Chainsaws buying guide 2020 – chainsaw test & comparison

When you have a tree-lined garden, a chainsaw can be a useful tool for pruning, delimbing, felling a sick tree and making firewood. But to do this, you have to know how to choose the right model for your needs and, with the number of models on the market, it is difficult to make an informed choice. To be sure of your purchase, let yourself be guided by the comparisons, product tests and customer reviews that you will find. This is the best way to find out everything about a specific model. Our buying guide will also help you by teaching you everything you need to know about the best 2020 chainsaw.

How to chose your chainsaw?

A chainsaw is a motorized, portable saw that varies in size and power depending on the model. It is a device used in general agriculture but especially in specialized agriculture such as forestry, arboriculture but also in logging, gardening and green spaces.

It is mainly used for pruning, tree felling, hedge trimming, maintenance work and firewood cutting.

The chainsaw is equipped with a blade on which a chain is mounted to cut wood of varying diameters, depending on the model of chainsaw chosen. There are nowadays models of chainsaws that are wire, thermal or battery powered, depending on the comparison.

The top 5 chainsaw brands

Stihl chainsaws

Stihl, according to customer reviews and comparisons, is a leading brand in the world of motorcycling. This German brand was the first to market chainsaws and today can be found in more than 160 countries. Known for the quality of these tools, Stihl is one of the best brands in product tests and comparisons. The company offers thermal, wire, battery powered chainsaws as well as pruners and mini saws.

Echo chainsaws

This Japanese brand is always well placed in the comparisons of the best machines. The chainsaws are of high quality and the price-performance ratio is interesting. Among the models offered by the brand are wire saws, thermal cut-off saws, mini saws and thermal pole pruners. The brand only offers machines with robust and reliable motors, which allows it to win the favour of customer opinions in product tests.

Makita chainsaws

Makita is an innovative Japanese brand that has taken over the Dolmar brand, thus complementing the existing range of chainsaws with even better, battery-operated machines. It is also often found in product comparisons and tests.

McCulloch chainsaws

The American brand often figures prominently in comparisons. Its chainsaws are recognizable by their power but also by their black colour. It therefore offers versatile thermal and electric corded models of high quality according to customer reviews.

Ryobi chainsaws

The Japanese brand is well known in comparisons and tests since it offers quality models at competitive prices according to customer opinions. Its expertise: battery-powered chainsaws. But you will also find wired and thermal models that also offer good quality according to comparisons.

How does a chainsaw work?

Whether your unit is thermal or wired, the operation of the unit remains the same. As soon as the engine is started, a link chain mounted on a guide bar is driven, allowing the wood to be cut. However, there are a few differences between the two models.

For example, an internal combustion chainsaw is equipped with a two or four-stroke engine. The engine runs on gasoline and needs lubrication to operate properly. The unit is started with a starter motor. The electric chainsaw works by being connected to the mains or by means of a battery. The cutting speed can be easily adjusted on these types of models.

Concretely, it is a device that will allow you to obtain the best cut in the case of pruning of more or less large trees but also in the cutting of firewood, maintenance of hedges, etc…

The different types of chainsaws

Fuel powered chainsaw

Thermal chainsaws are devices that are powered by a petrol engine. They are efficient but more polluting, and because they require a fuel tank, they are heavier than other types of chainsaws. They are mainly used by professionals and are the best machines for large and tall trees.

Advantages :

Powerful engine, great autonomy thanks to the fuel, excellent efficiency.
Disadvantages :

pollution, noise pollution, weight, manual start, weight, expensive and restrictive maintenance.

Wired electric chainsaw

Often small in size, the wired electric chainsaw is convenient and poses little risk. It is the best machine for private individuals according to comparisons. It is very useful for small gardens and can cut small diameter trees.

Advantages :

economical and environmentally friendly consumption, light, handy, instant start, low noise, easy maintenance.
Disadvantages :

limited power, wire sometimes too short.

Battery chainsaw

Even more interesting than the previous model, the battery-powered electric chainsaw has all the features of its wired counterpart but offers real freedom of movement because it is not connected according to comparisons. It is a model that has been acclaimed in customer reviews and product tests as the best chainsaw.

Advantages :

economical consumption, environmentally friendly, instant start, low noise, easy maintenance.
Disadvantages :

limited power, small cutting diameter, weight, expensive maintenance (battery change).

How to chose a chainsaw : main attention points

The comparisons allowed us to highlight some of the most important criteria for choosing your chainsaw.

Solidity and reliability: To test the reliability of the chainsaw you choose, it is advisable to choose models made of solid plastic and steel. As for reliability, remember to check that the model you choose will be suitable for your needs.


Type of power supply and power rating: You will have to choose between electric, thermal or battery-powered chainsaws. Wired electric chainsaws are particularly suitable for domestic work such as pruning, felling, limbing and making firewood. Generally, it will cut branches up to 45 centimetres in diameter and its power varies between 1,000 and 2,000 watts. Battery-powered chainsaws will cut branches up to 25 centimetres in diameter and range from 500 to 1,100 watts. The autonomy will rarely exceed 30 minutes. Thermal chainsaws are the most powerful, they can reach up to 7,000 Watts and have a very high cutting capacity. They are the best machines on the market and are perfect for large jobs according to comparisons.

What are the features of the chainsaw?

The chain: This is the most important part of the chainsaw. To perform any type of work, you will have to choose a guide bar between 50 and 80 centimetres, but 20 to 40 centimetres will be enough if you only want to prune young trees or make small logs. The type of chain is also important (low kickback, chisel or half-chisel) as well as the cutting speed according to the comparisons.
Ergonomics: Another important element. You will have to take into account the weight, the ergonomic anti-vibration handle, the sound power, the balance and good grip, the ease of adjustment and the safety options that the chainsaw offers.
Features: Some of the best chainsaws offer features that can be very interesting. For example, those that offer a chain tensioner are among the best machines. Then, the start-up aid will save you time. Then check that the brake is easy to release and that the chain is easy to lubricate.
Maintenance: Maintenance is very important because it is the most important part of your chainsaw’s life. In case of a thermal model, you should therefore check that the engine is easy to maintain. Next, find out how to lubricate the chain, sharpen the teeth and adjust the chain tension.

Top 3 chainsaws

#1 Makita UC3041A

The Makita UC3041A chainsaw has an output of 1800 W. Easy to clean and easy to mount, this model is easy to start. It is lighter than the classic models, but still strong and of high quality. The chain tensioner holds well and does not loosen during use. Its 30 cm blade can cut trunks up to 25-30 cm in diameter.

  • Makita-built Outer Rotor BL Brushless Motor direct-drive system provides high power efficiency
  • Variable speed trigger and high chain speed (0-4,720 FPM) for improved cutting performance
  • Torque boost mode for cutting dense material
  • Guide bar nut chain tensioning with captured nut
  • Adjustable automatic chain lubrication with large oil reservoir

#2 Ryobi OCS1830 

The Ryobi OCS1830 has a blade speed of 10 m/sec. We particularly liked the chain and the guide bar plate, which is on an Oregon chainsaw, one of the best brands in the industry. It is the smallest and easiest to handle in our collection, with a weight of 3.2Kg and dimensions of 49 x 21 x 24 cm. It is therefore suitable for cutting small diameter trunks for pruning or for heating with its 30cm blade.

#3 Bosch AKE 35 S

The Bosch AKE 40S electric chainsaw is the ideal tool for effortless pruning of branches, with its chain speed of 9 metres per second. It is easy to handle as it weighs 4.1 kilos with dimensions of 52.8 x 27.8 x 20 cm. Its “little extra” is its new system that does not require any tools to change the chain. This model is available in 2 power ratings: 1800W or 1900W. Its small size and light weight place it at the top of our chainsaw pruner ranking. And of course with all this the quality of Bosch products.

Various questions:

Which chainsaw to choose between thermals, wires and batteries?
It all depends on what you use it for. Thermals are useful for cutting large trees, while battery-powered models are less polluting and easier to use. Wired devices are to be excluded if your exterior is large.

What to choose between a chainsaw and a pruner?
The first is used for felling trees as well as for cutting large logs. The pruner, on the other hand, is used for the maintenance of an exterior and can only deal with branches of small diameter.

What is the guide bar of a chainsaw?
It is the part of your machine that holds the chain.

How do I tighten the chain on my chainsaw?
Nowadays, to make it easier for homeowners to use the unit, many models have a built-in chain tensioner that looks like a small lever that can be pulled up to tighten the chain.

Why does my chainsaw tend to graze when cutting?
This may be due to a lack of chain tension.

What diameter can I cut with a chainsaw?
It depends on the type of machine. But generally, a chainsaw can cut wood up to 25 centimetres in diameter, while other models can cut up to 45 centimetres. If you want to cut wood larger than this, it is better to choose a professional chainsaw.

What type of oil should I use to lubricate the chain?
While some people use filtered motor oil, this is not recommended as it can cause clogging of the oil pump. Use a special oil made from recycled oils.

Which fuel should I use for my appliance?
The easiest way is to take a five-litre can of SP-95 petrol.

My chainsaw cuts crossways, what should I do?
This deviation is certainly due to a play between the bar and the chain. It can also be due to the teeth not having the same length.

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