Table of Contents
- Best Lightweight Chainsaw Reviews 2019
- BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 20V Max Lithium-Ion Chainsaw, 10-Inch – Best Seller
- Husqvarna 16 Inch 440e II Gas Chainsaw – Top Pick
- Worx WG322 20V Cordless Chainsaw with Auto-Tension – Best Value
- Oregon CS1500 Self-Sharpening Electric Chainsaw – Runner Up
- Poulan Pro PR4016, 16 in. 40cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw – Also, Consider
- Best Lightweight Chainsaw Buying Guide 2019
Best Lightweight Chainsaw Reviews 2019
With summer in full swing and fall right around the corner, trimming branches from around your property is a task you will have to get to sooner or later. Of course, that does not mean you need to spend a bundle nor do you need to break your back to do so. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best lightweight chainsaw reviews of 2019. To help you figure out the best option, we have also created a helpful buyer’s guide as well as an insightful FAQ. Depending on your needs, we think the BLACK+DECKER and Husqvarna are the best options, but they may not be the best for your yard–but you need to keep reading to find out.
BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 20V Max Lithium-Ion Chainsaw, 10-Inch – Best Seller
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BLACK+DECKER is one of, if not, the biggest and most successful power tool manufacturers in the world whose massive success has even allowed it to purchase other power tool manufacturers en masse to the point that the majority of previously “American-made” power tool companies are actually now just brands owned by BLACK+DECKER. That said, it is important to understand that BLACK+DECKER’s success is far more closely associated with its target market demographic and selling point as opposed to the product’s quality level. In this vein, it is important to recognize that “best selling” is not the same thing as “best performing.” Of course, for the average homeowner, the BLACK+DECKER chainsaw is likely more than sufficient for your DIY cutting jobs.
While the BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 chainsaw is not the best-performing on our list, that does not mean that it is a bad product. In fact, for the class of chainsaw, this is a decently performing option that comes with a number of great selling points. Easily, the best thing about this product is that it is a cordless electric chainsaw which means that you do not have to worry about a cumbersome cord or extension cord to mess with. Another big advantage of the LCS1020 chainsaw being electric is that fact that it is much cheaper over the long haul, not having to purchase fuel–though there is still the initial cost of the battery pack and charger. On top of that, the BLACK+DECKER electric chainsaw also happens to be the least expensive product on our list. Ultimately, if you are looking for a cheap chainsaw that is capable of handling small tasks around the house, this is a solid option.
Of course, whenever you look at the least expensive product in a market, you should expect it to come with a few flaws. In terms of the BLACK+DECKER LCS1020, you at least do not have to worry about the chainsaw breaking down. However, you will still need to go through annoying maintenance that is not as much of an issue for other options. For instance, while the BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 has an automatic oiler for the chain, it is not terribly effective and will require you to manually oil the chain anyway. On the other hand, this cordless electric chainsaw does at least use a convenient and ergonomic tool-less chain tensioning system. Of course, this may or may not make up for the fact that this is one of the less powerful chainsaws that we reviewed. Still, with a 20V motor and coming in at a much lighter weight than most of its competitors, you will not have to worry about fatigue while you take an extra few seconds to cut.
- Is an electric chainsaw
- Has a 20V motor
- The least expensive chainsaw reviewed
- Is a cordless chainsaw
- Has a low kickback Oregon bar
- Is a lighter chainsaw
- The automatic oiler is not effective
- Not the most powerful
Husqvarna 16 Inch 440e II Gas Chainsaw – Top Pick
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Out of all the companies on our list, Husqvarna is easily the oldest and most storied, though it has not always sold outdoor lawn care equipment. In fact, this Swedish company actually got its start selling in the late 17th-century manufacturing rifles. It was almost 200 years later before Husqvarna starting making anything else, and even then, it was not lawn care equipment. That said, by the early 20th-century, this company had begun to shift its manufacturing to lawn care, and in 1959, Husqvarna unveiled its first chainsaw. These days, Husqvarna specializes exclusively in lawn care equipment and its accessories and is known as one of the premier professional-grade manufacturers. Though the route may be a bit more circuitous than most, Husqvarna eventually made it to the top of their market which is a big part of why it sits as our top pick too.
Power to Spare
Much like when you opt for the least expensive product in a market, you should expect flaws, going with the best performing product in a market, you should expect some inconveniences. Specifically, the Husqvarna 440e II is by far the most expensive chainsaw on our list. Thankfully, this product does more than enough to justify that increased cost and is also the most powerful chainsaw that we reviewed as well. To be fair, the Husqvarna 440e II chainsaw does come with the inherent advantage of being a gas-powered chainsaw. Because of the combustion 2-stroke engine, the 440e II chainsaw is able to generate significantly more torque than most other electric chainsaws on the market and positions it as one of the few, true professional-grade chainsaws that we reviewed. With a 40.9cc engine, it is not terribly difficult to see where this power comes from as this is also the largest engine on our list.
While the sheer cutting power of the Husqvarna chainsaw might be enough to sway some customers, the top-tier brand is not content to rest on its laurels and goes a few steps further. For instance, while the engine will require a fuel and mixture, which ultimately increases the overhead cost of the product, it also features the patented X-Torq engine which allows it to use significantly less fuel than many other gas-powered chainsaws in the same class. This X-Torq engine also helps reduce its emissions which will come in handy if you happen to live in a municipality that restricts emissions. This patented engine is doubled with other X-line technologies like the X-Force chain bar and X-Cut chain that enable the 440e II chainsaw to slice through gnarled hardwood with ease. It is worth noting that the Husqvarna chainsaw is a bit on the heavy side, but it also features internal counterbalances to prevent fatigue from setting in too soon.
- Is a gas-powered chainsaw
- Has a 40.9cc engine
- Has a 16” bar
- Has a chain brake
- Is easy to maintain
- Uses the X line of technology
- The most expensive chainsaw reviewed
- More expensive to maintain
Worx WG322 20V Cordless Chainsaw with Auto-Tension – Best Value
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Worx is an interesting company in that it originated from one of BLACK+DECKER’s OEM manufacturers, the Positec Tool company and an ex-BLACK+DECKER CEO. Together, they put their engineering know-how and business savvy to good use in producing one of the few consumer-grade power tool manufacturers that could truly go toe-to-toe with BLACK+DECKER. Though this company technically has only been around for about a decade and a half, they have a combined true history that is over two and a half decades. Though it may be a bit newer compared to some of the other companies on our list and does not specialize exclusively in lawn care equipment, Worx prides itself on being able to offer top of the line innovation at a reasonable cost.
Considering the parent company’s position as an OEM manufacturer, it is understandable that this product looks pretty similar to another that we reviewed. From a pure specs perspective, the Worx WG322 chainsaw might seem like little more than a clone, with many elements meeting the same standards. For instance, the Worx chainsaw is a cordless electric model which allows you to use it anywhere without having to worry about an extension cord keeping you tied down to an outlet. On top of that, the 20V motor also packs a similar punch which definitely limits it to smaller tasks around the house but makes it ideal for that exact setting. However, the WG322 chainsaw does have some things that it definitely does better than its cousin. One of the more notable improvements is the fact that this cordless chainsaw comes with an automatic oiler that actually works. It is important to note that the oiler has a tendency to leak even after the chainsaw has been turned off, but it does not require you to stop cutting every couple of minutes to manually oil it by hand.
The Drawing Board
Still, when looking for the best value, the warts that come with it have to be accounted for or outright accepted. Aside from the lower cutting power that accompanies virtually all consumer-grade cordless electric chainsaws, the Worx has the extra inconvenience of being fairly slow to recharge. If you use the charger that comes included with the chainsaw, it can take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to recharge a single batter. While there is a much faster charger available, that has to be purchased separately and will ultimately increase the cost of this option to the point that it may not necessarily be such a great value. On the plus side, the Worx WG322 chainsaw is the lightest model that we reviewed which will definitely help extend your work time before running into fatigue issues.
- Is an electric chainsaw
- Has a 20V motor
- Is a less expensive chainsaw
- Is a cordless chainsaw
- Has tool-free chain tensioning
- The lightest chainsaw reviewed
- Not the most powerful
- Has a slow recharge
Oregon CS1500 Self-Sharpening Electric Chainsaw – Runner Up
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As far as chainsaws go, there are few companies that we came across with a unique history as Oregon. For one, this is the oldest specialized chainsaw company on our list having started just after the end of WWII. However, what makes Oregon even more remarkable is the fact that many other chainsaw manufacturers, especially those who do not specialize in manufacturing chainsaws exclusively, will often contract out Oregon for their chains or chain bars. The fact that their competitors will regularly use Oregon components for their own products tells you pretty much all you need to know about Oregon chains and chain bars. In fact, if Oregon was as focused on the other components, they would likely be much higher on our list.
While the Oregon CS1500 is far from the first or only electric chainsaw on our list, it does have the distinction of being the only corded electric chainsaw that we reviewed. While this definitely comes with the inconvenience of requiring an outlet and an extension cord, it also carries with it some distinct advantages as well. For one, the electric element means that you do not have to worry about the additional overhead costs of a fuel and oil mixture. On top of that, because corded electric chainsaws draw their power from a consistent source that does not need to be recharged, they are also some of the more powerful types of electric chainsaws as well. This is only increased by the fact that the Oregon CS1500 chainsaw comes with a powerful 15-amp motor that easily makes it the most powerful electric chainsaw we reviewed.
In terms of issues, by far the biggest problem with the Oregon chainsaw is the fact that it is also the biggest chainsaw on our list. While this is not inherently a major problem, it does mean that this is also the heaviest chainsaw we reviewed. Thankfully, the Oregon CS1500 does at least provide some internal counterbalances to help stabilize the vibrations and stave off the inevitable fatigue that will come from using for hours on end. One unique quality of the CS1500 chainsaw is the fact that it is self-sharpening which helps make sure that the Oregon chain can keep cutting without issue. The only real downside to this feature is the fact that it will wear out the chain quicker than other models, but it will at least keep the chain in top condition until that time arrives. Finally, this model is on par with the other electric chainsaws on our list, in terms of price, and does not have any additional battery or charger costs either.
- Is an electric chainsaw
- Has a 15-amp motor
- Has the longest bar reviewed
- Is a less expensive chainsaw
- Is a corded chainsaw
- Has automatic chain sharpening
- Is a heavier chainsaw
- Wears chains out quickly
Poulan Pro PR4016, 16 in. 40cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw – Also, Consider
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Poulan Pro is another company that can trace back its heritage to the end of WWII and likewise hails from a professional lumberjack. On top of that, Poulan Pro also specializes explicitly on outdoor lawn care equipment, ensuring that the product gets the attention it deserves. It is worth noting that Poulan Pro is a professional-grade chainsaw manufacturer and this particular model definitely fits that bill for non-logging purposes. While this does allow for a bit more power than many of the other products we reviewed, it also means that you should expect to pay a bit more than many alternatives. Still, the biggest issue with this model is likely the fact that it does not hold your hand in any meaningful way, so you better know what you are doing ahead of time.
While this chainsaw comes with some nice bells and whistles, there is no getting around the fact that its main draw is its ability to effortlessly cut through pieces of lumber many other options on our list could not even look at. With a 40cc 2-stroke gas-powered engine, the PR4016 chainsaw is neck and neck with the largest engine that we reviewed. However, that should not be taken quite so seriously as this chainsaw is able to generate chain speeds of 4m/s quicker than the other gas-powered option we saw. Even better, the Poulan Pro PR4016 chainsaw also has one of the longer chain bars we saw at 16”, which further enables it to handle larger pieces of lumber than many of its competitors.
A Sustainable Beast
While the higher cost combined with the additional overhead of a fuel and oil mixture may turn some away, it is worth noting that the Poulan Pro chainsaw is not without consideration of this issue. For instance, the PR4016 chainsaw features OxyPower technology which reduces emissions by 70-percent and puts it in line with most municipal standards while also reducing fuel consumption by up to 20-percent. Of course, something has to give with such a powerful chainsaw, and in this case, that give comes with weight, quite literally. Aside from the fact that the gas-powered engine will generate more vibration than most electric models, the Poulan Pro PR4016 chainsaw is also the heaviest model we reviewed which will increase the amount of fatigue felt over the course of using it for hours on end.
- Is a gas-powered chainsaw
- Has a 40cc engine
- Has a 16” bar
- Has the fastest chain speed reviewed
- Has OxyPower technology
- Is easier to use
- The heaviest chainsaw reviewed
- Is a more expensive chainsaw
Best Lightweight Chainsaw Buying Guide 2019
The type of chainsaw is not necessarily as important as one might think and will instead be more dependent on the type of job you have to do and location you have to do it. For instance, an electric chainsaw can either be tethered to an outlet or not, but the difference between the two will not inherently determine how effective the chainsaw is at cutting on the surface. That said, there are definitely some common trends in regards to cutting power and all-around capabilities when it comes to the different types of chainsaws which will need to be sorted. On top of that, there is also generally a distinct price and ergonomics difference between the different types.
This is the most common type of electric chainsaw and has definitely taken the largest steps forward in terms of innovation. Where only a couple of decades ago these were seen as little more than toys for amateur DIYers, they are quickly becoming legitimate tools that can help you tackle serious cutting tasks around the house. That said, these are still generally the least powerful type of chainsaw on the market and will rarely be good for cutting anything thicker than a few inches in diameter. While their initial costs are lower than gas-powered chainsaws, the additional battery packs and improved charger can often make them just as expensive.
Not too long ago, this was the only type of electric chainsaw worth considering as it was the only type that could generate enough cutting power to do anything more than trim twigs and thin branches. These days, cordless electric chainsaws can accomplish what this type used to, but corded electric chainsaws have improved right alongside their competitors. Now, a high-end corded chainsaw can go head up with a low-powered gas chainsaw in a number of settings. Of course, the need for a dedicated power supply combined with an extension cord makes this a bit inconvenient.
This is the oldest and most powerful type of chainsaw around, and it does not really look like there is going to be any serious competition for that crown on the horizon. This is not to suggest that gas-powered chainsaws are simply the best or most convenient, but they definitely pack a significantly more powerful punch than their similarly priced alternatives. In fact, if you own a piece of wooded property where you intend to do any kind of medium-duty cutting work, there is almost no other option in town. That said, these are by far the most expensive and generally the heaviest chainsaws on the market and will also require more care during use.
Chain speed is actually an important consideration when determining cutting power, though it may not be for the reason you think. The speed of the chain does not necessarily allow the chain to cut faster as much as it allows the chain to get rid of the wood shavings and dust that much quicker. Essentially, when using a chainsaw, the wood cuttings have a tendency to stay within the cut, especially if you are cutting downward, and are pulled out by the moving chain. The quicker the chain speed, the quicker the shavings are pulled out without being able to get settled into the cut groove and bog down the motor or engine.
This is not to suggest that chain speed plays no role in the cutting power outright, but it is not anywhere near as close to important as the sharpness of the chain or the torque generated by the motor. Even the fastest chain speed with little to no torque will simply slide atop the lumber you are trying to cut, unable to actually bit into the wood. Of course, when you have a chainsaw with a powerful motor generating plenty of torque, a quick chain speed only increases the overall cutting power.
What type should you get?
This can be one of the trickier questions to answer and will largely depend on the type of tasks you expect to use your chainsaw to complete. In this instance, how heavy-duty the task is will play the most important role in determining which type of chainsaw is best for you. Of course, the price will come into play here too, as it does with every purchase, but this is not really one of those product categories that allows you get by with a less capable product. With some power tools, you can simply take your time and still get the job done, substituting sweat equity instead. Unfortunately, lumber generally has a power barrier to entry, and if the chainsaw is not up to the task, there is very little you can do to force it.
That said, the difference between electric and gas-powered chainsaws has shrunk drastically in the past couple decades to the point where plenty of electric chainsaws are more than capable of handling a decent workload around the house. On the other hand, if you own some wooded property that you want to spruce up, chances are you will have to spring for a gas-powered chainsaw.
What are the most important features?
While there are plenty of features designed to make using a chainsaw easier, none of them are truly relevant when determining what kind of tasks they can accomplish. For instance, the overall weight and vibration dampening features will influence the amount of fatigue that the user feels over a long period of time but will have little to no effect on the chainsaw’s ability to actually cut the lumber. Likewise, anti-kickback bars and chain brakes are vital for ensuring the safest use of a chainsaw, but they too have little to no impact on the product’s cutting ability.
Instead, chainsaws are one of those few power tools where the cliche of power being king really holds true. Of course, as mentioned earlier, cutting power is not determined by a single feature and is better understood as a combination of motor or engine power and chain speed. Of the two, the motor or engine power is definitely king with the torque taking the top spot, but an engine or motor with a lot of torque will still get bogged down if the chain speed cannot keep up. An honorable mention should be given to emissions which are more or less important depending on where the municipality you are using the chainsaw is located. Some areas have strict restrictions on emissions and will levy you with heavy fines should you exceed them.
Chainsaw safety tips
Of all the power tools commonly used by consumers, chainsaws are easily some of the most dangerous. Were it not for the fact that they are less likely to be owned, they would probably account for far more power tool-related accidents than they do. Aside from the fact that they feature what amount to a spinning serrated blade, chainsaws are also heavy and generate a great deal of torque compared to most other power saws.
Aside from the general protective measures you should apply when using any power saw, chainsaws also have the additional threat of the “workpiece” becoming a threat as well. For instance, a table saw may run the risk of pulling you toward the blade, but rarely do you have to worry about the workpiece causing significant injury. With a chainsaw, on the other hand, you may very well have to consider how the timber will fall before you cut it.
Beyond considering how the timber will fall, your posture will also be more important when using a chainsaw than many other power saws. Even for handheld power saws, you can often get away with standing in awkward positions without having to worry too much. On the other hand, the sheer weight and power of a chainsaw will pretty much necessitate the use of proper cutting posture or risk serious injury. This risk is enhanced further by the fact that the cutting pattern needs to be more precise as well to prevent kickbacks from sending the speeding chain flying towards your face.
As we can see, there are a lot of options available in the chainsaw market, each focused on a particular setting or use. If you have heavy-duty work to do, the Husqvarna is our top recommendation, though the Poulan Pro offers a solid performance at a slightly lower price point. If you just need to trim some branches around the house or off of a fence, an electric model is probably better. To this end, the BLACK+DECKER and Worx are cheap and convenient options, though we give a slight nod to the BLACK+DECKER. Finally, the Oregon corded electric chainsaw does a solid job of finding the middle between the two groups, even if it gives up a bit of convenience in the process.