Gas-Powered Chainsaw Review Overview
Today we’re looking at chainsaws. No, we will not be drawing comparisons from horror movies to your life in suburbia. We’re going to look at the process for picking out a gas-powered, cordless chainsaw and how to get the most out of your purchase, all the while staying safe.
Types of Chainsaws
Let’s take a look at what a chainsaw is used for (or at least the kind we’re looking at today). There are people who professionally use chainsaws to cut down trees several feet in diameter. (Special shout out to the short-lived American Loggers and Swamp Loggers shows). On the opposite side of the spectrum, there’s those who use chainsaws to do light brushwork around the house. We’re splitting the difference, and looking at chainsaws that are both powerful and versatile.
Chainsaw Sizes, Uses & Safety
Think about a personal chainsaw that can be used for larger projects, that’s what we’re after. These are what we use when disaster strikes and a tree falls across your lawn or some low limbs need to be removed on your property.
Chainsaws in the 16-24-inch bar region border between personal and professional use. Utilizing a two-cycle engine, the value of a chainsaw powered with gasoline can be measure in time saved. I’d hate to state the obvious considering the experienced and knowledgeable crowd we’re writing for, but each chainsaw in our guide take a mixture of gasoline and oil.
One group of people who should absolutely not be using chainsaws of this size are beginners. While we do not hold anything against amateurs, operating a machine with a rapidly spinning chain filled with sharp teeth should only be done so by those who can do so safely.
Despite nothing being wrong with building calluses on your hands using a hand saw, cutting through dozens of trees and branches in the same time that it would take to get through one by hand is attractive. Saws with a 16-24-inch bar can be used for small and big projects alike. By choosing a length that can take on trees of a wide variety of sizes, you’re filling multiple needs with one tool. Having the perfect chainsaw means your arsenal has a single tool suited for anything that comes your way.
Best Gas-Powered Chainsaws Reviewed
Below we take a look at five premier options available today. We’ll run you through the ins and outs of what makes each chainsaw special, as well as the types of projects it is designed for. To top it all off, we’ve thrown in a few extra considerations at the end. These are to help you refine your chainsaw search and pick out the tool that will be the best fit for you.
Here are the best gas-powered chainsaws:
1. Best Heavy Duty: Husqvarna 24 Inch 460 Rancher Gas-Powered Chainsaw
Husqvarna 24-Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw Review
If you want to cut with the big dogs, you need to come prepared. If you walk into a forest holding a Husqvarna 24 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw, there will not be many trees you can’t bring down. While it’s important to be cognizant of forest preservation efforts, we also understand that sometimes the job at hand requires clearing large tracts of land. In our mind, there is no saw better equipped for the challenge than the Husqvarna 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw.
When someone asks you what you like best about the Husqvarna 460 Rancher, your answer can be as simple as one word: power. Thanks to a 60.3cc engine and 24-inch bar, you can take on projects by yourself that otherwise would require more time and resources if you were using a smaller saw. While it is important to always go slow and at a controlled pace, it’s inevitable that you’ll finish jobs quicker with this saw.
As is the nature of jobsites with chainsaws, dust is rampant. An intricately designed air injection system allows you to go longer between servicings, keeping you at work for longer periods. As a preventative measure, this system makes it difficult for dust and debris to build up on your air filter. From a maintenance perspective, the air filter is easily released for when cleaning or replacement is required.
Going through jobs, we know that adjustments need to be made on the fly. Having a saw that works with you goes a long way in maximizing your efficiency. To help make chain adjustments, there is an easy to use side-mounted tensioning system designed for the purpose of making life easier when you’re on the go.
Feedback from Customers
Husqvarna customers have a lot to say about this chainsaw, nearly all of it good. On average, it has been rated 4.6 stars overall. Atop the long list of praises from its users is Easy to Use at 4.8 stars followed by Safety Features at 4.7 stars. Digging a little deeper, Presentation and Value for Money are both highly regarded, rated at 4.6 stars.
Original Retail $519.95
SKU 460 Rancher
2. Best for Farms/Ranches: Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas-Powered Chainsaw
Husqvarna 20-Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw Review
A personal saw from a professional company, the Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw with 55.5cc engine is the perfect solution for anything that needs to get done around your home. Now this isn’t a tool for pruning bushes or anything like that. It is, however, the solution for taking down the dead tree at the back of your yard you’ve been waiting to fall. It’s also the solution for cutting up the same dead tree after it falls because you never got around to taking it down.
To keep your saw safe, Husqvarna throws in a bar cover to protect the 20-inch cutting arm. Since we use these tools outside and transport them in a mess of other tools in the back of trucks, it’s important we protect our investments. After all, nobody wants to show up to work or pull the saw out of the garage only to notice something that had been stacked on top of the saw has caused considerable structural damage leaving it unusable or in need of repair. Following the theme of keeping your saw in use, the automatic chain oiler provides a consistent flow of oil for your chain.
Besides efficiency in cutting, you’ll also see the same type of benefits elsewhere. The Husqvarna x-torque system reduces emissions and lowers fuel consumption. Considering the amount of sawdust you breathe in even with a facemask, finding ways to improve the air quality around you is beneficial over time.
Feedback from Customers
When you buy a saw from a brand like Husqvarna, you know that you’re getting a quality product. Unsurprisingly, customers have provided positive feedback. With a 4.5-star overall rating, it’s safe to say that users of the Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher would recommend it to a friend. These users will also tell you that the saw is Easy to Use, 4.6 stars and has a good Value for Money, 4.5 stars.Original Retail $498.76
SKU 455 Rancher
3. Best for the Money: OppsDecor XP2300 58cc 20 Inch Gas Powered Chainsaw with 2 Stroke Engine
OppsDecor XP2300 20-Inch Gas Chainsaw Review
The OppsDecor XP2300 Gas Powered Chainsaw is the most affordable saw in our guide, and likely the entire market. Combining high quality materials and a low cost has been a recipe for success for OppsDecor. Between the advanced design 58cc engine and 2-stroke motor, fuel consumption is up to 20% lower than comparable chainsaws. You’ll also have your pick of color with Light Green, Light Red and a Reddish Orange available.
With a 20-inch bar, the OppsDecor XP2300 is at its best when taking on medium sized jobs. Ideal for storm clean ups, cutting firewood and splitting up larger trees. Anti-vibration handles make the saw easy to control, allowing you to get through even the most difficult parts of cutting with precision.
A major pro for this saw is its safety features. To ease the burden of holding the top handle, a tread like design prevents slips, furthering your control and maneuverability. Additionally quick stopping control and durable outer pieces make it so that you can safely drop this saw down when you need to transition to tasks requiring two hands and a bit more physical exertion.
As an independent brand, there is not bountiful supplies of replacement parts available from the manufacturer. However, a knowledgeable person can take measurements of any pieces that need replacing and substitute from another brand. It’s not as ideal as going straight to where you bought the chainsaw for repairs, but just because it breaks down does not mean buying a replacement saw is necessary. A small price to pay for one of the most affordable saws available.
Feedback from Customers
Thanks to a combination of value and the OppsDecor XP2300 Gas Powered Chainsaw to get jobs of various natures done without issue, customers have raved about their experience. As a complete saw, consumers have rated it 4.5/5 overall stars. Its top-rated feature, Value for Money holds a perfect, 5-star rating with Easy to Use fractionally lower at 4.8 stars.Original Retail $125.99
4. Best Value: SALEM MASTER 6220G 62CC 2-Cycle 20-Inch Gas Powered Chainsaw
Where to buy:
SALEM MASTER 6220G 20-Inch Gas Chainsaw Review
The Salem Master 6220 chainsaw is a mean looking machine. A 62cc engine, 20-inch bar and a design that even those with minimal experience can handle with ease means that this Salem Master saw won’t have to rely on its good looks alone. This saw is at its best when felling mid-sized trees or cutting up already downed trees.
The Salem Master 6220 has about as many odes to safety in just its handle as most saws have all together. Not only does the handle have an ergonomic design, it also has a non-slip finish and shock absorption capabilities. Put all of these together and it’s easy to safely use this saw for extended periods of time.
Added safety features do not stop at the handle. The entire handling system is designed to reduce kickback, and since you’ll likely be taking on bigger trees with this saw, is nice to have. There is also a quick stop chain break and a safety switch that needs to be turned on in order to start the saw.
Once you’re ready to start, the pull cord has a big rope wheel design. This setup makes starting easy due to decreased resistance when compared to other styles. When its operational, an air cleaning system works to eliminate gas emissions while maintaining the low internal temperatures that keep the saw running smoothly.
Feedback from Customers
Looking at the big picture, users of the Salem Master 6220 chainsaw are satisfied giving it a 4.4-star overall rating. Its top-rated feature is Value for Money at 4.5 stars. Where it starts to really get interesting is just below with Easy to Assemble rated 4.4 stars and Easy to Use 4.3 stars. The “theme” running rampant through the reviews falls directly in line with the saws billing as designed to make sawing easy for the user.Original Retail $156.99
Brand SALEM MASTER
5. Best Small Gas Chainsaw: Poulan Pro PR4016 16-Inch 40cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw
Poulan Pro PR4016 16-Inch 40cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw Review
Don’t let the fact that Poulan Pro PR4016 is the smallest chainsaw on our list fool you. It has more power than necessary for nearly all home projects. With a 16-inch bar and 40cc engine, this is the ideal saw for small to mid-size projects around the house. This includes cutting branches off larger trees, felling medium sized trees and turning logs into firewood.
One way that the Poulan Pro PR4016 distinguishes itself is through a built-in spot to store your chain tensioning tool. This isn’t a groove where things can be balanced when turned off, only to go flying when your saw starts vibrating. Rather, it is a specifically designed spot where your tool locks in for when you need it.
If you’re a DIYer, you aren’t going to want to spend a lot of energy starting your chainsaw. Instead of having to do maintenance spot checks and worry about flooding your engine, Poulan makes it easy for you. The pull cord uses spring-assist technology that cuts down on the number of pulls needed to start the engine. Additionally, the easy to use purge bulb keeps your engine ready for when you are.
Feedback from Customers
The Poulan Pro PR4016 chainsaw holds a 4.1-star overall rating. Where this Poulan saw really impresses is in Safety Features, which is rated at 4.6 stars. Sitting just a notch below is Maneuverability and Value for Money, both rated 4.5 stars. If consumer feedback tells us anything, it’s that you can use this saw with ease.Original Retail $154.99
Brand Poulan Pro
Gas Chainsaw Buying Guide
When picking out a saw, more needs to be considered that what looks nice or what your neighbor has and can’t stop talking about. More and more every year, additional chainsaw variations and options are popping up, and thus must be considered.
Gas vs Electric Chainsaw
Electric chainsaws provide “cleaner” energy output and are easier to maintain, but lack the power of gas chainsaws. Even though electric chainsaws are quieter, you are physically anchored to a location as these get their power through a cord. Considering you’re working outside, being restricted to a perimeter could prevent you from accomplishing projects away from the immediate vicinity of your home.
While electric chainsaws have certainly taken great strides over the last decade or so, gas still reigns supreme. Thanks to their wide range of bar lengths, engine sizes and ability to take on projects of any nature, gas is the clear choice for anything but miniscule yardwork.
Chainsaw Bar Length
This one is pretty self-explanatory. The bigger the bar, the bigger the tree you can cut. Unless you’re a professional, you can make due with a bar in the 16-24-inch range. Needing anything larger than that suggests calling a tree service might be in your best interest. Also if you need a bar more than two feet long, the tree is probably tall enough that a bucket should be used to take it down in pieces.
Not so much a buying guide aspect as much as it is self-reflection, you need a saw you can control. The saws in our guide might weigh between 12-15 lbs., but vibrations and using them for extended periods of time essentially add weight to it. What we’re trying to get at is, just because you can lift the saw does not mean you can use it for complete projects. If you think this could be the case, smaller saws are capable of handling most home projects.
Rather than tell you why you need to wear each of these items and giving specific recommendations, we’re just going to list them out (and maybe add a reason or two).
- Properly fitted clothing – loose clothes could get caught
- Leg coverings
- Head protection such as a hard hat
- Face protection
- Headphones—and no not the kind that play music
- Shoes with good tread, steel toed boots are a good option
Having proper clothing and protection is as important as knowing how to use the saw itself. Each time you fire up a chainsaw, safety has to be a top priority. Even the most experienced chainsaw users will tell you that accidents happen when we get lazy. So before you go and saw on what appears to be a solid grounding, consider that sawdust will some come into the equation and is extremely slippery. Even in this one example, failure to protect yourself could lead to serious injury.
After reading through our guide and seeing the top choices available, we hope that you have a pretty good idea of what your needs are, and how to address them. We also encourage you to work with others who are experienced and make sure that you are confident before tackling any projects on your own.
Be wary that if you tout the projects done around your home too shamelessly, you might end up being solicited by friends and family. Let’s be honest, when this happens we never get paid what we’re worth. If your happy to help your friends for a fraction of the cost of a professional, more power to you.