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How to choose the right chainsaw for you

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Chainsaws are a must-have for tree surgeons. A good chainsaw should be long-lasting and will save a lot of time and effort when cutting wood. Before choosing a chainsaw, consider what you will be using it for as well as your own ability to handle chainsaws. Here are four things to look for when buying a chainsaw.

Guide Bar Length

The guide bar length is measured from the tip of the chain to the housing. This length is the active cutting area so it represents the largest length of wood that can be cut in one pass. The safest way of cutting wood in a single pass is to choose a bar length that is at least 2″ longer than the length you aim to cut. For bigger sizes of wood, you can always cut in two passes.

For light cutting duties, a bar under 14″ would be enough. For medium duties, choose a bar length between 16″ and 20″. For heavy duties, choose a length between 22″ and 26″.

When choosing a chainsaw, keep in mind that the larger the bar length, the more difficult it will be to handle the chainsaw.


Engine Power Type

There are three types of power for chainsaws:

  • Gas: power is measured in cubic centimeters (cc) or cubic inches (cu.in.). Typically, the higher the number the more powerful the chainsaw will be, but more power also means more weight.
  • Electric: power is measured in Amperage or Amps (A). The higher the Amps the more power you get.
  • Battery: power is measured in Voltage or Volts (V). The higher the voltage, the more power you get. Battery-powered chainsaws are the weakest and should be used for lighter cutting and pruning.

Safety features

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Even if you are experienced in handling a chainsaw, safety is always essential and you should consider safety systems when buying a chainsaw. Making sure you are buying a chainsaw you can control and handle easily is always a great part of staying safe, as well as using protective equipment.

Some chainsaws also have an anti-kickback chain for added safety.

Personal Strength

Your personal strength and fitness level is an important part of choosing a chainsaw. It can seem light enough at first, but after 20 minutes of work, the weight can start becoming a problem. Chainsaws can be a dangerous tool which is why it is essential to be able to control it at all times and consider your personal limitations when choosing one.

Other factors

A well-designed chainsaw will make a huge difference in how you feel while you work, so ergonomics shouldn’t be overlooked. Consider how comfortable the chainsaw feels in your hands, how much vibration you can feel, etc.

Consider how easy the chainsaw can be maintained. Ideally, you want it to last as long as possible so it should be relatively easy to replace a chain catcher, access the air filter or tighten the chain, for example.

Once you’ve got a good idea of the different features you’re looking for in a chainsaw, you can look online and in-store to find the right one for you. If you’re not sure we would suggest going to stores first, to get a feel of the chainsaw for yourself. Don’t hesitate to visit several stores and compare brands!

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