If you need to use a chainsaw more than once a year but less than once a day, a farm and ranch chainsaw might be just the right style of saw for you.
But that's a misnomer. In reality, farm and ranch saws represent a big leap from consumer saws. Ranchers offer many of the same features as professional saws but use less heavy-duty components and are less expensive as a result.
For semi-regular use, farm and ranch gas saws provide the balance between durability and price that many shoppers crave, which is why you also might find them labeled as all-around saws. Here are some of the features you can look for when shopping for a rancher of your own.
Chainsaws are notorious for loud, inefficient engines with high emissions output. The versatile ranchers of today, however, are designed with engines such as Husqvarna's X-TORQ engine that consume less fuel and produce fewer emissions
For an especially strong air quality guarantee, look for a saw that meets the guidelines from the California Air Resource Board (CARB). CARB-compliant products have engines that meet more stringent air quality standards. They are more efficient and run more cleanly than non-compliant models.
Updated small engine technology allows superior performance from your chainsaw. Look for a model featuring an air injected engine.
A centrifugal air cleaning system removes larger dust and debris particles before reaching the air filter. This results in fewer air filter cleanings and improved engine life.
The weight of a chainsaw can lead to fatigue after hours of use, but what risks fatigue as well as damage to a chainsaw user's hands and wrists are the vibrations that the saw constantly transmits.
Look for a model with a vibration dampening or vibration reduction feature. A vibration dampening system may only use a few shock-reducing coils embedded in the body and handle of the saw, but it makes it much easier to use the saw for an extended period of time.
One of the best safety features available on farm and ranch chainsaws is the inertia-activated chain brake. Look for a saw with this feature. This helps to reduce the risk of injuries to the user caused by blade kick back.
When the nose of the bar comes in contact with an impediment such as a knot, it can kick back, usually down towards the operator's legs. An inertia-activated chain brake senses the kickback and stops the chain.
Farm and ranch chainsaws introduce a new style to the mix: top handle models. Not only do top handle saws feature a comfortable handle on top; these chainsaws also are usually smaller, lighter in weight, and more carefully balanced than rear handle models.
Thanks to their forestry-friendly, ergonomically-minded design, top handle chainsaws are used to cut branches and tree limbs. These are popular with arborists and landscapers cutting on ladders and in trees, or other situations where you need to cut on a downward angle.