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Getting the right chainsaw can be a difficult task, especially if you do not know what kind of chainsaw suits your needs best. You can get a rough idea of what any given chainsaw might provide based on looking at the specs, but that really only tells half of the story.
Our Husqvarna 450 Rancher II E chainsaw review breaks down this product so you understand who it works best for. This is not the best chainsaw for every person or every cutting job, but as you will soon see, it definitely brings more to the table than a number of competitors.
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Husqvarna is a deceptively old company whose founding can be traced back hundreds of years. However, the company only transitioned to outdoor equipment about a century ago and included chainsaws in their production even more recently.
On the other hand, Husqvarna went all-in with this transition to the point that few people even know what you initially produced (which was rifles). While this may make Husqvarna a bit less experienced compared to some of their top-tier competitors, the company definitely earns its solid reputation.
That said, Husqvarna does not specialize in any given market demographics, making products to fit virtually every niche. While the 450 Rancher II E is more of a mid-level chainsaw, it still offers a wide range of features and superior performance compared to most other mid-level chainsaws.
This is actually a fairly common approach for Husqvarna chainsaws and demonstrates the company’s philosophy of making some of the best products for a given class. While this does not make Husqvarna products free from criticism, it should at least give you a bit more peace of mind that the extra money you spend on their chainsaws is not simply padding the brand name.
With regards to customer service, Husqvarna can be a bit hit or miss, though it seems to depend as much on your knowledge of the chainsaw as anything else. Basically, Husqvarna seems to employ customer service representatives that are more knowledgeable about their products than most, but they may not be as good when working with novices– especially when navigating their initial automated system.
It is worth noting that different retailers sell Husqvarnas differently with some online outlets simply substituting one model for another without notifying the customer. While this is not inherently Husqvarna’s fault, it definitely reflects poorly on them, requiring you to be extra careful when ordering.
- Type: Gas
- Engine: 50.2 cc
- Horsepower: 3.2 hp
- Torque: 2.6 nm
- Chain Speed: 23 m/s
- Bar: 13” to 20”
- Gauge: 0.05”/0.058
- Pitch: 0.325”
- Links: 56 to 80
- Cut Thickness: 36”
- Weight: 11.2 lbs
- Volume: 104 dBa | 115 dBa
- Vibration: 3.1 m/s | 4.9 m/s
- Has an X-Torq engine
- Has Air Injection system
- Has a quick-release filter
- Has a LowVib system
- Has a SmartStart system
- Has an ergonomic handle
- Has an inertia-activated chain brake
- Has a three-piece crankshaft
- Has numerous convenience features
- Has an automatic oiler
- Has an anti-kickback nose
Performance is one of the notable areas where the 450 Rancher II E truly shines, able to produce far more cutting power than many other chainsaws in its class. A big part of this power comes from the simple fact that the Husqvarna chainsaw uses a gas engine as opposed to an electric motor.
While an electric motor is more convenient and cheaper in a lot of ways, the spinning coil around the armature does not pack quite the same punch as a combustion engine. Because of this, gas-powered chainsaws are able to cut through significantly more resistance than a comparable electric chainsaw.
The 450 Rancher II E may not have the biggest engine in the mid-tier market, but it still has a 50.2 cc engine which is more than enough to fell a tree or few in a single day. Even better, you do not have to worry about the Husqvarna chainsaw losing power as its fuel depletes until it actually begins to run out, unlike cordless chainsaws.
In comparison to other gas-powered models, the 450 Rancher II E definitely slides in the middle of the Husqvarna range and does likewise with other high-end makers. Keep in mind, most budget-friendly brands of chainsaw will not be able to keep up with the Husqvarna, even if they seem comparable.
Husqvarna is so confident in their ability to outclass most other chainsaw manufacturers that they are even willing to display the amount of torque the chainsaw generates. This is important because it provides a much better idea of how the 450 Rancher II E will actually cut in the real world under a load.
To point, the 450 Rancher II E puts out a solid 2.6 nm which is pretty good for the engine size, though professionals or arborists will definitely find it a bit lacking. The engine itself, while fairly robust for its class, also can come off a bit underwhelming to professionals at 3.2 hp.
Of course, this Husqvarna chainsaw is not actually meant to be used for those purposes and certainly not for the thickest of trees. If you are an average consumer who owns a reasonably large plot of land with a number of midsize to largeish trees, the 450 Rancher II E will likely come across as plenty powerful.
Even better, the Husqvarna can handle thicker trees than you might expect given its adequate power specs. Part of this comes from the fact that the Husqvarna spins its chain at 23 m/s which can be more than twice as fast as a comparable electric chainsaw.
When considering a gas chainsaw, one of the qualities that can get a bit more contentious than most is the functioning of it. This is because, unlike electric chainsaw, gas chainsaws do not start nearly as easily, inspiring plenty of frustration in beginning and experienced users alike.
The 450 Rancher II E is a bit of a wash in this regard as many people find starting the chainsaw a bit of a pain, but Husqvarna provides a fair number of features to try and make this process easier. That said, this is one of the functions you need to be especially careful with as performing it improperly can cause durability problems in the long run.
To make matters a bit more difficult, the 450 Rancher II E requires a slightly different starting procedure depending on the engine temperature. Basically, when the engine temperature is hotter, the carburetor can fill up with fuel fumes as opposed to fuel.
This can actually prevent the air purge diaphragm from functioning properly and is as responsible for engine issues as using the wrong kind of fuel mixture. Another thing to keep in mind when starting the chainsaw is that the choke needs to be on when pulling the starter from a cold start but not from a hot start.
Another area that might take a little more effort than with a number of electric chainsaws is the bar and chain system. Because the Husqvarna generates so much more power than your average electric chainsaw, it does not use a tool-less chain tensioning system popular with electric models.
Instead, Husqvarna provides you with a scrench which is a combination of a screwdriver with two sizes of a socket wrench. While the chain tensioning might be a bit more involved with the 450 Rancher II E, at least Husqvarna paid the kindness of making it side-mounted, so it is easier to reach and requires less action.
In fact, all you have to do is lay the chainsaw on its side, loosen the bar nut, tighten the chain, and then tighten the bar nut back. However, you may need to loosen the bar nut and tighten the chain two times in a row before actually using it to make sure the chain does not adjust.
One area where you do not have to worry about the 450 Rancher II E is oiling the chain as Husqvarna provides an automatic chain oiler. Even better, Husqvarna seems to have gotten the feed rate down right with few people finding an issue with the chain oil.
That said, this is definitely something Husqvarna had to get right since you cannot manually adjust the oil’s feed rate. On top of that, you will need to empty the chain oil reservoir from oil when you are done using it or else risk the oil leaking.
This is definitely one of the areas where a gas chainsaw seems to come up short compared to an electric model. Manufacturers can do everything in their power to reduce the amount and frequency of maintenance, but there is no getting around the fact that gas-powered chainsaws simply require far more maintenance than their electric counterparts.
Husqvarna definitely took this to heart with their mid-level model that is aimed at experienced amateurs and property owners, but they can only go so far. Like all 2-stroke engines, the Husqvarna will definitely require a mixture of oil and gas at a 50:1 ratio.
Even though this specific requirement is fairly standard for gas chainsaws, the 450 Rancher II E requires even more care when fueling it. This is because a number of issues customers have with this Husqvarna chainsaw stem directly from them not providing the right fuel mixture or the proper ratio.
This can occur for a couple of reasons but one of the main reasons is that the 450 Rancher II E’s X-Torq engine is meant to run from a particular type of vegetable-based oil. This is not to suggest that you cannot use other types of oil with it, but the manual does not provide much guidance beyond the Husqvarna brand of oil.
Another thing to consider is that the X-Torq engine runs best when not using gas with ethanol in it. Beyond the gas and oil fuel mixture, there are a number of other areas where maintenance on a gas chainsaw shows up as well.
Because all engines rely on oxygen for combustion, the X-Torq engine uses an air filter to keep itself clean. That said, any of the contaminants that would have otherwise found themselves pulled into the air-intake are instead trapped in the air filter.
This means that you will need to change the air filter, though Husqvarna at least did us a solid by making the air filter quick-release. On top of that, the 450 Rancher II E also comes with a flip-up tank cap, so you do not have to worry about dropping or misplacing the cap when refueling while in use.
Still, Husqvarna went above and beyond when taking care of their engine when protecting it from external contaminants. The 450 Rancher II E comes with a patented Air Injection system that uses centrifugal force to prevent larger particles from even reaching the air filter in the first place.
Another thing common to combustion engines is a spark plug which generates the initial firing of the engine and keeps the combustion going. While you do need to change the spark plug from time to time, this is not a major issue for the 450 Rancher II E. Regardless, this Husqvarna chainsaw comes with an easy snap-lock cylinder cover which makes changing the spark plugs that much easier.
It is worth noting that while this Husqvarna chainsaw comes with an automatic chain oiler, you will still need to oil parts of the chain configuration. Specifically, the 450 Rancher II E requires that you oil the nose sprocket as well as the needle bearing in the clutch drum which is done while the clutch spins.
Finally, while all chainsaws require a fair bit of cleaning maintenance given their task and more for heavier jobs, the 450 Rancher II E will need more frequent cleanings of interior portions of the machine. One of the big areas that many people overlook is the muffler which sits on the left side of the machine when using it.
The cylinder uses a number of fins to keep cool which is fairly common for smaller 2-stroke engines. However, the cooling system does not include a true filter, so you will need to make sure to keep the muffler and various air intake components clean. Failure to do so can lead to the 450 Rancher II E overheating and cause long term damage to the engine.
Gas chainsaws are often inherently less ergonomic than their electric counterparts, but that does not mean that you have to suffer while using a gas chainsaw. The 450 Rancher II E is a perfect example of this with a wide range of different features meant to make using it easier.
From a basic stance, this Husqvarna chainsaw is actually pretty lightweight for a gas chainsaw, especially considering the size of its engine. Sitting at only 11.2 pounds, it is only about 1 pound or so heavier than a comparable cordless chainsaw with the battery pack– though comparable corded chainsaws can come in even lighter.
Outside of the weight, the 450 Rancher II E also comes with one of the best anti-vibration systems that we came across. Husqvarna’s patented LowVib system surrounds the engine with a number of vibration-dampening, encased springs that absorb vibrations.
This translates surprisingly well as the front handle only registers 3.1 m/s vibrations, while the rear handle puts out 4.9 m/s. This is especially helpful in not only preventing fatigue from extended use but helping make sure that you do not develop any kind of vibration-caused syndrome too. It is worth noting that the 450 Rancher II E LowVib system registers some of the lowest vibrations we found– even compared to comparable electric models.
While the Husqvarna chainsaw does a great job of keeping its own air clean, it extends this favor to you as well. Thanks to the X-Torq engine, not only do you enjoy better fuel-efficiency, but you also do not have to worry about breathing in near as many exhaust fumes when compared to some other gas chainsaws.
The 450 Rancher II E also features an ergonomic rear handle which helps further deal with the slightly increased rear vibrations. As icing on the cake, the stop switch automatically shifts back into the “on” position, ready for your next job.
One area where the Husqvarna 450 Rancher II E truly shines is in the durability department as most issues people report with them can be boiled down to not using the proper fuel mixture. Thanks to a well-engineered air filtration system, the engine does not often suffer from contaminants or any other kind of issue– assuming you clean the muffler.
On the other hand, cleaning the muffler and cooling system is vitally important as it helps prevent the engine from failing. While that may be true for any chainsaw, it seems as if the fuel-efficient X-Torq engine can suffer from overheating worse than some others. This is not so much of a design flaw as much as you simply need to keep up with its cleanliness more than some other chainsaws.
The general body of the Husqvarna, though using plenty of ABS plastic to cut weight, does not seem to suffer any fragility– likely because the chainsaw is still fairly lightweight and includes the LowVib system. On top of that, you do not have to worry about the driving action of the chainsaw thanks to a three-piece crankshaft which is extremely hardy, regardless of whether you compare it to an electric model or even another gas-powered competitor.
The one area where the 450 Rancher II E does suffer from some durability issues is with the pull-cord start function. To be fair, it is not so much that the pull-cord starter is fragile as much as people who try to start the chainsaw improperly will often get frustrated and damage the pull-cord system.
Thankfully, the most common issue with the pull-cord starter comes from damaging the spring inside of the starter system. While this may be a bit of a pain to change, it is not actually that difficult nor expensive to do so on your own.
Another area of pride for the 450 Rancher II E is safety which makes a bit of sense for a mid-level chainsaw. While this chainsaw is not necessarily designed for beginners or homeowners, neither is it made for professional use either.
As such, it behooves Husqvarna to include a number of high-end safety features, though this is arguably important regardless of the setting or demographic. That said, the 450 Rancher II E definitely provides some of the better, and even less common, safety features that we encountered.
For example, the Husqvarna’s chain brake uses a lever in front of the forward handle like most other chainsaws. However, not only is the 450 Rancher II E’s chain brake manually operated, but it is also triggered by inertia too.
This means that if the chainsaw has a kickback, the sheer force of the kickback will trigger the chain brake, stopping the chain in its tracks. On top of that, the 450 Rancher II E includes a couple of features to ensure that you remain safe should the chain itself snap.
First, the chain brake also acts as a solid handguard and provides a reasonable sightline to your cut– though it is not the best sightline we found. That said, the Husqvarna chainsaw is also one of the few models we have seen that includes a chain catch to snag a loose chain that broke.
One area where the 450 Rancher II E comes up a bit short compared to some of the other chainsaws we see is in kickback protection. To be fair, this Husqvarna chainsaw meets all of the necessary anti-kickback standards right out of the box, but it does not really offer improved anti-kickback protection like some of the other options on the market.
Oddly enough, this is one of the few areas where Husqvarna did not go above and beyond to make using their product easier or offer a superior standard build compared to most of their competitors. This is even odder considering that Husqvarna actually sells superior components and includes them some of their higher-end models.
On top of that, it really depends on which retailer you use as some brick and mortar stores include higher-end components with this model. However, most online retailers, like Amazon, do not, leading to some customers feeling upset when they did not get the components they expected.
For example, the base 450 Rancher chainsaw comes with a Farm Tough bar which is not only more durable than the base 450 Rancher II E bar but safer too. While you can certainly purchase this bar separately, that further increases the cost of an already pricey chainsaw.
On the other hand, this Husqvarna chainsaw can actually accept a fairly wide range of bar sizes from 13” to 20”. Granted, you better off sticking with an 18” to 20” bar, but it is nice that the 450 Rancher II E gives you options for smaller jobs too.
Along with the bar, the included chain for the 450 Rancher II E is not noted for being high-quality either. This included chain at least meets anti-kickback standards but is noted for going dull quicker than many other chains.
Much like with the bar, Husqvarna made it a point to provide you options as this chainsaw can actually use a fair number of different chain configurations. The one constant with the 450 Rancher II E chain is the pitch which remains at 0.325” regardless of other factors.
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While the Husqvarna 450 Rancher II E is not the largest or most powerful gas chainsaw that you can find, it definitely packs more punch in its build than many other comparable chainsaws. As far as a gas chainsaw goes, it is not strictly the most user-friendly, but Husqvarna made sure to lighten that load as much as they could.
For a gas chainsaw, the Husqvarna does not require as much maintenance as some, and a good deal of that maintenance is easier to accomplish. While functions can be a bit trickier for the Husqvarna than lower-end models, performing them properly is a must and keeps this chainsaw cutting longer than those lower-end models in the immediate as well as long term.
Thankfully, the 450 Rancher II E has plenty of power for cutting through thick trees of up to 36” in diameter without the same kinds of issues that other chainsaws suffer. Though, it is worth considering upgrading some of the standard components that this Husqvarna comes with as they are not top of the line.
That said, even with the OEM components, you should not have to worry too much about safety as the 450 Rancher II E comes with some of the best safety features, including a high-end chain brake that can be activated in a couple of different ways. It also comes with a convenient chain stop to prevent a broken chain from swinging and a well-placed kill-switch.
More than enough for the average homeowner to trim tree branches or cut firewood, the 450 Rancher II E truly shines when you take it out to a large piece of property with plenty of thicker timber to clear. While this may not be the chainsaw you choose for regular logging, it can more than handle the tasks of a farm or similar setting.