The Best Rated Chainsaw of 2018 – Our Top 5 Showdown
You, the average everyday customer who needs a good chainsaw for his yard work – you came here to find out which is the best rated chainsaw for the current year. Furthermore, you came because you need your new chainsaw to be the best. Those trees are not going to cut themselves, of course.
Listen, we know you’re tired of the noise your current chainsaw makes. We also know that you need it to work in rain, sleet, and snow. Not to mention that it vibrates like crazy – you’re lucky you still have all of your fingers and toes intact! And then there’s the maintenance! Good Lord, does it take a long time to clean up and fix that chainsaw of yours, huh? Someone would think you’re rebuilding the darned thing.
But fear not. For if you keep on reading, you will see no less than five products worth your time. Five powerful gas-powered chainsaws that the free market decided are the best. Husqvarna, Tanaka, Poulan, Remington and Echo all came to your aid, and without further ado, let us present you with our top picks for the best-rated chainsaw. Let us start as we mean to go on.
- 1 Top 5 Table of Comparison
- 2 Best Rated Chainsaws Reviewed
- 3 Comparing and Contrasting
- 4 Final Verdict
Top 5 Table of Comparison
Best Rated Chainsaws Reviewed
1. Husqvarna 460 Rancher - Best Chainsaw for the Money
You won’t be surprised to see a name like Husqvarna on this list. What we have for you here, however, is a beast. The Husqvarna 460 Rancher gas powered saw is, as the company itself describes it, a robust all-round saw. It’s large and strong enough for more demanding lumberjacking, yet adequate for everyday yard work.
Dimension and Weight
Let’s start with what’s on the outside. This chainsaw weighs 12.79 pounds. Bar-wise, the recommended length is 13, whereas the maximum length caps off at 23 inches. When it comes to the chain, the pitch is 3/8’’, and its max speed is 65.62 fts. However, it can reach 87.27 fts at 133% of max engine power speed.
This is where the fun starts. The engine’s cylinder displacement is 60.3cm3, or 3.68 cubic inches. Its maximum speed is 9000 rpm and the idling speed no less than 2700 rpm. All of this with a power output of 3.62 hp. The volume of the fuel tank comes up to 0.9 American pints, while it consumes 437 grams of fuel per kilowatt-hour.
This model also comes with some interesting new technology. We get the return of Smart Start, a staple of most major Husqvarna products. But this time, it ties in with the X-Torq® engine, a powerful high rpm beast with a twist. In fact, the maximum torque of X-Torq is 3.4 Nm. X-Torq consumes less fuel, not to mention reducing levels of emission. Hence it is eco-friendly that it meets the most stringent regulations regarding environmental protection. Something worthy of a potential best-rated chainsaw.
Next, we have to mention the air injection. Normally a lot of small debris get stuck in the filter. Clean it as you may, it will build up with the next cut. But this model has you covered. Inside the saw is a circular air cleaning centrifugal system. It is designed to get rid of bigger bits of debris and annoying dust before it finds its way to the filter. Not only will you clean your filter less, you’ll also extend the X-Torq’s life as a result.
Are vibrations getting you tired? LowVib® is the answer. With this innovation, your saw will work with extremely reduced vibration levels. The equivalent vibration level of the front handle amounts to 3.8 m/s2, and 6.9 m/s2 of the rear one. No more lax arms, you can saw away with less effort exerted.
Oil Flow Adjustment
One more massive innovation with this chainsaw is that you can adjust the oil flow in your oil pump, depending on the weather and where you use the saw. The tank itself has a volume of 0.7 American pints, and its pump is automatic. When it comes to oil capacity of the pump, it ranges from 6 to 17 ml/min.
Naturally, there are so many more innovations and features to experience with this chainsaw. There’s reduced noise, the chain brake, the quick-release air filter, the chain tensioner mounted on the side etc.
Downsides of Husqvarna 460 Rancher
Naturally, as good as it is, the Rancher isn’t perfect. Customers have reported some oil leakage when storing the saw. There are several solutions to this – loosening the cap to release pressure, draining the tank, placing a tray or some cardboard under the saw… But these solutions don’t change the fact that this issue exists.
Another common complaint is the removing of the clutch cover. People can’t seem to replace the cover across the board. You can solve this if you disengage the chain brake, and then try to remove the cover. All of this is in the user manual, of course, but seeing as it is a common complaint among new users, we feel the need to mention it here anyway. Even the best rated chainsaw has problems, of course.
2. Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14 - Suitable for Female Users
Tanaka Power Equipment has been on the Japanese market for a little over a century. They started off with internal combustion engine tech and the light machinery that uses them. Soon they branched out into other fields like bolt-on motors for bicycles.
At the moment, Tanaka manufacture gardening and outdoor equipment. They currently stand as part of the Hitachi Power Tools Group, but still make products under their brand name.
So let’s take a look at the this models which stand as potential best rated chainsaw material, the TCS33EDTP/14.
So let’s get right into the feature Tanaka boasts of loud and proud – the engine. With Tanaka chainsaw, you get a 32.2 cc PureFire ® two-stroke wonder of an engine. Tanaka is rightfully proud of this bad boy. This is because it can meet any emission level, and not sacrifice any power doing so.
Furthermore, you don’t get any extra weight, and the maintenance isn’t a massive hassle like with most other saws similar to this one. The engine is commercial-grade, and it provides reliable remarkable cutting performance.
The nose bar and the chain are both Oregon® sprocket ones, a sure sign of quality if ever there was one. These two reduce the overall kickback of the saw while still performing excellent cuts. To tension the chain, you need only look at the side of the Tanaka chainsaw. Indeed, if there is anything a best-rated chainsaw must have, it's safety and quality bar-chain synergy.
Oil Flow Adjustment
The Tanaka has a fixed flow oiling system. In other words, the saw automatically oils the bar and chain when you use it, eliminating the need for you to do it manually before cutting. The oil tank capacity is 6.0 fluid ounces, which is 3.9 fluid ounces smaller than the fuel tank. You cannot really adjust the amount of oil that flows with this model, so that might get you to look into other models.
In order for you to safely work on your cutting tasks, this model comes with plenty of safety features. The first is the chain brake, which helps with severe kickback. The saw itself forces your left hand to push forward, right on the brake. This will stop the saw in its tracks, and save you a trip to the emergency ward.
Next in line is the chain catcher. In case the chain fails, this feature…well, catches it before it can harm you. The throttle trigger lockout, the Tanaka's third safety feature, prevents you from accidentally using the throttle trigger.
Should you have issues with flying debris or the chain reaching your left hand, the front hand-guard is there to ensure you keep all your fingers. And finally, there’s the anti-vibration system, there to reduce fatigue and vibration as much as possible.
Downsides of the Tanaka Top Handle Chainsaws
Most common complaints about this set of saw are the usual suspects, ie high maintenance and oil leakage. One that we mentioned earlier is the lack of regulation when it comes to oiling up the chain. But the one issue that might not make this one of the best chainsaw is simply that it’s a top handle model. You cannot use it on the ground level, and can’t really cut down massive trees or thick branches. This saw is for elevated work only, meaning it is limited by its purpose.
3. Poulan Pro PR5020 - Best for Home Use
Now, many people think of Poulan as the “poor man’s Husqvarna”. And to an extent, this is true. Husqvarna, in fact, owns Poulan, thus most of the models have Husqvarna components in them.
The Poulan Pro line of gas-powered chainsaws consists of four products, one of which is also a battery-powered saw. In this review, we will focus on the biggest model, the 5020 AV.
This is a homeowner-grade saw. Essentially, you won’t be getting into professional lumberjacking using the PR5020, but it will do wonders for your backyard. The best thing going for this model is that it’s relatively cheap compared to more high-end products by more popular brands. However, the smaller price does not, in this case, equate poorer quality. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. And to see why, we need to examine the PR5020’s make-up.
The engine is the first place to look, and emission-reducing, yet powerful engines always get bonus points to a saw aiming to be the best-rated chainsaw on the market. Poulan Pro 5020 boasts a Duralife 50cc two-cycle engine with OxyPower technology. This means 20% less fuel consumption and an incredible 70% less overall emissions. A clean, eco-friendly engine on a gas saw is a Godsend everywhere.
Bar and Chain
With your PR5020 model, you get a 20 inch bar with a 0.050 inch chain gauge and the chain pitch of 3/8 of an inch. You can manipulate the chain tension on the side of the saw, like with most models. With this beast, you get 9000 rpm while in use, and 3000 while idling.
In addition, starting up the chain is easy with the EPS, or the effortless pull-start system. This system reduces the pull force while starting up the saw. As a result, you get 30% less pull force, easier starting, and less wearing.
Safety and Maintenance
You will, of course, have to think of safety when handling any chainsaw. PR5020 has everything a safe saw requires. There’s your everyday chain catcher near the root of the bar, in case your chain decides to fly off and hit you.
Following that, there’s the typical front hand bar, as well as a lockout system for the throttle trigger. But the main feature here is the double post chain brake. Like with other saws, this is a system that requires right hand activation and automatic inertia to be effective. In case of kickback, you can rely on this system to keep your limbs intact.
As far as maintenance goes, this model has the reputation of actually being easy to tinker with. Should you want to perform tool-less maintenance, you have the handy combination tool right there in the rear handle. Another onboard tool keeps your scrench, or screwdriver-cum-wrench, close at hand.
Studying the instructions will show you just how easy it is to disassemble and reassemble the chainsaw. And considering it uses Husqvarna parts, you’ll be able to get replacements easily should anything break down.
Downsides of the Poulan Pro Gas Powered Chainsaws
Again, most of the problems that you’d come across with other chainsaws, you’ll face with the Poulan Pro series. Including the 5020, these saws tend to leak oil, have less rpm than its capacity boasts, and cannot help you with projects outside of your backyard.
On top of that, be ready to stockpile some oil, as this chainsaw uses up a lot of it during cutting.
4. Remington RM4620 Outlaw - Best Chainsaw Under $200
Sometimes what is deemed average turns out to be just what you need. Hailing from Mexico, Remington is a company with a long list of successful products. Their chainsaws have become a household name, and the RM4620 is no exception. This 46cc 20-inch gas chainsaw can be found at a reasonable price, yet it performs with an excellence of saws twice its price. No wonder it proudly wears the nickname we will be using throughout the text – Outlaw.
General Overview of The Outlaw
Before we start off, we should note that the Outlaw is so versatile that it can actually be of moderate use to professional lumberjacks. Naturally, it is primarily a product for your average consumer, and as such, it performs amazingly well.
One look at the engine and you know you’re dealing with a sturdy bastard. At 46cc, it’s no exaggeration to call this a high output engine. Its cylinder bore is a stunning professional grade chrome. With it, your engine has a long life ahead of itself, not to mention the durability of an ox.
And speaking of durability, we cannot forget the die-cast chassis, a perfect solution to all those long, draining cutting tasks. Finally, the Outlaw would not be that much of a saw if its bar and chain weren’t as durable as the rest of it. Both 20-inchers, the tough bar, and chain that you get with the saw can split almost any wood in half.
Normally, you’d want your saw to vibrate as little as possible, mainly for safety reasons. Aside from your typical safety features, the Remington 4620 Outlaw has a five-point anti-vibration system. On a side note, Remington’s anti-vibration systems are what more or less sold their product to the masses at large. They have become something of a staple, and it’s no wonder this continued with the Outlaw. You needn’t worry about vibrations with this model.
Similarly, you needn’t worry about kickback, either. The chain is low-kickback, hence you can trim down those branches with ease and the saw won’t hurt you.
Remington decided to make Outlaw endure the hardest of tasks. It only stands to reason that it must perform well, then. Even something as “trivial” as starting it up has improvements, with the Outlaw’s signature QuickStart™ tech. You rev it up and cut away, no issues.
We mentioned reduced vibrations earlier. You have the cushioned wrap handle to thank for that. Not only do you feel fewer vibrations as you cut, you also feel less fatigued. Considering this is a saw weighing 16.6 pounds, this is definitely a plus.
Oiling is done automatically, so your chain will always have the necessary lubrication. In addition, you can adjust your chain tension on the side of the saw based on what you plan to do with it.
This is a minor point, but it merits mentioning. If you want a saw with easy maintenance, the Outlaw is your tool of choice. You have the tool-free access to both the filter and the spark plug, so in case anything goes wrong, they are easy to reach, replace, and/or repair.
Downsides of the Remington RM4620 Outlaw Gas Chainsaw
Naturally, there are details that might make you doubt the Outlaw’s claim to best-rated chainsaw fame. And no, those aren’t the everyday issues of oil leakage or emissions, even though Remington has those. The main issue the Outlaw has happens to be that, as powerful and durable as it is, it just isn’t made for heavy-duty tasks. Massive trees in extreme weather will break this chainsaw, and it is hence best used for everyday tasks. Though, we should note, everyday tasks that are in the “hard” category.
5. Echo CS-400 Chainsaw - Best Chainsaw for Milling
Echo is a company that is described, by many, as a “prosumer” one. In other words, it makes products for both professional lumberjacks and everyday folks. So when a product comes along that appears to look professional, but function as a consumer one (or vice versa), people take notice. This is the case with Echo CS-400.
This marvel comes with two bar and chain lengths, a 16-incher, and an 18-incher. The good people over at Echo inform us that this saw here exists to withstand heavy-duty tasks. Instantly this makes you think “professional”, but whether that’s the case or not – read on below.
General Overview: Echo CS-400
The CS-400 is another saw in the line of great two-stroke engine tree-cutting products of today. It is purposely made to be as powerful as it is – Echo wants you to work this saw to the bone. And if this 40.2 cc engine wasn’t enough, you have two more components that make it stand out.
The first of those is the air filter. But bear in mind, this is not your everyday felt filter. It is, in fact, a heavy-duty, automotive-style filter to end all filters. The only thing better than this filter’s performance and make-up is how easy you can access it for removal and cleaning. This felt masterpiece will provide you with the best filtration during sawing, as well as the easiest cleanup.
The second component that makes this engine a beast is the so-called G-Force Engine Air Pre-Cleaner™. As you can assume, this pre-cleaner provides the saw with clean air, giving your Echo CS-400 proper protection against debris and dust.
You start up your Echo CS-400 with the greatest of ease. The reason behind that is the i-30™ reduced-effort starting system. Using digital ignition, you will be able to start up your CS-400 easily and will have no trouble with acceleration.
The bar and chain boast durability, like much else on and in this bad boy. If you would like to adjust your chain, the tensioner is on the side and easily accessible. In addition, the saw has an automatic oiler. Your chain will remain well and oiled during the entirety of your task, without the need to apply the oil manually. This is considered to be one of the best chainsaw for cutting trees.
This will be a minor point, as the CS-400 comes with most of the same features other professional chainsaws have in terms of safety. It has the automatic chain brake, and the chain it comes with is perfect for battling kickback. In fact, it’s almost beat-for-beat the same as with other brands. You either manually clutch the hand-guard or let inertia do the work for you.
But how does it handle vibrations? Well, there is an area between the handle and the engine. And in said area, the good people over at Echo decided to put rubber bushings or metal springs. These absorb most of the vibrations and make the saw run smoothly. This, of course, reduces user fatigue – the less tired the arms, the better the cuts.
It’s also worth noting that the material that makes up the bushings is less rubber and more polyurethane. Not as hard as plastic, but not as soft as actual rubber.
Downsides of the Echo CS-400 Gas Chainsaw
What would be the little things that prevent you from deciding that this particular saw as the best gas chainsaw? Well, a few minor bits and a few major bits. The minor bits include not having a tool-free chain tensioner, unlike most saws. The major bits actually have to do with the manufacturer itself.
If you read the warranty carefully, you will see that your saw isn’t covered if you use the wrong type of oil mix to the one they specify. Naturally, they don’t outright mention this to their customers, and they end up learning about this at the repair shop. This can lead to – and has led to – uncomfortable interactions. So in order to avoid unnecessary matters, read the warranty conditions carefully upon purchasing.
Comparing and Contrasting
Now that you have a good idea of all the products listed above, what will you choose? Which is the best-rated chainsaw in your opinion?
Well, as always, it depends on what you need it for. If you’re looking for a light top handle saw, the Tanaka chainsaw is your best choice. It is light, durable, efficient, and easy to maintain.
Yet, this is a chainsaw for a very limited use. In case you need more power, you could go for the Husqvarna 460 Rancher or its cheaper cousin, the Poulan Pro 5020 AV. They both perform well with harder tasks, they both use the same quality parts – no regrets in buying either. However, with Poulan, you have to buy additional products to replace what you get in your purchase.
You have a choice between Remington’s little Outlaw and Echo CS-400 then. They are both beasts and durable beyond belief, plus they’re reasonably priced. Yet, a more heavy-duty task will make your Remington squeal, and dealing with the manufacturer of Echo is a bit of a drag.
Husqvarna 460 Racher
All of the flaws you’ve read through are minor when compared to what the chainsaws above can actually do. Five contenders for the best rated chain saw and all of them might as well be winners. But if you were to ask me, I will choose the Husqvarna 460 Rancher because I am a heavy user and it is really worth my money.
So, to sum up – whatever reason you may have to purchase any of these chainsaws, you will feel no disappointment. This is the top of the chainsaw food chain (if you’ll pardon the pun). These are the tools a professional can look at and appreciate the effort behind, but more importantly, they are an average user’s dream come true.
Purchase today, and have zero regrets.