In the market for a chainsaw, are you? Well, you've found yourself in the right place! Choosing the perfect chainsaw for your needs can be a daunting task - but with a few simple tips, you’ll be equipped to find and purchase exactly what you need. Let’s take an in-depth look at how to choose the best chainsaw.
There are two main types of chainsaws that you will find at Atlantic Outdoor: professional saws and consumer saws. Professional-grade models have powerful motors and long bars capable of handling large logs and tough jobs; however, they are also more expensive and require regular maintenance from experienced technicians. Some models even require specific tools and computer programs owned by only the most advanced technicians in order to maintain them. The latest performance and ergonomic features are exclusive to professional and higher-end consumer saws.
Consumer-grade models are great for occasional home use but aren't built to handle heavy workloads or frequent use; they're usually smaller than professional-grade models but still require regular maintenance.
The first step in choosing the best chainsaw is deciding on size. Chainsaws come in different sizes, and the best size for you depends on your level of experience, how often you'll be using the chainsaw, and what type of wood you'll be cutting most often. If you're new to chainsaw work or will only be using the saw occasionally, choose a smaller saw that is easier to maneuver. On the other hand, if you plan on doing more intensive sawing primarily on hardwoods, or have prior experience working with chainsaws, then opting for a larger model may be better suited to your needs.
There's no escaping it, larger saws will do more work than smaller saws and there's not much you can do as a user to compensate for that. We always recommend you find a saw that will do the job you need done then buy 1-2 models above that to ensure you're not disappointed. There's nothing worse than when you just have that one bigger tree left and can't quite get through it. Not only is running smaller saws above their paygrade hard on the saw, it can also be expensive if you get it stuck, ruin a bar or blow the engine.
CCs aren't everything
The main characteristics affecting the size of your chainsaw are the engine's power (horsepower) and the total displacement (cm3). Its important to note that CC's aren't everything!
When looking at saws many people tend to lean heavily on CC's which stands forcubic centimeters. On the one hand this is an easy metric to weigh as its the physical size of the engine. Unfortunately with the ever-changing technology and research & development in the two-stroke industry, the number of cc's doesn't paint a complete picture like it used to. Other metrics worth looking at is the horsepower and overall weight-to-power ratios. Many professional, higher-end saws are lighter but pack a power punch so going 'bigger' may be a better option - Maybe not on your wallet but definitely on your back and joints!
Guide Bar Length Matters Too
In addition to size, another important factor when selecting a chainsaw is guide bar length. The guide bar is the metal part at the front of the chainsaw where the chain is attached; it determines how deep into a log or tree trunk your saw can cut. The length of the guide bar also matters—a shorter guide bar is easier to maneuver when doing limbing work (i.e., trimming branches and small trees), while a longer guide bar is better for felling larger trees. A good rule of thumb is to go with a long guide bar if you are dealing with more than 10” diameter logs or trees; otherwise, stick with something shorter.
In general, a saw with a 16-inch or 18-inch guide bar is sufficient for most homeowner needs. However, if you frequently cut large trees, you want to consider a saw with a 20-inch or 24-inch guide bar. Keep in mind that a longer guide bar also makes the saw heavier and more difficult to handle, so it's essential to find the balance that works best for you.
Gas or Battery?
In this day and age, the gap between battery and gas powered machines is closing every year! Brands that have been in the battery industry for years like Milwaukee and Dewalt are pushing their way into the Outdoor Power ring and industry powerheads like Husqvarna and Stihl are fighting to keep up! While you can't compare apples to apples on battery vs gas powered there are some real advantages to battery saws:
Gas is a real pain for 2 stroke engines. Constantly mixing fuel with oil and ensuring your gas doesn't go stale is a lot of work
Two stroke engines are particularly finicky and carburetors get gummed up and need adjusting or cleaning if you so much as look at them wrong.
Starting a gas-powered chainsaw gets harder with age and can get to be too much for some people. Battery saws don't require that force and are ready to go.
Battery chainsaws are (for the most part) lighter than gas powered saws
There are no emissions created by battery chainsaws
Gas chainsaws are still the standard for professional, heavy-duty work. When you're spending long hours cutting, you need the power and longevity of a gas-powered saw to see the job to completion. Plus, you don't want to worry about extra batteries or running out of juice.
Battery chainsaws are efficient, convenient, and SO easy to use around the home. They're perfect saws for lighter tasks and many homeowners will never need anything more powerful. But, when you need to tackle large trees, hardwood, or need to cut for extended periods - gas will be the way to go.
Choosing a Chainsaw - Other Factors
Emission-wise, it goes without saying that newer models are better than older models. Any model available at Atlantic Outdoor meets the rigorous emissions requirements for use in Canada. If you are doing lighter work and want to strive for 0 emissions on the job, battery saws are a great solution! But when you need the power of gas, getting a new chainsaw will help ensure that you’re getting the most energy-efficient, low-emission model possible. Do you have an older chainsaw? Remember that it may no longer meet emissions requirements, so an upgrade might be the best decision for you and the environment.
Handling & Balance
Chainsaws are one of the most versatile yard-care tools a homeowner can have in their arsenal, for everything from trimming branches to felling trees. However, chainsaws can also be dangerous if they’re handled without care. The saw should sit comfortably in your hand and be easy to grip primarily in one hand without losing its balance. You should also be able to make slight adjustments to your grip without losing control.
Pay attention to the vibration in your hand - low vibrations make a saw much more comfortable (and safe) to use for extended periods. These tips will help you greatly when operating the saw and prevent accidents.
Safety Features & Maintenance
Anyone who has ever operated a chainsaw knows how important effective and reliable safety measures are. As a result, it is essential to choose a chainsaw equipped with the latest safety features - most new models are built with automatic chain brakes and bars designed to prevent kickbacks. It goes without saying, but ALWAYS wear protective clothing, including safety pants & footwear, gloves, goggles, and a helmet, when operating a chainsaw. By taking these precautions, you can help to keep yourself safe while using this potentially dangerous tool.
A saw that makes quick maintenance like tightening the chain or accessing the fuel pump, air filter, etc, as easy as possible - is a solid saw in our books.
No matter what type of sawing job you're tackling—from clearing brush around your property to tackling larger trees—there's sure to be a chainsaw out there that's perfect for your needs! With some research, patience, and know-how about the size and type selection criteria outlined above, finding your ideal match should be easy peasy! Get ready to start making those cuts.
That was a lot to cover, but now you’re equipped to pick out the perfect chainsaw for your needs. Ready to get shopping? Head over to our entire chainsaw collection to shop saws from Husqvarna, Stihl, Echo, and common replacement parts!
When in doubt, we're here for you!
Your local chainsaw shop will have no problem leading you in the right direction! We want to make sure you're happy with your purchase and that you're comfortable with any unit you choose! At Atlantic Outdoor we PDI (pre-delivery inspect) all the units and start them up before you leave to be sure they're running as required. We register your warranty and provide any after-sale service you need including regular maintenance (Yes, you have to do regular maintenance on chainsaws!), diagnostics and more complex repairs. We have several technicians on staff that are here to help anytime!