The gas chainsaw is an extremely useful tool that many people own and use often. Gas chainsaws have lots of different uses from basic carpentry to cutting down large trees. Gas chainsaws can also be extremely dangerous which means that the operator has to know what they are doing and be very careful. However, for anyone who requires a powerful saw on a regular basis that is versatile enough to work on every angle, there is no better choice than a chainsaw and there is a number of advantages to going with the gas chainsaw in particular as well. This gas chainsaw buying guide will cover everything you need to know about this remarkable tool.
In a hurry? Our best gas chainsaw recommendation is:
- Side-mounted chain tensioner for easy access
- 20-Inch Bar. Power output: 3.62 hp
- Quick release air filter to facilitate cleaning and replacement of air filter
Benefits & Disadvantages of Gas Chainsaws
There are a number of benefits and disadvantages of gas chainsaws. Understanding these advantages and disadvantages will allow you to make a decision as to whether you want to go with the gas chainsaw or an alternative power source like an electric or battery-operated chainsaw. Each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages, and often it comes down to a matter of personal choice.
- Portable: First, gas chainsaws are more portable than other types of chainsaws. You simply fill them up with gas and then you’re able to use them without any restrictions. This is certainly not the case when it comes to electric chainsaws that have a cord. With electric chainsaws, you have to find a place to plug in your chainsaw and probably run long extension cords to be able to reach your cutting area.
- More Power: Gas chainsaws are also a lot more powerful than electric chainsaws or battery-operated chainsaws. You can find some pretty powerful battery-operated chainsaws out there, but if you want even close to the equivalent you with a gas-powered chainsaw you’re going to pay a whole lot more. If you are going to be cutting down large trees or doing heavy-duty jobs, then you probably want to go with a gas-powered chainsaw.
- More Readily Available: You will probably have better luck finding a gas chainsaws well. While both of these types of chainsaws are available online, the selection of electric and battery-operated chainsaws is still pretty limited in most of the retail stores out there. Gas-powered chainsaws are still the way that most people prefer to cut and that makes stores stock them more often than their electric or battery-operated counterparts.
- Longer Blades: Gas chainsaws also have the benefit of longer blades which makes the cutting time shorter and allows you to do more with your chainsaw. For example, if you’re cutting down a tree, a longer blade is going to give you a major advantage. A longer blade can help with other tasks as well.
- Can Run Longer: Gas chainsaws can also run longer; in fact, as long as you bring along a gas can that you can use to refill your chainsaw, a gas chainsaw could theoretically run forever; this makes it the perfect tool to bring out to the woods where there is no electricity; if you have a battery-operated chainsaw, you are eventually going to run out of power and need to recharge it.
- Requires Gasoline: The first disadvantage of a gas-powered chainsaw is that it requires gasoline; if you use your chainsaw all the time, you are going to notice this difference because gasoline is more expensive than electricity to buy and the gas-powered chainsaw uses it fairly quickly; the more powerful it is, the more gasoline it runs through.
- More Maintenance: Gas chainsaws also require more maintenance. They require cleaning more often than electric or battery-powered chainsaws, the cutting teeth need to be sharpened, the depth gauges need filing and the chainsaw chain and bar need to be checked regularly and possibly replaced.
- More Expensive: Gas chainsaws are also usually more expensive than electric chainsaws, but what you have to keep in mind with this particular disadvantage is that you are getting a lot more power for the money. Gas-powered chainsaws give you a great deal more power without costing that much more than electric chainsaws.
- More Difficult to Use: There is no doubt that gas chainsaws are more difficult to use. For one thing, they are heavier and you have to be more concerned about things like kickback and the vibration of the chainsaw as you cut. Electric and battery-powered chainsaws give you more control over the saw which required less strength to use. Gas-powered chainsaws are unwieldy and require a certain amount of upper body strength.
- Noise Pollution: Besides the pollution that you have met with any gas-powered device, you also contribute to a great deal of noise pollution with a gas-powered chainsaw. They are many times louder than electric or battery chainsaws. Of course, the trade-off is that you get all of the advantages – especially power – that the gas chainsaw provides and the noise is unavoidable to get those advantages.
Our Chainsaw Recommendations
There are some really great gas-powered chainsaws offered online. We have selected five of the best out there and reviewed them carefully so you can have several to choose from. Any of these chainsaws are probably going to do the cutting jobs you have in mind, but each one has unique features and their own pros and cons.
Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw
The Husqvarna 460 is a chainsaw made for just about any type of job. This is a robust chainsaw that is just as perfectly suited for smaller jobs as it is for larger jobs. When it comes to demanding jobs where a longer guide bar requires more power, this chainsaw shines. It has an X-Torq engine that offers high torque and a wide range of RPMs and it is easy to handle regardless of how powerful it is.
- Smart Start technology included
- Air injection
- Low vibration for easy handling
- Combination stop/choke
- Has a couple of small safety issues like no bar scabbard and that the OFF switch doesn’t actually turn off the saw
- Some comparable saws are a little lower in price
The 460 Rancher has several useful features that you will like. First, the 20” blade gives you plenty of reach for big jobs. It features a 3.6 Horsepower, 60CC two-cycle engine with an inertia-activated chain brake. This chainsaw also has a low-vibration feature that makes it a lot easier to handle as well as a Smart Start function that purges air and fixes starting cylinder displacement. The chain is 3.68 cubic inches and at maximum power, it runs at more than 65 feet per second. Plus, this chainsaw weighs just 12.7 pounds without the cutting equipment.
- Side-mounted chain tensioner for easy access
- 20-Inch Bar. Power output: 3.62 hp
- Quick release air filter to facilitate cleaning and replacement of air filter
Tanaka Top Handle Chainsaw
This chainsaw from Tanaka is built for cutting professionals and commercial use, so it is certainly powerful enough to handle anything that a regular user throws at it. It has a 32CC two-stroke engine with Pure Fire that provides a powerful performance that is as clean as possible and uses less fuel than other chainsaws. Low emissions are better for everyone, but usually, it comes at the expense of power. That’s definitely not the case with this chainsaw.
- Ultra-low emissions
- Powerful engine
- Sprocket nose bar with Oregon chain for increased control
- Simple to operate and easy to adjust the chain
- Includes half-throttle choke with primer
- Lightweight – only about 12 pounds
- Air filter cover falls off if not tightened properly
- Manufacturer recommends not climbing with it
- Sometimes leaks bar oil when sitting idle in the garage
This chainsaw has plenty of features that you will love. It all starts with the commercial-grade Pure Fire 32CC engine that gives you a powerful chainsaw with extremely low emissions and amazing fuel efficiency. It also starts up fast and has several advanced features in place to prevent not starting. The fuel capacity on this chain is nearly 10 ounces and it has a 50:1 fuel mix ratio. This chainsaw is more efficient, easier to use and handles better than most of the gas-powered chainsaws on the market.
- 12-Inch top handle chain saw with 32.2cc commercial grade pure fire engine to provide a clean, powerful performance with less fuel consumption
- Half throttle choke with purge primer bulb for easy start and warm up. Fuel Capacity (fl oz) : 9.9. Fuel Mix Ratio : 50 : 1
- Automatic gear-driven oiler and a side access chain tensioning providing quick and convenient chain adjustment
Poulan Pro 50cc 2 Stroke Chainsaw
Poulan Pro makes this 50CC 2-stroke gas power chainsaw that is the next entry on our list, and it is certainly one of the top choices out there. This powerful engine is combined with an easy pull-start that is spring assisted so it doesn’t’ require a lot of strength. In addition, the air filtration system is extremely advanced so that air filters last longer and fuel consumption is reduced. This is a powerful chainsaw that gives you many advantages that other gas-powered models won’t.
- Powerful 50CC dual-stroke engine
- Effortless Pull-Start (EPS) system with spring assist
- Longer air filter use
- Reduced fuel consumptions
- Lower fuel capacity
- A little noisier than some of the other models
This chainsaw provides extra power for those tasks that a normal chainsaw simply will not perform. However, it does it while still boasting 70% fewer emissions than standard chainsaw engines and 20% lower fuel consumption. Plus, the effortless starter system makes it a snap to start with one pull and although it does not offer tool-free maintenance, it does have a combination tool located in the handle that will do all of the required maintenance for you. Also, this is a really user-friendly chainsaw with combined choke and stop control and just an overall better reliability and usability rating.
- With the OxyPower engine technology, you can get that extra power for virtually any task. This technology offers a more powerful engine, but also 70% less emissions and 20% lower fuel consumption
- Effortless pull starting system reduces pull force 30% for easier starting and reduced wear on the starter mechanism
- The combi tool is integrated into the rear handle, it's always there when you need it for maintenance
Husqvarna 240 Chainsaw
Another entry from Husqvarna is this 16-inch lightweight saw that is perfect for all kinds of yard work like pruning bushes and shrubbery as well as for other tasks around the house. This is a really terrific woodworking chainsaw that is going to easily cut through two-by-fours and other lumber, and it has an ergonomic design to make it really easy to use. When it comes to a powerful chainsaw at a really great price that you will love working with, this is definitely the one that you want.
- Lower price than many of the other gas-powered models out there
- Ergonomic design that makes this really easy to handle
- Lightweight and maneuverable enough for lots of different jobs
- Clean fuel must be used at all times
- This will not work on large jobs
This chainsaw definitely has some really great features like an ergonomic design and a powerful engine with plenty of torque that also has low emissions. This is the perfect solution for yard work or small jobs around the house, and while it may not be appropriate for cutting down giant trees, it is powerful enough to slice cleanly through the biggest lumber you have on hand for your home improvement project.
- X-torque - delivers lower fuel consumption and reduced exhaust emission levels in accordance with the world´s most stringent environmental regulations
- Air injection - centrifugal air cleaning system removes larger Dust and debris Particles before reaching the air filter. This results in reduced air filter Cleanings and improved engine life
- Combined choke/stop control - allows for easier starting and reduces the risk of engine flooding
Blue Max 8901 2-in-1 Chainsaw
Another top pick is from Blue Max and this is definitely a fully featured chainsaw that is going to get the job done. It features a 14-inch and a 20-inch bar with a 57 CC engine and two-stroke engine that is powering 22-inch extended saw blade at 2700-3400 RPMs. This saw has lots of safety features like a low-range kickback chain, an automatic chain oil feed system and a centric-balanced design that makes it easy to handle and use; even at unusual angles.
- Quick-Start ignition system
- Auto-bar chain oil feed system
- Anti-vibration handle
- Powerful 2-stroke engine
- 22-inch chainsaw blade
- Engine idle speed of up to 3400 RPMs
- Amazing price
- No case included
- Difficult chainsaw to start
- Not a powerful saw or one that was made to last forever
This may not be the most powerful chainsaw on the market, but it is not intended to be. Instead, this is one of the most powerful budget chainsaws out there. You won’t be able to use it for the biggest jobs out there but with a max speed of 1500 RPMs, and ant vibration chain brake, auto chain lubrication and 14 inches and 20-inch bar lengths this is truly a unique chainsaw that is going to do the job and is worth every penny.
- 45 cc high performance blue max engine, 35-percent higher performance than alternative brands
- 30-percent more chain teeth reduces cutting time; anti vibe handle; center balanced.25:1 fuel mixture
- Quick start (cdi) ignition system; automatic oiler
Gas Chainsaw Features to Consider
There are a number of features that you’ll want to consider when it comes to choosing the right gas-powered chainsaw. You likely need your chainsaw for very specific things, but you want it to be versatile enough to work on other projects that you don’t necessarily have in mind right now. That means that you want your chainsaw to have those features, even if you have to pay little more for them. Let’s look at the standard chainsaw features one by one so you can decide exactly what you want and which features you can do without to make the best buying decision possible.
How powerful a chainsaw motor is definitely a consideration. There are a couple of different measurements that you will use to evaluate the motor power of your chainsaw. The most common one is cubic centimeters. You will see the letter cc next to a number that tells you how many cubic centimeters of air your chainsaw pushes. A light duty chainsaw will generally start around 30 to 35 cubic centimeters. A medium duty chainsaw pushes 35 to 42 cc. Anything that is 42 to 50 cubic centimeters or up is going to be a heavy duty chainsaw. However, you also may see horsepower attached to your chainsaw. That’s another measurement to judge your chainsaw engine by.
Guide Bar Length
The guide bar length is an important consideration when it comes to choosing the right gas-powered chainsaw, but the first thing you have to understand is what a guide bar actually is. A guide bar is the steel bar that is surrounded by the chainsaw chain. The guide bar has a track that the chainsaw chain runs along allowing it to smoothly and easily rotate for cutting. The length of the guide bar is important because the longer guide bar is, the easier it will be to cut down thick items like trees. However, keep in mind that the longer the guide bar is the more unwieldy your chainsaw will be. If your guide bar is too long, then the weight of the chainsaw is going to be overbalanced and you’re going to have a hard time using it.
How much kickback your chainsaw has is also a consideration. Kickback is when the chainsaw bucks or jerks while you are trying to cut something. This usually happens because the chainsaw encounters something that cannot cut through as easily as when it was cut previously. Kickback can cause serious injury, so any additional steps that the chainsaw manufacturer takes to prevent kickbacks are worth the extra money that you pay for it. You want to look for this in the description when you are considering buying a particular chainsaw. A chainsaw that minimizes kickbacks could prevent you from serious injury or worse sometime in the near future.
The amount of noise that your chainsaw makes is also a factor to consider. While no one may care how much noise your chainsaw makes of your out in the woods miles from the nearest person or structure, if you are cutting down trees in your yard or doing home improvement work, your neighbors are certainly going to care how much noise your chainsaw makes. Some chainsaws make a huge amount of noise while others are a lot quieter. You will have to decide how important this feature is to you before you make your decision on which one you’re going to purchase. Normally, electric and battery chainsaws are a little bit quieter than gas-powered models, so if noise is a big concern, then you might want to look into those types of chainsaws.
Weight & Comfort
How much the chainsaws weighs and how comfortable it is to use are both factors that you want to consider carefully. Chainsaws are extremely dangerous tools and making sure that you can use them properly is an important consideration. You want a chainsaw that you can easily handle and manipulate – one that isn’t too heavy for you and feels comfortable in your hands. The more comfortable you are with your chainsaw, the more easily you will be able to wield it and the less chance there is of an accident happening. That’s why you want to make sure that it is perfectly balanced and easy to grip.
Starting the Chainsaw
Some chainsaws are notoriously difficult to start, while others will almost always start up on the very first pull. The difficulty in starting your chainsaw is something that you want to consider as a feature. No one wants to be pulling the handle of their chainsaw over and over, with their shoulder getting more and more tired, while the chainsaw simply refuses to start. Luckily, there is plenty of technology and advancements in chainsaw design these days that make non-starting chainsaw almost obsolete. You just need to make sure that you choose a chainsaw that has this technology included with it.
Automatic Chain Oiler
Every chainsaw chain requires oil for it to work properly. However, some chainsaws do the work for you. They have an automatic oiler that adds this oil to the chain every time it runs through a rotation. This means less maintenance for you and an easier time cutting stuff down. You want to look for this automatic oiling feature whenever you are shopping for chainsaws because it is an extremely valuable one that you will appreciate the more and more you use your chainsaw. You can check out the description on your chainsaw and find out if an automatic oiler is part of the design.
Tool Free Adjuster
Whether you can adjust the chainsaw on the fly is an important consideration. If you are using your chainsaw in the garage where all your tools are, then this is not nearly as important. But what if you take your chainsaw with you in the back of your truck and you need to use it out on the trail somewhere without the right tools? That’s where this feature comes in handy. Your chainsaw should either have a design that allows it to be adjusted easily without tools or a tool already included with the chainsaw that sits within a recess somewhere in the body that allows you to adjust all of the different features and settings.
A chain brake is a feature that many chainsaws have that provide stopping power for the chain. This is accomplished in one of two ways. You can either push the handle forward to engage the chain brake or the chain brake engages by the force of the arc or it happens when the chainsaw encounters kickback. In either case, you want to have a chain brake in place because it is a safety feature that is important in the operation of a chainsaw. You want to be able to stop the break when you need to. Look for a chain brake when you’re looking over the features of the chainsaw that you are considering buying because a chain brake is a really useful thing to have.
Does the chainsaw have a blade cover? This is an important consideration because the blade cover needs to fit over the blade perfectly and protect it from being damaged by places where you put it. There are three things that you need to keep in mind when it comes to choosing the right chainsaw with blade cover. First, you want to make sure that the chain cover actually protects your blade. Where you lay your blade and how you carry it can reduce the sharpness of the blade. In addition, the blade cover can protect your car’s upholstery or other surfaces from being damaged by the blade itself. Finally, a blade cover can help to protect surfaces from oil leaking which can happen because the blade requires oil and some auto-oiling blades leak.
The type of chain that you choose is also an important consideration, and there are a lot of different chains to choose from. One of the most common types of chains is the full chisel side chain. The full chisel side chain has squared cornered teeth that splits wooden fibers easily and cuts fast and efficiently. However, it is not the safest type of chain out there. There is also the semi-chisel side chain, the low-profile chipper chain and the low-profile full complement chain as well as the skip chain, the semi-skip chain and the gauge chain, all of which are various types of chainsaw chains be doing research on to figure out which one is going to fit your needs the best.
CARB Compliant Motor
Another consideration is whether or not your chainsaw is CARB compliant. CARB stands for the California Air Resources Board, and it has been the world leader in whether or not a gas-powered device pollutes the air for many years now. Unless you live in this particular state, you do not have to worry that much about being CARB compliant, but if you care about the air around you – no matter what state you are in – then you may want to consider it. Of course, you still have to consider cost, but you can find these eco-friendly chainsaws at just about every price range, so you should be able to find something that both meets your needs and is good for the environment. This is not the most important consideration when buying a chainsaw, but a responsible person will still consider it as they are buying their first chainsaw model.
The Difference between Electric & Gas Chainsaws
Gas chainsaws are the most common type of chainsaw out there, and there are lots of reasons that you might want to go with a gas model. There are quite a few advantages to going with a gas model over the other models that are out there. However, you should consider all of the different models fairly and decide on what you want after you have gotten all the information.
The first thing that you need to understand is that gas models are more powerful than other types of models out there. Gas models simply have more action behind them. If you need to cut down a large tree or something a lot smaller quickly, then you’re going to need a gas-powered motor. The chainsaw that you choose will depend upon how much power you need and how much you are willing to sacrifice in terms of pollution. There are a lot of different chainsaws out there that you can choose from, so you will have to decide for yourself which one is going to work the best for you.
Electric chainsaws, on the other hand, are a lot cleaner than gas-powered chainsaws. They do not produce the same pollution that gas-powered chainsaws produce – which admittedly, is not very much at all – and I electric chainsaw also has several advantages over gas-powered that you need to be aware of. For one thing, electric chainsaws are often less expensive than their gas-powered counterparts. Also are not as powerful as gas-powered chainsaws, but they do cost less and if your job is a smaller one, then you may want to go with this type of chainsaw instead of the other.
Electric chainsaws require charging, or they are connected to your electrical outlet with a cord. In either case, you are somewhat limited in how far you can go or how long you can use your chainsaw. This is one of the major advantages of the gas-powered chainsaw. As long as you have gasoline for it, you are able to use it for as long as you want and can take it just about anywhere with you.
You will have to decide if this trade-off is worth the pollution and increase the cost that you get with the gas-powered chainsaw. Gas chainsaws are also noisier and harder to handle than their electrical counterparts. There are other factors to consider such as the weight of the chainsaw and how well it works against certain types of foliage or would, but we have covered many of the things that you need to consider when it comes to choosing between an electrical powered and gas-powered chainsaw.
Cordless Electric Chainsaws vs. Gas Chainsaws
Cordless electric chainsaws are comparable with gas-powered chainsaws – at least that’s what the manufacturers want you to think. In truth, gas-powered chainsaws have a number of advantages over battery-powered an electrical powered chainsaw altogether. For one thing, wireless electrical chainsaws that work on a battery are never going to be as powerful as gas-powered chainsaws. Actually, that’s not necessarily true. In the future, when battery power exceeds how many RPMs the gasoline engine can ramp up to on a gas-powered chainsaw, then they may be comparable. Right now, the electrical chainsaw is a weak sister next to the gas-powered one.
Cordless electrical chainsaws are certainly better in some respects than gas-powered chainsaws. However, what you have to keep in mind is that gas-powered chainsaws are much more powerful and will get the job done faster. It is true that battery-powered chainsaws do not use gasoline, which can save you some money, and they do not pollute the air like gas chainsaws do, but they are also not able to do most of the jobs that gas-powered chainsaws can. There are a lot of chainsaws on the market these days, and you will have to decide for yourself whether you’re going to go with a gas-powered model or something that uses electricity and offers a safer, more eco-friendly while you are using.
Gas chainsaws are definitely top-of-the-line models will become the chainsaws. For one thing, they are the only models that are capable of performing the tough jobs. If you have been considering on an electrical or battery-powered chainsaw, what you need to know is that most of these chainsaws are not capable of doing the big jobs. For example, if you want to cut down a tree, you are going to need a gas-powered chainsaw. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the electrical chainsaw or the battery-operated chainsaw models are not worth it; it just means that these models may not perform up to the standards that you are used to.
Gas-powered chainsaws provide an extremely high RPM and will work for just about any type of cutting that you want to do. They are extremely powerful and provide all of the features that you need including chain breaks, kickback protection and various other gas-powered features that you need when you are working with this type of cutter. There are a lot of different chainsaws out there, but you want the one that performs the best and offers you the best protection, and that is definitely the gas-powered chainsaw.
- How do I know when to sharpen my blade? There are several different theories that you will hear when it comes to sharpening your blade. For example, you may read that it is prudent to sharpen your blade after cutting down four trees. You may also hear that it is best to sharpen your blade after a tank of fuel has been used, but neither of these addresses the actual question. For example, what if you are not cutting down trees? What if you are cutting down something harder than whatever they used to measure that tank of fuel against? In either case, you are going to want a different standard for measuring the way that you sharpen your blade against.
- How do I sharpen my chainsaw blade? The process of sharpening your blade is a little complex and something that you need to consider carefully. The bottom line is that you have to use the depth gauge tool and filed to adjust the height of the depth gauge is on the chain to determine whether or not your blade needs sharpening. If the depth gauges are too high, then the cutters cannot reach the what, and every time you refill your chain with fuel, you will be doing a poor job. That means that you’re going to have to sharpen your chain to make it reach the status quo. Also, keep your chain free of dirt and debris when cutting or it will dull more quickly.
- Can I replace the chain with another brand make? The answer to that will depend upon the model of the chainsaw that you have, but in most cases, the answer is yes. You can replace the chain with any brand as long as you use a compatible chain. However, there are some advantages to certain brands to going with the same chain. You do want to make sure that you choose the right one though because putting the wrong chain on your side can be detrimental to your tool as well as dangerous.
- Can I mix oil and gasoline together myself for my Gas Chainsaw? Mixing your own gas and oil is a fairly common thing that chainsaw owners do, but you want to make sure that if you are going to take this route that you mix carefully. Even if you are only a tiny bit off, your chainsaws not going to work. For example, if you have a 50 to 1 ratio, then you need exactly that; parceled out with some kind of measuring tool.
- Why do manufacturers recommend specific chain oil for specific chainsaws? There is no doubt that one of the reasons that chainsaw manufacturers recommend that you only use their specific blend of chain oil is that they want you to spend more money, but it is not the only reason. The fact is, chain oil that is recommended by the manufacturer often works better and make sure chainsaw last longer, so there is some value in following the recommendation. You will have to decide for yourself whether you wish to do so or you want to go with a less expensive chain oil brand.