Which Is the Best Chainsaw for the Money? Mechanopedia’s Top Picks

Best-Chainsaw-for-the-Money-Cover

When it comes to the best chainsaw for the money, there is a plethora of options that you can get.

Chainsaws come in different kinds and shapes, including classic gas-powered, battery-powered, and corded-electric models. There are also various types and sizes of chainsaw chains and chainsaw bars, each of which serving a specific purpose.

When looking for the best chainsaw for the money, there are also plenty of other factors to consider besides the type, but we’ll go over them in more detail later on in our buying guide.

Since picking the best chainsaw for your workplace might prove to be difficult, we’ve tried to make your life easier by reviewing five of our top picks as well as a buying guide to help you distinguish a good chainsaw from a bad one.

Without further ado, let’s get to our picks for the title of the best chainsaw for the money.

RECOMMENDED
Husqvarna 450 18-Inch 50.2cc X-Torq 2-Cycle Gas Powered Chain Saw With Smart Start
Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14" Chain Saw Kit with, 4 Batteries (5.0Ah)
BUDGET OPTION
WORX WG304.1 Chain Saw 18-Inch 4 15.0 Amp
BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch, Tool Only (LCS1240B)
Poulan Pro 967185102 PP4218A 42cc Assembled Chainsaw with Case, 18-Inch
Husqvarna 450 18-Inch 50.2cc X-Torq 2-Cycle Gas Powered Chain Saw With Smart Start
Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14" Chain Saw Kit with, 4 Batteries (5.0Ah)
WORX WG304.1 Chain Saw 18-Inch 4 15.0 Amp
BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch, Tool Only (LCS1240B)
Poulan Pro 967185102 PP4218A 42cc Assembled Chainsaw with Case, 18-Inch
$358.40
from $169.95
$79.99
$104.58
$379.24
RECOMMENDED
Husqvarna 450 18-Inch 50.2cc X-Torq 2-Cycle Gas Powered Chain Saw With Smart Start
Husqvarna 450 18-Inch 50.2cc X-Torq 2-Cycle Gas Powered Chain Saw With Smart Start
$358.40
Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14" Chain Saw Kit with, 4 Batteries (5.0Ah)
Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14" Chain Saw Kit with, 4 Batteries (5.0Ah)
from $169.95
BUDGET OPTION
WORX WG304.1 Chain Saw 18-Inch 4 15.0 Amp
WORX WG304.1 Chain Saw 18-Inch 4 15.0 Amp
$79.99
BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch, Tool Only (LCS1240B)
BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch, Tool Only (LCS1240B)
$104.58
Poulan Pro 967185102 PP4218A 42cc Assembled Chainsaw with Case, 18-Inch
Poulan Pro 967185102 PP4218A 42cc Assembled Chainsaw with Case, 18-Inch
$379.24

The Best Chainsaw for the Money – Our Picks

#1 – Husqvarna 450 18-Inch Chainsaw

Topping our roundup is the Husqvarna 450 chainsaw review. This is easily one of the best gas-powered chainsaws you can buy if you need something that will get the job done no matter what it might be. This 18-inch model can power through anything you throw at it with no issue. Why wouldn’t do, considering that it packs a 3.2 hp motor capable of spinning the chain at a whopping 9,000 RPM?

If you choose the Husqvarna 450 as your best chainsaw for the money, you also won’t have to worry about it failing you any time soon as it’s built to last with high-quality materials.

With that said, power is not enough to make the best chainsaw for the money. The Husqvarna 450 has plenty of good features such as an inertia-activated chain which stops the machine if dropped for added user safety as well as a Fuel-efficient X-Torq engine that makes this chainsaw as efficient as they get when it comes to fuel consumption. The Husqvarna 450 18-Inch Chainsaw is also quite user-friendly, which mitigates its inherent heaviness.

All in all, we picked this as the best chainsaw you can buy due to its ability to handle anything you might throw at it while also being user-friendly and very durable.

The only thing that we didn’t like about this chainsaw is its heaviness. However, this is to be expected from a chainsaw of this caliber.

What we like about it

There are plenty of great features in this beauty. For starters, this is one of the more powerful chainsaws on the market. It’s also quite durable and reliable. Additionally, this beauty has excellent safety features and is quite easy to use. What more do you want in the best chainsaw for the money?

#2 – Makita XCU03PT1 Kit

This battery-powered, 14-inch chainsaw is a force to be reckoned with. It’s also convenient since you don’t have to deal with any sort of cables. Electric chainsaws also tend to require far less care and maintenance than their gas-powered counterparts. If you’re looking for a battery-powered chainsaw, then this is probably the best chainsaw in that category.

One of the great things about this chainsaw is that it runs on the same two 18-volt batteries that are used on all Makita electric tools, so if you happen to own one or two batteries already, then you can use it to extend the usage time further. This trusty chainsaw can handle most housing projects.

With that said, the safety features on this chainsaw are rather obnoxious. For example, the off switch can turn into a nuisance since it automatically turns off the chainsaw after a few seconds, which is a prime example of how not to implement safety features into a chainsaw. However, this issue is by no means a deal breaker.

What we like about it

One of the strongest aspects of this chainsaw is the fact that it is cordless. This gives it the advantages of an electric chainsaw without having to worry about cables. Consequently, this is a quiet chainsaw that requires very little maintenance. All of that explains why we’re choosing it as the runner-up of our “best chainsaw for the money” roundup.

#3 – WORX WG304.1 Electric Chainsaw

This is the best chainsaw for those who don’t have a lot of money to spare for a new chainsaw but truly want the bang for their buck. It’s a corded electric chainsaw, meaning that you don’t have to worry about managing batteries and your chainsaw running out of juice while you’re cutting lumber. However, this comes at the cost of being limited by its cable.

Right out of the gate, this saw comes pre-assembled, which is a huge plus. The only thing that is required of you is to pour oil into its reservoir, and voilà! You’re ready to go.

There’s also a great auto chain tensioning system. This is as user-friendly as it can get. Its safety features are also quite handy and are not obtrusive.

There’s no denying that corded chainsaw can be a bit limiting, which is why we consider them being generally inferior to their cordless counterpart. We also found that the automatic oil lubrication is lackluster in this model. That shouldn’t be a deal breaker, though, especially considering the price of this beast.

If you’re looking for something affordable and potent, then this is the best chainsaw for you, especially if you already have easy access to a power outlet.

What we like about it

Being an electric chainsaw, this has the benefit of being quite and requiring low maintenance. Its auto-tension chain system is also a great addition. Add on top of that the fact that it has great safety features and doesn’t require any assembly, and you’ve got yourself one of the best chainsaws available today.

#4 – BLACK+DECKER LCS1240B Battery-Powered Chainsaw

This battery-powered electric chainsaw took us by surprise with its power. Compared to other chainsaws within its weight class, this seems to be among the best chainsaws. However, being a 12-inch chainsaw is limiting, and you’ll notice that the uses of this chainsaw are fewer than the other chainsaws we mentioned. You’ll be able to prune trees, cut firewood, or at the very limit, cut down small trees.

With that said, if you don’t plan on doing any heavy-duty projects, then this is a great chainsaw to have since it’s very quiet and convenient. Since this is an electric chainsaw, it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. You still have to oil it manually, though.

Unfortunately, we found that the batteries needed for this chainsaw are quite expensive, which makes this chainsaw cost more than other chainsaws in the long run. However, if you’re not planning on buying extra batteries, then this is perfect for those who don’t intend on getting a bulky chainsaw.

What we like about it

What we admire the most about this chainsaw is that it’s cordless and relatively lightweight. It’s also tranquil. Having a 12-inch blade really limits the viability of this unit, though. The batteries are also quite expensive and the fact that you need to manually oil it is inconvenient. Other than that, this is an excellent choice to consider if you’re looking for the best chainsaw for the money for home use.

#5 – Poulan Pro 967185102 PP4218A Saw

First of all, this is not among the best chainsaws that you can get today. We decided to include this Poulan Pro chainsaw review to demonstrate to you what a bad chainsaw is like. Even though Poulan is known to produce great chainsaws, this is not one of them. The only good thing we can say about this chainsaw is that it’s quite easy to start.

Other than that, it’s very unreliable as it has carburetor problems that hamper this chainsaw’s durability. Overall, this chainsaw is full of small inconveniences that all add up to make for a very unpleasant experience and a lot of wasted times.

Additionally, you’ll find that this is one of the loudest models of its types, which says a lot about this product. All in all, we don’t recommend buying this chainsaw at all. You’d be better off with any of the other chainsaw mentioned on this list.

What we like about it

The only good thing about this chainsaw is the quick-start system. On the flip side, there are plenty of issues with this chainsaw. Stalling is among the biggest. However, there’s also the fact that the carburetor already comes with severe problems and the chainsaw is very loud.

Choosing the Best Chainsaw for the Money – Mechanopedia’s Buying Guide

In order to be able to make the best decision in terms of chainsaw choice, there are a couple of things you must know before you pick a chainsaw. In this guide, we’ll go over the different factors that you need to take into account before buying the best chainsaw for the money.

Guide Bar Length

This is one of the most important factors to take into account.The guide bar length for a chainsaw is as important as the diameter of a miter saw blade for a 12-inch miter saw or sliding compound miter saw.

You can gauge the power of a chainsaw by how long its guide bar is. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. What you can reliably tell from the guide bar length is what kind of applications the chainsaw is designed for.

The shortest guide bars are around 6 inches long. Guide bar length goes up by 2 inches up to a maximum of 24 inches. Another thing worth noting is that chainsaws that have shorter bar guides tend to include more safety features. They also have other features such as being able to grab onto the piece of wood you’re cutting.

Here are the main guide bar length ranges you should consider when looking for the best chainsaw for the money:

8 to 14 Inches

We recommend going with a chainsaw that has a guide bar no shorter than 8 inches, which tends to be the standard.

These chainsaws tend to be light, easy to use, and also very safe. Chainsaws between 8 and 14 inches are used primarily for trimming bushes, cleaning up tree branches or narrow wood. We recommend these chainsaws for people who are unfamiliar with the tool since they don’t have as much kickback and are easier to control than their bigger counterpart.

For those looking for something that can handle heavy-duty tasks, we recommend 14-inch chainsaws.

16 to 20 Inches

These chainsaws are suited for heavy-duty tasks and are recommended for those who frequently use these tools. They are more powerful than the chainsaws from the previous category, so we recommend these chainsaws to experienced users as they can get a lot of use out of them.

With that said, keep in mind that the bigger a chainsaw gets, the less precise it becomes. This is mainly due to the fact that bigger chainsaws are much heavier, thus harder to control. This is why you need to know what you’re going to use the chainsaw on since that can give you an idea about which guide bar length to go with. While a big chainsaw can handle almost any task, it’s a lot less practical if you’re only going to use it for smaller tasks. You’d be better off using a small chainsaw instead.

All in all, if you’re going to be cutting a lot of firewood or other similar tasks, getting the a model within the 16 to 20-inch range is recommended.

20 to 24 Inches

These chainsaws are built for professional use only. A chainsaw with a bar length that ranges from 20 to 24 inches is the counterpart of a contractor table saw in the table saw category.

A chainsaw of this caliber is able to handle the toughest of tasks. It can cut through the thickest pieces of wood with no issue. However, these chainsaws are very heavy and hard to operate, they have the most kickback and weigh the most, so if you’re a beginner, don’t buy one of these chainsaws as your first.

Whether it’s an electric chainsaw or a gas-powered one, chainsaws of this caliber will always be heavy and bulky. If you’re not physically strong, then you’re probably better off with a lighter chainsaw as even able-bodied people are unable to hold let alone maneuver this chainsaw for long periods of time.

All in all, if you’re a professional or you’re going to be cutting large trees often, then you might want to get a chainsaw of this size since it can make short work of any heavy-duty tasks you might throw its way.

Chainsaw Types

Additionally, you’ll also want to take into account the type of the chainsaw, there are gas-powered chainsaws as well as electric ones. Electric chainsaws are either corded or cordless.

Gas-powered

These chainsaws are usually the most powerful. However, their power comes at the cost of being harder to handle than their electric counterpart. They use a pull system just like a lawnmower and use a mix of oil and gas that you can make yourself or buy.

The biggest advantage these chainsaws have over their electric counterpart is that they don’t require any cables, and don’t use any batteries. Most good gas-powered chainsaws last long before needing to be refilled. While this time can vary from one chainsaw to the next, you should expect nothing shorter than half an hour before needing a refill. Another advantage gas-powered chainsaws have over electric cordless ones is that it’s much easier to bring a can of fuel than it is to bring an extra set of batteries.

There’s also no denying that gas-powered chainsaws are the best chainsaws for the money when it comes to raw power. Even with the recent advancement and improvements of electric chainsaws, gas-powered chainsaws still reign supreme.

Battery-powered

Battery-powered chainsaws weren’t viable before, but it’s a whole other story nowadays. Ever since lithium-ion batteries were introduced, these chainsaws have become much better. However, they still have a long way to go if they want to be a match for gas-powered chainsaws as they lack the power and the stamina to compete.

With that said, what they lack in power they make up for in ease of use and quietness. The great thing about lithium-ion batteries charge fairly quickly and last for a decent amount of time. A good idea would be to have two charged batteries that you can switch between when one of them runs out in order to minimize downtime.

Additionally, electric chainsaws generally require far less maintenance than gas-powered chainsaws, which makes them perfect for beginners.

Corded-electric

Corded-electric chainsaws are very similar to their cordless counterpart. However, as the name clearly implies, they need to be connected to a power outlet in order to function. While this instantly makes them much less portable and convenient than both gas-powered and battery-powered chainsaws, they do make up for this in other areas.

For instance, the only thing you have to worry about is having a power outlet nearby, but if you already have access to one and you don’t need to carry the chainsaw too far from it, then you’re pretty much all good to go. Since you won’t be limited by the extension cord, you can take advantage of all that is good about electric chainsaws with few annoyances.

As we mentioned earlier when talking about battery-powered chainsaws, they are very user-friendly don’t require much maintenance. They’re also quiet compared to gas-powered chainsaws, and the fact that you can work indefinitely as long as you have it properly powered up makes it a great option if you’re going to be working in a confined area.

Chainsaw Safety Features

Chainsaws are among the most dangerous tools out there. You need to be able to handle one, and even then you need to be extra careful. This is why you need to take adequate safety precautions to avoid putting yourself, and potentially others, at risk.

First and foremost, you’ll have to wear the proper safety equipment when using a chainsaw, this includes gloves for a firm grip, goggles or any other protective eyewear in case of debris hitting your eyes, as well as a protective helmet and chainsaw chaps.

Other than that, chainsaw manufacturers have been adamant in making sure the tools they manufacture are safe. You’ll find that more recent chainsaws are equipped with more safety features. One of the most important of these is the chain break, which will instantly stop the chain from rotating. Some are triggered by inertia while others are manually activated via a handle on the top of the chainsaw.

One thing to note about chain brakes is that they are rarely found in electric chainsaws. Instead, you’ll find electric brakes which reverse the direction of the rotation until it reaches a halt by inverting the electricity flow.

Chain and electric brakes serve to decrease the kickback of the chainsaw, which can be very useful, especially on the heavier models which tend to have more severe kickback.

Additionally, there are also low-kickback bars which serve a similar purpose to the brakes but act in a more passive way.

There are also safety triggers which you need to hold while you operate the chainsaw to ensure that each action you perform with the chainsaw is not accidental. This feature is called “throttle interlock” and is standardized throughout most chainsaw, but there are always exceptions to the rule so you’ll want to always double check to see if they’re there.

Extra Features in the Best Chainsaw for the MOney

Not all chainsaws are created equal, and the best chainsaw for the money might not have all of the features we’re about to mention, but having a couple of these perks can come in handy.

One such feature is side-mounted tension adjusters which you can use to tweak the blade’s tension. You need to properly set up the blade tension; otherwise, you won’t be getting the performance you want. If the chain is too loose, then the cutting performance will suffer greatly with it. If the chain is way too loose, you risk having it go off entirely, which is very dangerous.

The great thing about this feature is that it facilitates the adjustment of the tension by letting you do it using a wheel mounted on the side of the chainsaw. If you’re using a chainsaw that doesn’t have this feature, then you might find yourself forced to disassemble some parts of it to properly adjust the blade tension, which is very time-consuming.

Some of the more expensive models come with an auto-adjuster, which means that you won’t have to worry about adjusting the blade tension at all. These chainsaws are perfect for beginners who have the money to spare since they’re easier to use and will usually perform better than manually adjusted chainsaws.

Another user-friendly feature is automatic oilers, which can save you a lot of time and work. Since the majority of chainsaws need to have their blade oiled, this is an important thing to learn how to do. However, once you do, you’ll realize that it’s a bit tricky and requires some time. This is when this feature comes in to save the day. Chainsaws with this feature are also very great for beginners.

The way this works is by having an oil reservoir that needs to be filled. This reservoir is then used when the system detects that the blade is in need of oiling. All that is required of you is to keep the tank full, and you’re pretty much good to go.

Final Tips for Choosing the Best Chainsaw for the Money

Choosing the right model for you will eventually come down to which type of projects you’ll be using it on. Another thing you can take into account is your aptitude with chainsaws. Seeing how chainsaws can be challenging to handle, you might not want to go with something heavy right off the bat. You’ll also want something with automated maintenance features such as an automatic oiler or an auto-adjuster. All of that can really make or break your experience with the best chainsaw for the money.

Picking the Best Chainsaw for the Money – Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Best Models for Beginners and Amateurs?

If you’re buying your first chainsaw, then we recommend you go with one that isn’t too difficult to handle and doesn’t have a lot of kickback and vibrations. When it comes to maintenance, electric chainsaws tend to require the least amount of care. There are also chainsaws that have automatic oilers and chain tension adjusters. In fact, both of these features aren’t only useful for beginners, but also professionals as they can save a lot of time.

What Safety Features Do Manufacturers Implement in Their Chainsaws?

When it comes to safety features, you’ll find that most chainsaws implement a chain brake, or in the case of electric chainsaws, an electric brake. Both brakes serve a similar purpose, which is to bring the chain to a halt.

Another common safety feature is a trigger button, or in some cases, two trigger buttons. One button needs to be pressed when starting the chainsaw, and the other needs to be pressed whilst turning the chain. These triggers serve to eliminate any accidental actions that might least to some serious damage to the materials or the user. Make sure you look out for these features when you’re looking for a new chainsaw.

Which One Is Better: Gas-Powered or Electric Chainsaw?

There is no clear winner here. On the one hand, gas-powered chainsaws are the most powerful but are also the hardest to handle due to how much kickback they have. On the other hand, electric chainsaws are easier to both handle and maintain. They’re also quieter, and so they tend to be better for smaller projects.

It’s also worth noting that there are corded electric chainsaws and battery-powered chainsaws, both of which differ a bit. The bottom line is, if the area you’re going to be working in isn’t big and has a power outlet, you’re better off with a corded electric chainsaw. Otherwise, a battery-powered chainsaw or a gas-powered one can be the best chainsaw for the money for you.

How Can I Maintain My Chainsaw?

To sharpen and maintain your unit, here’s a video that you can follow:

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve seen what the market has to offer and know how to distinguish a between the different types of chainsaws, you should be able to buy the best chainsaw for the job you need. Just make sure you know what you’re going to be using it for as that is the main factor that will determine the size and type of the chainsaw you’ll need.

References:

  • https://www.explainthatstuff.com/how-chainsaws-work.html
  • https://www.husqvarna.com/uk/forest/when-working/maintenance/
  • https://www.mechanopedia.com/guide/
  • Our own experience