Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide — Best-Rated Chainsaws. Lopping chainsaw

What Size Chainsaw Do I Need for Cutting Trees?

This is truly an open-ended question since there is no one answer. What size chainsaw do I need for cutting trees? To begin, what size are the diameters of the trees you intend to cut?

If you’re like me, you have small trees on your property which are unsightly or are falling down. They’re either a potential safety hazard or – at the very least – an eyesore. For those jobs, I recommend one of several models of battery or electric chainsaws available either online or at your local hardware store. These chainsaws usually have smaller bar lengths of 10 – 14 inches, making them ideal.

If you are interested in buying one of these, you can check out my personal recommendations in this article.

On the other hand, if you’re facing heavy-duty cutting, you need a chainsaw with a bar of 14 inches or greater. This article explores in-depth the various sizes of chainsaws and why some are better than others depending on the task at hand.

Bar length

Without a doubt, the bar length of a chainsaw is the most important factor that determines not only the size of your saw, but also the type and volume of work it can take on.

The longer the bar, the more effective it is at cutting trees with larger diameters. I know from personal experience working in the forestry industry for years. A gas-powered chainsaw with a bar length of 20 inches or more is most effective for felling large hardwood trees such as oak, spruce, birch, beech and hemlock, many of which can be 30 – 36 inches in diameter.

Perhaps you are a forestry professional or just a woodlot or property owner who needs to cut down large-diameter trees. If this is your situation, I highly recommend a professional – grade chainsaw.

These require a bigger budget, but will make your job a whole lot easier. You can check out my recommendations here.

While I am on the topic of professional – grade saws, another factor you must take into consideration is engine displacement and horsepower. As logic dictates, the more powerful the engine is, the stronger the saw. And, in cases of cutting down large-diameter trees, power matters.

Cutting the small stuff

The average homeowner who has a garage with tools he or she occasionally uses on the weekends in all likelihood will not require the use of a gas-powered chainsaw with a 45cc (or higher) engine.

If you’re like much of the rest of society, you might do a bit of light cutting four or five times during the year. You can’t go wrong with an electric chainsaw – even battery – operated units will work just fine.

Electric and battery chainsaws are all the rage these days with homeowners and are mass-produced for the consumer market. Cutting off unsightly limbs. Trimming and pruning. Cleaning up hedges or some light storm damage. Chainsaws with bar lengths of 10 – 14 inches will serve you well.

Experience should be considered

I cannot stress this enough: if you’re not experienced with the use of a chainsaw, a powerful unit with a bar length of twenty inches or higher is not for you. Beginners should purchase a chainsaw with a guide bar of 18 inches or less, preferably 10 – 12 inches. Once you are comfortable handling a smaller, lightweight chainsaw, then by all means upgrade to a more professional, gas-powered model.

Another advantage of starting out with an electric or battery – operated saw is that maintenance isn’t a major concern. Trust me, those bigger, more powerful models require more maintenance than many busy folks have time or energy for. You need to clean the filter, have the knowledge to fix minor mechanical issues and know the right types of fuel to put into the engine.


Not only the diameter of the trees you will be cutting, but the location is another thing to keep in mind. If you happen to be cutting small – diameter trees such as poplars or small spruces, then an electric or battery – operated chainsaw is fine.

On the other hand, if you’re concerned about having freedom of mobility – even if you’re just cutting small trees – then a smaller gas-powered unit is more preferable. Many ordinary people own large pieces of land (including woodlots) and they need to be able to roam freely and not be constrained by the length of a cord or battery life.

To recap, I will go over the bar lengths of chainsaws and how they are determined by the diameter of the tree you wish to cut.

It is desirable to use a guide bar length of 20 inches or more to fell larger – diameter trees. That being said, it isn’t always necessary. You may or may not be aware that smaller chainsaws are capable of felling large trees or cutting up large pieces of wood. The key is doing it in two passes.

A 16 – inch guide bar is more than adept at cutting trees twice its length. This is a known fact amongst professional foresters. While this is true, you must consider if your chainsaw’s engine is powerful enough to slice through a log that is 32 inches. If not, you won’t be successful in getting the job done. If you have many 32 – inch trees to cut down, it only makes sense to purchase a heavy – duty gas – powered model.


As you’ve learned by now, when cutting small – diameter trees, you need only use an electric or battery – operated unit to successfully get the job done. Many people reading this article are homeowners who do a bit of light cutting three or four times a year. For these folks, I recommend a chainsaw with bar lengths no more than 14 inches.

Not all users of heavy-duty chainsaws are forestry professionals. It isn’t uncommon to have massive trees growing on your property, especially if you live in the suburbs or in rural areas. If you’re not working in the woods for a living but are comfortable with the handling and operation of chainsaws, a saw with a bar length between 16 – 20 inches should be fine.

After reading this article, you should have a greater understanding of how the diameter of the trees you need to cut will determine the guide bar length of the chainsaw you ultimately purchase.

Hi! I’m Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I’ve created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!

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Chainsaw Buyer’s GuideBest-Rated Chainsaws

Chainsaws are perfect for felling trees, pruning branches, and cutting up logs. They’re also great for removing stumps.

How do you choose the best chainsaw? There are several factors to consider, including the size of the engine, the mobility of the machine, and the weight of the saw. You need to decide what type of fuel the saw uses. Gasoline-powered saws are the most powerful, but they also require the most maintenance. Electric models with a power cord and battery-powered cordless models (with a rechargeable battery) are the lightest and most user-friendly, but they may not be powerful enough for some jobs.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of which type of chainsaw is right for the job. That said, here are some general tips on choosing the right chainsaw for the job:

chainsaw, buyer, guide, best-rated

–Choose a chainsaw with the right guide bar length. The bar length is the distance between the end of the chain (cutting tip) and where the chain enters the engine housing near the saw handle. It’s important to choose a chainsaw with a bar length that is long enough to cut through the size of wood–tree or branch–you’re cutting.

–Choose a chainsaw with the power you need. The engine size will determine the power the chainsaw has. It’s important to choose a chainsaw with enough power to cut through the wood you’re cutting.

Basic chainsaw things to know

  • A chainsaw is a gas-powered, electric-powered (corded), or battery-powered (cordless) saw with a long blade called a guide bar surrounded by a continuous chain that revolves around its edge.
  • The engine of a chainsaw is called the power head.
  • The power head powers a cutting chain with numerous sharp teeth. The chain is driven by a centrifugal clutch. The chain moves around a groove in the guide bar. The sharp teeth on the chain cut the surface of the wood.
  • Gasoline-powered chainsaws tend to be heavier duty and are available in a wide range of sizes and capabilities, from those for home use to professional logging operations.
  • Gas engines are rated by displacement (measured in cubic inches running from about 1.6 to an enormous 8.3), with the higher numbers indicating more power.
  • Corded electric-powered chainsaws are powered by electric motors. They are easy to start, quiet, do not use volatile fuels, and emit no exhaust fume.
  • Cordless battery-powered chainsaws are powered by rechargeable batteries. They also are easy to start, quiet, do not use volatile fuels, and emit no exhaust fume.
  • Chainsaws have four types of teeth: chipper (most common), chisel (typical on professional models), semi-chisel (a good combination of chipper and chisel), and automatic sharpening (for specially equipped saws).
  • Replacement guide bars and new chains are available.

Best Chainsaw? Let’s Settle This! Stihl, Husqvarna, ECHO, Poulan Pro, Craftsman, Ryobi, Salem Master

Types of chainsaw

Electric corded chainsaws

Electric corded chainsaws run on electricity. They require an extension cord and must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Corded chainsaws are lightweight and best suited for cutting small limbs or logs, pruning small trees, and cutting small branches.

  • Pros: less expensive, lightest weight, no fuel, not necessary to re-charge batteries, easy to start, quieter, no fumes, less maintenance, can be used indoors.
  • Cons: slower cutting speed, requires outlet and extension cord, range limited by the length of extension cord, potential electric shock, shorter bar length, no chain brake, manual bar oiler, limited grip top handles.
  • Tip: follow the device manufacturer’s instructions for selecting a compatible extension cord (usually a 14-gauge or heavier 12-gauge extension). Extension cords usually max out around 100 feet.
  • Cost: average 40 to 300.

Cordless battery-powered chainsaws

Cordless battery-powered chainsaws are powered by rechargeable batteries. The batteries require a charging station that is plugged into an electrical outlet. Battery-powered chainsaws can handle a range of cutting tasks; they are limited only by the guide bar/chain length and battery voltage and life.

  • Pros: good mobility, less vibration than gas models, the motor does not produce emissions; brushless motors and high-voltage batteries give long-lasting power, and batteries may be interchangeable with power equipment from the same manufacturer.
  • Cons: cost can be about the same as gas saws, run time is determined by the voltage and amp-hour rating of the battery (about 30 to 40 minutes of semi-continuous cutting on a single charge), battery re-charge time of about 60 minutes can slow your work.
  • Cost: average 180 to 330.

Gas-powered chainsaws

Gas-powered chainsaws are very versatile; they can take on a range of tasks in nearly all places. They range in size from small models for home use to large professional models. They are the least environmentally friendly; they burn gas and oil and emit fumes.

  • Pros: best for heavier work, faster, smooth cutting, big range of sizes and cutting capacities to choose from, work anywhere, more safety features.
  • Cons: usually more expensive, needs fuel/oil mixtures, stepped starting procedure, heavier and noisier than battery or electric models and creates fumes, requires more maintenance.
  • Cost: Average cost 140 to 500.

Pole chainsaws (gas, corded, cordless)

  • A pole chainsaw is a small power saw mounted on an extension pole.
  • Pole chainsaws are available in gasoline-powered, cordless (battery), and electric corded models.
  • The handle can be lengthened by attaching a solid extension piece or with telescopic poles.
  • Some come with interchangeable attachments.

Engine size

When choosing a chainsaw it is important to match the size of the engine and the length of the guide bar to the job to be done. The larger the chainsaw the more energy or gas it will use. The larger the chainsaw the more it will weigh.

  • The engine on a chainsaw is called the power head. The cutting system on a chainsaw consists of a chain and guide bar. Powerheads come in several sizes and bars come in several lengths. Manufacturers usually match the guide bar length to the power capability of the power head.
  • The engine size of a battery chainsaw is described in terms of voltage.
  • The engine of corded models is described in amperage and horsepower. A typical homeowner’s electric chainsaw will have from one to three horsepower.
  • The engine size of a gas-powered chainsaw can be measured in horsepower or engine displacement in cubic inches (ci) or centimeters (cc) which denotes engine displacement. The bigger the saw’s engine the more power it will have and the quicker it will cut.
  • The higher the number–engine displacement, voltage, amperage, and horsepower–the more power the saw has.
  • As a general rule, corded electric and battery-powered chainsaws have less power than gas chainsaws.

Bar length

  • Choose a bar length that can get the cutting job done. Bar length is usually matched to the engine size and power.
  • Bar length is measured from the cutting tip to where the chain enters the engine housing.
  • Homeowner bar lengths ate commonly 14″, 16″, 18″, and 20″. There are bars as short as 8″.
  • Pro bar lengths are 20″ or more.

Task and recommended engine size

Here are common chainsaw tasks matched to the engine size you will need:

  • Trimming a hedge or clearing brush: 30cc/small electric
  • Pruning tree branches: 30cc/small electric
  • Removing tree limbs: 30cc/mid-size electric
  • Felling a small tree: 30-40cc/mid to large electric
  • Light firewood cutting (under 10 inches diameter): 35-45cc/large electric
  • Moderate size tree felling (10″ to 16″ diameter): 45cc/large gas or pro electric
  • Large log cutting (16″ to 24″ diameter): 50cc gas engine

Task and recommended guide bar length

Here are common chainsaw tasks matched to the guide bar length you will need:

  • Trimming a hedge or clearing brush: not more than 12″-16″
  • Pruning trees: 12″ or less
  • Limbing: 12″-14″
  • Small tree felling: 12″-14″
  • Light firewood cutting (under 10″ diameter): 14″-16″
  • Moderate size tree felling: 16″-18″
  • Medium firewood cutting: 16″-18″
  • Large log cutting: 20″

Recommended chainsaw features

Here are several features you may want to look for when choosing a chainsaw:

  • Front hand guard: protects the left hand and wrist not on the trigger in the event of kickback. Chainsaws are not manufactured in left-handed configurations.
  • Chain brake: stops the chain from moving to help prevent injury; the front guard acts as a brake when it is pushed forward; pulling it back allows the chain to move again.
  • Ignition “on/off” switch: on electric saws; turns the electric system on or off.
  • Safety throttle: a mechanism that will not allow the trigger to be pulled unless you have a grip on the rear handle; prevent accidental chain acceleration.
  • Chain catcher: a protruding bar at the bottom of the saw that will stop the rotation of the chain if it breaks or derails.
  • Rear handle guard: this is a widening of the back handle; it is designed to prevent hand injury if the chain breaks or derails.
  • Choke: helps start a cold engine; restricts the air supply to the carburetor, making the air mixture rich.
  • Spring-assist starting: this reduces the pulling force needed to start a gasoline-powered saw.
  • Anit-vibration system: this is a system made up of either rubber bushings or coil springs between the engine and handles; the system reduces numbing vibration on the operator’s hands.
  • Muffler and spark arrestor: a muffler will reduce engine noise; a spark arrestor is a screen that keeps sparks that can cause a fire from flying from the machine.
  • Automatic oiler: lubricates the chain as you cut so you don’t have to remember to activate it.
  • Correct chain/bar combinations: use the chain size recommended for the guide bar; an incorrect combination can result in the chain not fitting the drive sprocket for the saw or the sprocket tip of the guide bar. An incorrect length will not fit on the saw.
  • Bar and chain scabbard: protects the bar and chain when the saw is not in use.
  • Carrying case: protects the saw and makes it easier and safer to transport.
  • Scrench tool (all-in-one tool).
  • Chainsaw sharpening kit and chainsaw files.

Chainsaw safety equipment

Personal safety equipment is always recommended when using a chainsaw or other power equipment. These items are highly recommended:

  • Eye protection with side shields.
  • Hearing protection: earplugs or earmuffs.
  • Boots or shoes with steel toes and nonskid soles.
  • A hard hat for protection from falling branches.
  • Chaps or cut-resistant pants to protect your legs.
  • Gloves with enhanced gripping surfaces.
  • Chainsaw helmet with face protection, neck guards, and ear protection.

Chainsaw safety

Here are chainsaw running best practices:

  • Grip gas-powered chainsaws firmly when pull-starting and keep the saw on the ground.
  • Never saw while on a ladder or use the saw above shoulder height.
  • Do not saw using the tip of the chain and bar; kickback towards you can occur.
  • Keep the chain properly sharpened, tensioned, and oiled to speed cutting and help prevent kickback.
  • Be sure the chain is properly tensioned; a loose chain can slip off the bar and spin toward the operator.
  • Never run a gasoline-powered tool indoors or in an enclosed space; they produce carbon monoxide, a gas that is potentially fatal.

Chainsaw maintenance

Before using a chainsaw do the following:

  • Consult the owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s suggestions.
  • Check for leaks, cracks, and damage to the machine.
  • Test the throttle, choke, trigger lockout, and stop switch.
  • Check the chain brake.
  • Check the chainsaw chain and the chainsaw bar for damage–bent teeth or a warped bar.
  • Be sure the chain is properly aligned on the guide bar and adjust the chain tension as recommended by the manufactuer.
  • Check bar, fuel, and oil levels.
  • If you are not planning to use the saw for an extended period of time, drain the fuel and oil. Run the engine of a gas-powered chainsaw until the carburetor is dry.

The chain is dull and needs sharpening or replacing if:

  • You need to apply pressure to cut into the wood. A sharp saw will pull itself into the wood.
  • It smokes even though it is fully lubricated.
  • The sawdust is fine instead of strands or large chunks.
  • The chainsaw bounces, rattles, or pulls in one direction.

Chainsaws we like

About our list: We spend nearly every day in the garden. We also spend a lot of time with other gardeners. Many of the tools on our favorites list are tools we use or tools we see being used by our gardening friends. We also chat with sales associates at the garden center, box store, and hardware about tools they are selling and recommend. Our list is comprised of tools we know first-hand are right for the job and reasonably priced.

Chainsaws for branches under 4-inches in diameter

Worx WG320 20v Power Share JawSaw Cordless Chainsaw. 20v. Auto-tensioner, Automatic chain oiler. Weighs 7.9 lbs. About 170.

Craftsman Looper (CMCCS2621D1) w/ V20 4Ah Battery. About 231.

BlackDecker Alligator (LLP120), 20V Lopper. Weighs 6.8 lb. About 156.

Corded chainsaws

Oregon CS1500—Self-Sharpening Chain. 18″ bar. 15 amps/120v. Cuts 3-5″ diameter. Instant start, no pull cords, no-gasoline mixing, no emissions, lightweight, balanced, low vibration. Built-in chain sharpener. Weighs 12 lb. About 116.

WORX WG304.1 Chainsaw. Corded electric. 18″ bar. 15 Amp. Weighs 11 lbs.

Cordless battery chainsaws

Makita XCU03PT. 14″ bar. 18v x 2, 36v/32cc equivalent. Excellent safety features. Weighs 11.5 lbs. About 380. About 389.

Greenworks 80-volt Lithium Ion. 18″ bar. 2.0Ah. 2.7hp. Weighs 12.5 lbs.

chainsaw, buyer, guide, best-rated

Kobalt KCS 120-07 40 volt cordless chainsaw. 12″ bar, 2.5 AH battery capacity. Weighs 8.83 lbs. Good for small jobs, pruning, cutting small branches. About 135.

Powerworks CS60L2510PW. 60v. battery chainsaw. 16″ bar and chain. 11.24 lbs. About 149.

Gas-powered chainsaws

STIHL 271 Farm Boss Chainsaw. 20″ bar, durable and fuel efficient. Cuts large diameter wood. Can only be bought via a dealer.

Husqvarna 455 Rancher. 20″ bar and chain. 55.5cc. Auto-oiler. Weighs 12.8 lbs. Great for cutting firewood. About 300.

Echo CS-310-14 chainsaw. 14″ bar. Maximum cut diameter 25″. Read handle. Up to 90 B noise. Weighs 10.3 lbs.

Husqvarna 460 Rancher. 24″ bar. 3.62 HP. 104 dB. Weighs 13 lbs. About 598.

Remington RM4216. 14″ bar. 42cc engine. Low vibration. Ergonomic design. Weighs 14 lbs. About 130/

chainsaw, buyer, guide, best-rated

Poulan Pro PR5020. 20″ bar. 50cc engine. 102db. Weighs 15.5 lbs. About 260.

Remington Gas Chainsaw. 62cc. engine. 20″ bar and chain. Fells 18″ trees. Automatic oiler. 5-point anti-vibration system.

Pole chainsaws, also called pole saws

Sun Joe SWJ803E 10 inch 8.0 Amp corded Electric Multi-Angle Pole Chain Saw. About 80.

DeWALT 20V MAX XR Pole Saw, battery-powered. 15-Foot Reach (DCPS620M1). About 215.

Worx WG323 20V Power Share 10″ Cordless Pole/Chain Saw with Auto-Tension (Battery Charger Included). About 159.

Sun Joe 40V Lithium Ion 8-Inch Cordless Pole Chainsaw (iON8PS2): Product Review

The cordless, battery-powered market for outdoor tools continues to expand. These days, virtually all hand driven gasoline powered tools have an equivalent (or close to it) battery operated model, including chainsaw pole pruners.

I tested the Sun Joe 40V Lithium Ion Battery Powered 8-Inch Cordless Pole Chainsaw (Model iON8PS2). This tool is intended to replace equivalent corded models and hand operated pruning saws (which have the cutting blade affixed to a wooden or fiberglass pole).

[Editor’s Note] We tested the new model – iON8PS2. There’s an older model still available (iON8PS) that doesn’t have some of the featured described in this review.


Battery Voltage: 40 V (Volts)
Battery Capacity: 4.0Ah (Amp hours)
Battery Type: Lithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Charging Time: 2.5 – 3.0 hours (for full charge)
Battery Run Time: 25 minutes/up to 75 cuts
No Load Speed: 4800 /- 10% rpm
Bar Chain Length: 8 inches
Cutting Thickness (max): 7.1 inches
Multi-Angle Head: 0 0 or 30 0 (with the push of a button)
Telescopic Shaft: 6.1 ft to 8.5 ft
Overhead Reach: 15 ft
Oil Tank Capacity: 2.7 fl oz
Weight (pole chainsaw alone): 8.6 lbs
Weight (pole chainsaw with battery installed): 11.2 lbs


The shipping box is heavy duty cardboard with reinforced areas to protect critical components. The battery and battery charger are packaged in separate boxes within the same shipping box to protect the charger, battery and pole saw, and the bar and chain are packaged in a separate paper bag. The kit also comes with a shoulder strap.

It should be noted that the kit does not come with bar and chain oil (you wouldn’t want that to leak while in transit). It’s easy to buy this at your local hardware store or professional arborist supply store that stocks chainsaws.

Sturdily packaged, the pruner comes with a charger, battery, shoulder strap, a bar and chain, and a hex key wrench/screwdriver

Minimal Assembly Required

Some assembly is required before using the pole chainsaw. This includes adding the bar and chain to the motor assembly, but with the detailed operator’s manual it’s a snap to assemble.

The kit also comes with a hex tool/screwdriver that fits all the necessary bolts and nuts for making adjustments. The single assembly tool is a good example of how Sun Joe did a nice job designing a pole chainsaw where “form follows function”.

Placing the bar and chain onto the motor drive is an easy process thanks to the great operator’s manual

Excellent Operator’s Manual

Sun Joe provides an extremely well written and informative operator’s manual. I especially appreciated the sections on how to sharpen a chain, proper safety protocols, maintenance procedures and all around general information that everyone who owns and operates a pole chainsaw should know.

The operator’s manual even describes proper cutting technique and has instructions on how to properly prune trees (without getting the saw jammed by a weighted limb or cutting off the branch bark collar which is critical for the tree to seal the wound). The manual also provides maintenance tips, and includes a whole section on how to properly sharpen a dull chain.


Operating the cordless pole chain saw is as easy as inserting the 4.0V 4.0Ah Lithium Ion battery into the battery compartment at the rear of the unit.

But before doing this, the battery has to be charged to full capacity. It comes from the factory with a partial charge and takes about 2.0 to 2.5 hours to top off the battery before use. Don’t forget to do this!

For complete details about Li-Ion batteries used in chainsaws, see our Li-Ion Battery FAQ’s.

The battery snaps into place at the back of the saw behind the hand bar and is held in by a plastic retention clip that’s an integral part of the battery. The clip also helps in removing the battery – just pull up on the retention clip and the battery easily slides out.

The battery also has a fuel gauge to let you know how much power is left. With the push of a button you can easily read the three LED lights – one for empty, one for ½ charge, and the third for full charge.

The battery compartment makes it easy to slide the battery into place. The battery LED lights lets you know how much battery life remains.

Weight Distribution

The saw is pretty heavily weighted toward the cutting head, even when the battery is installed at the back end of the pole. When the pole chainsaw is extended to its full length (8.5 ft) the weight and balance distribution becomes even more front heavy.

Comfortable Shoulder Strap

I wouldn’t recommend using the Sun Joe Chainsaw Pole Pruner without the shoulder strap – it really helps with holding the saw stable (at any length) and you won’t have to muscle the unit into place each time you want to make a cut.

Weighing in at just over 11 lbs, it would take a lot of physical energy to operate this saw for any length of time without using the provided shoulder strap.

Holding the pole saw at various lengths was easy thanks to the shoulder strap

And to create even more comfort while using the saw, Sun Joe has incorporated a thick front handle foam grip. I found that it absorbed virtually all the shock and vibration of running the saw.

The foam handle made a comfortable and secure grip

Adjustable Telescoping Pole

To extend the saw from 6.1ft to 8.5ft, release the cam-lock at the front of the first section of the first pole. The cam is easy to open and close, and the cam-lock nut (for tightening or loosening the cam-lock) is easily adjusted with the provided hex key wrench/blade screwdriver.

One thing I like about the adjustable telescoping pole is that it’s made from fiberglass. This gives the saw a real sense of quality and keeps the poles stiff when extended to its full reach of 8.5 ft. The poles are also oval in shape so the cutting head doesn’t twist.

The cam-lock makes it easy to adjust the length of the poles

Cutting Performance

In my tests, it was apparent from the get-go that the Sun Joe 40V 8-Inch Cordless Pole Chainsaw has a lot of cutting power. First, I pruned several small branches (about 2” in diameter) to get a feel for the saw. It sliced through these like a hot knife through butter. I then moved to larger branches, in the neighborhood of 4”. It made quick work of these as well. The ultimate test was cutting a branch that was almost 7” in diameter. I was surprised to see the power of this cordless pole chain saw – it had absolutely no problem slicing through large pieces of dead Mesquite wood (which is really hard stuff).

The pole chainsaw had no problem cutting though nearly 7” wood

Two Cutting Angles

A feature I really appreciate (and that I haven’t seen on other saws in this class) is the saw’s ability to adjust to two different cutting angles – both a straight-on, 0 0 position and a 30 0 off-set one. Simply push the multi-angle head adjustment button to change the head angle from 0 0 to 30 0. and back to 0 0.

The adjustable head comes in handy when making an undercut where the blade needs to be almost parallel to the ground (I set the saw head angle at 30 0 ). You can also run into situations where it’s easier to have the head at an angle when cutting branches high in a tree and you need them to fall off straight vs. at an angle. And there are still other times where having the head at the straight-on 0 0 angle is preferable to having it at an angle (like simple pruning of smaller branches).

This is the only saw I’ve tested to date that has the flexibility of head adjustment. I found it very useful.

The 30 degree multi-angle head adjustment makes it easy to tackle virtually any cutting situations.

The 0 degree straight-on angle makes pruning small diameter branches a breeze.

The telescoping pole (from 6.1 ft to 8.5 ft) gave me the reach I was looking for when pruning or limbing. It kept me out of harms way, and saved a lot of physical energy versus using a hand operated pole saw.

Makes Clean Cuts

Overall, the cuts with the Sun Joe saw are very good (the super sharp chain and automatic bar and chain oiler make sure of that). Despite its rather large cutting head, the saw is able to get into pretty tight places to provide a proper pruning cut.

Safety First

The Sun Joe 40V 8-Inch Cordless Pole Chainsaw (Model iON8PS2) has great safety features built into the rear handle to prevent accidental starting. There’s a safety lock switch in the rear handle that must be depressed before the throttle trigger switch can be engaged.

When operating any chainsaw, I recommend a certified “hard hat” helmet, hearing protection, gloves, pants, protective chaps (a chap that goes over your pants that prevents chainsaw cuts), long sleeve shirt, boots and safety glasses.


Sun Joe offers the following spare parts:

  • EcoSharp 40V 4.0Ah battery
  • EcoSharp 40V 5.0Ah battery (for longer run time than the 4.0Ah battery)
  • EcoSharp 40V Lithium Ion Battery Charger
  • 8” guide bar (chainsaw blade)
  • 8” chainsaw chain (that fits on chainsaw bar)
  • Bar and Chain Oil


Sun Joe warranties its new products to the original purchaser for two years against defects in material and workmanship when used for normal residential purposes. If a replacement part or product is needed, they’ll send it free of charge to the original purchaser.

Batteries are covered in full for 90-days from the date of purchase.

The exceptions are that the product must be used for personal use, not commercial use or leased out (within the first 90 days from the date of original purchase). Also, you’re responsible for correctly performing all maintenance and minor adjustments explained in the owner’s manual.

Parts that normally wear, like chains, belts, etc., are not covered under the Sun Joe warranty.


I like the Sun Joe 40V Lithium Ion battery powered 8-Inch Cordless Pole Chainsaw (Model iON8PS2) – plain and simple. The power to weight ratio is great, making the saw powerful but not too heavy (particularly if wearing the shoulder strap). It makes very clean cuts and the fit and finish suggest quality throughout. In my tests, the motor never lacked the power to cut through the thickest woods (up to the saw’s maximum cutting diameter), including incredibly hard deadwood. A single tool to tighten the front cover nut, chain tensioner screw, and telescoping cam lock is a real plus (one tool beats the heck out of many).

Overall, the saw operates very much like its commercial grade, higher end, gasoline driven counterparts.


The Sun Joe 40V 8-Inch Cordless Pole Chainsaw (Model iON8PS2) is available on the Sun Joe website for 309.00. Extra batteries are available from Sun Joe. A 40V 4.0Ah battery costs 149.99. A 40V 5.0Ah battery list for 159.99. A 40V EcoSharp battery charger costs 49.99. An 8” replacement chain costs 14.99, and a replacement bar costs 19.99.

The product is also offered at retailers such as Home Depot, QVC, Walmart, and Lowes.

Extra 40V 4.0Ah batteries from Amazon cost 118.95 (Prime), replacement chain costs 10.00 (Prime), replacement bar costs 24.99 (Prime), and bar and chain oil costs 6.97.

The best chainsaws and tree cutting tools

Because there are times when simple pruners and lopers are not enough. Got a more serious job to take on? Here’s the extra power you need.

There comes a time when only a chainsaw can ‘cut it’ in your garden. For tree-felling there’s no other (sensible) option and unenviable tasks such as the heavyweight taming of hawthorn become a breeze when there’s sufficient power at play.

Likewise more mundane tasks such as chopping logs or even trimming and shaping trees become a boon with the right tool on the job.

And today’s chainsaws aren’t necessarily the dangerous, petrol-swilling, limb-threatening beasts of old. While there’s still plenty of cordless petrol power to ‘enjoy’, today’s electric saws are lighter, more manageable and priced keenly enough to consider adding one to your arsenal.

And they come in multiple distinct flavours depending on the job in hand.

Choosing a chainsaw – petrol versus electric

Firstly there’s your choice of power source. Petrol chainsaws deliver maximum power and lifespan so larger cutters still like to run on gas. They are however heavy, noisy and not exactly environmentally sound.

Electric chainsaws are by and large smaller, less powerful but much lighter and easier to use. They come in corded and uncorded varieties with corded usually being cheaper by avoiding the need for battery tech. So if you need all day running time and have access to a three pin plug, go for corded.

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Your biggest consideration in picking a chainsaw is the length of the blade. The bigger the blade the broader the branch it can cut. Watch out also for caps at the end of the blade. A capped blade – with a piece of metal over the sharp tips of the blade at its furthest extremity – is – in theory – safter than an uncapped one, elminating the possiblity of ‘kickback’ as the blade bites in jumps in the hands of the user. However a ‘tip’ or ‘cap’ on the blade means that you can’t push into larger pieces of wood and thereby limits the depth of possible cuts.

With a capped blade you can’t – for example – cut halfway through a wider log then attack it from the other side to meet in the middle. The upside is that it is much harder to do yourself or someone else a mischief if you were to mis-handle it…

Chainsaws versus chainpoles

Do consider chainpoles too. Chainpoles magically bring together the power of a chainsaw (albeit slightly miniaturised) with an extendable ‘pruner’-type pole. Just the job for taking out branches from unruly trees without resorting to leaving the ground.

Some even offer the best of all worlds being detachable from the pole for close-up work and re-attachable when you need the reach.

Makita UC3541A/2

This Makita is a good balance of weight, noise, power and price. It’s corded so there’s no batteries or chargers to pay for and with a 35cm blade it’s certainly up the most heavyweight gardening jobs such as chopping logs or felling small trees and bushes.

There’s hand guards for protection and the chain is self-oiling and easy to remove without additional tools when you need to sharpen it up. And with 1800W of power it’ll soon slice through whatever you throw at it.

Ryobi RCS1935B

If you need a little more power then this 1900W Ryobi model delivers with just a little increase in weight (at 5.1kg). wattage gives a faster chain rotation so you’ll be through those branches that little bit faster.

With a 356mm (14″) blade it’s ready for most average gardening jobs and with a chain provided by chainsaw pros Oregon it’s build to last with a reputation for quality behind it. Ryobi – home of the ONE battery system – hardly being slouches in this respect either.

This model is a corded unit which gives run-all-day power at the expense of a little portability but which allows it to deliver all you need at a keen price.

Bosch UniversalChain 18

This completely cordless, battery-powered Bosch unit uses their 18v battery system which is consistent across their entire powertools range. As a battery unit it’s a little smaller than a corded unit with a 20cm blade but that makes it an ideal ‘pruning’ chainsaw being exceptionally lightweight at 3kg and easy to wield dual-handed.

It features an Oregon chain and the blade is capped with a tip for extra saftey – which reduces that maximum branch-cutting a little further – but you’re guaranteed no jamming or kickbacks.

And the small, lightweight ‘Power For All’ Bosch battery (and charger, supplied) is good for an impressive 450 cuts, the manufacturers claim.

Husqvarna HUSQ120-14 120 II

Husqvarna specialise in hard-wearing professional kit and this model pulls off the double act of carrying all their build and power (being petrol powered) with more than a nod towards the real world actual needs of most gardeners.

It’s easy to start and maintain while being powerful, portable and potent enough to get the job done without being too unwieldy. It has a 14″ blade (that’s 356mm) and weighs just 4.8Kg – impressive for a petrol machine and lighter than some electrics.


STIHL are famous for their petrol-powered gardening hardware that’s often seen in the hands of pros with large gardens to keep in check. Their MSA however builds on their know-how when it comes to cutting, but teams it with battery power.

The result is a saw with admirable power (and a 30cm cutting blade) but which weighs just 2.5Kg. A STIHL battery and charger – which works in their other electric-powered battery products – is included in the pack.

Bosch Universal Chain Pole Cordless Chainsaw

When you need something a little more powerful than a simple trimmer then reach for a powered chainpole (aka pole saw). Rather than featuring reciprocating horizontal cutters, a pole saw features a single continuous chain blade making it far more adept at cutting through tougher obstacles and branches.

This simple, light and easy-to-use chainpole is the tool that you didn’t know you needed until you used it! If you’ve ever spent a day up a wobbly ladder armed with a handsaw trying to return shape to an Apple tree or hacking back wilderness then Bosch’s chainpole is the antidote to days of sweat and tears.

Its capped blade can be safely operated at heights of up to 2.6m thanks to its extendable pole.

The Bosch ‘Power For All’ system is so ubiquitous that this pack is available in two forms – with or without a battery and charger – so if you already own a Bosch powertool or CityMower, for example, then there’s no need to spend more on another battery and charger.

Black Decker PS7525-GB Corded Pole Saw

What we have here is one of the most enduring brands giving us their take on a good old fashioned chainsaw, albeit electrically powered and with the saw element at the end of a long, adjustable pole. If you’re undertaking some major pruning – such as keeping holly trees, laurel and verdant bushes in check – then this is just the job for reaching and cutting through those big and hard to reach branches.

The saw can be switched on and off from the trigger on the pole section, which is 2.44m in length and – thanks to being mains powered – there’s no battery system to invest in so that all-in-one, all-you-need price is kept low.

Einhell 4501720 GH-EC 2040 2000W Electric Chainsaw

If you’ve only an occasional chainsaw job to take on (or are simply looking for something that’s keenly priced and powerful) then this Einhell packs a combination of wired 2000W power and a 40cm uncapped blade allowing you to attack larger garden jobs.

Powerful and capable enough to fell small trees it features a popular Oregon rail and automatic kickback protection for extra safety.

Hyundai petrol 20 inch chainsaw

Need even more cutting power and an even longer blade? This well-priced petrol option from Hyundai delivers the no-frills power you need.

With a 50.8cm (20″) blade and powerful 2700W, 62cc engine it still manages to weigh in at 6.8Kg – no small feat for the largest chainsaw in our selection.

On top of its pure cutting power there’s an anti-kickback safety brake, automatic chain lubrication and an anti-vibration system that makes it more comfortable to use for sustained periods of time. And, being petrol powered, there’s no batteries to charge or cables to cut through.


Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest home and entertainment brands in the world. He is a serial house-renovator and home improvement expert, taking on everything from interior design and DIY to landscape gardening and garden design.

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