Chain Saws Buying Guide
Whether for heavy landscape pruning, unpleasant or annoying tree removal, DIY fire-wood retrieval, or basic Christmas tree preparation, chainsaws are the hardiest, most powerful tool you can use. With a high-speed serrated chain, much like that found on a bicycle (minus the "teeth"), revolving around a large finger-like loop, this tool can even slice through tree trunks. Obviously, a machine of that calibre presents many dangers and many questions. A good chainsaw, properly maintained, should last you up to ten years. But in order to find the right one, it is important to learn a few things before you buy your first chainsaw.
Petrol powered chainsaws are bigger, louder, and require more maintenance, though they have some advantages.
- They use a combustion engine which requires petrol and oil (the ratios of which can be found here) to run properly. In addition, the excessive weight and its generally dangerous nature require a heavy alloy frame, which detracts from its manoeuvrability.
- The petrol-engine does give this type of chainsaw the power advantage, so it is advisable for more labour-intensive jobs.
- There is no external power source, which makes the petrol-powered chainsaw more portable and avoids cable trouble. However, this adds to its weight.
Electric chainsaws require an electrical power outlet for use. This presents a few problems:
- It restricts portability, although a lengthy extension cord can provide a decent radius for use.
- Having a cord present while sawing can be dangerous, especially given any awkward jobs. If you become tangled or trip over the cord, it could be a complete disaster.
- The electric chainsaw is lighter, and thus more manoeuvrable, although it lacks the power of the petrol powered chainsaw.
- Never use it in wet conditions...I think you know why.
What To Look For
Size and Weight are the most important factors to consider when choosing a chainsaw. A heavy chainsaw may tire you out, increasing the chances of an accident. A light chainsaw might require a lot more work if it doesn't have the power to complete the job. Thus, it will be beneficial for you to:
- Figure out the jobs for which you intend to use the chainsaw, as they will give you basic hints as to how powerful a chainsaw is needed.
- Light pruning, garden retouching, or even soft wood branch removal, like for pines and firs.
- Hardwood tree and branch removal may require a heavier chainsaw. However, these jobs may be best left to professionals.
- Visit a hardware store and try lifting several varieties of chainsaw. That way, you get a feel for the size that will suit you best.
Bar Size, or the length of the chain, is an important measurement of the chainsaw. For instance, a 30 cm guide bar can cut up to half a metre diameter log. For smaller, occasional use, a 20-35 cm chain will meet most requirements. For larger, heavier jobs, a 50 cm bar will be sufficient.
Safety Features such as inertia chain break, chain catcher, and side chain tensioning, can add to a chainsaw's appeal.
Modern Control Features can make chainsaws much easier to use, so you might want to choose a simple control panel versus a more complicated one.
A Few Suggestions