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Chainsaw Buying Guide

The key to choosing the right chainsaw is finding a model that suits your needs, without choosing one that is too powerful.

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Chainsaw Power Types

Chainsaws are available in three different power types: electric, cordless and petrol. Electric and cordless saws are smaller and less powerful, making them ideal for most gardens, while petrol models are best suited to heavy duty tasks.

Electric chainsaws

  • Electric chainsaws are best for smaller, regular trimming, cutting and pruning jobs. They're lightweight and reasonably quiet, but offer less power than petrol.
  • Electric chainsaw power is measured in watts - more watts equal more cutting power.
  • A key consideration with an electric saw is cord length. As they need to be plugged in at the mains, you might need an extension lead to reach across your garden.

Cordless chainsaws

  • Cordless battery-powered chainsaws give you full freedom to roam without the restriction of a cable.
  • They're better suited for lighter jobs and the battery life restricts how long you can use them for. They're often measured in cuts per charge, giving you an idea how long each charge will last.
  • As with electric, more watts mean more power. Most cordless models have a battery included, but others come without a battery, which is great if you already own a compatible battery.

Petrol chainsaws

  • Portable and powerful, petrol chainsaws are best for heavy duty or tough jobs like cutting down large trees, cutting logs or thick branches.
  • They can be noisier and heavier than electric and cordless chainsaws, and also require regular care and maintenance.
  • Petrol chainsaws generally have 32cc or higher motors.

Pole saws

  • Pole saws are smaller chainsaws that are designed to reach high branches. Ensure that you choose a pole saw that is long enough to reach the area you want to use it on.
  • Attached to a telescopic handle, which makes it easy to get to those hard to reach high areas.
  • As the chainsaw part is smaller, they are generally less powerful and better suited for use on thinner branches.
 

 

Essential Specs

Chainsaw size

The larger and more powerful a chainsaw is, the harder it is to use. As safety is so important with chainsaws, you should never take on more work than you need to.

Weight

Chainsaws can be very heavy and are hard work to use. Make sure you choose a model with a weight you are comfortable with as fatigue during use could lead to an accident.

Chain cutting speed

The cutting speed is measured in metres per second (m/s). The faster the cutting speed the faster the chainsaw will cut through wood.

Lubrication

Proper lubrication is important for keeping the chain moving smoothly. Many models include automatic lubrication, while others need lubricating manually using the correct oil recommended by the manufacturer.

Chain bar guide

  • The chain bar is the part of the chainsaw that the chain runs around. The longer the bar is, the larger the branch or log you can cut with it.
  • It is measured from the tip of the chainsaw bar to where the bar meets the motor.
  • The chain bar should be able to cut a piece of wood twice its length. For example, if you want to cut a 60cm tree in one pass, then a 30cm chain bar or bigger is ideal. You can still cut larger trees than your chain bar length by making two or more passes, instead of one.
 

 

Chainsaw Safety

It is essential that you wear safety equipment whilst using a chainsaw, including a helmet, gloves and 'Chaps. To operate a chainsaw, a user must be on or near the age of 16 years, depending on when the last day of the school year falls.

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Safety Features

All chainsaws come with some safety features, which are designed to keep you protected during use.

Anti-vibration system

Vibration is a serious issue that will affect you if you are using a chainsaw for long periods of time. An anti-vibration system helps to ease that burden and make sawing more comfortable.

Chain catcher

If the chain breaks, a catcher makes sure that it does not fly loose and cause injury.

Safety trigger

Most models come with a safety trigger, which means that when you turn the chainsaw on, the trigger must be gripped at all times. If anything causes you to let go of the trigger, the saw automatically switches off.

Chain brake/kickback brake

The chain brake stops the chainsaw if you experience a sudden movement, such as kickback, reducing the risk of injury.

Safety guard and hand guards

These are both provided to keep your hands safe during operation. They stop your hands from being hit by splinters, but also prevent them from slipping onto the blade if you experience kickback.

Blade cover

Covering the blade when the chainsaw isn't in use will prevent any wear, as well as any accidents.


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