Last updated on:
Purchasing a tool isn’t always as simple as finding the best one. We get that. For a lot of people, it’s less about which tool is the best and more about which one will deliver the best return on their investment. We’ve done these chainsaw reviews not to tell you which one is the best, but which one will give you the most for the money you spend on it. It isn’t the lowest-priced, or the best among the lowest-priced, but which one delivers best in terms of value.
We hope you find these reviews useful. If you get through them and decide you want a little more, we’ve collected some general things you’ll want to look at in buying a chainsaw, so you’ll know better how to spot a great value.
|Husqvarna 440E 965168601|
|Remington RM4214 Rebel||9 lbs||4.7/5|
|Poulan Pro 967061501||17 lbs||4.5/5|
|Blue Max 8901||18 lbs||4.2/5|
|Poulan P3314||16 lbs||4.0/5|
Of the chainsaws we reviewed, the Husqvarna 440E is the most expensive chainsaw of this group. It’s not even close. It might seem a little odd that it’s our top pick as the best chainsaw for the money.
The reason why is simple. It is worth every dollar you spend on it. It can handle just about any tree you throw at it and comes equipped with the most up-to-date features in terms of safety, fuel efficiency and user comfort. It’s also designed to last, which means you’ll get plenty of use out of it before you have to replace it. You can find this saw in the inventories of professionals.
The X-Torq engine is CARB compliant, so it is legal to use it anywhere. That also means its engine makes the most of the fuel you feed it, and that means a cleaner operating environment. It’s also got features that make it a snap to clean and maintain.
Be prepared to pay for all this, as noted. If you do, though, you’ll get your money’s worth.
The Remington Rebel packs a wallop for its size. Its compact design allows you to work in and around branches with precision and safety. It’s powerful enough to chew through smaller trees and limbs, and light enough that you can use it aloft safely. It’s also priced for value.
It’s easy to start, comfortable to operate, and designed for quick, simple maintenance. It’s also got an automatic oiler to keep the chain lubricated for a longer operational life.
Its size is also its primary drawback. It’s designed for close, nimble cutting. If that’s what you have to do, it’s a great choice. If you need it to do something more, you will want to find something capable of doing more difficult work.
The Poulan Pro is a good budget chainsaw. If you don’t have a lot of money but want an introduction to good chainsaws, it’s a great model to look at.
It’s designed for simple, reliable starting with fewer flooding issues. It’s got good power to do most things an average user would want it for. It’s also got its filters placed to make it easy to get in, clean or replace them, and get back to work with minimal downtime.
However, you do need to give it a few minutes of idle time to warm up properly, otherwise it’s prone to stalling. It’s also really heavy for what it’s designed to do. It doesn’t come with a lot of comfort-oriented features to offset that, so it can be uncomfortable to run.
The Blue Max 8901 would have a tough time climbing to the top of any chainsaw rankings, and especially one based on how much it delivers per dollar spent. It isn’t a very good chainsaw in its own right, and it’s not any better in terms of bang for your buck.
It’s fast and does a pretty good job of managing vibrations. It’s not going to wear you out cutting up small trees and limbs. It’s also got a chain brake system in case of kickback. We like our safety features, so we give this one props for it.
But, man, are there things about this saw that could stand improvement. It’s hard to start, and even when you get it going, it doesn’t have a lot of power. It also leaks quite a lot of oil when in operation. It’s kind of pricey on top of all that, which makes it a not-very-good value.
The best thing about the Poulan P3314 is the price. You can own one on just about any budget, so if you’re desperate for a chainsaw and are desperately poor, this is a model you can look at. It will also cut wood when you get it going.
Actually, that should be if you get it started. It has a lengthy process to follow if you want to get it started. It might take quite a long time to complete it, too, which means possibly doubling the amount of time it takes to do something with it. Once you get it going, there’s a pretty good chance that it’ll just stop working. It’s also not very durable, which could mean that you spend just a little but the saw only works for a short time. It might be low-priced, but that also means it doesn’t deliver much for the money you pay for it.
There are a few reasons you may be looking for a gas-powered chainsaw. You may want to be armed in case civilization collapses and you are faced with a bleak, dystopian future filled with Thunderdomes, guys with mohawks, and people fighting over cans of dog food. Or, you may just have trees to manage.
Unless you are doing a companion search for “Best baseball bats to use as spiked clubs,” we’ll assume it’s trees you have to manage rather than a local gang of marauders. However, not all trees are created equal, which means not all management strategies are created equal. Part of your searching is figuring out which gas-powered chainsaw is the right one for you. We can appreciate that you are just as interested in the process we used to arrive at our rankings as the rankings themselves, and we have assembled our rough set of guidelines in a buyers’ guide to assist you.
Your choice of a gas chainsaw necessarily starts with the kinds of trees you have, and what kind of management you need to do. Professionals have an inventory of chainsaws for this very reason. If you have large hardwoods to cut up, you’ll want a big saw with a lot of muscle. If you are going to primarily prune thick limbs, you’ll want something smaller, lighter, and easier to get on point for a precision cut. If you’re going aloft to work, you’ll want a chainsaw with a top handle for maneuverability. If you’re working close to the ground, a chainsaw with a rear handle will allow you to work down low without cutting into turf.
Two basic things drive a chainsaw’s ability to cut wood: power and a sharp cutting chain. After you’ve figured out what kind of chainsaw you need, finding a model that delivers the power is the most important consideration. It’s not really possible to get too much power, mind you, but getting the most powerful chainsaw also means getting the biggest, angriest chainsaw possible. That’s fine if you are cutting massive hardwoods, but if you’re pruning limbs you’re going to trade quite a lot of power for maneuverability. The trick is knowing just how much power you’re going to need. If you buy a light, maneuverable chainsaw that doesn’t have the juice to get the work done, you’ve made a poor purchase. It’s really a matter of knowing how much power you need and finding a chainsaw to meet those needs.
Once you’ve figured out what kind of work you need a chainsaw for and how much power you need, the next step is figuring out what size guide bar you need.
This is, again, something determined by the size of the wood you’re cutting. Put simply, the bigger the tree, the bigger the guide bar you’ll want. If you’re clearing a stand of trees for winter heat, you’ll want a guide bar to match the diameter of the trees you’re cutting. If you’re limbing a downed tree or cutting up branches brought down in a storm, you can get away with a smaller guide bar. In fact, if you’re pruning, a smaller guide bar, in general, is desirable because it’s easier to get the blade right where you want it.
Powered saws of any kind are inherently dangerous tools. They are sharp and rely on constant motion. The difference between a stationary saw in your workshop and a chainsaw is that in your workshop, you have a lot more control over the variables to ramp up the risk. When cutting trees in your yard, there’s much more out of your control, like knots in the trees and even the weather.
Once you’ve figured out the kind of work you have, and the size and power of the chainsaw you need, you’ll want to give safety features careful scrutiny. This includes making sure that the handle placement is correct for where your work takes place.
There is never a worse time to operate a chainsaw than when it suddenly kicks back. One of the reasons we made the Husqvarna 440E our top pick was for its inertia-activated chain brake. If the blade hits something that knocks the blade back, the sudden movement activates a brake that stops its operation.
Gas chainsaws are by their nature loud and prone to vibrations. We assume that part of your purchase decision is getting a full kit of safety equipment, including ear mufflers. This is a good reminder that part of using a chainsaw is user fatigue. Using something loud and shaky is likely to tire you out pretty quickly. Wearing a lot of safety equipment to reduce that fatigue is itself uncomfortable. User fatigue also contributes to the already present danger of using a chainsaw. This is one of the reasons to rightsize the saw you buy to the work you have to do.
Look for features that organically make using a particular chainsaw less taxing on your body. Weight is important. Properly distributed weight is just as important. Features that control vibrations and reduce noise are also pretty key.
All things considered, only suckers pay more for something than they need to. ‘Nuff said.
Even though it was the most expensive model we looked at, the Husqvarna 440E delivered the most for the money. It was powerful enough to do anything and came equipped with a suite of operational, safety, and comfort features to make it a worthwhile investment. Remington’s Rebel did the best job of maximizing your dollars among small chainsaws. If you need something small and nimble, it’s a great value. The Poulan Pro is heavy and takes a lot of effort to get going, but it’s easy to maintain and cuts well for its size. The Blue Max 8901 has safety features we like, but it costs a lot of money and leaks oil. The Poulan P3314 is very affordable but not very effective.
We hope you find value in your reviews, or at the very least can take something from our buyers’ guide to help guide you in finding the right one for your budget.