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Tips for Choosing a Chainsaw

If you’re considering purchasing a chainsaw, the first consideration is: what for and how often will I use it? Three factors are crucial in your choice: the power source (petrol, electric, or battery), the power, and the length of the saw blade.

The Power

The amount of power you need depends on the job — the heavier or longer the work, the greater the required power. More power makes cutting easier and helps to let the machine do the work without your effort. For petrol chainsaws, the power is indicated in kilowatts (kW). The power of battery chainsaws is expressed in Wh (watt-hours). This power varies on average between 72 Wh for a light battery saw to 180 Wh or more. For electric chainsaws, the power is expressed in Watts.

The Length of the Saw Blade

Standardly, chainsaws have a saw blade length matched to the engine power. A chainsaw with little power will have a smaller saw blade (20-35cm), and a stronger saw (electric saws with 2000 Watts and petrol saws from 2kW) will often have a saw blade of 30-50cm. A guideline for the best saw blade length for different tasks:

  • Pruning 30 – 35 cm
  • Cutting small trees 40 – 50 cm
  • Sawing firewood 40 – 50 cm
  • Cutting large trees 45 – 55 cm

Petrol, Electric, or Battery?

The choice of power source is also determined by the purpose and frequency of use.

Electric Chainsaw

Makita electric chainsaw

Chainsaws that operate on mains electricity are the lightest and cheapest. An electric chainsaw, like this model from Makita, is a good choice for light work such as pruning, cutting wood for the stove or fireplace, and various DIY projects. Besides being economical to purchase — an electric chainsaw is also low maintenance and relatively quiet.

Battery Chainsaw

DeWalt battery chainsaw

The advantage of a battery saw over an electric one is the freedom of use. You can saw anywhere because no cord is needed. Thanks to the ever-improving battery technology, battery saws are now as powerful as the average petrol chainsaw. Also, the working duration on a battery charge is impressive. A battery chainsaw like this one from DeWalt is a good all-rounder for various tasks in the garden, forest, and construction sites.

Petrol Chainsaw

The most powerful chainsaws for professional use are petrol chainsaws. But this type also offers a wide variety of power and strength, with plenty of light models available for garden work. The two-stroke engine of petrol chainsaws delivers impressive power, but also a lot of noise and exhaust gases and requires more maintenance than electric and battery saws. This is a reason for many users to prefer a battery model.

You can read Sawing with a chainsaw, with tips for various jobs, safety, and maintenance.

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