Knowing how to choose the right chainsaw often comes down to understanding and considering your cutting needs. If you're a homeowner, a rural property owner, a firewood user, a farmer, or even a tree and timber owner, you'll likely need a small chainsaw. What are the sizes of your average cuts? A saw with too little power will cause fatigue, which can result in an accident. The reverse is true for large chainsaws -- if you're using too big of a saw for the job, you can become fatigued and more prone to accidents.
If the trees you need to cut are saplings or if you just need to cut small limbs, consider purchasing an electric chainsaw. They're lighter than gas powered chainsaws so fatigue becomes less of an issue. The benefits of an electric saw are that they're easy to start, lightweight, economical, there's no gas to put in, they're quiet and they require little maintenance. They also come with automatic oilers and as battery-powered units.
The benefits of gas powered units are that they're cordless, they're powerful enough for a variety of big jobs, they offer a range of bar lengths, have bar-oiling systems, and are ideal for heavy-duty use. They also feature quick-start electronic ignition, quick-adjust chains, and mufflers for quieter operation.
But regardless of whether you buy a gas-powered chainsaw or electric, there are some basic considerations you need to take into account.
The chainsaw bar is the long bar with the round end. Its size varies from 12 to 36 inches. To reduce hazards, use the shortest bar possible. Most property owners will need a bar that's 16 to 18 inches long.
Understand the kind of chain you need for the work you're going to do. A low kickback chain is good for home or light professional use. Professional chains require special training and are not recommended for home use. Narrow kerf chains are normally used on low-powered chainsaws for light duty use; as such, they leave narrower cutting channel. Ripping chains are another professional-level chain and are not recommended for general home use. Self-sharpening chains are intended for use with saws that have a self-sharpening feature. If you don't have a self-sharpening chain, learn how to sharpen and maintain your chains. This will help you improve you productivity and avoid wear and tear on yourself and the saw.
Before cutting, become completely familiar with your chain brake, throttle safety latch, and chain guard links. Practice on small branches and limbs. Look for these safety features:
Before purchasing a chainsaw, think about whether or not renting one would be a better option. Figure how often you're really going to be using a chainsaw and see if it's worth the investment. You can also rent a chainsaw in order to get used to operating one. If you find you're not comfortable handling one, you may decide that hiring the work out is a better and safer option. The last thing you want to do is operate a chainsaw if you cannot guarantee your safety; they can be very dangerous if not handled with great care and precision.