7 Best Gas Chainsaws
Gas-powered chainsaws are unequaled for raw power and long runtimes. They're extremely useful tools that require keen attention to safety protocols.
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Buying a Gas Chainsaw
For large-scale projects, you don’t want to be limited by the portability and runtime of an electric chainsaw. For big jobs, choose a gas-powered chainsaw. Sure, they require fuel and more maintenance. But when used correctly, these heavy-duty tools are extremely efficient for cutting, pruning and felling trees.
When shopping for a gas-powered chainsaw, consider these features:
- Weight: While larger saws generate a lot of power for big jobs, they can also be heavy. Choose a saw that’s light enough for you to effectively maneuver, on a vertical plane and for sideways cuts when trimming branches and angled logs. Be realistic about how much weight you can safely handle.
- Bar length: The length of the bar (in inches) indicates the maximum log diameter it can safely and effectively cut. Choose a bar an inch or two longer than whatever you will be cutting. Don’t assume that the longer the bar, the better. If you don’t need the length, you won’t use it efficiently.
- Use: Think about your tasks. Smaller, lighter-duty saws (approx. 11 to 13 inches) are great for smaller jobs like pruning. And because they’re lightweight and maneuverable, they’re inherently safer than larger options. Medium-duty saws (14-16 inches) can handle a bit more and are versatile enough for lots of residential tasks. Pro-style saws (18 to 22 inches) are OK for smaller tasks but better suited to felling and processing large logs.
- Maintenance: Gas chainsaws require regular maintenance and need periodic adjustment to keep the chain in the ideal position. Look for features that make these processes easier, like tool-free chain adjustment knobs and an automatic chain oiler.
- Cost: Gas-powered chainsaws range from less than $200 to more than $3,500. Determine your budget and you’ll find a saw to match.
Gas-powered chainsaws are dangerous tools and can easily injure or kill the user in a fraction of a second. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 36,000 people are treated for chainsaw injuries every year. So be sure to receive the proper safety training before using one.
This video offers helpful chainsaw safety tips. And we strongly recommend having a professional or experienced user walk you through how to safely start and operate a gas-powered chainsaw. You should also never use one without personal protective equipment, including chaps and face, hearing and eye protection.
Best Gas Chainsaw: Value
With a 16-inch bar and a powerful 42 cubic centimeter (cc) engine, the low-cost the Craftsman 41AY4216791 is a great choice for under $200. The wraparound handle makes it more maneuverable and easier to control. Combined with the cushioned covering, it’s comfortable to operate.
The easy-start mechanism reduces frustrating starting issues, and tool-free access to the filter and spark plugs makes basic chainsaw maintenance a breeze.
Best Gas Chainsaw: Overall
The balanced, comfortable feel and light weight of the Husqvarna 450R 450 Rancher make it our favorite overall option. Its 20-inch bar is large enough for a range of cutting tasks, and the 50cc engine plenty powerful.
The 14-lb. weight is the most impressive factor for us — it’s extremely easy to lift and maneuver. The X-Torq engine might sound like a gimmick, but it actually does make a difference, increasing fuel efficiency and lowering harmful emissions.
Best Gas Chainsaw: Small
If you don’t need to make large cuts, or want a backup saw that’s short enough to comfortably use in tight or awkward spots, the 12-inch Husqvarna T525 is a great option. At only six lbs. it’s comfortable for all-day projects. You can hang it from a climbing harness with the integrated belt eyelet.
Best Gas Chainsaw: For Beginners
A low price, 16-inch bar and a safety tip that prevents accidental kickback all make the Ryobi 16-inch Gas Chainsaw a smart choice for beginners.
An automatic oiler and tool-free air filter cover make general maintenance simple, and it comes with a handy carrying case. Ryobi’s three-year warranty has you covered if any issues arise. A 30-day return policy comes in handy if you decide it’s not the right chainsaw for you.
Best Gas Chainsaw: Lightweight
Weighing just 12.6 lbs, the 16-inch Troy-Bilt Lightweight Gas Chainsaw provides an ideal balance between weight and versatility.
A set of metal bucking spikes on the front of the saw grip into the log or trunk you’re cutting — a valuable safety feature that can prevent dangerous kickback. The full wraparound handle ensures you remain in control. Combined with the light weight, it makes for comfortable operation.