs, you need to estimate how often you'll be using this tool. Electric models, as well as those operating with a battery, are ideal for short periods of use. This includes cutting firewood for the winter to tidy up a small garden.
Daily professional use in forestry requires you to opt for a model with a petrol engine. While these chainsaws will need more maintenance, they are also more powerful and durable. Take good care of your tool and you'll be able to carry out the most demanding tasks on a daily basis without problem.
Quality and warranty
When it comes to power tools, it is always a good idea to choose a product made by a trusted brand. We've mentioned the best manufacturers earlier, and they sell top quality tools made with the very best materials. These chainsaws will also offer the best features and the latest safety systems.
We also encourage you to check what warranty and after-sales service your tool comes with. The best brands will give you access to accessories and spare parts whenever you need them. There is a reason why those top brands have earned the trust of professionals, and that's partly because their products come with top-notch services.
The gripping system is another criterion that you cannot overlook. If your front handle isn't comfortable, prolonged use of your chainsaw will be almost impossible. If you're not used to using these tools, you are advised to look for models with ergonomic grips and quick on/off buttons built into the handle.
Certain electric chainsaws are lighter and can features soft grips and ergonomic handles. Perfectly tailored to housework, these models are very comfortable to handle. For safety reasons, we recommend that you choose a chainsaw that has a protective plate for your left hand.
Transmission and safety
Certain chainsaws available on the market have anti-kickback systems. This is the main cause of accidents involving these tools. These devices are designed to prevent such accidents by immediately stopping the saw chain. We strongly advise you to make this feature a priority when choosing your chainsaw.
The type of chain transmission is the last aspect we want to invite you to consider. These parts are generally made with high-strength metal. This prevents wear and improves the useful life of the tool. The transmission is also responsible for the power of the chainsaw, meaning you need to buy one that fits your needs.
A chainsaw is ideal to help maintain your garden clean and beautiful. This tool will also allow you to prune your hedges and trees to keep them healthy and neat. Chainsaws are very complete and versatile tools, with which you can also cut firewood for your chimney or carry out forestry works such as cutting trees.
The market offers a wide range of chainsaws, and you now know all about the key criteria to take into account when making your purchase. These aspects include its maintenance, weight, power and the length of the guide bar. If you pay attention to these factors, we're confident you'll get the chainsaw that best suits your needs.
(Source of featured image: Dmitrii Balabanov: 116141907/ 123rf.com)