8 Best Chainsaws to Cut Through Wood
Few power tools provide the raw power and efficiency of a chainsaw. When used correctly, the best chainsaws complete landscaping projects quickly, easily and safely.
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A reliable chainsaw is an essential piece of a homeowner’s landscaping toolkit, and when used properly, can save you a lot of time and energy. The best chainsaw easily cuts through branches and logs in seconds, completing a task that would otherwise take much longer with a manual saw. Whether you’re pruning unruly branches, cutting up a felled tree or tackling construction demolition, a chainsaw is a great investment.
Regardless of the saw you choose, be sure to thoroughly review the instructions and practice chainsaw safety. We highly recommend asking a professional or experienced chainsaw user to walk you through the basics of cutting techniques and safety precautions. All chainsaws aren’t created equal, so take the time to review these considerations before making your purchase.
The 8 Best Chainsaws
- Best Overall: Husqvarna 445 Gas Chainsaw
- Best Budget Electric Saw: Wen 16-Inch Electric Chainsaw
- Best Budget Gas Saw: Craftsman Gas Powered Chainsaw
- Best for Extra-Large Projects: Husqvarna 455 Rancher
- Best Pole: Sun Joe SWJ807E Convertible Pole Chainsaw
- Best Ultra-Compact: Milwaukee M12 Fuel Hatchet Chainsaw
- Best Corded: Oregon CS1400 Chainsaw
- Best Battery-Powered: Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Chainsaw
Best Overall Chainsaw
Husqvarna 445 Gas Chainsaw
We’ve used Husqvarna products for years, and the high-quality construction and durability of the 2.8 HP Husqvarna 445 made it an easy choice as our best chainsaw. The slim body and ergonomic handle combine for easy mobility, and the 18-inch bar’s versatility tackles a wide range of sawing and pruning tasks. Thanks to its smart-start technology, this saw fires up with one or two pulls, putting an end to those time and energy-draining startup sessions.
“I love the caps for the fuel and oil tanks; they have integrated levers that flip up for leverage and click in place – very user friendly,” reviewer RJ Nunnally explained. “The choke/start/stop switch is well placed and intuitive to use. The side for the bar has the tensioner built into it (as opposed to built into the saw itself) so it releases chain tension when removed, making maintenance easy.”
- Ideal combination of mobility and raw power
- Durable 3-piece crankshaft
- Anti-vibration technology for user comfort
- Centrifugal air cleaning system
- May be overkill for light-duty tasks
Best Budget Electric Chainsaw
Wen 16-inch Electric Chainsaw
The Wen 16-inch Electric Chainsaw features 12 amps of sawing power and costs significantly less than any other option on our list. At just 10 pounds, it’s light enough for extended use and easy to maneuver, both of which contribute to overall safety. Although the corded power supply limits portability, the push-button start and unlimited run time could be worth it to the right user. A two-year warranty has you covered if any issues arise.
“This saw goes above and beyond the call of duty,” reviewer Arnold explains. “I had a giant pine tree blow down in my yard so I bought this saw. I am amazed at the power of this electric saw. I highly recommend it!” P.S. For something a little less bulky, try the Saker mini chainsaw.
- Affordable price
- Automatic oiling system
- User-friendly wraparound handle
- Two-year warranty
- Not durable enough for everyday use
Best Budget Gas Chainsaw
Craftsman Gas-Powered Chainsaw
Gas models tend to be pricier than electric versions, but this Craftsman Chainsaw is a steal for a gas chainsaw that still provides the power and maneuverability of a higher-end option. The wraparound handle features a textured rubber grip for maximum control, and an auto-oiling mechanism cuts down on chainsaw maintenance time. A chain brake reduces the chances of kickback injuries, and bucking spikes provide the extra leverage you need for those heavy-duty cuts.
“If you are looking for a mid size gas chainsaw for around your property for trimming trees and cutting small to medium sized logs, this is the chainsaw for you,” verified reviewer D.J Turner explained. “I used premixed ethanol free 2 cycle fuel and filled the chain oil, followed the starting directions and it fired right up and ran perfect.”
- Budget-friendly price
- Ideal balance of power and comfort
- Low kickback chain
- Tool-free access to spark plug and filter
- 15.2-pound weight is heavier than most
Best for Extra-Large Projects
Husqvarna 455 Rancher
With a 20-inch bar and 3.49 HP engine, the Husqvarna 455 Rancher is the best chainsaw for extra-large jobs, like tree felling or expansive land-clearing projects. This heavy-duty saw chews through logs and branches quickly and efficiently, and thanks to its anti-vibration technology, is comfortable to use on all-day projects.
Its fuel-efficient X-Torq engine cuts down on fuel tank refills, and the side-mounted tension system and automatic oiler ensure that you won’t waste unnecessary time performing routine maintenance.
“The first thing I noticed was how easy the Husqvarna is to start,” reviewer HLG explained. “Follow the directions and starts easily very time. The first time I set the chain on the tree it just fell through the log with no effort. The power is amazing and the anti-vibe handle made it comfortable to hold onto as it simply chewed through the logs like butter!”
- Powerful 3.49 HP X-Torq engine
- Automatic oiler
- Trusted brand
- Simple to maintain
- Heavier than most chainsaws
Best Pole Chainsaw
Sun Joe Convertible Pole Chainsaw
The multi-functional Sun Joe Convertible Pole Chainsaw is both a pole-mounted and a handheld mini chainsaw. Its telescoping handle reaches up to 15 feet overhead, and the eight-inch bar can take down limbs up to 9-1/2 inches thick. Once on the ground, simply remove the pole, and use the handheld saw to cut up the branches into a manageable size.
“We’re very impressed with the quality of this product,” purchaser Harold Eady explained. “Good productivity cutting limbs away from the roof of our house. Cut oak tree limbs up to 8″ diameter without any issues. Converting to pole saw was easy and also good production realized.”
- Safely cuts overhead branches without a ladder
- Converts from a pole chainsaw to a regular chainsaw
- Budget-friendly price
- Cut diameter is smaller than full-size saws
Best Ultra-Compact Chainsaw
Milwaukee M12 Fuel Hatchet Chainsaw
The Milwaukee M12 Fuel Hatchet Chainsaw may not have the power or bar length of the larger options on our list, but its compact size makes it the best chainsaw for quick and easy, light-duty pruning. At just five pounds, it’s comfortable to use in tight and awkward areas and easy to perform cuts at any angle. The bar sheath is a nice perk as well.
“This thing is perfect for cutting small stuff under 4”,” reviewer Robert Williamson explained. “It’s good because it’s small, light weight and just enough power to get the job done, and you can you use it with one hand and control what you cut off with the other. I do line work and this this is a game changer when you are just doing some light line clearance work.”
- Can access tight areas
- Very easy to use and maneuver
- Onboard scrench storage
- Too small for branches thicker than 4 inches
- Battery and charger not included
Best Corded Chainsaw
Oregon CS1400 Chainsaw
The 16-inch bar on the Oregon CS1400 Chainsaw tackles small and large cutting tasks effectively. Thanks to the corded power supply, you won’t need to worry about recharging any batteries. A molded rubber cover on the handle and a trigger grip make it easy to maintain control as you cut, and a hand guard protects against flying chips and other debris. At less than $100, this electric saw is a great value as well.
“I’ve been using this saw to cut down two big trees killed by the unusual extreme winter event my state had a couple of years ago,” reviewer TNC explained. “I bought this saw to do small trim jobs on trees, but it has been more than capable to do everything a good, regular, gas chainsaw can do. I’m surprised and impressed.”
- Instant electric start
- High-quality Oregon chain
- Built-in chain tightening system
- Oil-level window
- Corded power limits portability
Best Battery-Powered Chainsaw
Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Chainsaw
Featuring a large, 40V lithium battery, the Ryobi HP Cordless Battery Chainsaw delivers gas-like power and performance without the inconvenience of fumes, liquid fuel mixes or a pull cord. The battery is compatible with over 50 tools in Ryobi’s 40V family.
Its 16-inch bar boasts a 28-inch cut capacity—great for both small and large jobs—and a scrench (combination wrench and screwdriver) is stashed conveniently in the handle of the saw, making adjustments quick and easy.
“This chainsaw has plenty of muscle to handle tough jobs,” reviewer Rfeierbach explained. “With its 40WA battery, it compares perfectly well to using a gas-powered unit, but without the typical hassle of having to prime and pull the rope several times to start it, which is very frustrating with gas ones. Just click the battery on, and you’re ready to go! This a well-designed tool, with adjustable auto-oiling for the chain as well.”
- Rapid charger
- Brushless motor for maximum efficiency
- Included carrying case
- 5-year warranty
- Only includes a single battery
What to Consider When Buying a Chainsaw
To select the best chainsaw, it’s important to know the size of what you plan to cut. This way you can accurately choose the best size saw for your task and avoid ending up with one that’s too small to be effective or too large to be used safely.
Consider whether to go with a gas or electric model. According to Douglas Dedrick, landscaper and writer for Greenpal, “For most homeowners, a small battery-powered chainsaw with a 12-16 inch bar is more than enough to take care of most of the tasks you need to complete”. Although, in his opinion, their near-silent operation makes battery-powered saws more dangerous than gas-powered models, whose noisy and aggressive motors more clearly indicate potential dangers.
If you plan on working close to your home and don’t want to worry about gas tank refills or battery charging, a corded electric saw is a convenient option. You’ll be limited to the length of your extension cord, but their unlimited runtime and instant start feature could be worth the compromise. For those looking for maximum power and portability, gas-powered chainsaws are still the best option, according to Dedrick.
How We Found the Best Chainsaws
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject-matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
How do you store a chainsaw?
When not in use, store a chainsaw in a dry, well-ventilated area. Dedrick adds that for long-term storage, “It is best to empty the fuel tank and store the saw on its side to avoid leaks.” We also recommend giving your chainsaw a thorough cleaning before winter storage, ensuring that it’s prepped and ready to go when spring rolls around.
How long does a chainsaw last?
According to Dedrick, a well-cared-for gas-powered chainsaw can last for decades, but battery-powered models have a shorter lifespan. He explains that it really comes down to the brand you choose, but, “Most battery-powered saws will last at least a decade as long as they are cared for properly.” Routine maintenance, like chain sharpening and air filter replacement, is essential to extending the lifespan of your chainsaw, so be sure to follow the instructions in your user manual.
- Douglas Dedrick, landscaper and writer for Greenpal
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