Garden & Lawn

Top 5 Best petrol chainsaws for tree felling, making firewood and general garden maintenance

Last updated on May 6th, 2022

Our site is reader supported, this means we may earn a small commission from Amazon and other affiliates when you buy through links on our site.

It’s the time in your life to buy a petrol chainsaw – and you’re excited. Maybe you’ve decided that the old trees in the corner of your garden really need to go. Maybe you just want a decent chainsaw for logging, this is actually what I mainly use my chainsaw for these days. You’re now ready to invest in the ultimate chainsaw, the truth is, if you want power and speed, a petrol chainsaw is what you want.

Petrol chainsaw vs cordless electric chainsaws
Petrol chainsaw vs cordless electric chainsaw – both my chainsaws

Perhaps you’ve already checked out my electric and cordless chainsaws reviews and decided that they’re just not right for your job. I do love my Ryobi Brushless Chainsaw for lighter jobs though and you can click the link below to see my detailed review of that there.

BEST PICK

My Husqvarna 236 14" Petrol Chainsaw, a reliable and affordable chainsaw, easy to use and cuts very well
Husqvarna 236 14 inch Petrol Chainsaw
The Husqvarna 236 14 inch Petrol Chainsaw carries the name of a highly reputable company and this chainsaw is an excellent choice for the serious gardener with trees to prune or logs to turn into firewood which is what I mainly use it for these days. This is the model I usually use myself and I have a few to choose from including my Stihl chainsaw. Its powered by a 38cc engine that powers a 14 inch guide bar and can handle all the tree surgeon-type tasks you ask of it. The all important chain brake gives you the reassurance that the chainsaw will stop immediately if something untoward happens. This chainsaw is perfect for the occasional chainsaw user looking for a reliable petrol chainsaw and its great for those larger logs many models struggle with because they either have a smaller chainbar, say 30cm or simply don't have the power, a common complaint with chainsaws. As you can see this model of mine is well used and so its certainly very reliable. Overall, this is what I will be buying again should the need come which is why I highly recommend it.

A new replacement model – This model is almost identical to the Husqvarna 236 and is an updated version!

RUNNER UP

P1PE P6220C 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw
The P1PE P6220C 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw can handle the hardier tree felling you may have to do in your garden. The long 50cm guide bar is driven by a powerful 62cc air-cooled engine to tackle the oldest of trees and the most gnarly of bushes. The automatic chain lubrication system ensures that just the right amount of oil gets onto the chain for the most efficient cutting experience. And the included carry bar and bar cover protect the chainsaw from dirt and debris in your garage or shed, and especially the chain from being blunted. Overall this is one of the best budget-friendly models worth considering.

My review of the Best Petrol Chainsaws covers what these chainsaws are designed to do. It explains the factors to consider in your choice and then gives details of the features, both positive and negative, of each of my top petrol chainsaws.

I select my Best Pick, the one that I recommend most highly, and the Runner-up, which is not always the second-place selection but may fill a different niche, for example, it is budget-friendly, for occasional use etc. My review ends with a FAQ section of the most commonly asked questions about petrol chainsaws.

Husqvarna 236 14" Petrol Chainsaw during testing
The Husqvarna 236 14″ Petrol Chainsaw – My Best Pick

My Best Pick for the best petrol chainsaw has to be the Husqvarna 236 14″ Petrol Chainsaw. This is an amazing piece of kit and it’s what I would consider affordable for a decent reliable machine. This leaves cordless and most other cheaper petrol chainsaws in its dust. I prefer to use this model over the Stihl chainsaw I also have, and that says a lot. You can also see I’ve had a lot of use out of this chainsaw and it’s provided me with many years of service.

The P1PE P6220C 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw is my Runner-up selection out of the petrol chainsaws we have reviewed. It’s an excellent option for home users and has a more affordable price tag. I would (personally) always go down the Husqvarna route but this model is actually made by Hyundai and they make some pretty decent and affordable machines.

Whatever petrol chainsaw you select, please don’t neglect safety considerations, especially safety clothing. My reviews of the best chainsaw safety helmets, chainsaw boots and chainsaw trousers will help keep you safe when undertaking your chainsaw DIY projects.


Top 5 Petrol Chainsaw Reviews

1. Husqvarna 236 14″ Petrol Chainsaw

BEST PICK

Buy on Amazon.co.uk – The 236 model that we have reviewed below

Buy on Amazon.co.uk – The new 120 model that replaces the 236 model

Husqvarna 236 Petrol Chainsaw is my favourite petrol chainsaw, prefer it over my Stihl chainsaw

If you’ve looked at your larger shrubs and small trees and decided that they need tidying up or have logs that need logging to turn them into firewood, the Husqvarna 236 14″ Petrol Chainsaw is the model I would choose and in fact, I do use this model myself. I currently have this model, a Stihl and a Ryobi chainsaw. Generally, out of them all, this is the one I always find myself going back to.

Part of the much-loved dynasty of power tools from Husqvarna, this petrol chainsaw is designed for everyday domestic use and is a perfect choice for the home user and professionals undertaking lighter work. That’s what myself and my work colleagues have used it for, the semi-professional work of cutting logs for firewood, which we sold in our nursery until the recent regulations came in restricting the sale of unseasoned firewood.

I now mainly use this chainsaw to cut my own personal firewood before I split it with my Forest master log splitter. I have also written a review of this here.

Husqvarna 236 Petrol Chainsaw makes light work of large logs

Anyway back to this chainsaw, it’s powered by a 38cc 2 stroke petrol engine that has Husqvarna’s unique X-Torque technology. This improves its fuel economy, they say by 20%, which is good for your petrol budget and maybe more importantly, for the environment. I’m not sure how much it actually saves in the real world, however, I can say it seems reasonable and not too thirsty on fuel.

The X-Torque technology is also supposed to cut the exhaust emissions by 75%, reducing the chainsaw’s footprint on the earth, obviously, I have no way of measuring this so I’ll go on.

Use a socket to remove the two nuts to remove the cover

I think this model is very beginner-friendly and if this is your first chainsaw, you should be able to handle the 38cc of power easily. It is easy to start, tensioning and loosening the chain is easy enough, you just need a socket and the simple maintenance is also fairly straightforward.

Cover removed to get access to chain and make adjustments or change the chain

The combined stop control and choke are easy to use and prevent the engine from flooding when the chainsaw is turned off.

In regards to starting this chainsaw, I have seen a few people struggle with this but it’s because they’re usually not doing it properly. First, you pull out the blue switch (the choke) all the way, as shown below.

pull the choke all the way out then prime the primer button

Next, you give the bubble a few presses (which you see in the photograph below), I usually press it 4 or 5 times and then give the cord a good strong pull, not too fast though, firm and steady. After just one or two pulls you should hear it sound like it is about to start but then doesn’t. This is where most people go wrong, they keep pulling at that cord flooding the engine. Don’t do this.

Primer bubble, press 4 or 5 times before pulling cord

You then need to push the blue choke lever back in halfway and pull the cord again, after one or two pulls it should start. If it doesn’t, push the blue choke lever in a little bit more and pull the cord again and this should do the trick.

After 20 to 30 seconds of the engine running, push the blue choke lever all the way back in and it’s ready to use. Obviously don’t forget to have the brake handle pulled back all the way towards the main handle so that the chain doesn’t turn when you start it up.

14 inch chainsaw bar and chain, great for logs up to around 30cm

In terms of what you can comfortably cut with this, the chainsaw guide bar is 14 inches (35.5 cm) long. This lets you cut widths of up to 30.5cm very comfortably in one pass, which makes it great for logging.

I often find myself cutting much larger logs because it has got plenty of power to do this and it cuts them quickly too, however, I obviously have to turn the log to cut through the largest logs, but it has no problem getting through them.

Husqvarna 236 Petrol Chainsaw cuts easily through bigger logs

What I will say is you really do notice the speed of the cut when you compare it against cheaper petrol models, even the cordless and the electric chainsaws. They simply don’t compare because they lack the power and speed for cutting those larger logs.

Testing my cordless chainsaw to see how it compares to petrol chainsaws on larger logs

To give you an idea, I recently tested my Ryobi cordless chainsaw cutting large logs, as you can see above, and it got through them, it just took longer. The issue is that you can cut a handful of logs before the battery dies whereas this petrol model will cut through them all day, every day without missing a beat and you can quickly refuel them when needed.

Husqvarna 236 Petrol Chainsaw is my best pick for the best petrol chainsaw after using for several years

Something else I like is that the centrifugal air cleaning system is of particular interest and it isn’t found on many chainsaws. This system prevents the sawdust from going into the air filters and clogging them up. This reduces the cleaning and maintenance needs by increasing the time between needing to replace the air filters. 

Chain lubricating oil tank for auto oiling of chain

Another feature this model has, that not all petrol chainsaws have, is the auto oiling of the chain, simply fill the oil tank with chain lubricant and it takes care of itself. It works well too at keeping the chain lubricated and doesn’t seem to use too much oil.

Pros

  • Designed for domestic or lighter professional use to cut small trees and cut firewood.
  • Easy to use with plenty of power to cut the largest of logs.
  • Husqvarna 38cc x-Torque petrol chainsaw engine improves fuel efficiency by 20%.
  • The chainsaw guide bar is 35.5cm long to cut average diameter tree trunks.
  • The safety chain is standard for your protection.
  • Stop control and choke are combined to reduce the risk of the engine flooding.
  • Inertia chain brake stops the saw quickly in the event of kickback. 
  • Ergonomic design for ease of handling and comfort.
  • The centrifugal air cleaning system prevents sawdust from entering the air filters and clogging them.

Cons

  • Replacement and spare parts are costly, however, they are for all premium chainsaw brands.

Our recommendation

With the full force of the Husqvarna reputation behind it, the Husqvarna 236 14″ Petrol Chainsaw is an excellent choice for anyone wanting to fell small trees or needs a decent chainsaw for cutting firewood, as I do.

The amount of logs I was able to cut in only 30 minutes with the Husqvarna 236 Petrol Chainsaw

Overall it’s an amazing machine and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another one should the one I have need replacing. After all, it’s been working hard for many years now. What I will say though, is there is a new model on the market, and it might eventually replace this one and I’ve not had a chance to get one yet. I will also link to that model below because I believe it will be just as good as the Husqvarna 236 petrol chainsaw.

The new Husqvarna120 model replaces the 236 model


2. P1PE P6220C 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

RUNNER UP

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

P1PE P6220C 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

If your garden is well-established and your trees have been there for quite a few years, you’ll need a petrol chainsaw designed for heavier use. The P1PE P6220C 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw will satisfy all your major woodcutting needs that you would have gotten from investing in premium expensive brands such as Stihl.

The P1PE P6220C’s impressive 62cc air-cooled engine easily drives its 50cm guide bar and chain, putting it into the range of a professional chainsaw. This chainsaw has a soft recoil system for an easy start so you won’t strain yourself getting it going. 

This chainsaw is designed for your convenience and safety. The handles are ergonomic and have anti-vibration technology that reduces the stress and strain on your hands and arms. You won’t tire easily during an extended period of use. The tension adjustment for the chain is quickly accessed on the side of the saw. There’s also an automatic chain lubrication system so you won’t have to worry if the chain is slippery enough. For extra safety, there’s an anti-kickback brake that immediately stops the engine if kickback happens, this is an essential feature all petrol chainsaws should have. 

This petrol chainsaw also comes with extras. You receive an extra chain so you won’t have to stop and buy another chain in the middle of a project if the first chain becomes blunt. You also get a carry bag and a bar cover for the protection of the saw during storage and transportation. No more worrying if dirt and debris will get into the engine filters and clog it up, not to mention items bumping into the chain and blunting it. There’s also an additional spark plug and a tool kit that includes all the tools you need to maintain the chainsaw. All of this comes an even better price with a reliable Hyundai engine.

Pros

  • Designed for heavy-duty work such as felling trees and home use from general pruning to logging.
  • Reliable Hyundai 62cc air-cooled petrol engine, 2-stroke, for long and reliable life of the motor.
  • Soft pull recoil system for an easy start.
  • The chainsaw bar is 50cm for all the major wood cutting that you have to do.
  • Anti-kickback safety brake increases safety when the chainsaw is in use.
  • Automatic chain lubrication so you don’t have to remember when to oil it.
  • Chain tension adjustment is side-mounted for easy access.
  • Anti-vibration technology in the ergonomic handles increases the operator’s comfort.
  • Includes two chains, so put the spare somewhere you remember.
  • One year warranty can be extended to two years if registered within thirty days of purchase.
  • Comes with a carry bag and bar cover for storage and protection.

Cons

  • The quality of the chains could be better but are easy to replace and affordable at most DIY stores and online.

Our recommendation

Less expensive than our Best Pick, the Husqvarna 236 14″ Petrol Chainsaw, the P1PE P6220C 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw is a great choice if your woodcutting tasks lean to the heavier side and you looking for a more affordable model. This model can handle heavy-duty chores such as felling taller trees and cutting large logs thanks to its 50cm guide bar. The ergonomic handles with anti-vibration technology reduce the strain on your hands and arms during the longer periods you’ll need to use the chainsaw to accomplish these woodcutting feats. 

Online reviewers are concerned that the chains are of poor quality and stretch quite a bit and blunt rather quickly. Others have pointed out that some manufacturers pre-stretch the chain and P1PE doesn’t do that. The solution to this is to invest in a couple of new chainsaws. 

For its price and its ability to handle the heavier woodcutting tasks around the garden, we’ve made the P1PE P6220C 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw our Runner-up petrol chainsaw and we are impressed by the fact that they have used a Hyundai branded engine instead of a cheaper unbranded Chinese engine that most budget chainsaws use. Great value for money.


3. McCulloch CS 35S Petrol Chainsaw

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

McCulloch CS 35S Petrol Chainsaw review

The McCulloch CS 35S Petrol Chainsaw is designed to start easily and is another trusted brand to consider. No more huffing and puffing and muttering on your part, this chainsaw has two features in particular that make it easy to start.

First up is the soft-start feature. This reduces the resistance in the starter cord by 40%, making it easier to tug on. Secondly, there’s the manual fuel pump. This feeds the carburettor with fuel so that you need fewer pulls of the (now with less resistance) starter cord to start the chainsaw.

The guide bar is 35.5cm long and can cope with most of the regular woodcutting tasks in your garden – small trees and large bushes won’t stand a chance when the time to prune comes around.

The safety feature of the chain brake works in two ways. There’s the regular chain brake that is activated during kickback when the chain brake lever comes into contact with the operator’s left wrist. For extra safety, the brake is also activated by inertia from the guide bar and this also stops the motor from running.

The McCulloch CS 35S Petrol Chainsaw comes with a one-year warranty from the manufacturer.

Pros

  • The 35cc engine has enough power to handle light to medium garden tasks.
  • Soft start feature for ease of starting.
  • A manual fuel pump leads to fewer pulls to start the engine.
  • Auto-return stop switch also helps the saw start quickly and easily.
  • Chain tension adjustment is done without tools, so you don’t need a special gadget for this.
  • The cutting bar length is 35.5cm so should cover most of your garden needs.
  • The air filter cover is easily accessible by removing just one screw and the engine cover.
  • The chain brake lever is activated in two different ways if kickback occurs.
  • One-year warranty.

Cons 

  • Not made to the same quality they used to be many years ago, and they now seem to be made as a more budget-friendly brand.

Our recommendation

The McCulloch CS 35S Petrol Chainsaw is a good chainsaw for undertaking light to medium tasks concerning the cutting and pruning of trees and bushes. The designers have made an effort to ensure that this chainsaw is easy to start and operate. Adjusting the chain tension and accessing the air filter are easily accomplished. Safety is also covered with a chain safety brake which is engaged in two ways. 

Reviews online highlight that some users encountered problems with the quality of this chainsaw right from taking it out of the box. We think the problem is that if you purchased one of these 10 years ago, they were a reliable trusted brand known for top quality machines but at a higher price point. Now they are being sold to a different market, as a more affordable brand so the quality is not what it used to be, but they still have their place.

We recommend the McCulloch CS 35S Petrol Chainsaw for the everyday maintenance of the trees and bushes in your garden for lighter tasks.


4. Makita EA3500S40B 35cc 40cm Chainsaw

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

Makita EA3500S40B 35cc 40cm Chainsaw review

The Makita EA3500S40B 35cc 40cm Chainsaw has a 35cc engine coupled with a fairly large (40cm) guide bar. This makes it the right size for those medium-sized pruning tasks in your garden. The engine conforms to standard exhaust emission regulations so won’t annoy your neighbours with pollution.

Starting and stopping the chainsaw has been well thought out throughout. The on-off switch is in combination with the choke so the engine receives the correct amount of fuel when you’re starting up the chainsaw and also when you’re closing it down. The engine won’t flood from too much petrol or stall from receiving too little. The electronic ignition system also adds to the easy start procedure.

When the chainsaw is running, the ignition coil controls its idling revs so that the guide bar receives a constant and stable amount of power for an even cutting process. This also gives protection from the engine overrunning, as does the automatic half-throttle lock. The safety feature of the inertia chain brake stops the motor quickly in the case of a kickback event.

The Makita EA3500S40B’s automatic lubrication system is paired with a large oil reservoir. Not only do you not have to remember whether you oiled the chainsaw recently, but you also don’t need to check the level of oil in the reservoir very often either. But you can adjust how much the chain is lubricated if you feel it’s receiving too little or too much oil.

Pros 

  • The two-stroke 35cc engine complies with exhaust emission regulations for environmental considerations.
  • An on-off switch is combined with the choke for easy one-switch control of the tool.
  • The electronic ignition system for an easy start.
  • The cutting bar length is 40cm and can handle most of the DIY woodcutting chores in the garden.
  • The ignition coil controls idling giving you a stable power flow and protection against the engine overrunning.
  • Automatic half-throttle lock. 
  • The automatic chain lubrication keeps the chain moving smoothly without maintenance.
  • Access to the carburettor through external holes lets you adjust it easily.
  • Comes with a chain cover and a toolset.
  • 3-year warranty for full peace of mind.

Our recommendation

The Makita EA3500S40B 35cc 40cm Chainsaw is a good choice for some of the medium-sized chainsaw tasks you might have and it is a great choice for professionals looking for a reliable petrol chainsaw. The control of its idling speed delivers a smooth cutting experience and the combination of the on/off switch and choke ensures that just the right amount of fuel is delivered to the engine when you stop or start the chainsaw. The inertia chain brake adds the comfort of knowing that, in an emergency, the chainsaw will stop as quickly as possible.

Some online reviews have noted that the Makita EA3500S40B starts up at full speed, in spite of its automatic half-throttle lock. Just be aware of this possibility when you use it.

The Makita EA3500S40B 35cc 40cm Chainsaw will handle some of the larger everyday maintenance pruning tasks for you and is a great alternative to premium models from Stihl and Husqvarna.


5. Stihl MS181 14-Inch Petrol Chainsaw

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

Stihl MS181 14-Inch Petrol Chainsaw review

The Stihl MS181 14-Inch Chainsaw comes from a well-renowned power tool company and has some technological features not found on other brands of chainsaws.

The Stihl MS181’s engine is 31.8cc, which is on the lower end of the engine size range compared to the other chainsaws in this review. The Stihl engine does have reduced-emission technology to cut down on pollution. In this engine’s advanced combustion technology, four overflow channels swirl the air-fuel mix together before ignition to extract a highly efficient performance from the fuel. This results in lower fuel consumption of up to 20% and lowers exhaust emissions by up to 50%, which are all positive points.

This chainsaw, with its 35.5cm guide bar, is designed to cut down small trees and chop up firewood, so it is a good choice for homeowners looking for a premium chainsaw. Anti-vibration technology dampens the vibrations at the handles significantly and makes the chainsaw more comfortable to use for prolonged periods, perfect for hours of cutting up firewood.

The Stihl MS181 14-Inch Chain Saw’s air filtration system is worth explaining because it’s different to a conventional air filter system. The Stihl system swirls around the air that’s drawn in and ejects the larger, heavier particles. The pre-cleaned air is then directed through the pre-separator duct to the air filter. This process extends the life of the air filter by five times compared to the conventional method. 

Other convenient features of this Stihl chainsaw include an automatic lubrication system, which can reduce oil use by 50%, this is a common feature on most chainsaws though. The filler caps for the fuel and oil tanks are opened without the use of any tools. Note that the fuel tank is translucent so you can quickly see how much fuel is left. And the tensioning screw for adjusting the chain tension is accessible through a sprocket at the side of the chainsaw so you don’t have to touch the sharp chain. You can extend the warranty to three years for domestic use when you register or 2 years for professional use.

Pros

  • The cutting bar is 35.5 cm long, enough for most domestic cutting tasks.
  • The petrol engine is 31.8 cc with reduced-emission technology.
  • Advanced combustion technology for highly efficient fuel use.
  • Designed to cut firewood and cut down small trees.
  • Designed to reduce vibrations, making it more comfortable to use.
  • Tension adjustment for the chain is at the side of the saw so you don’t have to touch the saw itself to make the adjustment.
  • The chain brake is activated manually and by the inertia of the guide bar.
  • Advanced combustion technology for highly efficient fuel use.
  • The air filtration system pre-cleans the air before it reaches the air filter lengthening the life of the air filter.
  • Automatic oil lubrication reduces the use of oil by 50%.
  • The two-year warranty is extended to three years when you register your purchase online (2 years for professional use).

Our recommendation

The Stihl MS181 14-Inch Chainsaw continues the esteemed reputation of the Stihl brand with this very good petrol chainsaw. Although the engine’s power is not as great as some of the other chainsaws in this review, the advanced combustion technology allows the engine to use the fuel efficiently and produce fewer exhaust emissions.

The use of unique technologies continues with the air filtration system that pre-cleans the larger, heavier particles of debris from the air before it enters the air filter. This gives longer life to the air filters. The Stihl MS181 will very ably perform any of the light to medium chainsaw duties you ask of it and is perfect for cutting up firewood.


Petrol Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide

While buying a chainsaw seems to generate quite a bit of excitement, it’s important to remember that it is a very powerful tool and can be dangerous. It’s also quite an investment out of your power tool budget, so you need to be sure that you’re getting the chainsaw that’s best suited for you and for your project. This Buyer’s Guide helps you with that decision.

We start by briefly describing how a petrol chainsaw works, for those new to chainsaws who may be a little (or a lot) intimidated by them. We continue by covering the major factors to consider when looking at your chainsaw options and introduce some minor factors that also play a role in your decision making. Putting all this together with our detailed reviews should lead you to the petrol chainsaw of your dreams.

chainsaw buyers guide - professional cutting firewood with petrol chainsaw

What is a chainsaw?

Starting right at the beginning, a chainsaw is a powerful tool that cuts wood, specifically branches and trees. It’s powered by an engine, which in turn may be powered by petrol, a battery or by electricity. The engine drives a looped metal chain that’s in a groove in an oval guide bar. The chain moves very quickly and makes contact with the wood. On contact, the chain’s sharp teeth are dragged across the surface, cutting the wood.

This is a really dangerous tool because it’s not possible to put a guard around the chain; it’s open and unprotected. Chainsaws have many built-in safety features to protect the operator, including a stop button, a throttle lock and a chain brake. You need a certain amount of strength to safely operate a chainsaw, depending on its weight and the power it has.

Factors to consider when selecting a petrol chainsaw

Chainsaw guidebar

Guide bar length

As the chain goes around the guide bar, the guide bar length is the largest diameter of a tree trunk or branch that you can cut in one pass. In other words, it’s the active cutting area. Experts recommend that you buy the shortest guide bar that you need for your projects. You can cut wood that’s longer than the guide bar but you’ll need to do it in two passes.

The shorter the guide bar, the more manoeuvrable the chainsaw is. Beginners should definitely stick to guide bars of 50cm or less, leaving the longer guide bars to the professionals. Remember that, in general, the longer the guide bar, the heavier the chainsaw. Kickback, in which the guide bar unexpectedly comes upwards towards you while in use, is more likely to occur with longer bars.

Each model of chainsaw has a recommended guide bar length; go with what the manufacturer suggests.

Petrol chainsaw engine

Engine Power

The more powerful the engine, the more it weighs and the heavier it is to hold. But on the other hand, you need a certain amount of power to drive the longer guide bars in particular. This comes back to buying just the size guide bar you need. If you’re only going to be pruning your hedges, you don’t want to be holding up a chainsaw that’s equipped with a motor powerful enough to fell trees.

Small tree felling can be done with a petrol chainsaw that has a 30cc-40cc motor, for example, while moderate trees need a 45cc (or more) motor chainsaw to be brought down. For really serious tree felling or log cutting, look at chainsaws with 50cc engines.

Chainsaw safety

When you look at what can go wrong when operating a chainsaw, you may wonder why you’d ever want to use one. It’s not that a chainsaw is dangerous if used incorrectly; it’s dangerous even if it is used correctly.

Lecture aside, petrol chainsaws have many safety features built in to lessen the risk when using them. Check each chainsaw for all the safety features that it has, and for those that it doesn’t.

Chainsaws intended for home use should all have an anti-kickback chain in place. This special chain lessens the chances of kickback, which is when the guide bar suddenly comes back towards you at 96 kph. 

The chain brake stops the chain from revolving and is powerful enough to stop a chain that’s moving under full power. The operator can manually engage the brake or it automatically engages when kickback happens. The automatic engagement usually occurs when the operator’s left hand is violently thrust away from the handle during kickback. Some chainsaws use an inertial chain brake where just the motion of the guide bar jerking upwards is enough to force the brake to engage.

The chain catcher is there to stop a broken chain from flipping up towards the chainsaw operator. The on-off switch in a petrol chainsaw is also called the kill switch. It must be clearly marked with the off position and should not be able to be accidentally turned off. There’s also a safety throttle that cannot be moved from the idle position unless the lock-out switch is also pressed.

As well as these and other built-in safety features, don’t forget that safety clothing is highly desirable (to say the least) for a safe chainsaw operating experience. Boots, helmets and trousers are all designed for chainsaw use to protect you just in case something unforeseen and nasty happens.

Personal condition

It’s no use saying that you can do 50 push-ups – yes, really – or are close to running a half-marathon, when most of your training has been watching Ninja Warrior UK. You’ll be found out by your complaints about your aches and pains after you’ve been using your new, shiny but heavy chainsaw for 30 minutes.

This is yet another argument for buying just the size of chainsaw that you need, nothing bigger or heavier. The weight of that “lightweight” petrol chainsaw may not seem heavy right now but imagine how it feels after lifting it for 30 minutes, one hour or longer. And check its weight with the petrol in it. Be honest with yourself about how much of a chainsaw you can comfortably handle.

Consider these as well

Ergonomics includes the placement of the handles as well as any anti-vibration technology in the chainsaw. Chainsaws are designed for right-handed people so left-handed operators often need to make adjustments to how they normally use power tools. If this applies to you, make sure you try out the chainsaw before you buy it if possible to make sure that it’s comfortable for you to hold. Repeated, long-term strong vibrations, as in those from a chainsaw, can damage your hands. Anti-vibration technology dampens those vibrations and reduces their impact on the muscles in your hands and arms, as well as lessens your discomfort. If you’re planning on using your chainsaw in the winter, you may be interested in models that have heated handles.

Maintenance can be as little as wiping down the chainsaw after use to as much as taking it apart and individually looking after each component. In general, you do need to know how to access the air filter, the spark plug and how to tighten the chain. Some models lubricate the chain automatically, so that removes one maintenance chore. Others have self-sharpening blades. If you’re in any doubt about how to maintain your chainsaw, please take it in for a professional service, which you should do regularly anyway.


FAQs

What is the best brand of chainsaw? 

Recommending the best brand of chainsaw depends on so many factors. The most important consideration is what you intend to use it for, your experience with chainsaws and what size of chainsaw you can safely handle. Check out our Buyer’s Guide in this review for the factors to consider when considering a (petrol) chainsaw and then read the individual reviews for our recommended models. If these don’t appeal to you, move over to our reviews for the Best Electric Chainsaws and the Best Cordless Chainsaws.

Is Stihl made in China? 

These days it’s difficult to say where something is made as each part may be made in a different country. How do you decide how much of a product should be made in one country to say that it comes from there? Regardless of where Stihl products are made, the company stands behind the tools that carry its name. The best way to ensure you’re purchasing an authentic Stihl product is to buy it from an authorised Stihl dealer.

Is Stihl better than Husqvarna? 

The answer to this really depends on who you ask, what brand of tools they’ve grown up using and what particular product you’re talking about. Both Stihl and Husqvarna are world-class brands, each with their avid fans. In this review of petrol chainsaws, our Best Pick is the Husqvarna 236 14″ Petrol Chainsaw. In our reviews of other products, we’ve sometimes selected a Stihl model over a Husqvarna one. All we can say is decide what you’re looking for in a particular tool and research what each brand has to offer you for that tool.

What is the best size chainsaw for home use? 

When you’re looking at the size of petrol chainsaws you should consider both the size of the motor and the size of the guide bar (the active cutting area). Motors between 30cc and 40cc are good for home use; guide bars between 35cm and 45cm are a suitable length for light to medium pruning tasks in your garden. Our Buyer’s Guide in this review has some more information about this.


Final conclusion

Despite the excitement that surrounds them, petrol chainsaws are serious power tools. Our Best Petrol Chainsaw review has introduced the best of these powerful tools for felling trees, cutting logs and pruning bushes to keep your garden in the best possible shape. And we’ve mentioned safety all along the way. By now, you should know whether a petrol chainsaw is in your future and which one you would like.

Husqvarna 236 14

Our Best Pick is the Husqvarna 236 14″ Petrol Chainsaw designed for the lighter chainsaw tasks in the garden. It’s a way to buy into the Husqvarna line of products without the expense of the costlier tools and still get the brand’s quality.

P1PE P6220C 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw best pick

Our Runner-up is the P1PE P6220C 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw. This petrol chainsaw can cope with the heavier tasks in the garden, with the thicker trees and the more established bushes. It comes with some useful extras as well.

If the power of a petrol chainsaw isn’t for you, then consider either a cordless chainsaw or an electric chainsaw instead. Don’t give up on your chainsaw dreams.


Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

Write A Comment