Guide to Finding the Right Chain Saw for You
Chainsaws can be found in several different types to meet your specific needs. The homeowner who uses one occasionally around the yard might prefer an inexpensive electric chainsaw to trim trees or cut up downed limbs. The guy who cuts his own fire wood for winter will prefer one of the powerful gas-powered chainsaws made for personal use. Those who cut down trees and cut up timber as part of their job will need to choose from the professional-grade chainsaws on the market. Here’s an overview of these three categories, plus cordless chainsaws, so you can choose the one the makes the most sense to you.
While Makita, Poulan and a few other manufacturers make electric models that they call “commercial-grade,” most electric chainsaws are inexpensive and made for personal use around the yard. They are mostly 8 amp models that offer 1.5-2.5 horsepower. Blade lengths range from 12 inches to 14 inches. These low-power electric chainsaws are useful for trimming trees, cutting down shrubs and cleaning up storm debris. Since the are corded, they demand a power source be nearby. You can find models priced from $50 to $80 in this category. Popular brands in this category include Black and Decker, McCulloch, Remington, and Poulan.
The commercial-grade corded electric chainsaws are 15 amp models and offer up to 4.5 horsepower with blades to 18 inches. They are built more ruggedly and typically have a longer warranty. They are a good fit for maintenance workers who care for the grounds of schools, office buildings, hospitals, etc., and have ready access to electricity.
These chainsaws can be handy, but don’t expect them to have the power of even a corded chainsaw, not for very long anyway. Homeowners appreciate the ease of use without the hassles of dealing with a power cord. They work well for trimming trees and cutting up fallen limbs. Virtually all cordless chainsaws are 18 volt models that use rechargeable Lithium ion batteries. The top manufacturers are Black and Decker, Earthwise, Troy-Bilt and Makita. Most feature a shorter blade, usually about 8 inches. For light duty maintenance, a cordless chainsaw can be very handy.
These gas-powered chainsaws are built for those who are serious about maintaining their own property and cutting firewood. They usually features engines from 2.5 horsepower to about 4.0 horsepower, or 50-60cc’s. They are rugged but not designed for heavy commercial use. Blade lengths to 20 inches are common. You’ll find the size and power that is right for your needs when you peruse what’s available in personal chainsaws. Top brands include Husqvarna, Poulan, Solo, Blue Max and ICS.
Commercial-grade chainsaws are built for daily use. They are the choice of professionals trimming trees for utility companies or taking down smaller diameter trees where needed. Those who sell firewood commercially also prefer the durability of a commercial grade chainsaw. Prices range from about $400 to over $1,000. They are powered by motors from about 60cc to over 100cc and can produce up to 8 horsepower or more. They are heavier and more powerful than others and should only be used by a skilled operator. Look for professional chainsaws from Husqvarna, Makita, Hitachi GST, Poulan, ICS and others.
The key to getting the right chainsaw is to know your need. Evaluate how and how often you plan to use it, your access to electricity, and the budget you have to work with. You’ll find quality chainsaws in each class and one that will serve your purposes very well.
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