First, let’s define what the word “best” means. There are many aspects that chainsaw users look at when considering what they like about a chainsaw. We’ll have to quantify the idea of “best” so we can have a pretty good idea of what trying to measure. So, let’s talk about what chainsaw users look for when choosing a chainsaw.
To put it in one sentence, chainsaw users want a chainsaw that’s light, powerful enough to get the job done, not too noisy, safe and not that expensive. We’ll discuss each of these criterias and then we’ll decide which one is the best.
- Weight to power ratio
- Safety features
Weight To Power Ratio
Chainsaw users understandably want a chainsaw that’s not that heavy. When cutting logs or felling a tree, the operator is required to carry the chainsaw for several minutes and a heavy chainsaw can cause “chainsaw fatique”. This is the leading cause of chainsaw mishaps and you want to avoid it. That’s why using a light chainsaw is very important.
It can also make your job easier if you’re working using a light chainsaw. You will be able to control a light chainsaw better compared to a heavy chainsaw.
At the same time, you want a chainsaw that packs enough power to slice through wood easily. Luckily for us, modern technology has made it possible to build light chainsaws that are really powerful. To measure power, we can use the engine displacement measured in cc’s. If we match that with the weight of the saw, we can get the weight to power ratio. The general rule is, the lighter the better and the more powerful the better.
In one test conducted by Popular Mechanics comparing the performance of new chainsaws, Husqvarna, Solo, John Deere, Stihl and Echo all are very satisfactory when it comes to weight to power ratio.
Chainsaws are noisy machines. That’s why you have to use ear protection whenever operating one. You want the noise levels to be as low as possible. If you’re using a chainsaw in your backyard and you have neighbors, using a noisy chainsaw can be a cause of misunderstanding. So, the quieter the better.
Noise is measured in decibels and according to the same test mentioned above, all the brands they tested have the about the same levels of noise. The brands reviewed were:
If you’re really concerned about the noise and you don’t need heavy duty cutting power, you might want to consider using electric chainsaws. They are quieter than the gas-powered ones.
Kickbacks are the major cause of accidents in chainsaw operation. That’s why manufacturers continue to focus on addressing this issue. They continually improve the chain and bar designs and add safety features such as chain breaks to reduce the effects if kickbacks occur.
“Manufacturers have invented numerous design features to improve safety. Some features have become de facto standards, and others are legal requirements in particular jurisdictions. Best practice dictates that an operator should inspect the saw before starting work and only operate the saw if all the safety features are properly functional.” – Wikipedia
Safety features include but are not limited to:
- Chainsaw bars
- Chain brake
- Chain catcher
- Safety throttle
- On/off switch
- Centrifugal clutch
- Anti-vibration system
- Rear handle
- Hand/eye/ear defender symbols
These are just some of the safety features incorporated but manufacturers. They are all useful and can save lives. Do not discount the importantce of these features that manufacturers continue to add as a result of research and development.
Chainsaw prices currently range from $150 to less than $600. And there’s a myriad of choices available within that price range. Updated chainsaw prices can be gathered by visiting websites such as Amazon and Nexttag. The price difference between the units designed for professional use and the ones targeted at casual users is not that big. For this reason, novice users tend to buy the more expensive ones even if they won’t be using the tool often. It’s best to buy a chainsaw that matches your needs.
The best chainsaw is the one that you are comfortable with. Although chainsaw reviews can help you, they can only help so much. You can’t replace the actual experience of visiting the dealer and testing the chainsaws that they have. Safety and ease of use should always be your number one concern whenever purchasing a new chainsaw. The price difference is not that much so you can get the best if it fits your requirements. You will ultimately be the judge on which one is the best chainsaw.