The type, style, and size of chainsaw you buy are dependent entirely on your needs, budget, physical requirements, and the project you are working on. Do not be intimidated by all the different styles and options, here are our chainsaw buying tips to give you an idea of what will best suit your needs:
What are you using it for?
As a homeowner, you will typically only need a chainsaw for occasional use, such as doing a little light cutting a few times a year. An electric chainsaw will work great for you. However, if you are taking down medium-sized trees to burn in a wood-burning furnace, for example, you will want a petrol chainsaw with a 45cc engine or more.
How much experience do you have?
If you have never used a chainsaw, then you will want to start with a small chainsaw; complete your project goals and gain experience. Small chainsaws range from 12”-18” and the size will depend on your needs. 20” and up is really great for experienced chainsaw users.
What type of wood are you cutting, soft or hard?
For dogwood, hickory, oak, ash, beech, birch, and hard maple you will need a powerful chainsaw, a gas chainsaw would be best to use.
How often will you need it?
If you only need it a few days a year, an electric chainsaw is great for you and you will not have to worry about maintenance. Petrol chainsaws require more maintenance and are great for people who have big projects or will use them often.
Where are you using it?
If you own a lot of land and need to go deep in the woods, then a petrol chainsaw is a great choice, if you are staying in one spot by the house, an electric chainsaw will work for you.
Is noise an issue for you?
Petrol chainsaws have a two-stroke engine like lawnmowers and are noisy, so you might want to consider hearing protection when you use them.
Most important factors:
Guide bar length
This is the tip of the chain to where it enters the housing and represents the cutting area that you will have in a single pass. For the safety cutting the bar should be 2” longer than the wood you want to cut. Keep in mind that the longer the bar length, the more difficult it is to handle.
Engine Power Type
- Petrol: Power is measured in engine size of cubic centimeters or cubic inches. The more powerful the engine, the higher that number will be.
- Electric: The power is referred to as Amperage or Amps – the higher the Amps, the more power.
- Battery: The power in these are referred to as Voltage or Volts and again, the higher the number the more volts. This type is for very light cutting and pruning, nothing more.
Chainsaws can be dangerous if not used properly and over 100,000 chainsaw injuries happen every year so be safe! Wear protective gear when operating your chainsaw and be educated on safety issues.
- Avoid touching the bar guide tip to the ground, logs or branches.
- Keep the saw at full power when cutting.
- Keep chain sharpened with correct chain tension.
- Check safety devices are working.
- Use anti-kickback chain when possible.
- Never cut more than one piece of wood at a time.
Remember you will need to hold, control, and manipulate the chainsaw; so be sure to take into account your abilities when purchasing a chainsaw. Remember that you will grow tired as you use it, so a 12lb chainsaw might not be too heavy when you start, but it will feel heavier the more you work, keep this in mind.
Be sure to take this seriously and understand your needs and safety concerns when purchasing. Consult with your local authorized seller when making your final purchase to be sure you have considered every aspect of your chainsaw.