There are two types of chainsaws on the market: gas powered and electric models. Gas powered models (almost always a two-stroke gasoline internal combustion engine) generally provide more power and hence more cutting power. Whereas electric chainsaws offer lower cost and maintenance-free operation since they won’t require users to continuously monitor and fill the gas. Electric models tend to vibrate less than gas models and are quieter and safer to use indoors.
The HP/CC rating of the motor will be the factor that determines the cutting power. What’s more important than the rated HP/CC is the actual cutting performance.
The length of the blade can also be important depending on what you want to cut with it. If you just want to cut branches, bushes, etc. a shorter blade will do; but for cutting trunks, a longer blade is better. Normally, 18-20 inches is a good value.
One of the most important things about a chainsaw is the easy-start feature. If the motor is hard to start, requires a lot of pulls before starting, or gets the motor flooded while trying to start, it will be a real turn off for almost any user. The cold and hot start performance is also important. Most electric models come with a push-button start feature which is a real convenience.
All chainsaws vibrate to a certain degree (due to the continuous motion of the chain and the resistance applied by the branches/trunks). The amount of vibration determines whether or not users can use the saw for extended periods. If it’s vibrating too much, the user will feel tired very quickly and the work will take much longer.
Some (if not most) new chainsaw models come with vibration dampening features that eliminate or reduce this problem.
Another factor that determines the usability of the saw is the weight. If it’s a lightweight saw, people will be able to work with it longer, getting the job done in less time. If it’s heavier, they will get tired quickly and have to take breaks, delaying the completion of the work.
Users will have to adjust the chain tension from time to time (it may get too loose or too tight and need adjustment). The easier it is to adjust the tension, the better it will be for the user. As long as the adjustment is easy to do, they will spend less time doing it and won’t suffer from fatigue.
Chains need to be oiled with specific intervals (those intervals will vary depending on the model). Some models have auto oiling systems in which the user puts the oil in a specific container and it gets dispensed automatically. This is a very good feature to have since it makes sure that the chain is always oiled and doesn’t require the user to deal with it. Unfortunately most chainsaw model on the market do not have this feature
These two are important safety features. The chain break allows the user to immediately stop the chain if there’s any kickback, etc. And the trigger lock is used to make sure that no one can accidentally start the saw. Most saw models will have these features, and it may be a serious problem if they don’t.
These are additional features that add to the overall safety of the saw. When the saw bites a bigger piece than it can cut, there can be some sort of kickback (or ricochet) that can be very dangerous for the user. Some models have special safeguards against these problems (like guard links on the chain or narrow tips that prevent the saw from cutting into too big pieces). These are very valuable features that ensure the safety of the user.
Some saw models have a steel guard that you can place on the tip of the bar, preventing the chain from getting snagged. This is a cool feature to have and it offers ultimate protection.
Bucking spikes are sharp spikes placed near the end of the bar. What they do is to pierce the log, providing a pivot point from which you can just move the saw downwards for an easy and effortless cut. These will also add to safety since they limit the mobility of the chainsaw and minimize the risk of accidents.
If the model you intend to buy is a gas model, does it consume too much gas? How often do the users need to fill the gas tank? In addition, some gas models have a fuel tank indicator that shows how much fuel is left in the tank. This helps the user to know when to refill.
And if it’s an electric model, how long does a charge last? How long does it take to recharge the battery? If it requires constant refilling or recharging, it can be a serious problem and you may want to consider a different model.
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