7 Best Chainsaws: 2020 Chainsaw Reviews and Ratings

Best Chainsaws

If you own a home, you likely have encountered some challenging lawn care tasks from time to time. For example, if you have large woody brush growing up in your backyard, you are going to have a hard time getting rid of it with your basic riding lawn mower. Therefore, isn’t it worthwhile looking for the best chainsaws to upgrade the effieciency?

However, a  good chainsaw can make quick work of your messiest sections of property. Many people are deterred from buying chainsaws, thinking that they have to buy the same clunky, heavy duty models that are used by professional loggers and landscapers.

To the contrary, the best chainsaw for you might not fall into this category at all. There are plenty of excellent lightweight chainsaws, and the best homeowner chainsaw might be right around the corner. Consider our buying guide so that you can find the best chainsaw for the money – and for your unique needs.

Husqvarna has a reputation as a top chainsaw brand, and if you’re looking for a compact, easy-to-se chainsaw, this is the one to consider. It starts up easily and includes a variety of safety features to prevent kickback. It has a built-in safety break that reduces your personal risk while you are using it. Plus, since it’s easy to handle and maneuver, it is a more ergonomic option that won’t tire you out. 

This chainsaw is the perfect choice for pruning trees, cutting up small blocks of firewood, or other lightweight hobby use. It has a simple tensioning system so that you can make simple adjustments while you are still working, and it also has an automatic oiler so that you don’t have to fuss over oiling the chain. 

What We Liked:

  • Unique X-Torq engine reduces gasoline emissions and fuel usage
  • Designed with exceptional safety features for homeowners with light duty tasks 
  • 18 inch bar can handle small trees with ease

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Can be tough to start in the cold

WORX is well known as a brand that offers affordable outdoor equipment, like weed trimmers and leaf blowers. But did you know they also make chainsaws?The Worx Jawsaw is a small electric chainsaw and features a retractable blade and chain – they won’t do anything until they’re fully enclosed in the guard. This offers a high level of protection and makes this saw one of the safest you can find. 

This is a top rated chainsaw for small tasks. It has a 6” bar length with cutting diameter of 4”. It comes with an automatic chain oiler with a low oil level indicator so that you can simultaneously not have to worry about oiling your saw  -but you can also stay ahead of expensive repairs. It is the only chainsaw designed to operate directly on the ground or pavement – you won’t have to break your back in order to use this saw because you can use it while standing upright. 

What We Liked:

  • Lightweight and easy to use, coming in at just over 8 lbs
  • Comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Purchase includes bar and chain oil, spanner wrench, oil bottler, chain and bar

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Too small for major tasks

The DeWalt chainsaw is a good chainsaw if you are looking for a small, midweight chainsaw that can tackle most homeowner tasks. It has a high-efficiency brushless motor to maximize run time and motor life. It comes with a tool-free chain tensioning and bar tightening knob to allow you to adjust the tool for optimum use. It is compact and lightweight, weighs less than nine pounds.

Because this chainsaw is battery operated, it is a good lightweight chainsaw. It operates quietly and effectively, making it one of the best budget chainsaws you will find – particularly if you are using it around neighbors who don’t like a lot of noise.

What We Liked:

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Comes pre-sharpened
  • Operates extremely quietly 

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Operates at a low 20 V so you will have to charge the battery more frequently

If you are looking for a good heavy duty chainsaw, look no further than the Husqvanra 20 inch 455 Rancher. This gas powered chainsaw is the best saw for landowners who want a high-powered machine. It has a 55cc motor and a 20 inch bar, meaning you can cut down larger trees with ease. 

Despite its size, it is a safe chainsaw to use, coming with multiple features for added user safety. Its 2 cycle engine has inertia-activated chain brakes for safety while you operating. It’s also easy to maintain – it has an automatic chain oiler so you don’t have to worry about supplying your device with regular oilings. It has a side-mounted chain tensioning unit so you can make quick adjustments, and it also has a quick-release air filter to make it easier to clean. 

What We Liked:

  • X-Torque capability lowers fuel consumption
  • Comes with a bar cover to increase the longevity of your saw
  • Ideal for cutting trees, firewood, and large limbs

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Brake can sometimes interfere with start-up

Of the many Stihl chainsaws Home Depot keeps in stock, this is probably the most rugged – it’s the most heavy duty chainsaw you will find. Not designed for homeowners with occasional small tasks to complete but instead for those who want to tackle massive jobs, this saw is the most popular commercial chainsaw in the world for forestry applications. 

This chainsaw is equipped with an environmentally friendly 2-MIX engine technology. This allows for lower consumption of fuel as well as lower emissions without sacrificing performance in the woods. It has a heavy-duty air filter system to keep out fine dust particles, which will reduce the amount of maintenance you need to do as well. 

What We Liked:

  • Easy to start with a simple pull start system
  • Automatically adjust to varying fuel grades and changes in temperature
  • No manual carburettor adjustments needed

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Professional garde saw is not designed for lightweight tasks

This chainsaw is one of the top rated chainsaws you will find. It has a high-performing 46cc 2-cycle gas powered engine. It delivers consistent power and has a 20-inch bar that can tackle most jobs with ease. It has an anti-vibration design so it’s more comfortable to use. And if that’s not enough, it also has a cushion-wrapped handle that is ergonomic and offers more comfort and balance than any comparable tool. 

This chainsaw has quickstart technology – all you need to do is pull the cord and the spring-assisted starting mechanism will take care of the rest. It even has an automatic oiler so that maintenance is seamless and requires minimal thought. 

What We Liked:

  • Comes with a heavy-duty carrying case and 2-cycle oil
  • You can access the spark plug and filter without any tools, making it easy to maintain
  • Ergonomic design is great for homeowners

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Difficult to start it when it is cold

The Milwaukee 2727-20 M18 FUEL is a great tool and one of the best homeowner chainsaws you will find. It has a 16” Oregon Bar and Chain and is compatible with all M18 batteries – meaning you can use this chainsaw with the same type of batteries you use to power your other outdoor tools by Milwaukee, like weed eaters or drills.

This chainsaw has a variable speed trigger, giving you ultimate control over every task. It comes with an automatic oiler to keep your chain lubricated and cuts just as fast as many gas-powered models, delivering up to 150 cuts per battery charge.

What We Liked:

  • Excellent for tackling small jobs around the house
  • Compatible with any M18 battery to help save you time and money
  • 16” bar can tackle most medium-duty tasks

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Does not come with battery or charger – must be purchased separately

Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide Questions

If you’re looking for more information about the best chainsaw for the money, you might be overwhelmed by all of the options out there. While our top rated chainsaws are a good place to start, we also have some answers to the most commonly asked questions below to help you get started.

What Size Bar Do I Need?

A major consideration you need to make when buying your chainsaw is how long the guide bar length is. The longer the bar your chainsaw has, the more power it also tends to have – although this isn’t necessarily always the case. 

Bar length starts at around six inches and increases by increments of two inches until you reach 24 inches. Small models tend to have more safety features and the very smallest chainsaws don’t look like chainsaws at all but like branch loppers. 

In a standard chainsaw, you usually won’t find a bar length in anything less than eight inches. A lightweight chainsaw will usually have a bar around this size. They are good at small tasks like pruning, trimming bushes, and cutting narrow wood. They also tend to be safest, so if you are new to operating a chainsaw and don’t need to operate any heavy-duty tasks, this might be your best buy.

The next category of bar lengths is those that have blades between 16 and 20 inches long. These can be used for cutting down medium-sized trees, and sometimes, they may be able to handle larger trees, too. This is also a good size for cutting up firewood.

Once you surpass 20 inches, you’re in professional territory now. These are the heaviest models of chainsaw and they can easily wear you out – plus, they aren’t always as safe. However, they can handle all kinds of tasks so if you’re planning on cutting down very large trees, you will need to look for a chainsaw with this size bar or larger.

When you are shopping for the best chainsaw, a good rule of thumb to remember is that the bar you use should be at least two inches longer than the diameter of the tree you want to cut down – for example, a 20-inch bar can handle a tree that is 18 inches in diameter, but nothing bigger.

Is a Gas Powered Chainsaw Better?

When you purchase a chainsaw,  you can choose between three different types of good chainsaws. Gas-powered chainsaws are the best chain heavy duty chainsaws, as they will have the most power and run-time. Electric chainsaw and battery-operated chainsaws, though better for the environment and much quieter to operate, won’t give you quite as much power for heavier jobs.

Corded electric chainsaws run on – you guessed it  -electricity and usually have power cords that need to be plugged into an outlet in order for them to work. You will either need a long extension cord or operate in close proximity to your power source. That’s the major disadvantage of using an electric chainsaw – you can’t use it way back in the woods. 

However, electric models tend to require much less maintenance and they can save you time and money over their lifetime. They operate quietly, while gas-powered chainsaws, though more powerful, are quite loud.

Battery-powered chainsaws usually run on lithium-ion batteries and while they aren’t going to win any awards for power, they tend to be super lightweight. Like electric chainsaws, they also require minimal maintenance and they are quiet to operate, too.

What Safety Features Should My Chainsaw Have?

The most important thing to remember when operating a chainsaw is that it can be one of the most dangerous power tools in your garage. You need to train yourself properly on how to use one of these pieces of equipment – there are many training booklets and instructional videos you can watch, but most of the experts recommend taking a certification course before you decide to use your new chainsaw.

There’s a lot that you can do to minimize your safety risk while you are using your chainsaw. Wearing the proper safety equipment, like protective pants and steel-toed boots, while operating your chainsaw can significantly reduce your risk. In addition, many chainsaws now come with certain safety features.

For example, almost all chainsaws now come with a chain brake. A chain brake is designed to stop the chain from rotating immediately, which can prevent injury in some cases. The chain brake activates in one of two ways – it will stop the saw if it detects that the chain is moving too quickly. This can be beneficial if you have dropped the saw or if a severe kickback occurs. You can also activate the chain break by pushing a handle forward on the top of the saw. It will allow you to bring the chain to an abrupt halt.

While almost every gas model has a chain break, most electric models do not. However, some come with electric brakes that can reverse the electric flow and bring the blade to a quick stop. 

You should also look for a chainsaw that has low-kickback bars. These bars also prevent kickback and are a great feature if you are new to operating chainsaws. Other saws will have a safety trigger that you must hold down when you start the saw, while others have a secondary trigger to run the blade, making it more difficult to start it by accident – this is known as a “throttle interlock.” 

How Much Does a Chainsaw Cost?

There are chainsaws to suit just about every budget – from just a couple hundred dollars all the way up to many thousands of dollars. More expensive chainsaws tend to be those that are used by professional loggers, while less expensive models might include options like the best chainsaw for home use.

The price of your chainsaw might go up for other optional features as well. Some saws have side-mounted tension adjusters. These allow you to change the tension in the blade to help manage its effectiveness at cutting wood. This will allow you to adjust your chain’s tightness without requiring you to use tools. 

Some other chainsaws have auto-adjusters that maintain chain tension without requiring you to do anything at all. These saws tend to cut much better than one that you will have to tension yourself, but they also come with steeper price tags. 

Similarly, some chainsaws now come with automatic oilers. These can save you some serious work, time, and money. All chainsaws require oiling in order to keep things running in tip-top shape. An automatic oiler consists of a reservoir filled with oil that you top up from time to time. When the saw senses that it needs oil, it pulls from the reservoir and oils the chain. Again, these saws tend to be more expensive.

What Brand of Chainsaw is Best for a Homeowner?

After reading this article, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of options out there for you. There is not a good one-size-fits-all solution to what the best chainsaw for the money might be. If you’re a homeowner, though, you should consider the types of projects you will be doing before running out to the store – the best chainsaw for home use will depend largely on what exactly you want to do with it.

If you’re only doing small tasks around the house, such as knocking down brush or cutting up small pieces of firewood, you can probably get by with a lightweight chainsaw – perhaps even a battery-powered or electric model. You might consider top rated chainsaws like those made by Milwaukee or DeWalt.

However, if you plan on doing more intense tasks – like dropping trees in the forest or producing firewood on a commercial scale – you should invest in a heavy duty chainsaw. Consider one of the best chainsaw brands, like Stihl or Husqvarna, if you are in this situation. While these saws tend to be a bit more expensive, they also tend to offer much more power for bigger jobs.

Are Stihl Chainsaws Better Than Husqvarna?

Read any gas chainsaw reviews, and you will likely discover a heated debate about which types of chainsaws are better – Stihl vs. Husqvarna. Talk to any logger, and you’ll likely find that they are split down the middle between these two top chainsaw companies. 

Here are the major differences. Stihl is a German-based company, while Huswvarna operates out of Sweden. Both use Chinese parts and ship internationally, so the country of manufacturing probably doesn’t make a huge difference. 

Husqvarna chainsaws generally have larger fuel tanks. This adds some weight to the saw, but it means you won’t have to stop quite as often to fuel up. Husqvarna has a reputation for producing long-lasting saws – Stihl doesn’t necessarily lack durability, but since the company hasn’t been around as long, you may have trouble comparing the two best chainsaw brands in this fashion.

Stihl offers some of the best chainsaws for the money -they tend to be less expensive than those manufactured by Husqvarna. Both Stihl and Husqvarna offer comparable power in their saws, but Stihl tends to take less time and money to maintain. This means it might be a better chainsaw for home use.


Overwhelmed? Don’t be. While there are plenty of chainsaws out there to choose from, knowing exactly how you plan to use your saw is the easiest way to figure out the best chainsaw for your needs. Once you have your goal in mind, you will be able to purchase the best chainsaw without worrying that it is too big – or too small – for the jobs you have in mind.

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