Guide to Finding the Right Chainsaw 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 firewood 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 that makes the most sense to you.

Overview of the Different Types of Chainsaws

Electric Chainsaws

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.

Cordless Chainsaws

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.

Personal Chainsaws

These gas-powered chainsaws are built for those who are serious about maintaining their own property and cutting firewood.

They usually feature 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.

Professional Chainsaws

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.

Another thing you may want to consider when choosing a chainsaw is the clothing. Here is a short guide on how to go about choosing the right one for your chainsaw:

Chainsaw Clothing

Chainsaw Clothing is Essential to a Safe and Productive Job Well Done

Many chainsaw owners set out to cut wood in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt only to experience scraped arms, wood chips in their eyes and even something as serious as a chainsaw gash in their knee or shin.

These realities remind us that chainsaw clothing is necessary gear for anyone who uses a chainsaw on a regular basis, including homeowners, tree specialists, landscapers, utility workers and loggers.

If you want to avoid injury and inconvenience, putting on the right chainsaw clothing is essential.

Here’s an overview of the right stuff for the job.

1. Chainsaw Chaps and Chainsaw Trousers:

You’ve seen colleagues with nasty gashes on their legs and you’ve heard the stories of those who were saved by a pair of sturdy chaps.

Look for chainsaw chaps that meet ASTM standards for 45 degree and 90 degree cuts.

The first time a log gives way before you expect it and you slap a chainsaw blade against your chaps-covered knees without injury you’ll be very grateful.

Look for the best chainsaw chaps like Elvex ProChaps and ArborChaps with Prolar. Choose lightweight yet rugged chaps to keep you safe on every job.

2. Chainsaw Safety Caps and Head Gear:

Protect your head from falling branches or chainsaw kicks, protect your ears from the high-decibel output of commercial chainsaws (115 db on average – hearing damage can began as low as 80 db) and protect yourself from twigs, chips and debris that can scratch skin, retinas or corneas, and cause other injuries.

Choose a single system that employs a chainsaw helmet, chainsaw visor and chainsaw ear muffs or select each component separately.

But make sure you’ve got all the essentials covered with high-quality protective chainsaw clothing. Using a chainsaw is no reason to go deaf or blind, or to give yourself a frontal lobotomy!

3. Chainsaw Gloves:

Some “old pros” in the business count the loss of a finger or two as something that goes with the territory. But that doesn’t have to be the case with you.

Add a pair of chainsaw gloves to your chainsaw clothing wardrobe for maximum protection.

The essential components of effective chainsaw gloves are plenty of tough, thick padding on the back or the hands and enough flexibility in the fingers so that normal functionality is not hindered.

4. Chainsaw boots:

Losing a finger makes it harder to count to ten; losing a foot makes so many more things difficult!

Don’t fire up the chainsaw unless your feet are firmly housed in a pair of chainsaw boots that sport steel toes and reinforced uppers that can withstand a chainsaw blade making progress at 2,800 feet per minute.

Outstanding boots are an irreplaceable part of a total chainsaw clothing set-up.

As you can see, there is nothing fancy in the mix for a solid set of chainsaw clothing.

Just cover the basics with the best equipment and gear you can find and you will enjoy safe, injury-free cutting with your Husqvarna, Homelite, Stihl, or Craftsman chainsaw.


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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