Last Updated on July 10, 2020
There are many chainsaws out there; however, the difference between a professional chainsaw and a light-use chainsaw can’t be measured in sawdust. If you are going to be using your saw often for heavy-duty cutting, you need something that is professional quality. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to start a tree-cutting business. “Professional” has a different meaning here.
You wouldn’t be the first person to ask, “What, exactly, is a professional chainsaw? Isn’t any chainsaw capable of being professional?” It’s a fair question and technically, you’re correct. But that’s not the end of the story, and by the time you finish reading these reviews and buyer’s guide, you’ll have the complete picture.
Professional chainsaws have more power, excellent safety features, and the ability to work day in and day out without burning up. We put together a list of the 10 best professional chainsaws that we could find. Some of these are going to be leaders when it comes to power, others will stand out from a safety standpoint, and of course, we also found you some great deals if you want to save a bit of money. Happy chainsaw hunting!
|Best Overall||Husqvarna 460 Rancher 20″ Chainsaw||
|DeWalt DCCS670X1 Professional Chainsaw||
|Best Value||HUYOSEN 4518L 18″ 46cc Gas Chainsaw||
|Premium Choice||Makita EA7901PRZ1 79cc Chainsaw||
|Poulan Pro PR5020||
The Husqvarna 460 Rancher comes highly recommended by novices and professionals alike, and for good reason. Husky products are always quite strong, but they excel at chainsaws for professional and recreational use. The 460 Rancher 20-inch is powered by a two-cycle 60.3cc motor that delivers 3.4 Nm of max torque, in tandem with X-Torq technology that improves fuel efficiency.
The signature HAVS system shuts down the blade if there’s any indication that an injury has occurred. And that applies if the saw hits any solid items, such as hard objects stuck within a log. That protects both you and the chainsaw. Get used to reading about chainsaw safety – it’s one of the most important factors when purchasing a chainsaw.
We love the side-mounted chain tensioning option on this saw. You can quickly tighten the chain while working without having to stop, grab tools, and prolong your project. Also, this Husqvarna comes with an internal air cleaning system that keeps dust and particles away from the air filter. The air filter quickly comes off and is easily cleaned.
The 460 Rancher also has versatility when it comes to the choice of fuel. It works with octane, ethanol, and Aspen, to offer just a few examples. If there’s a downside to this saw, it’s maneuverability. The larger bar size and overall weight of the tool will be difficult for novices to manage at first. This is probably the definition of a professional chainsaw. Once you get used to the Rancher 460, however, you probably won’t want to use another saw. It’s that good.
All in all, we think that this is the best professional chainsaw of 2020.
The DeWalt DCCS670X1 might not look like much, but this practical, strong chainsaw proves that looks are deceiving. It gets the job done without any of the added features. And that’s the only reason why it isn’t at the top of this list. It’s only slightly less versatile.
What sets the DeWalt apart is FlexVolt technology. It maintains the battery at its optimal state, so that performance isn’t interrupted, and it drains only a small amount of battery life.
The DeWalt has a low kickback 16-inch bar and chain that should work for almost any project you had in mind. This saw is auto-oiling, so it should stay lubricated the entire time you are working, and when it’s time for an oil change, it’s easy to get that done.
Safety is also a top priority because it has an automatic chain brake safety mechanism. Another part of the safety package is a safety guard on the front handle, so those splinters won’t be a problem again.
And you can’t ask for anything better than the 60V battery output. It’s as much power as you’re likely to need.
Gas-powered chainsaws can be intimidating for first-time users who would rather have something that plugs into a wall or uses a battery. Electric chainsaws just feel safer, as if they don’t mean business. The HUYOSEN 4518L is the Goldilocks of the list – one of the more user- and beginner-friendly gas chainsaws we’ve come across. Its 18-inch bar, 45cc motor, and 8500 RPM have just the right combination of size and power that won’t scare people off, but just enough muscle to tackle just about any task.
The auto-sharpening chain couldn’t be any easier to activate. Just hold the lever and a sharpening stone inside the chainsaw will sharpen the chain in just a few seconds. This will prolong the life of your chain and ensures that you never have to compromise on results. At 18 pounds, the saw is on the lighter end of the spectrum, and again, it’s just heavy enough.
Throw in some extras (tool kit, fuel mixing bottle) and top-notch instruction manual, you’ll do a double-take when you see the price. With so many features in such an affordable package, the HUYOSEN 4518L is our best professional chainsaw for the money.
We know it looks like a toy from this angle, but don’t let that picture above fool you – this is a 20-inch behemoth of a chainsaw. Now, we’re back in Big Boy territory – a genuine professional chainsaw. And you’re going to pay a professional price, too. When we say the Makita EA7901PRZ1 is our premium choice, we mean it. This saw is going to be priced about ten times higher than our best value option. If the price does not matter to you, then there are some great features that the Makita has to offer.
With this saw, Makita thought of everything. The handle on the chainsaw is actually heated to help in cold weather conditions. There is a heavy-duty air filter system that keeps the air filter clean and lasting longer. For as powerful a chainsaw as this is, it starts up very easy.
This saw runs at about 13,000 RPM; you should have no trouble cutting through some thick trees with ease. If you look close to the head of the saw, you will also see a large metal spike used to make this saw even more productive.
The pricing on this saw includes only the powerhead, and you will have to buy the chain and the guide bar separately. If you are a professional or working on a large project in some cold weather conditions, this saw could be a good investment.
If the pricing on the Makita had you laughing at us, we are back down to reality with this Poulan Pro PR5020. With a powerful 50cc engine and a 20-inch bar, it’s got just enough muscle to deserve its “professional” tag. But it is also a bit better for the environment than some other choices. This chainsaw has about 70% fewer emissions than other comparable saws and about 20% lower fuel consumption.
The Poulan Pro is easy to start and has some technology in place to keep you from flooding the engine. Overall, this is a reasonably priced and decent cutting chainsaw; however, there are a few downsides.
The parts used to make the Poulan chainsaw are just not of the same quality that you will see with a saw like the Husqvarna, which is why the PR5020 is offered at half the price. It appears to be made of cheaper materials. If you want to save money upfront when purchasing the saw, go for it. Be prepared that you may be replacing this chainsaw sooner rather than later. Also, we’ve heard that some folks had trouble with warranty claims when their saws went bad.
Next, the Husqvarna 450 Series II Chainsaw, the second Husky on our list. You may be wondering how much difference is there between the 460 and 450 Ranchers. They almost seem like the same saw. On closer inspection, they’re a class apart.
The 450 Rancher has the same X-TORQ fuel efficiency, SmartStart system, and a 20-inch bar, but that’s where the similarities end. The 50cc engine is a step down in power and the 11-pound weight difference gives this a less-than-professional feel. The upsides to the scaled-down output are low fuel consumption and reduced emissions. Another minor but still valuable feature is the visible fuel level.
This saw has a max of 9,000 RPM, which should give you some good power for cutting through even a large block of wood. We don’t have too many bad things to say about Husqvarna products in general, but let’s be honest: this is a very good saw for home use with a higher price tag based on the Husky reputation. There are other models available that could save you a few dollars and work just as well for at home or very light professional work.
The Makita XCU02PTX is one of the most affordable 16-inch chainsaws on the market, and that’s the only reason it’s on our list. We couldn’t place it in our “Best Value” slot simply because it lacks certain features – starting with professional-grade power. It’s a relatively simple chainsaw that gets the job done and little else.
The handles of the Makita have a special sweat-proof grip for those long cutting sessions. It’s also easy to handle as it’s lightweight compared to some of the other chainsaws on our list. We also like the tool-less adjustments.
The battery consumption is managed and controlled by the step-down voltage transition, so you can cut for longer.
The fast safety disarm feature is by far the most annoying thing about this saw. Theoretically, it should work, but unfortunately, you have roughly 5 seconds before turning on the saw and touching wood before it shuts itself off. Frustrating to say the least!
Combining the convenience of battery power plus the efficiency of brushless motors, this chainsaw from Greenworks can make 100 cuts on 4×4 lumber on a single charge. It’s pretty light at 10.4 pounds, though the battery adds some additional weight. While this saw is quite efficient, our battery had a problem fresh from the factory. The charge indicator light didn’t work, so we never knew how much power was left. Greenworks could benefit from stronger quality control on this tool.
The electronic chain brake helps to stop accidental kickbacks, a safety feature that we appreciated during use. It also features an automatic oiler that reduces heat and friction, improving the service life of the saw. Although this is a great feature, on this particular model it seems to result in the saw leaking oil. After leaving it in the garage a few days it had accumulated a small puddle, something we were disappointed to see.
This WORX chainsaw uses two 20V batteries to power its brushless motors. This is a different method than employed by many other manufacturers who produce 40V batteries instead. Luckily, the charger that comes with it also has room to charge two batteries at once, so it shouldn’t be an inconvenience. The saw is quite powerful and cut through an 8-inch tree with ease.
The automatic chain oiler and auto-tension chain system make this little chainsaw easy to use. That said, the chain tensioner isn’t anything to write home about. Our chain required nearly continuous tightening, and a few times it came off completely. Additionally, its short length of only 14 inches may not be adequate if you need to cut through thick logs. At 11 pounds, it should be one of the lighter chainsaws, but once you include both batteries, it’s closer to 15 pounds.
Equipped with a 46-cc 2-cycle gas engine, the Remington RM4620 Outlaw is a portable and powerful beast. The five-point anti-vibration system makes it very comfortable during use. Thanks to the spring-assisted quick-start mechanism, pull starts should be no problem, a common annoyance with gas-powered chain saws. That said, it was still quite a pain to cold start this saw. The quick start was great when the saw was warm, but not before she was warmed up.
Although it features an auto oiling mechanism, the one on our chainsaw got clogged and stopped oiling the chain. This resulted in the saw overheating and shutting off. Also, the torque at full throttle leaves something to be desired, slowing down noticeably on thicker logs. Despite this being a 20-inch saw, it was outperformed by some of the smaller saws that ranked higher on this list.
Husqvarna’s 120 Mark II is a capable saw that outworks many of its competitors, which is why it’s earned honorable mention on this list. To start, this saw is powerful and had no problem cutting through a 10-inch tree. It’s also got important safety features such as the built-in safety brake which helps reduce kickback. At 9.3 pounds, it’s very light, which is probably its best feature.
Despite claiming to start up easily, this saw doesn’t like to start when it’s cold. Expect to be yanking on the cord repeatedly. It doesn’t want to stay primed at all, and once you finally get it started, it wants to die. Once warmed up it runs fine, but it’s not exactly pleasurable getting there. From the factory, the carburetor needed adjusting just to make it run properly.
Now that you are ready to pull the trigger on your new chainsaw, we don’t want you to be disappointed when it arrives in the mail…and you can’t use it. There are a few items you will need to operate your chainsaw on Day One. Make sure you add these to your purchase, so your project won’t get postponed.
Your chainsaw will very likely be a two-stroke engine needing two-cycle oil. Most times, you can pour the two-cycle oil directly into the gas tank on a chainsaw.
If you are looking at our premium option the Makita saw, it is sold as a powerhead only. You will need to purchase both the chain and guide bar for this saw to work.
Great, you’re all tricked out with the accessories and now it’s time start cutting! Before you fire up your new chainsaw for the first time, read through our most frequently asked questions.
A 12-15-amp motor (for electric models; 20-30cc for gas-powered) is all you really need to get the most out of your chainsaw. This will allow you to cut even the toughest pieces of lumber. Anything under this will restrict you when cutting certain materials, thus warranting a different type of chainsaw anyway.
Take note, though, the motors and the chain should be able to handle the power of the motor. Certain low-quality chainsaws may have big motors, but an inherent weakness elsewhere means more breakage and more problems.
Don’t settle for anything less when it comes to the toughness of your chainsaw. When we say this, we mean that the casing of your chainsaw should be able to withstand some punishment.
Dealing with such a dangerous tool means that the casing shouldn’t crack or break, even after prolonged periods. That’s why we always recommend only buying from a retailer that provides a full long-term warranty on their chainsaws. It’s simply a risk you shouldn’t take.
As we mentioned, chainsaws are some of the most dangerous tools around. The latest chainsaws always come with additional features to minimize the risk of a serious accident.
For example, most premium chainsaws have safety timers. If the chainsaw isn’t in contact with wood for a certain period, it switches itself off.
Other types of chainsaws will automatically shut down if there’s a problem with the battery to stop any overheating.
Ergonomics are always important when handling a chainsaw. Make sure the chainsaw isn’t too heavy. Ideally, you should attempt to handle the chainsaw in question before committing to a purchase. Only you know how much weight you’re comfortable with.
It’s also important to check for grips. Your wrists and hands shouldn’t be twisted into unnatural positions. Furthermore, grips should defend against sweat so you don’t accidentally drop anything.
Always be aware of how close the blade is to your body. Some chainsaws are designed to make sure that it’s nearly impossible for you accidentally cut yourself, regardless of the way you twist and turn.
An often-forgotten part of buying a chainsaw is the case that it comes in – or doesn’t. Many times, the case is sold separately. But is it worth it? Yes. Unequivocally, yes.
You must have a place to store your chainsaw, so a novice can’t get their hands on it. Imagine if your child accidentally flicked a switch when you weren’t in the house and the chainsaw began to cut.
A strong case with a lock on it is essential. Thankfully, most manufacturers understand this need for safety and provide solid storage options for their chainsaws.
These are our reviews of the best professional chainsaws on the market today and we’ve come to our conclusion. We think that the best professional chainsaw overall is the Husqvarna 460 Rancher for its power and its versatility. It utilizes the latest technology to excel in performance without compromising on safety. And it can take multiple types of fuel, so you can cut anytime.
A close second is the DeWalt DCCS670X1 for its high level of performance. It doesn’t have the same features as the Rancher, but any professional would be glad to have one of these.
Finally, our best professional chainsaw for the value pick is the HUYOSEN 4518L. This chainsaw does the job and does it without the high price tag. It’s strong, safe, and includes a self-sharpening chain.
These are the three chainsaws you should choose from. Look at your projects, what you want in a chainsaw, and review our buying guide. You’ll be able to make an intelligent decision and get the results you expect.
Kyle comes from a long line of woodworkers, craftsmen, and carpenters. When he’s not managing SawingPros, Kyle can be found in his workshop, testing and using every type of saw and power tool he can get his hands on. His favorite tool is a horizontal band saw and his favorite wood is maple.