Chainsaw Buyer's Guide
How to Pick the Perfect Chain Saw
Maybe you grew up with the legend of Paul Bunyan, or you heard stories of real-life lumberjacks, and you always imagined yourself crossing the great American wilderness to tame even the tallest treetops.
Maybe you simply need to clear away some tree branches that got damaged in a storm.
No matter why you might need a new chainsaw, it's important that you choose the right chainsaw for the work you plan to do.
Whether for residential use or commercial use, there's a saw that's perfect for everyone. At their core, chainsaws can be divided into three different styles or types:
- Gas chainsaws
- Electric chainsaws
- Pole saws
Take a look at the chart below, then read on to learn more about each type!
|Cutting Capacity:||Large Trees||Young to Mature |
|Weight:||6 - 20 lbs.||5 - 17 lbs.||6 - 17 lbs.|
|Bar Length:||12 - 36"||10 - 18"||8 - 20"|
If you plan on cutting large branches or felling trees, then gas chainsaws are the saws for you. Not only do gas-powered saws provide portability and sheer engine power; they even offer greater cutting ability because of the simple fact that the chain turns more quickly on a gas saw than on an electric saw.
But don't think that gas chainsaws are all about brute strength. There's a range of variety within the gas-powered chainsaw category, which is why you'll find three types of gas saws on this site:
- Farm and ranch
You'll see chainsaws with engine capacities as low as 32cc and as high as 60cc. You'll also find that your gas saw might work with a bar as short as 12" or as long as 24", depending on the model.
All that variety means is that you're bound to find a gas chainsaw to help you with any project.
However, if your biggest concern is cutting up small branches, you might find that an electric chainsaw is a better fit.
They might be less powerful than gas-powered chainsaws, but that doesn't mean that electric chainsaws lack any benefits. In fact, buying an electric chainsaw offers several pros that tend to be especially appealing to homeowners:
- Low maintenance
- More affordable
Electric chainsaws are available as cordless or battery-powered saws, which offer more portability, and corded saws, which provide continuous power without the need to replace or recharge a battery.
And don't count on electric saws always being less powerful than gas saws. As technology continues to advance, you can count on seeing more electric saws made to handle tough work.
Pole Chain Saws
Sometimes the assignment isn't to fell a tree, or to break down branches that have already fallen. Instead, you might need a saw to help you with some heavy-duty pruning that will keep a tree healthy and strong. If you plan on pruning high overhead, your best bet is a pole saw.
Like handheld chainsaws, pole chain saws are available with three different power sources:
- Gas-powered pole saws
- Cordless pole saws
- Corded electric pole saws
Because pole saws are held overhead, they're much smaller and lighter than handheld chainsaws. Even their bars are smaller, typically falling in the 8" to 12" range. Due to their size, they're not recommended for use on thick, heavy limbs, but for pruning tall branches, they're the safest option.