Chainsaws can be an indispensable garden tool for pruning back trees and branches, chopping firewood and various DIY tasks. In this article, we'll help you choose the right one for your needs, whether you're looking for a petrol, electric or cordless chainsaw.
We compare the 10 best chainsaws in the UK, based on price and performance, from leading brands including DeWalt, Husqvarna and many more. We've even included the latest Amazon deals for those hoping to pick up a bargain!
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Like many other tools fuelled this way, petrol chainsaws are generally more powerful and are the best option when it comes to heavy-duty work. They can also run continuously (if you have the petrol), meaning they’re a solid option if you have a lot of wood to get through.
However, there are some downsides too, such as them being considerably heavier and noisier than their electric counterparts. Not only that, but they will require regular maintenance on aspects such as air filters and spark plugs, and, like all petrol machines, they’re not ideal for the environment.
Electric models, on the other hand, do not omit fumes so they are much better for the environment. Furthermore, they tend to be a little cheaper, weigh less and start much faster as no yanking is required.
This style also comes in a wider range of sizes (we’ll touch more on this in a moment), meaning that you don’t always need to opt for a large 20” chainsaw if you’re only planning on pruning some bushes.
Of course, they too have their issues. As a petrol chainsaw's counterpart, electric styles are less powerful, meaning they may not be suitable if you have substantial felling or cutting that needs doing. Plus, as with all electrical appliances, they need time to charge, though this will depend on their size.
Buying a chainsaw for DIY? Consider picking up a multi-tool before starting your next project!
The next feature to consider is the bar length. What is the bar length? We hear you ask. This just refers to the size of the blade. It’s usually measured in inches, and the options tend to range from as small as 5 to as large as 20 inches.
The size is often a good indicator of the work the machine can handle, and as you’d imagine, the longer the bar length, the more wood it will get through. As a rule of thumb, any electric apparatus between 5 and 20 inches is considered a reliable chainsaw and good for home use.
With regards to petrol chainsaws, they usually only come with a longer bar length – think 13 to 20 inches. If you’re looking for a professional-grade tool, then you could even opt for a petrol chainsaw with a bar length of over 20 inches. However, due to the uniqueness, we have only included those up to that size in our recommendations.
If you've ever used a chainsaw for any length of time before, then you will know that they can quickly tire out your arms. This is down to two factors: weight and vibration. The weight is due to the style and the materials used, so, sadly, there isn't much manufacturers can do about that.
However, to combat it, some of them place rubber bushings or metal springs between the handle and the engine and bar, which, in turn, minimises movement. So, if you plan on working for long sessions, then it's worth considering a chainsaw with anti-vibration features. Just keep in mind that this is often reserved for larger machines.
Top Tip: Making a notch with a hand saw can help to align your chainsaw before cutting
If you didn’t already know, chainsaws require oil. This lubricates the chain against the bar, which is vital because otherwise, the friction will burn the chain and you’ll be left needing to fork out for a new one. And while they’re not necessarily expensive, it is an added inconvenience.
There are two ways of oiling the chain. The first is manually, which will take more time, or you just could pick up a chainsaw with an automatic oil function. Nowadays, we’d say this is pretty much essential for any decent machine. This feature will lubricate the chain as you cut, making the process safer and more efficient.
Even armed with the most powerful chainsaw, cutting through wood can be problematic at times. Now and then, you’ll hit some kickback. This is a term used to describe when the chainsaw’s bar goes in a sudden, upward motion. It happens for several reasons, and unsurprisingly, it’s one of the most common causes of accidents.
To avoid this happening, it's best to look for a feature called a chain brake. This function stops the chain almost instantly when it kicks back (some might employ this when not using two hands, as well). It’s an excellent safety feature that has likely saved many casualties. However, again, this is unlikely to be found on smaller electrical chainsaws.
Always use the correct PPE when operating power tools. We recommend a pair of safety glasses to keep your vision clear and eyes protected!
Click to purchase
2000 W Electric Chainsaw｜GH-EC 2040
A Versatile Electric Chainsaw for Household and Garden Chores
Powerful Petrol Chainsaw With 62cc Two-Stroke Engine
Cordless Mini Chainsaw
A Pruning Chainsaw With Plenty of Accessories
Portable Petrol Chainsaw
Compact Chainsaw for Shaping Wood and Pruning Branches
Universal ChainPole 18 Telescopic Chainsaw｜06008B3170
Telescopic Chainsaw That Can Reach up to 2.6 Meters
Well-Balanced 13" Bar Chainsaw That’s Easy to Handle
Mini Electric Chainsaw With 30 Minute Battery Life
62 CC 20" Petrol Chainsaw
Professional-Grade Petrol Chainsaw for an Affordable Price
Cordless XR Brushless Chainsaw｜DCM565M
Cordless DeWalt Chainsaw With Automatic Oiler
120 MK II Petrol Chainsaw｜HUSQ120-14
Quick Start and Anti-vibration Make Work Easier
We opted for the Einhall electric chainsaw to take our number one spot as we believe it offers the most versatility. For example, it has a decent bar length but is not too big, and it has enough power to work on the usual household garden chores but isn't overbearing. It's this centrist design that makes it useful for a range of people.
Although it's an everyman's design, there are still plenty of features included, such as chain brake and auto oiling, and it comes with a safety sheath too. Plus, it's not going to bust your wallet if you only plan on using it a couple of times a year. So, if you're looking for a chainsaw that is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, look no further.
If you're looking for a top-of-the-line, petrol-powered chainsaw that can make light work of practically anything it's pitted against, then we'd have to opt for this offering from Hyundai. Not only does it have the required bar length, but the powerful 62cc two-stroke engine will ensure that everything is chopped just the way you like it.
Add to that an anti-vibration feature to save your forearms, an automatic oiler to ensure smooth operation and a chain brake and you've got yourself a great bit of kit. If that's not enough, you'll get both a sheath and case included, all for a very respectable price!
Here we have another excellent mini chainsaw option, only this time it comes with a ton of useful accessories. Included are two batteries, two chains, gloves and protective glasses, as well as a case and some other practical tools for opening the machine itself.
But this purchase is much more than just a bunch of extras, as the chainsaw itself is pretty darn good too. As you'd expect, it's designed for pruning and working on small branches and has a decent 40 minutes running time. Although, if you've charged both batteries, you could double that!
This is a unique chainsaw in that it has a compact 10" bar length but is petrol-powered. Therefore, although it is smaller than many of the electrical options, it's likely to out-power all of them. Granted, the length does limit the thickness of the objects you can cut, but that depends on what you need it for.
Even so, the blade is robust and rigid and will make light work of anything up to about 32 cm in diameter. There's also an electrical chain brake function, which stops the chain from moving the instant the trigger is released to keep you and anyone else around safe.
Not everything you'll want to saw will be at your level, and in our eyes, there's no sentence scarier than 'climbing up a ladder with a chainsaw'. Therefore, we recommend buying a tool that does the climbing for you, such as this telescopic option from Bosch.
The 5" bar is attached to an adjustable pole that ranges from 2.1 to 2.6 metres in length, and all you need to do is strap it to your body and you're away. It's not the most powerful of blades, but things that high up never tend to be overly bulky.
Ryobi always offers excellent value for money, and their 1900 W chainsaw is no exception. The design has a 13" bar length as well as appealing features like an automatic oiler, plus, the chain speed offers excellent cutting performance.
Additionally, the whole appliance is balanced very well, which makes handling it that much easier. Be aware that some users have found that the chain blunts easily, which can be frustrating. Still, other than that, this really is a good quality option if you're not looking to spend a fortune.
If you're looking to tackle branches and bushes and not logs, then a smaller design is probably best. Take this compact chainsaw from Aprotii – it cuts through branches around 4" in diameter in about 10 seconds, which is not bad going for a little whippersnapper.
As you'd expect, there isn't much in terms of features due to its size. The battery lasts for around 20-30 minutes when fully charged, which doesn't sound like much, but when you consider how quick the company says it cuts, you should have plenty of time to get work done. Unfortunately, though, they don't mention charging time.
This offering from Parker Brand delivers both performance and value if you're in the market for top-end quality. The standout feature is the two-stroke, air-cooled engine which is housed in the body and comes with an ergonomic and easy-to-manoeuvre handle.
On top of that, it has many of the functions and accessories one could ever desire. It is a little on the heavy side, which might be a problem for some users. That said, if you want professional-grade gear, then the weight is always going to be more substantial.
DeWalt is a big name in the tool game, so it'll come as no surprise that we're recommending one of their flagship chainsaws. The Cordless XR is an admirable piece of kit, with anti-vibration and automatic oil features as well as an incredibly low weight, which should see you handle the machine with ease.
Furthermore, the 12" bar length is ideal for those smaller, manageable home jobs. However, sadly, the company do not include a battery, and when you combine that with the price already, it could cost you a pretty penny to start slicing.
First up in our ranking we have this petrol-powered chainsaw from Husqvarna. This is an upgrade on one of their older, beloved models and manages to feature a new carburettor. This inclusion makes the start up much quicker and easier, as well as seeing the machine run more smoothly.
Other pluses include a decent 14" bar length and a Lowvib anti-vibration system, which means that you'll be able to work away for longer. Sadly, the machine does not arrive set up, so you'll need to be prepared to assemble it before use.
Bar length refers to the size of the blade. It’s usually measured in inches, and most tend to range from 5 - 20 inches. You're unlikely to need an especially large bar for most tasks, unless you are planning on sawing through tree trunks or logs.
After your job is done, you’ll want to pack your chainsaw away to prevent accidents. Having a case will protect against potential cuts and petrol spills.
You may also want to use a fabric bar sheath. While this won’t protect the garage floor, you're less likely to end up with a rusty blade.
Written and researched by: Lewis Clark
No. 1: Einhell｜2000 W Electric Chainsaw｜GH-EC 2040
No. 2: Hyundai｜Petrol Chainsaw｜HYC6200X
No. 3: Flanagan｜Cordless Mini Chainsaw
No. 4: Uwingarden｜Portable Petrol Chainsaw
No. 5: Bosch｜Universal ChainPole 18 Telescopic Chainsaw｜06008B3170
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