Which Firewood Chainsaw is right for me?
A reliable firewood chainsaw is always a good bet! Of course, you have to factor in how much wood you cut, the size of the wood, and how much you would like to spend.
Read below for some important information to help you make the right decision.
The Anatomy of a Chainsaw
A chainsaw consists of a small engine (or electric motor in some cases) which powers a crankshaft that turns a sprocket attached to a clutch, which powers the chain to spin around the bar. Whew, that's a mouthful!
Lets look at the important parts that you need to understand when buying a saw.
First of all, the size of a chainsaw should be determined by the size of the engine(measured in cubic centimeters). Have you ever asked someone the size of their chainsaw and they reply with, " It's a 14" chainsaw"? They are referring to the length of the bar, which isn't necessarily related to the size of the saw itself. A smaller saw will have an engine around 40-50 cc's, whereas larger saws run 70+ cc's. The size of the engine will determine the power of the saw.
The bar and chain that you run on the saw is partly determined by the size of the engine, but also based upon the size of wood you are cutting. Therefore, if you commonly cut 20+" diameter firewood, a 2' bar would make sense. However, if you generally cut smaller wood, an 18" or 16" bar would be advisable.
All modern saws have a safety feature known as a chain brake. The chain brake is the lever at the top of the saw that will stop the chain during kickback. This is a very important feature, never buy a saw without a chain brake!
Electric vs. Gas
In my mind, this one is a no-brainer. Buy a gas saw! Seriously, do you really want to use 300' of extension cords everytime you run your chainsaw? I would rather cut wood with a bowsaw or crosscut saw than deal with that headache. What a pain!
If you are serious about cutting firewood, get a gas powered saw.
What are the Best Firewood Chainsaw Brands?
This is area where the old adage, "you get what you pay for", really rings true. I can't necessarily say that the brands that I haven't used are bad products. But doesn't the fact that I don't use them speak for itself?
In my opinion, you should only consider using two brands of firewood chainsaws- Stihl and Husqvarna. Almost all professional arborists and loggers use these two brands. I have used them both extensively and they are top notch saws.
In deciding between the two brands, I would say that you should base your decision on which brand has a shop/dealership closest to your residence. In my experience, Husqvarna saws are the best running saws when they are running properly. However, Stihl saws are very close. The great thing about Stihl is that their saws are hard to kill. They literally run for years and years. Regardless of which brand you choose, you will be happy with your saw.
How much to spend
Down to the nitty gritty, how much does a good firewood chainsaw cost? Let's break it down by size.
Small Homeowner Saw
A small homeowner saw is perfect for the occassional user who doesn't process large amounts of firewood every year. These saws are around 30 cc's and will cost around $200. Certainly a worthy investment if you aren't cutting larger wood.
Smaller Professional Saw
A smaller professional saw is great for someone who cuts a lot of firewood, but doesn't cut really big stuff. The difference between these saws and the homeowner versions, is durability and performance. Simply put, these saws are built to last longer and perform better.
Most models are between 40-50 cc's and will cost in the ballpark of $400-$500.
Medium and Larger Professional Saws
These saws will cost you a pretty penny, but can be well worth the investment if you are serious about cutting firewood and deal with larger wood.
The size of these saws can run from 60 cc's to 80+ cc's. Unfortunately, they will also cost you a pretty penny. You are looking at $600+ for a saw of this caliber.
Determine the type of firewood chainsaw that you need. Then buy a quality saw and develop a relationship with your local saw shop. Stihl and Husqvarna dealers are usually great to deal with and stand behind their products.
If you don't have a saw shop nearby, you can purchase some saws online. Just be weary of negative reviews from folks that don't know what they're talking about. Often times people give negative reviews because they don't know how to use a chainsaw properly (running a dull chain, flooding the engine, etc). Below is a quality medium-sized chainsaw that is good for firewood purposes.
Good luck and happy cutting!
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