Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Chainsaws of 2022

We tested gas, electric, and battery-powered chainsaws from Ego Power+, Echo, Husqvarna, Stihl, and more to find the best models to match your needs
Best Chainsaws of 2022
Credit: Ross Patton
By Ross Patton ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 21, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

In the market for a chainsaw? Our power tool experts researched dozens of products before buying 10 top models to set head-to-head in a wood-slicing battle royale. Our extensive review process delves into a cutting evaluation, a close examination of special features that separate each model, energy consumption, and how loud they can be. After the experimental portion of our review, we used each chainsaw at a professional tree service wood yard or a raw property needing tree work to subjectively assess each model's feel and performance. Now in our fourth year of updating this category, we know exactly which saws are a cut above the rest.

Want to see a more in-depth review of cordless chainsaws? See also our side-by-side analysis of other types of tools and our exhaustive reviews on a whole swath of devices from top cordless impact driver to some of the best cordless lawnmowers.

Top 10 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 10
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award 
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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76
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Pros Top-notch cutting performance, long-lasting battery, easy chain tensioning system, many other tools that use the same batteriesStupendous cutting performance, automatic stop switch return, quick wind-up, fast refuelingGreat cutting performance, cord stopper, intuitive tensioning system, oil flow is adjustableSolid saw performance, easy to start, great tensioning system, light for this type of sawPhenomenal charge time, long bar, metal bucking spikes
Cons So-so wind-up timeRidiculously loud, expensiveOil tank location is not ideal, cord placement could be better, limitations of corded toolsNoisy, short bar for this type of sawHeavy, noisy
Bottom Line One of the best options if you're looking for bar length, battery life, and tool-free chain tensioningA high-performance gas-powered chainsaw that offers exceptional cutting powerA corded model that quickly slices through wood and has an easy-to-use tensioning systemA smaller high-performance 2-cycle model that requires minimal knowledge of gas-powered machinesThis battery chainsaw has a battery that charges ultra-quick to keep you plugging away at your project
Rating Categories Ego Power+ CS1800 Husqvarna 450R Makita UC4051A Stihl MS 180 C-BE Greenworks Pro 80V
Saw Performance (35%)
9.0
10.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
Ease of Use (30%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Power Performance (25%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
Noise (10%)
6.0
4.0
6.0
4.0
6.0
Specs Ego Power+ CS1800 Husqvarna 450R Makita UC4051A Stihl MS 180 C-BE Greenworks Pro 80V
Model Number CS1800 450R UC4051A 180 C-BE GCS80420
Bar Length 18 inches 20 inches 16 inches 16 inches 18 inches
Power Source Battery Gasoline Corded Electric Gasoline Battery
Measured Weight 12 lbs, 4 oz 14 lbs, 0 oz 12 lbs, 6 oz 11 lbs, 10 oz 15 lbs, 2 oz
Measured Battery Weight 3 lbs, 8 oz n/a n/a n/a 3 lbs, 8 oz
Amps 5 A n/a 15 A n/a 2 A
Motor Size 56V 50cc 2-Cycle 15 Amp 32cc 2-Cycle 80V
Measured Runtime 60 minutes 25 minutes n/a 36 minutes 27 minutes
Measured Run Time Eco Mode n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Recharge/Refuel Time 90 min 1 min n/a 1 min 30 min
Measured Average Cutting Time 5.9 seconds 4.8 seconds 5.7 seconds 7.7 seconds 5.3 seconds
Measured Wind Up Time 1.25 seconds Instant 0.5 seconds 0.5 seconds 1.15 seconds
Measured Decibel Reading at 48in 88.8 dBa 106.5 dBa 94.1 dBa 103.4 dBa 86.8 dBa
Control Type Side safety w/ chain brake Thumb safety w/ chain brake Side safety w/ chain brake Thumb safety w/ chain brake Electronic button, side safety, and brake
Chain Replacement and Tensioning Type Tool Free Included Tool Tool free Tool free Tool free
Metal Bucking Spikes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Oil Conservation 8 8 9 8 6
Bar & Chain Tank Location and Type Side, Screen Side Top Side Top
Measured Body Dimesions 16 x 9 x 8 inches 16 x 9.5 x 7 inches 19 x 6 x 6 inches 14 x 8 x 7.5 inches 14 x 9 x 7.5 inches


Best Battery-Powered Chainsaw


Ego Power+ CS1800


82
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Saw Performance 9.0
  • Ease of Use 8.0
  • Power Performance 8.0
  • Noise 6.0
Body Dimensions: 16" x 9" x 8" | ​​Weight: 12 lbs, 4 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Top-tier sawing power
Lengthy bar
Innovative light
Tool-free tuning
Phenomenal runtime
REASONS TO AVOID
Sluggish acceleration

The Ego Power+ CS1800 has several attractive features, including an easy-to-use tensioning system for the chain, and LED lights that activate when the throttle trigger is pulled to illuminate the area you are cutting in dim light situations. With an 18-inch bar, this battery chainsaw can handle jobs that many electric saws cannot. During our woodcutting time trials, the CS1800 was one of the fastest battery-powered models, but where this saw truly impressed the team was its battery life — the EGO Power+ 56V 5Ah battery lasts longer than any other that we've seen.

Our main gripe with the CS 1800 is its wind-up time. When you fully pull the throttle trigger, this motor takes substantially longer to climb to full RPMs than several other models in our review. Although it may not be considered a flaw for many, this saw is long and relatively heavy compared to the compact models and could be overkill for certain people. Despite our short list of drawbacks, we still think this model is the way to go if you're shopping for a high-performance battery-powered chainsaw.

Read review: Ego Power+ CS1800

best battery-powered chainsaw
The Ego Power+ was our favorite model of the bunch.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Best Gas-Powered Chainsaw


Husqvarna 450R


80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Saw Performance 10.0
  • Ease of Use 7.0
  • Power Performance 8.0
  • Noise 4.0
Body Dimensions: 16" x 9.5" x 7" | Weight: 14 lbs, 0 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Phenomenal saw performance
No wind-up time
Automatic kill switch return
REASONS TO AVOID
Incredibly loud
Pricey
Heavy

For those that are in the market for a gas-powered model, we recommend the Husqvarna 450R. With a 20-inch bar and a 50 cubic centimeter 2-cycle motor, this thing truly tears through logs and branches with ease. With a properly tuned motor, the second you squeeze the trigger, the chain is spinning at full speed. The kill switch on this model needs to be held down until the motor stops and will automatically return to the "run" position once released. This means that if you ever bump it while moving or cutting, the engine will not die which could potentially cause a dangerous situation. It also means that when you go to restart the saw for your next set of cuts you don't need to reset the switch.

The biggest issue we had with this chainsaw was the amount of noise it emitted. If you're worried about upsetting your neighbors with a headache-inducing loudness, it may make more sense to consider an electric model. At 14 pounds without fluids, this model is on the heavier end of chainsaws that we've tested. Also, the Husqvarna 450R is far from the cheapest model in our review. This saw is for the person that has some larger projects and knows that they'll need this much power in the future. If you have a few small trees to prune or remove in your backyard, it might make sense to go with a smaller, lighter, more budget-friendly model. Despite our very short list of drawbacks, we still think this saw is the way to go for those who demand top-tier performance from a gas-powered model.

Read review: Husqvarna 450R

best gas-powered chainsaw
The Husqvarna 450R is the way to go if you're in the market for a top-tier gas-powered chainsaw.
Credit: Ross Patton

Best Corded Electric Chainsaw


Makita UC4051A


77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Saw Performance 9.0
  • Ease of Use 8.0
  • Power Performance 6.0
  • Noise 6.0
Body Dimensions: 19" x 6" x 6" | Weight: 12 lbs, 6 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Cuts very well
Innovative cord stopper
Tool-free chain tensioner works very well
Adjustable oil flow
REASONS TO AVOID
Oil tank cap is in an awkward place
Cord location is not ideal

The Makita UC4051A is our top model for people that don't mind using an extension cord. Not only did this model do a better job of cutting than any other corded version in our review, but it also tied the top battery-powered model and some of the best gas-powered models during our lumber cutting evaluation. Our team loved the clever system for helping to prevent the power cord from being disconnected while in use which could be both annoying and dangerous. When it comes to tool-free chain tensioning systems, the Makita is our favorite. The combination of a fold-out lever that tightens the bar and a wheel that adjusts the chain tension is very intuitive to use. This model also has an adjustable flow for the bar & chain oil pump. This is a very helpful feature as the viscosity of oil can change with air temperatures and from brand to brand.

We didn't find any glaring flaws with the Makita UC4051A, but we did notice that the cord is located near the top of the rear handle. Ideally, the power cord meets the saw body at the bottom, so that it is further away from your hand while making cuts. We also noticed that the oil tank cap is in a spot that's really close to the chain brake, making it a bit difficult to access and top off. Aside from these two minor design flaws, this chainsaw is the way to go if you're shopping for a corded electric model.

Read review: Makita UC4051A

best corded electric chainsaw
The Makita UC4051A cuts fantastically and is super easy to use.
Credit: Ross Patton

Best Bang for the Buck


Husqvarna 120i


66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Saw Performance 6.0
  • Ease of Use 6.0
  • Power Performance 8.0
  • Noise 7.0
Body Dimensions: 19" x 7" x 7" | Weight: 10 lbs, 11 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Budget-friendly
Fantastic runtime
Variable power settings
Lightweight
REASONS TO AVOID
Redundant safety features
Tensioning learning curve
So-so cut speeds

For many people, there is no reason to invest in a top-tier high-performance chainsaw. The Husqvarna 120i is capable of making relatively quick cuts, especially when it comes to smaller branches and logs. It has two power settings — normal mode and "savE" mode. While using the eco-friendly mode, the electric Husky reduces its power consumption which makes the battery last even longer than while using its already impressively long-lasting standard mode. With a 14-inch bar and a total weight of only 10 pounds, 11 ounces, the 120i is much lighter and more compact than many of the top-scoring models in our review. Best of all, it's remarkably affordable considering its overall performance.

The compromise for the smaller price tag is slightly lower performance than the best chainsaws on the market. If you're looking for a saw that will cut as quickly as possible, you're going to have to spend more than this model costs. The tool-free chain tensioning system on the 120i works fairly well, but it took us a little bit longer to attain the perfect tightness with this model than with some of the other manufacturer's similar dials. It's understandable that Husqvarna needed to include a button to change modes, but we aren't fans of on/off switches on battery-powered chainsaws. There is already a chain brake and a side safety button that need to be disengaged before the throttle will function, so the additional button is an unnecessary feature. Small gripes aside, we highly recommend this model to those who are shopping for a high-performance model on a budget.

Read review: Husqvarna 120i

chainsaw - best bang for the buck
The Husqvarna 120i does a decent job, especially when compared to its price.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Best for Quick Battery Charging


Greenworks Pro 80V


76
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Saw Performance 9.0
  • Ease of Use 6.0
  • Power Performance 8.0
  • Noise 6.0
Body Dimensions: 14" x 9" x 7.5" | Weight: 15 lbs, 2 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Ultra-fast battery charging
18-inch bar length
Strong cutting action
Steel felling spikes
REASONS TO AVOID
Cumbersome
So-so runtime
Goes through a lot of oil

If your main concern with switching from a gas-powered or a corded electric model to a battery-powered model is how long batteries take to charge, check out the Greenworks Pro 80V. During our battery charging assessment, this model's massive 80-volt battery charged in a mere 27 minutes, allowing you to get right back to your project after a quick snack break. The 18-inch bar coupled with the high-voltage battery makes for some super quick cuts — this is one of the fastest models that we've tested. The Pro 80V has several features that aid in user-friendliness, including metal bucking spikes and an upright-oriented bar & chain oil tank that is very easy to fill.

We have found that high-performance can correlate to greater size and weight more often than not, which is exactly the case with the Greenworks Pro 80V. High-voltage batteries are heavy, and long bars add weight, so be prepared for an arm workout when you use this model. Although this model has a quick charge time, we found that it runs out of juice quite a bit faster than the longest-lasting battery-powered models. When we examined how much bar & chain oil this model goes through, we noticed that it uses it up at a faster rate than models with similar bar lengths and cut times. Even with a few small flaws, this is the best model if you're looking for a high-performance cordless electric model and you want to spend as little time waiting for it to recharge as possible.

Read review: Greenworks Pro 80V

chainsaw - best for quick battery charging
This model made quick work of large pine logs at the job site.
Credit: Jason Peters

Best 20V Model


Worx WG322


61
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Saw Performance 6.0
  • Ease of Use 7.0
  • Power Performance 4.0
  • Noise 9.0
Body Dimensions: 13" x 8" x 7.5" | Weight: 6 lbs, 10 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Tiny
Low noise level
Lightweight
Affordable
REASONS TO AVOID
Battery dies quickly
Unimpressive cutting power
Lacking features

Some people may just be looking for something that is quicker and easier than a handsaw for occasional small jobs. If this sounds like you, check out the Worx WG322. First and foremost, this model is beyond budget-friendly when compared to most of the other models in our review. It's also ultra-light. Anybody that's spent a substantial amount of time wielding a chainsaw knows that the twisting and lifting of such an awkward object can do quite the number on your back — with the WG322, this is not the case. Chainsaws are generally absurdly loud, but this model emits a very bearable amount of noise compared to nearly every other saw that we've tested.

The trade-off for the lighter weight, shorter bar, and affordability is a substantial lack of overall performance when compared to the top-tier models. A 20-volt battery simply cannot match the power offered by 80-volt batteries, 15-amp corded models, or 2-cycle engines. Although the Worx WG322 did complete our cutting tests, it was slower than molasses to actually get it done. Not only does the battery lack power output, but it also doesn't last long at all. Finally, this model lacks some key features that make a huge difference in safety and performance, such as metal bucking spikes and a centrifugal chain brake. Despite its shortcomings, this model is still the way to go for the smallest jobs, especially if you're shopping on a tight budget.

Read review: Worx WG322

chainsaw - the worx wg322 is the way to go when it comes to small bar 20v...
The Worx WG322 is the way to go when it comes to small bar 20V versions.
Credit: Laura Casner

Compare Products

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Score Product Price Our Take
82
$369
Editors' Choice Award
If you want an easy-to-use cordless electric chainsaw with a long-lasting battery and a long bar this is the one
80
$430
Editors' Choice Award
The way to go if you're looking for top-notch power out of a gas-powered chainsaw
77
$239
Editors' Choice Award
With a slick tensioning system and fast cutting performance, this corded model is a great option
76
$260
A gas-powered model that is light, starts effortlessly, and cuts very well
76
$400
Top Pick Award
If you want a saw with a battery that charges in a matter of minutes, then this is the one
73
$575
Top Pick Award
The battery for this saw works for a long list of other tools made by the same brand, has terrific cutting power, and winds-up in an instant
66
$120
This saw offers good cutting performance and a few nice features but falls short of the best models
66
$290
Best Buy Award
For a reasonable price, this model performs well although it does not quite contend with the top-ranked models
61
$130
Top Pick Award
If you're in the market for a 20 volt model, this saw does the trick for quick and small jobs
60
$215
An overpriced gasoline saw that doesn't run well and is lacking key elements

the husqvarna 450r slices through smaller diameter logs in a couple...
The Husqvarna 450R slices through smaller diameter logs in a couple of seconds.
Credit: Ross Patton

Why You Should Trust Us


To begin our review process, we carefully studied each model for features and functions that might set them apart from the others. We weighed and measured each chainsaw to double-check the accuracy of the manufacturer's technical specification data from their websites. We measured noise levels and considered the various power sources along with their strengths and weaknesses for the different types of saws. Most importantly, we conducted a side-by-side cutting evaluation where we ran time trials with a specific size and type of wood.

We broke our review down into four rating metrics:
--Saw Performance (35% of overall score weighting)
--Ease of Use (30% weighting)
--Power Performance (25% weighting)

--Noise (10% weighting).

To tackle this review, we used our resident chainsaw aficionado Ross Patton. With a father who has cut dozens of ski runs all over the West, Ross grew up around chainsaws. While he was attending the University of Nevada, Reno, where he completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science, Ross spent his summers working for the largest tree service in Northern Nevada. He has used all types and sizes of chainsaws ranging from battery-powered top-handle climbing models to behemoth 2-cycle monsters with bars up to 60 inches in length. Between his science-based education and his professional experience, you can bet that Ross has put together a comparative analysis that you can trust.

we spent weeks conducting side-by-side tests for these products.
We spent weeks conducting side-by-side tests for these products.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Analysis and Test Results


For each metric, we analyzed the saws head-to-head to see which models are the best for certain applications. If you are unfamiliar with the various types of consumer chainsaws available today, we recommend taking a few minutes to read our article on how to choose the right chainsaw.


Value


The most critical thing to consider when shopping for a chainsaw is the type and intensity of the job or project that you will be performing with your new tool. The cost of these devices can range from a very modest investment to thousands of dollars for professional versions. If all you're planning on doing with your saw is some light backyard pruning or harvesting a Christmas tree, there's really no reason to spend a bunch of extra money on more power and a longer bar. On the other hand, if you've got a big project to get done or you plan on cutting several cords of firewood each fall for years to come, you may find that it will save you time and money to invest in a top-tier model right from the get-go.

chainsaw - make sure you aren&#039;t purchasing too much or not enough saw for the...
Make sure you aren't purchasing too much or not enough saw for the project.
Credit: Michelle Powell

There are three main types of chainsaws — corded electric, battery-powered, and gas-powered. Each power delivery type can have added associated costs. For gas-powered models — remember that you will need a gas can dedicated to mixing 2-cycle fuel and don't forget the cost of gasoline. Corded electric models require a large-gauge extension cord. These cords are not cheap, and the longer the cord the more expensive they are. The lithium-ion batteries that the cordless models use can get very expensive and aren't always included with the purchase so double-check what's included with the package before you click that "buy" button. Also, if you have a brand of power tool that you're loyal to, you may already have the battery and charger that you need from a tool that you already own which can save you some serious cash at check-out.

chainsaw - the size and type of battery can make a large difference in this...
The size and type of battery can make a large difference in this price for cordless electric models.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Makita UC4051A is a model that requires an extension cord but cuts on par with saws that cost a whole lot more. If you're looking for a gas-powered model with ridiculous cutting power and a longer bar than is offered by the electric models, the Husqvarna 450R is the way to go — but it's going to put a larger dent in your checking account than many electric versions. If you know you want a battery-powered model and you require tons of power and a longer bar we recommend the Ego Power+ CS1800 for extended runtime or the Greenworks Pro 80V for an ultra-short charge time. The battery-powered 14-inch Husqvarna 120i scored a bit lower than these two models, but costs substantially less. If all you really need is a tool that is much easier to use than a human-powered handsaw, you may find that the very budget-friendly Worx WG322 is the way to go.

chainsaw - the husqvarna offers tremendous value, yet still holds its own with...
The Husqvarna offers tremendous value, yet still holds its own with the best.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Saw Performance


The first 35% of our total score is dedicated to how well the chainsaws perform at cutting wood compared to one another. To gather objective data, we timed how long each model took to slice through a stack of Douglas fir 4x4s. After timing five cuts for each saw, we calculated an average while omitting any outliers. While we were timing cuts, we also timed how long it took each model to go from fully stopped to maximum RPMs. We refer to this stat as "wind-up time." Following the time trials, we used every chainsaw in a commercial wood yard or on private property in need of a lot of tree work for a variety of tasks from bucking firewood to limbing branches to felling dead trees. During this period we subjectively judged the performance of each model.


The champion of this evaluation was the Husqvarna 450R. This model was the only saw in our review to break below the five-second barrier in our controlled test with an average cut time of 4.8 seconds. The wind-up time for the Husky is also practically non-existent. Once the engine is warmed up, when you squeeze the throttle the chain is spinning at full RPMs in an instant.

chainsaw - the husqvarna 450r cuts faster than any other model that we&#039;ve tested.
The Husqvarna 450R cuts faster than any other model that we've tested.
Credit: Ross Patton

When we used this model on larger logs and dropping trees, the 20-inch bar and powerful engine made quick and easy work of what would be a daunting task with a smaller machine.

chainsaw - the 20-inch bar on the husqvarna 450r is more than long enough to...
The 20-inch bar on the Husqvarna 450R is more than long enough to drop medium-sized trees.
Credit: Ross Patton

Scoring just behind the 450R are the EGO Power+ CS1800, the Makita UC4051A 9s, and the Greenworks Pro 80V. The 18-inch EGO showed an average cut time of 5.9 seconds with a wind-up time of 1.25 seconds. The Greenworks was slightly quicker to wind up at 1.15 seconds and slightly faster to cut with an average time of 5.3 seconds. The corded electric Makita reached full RPMs in only half of a second and put up an average cut time of 5.7 seconds.

chainsaw - the corded makita uc4051a was on par with the best battery-powered...
The corded Makita UC4051A was on par with the best battery-powered models for this experiment.
Credit: Ross Patton

Another 2-cycle model, the Stihl MS 180 C-BE had an average cut time of 7.7 seconds and a wind-up time of 0.5 seconds. The corded electric Worx WG303.1 winds up in 1 second and showed an average cut time of 7.4 seconds.

chainsaw - the stihl ms 180 c-be is perfectly fine for smaller rounds but can&#039;t...
The Stihl MS 180 C-BE is perfectly fine for smaller rounds but can't handle larger logs.
Credit: Ross Patton

The cordless 20-volt Worx WG322 had a pretty rough time during this assessment — it took this model an average of 38.4 seconds to make cuts. This saw takes 2 seconds to wind up to full speed, however, it did eventually get the job done.

chainsaw - the worx wg322 was once of the slowest in our controlled tests but...
The Worx WG322 was once of the slowest in our controlled tests but performs fantastically for many smaller homeowner projects.
Credit: Ross Patton

Ease of Use


The next 30% of the overall cumulative score is dedicated to features, settings, and elements that aid in the user-friendliness of these devices. Whether you are using a corded electric, battery-powered, or gas-powered saw, they all have certain traits and features that they share. They all have a bar, a chain, and some sort of tensioning system. Each chainsaw has a bar & chain oil tank. They all have a throttle trigger and some sort of additional safety button or lever. The electric models either have a battery compartment or a plug for an extension cord for the corded versions. Gas-powered chainsaws have a choke, a pull cord, and a gas tank in addition to the oil tank. Sometimes 2-cycle models have a primer bubble and some have spring-assisted pull cords that make starting the machine easier.

Bar oil is critical for the operation of a chainsaw. Without oil, there is nothing to reduce the friction created by the chain spinning on the bar which can lead to tremendous damage to the machine.


Battery-Powered


Our favorite cordless electric model for this metric is the EGO Power+ CS1800. This chainsaw is incredibly easy to turn on. All you have to do is disengage the chain brake, press the thumb safety, and pull the trigger. Sometimes battery-powered saws have an additional on/off button that is totally redundant with these other three elements that all need to be in the proper position before the chain will spin. This model also includes metal bucking spikes and an LED light for illuminating your work area.

chainsaw - the led light and metal bucking spikes on the cs1800 add to its...
The LED light and metal bucking spikes on the CS1800 add to its overall ease of use.
Credit: Ross Patton

Bucking spikes, sometimes also referred to as "dogs," are sharp points on one or both sides of the chain that aid in leverage when making a cut.

The chain-tensioning system on the CS1800 is very simple to use. Spinning the wheel in one direction tightens the chain, then spinning it the opposite way locks the bar to the saw body. This model has the battery compartment located on the underside of the device which is a bit more difficult to use than models with the compartment on the top.

chainsaw - we found the ego power+ tensioning system to be one of the best...
We found the EGO Power+ tensioning system to be one of the best tool-free versions out there.

Scoring just behind the CS1800 for battery-powered models for the ease of use metric is the Worx WG322. This saw has a similar tool-free tensioning system to the CS1800, and we love that the oil tank on this model has a cap that is located on the top of the saw, making it really easy to top off without spilling a drop.

chainsaw - the worx wg322 bar &amp; chain tensioning system is a cinch to use.
The Worx WG322 bar & chain tensioning system is a cinch to use.
Credit: Ross Patton

Gas-Powered


For gas-powered models, we found that the Stihl MS 180 C-BE is the easiest to use. It has metal bucking spikes, a thumb safety on the grip, and a tool-free chain tensioning system that is a no-brainer to operate. Where this model has a bit of an advantage against the other gas-powered models in our review is that it employs Stihl's trademark Easy2Start system. Through some clever engineering, they've discovered how to be able to gently pull the start cord and then have it release all of the energy into an automatic quick crank when the cord is near the end of the line.

The Stihl MS 180 C-BE has a thumb safety lever that ensures the...
The Stihl MS 180 C-BE has a thumb safety lever that ensures the throttle can't be squeezed unless you're properly holding the handle.
The chain tensioning system on this model is basically...
The chain tensioning system on this model is basically self-explanatory.
Metal bucking spikes are always a plus.
Metal bucking spikes are always a plus.

To tension or change the chain on the Husqvarna 450R, you use an included screwdriver/wrench tool that's commonly referred to as a "scrench." Many lumberjacks prefer a scrench to a tool-free system because there are fewer parts to break and they leave less room for error. It may take an extra minute or two to learn and operate this system, but we've found that under heavy-duty use, saws that use a scrench tend to loosen less often than tool-free systems and may save time in the long run. The reason that the 450R scored behind the Stihl MS 180 C-BE for this metric is that the Husky's cord is a bit harder to pull.

many chainsaws come with an included tools for tightening or...
Many chainsaws come with an included tools for tightening or changing the chain and making micro-adjustments.
Credit: Ross Patton

One very smart feature on the Husqvarna 450R is the automatic kill switch return. To stop the motor, you have to hold the switch down for a second or two, and it is spring-loaded to return to the run position. This serves two purposes — you don't have to worry about resetting the switch when it's time to start the saw again, and if you ever accidentally bump it while making a cut the engine won't die unexpectedly.

the stop lever on the husqvarna 450r automatically returns to the...
The stop lever on the Husqvarna 450R automatically returns to the run position.
Credit: Ross Patton

Corded Electric


Our top-scoring model for this sub-category of chainsaw is the Makita UC4051A. There are no electronic buttons to push, no cords to pull, no chokes to set — just a side safety and the throttle. The only reason why this saw isn't the highest-scoring model for this section is that our team found the oil tank cap to be in a slightly awkward location making it more difficult to fill than most other models.

the only thing you have to do to get the makita uc4051a started is...
The only thing you have to do to get the Makita UC4051A started is put your thumb on the safety and squeeze the throttle.
Credit: Ross Patton

Power Performance


For the next 25% of our overall score, we discuss the key differences between the various saw power sources and which models stand out for each sub-category. Whether you're using a battery-powered, gas-powered, or corded electric saw, they all come with strings attached.


Gas-powered models require a gas can, fuel, and 50:1 two-cycle oil that needs to be mixed to the correct ratio for the engine to run properly. Cordless versions have heavy and often expensive batteries that need to be charged, and corded chainsaws require an extension cord with a power source that is close by. It is imperative to consider the location of your project and the proximity to either a power outlet or a generator for the battery-powered and corded models, or a gas station for the 2-cycle saws. For a more in-depth discussion of the differences between the three types of chainsaws, read through our article on choosing the right chainsaw for you.

the type of chainsaw you purchase will depend on your individual...
The type of chainsaw you purchase will depend on your individual needs.
Credit: Ross Patton

Battery-Powered


Cordless electric chainsaws are essentially in their infancy compared to 2-cycle and even corded electric models. With the advancements in lithium-ion battery technology in the last decade or so, these batteries aren't just holding their own against corded and gasoline models — in many ways, they are outperforming them.

battery-powered models are a fantastic alternative to gas-powered...
Battery-powered models are a fantastic alternative to gas-powered versions for many people.
Credit: Ross Patton

With a similar size and weight to smaller gas-powered models, several of the batteries in our review outlast a tank of gas. For many smaller projects, a fully-charged battery can often be more juice than you need, and without the priming, pulling, and fumes associated with a 2-stroke model.


To test runtime, we used metal straps to attach each saw to a wooden table or, in some cases, a stump at the job site. We then started the saws and used utility clips to hold the throttles wide open under no-load until they were totally out of power. We monitored the bar & chain oil levels and gave the saws a break every so often to top the oil tanks off and give the motors a break. Once the batteries were toasted, we timed how long it took each one to charge back to 100%.

to measure runtime we secured the saws to a workbench and held the...
To measure runtime we secured the saws to a workbench and held the triggers with utility clips.
Credit: Michelle Powell

There were two battery-powered saws that stood out in this evaluation. The EGO Power+ CS1800 has a runtime of 60 minutes, and the Husqvarna 120i has a runtime of 40 minutes. When the 120i is set to "Eco Mode" its runtime jumps up to 54 minutes. Neither of these models has very impressive charge times. The CS1800 takes 90 minutes to recharge and the 120i takes 2 hours.

the 120i battery lasts a considerably long time, but it takes two...
The 120i battery lasts a considerably long time, but it takes two hours to recharge.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Greenworks Pro 80V has a so-so runtime of 27 minutes, but where this model shines is its charge time. The Greenworks quick charger is able to fully recharge this massive 80-volt battery in only 30 minutes, meaning that you'll spend less time waiting on your battery and more time slicing and dicing.

although this battery is massive, it charges in 30 minutes.
Although this battery is massive, it charges in 30 minutes.
Credit: Jason Peters

Gas-Powered


The most widely-used and popular chainsaws are 2-cycle models. With the freedom from an electric power source, they are the hands-down favorite for loggers and commercial tree services. As long as they're properly tuned and maintained, they only take a few pulls to start. To make evaluations for this metric, we timed how long each model ran at full throttle with a full tank of gas under no load while stopping every ten minutes to give the motor a short time to cool down and double-check bar & chain oil levels.

we used metal straps to anchor the saws and then a large utility...
We used metal straps to anchor the saws and then a large utility clip to hold the throttles wide open to measure runtime. Do not try this at home.
Credit: Ross Patton

When it comes to runtime, the gas-powered models finish right about in the middle of the pack of the battery-powered versions. With its smaller engine and shorter bar, the 32cc Stihl MS 180 C-BE ran for 36 minutes. As one might predict, the 50cc Husqvarna 450R with the longer bar ran out of fuel a bit faster with a runtime of 25 minutes.

2-cycle models have traditionally been the most ubiquitous type of...
2-cycle models have traditionally been the most ubiquitous type of chainsaw.
Credit: Ross Patton

Where the 2-cycle models make up for their less than impressive runtimes is their time to refuel. Mixing a gallon of gas takes a minute or two, which lasts for several chainsaw top-offs. As long as your gas can is mixed and nearby, this type of chainsaw takes under a minute to refuel and get back to cutting. Considering that battery charge times can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours, gas-powered is most certainly the way to go for those that want to get their projects done as quickly as possible.


Corded Electric


This type of chainsaw is largely regarded as the least popular type among professionals but may be the perfect choice for a certain type of DIYer. They don't quite have an unlimited runtime because you have to stop every so often to check and top off the bar & chain oil. Also, models such as the Makita UC4051A are equipped with mechanisms that stop the saw when it is overheating or overloading which requires a cool-down period.

the various chainsaw power sources all have their strengths and...
The various chainsaw power sources all have their strengths and weaknesses.
Credit: Ross Patton

The huge limiting factor that our team found for this type of chainsaw is the cord. The cord needs to be a certain gauge and long enough to get to your workspace, not to mention these types of cords can get expensive. Even with the proper cord, it needs to go into an outlet with a strong amperage that is protected by a GFCI. Drawbacks aside, if you already own the power cord and you know you're going to be working close enough to an outlet, it is nice to be free from huffing 2-stroke fumes or waiting for batteries to charge. However, considering that the vast majority of chainsaw projects take place a lot further than 100 feet from an outlet, we docked points from corded models for the Power Performance section of the review.

even with a 100-foot extension cord, the corded electric models...
Even with a 100-foot extension cord, the corded electric models couldn't quite reach to certain parts of our test site.
Credit: Ross Patton

Noise


For the remaining 10% of our total score, we measured the amount of noise each chainsaw emits with a sound pressure level meter from a distance of 48 inches away while the machines were at full throttle. We also used a panel of judges from a distance of 50 feet to let us know if any of the saws were especially annoying or gave off an offensive pitch — a survey designed to see how much these tools might bother your family, roommates, or neighbors.


The only chainsaw that we would consider to be even remotely bearable is the Worx WG322. With a top reading of 80 decibels and no reports of additional terrible sounds, this model is definitely the way to go if you're concerned about keeping things quiet. At 85.9 decibels, the Husqvarna 120i isn't atrocious to be around, but definitely get some good earplugs to use while operating this model.


The Greenworks Pro 80V and Ego Power+ CS1800 are a bit more likely to cause some headaches with decibel readings in the upper 80s. The corded electric Makita UC4051A is whiny, annoying, and loud at 94.1 decibels. Finishing dead last in our noise assessment was the Husqvarna 450R. With its 50cc 2-cycle engine, this model produced 106.5 decibels and has a pitch that could annoy every neighbor on the block.

we used a sound meter to take decibel readings for each saw at a...
We used a sound meter to take decibel readings for each saw at a given distance.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


Here at GearLab, we take a lot of pride in the fact that we purchase every product that we test at full price and from the same retailers as our readers. Our aim is to leave the bias at home and let the testing data speak for itself. Since diving into power tools four years ago, the chainsaw category has become one of our favorites. It is our hope that having read this article, you will be able to purchase the perfect model for your individual needs and budget.

Ross Patton


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