The best chainsaw for any specific user is one that is suitable for the task that is intended for depending on power capacity, weight, and the users experience with chainsaw use, ease of use and safety features. It should also be well within the budget of the prospective buyer.
You’ve decided you want to buy a chainsaw, but you don’t know where to begin – an understandable dilemma. You might think to yourself, which brands make the best chainsaws, which types of chainsaws are available, and what should I know before I buy one?
Chainsaws are responsible for over thousands accidents each year, but they’re necessary for homeowners and landscapers to complete certain projects. The wrong purchase could lead to a lost investment, or worse – a deadly accident.
Most chainsaw brands boast themselves as the best on the market, making it hard to know exactly which perform better than others. We’re putting the top chainsaw brands head-to-head so you can make an informed and confident purchase.
Which Chainsaw Is Best For Me?
Before we discuss the best overall chainsaw brands, ask yourself a few questions to outline your needs:
- What will you use your chainsaw for, and how often will you use it?
- Will you cut small, medium, or large trees?
- What level of experience do you have working with chainsaws?
If you’re only using your chainsaw for small projects one or twice a year, you won’t need a commercial-grade behemoth to get the job done. Consider your needs and experience before purchasing a chainsaw, as some heavy-duty brands could pose danger if you’re using them for the wrong kind of project.
Which Factors Should I Consider Before Buying a Chainsaw?
Chainsaws are not one-size fits-all. They each come with different features you should consider before making a purchase.
Gas Chainsaws Vs. Electric Chainsaws
Gas chainsaws are powered by gasoline and don’t require a cord. Electric chainsaws plug into an outlet and use electricity – these are usually safer, but they use a wired connection for power which can be limited.
Recently, battery-powered chainsaws have grown in popularity. They’re cordless like gas-powered chainsaws, but once they run out of battery power they’ll need to charge for several hours.
Gas chainsaws are designed for heavy-duty wood cutting. They’re the most popular choice among professional landscapers and contractors because of their power, but they’re not always necessary for homeowners with small projects.
For small projects, consider an electric-powered chainsaw. Electric chainsaws are great for cutting small trees and pruning shrubs, but you can’t use them to take down large trees.
Electric chainsaws are quiet, making them a great choice if you don’t want to disturb your neighbors while you’re working. To use an electric chainsaw efficiently, you’ll need a heavy-gauge weatherproof extension cord (preferably over 100ft) in order to reduce your risk of injury.
Why should your personal strength impact your choice of chainsaw? Different brands make chainsaws of varying weights, and you should choose one light enough so you can control it with ease.
Chainsaws are dangerous, so you should have complete control over the power tool when you use it. The last thing you want to do is lose control over your equipment and harm yourself or someone else.
Never use a chainsaw that’s too heavy or too large for you to maneuver with ease. Stick to a smaller chainsaw, lighter chainsaw until you have more experience with the tool in order to prevent injury.
- Maintenance – How easy is it to maintain your chainsaw?
- Safety – Can you easily initiate your chainsaw’s chain break?
- Ergonomics – How comfortable is your chainsaw to hold and manipulate?
|Husqvarna 450||Gas-powered||50.2 cc||18 inch||10.8 pounds|
|Remington RM5118R Rodeo||Gas-powered||51 cc||18 inch||25 pounds|
|Echo CS-400||Gas-powered||40.2 cc||18 inch||10.1 pounds|
|Tanaka TCS40EA18||Gas-powered||40 cc||18 inch||16 pounds|
|Poulan Pro PP5020AV||Gas-powered||50 cc||20 inch||10 pounds|
|GreenWorks 20312 DigiPro G-MAX||Battery-powered||40V Battery||16 inch||6.9 pounds|
|Black & Decker LCS1240||Battery-powered||40V Battery||12 inch||10.4 pounds|
|Makita XCU02Z 18V X2 LXT||Battery-powered||36V Battery||12 inch||8.8 pounds|
|WORX WG303.1||Corded-electric||14.5 Amp||16 inch||11 pounds|
|OREGON CORDLESS 40 Volt MAX CS250-A6||Battery-powered||40V Battery||14-inch||9.3 pounds|
The Best Chainsaw Brands
Now that you know what you should look for in a chainsaw, it’s time to look at the best chainsaw brands. The best chainsaw brand for you will depend on your experience level, the type of chainsaw you want, and the projects you need to complete.
In this list, I have selected and categorized the best chainsaw brands for homeowners and for professional chainsaw users based on their popularity and reviews from other chainsaw users. The three top-rated chainsaw manufacturer include; Husqvarna, Stihl and Echo.
These three companies are all notable for producing the best electric chainsaw and gas-powered chainsaw in the market used by chainsaw users all over the world. There are other brands that i have included in this list which also produce quality chainsaws.
Although all these companies manufacturer quality chainsaws, the various models produced by each company also differ in terms of features, power and the intended tasks determine whether or not a chainsaw from a particular chainsaw brand will be suitable for a specific user.
Husqvarna is a Swedish company that was founded back in 1689 for the production of muskets. Since then the company has grown and today they are the part of multiple companies that produce many different things.
The part of the company that we are interested in is very well known amongst the professionals for their top quality outdoor power tools such as chainsaws, trimmers, mowers, etc.
Additional, they also produce cutting equipment, diamond tools, and watering products. The company owns several brands some of which are Gardena, WeedEater, RedMax, Diamond Boart, etc.
They have the reputation worldwide for producing most of the best power tools you can find on the market and the chainsaws are no exception.
The most popular items they produce are their professional-grade chainsaws but they also make quite good lighter electric models. The Husqvarna chainsaws will fit your needs no matter if you are a professional or a first-time user.
The chainsaws are pretty reliable and powerful and they have many additional features to make your cutting easier.
Other than price, the only downside is that their chainsaws are usually much heavier than the other brands which make them hard to handle if you don’t have experience.
The company claims that nature is always a number 1 priority and because of that they equip all of their chainsaws with the unique X-TORQ engines in order to minimize the strain on the environment.
They even offer so-called silent and cordless cutting with their line of battery-powered chainsaws that can perform almost as good as the petrol-powered ones.
Of course, the quality comes with the price and because of that, their products are amongst the most expensive ones on the market.
- Very reliable and powerful
- Fast cutting
- Combined choke/stop control and visible fuel level
- Easy start and safe to use
- Generally heavier than other brands
- Manual tensioners
- Chain problems
When we talk about the Stihl brand, the first two things that come to our minds are reliability and power. Stihl is a private corporation from Germany and they are specialized in the production of chainsaws and other power equipment such as trimmers and blowers.
The company was founded in 1926. The founder was Andreas Stihl and he was one of the most important innovators in the early stages of production of chainsaws.
Today, the company claims to be the best-selling brand of chainsaws in the world. They are the choice of many professionals.
Stihl’s areas of expertise are gas-powered chainsaws. Their products are suitable for both homeowners and professionals, although they might be a bit of overkill for some inexperienced users or smaller projects.
One of the most prominent highlights of the Stihl chainsaws are all the advanced safety features that make every job much safer. Their chainsaws are known to have many optional features which can be very useful.
Stihl developed an electronic ignition system for their chainsaws so we don’t have to struggle with starting a chainsaw which makes their products an excellent choice for beginners or first-time users.
The chainsaws made by Stihl are usually used by the tree removal professionals, farmers, and ranchers, but you don’t have to be professional to use their saws. Most of them are small enough so you can store them in your garage and use them for periodical clean-ups.
- Many optional features
- Easy to start and safe use
- Electronic ignition system
- Extremely powerful and reliable
- Anti-vibration system
- Very economical when it comes to fuel consumption
- Low noise
- More expensive than most other brands
- Air filter need to be checked and cleaned frequently
Not to be confused with Poulan Pro, the Poulan brand offers a low-tier array of chainsaws ideal for cutting firewood. Poulan’s tools are a good deal for the price but don’t expect their saws to cut big trees. If you are a chainsaw rookie not interested in commercial work, you should consider getting a Poulan saw.
Their saws offer a cylinder displacement of 40cc, and a bar length of up to 18″ for easy maneuverability in small sections, the weight of their saws is reasonable as well, going from 16 lbs to 19 lbs. However their selling point is their price, Poulan saws can cost as low as 120 dollars, perfect for hobbyists and homeowners.
- Affordable pricing
- Bar length goes from 14″ to 18″, which makes the saws portable.
- Easy to maneuver in tight places: Thanks to the bar length and the machine’s portability, it is easy to handle when cutting small sections.
- Not for heavy duty or for cutting big trees
- Usually difficult to start: This is not a problem particular to the Poulan brand, it is a general issue with chainsaws. However, Poulan saws have a tendency to take more time to start and need more heating time in cold season than other brands.
- Sloppy controls: We highly recommend anti-vibration gloves when handling their equipment, the Poulan saws don’t generally have an anti-vibration feature.
Echo claims that their chainsaws are “built to tackle the toughest job”. And they are not lying. With over 30 years in the production of high-quality power tools, they can really deliver what they are offering.
Their chainsaws are perfect for both professionals and beginners. They are packed with useful features and they can serve you for a long time without any troubles. These are most definitely very reliable tools.
The Echo chainsaws have enough power to take on big projects without a problem yet they are still quite practical and easy to use so anyone can operate them easily.
The Echo offers both gas-powered and electric chainsaws that are significantly cheaper than other brands without compromising the quality. This makes the Echo chainsaws a perfect choice for those who want the quality product but are on the budget.
These chainsaws feature high performance, two-stroke motors as well as Pro-Fire ignition systems which give you a quite fast start and more than smooth performance.
They feature a nice vibration reduction technology to ensure comfort and maximum control over your saw. Controls are grouped so you can access all functions of the saw with ease.
Each individual chainsaw is built using professional-grade parts in order to provide the best possible value for the price and there is a vast selection of useful accessories and parts.
- Very affordable compared to brands of similar power and performance
- Smooth performance
- Features are practical and straightforward
- Automatic oiling system
- Comfortable and easy to handle
- Doesn’t have as many features as some top of the line brands as Stihl or Husqvarna chainsaws
- Occasional durability issues
- Some users don’t like the looks
This brand has been a pioneer in the manufacturing of electric power tools; they propose different solutions to common problems like safety or starting the chainsaw. You will need to spend a few bucks because Makita’s tools don’t come in cheap, but they do offer a broad spectrum of instruments that can adapt to the occasional use or the professional use.
Regarding power, Makita chainsaws range from 32cc from 79cc and their bar length goes from 14″ to 20″, so depending on what you need as a user you’ll most certainly have a Makita saw that’s ideal for you.
- Power range: Unlike other brands, Makita does have a saw for everyone, their most powerful saws (50cc and up) can cut through thick wood like butter.
- Quick to Start: Makita implemented an easy start system in their chainsaws by having a spring-assisted starter combined with low RPM ignition coil. This system makes the starter assembly work less and wear less, and the whole start process to be smoother.
- The price is high compared to other brands, especially if you are an occasional user.
- Loosening Chain: The saws have a “Tool-less” chain tensioning for chain adjusted, however, there are several reported cases of the chain getting loose and needing to be readjusted.
Oregon is widely known for its production of chainsaw chains, but the company makes high-quality chainsaws as well.
If you’re looking for a lightweight chainsaw for small projects, Oregon may be the best choice for you. Their chainsaws are not suitable for heavy-duty professional projects, but they’re perfect for light tasks.
- Much more affordable than other brands
- Lightweight and easy to maneuver
- Designed with inexperienced users in mind
- Less powerful than Stihl or Husqvarna
- Unsuitable for professionals or heavy tasks
Black & Decker
Black & Decker specializes in handy chainsaws from homeowners; their tools are designed for the everyday needs of a garden, their tools don’t cover farm use or commercial use.
The Black & Decker saws are light-weighted, small tools, but they are also light powered (from 20V to 40V) and will satisfy birch trimming.
- Affordable Pricing
- Easy maneuverability
- The tools are compact and portable, even the most powerful 12 Amp motor model has a relatively low weight of 12.8 lbs.
- Tools frequently ship with technical issues with the pump. There are common complaints about the oil not flowing from the pump to the chain.
- Not suitable for commercial work
- The chain can be jammed relatively easy
Remington is an American company which has produced many quality outdoor products and tools for over nine decades.
The Remington brand produces excellent electric, gas-powered chainsaw and pole saw models for homeowners and for professional chainsaw users among its products. It has a reputation for producing quality and reliable quality products.
- Affordable for a wide range of chainsaw users
- Features that enhance the safety of the chainsaw user
- Easy to use.
- Unsuitable for heavy tasks
Tanaka is the brand that has been around for a quite while. They gained the most of their popularity during the 60s and 70s when they made “Bike Bug” bolt-on motors for bicycles. The main focus of the company today is the 2-stroke outdoor power tools.
Most of the people haven’t even heard of Tanaka and yet, they are in business since 1915. It is a well respected family-owned Japanese company.
Their chainsaws are an excellent solution for homeowners, professional landscapers, as well as the utility professionals. The Tanaka makes 2-stroke commercial-grade chainsaws.
Most of their models have a great power-to-weight ratio and are powered by Tanaka’s PureFire low-emission engines. The cylinders are always chrome-plated with a steel connecting rod.
Tanaka chainsaws are ideal for limbing, shaping, pruning, hobby work such as chainsaw sculpting, but they also have some serious models for serious professional use. They design their saws to be mobile and end easy to use.
Furthermore, the Tanaka saws feature a superior anti-vibration system making them comfortable to handle. They also provide all the safety features necessary for the safe work.
When it comes to price, the Tanaka chainsaws are very affordable and they provide exceptional value for the price.
- Affordable price
- Superior anti-vibration systems
- Low-emission engines
- Excellent power-to-weight ratio
- Easy to assemble
- Poor assembly instructions
- Some saws are known to leak chain oil
- It gets hot very quickly
Jonsered categorizes its chainsaws into occasional use/firewood, part-time forestry use, and full-time forestry use, meaning they manufacture saws that cover most of the user needs, their saws offer a power range from 21cc to 70cc.
Their saws are world-class, quality tools and the brand makes most of the must-have list for farm owners and commercial use.
- A wide array of applications: Having a selection of cylinder displacement going from 47.5cc to 70cc.
- Easy to start: The Spin Start system reduces pull resistance in the starter handle by 90%.
- Good price for quality
- Turbo air cleaning: This prevents clogged up air vents, their tools use centrifugal force to separate sawdust from air vents.
- Not for homeowner light use
- The tool is less maneuverable than other brands in tight spaces.
This is a chainsaw brand produced by a Chinese manufacturer. It is known for high quality and highly affordable chainsaw that are very popular with homeowners and occasional users.
The WORX brand has produced excellent chainsaws and made them available for all kinds of chainsaw users.
Because they are very popular with chainsaw users, the manufacturer has been able to mass produce them at a cheaper cost and this is why they are quite affordable.
- Price very affordable
- Easy to use
- May not be very durable
- Not suitable for heavy duty tasks.
Homelite is a well-established elite brand when it comes to chainsaws, they used to rule the market back in the 90s. However, with their limited catalog their tools have become mid-range useful chainsaws, not aiming for a casual hobbyist or a commercial user but falling in a weird zone between the two.
Their chainsaws average 42cc in engine capacity and range from 14″ to 18″ bar length so that they can meet a casual part-time farmer needs, but they won’t work for light or heavy work.
- Safety settings: Homelite saws have anti-kickback features to stop the chain before it does any damage, they are also nicely implemented so that they don’t compromise the speed of the tool.
- Homelite’s tools are hard to break tools that work on any terrain.
- Engine flood: Users have consistently reported that the chainsaws often get knocked down mid-word.
- The chainsaws don’t have a quick start-up system, and there is a good deal of strength involved in pulling the cord so that the saw can start.
- Unsuitable for heavy use cutting large trees.
Makers of old-fashioned saws, Craftsman has stuck to the traditional, typical stereotype of a chainsaw, you can expect to get a heavy-duty beast when you buy a Craftsman saw, and this is not at all bad. With 50cc of engine capacity and reaching a 20″ bar length, their saws are not intended for homeowners, hobbyists, or casual users.
- Efficient: Even though they are noisy and heavy, Craftsman machines are very effective and can cut through wood very quickly, the starting process is considerably fast too.
- Craftsman tools are designed to reduce the intensity and the frequency of kickbacks, additionally they have chain catchers so that if the chain breaks it won’t whip back to the user.
- Chainsaw delivers their tools with anti-vibration features. However, you can expect to be tired out from the machine’s weight despite that feature.
Dolmar is the company that has been around for a long time and they have been making chainsaws since the beginning. They are one of the oldest manufacturers of gas-powered chainsaws. In 1991, the company was acquired by Makita, and we all know what quality Makita stands for. Makita enabled Dolmar to go global.
The power tools produced by Dolmar are known to be very strong and very durable. Stone stock and straight out of the box, the Dolmar saw will work perfectly and will be powerful.
They are very easy to handle because they are lighter than most of the other brands. Not only that they are light, but they are also perfectly balanced which is quite important for the safety of those who handle it.
All controls on Dolmar chainsaws are nicely placed so you can operate the saw with ease. Now, the Dolmar offers a bit different but still very practical solutions when it comes to safety and starting the saw.
These are not the cheapest saws you will find but it is worth to spend some extra buck for the tool that will last longer and perform perfectly.
The Dolmar saws are excellent for both professional and occasional use. They offer a very wide power range which means that there is a Dolmar chainsaw for everyone and the most powerful saws will cut through wood like the hot knife through butter.
- Quick start and easy to use
- Light and durable
- Ergonomic handles
- Loosening chain (there have been several reports of chain getting loose and needing readjustment
- Not very cheap
Ryobi (Ryobi Limited) is a Japanese company that produces parts for cars and motor vehicles, but they also produce a pretty decent power tools. The company has an excellent reputation for producing affordable power tools with pro features.
When it comes to chainsaws, they are better known for their electric chainsaw, but the gas-powered ones also provide an excellent quality. The company aims at woodworkers, homeowners, craftspeople, outdoor enthusiasts, and value-conscious contractors.
With all those cheap chainsaws on the market, the main goal is to find the one that will provide excellent value and performance for the money. Well, Ryobi chainsaws provide exactly that.
Of course, you can’t really expect the professional quality, because in order to keep the low price they can’t really use premium quality parts. With that being said, these cheap saws will get the job done.
They are easy to start and utilize and quite light and comfortable. Since these are not professional saws, they don’t feature the safety mechanism that will cut out before the engine burns out, so it is recommendable not to force them or to push them too hard, but that can be applied to any chainsaw.
The saws do have some useful features but they are nowhere near Stihl or other top-notch chainsaws.
- Cheap price
- Light and comfortable to handle
- Anti-vibration ergonomic handles
- Easy to adjust
- Chain tensioning system that doesn’t require additional rev up tools
- Doesn’t have too many features
- No safety mechanism to prevent engine from burning out
There are dozens of chainsaw brands on the market. If you are looking for a quality and durable chainsaw and you can afford it, you can look for model from Husqvarna, Stihl or Echo that will suit your needs.
However, for homeowners and chainsaw users most of who would probably need a chainsaw for light-medium tasks around the yard, it obviously does not make much sense to buy a large expensive gas-powered chainsaw. You can still find excellent chainsaws from WORX, Remington and other brands like Makita, Poulan, and Oregon among others.
There are numerous never-ending online debates and discussions among chainsaw users about which company between the Husqvarna group and Stihl produce the best chainsaws. However, both companies have massive followings and reviews from loyal fans and obviously produce superior chainsaws.