Choosing the right chainsaw for your needs as a homeowner can definitely be a challenging endeavor. This is especially true if you’ve never purchased a chainsaw before.
It’s our hope that by the end of this article, you will be armed with all of the information you need to know how to choose the best chainsaw for homeowners, even if it’s your very first time buying one. Let’s get right into it.
We have actually written a more comprehensive guide on chainsaws. You can find it by clicking here.
First-time buyer considerations
If you are going to be buying your very first chainsaw, it can be a little overwhelming. There’s so many different brands and makes, engine sizes, bar lengths, price ranges; it’s almost like information overload.
Relax, take a deep breath, and remember that we all started out where you are today.
The very first thing that you must realize when it comes to buying a chainsaw is that you are about to purchase a tool designed to cut through wood, and it has the potential to be incredibly dangerous. It is not a toy and you should always be hyper aware of proper safety precautions when operating one. This includes the use of protective safety gear, which should be worn at all times.
The next thing to consider is whether you have ever used a chainsaw before. There are many people out there who have experience using a chainsaw, but have never purchased one before so they aren’t quite sure what to look for. And then there are just as many people out there who have absolutely no experience using a chainsaw whatsoever.
If you find yourself in the latter camp, we would definitely recommend looking into a chainsaw with a shorter bar length—anywhere between 12 inches and 18 inches should suffice. As a beginner, this will give you the best length that will provide you with a relatively solid ease of use while still being able to effectively cut through most types of wood around your home.
What are your needs as a homeowner
One of the most important things that you must do before settling on a chainsaw to purchase is to figure out exactly what your needs are.
Will you be using your chainsaw for personal projects to work on in your garage? Will you be needing a machine to help you out with yard work, such as clearing brush and taking down dead trees? Or will you be looking to cut your own firewood to use in the fireplace, furnace, or wood stove?
You have to be clear on exactly what your needs are, and how much use you’ll be expecting to get out of the chainsaw. If you’ll be out in the yard using it all summer long, your needs will be different than somebody who only very occasionally uses a chainsaw for personal projects.
What is your budget
When figuring out how much you are prepared to spend on your new chainsaw, there’s once again a few things that you should be keeping in mind.
- What’s the maximum you are willing to spend?
- How low are you willing to go without compromising on quality?
- Have you figured out your needs, as described above? How often are you going to be using the machine?
- Don’t just consider any current projects you have planned; consider any future projects that might come up as well later on down the road
- Do you already own safety gear? Or will that be another separate purchase to consider?
With these things in mind, it will help you determine the price range you should be looking at.
There’s no need to purchase a $1,000 chainsaw as a first-time buyer because you think the price tag automatically makes it the best homeowner chainsaw, especially if you’re only going to be using the machine a few times per year. Often times a chainsaw between $100 and $500 will be more than adequate, depending on your needs.
The 2 most important factors when choosing a chainsaw
There are two main things that you should be considering when choosing a chainsaw to purchase, and they are both identical whether you are using it for commercial or homeowner purposes. They are as follows:
The length of the guide bar
The guide bar is measured from the very tip of the chain up to where it enters the chainsaw housing. The length of the bar will determine how large a piece of wood you are able to cut. Keep in mind, a smaller guide bar is still able to cut larger pieces of wood; it will just require multiple cuts instead of one single one. The general rule of thumb is to go with a guide bar that is about 2 inches longer than the wood you will be using it on (for example, use a 16 inch guide bar to cut through wood that’s 14 inches in diameter).
The size and type of the engine
The two most common types of chainsaws available for purchase are battery-operated and gas-powered types. Battery-operated chainsaws are generally smaller and less powerful than the gas-powered varieties. They also run a fair bit quieter. They are ideal for anyone who only needs a chainsaw for very minor projects. On the other hand, gas-powered chainsaws tend to be quite a bit more powerful and are more suited for cutting through bigger pieces of wood. This power also comes with added weight, so that’s something else you should bear in mind.
Corded Electric chainsaws can be a great option for stationary work like cutting firewood. These machines are also great for construction work.
As you can see, there’s quite a few things that must be taken into consideration if you want to select the best homeowner chainsaw. There’s very rarely a clear cut (no pun intended) winner that is far superior to the other options.
However, for the purposes of the average homeowner, and especially if you are a first-time chainsaw buyer, we would recommend going with a medium to large sized battery-operated electric chainsaw with a guide bar length of 12 inches. It’s perfect for most homeowner needs, whether it’s being used to clear trees around the property or just basic trimming and pruning.