Chainsaws Buying Guide | Go Argos

Chainsaw Buying guide

The key to choosing the right chainsaw is finding a model that suits your needs without going overboard.

There are some very large and powerful models available, but the larger and more powerful the chainsaw, the harder it is to use. And as safety is so important when using a chainsaw, you should never take on more work than you need to.

For most households, an electric or cordless saw will offer the fast cutting ability to tackle most tree, branch and wood cutting. It's only for larger trees and hardwoods that a stronger petrol trimmer would be required.

The different power types of chainsaw

Chainsaws are available in three different power types. Electric and cordless saws are smaller and less powerful, but are still the ideal choice for most gardens. For more experienced users with more heavy-duty needs, a petrol model would be the right choice.

Electric chainsaws

Electric models are best for smaller, regular trimming, cutting and pruning jobs. They're lightweight and fairly quiet, but offer less power than petrol, so they should only be used on soft woods. As they require a mains cable, you may need an extension cord to reach across your garden.

Shop for electric chainsaws

Cordless chainsaws

Cordless battery-powered chainsaws give you full freedom to roam without the restriction of a cable. Like electric models, they're best suited for lighter jobs and soft woods, although they are heavier. The battery life, however, will restrict how long you can use them for.

Shop for cordless chainsaws

Petrol chainsaws

Petrol saws are stronger, more powerful and portable, though they are heavy and noisy. They can take care of tough jobs, like cutting down large trees and thick branches and can be used for soft and hardwoods. They are harder to use also, and they will require more regular maintenance and care.

Shop for petrol chainsaws

Size - the guide bar length

The guide bar is the part of your chainsaw which the chain runs around. The longer this bar is, the larger the branch or log you can cut with it.

The guide bar length is measured from the tip of the chainsaw bar to where the bar meets the main motor unit.

For safe use the guide bar length should be 2" longer than the wood you want to cut. For example, if you want to cut a 14" tree in one pass then a 16" guide bar, or bigger is ideal. You can, however, still cut larger trees than your guide bar length by making two or more passes, instead of one.

Chainsaws of a 14" bar length are recommended for regular household use. Larger models are recommended for experienced users and for larger tree and log cutting.

Trimming No larger than 16"
Pruning 12" or smaller
Felling a small tree 12" to 14"
Felling a medium tree 16" to 18"
Light firewood cutting 14" to 16"
Medium firewood cutting 16" to 18"
Felling larger trees and large log cutting 18" or larger

The essential specs

Here are the essential specs you'll need to compare to find the right chainsaw for you.


The power of electric chainsaws are measured in watts. Cordless chainsaw power is measured in volts. Petrol-powered chainsaws are measured in CCs.

The more power your chainsaw has, the more cutting power it will have. Most chainsaws will have the power necessary for regular, moderate cutting. Higher power is only really important for heavy-duty tasks.


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.

Cord length

If choosing an electric model, make sure the cable is long enough to reach the closest plug socket. Otherwise an extension will be needed.

Battery life

If purchasing a battery-powered model, check the battery length and recharging times, as you will need to know how much use you can get before having to recharge.

Chain cutting speed

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


Proper lubrication is important for keeping the chain moving smoothly on the chainsaw.

Many models include automatic lubrication, while others will need lubricating manually. Using the correct oil recommended by the manufacturer is essential in both cases.

2 stroke motor

Almost all petrol chainsaws have a 2 stroke motor. This means that you will need to add oil to the petrol when you add fuel. This provides lubrication for the motor. Without the oil, the motor will be damaged very quickly.

Follow the instructions that come with the chainsaw carefully before adding fuel.

The safety features

You obviously have to be very careful when using a chainsaw. All chainsaws will come with some safety features 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, especially if using a petrol saw. An anti-vibration system will help ease that burden and make sawing more comfortable.

Chain catcher

If the chain should break, a catcher will keep you safe by making sure it does not fly loose and cause injury.

Safety Trigger

Most models come with a safety trigger. This 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 accidental wear, as well as any accidents.


It's important that you take steps to protect yourself when using a chainsaw. Make sure you wear appropriate head, hand and bodywear at all times during use.

Helpful features

In addition to safety features, many chainsaws will come with additional features that help to make them easier to use.

Electronic ignition

Petrol models are normally started with a pull cord, which can be strenuous to use. Models with electronic ignition will start with a simple switch.

Oil level indication

This feature is part of many automatic lubrication models and helpfully tells you when the guide blade needs additional lubrication before it affects performance.

Pole chainsaw

These models feature a smaller chainsaw with a telescopic handle attached, allowing you to reach high and trim smaller branches.

Shop for pole chainsaws

Enclosed chainsaw

This type of chainsaw keeps the blade entirely enclosed within a claw-like head, making it much safer for small household cutting.

You place the claw over the branch you want to cut and the blade then moves from one side of the claw to the other, cutting the branch in the process.

Shop for enclosed chainsaws

Making your choice and getting it delivered

If you’re ready to make your choice, then it’s time to shop.

If you're still struggling, why not get in touch for some friendly advice.

But before you buy, you should consider our range of delivery options, so you can collect your hedge trimmers at a place and time that’s convenient.

In-store collection

You can reserve many of our items online and collect them in store. Subject to availability.

Home delivery

Receive your order within 3 - 5 days for as little as £3.95 P&P.

Click here for more information

Express delivery

Have your new items delivered within 2 days and at a time that suits you for £19.99. Selected items only.

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