People may stop caring for their trees and plants for several reasons, but insufficient time and limited garden knowledge are the two main culprits. An essential step to putting your garden back to rights is cutting back overgrown tree branches, shrubs, and hedges. Unfortunately, dense trees and shrubs can be pretty stubborn to deal with, especially if you are using an old axe or standard gardening tools. Instead, you will need something much more powerful, easy to use, and less cumbersome. Simply put, you need a chainsaw suitable for home use.
A chainsaw provides the maximum power needed to keep those pesky fast-growing trees and shrubs in check. In addition, your chainsaw can make short work of felled trees and branches perfect for those cozy winter fires! The versatility of a chainsaw means gardening is no longer a difficult and demanding task. However, to get the maximum benefit out of your chainsaw, you need a basic understanding of how it works and the types of work it can do for you.
A chainsaw is a machine used for tree felling, limbing, bucking, pruning, cutting firewood, and trimming overgrown branches and hedges. There are three different types of chainsaw available; gasoline-powered, electric, and battery-operated. Electric or battery-operated chainsaws are often considered the same because of their proximity in terms of power and size. A gas-powered chainsaw is mainly used for commercial purposes or felling big trees.
Types of Chainsaws
This article will review the 5 best homeowner chainsaws models in 2021, along with a buying guide and an FAQ section to help you make the best purchase decision. We have also included a safety and usage guide to ensure that you operate the tool safely.
An electric chainsaw is best for yard work and home use. It is lightweight and can be used to cut tall branches with ease. A battery-operated chainsaw provides limited running time but enough for trimming branches in a large garden. Electric chainsaws are easy to start, and you can begin working with just a push of a button. Electric chainsaws operate silently and are eco-friendly. However, you will need to recharge the battery, and you may struggle with limited cutting capacity.
Gas-powered chainsaws are the beasts when it comes to power. You can use them to fell a large tree in a few minutes. Gas-powered chainsaws can handle home, commercial, ranching, and landscaping tasks. A gas chainsaw can be operated anywhere, anytime, without requiring electricity or battery power. Gas powered-chainsaws need oil and gas mixing for running 2-stroke engines. They are heavy, require complex maintenance, and emit fumes. Gas-powered chainsaws have been used for decades by forest workers. However, they are now being replaced by their battery-operated counterparts in most industries.
Anatomy of a Chainsaw
Now that we know about the fundamental difference between gas and electric chainsaws, it is time to look at the different parts of a chainsaw.
- Guide Bar and Chain: The guide bar and the chain are two of the essential parts of a chainsaw. The guide bar holds the chain and spins it for cutting. It is made of steel, and its length varies from model to model. The chain is made of drive links and cutting teeth.
- Chain Brake/Hand Guard: It is responsible for stopping the chain and also protects your hand from any injury.
- Starter Rope/Start Switch: A gas-powered chainsaw has a starting rope, whereas a battery-powered chainsaw comes with an on/off switch.
- Oil Reservoir Cap: It is used to put lubrication oil in the saw and is present in gas-powered and battery-operated saws.
- Throttle: The throttle is used to rev up the saw once it is started.
- Safety Throttle: It is the safety lock that prevents accidental throttling when engaged.
- Handles: The front and rear handle help grip the saw when working with it. The back handle is also used to hold a gas-powered saw with your feet while starting it.
- Choke: It is present in gasoline models only and facilitates cold starting.
- Primer: A primer bulb/air purge button is used to push the fuel in the carburetor for starting a gasoline chainsaw.
- Fuel Reservoir/Battery Port/Cord: A fuel reservoir is used to pour gasoline in gas chainsaws. The battery port is the point where you insert the battery in the cordless chainsaws. An electric cord is used to plug in the corded electric models.
- Side Covers: All the components are enclosed inside covers. These covers protect the internal components from wear and tear, dust, debris, and water.
Chainsaw Buying Guide
The average life of a chainsaw is 10 years. We have encountered few people who are using one chainsaw for more than 15 years for home use. The need-oriented usable life of a chainsaw depends on the features present in it. Unfortunately, we have also seen many people who have a chainsaw rusting in their garages. The reason? They didn’t know what features to check before buying the saw. We have created a buying guide with all the features to look for in a chainsaw to save you from making the wrong investment and purchasing a useless tool.
Features to Consider before Buying a Chainsaw
You can either select a corded electric, battery-operated, or gas-powered chainsaw for home use. Each one has its pros and cons over each other. We have already explained them in detail. Now we will check what features you need to consider for each type.
Most of the chainsaws for home use are battery-operated. This is because homeowners don’t need a lot of power and unlimited running time. They don’t set out to bring down forests. However, you must still consider the battery capacity, running time, recharge time, and voltage of the tool.
Capacity: Battery capacity is measured in terms of amp-hours (Ah). You must look for a tool with maximum battery capacity because it denotes the power and capacity of your tool. If you work for long hours with your tool, then buy a saw with a higher Ah rating.
Runtime: Most chainsaw brands mention running time in terms of the number of cuts you can make with a fully charged battery. The actual runtime will depend on the nature of work you are doing. Hence, you must look for a tool with maximum runtime related to your work needs.
Voltage: Voltage also explains the power rating of the tool. A 60V tool is more powerful than an 18V chainsaw. If you plan to do some heavy-duty cutting, then go for a chainsaw with a 60V rating. Otherwise, a smaller tool will do the trick.
If you are going for a gas-powered chainsaw, look for engine size, maximum blade speed, output power, and fuel consumption. Husqvarna’s 455 Rancher is an ideal model for heavy-duty applications. Gas-powered models also come with less power. If you are selecting any other model, make sure you check these parameters.
Cutting Application and Chain Size
Select the chain size according to your cutting application if you want to get the maximum out of your tool. If you only want to cut small branches, go for a 6-8 inches chain length tool. The Lopper from Black and Decker will be best for small homes and gardens. If you are looking for an all-rounder, purchase a 14-16-inch chainsaw for versatility and maximum usability. Sun Joe, Makita, and DeWalt are the best tools for people who have mid-size trees and randomly cut firewood.
For commercial and heavy-duty tasks, we recommend a minimum 20-inch chain length. Husqvarna’s 455 Rancher is the best tool for heavy-duty usage.
If you take your tool up in the trees, look for a lightweight tool with a hanging hook. It is not easy to work with a heavy tool when working in tight spots. A lightweight tool is also easy and safer to use.
All the tools on our list have been selected without making any compromises on safety features. However, you must ensure that the chainsaw you plan to buy has a chain brake, safety lock, and safety trigger.
Battery-powered tools are easier to maintain than gas-powered chainsaws. This is the reason there are plenty of small electric and battery-powered chainsaws in the market. You don’t have to mix oil and gas, clean carburetors, air filters, and deal with complex engine problems. However, power is always a big concern with battery-operated saws. If you want maximum power, then you will have to take out time to maintain gas-powered saws.
Battery-operated saws are eco-friendly. They don’t make much noise and emit any fumes. On the contrary, gas-powered saws are not that eco-friendly. The 2-stroke engines in gas-powered saws emit carbon monoxide, which is harmful to the environment and human beings. However, some responsible companies like Husqvarna, DeWalt, and Stihl are now introducing features that reduce CO emissions.
Almost all homeowners have a budget to follow. Therefore, you must buy a tool that fits your decided budget. However, if you want more features and a tool that can meet all your wood cutting needs, you will have to set your budget aside and look for the most advanced and best tool.
How to Use a Homeowners Chainsaw
Starting a Battery-Operated Chainsaw
Starting an electric chainsaw is easier than starting a gas-powered chainsaw. Follow the steps below to start your battery-powered chainsaw.
- Insert the rechargeable battery on the saw and place it on the ground or a flat table.
- Make sure the bar is clear of obstacles and bystanders.
- Engage the chain brake and safety switch.
- Pull the trigger switch to start the chainsaw motor.
- Rev the motor for stabilizing the saw.
- Disengage the chain brake before cutting.
Starting a Gas-Powered Chainsaw
Follow the steps below for starting a gas-powered chainsaw.
- Add fresh gasoline mixed with oil to the fuel reservoir.
- Activate the chain brake.
- If the engine is cold, turn on the choke and prime the engine by pressing the air purge/primer bulb to push oil in the carburetor. You will see oil bubbles in the primer bulb.
- Push the decompression valve to reduce the pressure in the cylinders.
- Now place your right foot on the rear handle and hold the front handle with your left hand.
- Pull the starting rope with your right hand 2-3 times until you notice a partial start sound. Then, Rev up the engine and move the choke to its normal position.
- If the engine is warm, you will simply need to prime the engine and pull the starting rope.
- Disengage the chain brake before cutting.
Homeowner Chainsaw Usage and Safety Tips
- Make sure you go through the user manual before setting up your saw.
- Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) before cutting with your saw. It includes a hard hat, safety goggles/visor, work boots, chainsaw trousers, heavy-duty work gloves, and noise blockers.
- Keep a first aid kit with you.
- Check the chain tension before cutting.
- Use fresh gasoline and oil in gas-powered saws; recharge the battery before using a battery-operated saw.
- Keep children and pets away from the tool. Moreover, make sure that no one is within 5 meters of a running blade.
- Keep the chain sharp, don’t cut with the nose of the guide bar, and never stand exactly behind the blade while cutting. These three tips can help minimize kickback.
- Make sure you cut with the middle of the bar, and the saw is running at full speed when the blade makes contact with the wood.
- Never use a chainsaw for cutting anything else than wood.
- Turn off your saw once you are done cutting and engage chain break.
Homeowner Chainsaw Maintenance Tips
- Never store a gasoline chainsaw with gas in the fuel tank. Similarly, always remove the battery after your work is done with a battery-operated saw.
- Check the chain lubrication oil before starting the saw.
- Check and sharpen the chain (if needed) before a cutting session. Ensure that it is properly tensioned.
- Inspect air filter when required (for gasoline models).
- Store your chainsaw in a safe, dry place and cover it in a dust bag.
- Refer to the user manual for more maintenance tips relevant to your model.
Review of the 5 Best Chainsaws For Home Use
Buying the best chainsaw for home use can get pretty challenging if you don’t know what you are looking for. The most common problem with buying a chainsaw is inadequate knowledge about its features. A homeowner doesn’t know about the technical terms and terminologies and how a specific feature can enhance a chainsaw’s usability for specific tasks.
But you don’t need to worry; we know chainsaws and everything about them. We have researched and tested the trending homeowner chainsaws models in 2021 and selected the best ones among them. Then, we dug deeper into the selected models and found out everything you need to know about them.
Let’s scrutinize the best home use chainsaws!
The LP1000 lopper chain saw is an ideal tool for cutting thick branches and overgrown shrubs that are too stubborn for hand tools. The tool produces a scissor-like motion which is suitable for cutting up to 4-inch thick branches. The lopper cuts like a chainsaw but has a scissor-like design for easy cutting and user-friendly gardening.
The tool has metal covers that immediately cover the chain after cutting and protect your fingers from accidents. The tool features a 4.5 amp motor which provides enough power for the tool’s intended use, cutting small branches. The chain size is 6 inches with a 1.5 feet cord length. You will need an extension to run this tool because of a small cord. The 6-inch chain length features ¼ inch chain pitch and a .05-inch gauge.
The tool has a 90-day money-back guarantee and a 2-year limited warranty. The package includes an oil bottle and a wrench along with the tool.
Sun Joe’s cordless chainsaw is an ideal tool for tough household applications. The machine features a 1200W motor with a 16-inch chain, making it suitable for seamlessly cutting through 15-inch width woods. In addition, the 16-inch chain features a 3/8 inch pitch and a 0.050 gauge for smooth applications and excellent cutting.
The chainsaw comes with 2 batteries. Each battery is a 24 volt, 2.0 Ah lithium-ion battery that can provide up to 40 cuts on 4×4 pines on each charge. The recharge time is 15 minutes for a 100% recharge. The saw features a tool-less chain tensioning mechanism with an auto-oiler to make it user-friendly. In addition, the machine has a built-in safety switch to prevent accidental startups when the battery is engaged.
The tool has a 2-year warranty with a 30-day returnable window. In addition, it comes with a safety bag, carry hook, and a super-fast charger for quick recharging.
If you are looking for a reliable and powerful chainsaw with maximum safety features for home use, then Makita’s XCU08PT is a worthwhile option. The tool comes with a brushless motor that delivers power equivalent to a 30CC gas engine without emissions and oil-gas mixing hassle. In addition, the motor can produce a top speed of 3940 FPM controlled by a variable speed trigger for multiple applications.
It has a torque boost mode which enables the tool to handle tough cutting jobs. The tool is powered by two 18V lithium-ion batteries, which deliver a combined 36-volt power. The chain size is 14 inches with a 3/8-inch pitch and 0.043 inches gauge.
Other features include an automatic oiler, LED light, chain lock switch with extreme protection technology for enhanced protection against dust and water. You can use the batteries conveniently with other Makita cordless tools. The box includes a chainsaw, guide bar, chain two batteries, dual-port charger, and a chain cover. A 3-year limited warranty covers Makita’s chainsaws.
The 60V chainsaw is an ideal tool for outdoor and home use alike. It delivers maximum power to meet all your household chainsaw needs and enough power for commercial and construction activities. In addition, this chainsaw is a powerful tool to work with. The tool features a 16-inch chain with a 3/9 inch pitch and 0.043-inch gauge.
The 60V brushless motor produces enough power to cut through 6×6 pressure-treated pine wood. A full battery provides up to 70 cuts which is one of the highest runtimes in the world of battery-powered chainsaws. In addition, it has an auto-oiling mechanism, quarter-turn oil cap for quick oil refills during continuous working sessions.
The box includes a chainsaw, one 60V 2.0Ah battery, charger, and a bar cover. DeWalt also offers one of the best warranties in the industry. Its chainsaw is covered with 90 days money-back guarantee, a 1-year free service contract, and a 3-year limited warranty.
Husqvarna is one of the leading manufacturers of gas-powered chainsaws. The 455 rancher, as the name implies, is an excellent tool for ranch owners and people with big properties. However, unlike all the tools reviewed above, this one is gas-powered and promises to deliver a powerful punch when you need it the most.
This saw can deliver a maximum speed of 9000 RPM to cut up to 19-inch thick woods. The tool boasts an air injection system, a cleaning system designed to remove the dust and debris from insides, and X-Torq, which helps cut emissions and reduce fuel consumption. In addition, it comes with an adjustable oil pump which allows adjusting the oil flow according to weather and cutting application. The saw also features felling marks, an inertia-activated chain brake, and a quick-release air filter.
The 55.5cc engine produces a 3.5 HP output to bring down the toughest of the trees. As a result, you will never feel limited while working with this tool.
The best home use chainsaw for one family may not be the best for another. Therefore, selecting one model isn’t possible. However, most of the families can do well with Sun Joe or Makita chainsaws.
No. You must not use a chainsaw indoors.
A chainsaw can last for 8-10 years without any major problem. You can extend the tool’s life up to many more years by on-time maintenance and care.
A reliable and durable chainsaw cost varies from $400 to $600. Some basic models start from as low as a hundred bucks.
Battery-powered and corded electric models are the easiest to start as you don’t have to pull starting ropes to fire them up.
Now that you know everything about the best chainsaws for home use, we are sure that your yard and lawn redo is not far away. Take all the safety precautions before you get to work and enjoy sawing.