The 6 Best Chainsaws of 2020
Cut through mediocre tools and check out the best chainsaws on the market here!
Chainsaws are as varied as any other power tool on the market, and opinions between their users can be just as dramatically opposed. When we set out to locate the best chainsaws, we had no idea that our testing would have us learn about different power methods, bar sizes, and methods of maintenance. But spending time testing chainsaws on various property debris gave us quite the insight that we can bring to you now.
In our opinion, the Makita XCU03PT1 36V balances many of the factors that go into choosing an ideal chainsaw for multiple needs. It’s powerful and versatile and features a great bar and chain for shopping for most wood that gives you trouble.
But we also found the Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless if you’re in the market for something more budget-friendly. Meanwhile, arborists (professional chainsaw users) will likely appreciate the Husqvarna 20-Inch 455 Rancher, which provides fantastic performance thanks to its powerful gas engine.
No matter what kind of chainsaw you’re in the market for, we’re sure that an ideal choice awaits you down below. Let’s get started.
Makita XCU03PT1 36V Chainsaw
Best Chainsaw Overall
Why should you buy this? The Makita XCU03PT1 Chainsaw represents the best in class for all-purpose chainsaw tools, as it’s perfect both for home and professional work.
Makita XCU03PT1 36V
Who’s it for? This is an ideal chainsaw if you want to balance professional use with home versatility and also have quality in mind.
Why we picked the Makita XCU03PT1:
This chainsaw received our pick in part due to its fantastic direct-drive motor system. This provides excellent power efficiency; even though it’s an electric model, it has power equivalent to a 32cc gas chainsaw, allowing it to have all of the benefits of electrical models with almost none of the drawbacks.
It also allows you to adjust its chain without the use of tools. This makes operating and maintaining the chainsaw much easier compared to many models on the market. A variable speed trigger and a series of high chain speed settings let you improve your cutting performance no matter the thickness of the wood you are cutting.
There’s also a built-in LED on or off switch and an automatic off power function. This will help you save battery life by turning the chainsaw off when it is not in use.
Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw
Best Cheap Chainsaw
Why should you buy this? This affordable chainsaw is both cordless and powerful and features some of the best features on the market despite its low asking price.
Greenworks 12-Inch 40V
Who’s it for? This is an ideal choice for those who need to maintain their home with a chainsaw but don’t want to break the bank at the same time.
Why we picked the Greenworks 12-Inch 40V:
This is an affordable yet dependable chainsaw that features many of the same design innovations you see on more expensive models. The lithium-ion battery system is perfect for powering multiple kinds of tools, and you can combine it with other Greenworks products for even more versatility.
The chainsaw itself features a 12-inch sturdy bar and chain which is perfect for cutting through woody debris around your home or property. You can adjust the chain tension without the use of tools to allow you to quickly adapt to any situation.
This chainsaw is also equipped with a translucent oil tank to let you always check the status of your current oil. To make things even better, there’s an automatic oiling system to keep the bar and chain moving fluidly. All in all, it’s not only one of the most affordable chainsaws on the market; it’s also one of the most user-friendly.
Oregon Cordless 16-Inch Self-Sharpening Chainsaw
Best High-End Chainsaw
Why should you buy this? Few chainsaws match the advanced utility and innovation that this motorized tool brings to the table; self-sharpening capability is just the start.
Oregon Cordless 16-Inch Self-Sharpening
Who’s it for? This is a perfect choice for tech-minded chainsaw users who appreciate high-end or innovative tools as they go about their property maintenance.
Why we picked the Oregon Cordless 16-Inch Self-Sharpening:
This chainsaw has some of the most futuristic or advanced design choices we’ve ever seen. For starters, there’s a powerful brushless motor that can increase its power output and efficiency overall. This is bolstered by the presence of a special chain that minimizes downtime. It allows you to automatically sharpen the saw while it is still on the chain in just seconds.
A special Lubri-Tech automatic oiling system sweetens the deal even further, reducing chain friction and improving the saw’s runtime overall. This allows you to get more work done in less time.
Not to mention that this saw features an advanced interface for controlling the tool and is lightweight and extremely easy to use. You start it with the pull of a trigger instead of pulling a cord, and it runs almost silently between cuts.
Ryobi ONE+ Cordless Chainsaw
Best Cordless Chainsaw
Why should you buy this? The Ryobi ONE+ Cordless Chainsaw is a top-tier tool that features phenomenal performance and power even without using an electrical cord or gas.
Ryobi ONE+ Cordless
Who’s it for? This should be a go-to option for anyone who prefers the mobility and adaptability of cordless chainsaws compared to their heavier corded counterparts.
Why we picked the Ryobi ONE+ Cordless:
This cordless chainsaw features a 12-inch bar and chain to help you tackle any kind of woody debris around your home or property. It features tool-less chain tensioning to help you keep things running smoothly and maintained without having to stop for long in between cuts.
There’s also an automatic oiler that you normally see on more expensive and corded chainsaws. This model runs off a 4.0 Ah lithium-ion battery, which will last for several hours before it needs to be recharged. The brushless motor integrated into this chainsaw ensures quality power and performance even with tougher branches.
Plus, you get all the benefits of a lightweight and cordless design without having to sacrifice too much cutting power overall. The three-year limited warranty that comes with the purchase makes things even better and will ensure long-term performance if there’s ever a problem with the tool’s components.
Greenworks 10-Inch Cordless Chainsaw
Best Small Chainsaw
Why should you buy this? The Greenworks 10-Inch Cordless Chainsaw provides exceptional adaptability and mobility to let you carry around your motorized cutter wherever you need.
Greenworks 10-Inch Cordless
Who’s it for? Greenworks’ miniature chainsaw is a perfect choice for those without too much upper body strength or who have only small branches they need to trim.
Why we picked the Greenworks 10-Inch Cordless:
This is a much smaller chainsaw than average tools, featuring a 10-inch bar and chain compared to the 12 or 14 inches you’ll find on most other models. Still, it has many of the same design advancements we’ve come to expect from modern chainsaws, including tool-less tensioning to adjust the chain quickly and prevent stalling.
There’s also an automatic oiler, feature on many of Greenworks’ chainsaws, and a translucent oil tank to let you keep an eye on the status of your oil supply. The entire machine is powered by a decent 2AH battery that powers a 24 V motor.
This is powerful enough to help you do your gardening more maintenance work, although remember that the chainsaw is definitely not designed as a heavy-duty chainsaw. Still, for those in need of a smaller tool for one reason or another, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Husqvarna 20-Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
Best Chainsaw for Professionals
Why should you buy this? The Husqvarna 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw is a powerful piece of equipment designed for professional use, as evidenced by its impressive engine and fantastic bar and chain.
Husqvarna 20-Inch 455 Rancher
Who’s it for? This is a perfect chainsaw for professional woodsmen or arborists who spend their working hours cutting down trees or their many branches.
Why we picked the Husqvarna 20-Inch 455 Rancher:
We chose the Rancher Chainsaw largely because of its gas-powered engine. This engine provides 55.5cc of power to allow you to cut through especially thick trees or branches without much trouble. The 20-inch guide bar and chain also allow you to cut much thicker woodland debris compared to the other chainsaws on our list.
There’s an automatic chain oiler integrated into the tool’s design and a chain brake for safety that will automatically stop the tool if it detects that it’s falling. As this is a common danger for arborists, many professional chainsaw users will appreciate this feature.
Cleaning this chainsaw is also easy thanks to the quick-release air filter. Even with its gas engine, it is designed to guzzle less fuel than many competitor chainsaws and reduce emissions overall. This is helpful both for the operator and the environment at large.
Oregon 575214 Sure Sharp Handheld Chainsaw Sharpener/Grinder
Best Chainsaw Sharpener
Why should you buy this? The Oregon Sure Sharp Handheld Sharpener is a convenient and easy to use chainsaw sharpening kit that has tools for just about every motorized cutter on the market.
Oregon 575214 Chainsaw Sharpener
Who’s it for? This is a perfect chainsaw sharpening kit for mechanics or for those who prefer to keep their own chainsaw in tip-top condition.
Why we picked the Oregon 575214 Chainsaw Sharpener:
This is an ideal chainsaw sharpening kit for several reasons. It includes several sharpening stones and they collet wrench; these tools allow you to effectively maintain the bars and chains of multiple varieties of chainsaws, including those from several top brands.
There’s also an included sharpening angle adjustment guide. This can help you sharpen more efficiently and results in a sharper, better performing chainsaw when you are through. As a motorized tool, you also don’t have to sweat too hard as you optimize your chainsaw.
It can sharpen most chainsaw chains up to a 0.404” pitch, which is ideal for most cutting jobs. There’s also a 12 V car adapter and several battery clips included in the kit, making it easy to recharge this chainsaw sharpener wherever you go.
How we test
To determine the best chainsaws for a multitude of needs, we used them on wood that fell on property near our testing sight. This let us test the chainsaws in terms of their ease of use, power, and cutting speed, as well as how easy it was to clean them or maintain them. We also considered aspects such as how noisy each chainsaw was in between cuts and how long their batteries or gas engines lasted before needing to be refilled or recharged.
What is the Best Chainsaw?
The best chainsaw for your needs will focus on what you need to accomplish most of all. This means considering what you’re looking for in a chainsaw before purchasing. For instance, gardeners or those who need to maintain their property will probably be satisfied with the Ryobi ONE+ Cordless Chainsaw. But professional arborists will likely need something more like the Husqvarna 20-Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw to get all their work done on time.
When in doubt, remember our best overall pick, the Makita XCU03PT1 36V Chainsaw, which covers several niches and needs quite capably.
What Size Chainsaw Do I Need?
Chainsaw size is one of the biggest factors that determine whether a given tool will be appropriate for your needs. Firstly, consider the size of the branches or trees you’re cutting down, then remember that your chainsaw bar length needs to be longer than that diameter. For instance, a 10-inch tree will require a chainsaw with a guide bar length of 12 inches to be cut successfully. The Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw will suit you just fine.
That’s the basic idea. Go about 2 inches above the diameter of whatever wood you’re cutting, and you’re set.
How Does a Chainsaw Work?
Chainsaws work through an engine or electric motor that runs a set of metallic teeth on a chain over a guide bar. These teeth are spun at very high speeds and with a high amount of torque, which creates a cutting action to slice through wood in no time at all.
How Much is a Chainsaw?
Chainsaw prices can vary dramatically depending on their power source, size, and what of the features they incorporate into their designs. Cheaper chainsaws aren’t as powerful and can be purchased for less than $100, like the Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw. Meanwhile, pricier chainsaws, like the Oregon Cordless 16-Inch Self-Sharpening Chainsaw, will necessarily be more powerful and have more things to warrant the higher asking price.
What do the Numbers on a Chainsaw Chain Mean?
Pitch size refers to the distance between its links. Gauge indicates how thick the drive links for the chain are. Finally, many chainsaws indicate how many drive links the chain has or that they will accept.