Best professional chainsaw

Whether clearing a stand of timber, lumbering wood for a sawmill or cleaning up around the homestead, you can go a lot further and get a lot more done with a professional grade chainsaw. Choosing the right one can be the difference between struggling all day and a job well-done. However, selecting the best professional chainsaw is something of a challenge given the wide variety of chainsaws on the market.

Our reviews and buyer’s guide are designed to provide you with an opportunity to compare a number of different chainsaw models as well as describe which features and benefits you are apt to encounter in a professional quality chainsaw. By the time we wrap up this review, you will be well qualified to make a buying decision concerning the best professional chainsaw for you.

Our Rating of the Best Professional Chainsaws

Husqvarna 450E SASII45020 Fully Assembled Gas Chainsaw – Best All-Around Chainsaw $$$$

For those with a lot of heavy work to do the Husqvarna 450E is a dream come true. This is the best all-around chainsaw in our review for several reasons: it starts easy, has the power and torque to cut through the toughest jobs and it won’t wear you out to use it all day.

The 450E comes with SmartStart technology to get you up and running quickly instead of wasting time pulling on a starter cord. The high horsepower of this Husky’s engine also includes X-Torq technology which not only provides you with plenty of raw power but also decreases fuel consumption and its exhaust emissions are more environmentally friendly too. For a big chainsaw, the 450E comes in at a pretty low weight of only 11.3 pounds and has LowVib features for greater safety and comfort, which makes a difference when you’re cutting all day.

Specs:

  • Fuel: 2-stroke 50:1 mixture
  • Cylinder displacement: 3.06 cu. inches/50.2 cc
  • Weight: 11.3 lbs./5.1 kg
  • Power output: 3.2 hp
  • Bar length: 20 inches/50.8 cm
  • Equivalent vibration level (ahv, eq): front handle 3.1 m/s², rear handle 4.9 m/s²
  • Noise level: 104 dB

Pros:

  • You’ll put in less time starting your chainsaw and more time working with the Smart Start technology built into this saw.
  • You get a 50.2cc X-Torq engine that is plenty adequate for operating a 20” chain in the most challenging situations.
  • It has easy access chain tensioning.
  • The ergonomic handles are low vibration so that you can keep a better grip on the saw.
  • This is a lightweight saw for heavy duty work.
  • Inertia chain brake, chain catch, and low kickback are all safety features included in this saw.
  • This is a pretty affordable saw given its long list of positive features.

Cons:

  • The factory chain on the saw dulls pretty quickly.
  • Chain tensioning can be a little bit more challenging for some because it is not a tool-less model.

Dolmar PS510 Chainsaw – Best Chainsaw for Solving Problems $$$$

When it comes to medium duty work, cleaning up and solving problems around the homestead, the Domar PS510 chainsaw is a solid choice. This saw has good durability, plenty of torque to accommodate an 18” chain bar, and is balanced and safe.

Dolmar has been manufacturing chainsaws for over 90 years and has been a subsidiary of Makita Group for the last 27 of those years. With the combined experience of both companies, they have managed to make a durable and reliable chainsaw with plenty of impressive features. This saw has a powerful motor with plenty of torque and horsepower to handle tough jobs and it is easy to get it running with spring assisted starting. Its 12 pounds are evenly distributed for good balance and this saw comes with an integrated chain brake and low vibration to help make it easier to hang onto.

Specs:

  • Fuel: 2-stroke 50:1 mixture
  • Cylinder displacement: 3.05 cu. inches/50 cc
  • Weight: 12.1 lbs./5.49 kg
  • Power output: 3.3 hp
  • Bar length: 18 inches/45 cm
  • Equivalent vibration level (ahv, eq): N/A
  • Noise level: N/A

Pros:

  • A durable, well-built saw which is well-balanced with not a lot of weight.
  • This saw has spring assisted starting to make it easier to get it going.
  • It has enough horsepower and torque to adequately operate its 18” chain in medium duty work settings, but still enough do some heavy duty work.
  • The safety features included are an integrated chain brake, low vibration, low kickback and chain catch.
  • The PS510 is manufactured by a company with plenty of experience under a well known power-tool manufacturer.
  • Its quality is backed by a 2-year warranty.

Cons:

  • The tool-less chain tensioning on this unit is a little less than stellar in its performance.
  • This saw is a little bit pricey when compared to saws with similar components and features.

Echo CS-590 20″ Timber Wolf Chainsaw – Best Brush and Timber Clearing Saw $$$

Echo is a solid competitor in the chainsaw world and the Echo CS-590 20″ Timber Wolf Chainsaw upholds their reputation well. This saw is well-powered, is easy to get started, and is still light enough to use doing a day’s work without wearing yourself out.

The standout feature of this 20” chainsaw is that it is powered with a 59.8cc and 3.89hp motor, which is enough power to easily operate a 24” or 27” chainsaw. Starting issues are a thing of the past with a fully controlled choke and a decompression valve for easier pulling. In spite of its larger motor, this chainsaw is still fairly lightweight at 13 pounds and its weight is well balanced so that it is pretty easy to work with. This saw will handle heavy duty workloads without a lot of issues.

Specs:

  • Fuel: 2-stroke 50:1 mixture
  • Cylinder displacement: 3.65 cu. inches/59.8 cc
  • Weight: 13 lbs./5.9 kg
  • Power output: 3.89 hp
  • Bar length: 20 inches/50.8 cm
  • Equivalent vibration level (ahv, eq): N/A
  • Noise level: N/A

Pros:

  • The Timber Wolf has a powerful 3.89hp motor running a 20” blade, so it is not likely to get bogged down in its work.
  • With its decompression valve, this saw is nearly effortless to start.
  • Manual chain tensioning is easily accessed on this chainsaw.
  • It comes with the necessary safety features with a chain brake and chain catch.
  • This saw is manufactured by a well-known competitor and backed by a 5-year warranty.

Cons:

  • The Timber Wolf is pretty pricey when compared to the competition.
  • The chain guard housing is made of plastic instead of metal.
  • There seems to be no vibration or noise control built into this saw.

Echo CS-600P Gas Chainsaw – Best Saw for Clearing Large Brush and Timber $$$$

Like its brother, the Echo CS-600P Gas Chainsaw is a more than an adequate competitor in the chainsaw industry. It is also well-powered, easy to start and not too heavy to do a full day’s work without wearing yourself out, but it takes a giant step forward in 21st-century technology with digital ignition systems.

The horsepower and torque of the 58.9cc motor on this saw are more than adequate to run a saw with a 24” or 27” chain bar, but with it being on a 20” chain bar it certainly prevents bogging down while you’re working. The addition of digital ignition also helps to control the power output and fuel consumption of this saw while it’s working as well as when you are working to start it. This saw includes the same decompression valve as the Timber Wolf, which helps reduce the amount of force needed to start the motor. Weight and balance are still within limits with this saw as well.

Specs:

  • Fuel: 2-stroke 50:1 mixture
  • Cylinder displacement: 3.65 cu. inches/59.8 cc
  • Weight: 13 lbs./5.9 kg
  • Power output: 3.89 hp
  • Bar length: 20 inches/50.8 cm
  • Equivalent vibration level (ahv, eq): N/A
  • Noise level: N/A

Pros:

  • The powerful 3.89hp motor running a 20” blade of the CS-600P is more than adequate, so it is not likely to get bogged down in its work.
  • Digital ignition on this saw brings 21st-century technology into the smoother operation, lower consumption and easier starting of this saw.
  • With its decompression valve, this saw is nearly effortless to start.
  • Manual chain tensioning is easily accessed on this chainsaw.
  • It comes with the necessary safety features with a chain brake and chain catch.
  • This saw is manufactured by a well-known competitor and backed by a 5-year warranty.

Cons:

  • The CS-600P is pretty pricey probably due to the digital ignition system.
  • The chain guard housing is made of plastic instead of metal.
  • There seems to be no vibration or noise control built into this saw.

Husqvarna 966048320 460 Rancher Chainsaw – Best Chainsaw for Heavy Duty Timber Cutting $$$$

Heavy duty timber cutting for a sawmill is not something that we all engage in, but when we do, we want a chainsaw like the Husqvarna 460 Rancher. This saw is equipped with plenty of motor, a longer chain bar, easy starting and still comes in at a low weight.

Think of this saw like the athlete of chainsaws. X-Torq Technology is built into its 3.65hp in a 60cc motor to provide plenty of power and torque for operating the chain on its 24” chain bar without getting bogged down when the going gets tough. Its power is contained in a sleek, balanced design of only 12.8 pounds. You won’t have to work too hard to get this saw started as it has a full control choke and spring assisted Air Purge Smart Start technology. Working all day with this saw will be a bit easier given its LowVib Technology and lower noise level as well.

Specs:

  • Fuel: 2-stroke 50:1 mixture
  • Cylinder displacement: 3.66 cu. inches/60 cc
  • Weight: 12.8 lbs./5.81 kg
  • Power output: 3.62 hp
  • Bar length: 24 inches/60.96 cm
  • Equivalent vibration level (ahv, eq): front handle 3.8 m/s², rear handle 6.9 m/s²
  • Noise level: 104 dB

Pros:

  • You will put in less time starting your chainsaw and more time working with the Smart Start technology built into this saw.
  • You get a 60cc X-Torq engine that is plenty adequate for operating a 24” chain in the most challenging situations.
  • It has easy access chain tensioning.
  • The ergonomic handles are low vibration so that you can keep a better grip on the saw.
  • This is a lightweight well-balanced saw for heavy duty work.
  • It includes an adjustable automatic chain oiler.
  • Inertia chain brake, chain catch, and low kickback are all safety features included in this saw.

Cons:

  • The automatic oiler on this unit can be troublesome at times.
  • Over-working and over-heating this motor makes it hard to start.
  • You’re paying a little bit more for this unit than the other Husky’s in this review.

Makita XCU02PT 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Chainsaw – Best Cordless Electric Chainsaw $$$$

In a gas powered chainsaw world, one cordless electric chainsaw stands up among them in the form of the Makita XCU02PT LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Chainsaw. This saw provides lower noise and less vibration, allows you to skip fuel mixing and starting issues and still has enough power to do light duty chainsaw work.

There are more powerful electric saws on the market, but with them, you will have to deal with a power cord; not so with this Makita unit. It is powered by a pair of lithium-ion batteries which provide 36V and 5A power for its 12” blade. To start this saw, you just flip a switch and press down on the trigger. You won’t have to mix fuel, pull a starting cord or worry about noise with this saw, but you will have to take a 45-minute break to allow the batteries to recharge unless you purchase a second pair. This saw will handle light duty chainsaw work in a more environmentally friendly manner than the gas-powered giants in this review.

Specs:

  • Fuel: (2) lithium-ion batteries 18 volts each
  • Cylinder displacement: N/A
  • Weight: 12.3 lbs./5.58 kg
  • Power output: 36V/5A
  • Bar length: 12 inches/30.48 cm
  • Equivalent vibration level (ahv, eq): N/A
  • Noise level: 60.6 dB

Pros:

  • There are no fuel mixing or starting issues with the Makita cordless.
  • Low noise, zero emissions and low vibration are all environmentally friendly features on this saw.
  • It has tool-less chain tensioning.
  • You can adjust the speed on this saw.
  • Battery charging time on this saw is only 45 minutes.
  • This saw is adequately powered for light duty chainsaw work.

Cons:

  • This saw will not tackle heavy-duty tasks.
  • Continuous operation after an hour is only possible if you have a second pair of charged batteries.
  • This saw is a little pricey for what you can really accomplish with it.

LZ Chainsaw LCS1020 Gas Powered Chainsaw – Best Budget Chainsaw $$

If you don’t have a lot of cash to spend on a professional level chainsaw, then the LZ Chainsaw LCS1020 Gas Powered Chainsaw might be the right choice for you. This saw is well-powered, is easy to start, includes low vibration, and is lightweight for medium-duty chainsaw work.

Quick Start technology with a Smart Start Super Air Filter system is what gets this chainsaw going. It includes spring assisted starting as well as a user-friendly choke that reduces the risk of engine flooding. Once fired up, the LCS1020 utilizes a more than adequate 52cc/3.68hp motor to operate the cutting chain on an 18” chain bar. Reduced vibration is also included in the design of both the front and rear handles and its noise level is toward the lower end of the chainsaw spectrum. You will be able to get a lot more done without wearing yourself out because this chainsaw only weighs a little over 12 pounds.

Specs:

  • Fuel: 2-stroke 25:1 mixture
  • Cylinder displacement: 3.17 cu. inches/52 cc
  • Weight: 12.13 lbs./5.5 kg
  • Power output: 2.68 hp
  • Bar length: 18 inches/45 cm
  • Equivalent vibration level (ahv, eq): N/A
  • Noise level: 110 dB

Pros:

  • Easy starting of the LS1020 is accomplished through a combination of spring assistance and a choke with engine flooding control.
  • The horsepower and torque of its 52cc engine are more than adequate for operating an 18” chainsaw.
  • It utilizes automatic chain oiling.
  • Anti-vibration systems help to reduce vibration.
  • It comes with chain catch, low kick back and chain brake safety systems.
  • It is a lightweight saw for medium-duty chainsaw work.
  • You can get this saw at a very budget-friendly price.

Cons:

  • Construction quality is of a lower grade than the other chainsaws in this review.
  • Chain tensioning can be a problem with this saw and has to be monitored constantly.
  • It really should not be pushed to do heavy-duty work.

Husqvarna 455 Rancher Gas-Powered Chain Saw – Most Powerful CARB Compliant Chainsaw $$$$

The Husqvarna 455 Rancher is a powerful choice for doing heavy-duty chainsaw work and it has the added benefit of being California Air Resources Board (CARB) compliant as well. This saw is well-powered, is easy to start, has low vibration and low noise, and is still lightweight and well-balanced to help you survive a long day’s work.

X-Torq Technology is built into its 3.5hp in a 55.5cc motor to provide plenty of power and torque for operating the chain on its 20” chain bar without getting bogged down. This technology is also what controls fuel consumption and lowers emissions making this saw CARB compliant. Its power is contained in a sleek, balanced design of only 12.8 pounds. You won’t have to work too hard to get this saw started as it has a full control choke and spring assisted Smart Start technology. Working all day with this saw will be a bit easier given its LowVib Technology and lower noise level as well.

Specs:

  • Fuel: 2-stroke 50:1 mixture
  • Cylinder displacement: 3.39 cu. inches/55.5 cc
  • Weight: 12.8 lbs./5.81 kg
  • Power output: 3.5 hp
  • Bar length: 20 inches/50.8 cm
  • Equivalent vibration level (ahv, eq): front handle 3.8 m/s², rear handle 6.9 m/s²
  • Noise level: 104 dB

Pros:

  • You will put in less time starting your chainsaw and more time working with the Smart Start technology built into this saw.
  • You get a 60cc X-Torq engine that is plenty adequate for operating a 20” chain in the most challenging situations.
  • The 455 Rancher comes with tool-less chain tensioning.
  • The ergonomic handles are low vibration so that you can keep a better grip on the saw.
  • This is a lightweight well-balanced saw for heavy duty work.
  • It includes an adjustable automatic chain oiler.
  • Inertia chain brake, chain catch, and low kickback are all safety features included in this saw.
  • This saw is CARB compliant due to its emissions and noise level control features.

Cons:

  • The automatic oiler on this unit can be troublesome at times.
  • Overheating this motor is a real possibility if you run the fuel mixture too rich in the carburetor.
  • You’re paying a little bit more for this unit than the 450E Husky.

Best Professional Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide

Our buyer’s guide will try to answer all of the various questions you might have about selecting the best professional chainsaw, including the various features you should look for and the benefits they provide. Here are some of the most common questions and their responses.

What size of chainsaw do I need?

When it comes to determining the size of saw that you need there are two main factors to consider: bar length and overall weight. We’ll take a closer look at each one in order to properly respond to this question.

Bar Length

The general rule when it comes to bar length is that you need to determine the largest diameter of logs, timber or branches you are going to be cutting, and then add about 2” to that length. Over-estimating is a good thing in this case, but keep in mind that saws with a longer bar will require a heavier motor to operate it. The larger the bar length, the more difficult it is to handle the chainsaw and the greater the risk of injury because the chainsaw becomes unbalanced and fatigue becomes a factor as the chainsaw feels heavy over long periods of usage.

Overall Weight

Weight will differ from one chainsaw to another depending upon the materials used in the saw’s construction and the size of motor necessary to power the saw. Essentially, a saw which accommodates a longer bar will be a heavier saw. So, keep this factor in mind when you consider bar length as well.

Will I have to mix fuel?

The vast majority of gas-powered chainsaws will require 2-cycle fuel, which is a mixture of gasoline and special 2-cycle fuel oil. The mixture can vary from one manufacturer to another, so be sure to read the fuel mixture specs that come with your saw. If you choose an electric chainsaw, then you will obviously not have to mix fuel for your saw.

How do find a chainsaw that is easy to start?

Anyone who has ever used a chainsaw much will mention starting as being one of the most critical aspects of owning a saw. A saw that is easier to start is exponentially more valuable than any other saw because using a chainsaw requires a significant number of stops and starts throughout the day. You want to spend your time cutting instead of starting your saw. Here are some of the features to look for in an easy starting saw:

  • Spring Assisted Start. There are several different manufacturers that have an extra spring between the starter cord and the crankshaft, which requires less pulling force in order to get the engine to turn over and start.
  • Choke Control. The worse thing that can happen when choking a chainsaw is to get too much gas in the carburetor. Several brands also include choke control which prevents flooding the carburetor.

Because chainsaws are often difficult to start and sometimes require a little bit more mechanical know-how, many people will choose an electric chainsaw in place of a gas powered saw. However, keep in mind that though they are easier to start, the workload they are able to handle is limited.

How much power does my chainsaw need to have?

Engine power is an important part of the durability and functionality of your saw. If your saw is underpowered it will not perform up to your expectations and using it will be extremely frustrating. Here is a guide for choosing the right size of motor to match up to how heavily you are going to be using your saw:

Gas Powered Saws

Gas powered saws are the most common type and tend to provide the most reasonable amount of efficiency for a wider variety of uses. Here are three classifications of work that gas-powered chainsaws are called upon to perform:

Light Duty. Tasks such as cutting limbs, pruning or taking down trees that are less than 12” in diameter. For this type of work, you will want a 12” to 14” bar length and that will require a motor between 24cc and 34cc.

Medium Duty. To perform medium duty tasks, which include felling larger trees, cutting firewood and cutting hardwood, you will want a bar length between 14” and 18”. To power this size of saw you will want a motor between 34cc and 46cc.

Heavy Duty. This type of work typically includes lumbering trees for a sawmill, clearing larger timber, or clearing hardwood brush. For these types of tasks, saws with bar lengths of over 18” are required and motors to power saws of this size will need to exceed 46cc to have sufficient power.

Electric Saws

Electric saws have a whole different function in the world. They are more apt to be used for light or medium duty tasks similar to the ones described for gas powered chainsaws above. The number that you should be looking for in order to determine how much power an electric saw has is amps. Here is a brief summary of how many amps are required to operate electric saws with various bar lengths:

  • 5 to 7 Amps for 12” bar length
  • 8 to 10 Amps for 14” bar length
  • 12 to 15 Amps for 16” bar length
  • Over 15 Amps for 18” bar length

What sort of chain tensioning system works best?

To operate a chainsaw at the optimum level, you need to keep the chain properly tensioned. This is a task that you are going to do on a regular basis while you are working, so a saw that not only keeps its tension well but has a simple and user-friendly tensioning system will save you a lot of time and frustration. There are two ways to go with tensioning systems:

Tool-less Chain Tensioning. These saws allow you to tension your chain without having to carry any additional tools. In general, on higher-end models, these systems work well, but on lower end models they leave a little something to be desired. If you are buying an inexpensive saw, you want to stay away from this feature.

Tooled Chain Tensioning. This requires a wrench to loosen the nuts on the chain bar and a screwdriver to tighten the tension. Saw that have this type of tensioning generally come with a scrench, which has a screwdriver on one end and a wrench to fit the nuts on the chain bar. This is a little bit more troublesome, but it’s really not overly difficult to do.

Which safety features are included in the design of a professional chainsaw?

Because chainsaws can be pretty dangerous to operate, there are a lot of safety features built into their design. Here is a quick summary of the most common ones:

Chain Brake

Chain brakes provide emergency stopping of the chain almost instantly. These can be either manual or automatic, which is activated by inertia. This is a feature worth paying for regardless of which type of brake the saw has.

Chain Stoppers

Also known as chain catchers, chain stoppers are a metal or plastic guard designed to intercept a derailed or broken chain. The chain should simply hit the chain stopper instead of striking the hand of the operator,” says the ProCutter. These are a required piece of equipment on every chainsaw since 1995.

Low Kickback

The most common cause of chainsaw injuries occurs when a chainsaw kicks back. What occurs with kickback is that the chain stops suddenly and the force which was being applied to cutting the wood gets reversed back into the chain bar and throws the blade away from the wood and toward the operator. A professional chainsaw should have a low kickback chain, a low kickback guide bar or both.

Vibration Reduction

Vibration is something that is pretty hard to get rid of in a chainsaw. Even when properly tensioned and well-lubricated, there is going to be some vibration. Vibration reduction can help to reduce stress from long-term use and allow you to have a more secure grip on the saw. Chainsaw manufacturers tend to reduce vibration in the handles using springs or rubber in the handle mounting to reduce vibration.

Can I get a quieter chainsaw?

According to an NPC Special Report on Chainsaw Noise, the following is generally true of gas and electric chainsaws: “Gas-powered chainsaws measured by NPC ranged from 106 to 117 dBA at the operator’s ear… Electric chainsaws (excluding battery powered ones) ranged from 90 to 102 dBA at the operator’s ear.” The same report discusses the dangers of such high noise over an extended period of time without protection. You can pay attention to dB ratings when purchasing a chainsaw, but be sure to use protection anyway.

Conclusion

Getting work done around the homestead, whether clearing brush, cleaning up after a storm, or cutting timber for the mill, is a whole lot easier when you have a professional grade chainsaw to help you do the work. Our guide has demonstrated what essential features go into the best professional chainsaw. In addition, we have also provided reviews of 8 various models to show you how each saw implements those essential features. The chainsaw which stands out as the best all-around professional chainsaw in our review is the Husqvarna 450E. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • The 450E Husky is easy to start thanks to its choke control and spring assisted starting.
  • Its X-Torq technology in a more than adequately powered engine helps curb fuel consumption and emissions while still providing enough power to run a 20” chainsaw.
  • Low vibration and low noise are also built into this unit.
  • You will spend more time working and less time doing maintenance on this saw.

You may have a different view of which saw is the best saw in our review that we do. Regardless of which saw you choose, you are certainly well-qualified to make a buying decision when it comes to selecting the right saw for the work that’s waiting for you.

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