The ultimate guide to buying a chainsaw

March 2, 2015

Whether you need a large gas model chainsaw to cut up a tree after a storm or a small electric model for occasional garden maintenance, this guide will help you pick the right chainsaw for your needs.

The ultimate guide to buying a chainsaw

Types of chainsaws

Chainsaws come in two major types: electric and gas-powered. An electric chainsaw will be lightweight and affordable, but lack the raw power of a gas model. Electric models can run on batteries for cutting far away from a power source, but you’ll need the more powerful corded models for heavier tasks. A gas chainsaw is much louder and can cut through more at a faster speed. These models will require more regular maintenance, however, and need constant refuelling.

Chainsaw features

Chainsaws come with a number of features to help make cutting easier and safer.

Reduced kickback features: Many chainsaws now have features to reduce kickback that happens when the blades get stuck. These include narrow noses and extra guard links that reduce cutting areas and keep the chainsaw from taking too big of a bite.

Automatic safety features: Extra precautions like trigger lockouts and chain brakes prevent your chainsaw from running when it’s unsafe. They work by instantly stopping the blade when certain buttons or handles are released. While proper handling is the key to chainsaw safety, these features make chainsaws less dangerous and more user friendly.

Wraparound handle: Perfect for cutting horizontally, many chainsaws come with a handle that wraps around the entire motor for a better grip.

Tool-free chain adjuster: Every chainsaw chain loosens with use and will require occasional tightening. A tool-free chain adjuster lets you do this without needing extra hand tools, so you can tighten as you need without lugging around a tool kit.

Automatic oiler: Most models now come with a feature that continually oils chainsaw bars so users can keep cutting without stopping for oil.

Anti-vibration: Gas-powered chainsaws can be hard to handle since they have so many moving parts, so some models come with springs and rubber parts to reduce vibration. That way, you can use your chainsaw for longer and get a more accurate cut.

Chainsaw sharpening

Dull blades can be dangerous and inaccurate, so you’ll need to regularly sharpen your blades and know when your chainsaw’s getting dull. The best indicator that you need blades sharpened is a noticeable drop in cutting speed and excess chips during the cut.

If you encounter these issues, stop using the chainsaw and either replace the chain or sharpen it with the proper chainsaw sharpener. If you don’t know how to sharpen a chainsaw, many home and garden stores can do it for you.

Chainsaws are great for keeping your property well-maintained and cutting wood for fires or carpentry projects. Whatever chainsaw you choose, make sure you buy the proper safety equipment as well, including gloves and safety goggles.

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