Table of Contents
- Best Homeowner Chainsaw Reviews 2019
- Husqvarna 440E 16-Inch 40.9cc 2-Stroke X-Torq Gas Powered Chain Saw – Best Seller
- WORX WG304.1 Chain Saw 18-Inch 4 15.0 Amp – Top Pick
- Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw, 2.0 AH Battery Included 20262 – Best Value
- BLACK+DECKER Electric Chainsaw, 18-Inch, 15-Amp (CS1518) – Runner Up
- Poulan Pro PR4016, 16 in. 40cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw – Also Consider
- Best Homeowner Chainsaw Buying Guide 2019
Best Homeowner Chainsaw Reviews 2019
With the seasons changing and cold storms blowing in, it might be a good idea to do some trimming before the weather gets too bad. Of course, you do not actually need a large, professional-grade chainsaw just to trim some branches around the house. That is why we put together a list of the 5 best homeowner chainsaw reviews of 2020. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide and FAQ, so you understand what separates a homeowner chainsaw from the other chainsaw varieties. We found the Husqvarna and WORX to offer different benefits that will cover most people, but you have to keep reading to see our best value pick.
Husqvarna 440E 16-Inch 40.9cc 2-Stroke X-Torq Gas Powered Chain Saw – Best Seller
- Tool-less chain tensioning
- 16-Inch Bar
- Quick release air filter to facilitate cleaning and replacement of air filter
Husqvarna is by far the oldest and most experienced company on our list without much competition. In fairness, the company began as a metallurgy company in the late 17th-century and only relatively recently moved into the chainsaw and outdoor equipment market. Still, it has been focused on this market for far longer than most of the other companies that we reviewed, even manufacturing chainsaws longer than some have been in existence. Thanks to this focus and long-standing reputation, Husqvarna is easily one of the more prestigious companies that we reviewed. While the Husqvarna 440E chainsaw is definitely meant for more experienced users, it also offers significantly more power.
Out of all the chainsaws that we reviewed, few of them can compete with the Husqvarna homeowner chainsaw in terms of power. A big part of this comes down to the fact that the Husqvarna chainsaw is gas-powered and features a 40.9 cc engine. This is not a terribly large engine for a gas chainsaw, but the 440E chainsaw is still able to generate 2.16 nm cutting torque and 2.4 hp from it. While those specs definitely place the Husqvarna 440E homeowner chainsaw in a category above many of the competitors on our list in terms of cutting power, it also makes it a point to be CARB compliant as well. It accomplishes this with the use of patented X-Torq technology that enables the Husqvarna chainsaw to reduce emissions and provides better fuel efficiency. You also do not have to worry about bogging the engine down as the 440E chainsaw has the fastest chain speed on our list at 23 m/s.
In terms of a general chainsaw, the Husqvarna 440E is actually well-made and fairly durable. However, for a homeowner chainsaw, there are definitely a few features that might not be as user-friendly. For one, the fact that it is a gas chainsaw with a 2-stroke engine means that you have to use a fuel and oil mix. Make sure to get this right otherwise you could actually damage the engine and might void any warranty. That said, the 440E homeowner chainsaw does make it a point to offer relatively easy maintenance with centrifugal air injection and a quick-release air filter. On top of that, the Husqvarna chainsaw is also relatively easy on the muscles with its patented Low-Vib system to reduce user fatigue. It is worth noting that while the smart start system turns the engine easier, some people still struggle to start the chainsaw.
- Is a gas-powered chainsaw
- Has a 40.9 cc engine
- Has an X-Torq engine
- Has a Low-Vib system
- Has 2.16 nm of cutting torque
- Is easier to maintain
- Is a more expensive chainsaw
- Not as easy to start
WORX WG304.1 Chain Saw 18-Inch 4 15.0 Amp – Top Pick
- 15.0 Amp motor output delivers a more powerful cutting performance to the extended, 18 inch bar
- Patented auto tension chain system prevents over tightening; stays at the right tension for hundreds of uses
- Low kick back bar and built in chain brake for added safety; Chain Links : 63
WORX is actually a somewhat recent addition to the outdoor equipment market having been founded roughly 15 years ago. While this may not provide the same kind of experience or storied history as other companies on our list, they do at least specialize primarily in outdoor equipment. On top of that, WORX was actually founded explicitly to compete with BLACK+DECKER, offering an improved model at a competitive price. To be fair, the company is actually owned by the OEM manufacturer, Positec Tool Corporation, but was founded by an ex-BLACK+DECKER executive. This is important because it means that, despite a later founding, WORX leadership still understands what it takes to make consumer-grade products suited for the market.
Great for Homeowners
One thing to keep in mind when choosing a homeowner chainsaw is that you likely do not need the most powerful chainsaw on the market. Unless you intend to cut down a medium-sized tree by yourself, chances are you can opt for a less powerful chainsaw that is simply easier and safer to use. Understanding what the average consumer needs, the WORX chainsaw makes it a point to focus a number of its features in that direction. For example, this is easily one of the safer chainsaws that we encountered with an automatic chain brake system that can even rival more prestigious brands. On top of that, the handguard offers enough protection without sacrificing your sightline to allow for better visibility than some. While not the lightest chainsaw that we came across, the WORX WG304.1 homeowner chainsaw is still lighter than most. It also features an automatic oiler system, though the oiler is noted for leaking more than some of its competitors. On top of that, the WORX chainsaw also comes with an auto-tensioning system, though this can be a bit hit or miss.
To be clear, while the WG304.1 chainsaw may not provide the most cutting power on our list, it does still have enough to do the job of cutting branches around the home. For one, this chainsaw comes with the largest bar that we found at 18” which allows you to cut thicker branches than smaller bars– up to 16” in diameter when using the proper technique. On top of that, this is a corded electric chainsaw which may not outclass a gas chainsaw but can still hold its own. This is due in large part to the WG304.1 homeowner chainsaw’s 15-amp motor that is tied for the most powerful on our list. To be fair, you will still need to use proper technique and not try to “dig” into the cut with the WORX homeowner chainsaw as the gear works are not designed for that and will fail after rigorous use.
- Is a less expensive chainsaw
- Is a corded electric chainsaw
- Has a 15-amp motor
- Has an 18” bar
- Is easier to use
- Is a safer chainsaw
- Not the most durable
- May leak oil
Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw, 2.0 AH Battery Included 20262 – Best Value
- High Performance G-MAX 40V Lithium-Ion Battery delivers fade-free power with no memory loss after charging
- Robust 12-inch steel chain and bar with tool-less chain tensioning offers ease of use while delivering the highest cutting performance
- 3/8-inch chain pitch delivers the right amount of capabilities to get those limbs trimmed and cut with minimal kickback
Greenworks is the youngest and least experienced company on our list, though it is not by too terribly much. That said, the company is definitely a bit more focused than any of the others on our list specializing in an even more niche category. Aside from the fact that Greenworks makes primarily outdoor equipment, they also specialize in manufacturing cordless products to the exclusion of other power sources. Considering that the Greenworks chainsaw is a bit more expensive than some of the other options on our list, it might seem odd that it occupies our best value spot. This is due to the fact that the Greenworks homeowner chainsaw not only comes with the chainsaw but with the battery pack and charger as well.
Keeping in line with the consumer-grade market, the Greenworks definitely puts a little more attention into the ease of use of their chainsaw. While the 20262 homeowner chainsaw cannot boast an automatic chain tensioner, it does at least have a tool-less chain tensioning system. On top of that, it also provides the automatic oiler popular with other consumer-grade chainsaws. Outside of the automatic features, the Greenworks chainsaw is also the lightest product on our list which will help if you need to use it for extended periods of time. To further complement this, the Greenworks homeowner chainsaw also has an ergonomic design for increased control.
One of the main things to consider when getting a cordless electric chainsaw is the cutting power. Unfortunately for the Greenworks chainsaw, the cutting power is definitely not the best that we found. In fairness, this chainsaw does at least come with a 40V motor which is stronger than many other cordless chainsaws, However, this still does not prevent the Greenworks chainsaw from struggling whenever you apply any serious force to the cut. On top of that, the 20262 homeowner chainsaw also has the shortest bar on our list which limits the maximum size of its cut.
- Is a cordless electric chainsaw
- Has a 40V motor
- Has a great chain brake
- Has variable speed control
- Has an ergonomic design
- Is easier to use
- Is a more expensive chainsaw
- Has a shorter bar
BLACK+DECKER Electric Chainsaw, 18-Inch, 15-Amp (CS1518) – Runner Up
- Powerful 15 Amp motor
- 18" Oregon low-kickback bar and chain
- Tool-free chain tensioning
While BLACK+DECKER may not necessarily be known for their outdoor equipment, they are still one of the older and more prestigious power tool companies in the world. In fact, BLACK+DECKER dominated the consumer-grade market so profitably that they were eventually able to acquire the overwhelming majority of American power tool companies under their umbrella. On the other hand, BLACK+DECKER is definitely more well-known for its contractor tools, not their outdoor equipment.
In terms of raw specs, the BLACK+DECKER CS1518 chainsaw might be the best performing electric chainsaw that we came across. A big part of this is definitely helped by its corded design which allows it to maintain cutting power even meeting resistance. It also likely does not hurt that the BLACK+DECKER homeowner chainsaw is tied on our list for the most powerful motor at 15 amps. Even better, the BLACK+DECKER is tied for the largest bar on our list too which allows it to make larger cuts when applying the proper technique.
While the BLACK+DECKER CS1518 homeowner chainsaw surprised with its cutting power, it does still have some issues. Easily one of the biggest issues is that it is not the most durable, especially when using it for extended, rigorous work. Part this is almost certainly due to its relatively slow chain speed which seems to impede other electric chainsaws as well. As if that were not enough, the BLACK+DECKER chainsaw requires far more time and effort to assemble than most of the other products we encountered. That said, the CS1518 homeowner chainsaw does at least come with a tool-less chain tensioner and an automatic oiler. On top of that, it also comes with an anti-kickback Oregon bar to help keep you safe.
- Is a less expensive chainsaw
- Has a 15-amp motor
- Is a corded electric chainsaw
- Has an 18” bar
- Has an Oregon bar
- Is easier to use
- Is not the most durable
- Not easy to assemble
Poulan Pro PR4016, 16 in. 40cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw – Also Consider
- 40cc, 2-stroke engine with 16" bar
- Ideal for medium-duty storm clean-up, cutting firewood, and felling trees
- Includes: Scrench, 2-stroke oil
Though you may not have heard of them, Poulan Pro is arguably the most experienced company that we reviewed. While they have only been around since 1946, they have been making chainsaws and other outdoor equipment longer than any other company on our list. On top of that, they are also one of the few companies that we reviewed which specializes exclusively in outdoor equipment and was even founded by professional lumberjacks. However, this might be a little bit more chainsaw than most homeowners really need and is not exactly a cheap homeowner chainsaw at that.
The Poulan Pro chainsaw can definitely handle some of the harrier cutting jobs you might throw at it. For one, the PR4016 homeowner chainsaw is a gas-powered chainsaw that comes equipped with a solid 40 cc 2-stroke engine. While this does mean that you will need to use a fuel and oil mixture, it also means that it provides more cutting torque than the other electric models that we reviewed. Even better than that, the Poulan Pro homeowner chainsaw also falls within CARB compliance. The OxyPower engine helps reduce emissions while increasing fuel efficiency without sacrificing cutting power. On top of that, the Poulan Pro PR4016 also features the fastest chain speed on our list at 27.8 mps.
One of the biggest issues with the Poulan Pro is the fact that it is the heaviest chainsaw on our list. This means you may not be as comfortable when using it for an extended period of time. On the other hand, the PR4016 homeowner chainsaw does at least employ an Advanced Anti-Vibration system to help reduce the amount of fatigue you feel. Like other gas chainsaws that we came across, the casual user may find the Poulan Pro to be a bit difficult to start. Thankfully, you do not have to worry about too much maintenance with this model as the SuperClean air filter helps prevent dust buildup. It also provides a good chain brake system with a nice handguard that provides a focused sightline on your cuts.
- Is a gas-powered chainsaw
- Has a 40 cc engine
- Has an OxyPower engine
- Has a good chain brake
- Has a SuperClean air filter
- Has an Advanced Anti-Vibration system
- Is a more expensive chainsaw
- Not as easy to start
Best Homeowner Chainsaw Buying Guide 2019
While this is not inherently the most important factor for a chainsaw, it is arguably less important for a homeowner chainsaw. That said, this definitely depends on the type of cutting tasks you need to do around the house. If you have larger branches or pieces of wood you need to cut, you should choose to type of chainsaw that provides more power. On the other hand, if you simply need a smaller chainsaw that can get the job done, other qualities may appeal to you more.
This is easily the most powerful type of chainsaw, able to generate significantly more cutting power than the other types at the highest levels of class. On the other hand, gas chainsaws are also usually the most expensive type of chainsaw as well. Of course, a homeowner chainsaw is inherently one of the lower tiers of the tool, so the power increase will not be quite as impressive when compared to a professional or commercial chainsaw. Regardless, this is definitely the type of chainsaw to choose if you have large branches or thick pieces of wood you need to cut.
Essentially, the combustion from the engine generates far more torque and all-around cutting power than an electric motor. It is worth noting though that high-end electric chainsaws are not necessarily weak and can compete with smaller engined gas chainsaws. On the other hand, gas chainsaws are also a bit heavier and generally more dangerous for an inexperienced user. On top of that, most gas chainsaws require a fuel and oil mixture, which is not only more difficult but more expensive in the long term than an electric model.
This is the original type of electric chainsaw and has been around for a few decades with numerous advances made in that time. Corded electric chainsaws, as the name suggests, require an external power source which generally means you need to run an extension cord from a power outlet to the chainsaw. This definitely makes corded chainsaws one of the least convenient in terms of maneuverability. On the other hand, corded electric chainsaws are also often some of the least expensive options too.
Though corded chainsaws are not the most powerful in terms of raw cutting power, they tend to fare a bit better than cordless models. This is because the steady supply of power allows their motors to maintain the highest levels of output compared to their cordless cousins. Even better, corded chainsaws are also often the lightest options and easier to control compared to the different types. If you have a small piece of property with some medium-sized branches or pieces of wood to cut, a corded electric chainsaw can be a solid option.
This is the newest type of chainsaw on the market is growing quickly– rapid enough that there are now more cordless electric chainsaws than corded models. However, this often comes down more to convenience than anything else since you do not need an extension cord or external power source to run a cordless chainsaw. That said, what you gain in freedom of movement you ultimately give up in reliability of cutting power. To be fair, this is not to suggest that cordless chainsaws are weak, but they do not handle the thickest branches or pieces of wood as well as the other two types.
In terms of many other aspects, cordless chainsaws have a tendency to split the middle between gas and corded chainsaws. For example, cordless chainsaws are usually heavier than their corded cousins with the battery pack included but lighter than gas chainsaws. On top of that, cordless chainsaws are also often more expensive than corded models but less expensive than gas chainsaws. While there are a number of high-end cordless chainsaws designed for professional tasks, many are made for the consumer and include various convenience features to assist inexperienced users.
The cutting power of a chainsaw can be a tricky thing to determine as there are a number of different qualities and components that go into it. Easily one of the most relevant is either the motor or engine, depending on whether the chainsaw is electric or gas-powered, respectively. While a more powerful motor or engine generally imparts more cutting power, the quality of the gear works also plays an important role too. That being said, you should gauge an engine in horsepower and a motor in amps while looking for nm, or newton-meters, if the rating is given.
Beyond the raw power generated from the engine or motor, you should also look for chain speed, though this is not quite as important. Chain speed generally has more to do with how quickly the chainsaw carries sawdust out of the cut. When cutting a tree, the sawdust can actually compact into the cut unless the chain carries it out. As such, the chain speed may not necessarily determine cutting power in the strict sense, but it does influence how quickly you can cut the wood.
Ease of Use
While this can arguably be considered at least a relatively important quality for any product, it arguably takes on more importance for a homeowner chainsaw. This is because a homeowner chainsaw should be designed for someone who has little or no experience. As such, a product that is easier to use will not only benefit a novice more, it will also help to keep them safe as they will not be distracted by trying to figure out how to work the tool. In this regard, you should look for a chainsaw that comes with multiple automatic features that require little input from you.
This is another feature that may not weigh so heavily for a professional-grade chainsaw but matters more for a homeowner chainsaw. This comes down to the fact that a homeowner or other inexperienced user likely does not have the kind of functional strength developed to use a chainsaw for extended periods of time. Keep in mind that most people can use a chainsaw to cut a few branches here and there, but actually using a chainsaw for hours on end can be difficult labor. A such, the weight and other balancing features can help reduce user fatigue as well as to stave off muscle weariness.
Considering the target demographic for a homeowner chainsaw, this might actually be the most important quality to consider, assuming the chainsaw is otherwise capable of handling the tasks you have. There are a few different types of safety measures, though the group that is often the most useful are those that prevent kickbacks. However, it is also important to get a chainsaw which provides a good sightline, so you do not accidentally injure yourself while using it.
Why Choose a Homeowner Chainsaw?
You use a chainsaw primarily so you can quickly and easily cut living wood without having to worry about the hassle of a hand saw. However, there is a big difference between trimming a couple of long and low-hanging branches from your fence and felling an entire tree in a forest. As such, you do not necessarily need to look for the biggest and most powerful chainsaw to do the former. In fact, a large, professional-grade chainsaw can actually be a bit of a pain to use just to cut down a few branches of medium size or smaller.
Another big reason to opt for a homeowner chainsaw comes down to a matter of experience, or more accurately, inexperience. Basically, chainsaws are some of the most dangerous and difficult power tools on the market. If you do not have a decent familiarity with their use, you can quickly and without effort cause serious damage or injury. Homeowner chainsaws are inherently designed to be both easier to use and less difficult to control. On top of that, homeowner chainsaws often include better safety measures and even a little bit less expensive.
Which Type of Homeowner Chainsaw to Use?
While this may seem more a matter of power, we would argue that your experience with chainsaws might come more into play here. While it is not quick or easy, you can usually cut down thicker pieces of wood than you might expect with a slightly underpowered chainsaw, assuming you use proper technique. As such, we suggest that you choose an electric chainsaw of either variety if you have not used one before. Of course, if you do opt to use an electric chainsaw, consider carefully whether the wood you need to cut is thicker or dense as the thicker and denser wood would best be cut with a corded chainsaw.
Of course, if you have even a passing familiarity with chainsaws and are aware of how they handle, you should not feel too intimidated to get a gas-powered homeowner chainsaw. This is also definitely the kind of chainsaw to get if you need to cut down medium-sized branches which are roughly 4” to 6” in diameter. If you own a larger piece of property and need to make a fair number of cuts across a wider range of distance, a gas chainsaw will also have a tendency to perform better here as well. Not only are gas chainsaws more powerful than electric models, but they can handle a longer workload as well.
What to Look for?
Assuming you understand how powerful of a chainsaw you need, other features can become extremely useful for casual chainsaw users. As mentioned prior, ease of use can go a long way here with automatic functions taking a priority. An automatic oiler is definitely one of the better features if you do not know how often you should oil the chain of a chainsaw. Keep in mind, even an automatic oiler that leaks is still likely useful so long as it adequately oils the chain. Outside of the automatic oiler, a way to tighten the chain quickly is also incredibly useful as it will prevent you from having to stop and start too often. Within this category, there are a couple of options with a side-mounted crank that is the most reliable but an automatic chain tensioner being the easiest to use. Otherwise, you should take some time to get acquainted with how to use a scrench for tightening chains as it can take a bit of practice to get the tension just right.
After automatic functions, safety becomes the next priority, though it may arguably rank higher depending on how comfortable you are with chainsaws. Most chainsaws come with a chain brake of some sort that prevents a broken chain from snapping back at you and halting the gears. Various features can also provide anti-kickback qualities, though these are generally relegated to the bar or the chain itself. The handguard which offers further protection from a broken chain should be large enough to protect you, but not so big that it blocks your field of view.
As we can see, homeowner chainsaw might be a bit more limited than professional models, but they offer plenty in the way of extra features. Of course, sometimes you still need a fairly powerful chainsaw for thicker branches or a larger piece of property which is where we would recommend the Husqvarna. On the other hand, if you do not have to worry about too heavy of a workload but still need decent cutting power, the WORX will work wonders. The Greenworks, on the other hand, is a solid option for those who want the convenience of a cordless chainsaw. The BLACK+DECKER has decent cutting capabilities and a reasonable price but is not really built to last. Finally, the Poulan Pro is a solid budget option for a gas chainsaw, but it is still somewhat expensive and harder to use.