Buying a Chainsaw: What Do I Look For? Use Our MowHow

Yes. Me again. Dick and I are just swapping slots for a while.

Anyhow, you will have noticed Dick was extolling the virtues of a superb Oleo-Mac Chainsaw (the Oleo-Mac GS-650 Professional Petrol Chainsaw, at £579 a full £120 below the RRP!)

oleo-mac gs 650 chainsaw
Pro and powerful: Oleo-Mac GS-650 chainsaw

Chainsaw: a Pro and Powerful Oleo-Mac Chainsaw

Now last week I did a bit of chatting around the subject of chainsaws, as buying one of these ‘naughty-boys’ is a big decision.  (It’s ‘bad- boys’ you idiot – Ed) Ah. Yes. I’ve been watching too many American chainsaw videos. Sorry.

Anyway, buying one of these machines is a big decision. They are powerful and effective tools when in the right hands and potentially lethal in the wrong ones.

So first up, here is a link to our Chainsaw Safety page on MowHow. Check this page out before you use your new chainsaw for the first time and have a look at the various articles you will find there and you can’t go far wrong.

First up though, what are you looking for when you buy a chainsaw? Do you know? Does the phrase ‘guide bar‘ make you think of a log cutting session or a pub full of labradors? Does ‘kickback’ just make you think of a crooked football manager getting a sneaky £20,000 bonus in a brown envelope or Does ‘automatic chain oiling’ make you shake your head and shout “automatic chain the whatnow?”.

If so, take a look at our A Glossary Of Chainsaw Terms, Phrases And Acronyms and find out the difference between bucking and limbing and what is the real purpose in life of a nose sprocket.

`There is, of course, a lot more to it than that. here are a few of questions we are asked by would-be chainsaw customers.

How Powerful a Chainsaw do I need?

The larger and more powerful your saw, the larger the logs, branches and indeed, in some cases, tree trunks, you can cut through.

However, if you only have minor tasks to do, like creating a small amount of firewood or pruning a few small trees, buying too large, or powerful a chainsaw may lead to unnecessary expense and you should be careful not to buy a saw beyond your experience or capability levels.

It is good to know what sort of trees you have on your property, as hardwood trees will take more power to cut through. Also what scale of a job are you likely to take on.

  • A smaller chainsaw with a shorter guide bar (10-12″) will probably be fine for lopping thin branches.
  • A medium-sized saw (14-16″) will cut you a reasonable amount of firewood logs.
  • For larger-scale jobs, like felling trees, you may need a larger saw (18-20″), even a semi-pro or pro model.

Don’t forget larger chainsaws are heavier and may be harder for you to handle, and it is always good to bear in mind your experience level when you buy a chainsaw. Look for a chainsaw with the right power-to-weight ratio for you: ensure you have enough power to do the job but that it’s light enough for you to control.

Should I Buy an Electric, Petrol or Electric Cordless Chainsaw?

Oleo-Mac 2000E Electric Chainsaw
Clean cutting: Oleo-Mac GS2000E Mains Electric Chainsaw

This is clearly a matter of personal choice, but there some basic differences and practical pros and cons that need to be considered.

Electric Chainsaws

Electric mains powered chainsaws are ideal for smaller jobs and domestic use and will have guide bars typically around 8 – 18 inches long (around 20cm – 45cm).

They are emission-free, quieter and require less maintenance than petrol machines. They can be used inside buildings (outhouses, sheds etc), unlike petrol chainsaws.

Petrol Chainsaws

Petrol chainsaws will generally have guide bars ranging between 10 and 30 inches (25cm – 76cm approx) and are suitable for larger jobs.

Without cables to restrict movement, they can be used further afield and can reach limbs and branches that electric models would find difficult. They are usually more powerful.

Electric and battery powered cordless Chainsaw

Redback cordless chainsaw
Improved and developed lithium-ion battery technology. E216c Cordless Chainsaw

Electric cordless chainsaws have the benefits of both petrol and of electric chainsaws. They are cable free like petrol models, so not restricted in movement, maintenance free, emission-free and quieter for suburban or urban use like electric models. They can also be used inside.

Although battery-powered cordless chainsaws have not, up to now, been as powerful as petrol models, companies like Redback have improved and developed lithium-ion battery technology. These emission free models are getting more powerful all the time, some rivaling petrol chainsaws in their power.

These are just two questions, but there are many more considerations. If you visit our Chainsaw Buying Guide page, you can find out just about anything you need to know about buying a new chainsaw, or any other piece of powered garden equipment.

You can see our whole range of chainsaws here. with best buys and details on petrol, electric and cordless saws, but if after you’ve looked and scanned the MowHow pages, you still need free impartial advice on and you can’t find what you need to know on these pages, do feel free to contact us on 0345 4588 905 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri & 10am-4pm Sat)  for free impartial advice on what type of chainsaw is best for your needs, or anything else we can help with.

Outstanding Service…MowDirect are a fantastic company ! A real pleasure to work with. They are extremely knowledgeable of their entire range and I had my mower the following day! LEWIS

Enjoy your garden!    Drew Hardy.

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Drew Hardy

Freelance Writer at Mowdirect
A keen allotmenteer with an interest in all things horticultural, Drew has a varied writing background with experience in a number of fields including garden machinery, lawn care and compost. His first experience with gardening was a cultivating a small plot he was given by his house master at school. He grew a decent crop of radishes and lettuce and sold them to a local shop, exhibiting his first, and last, sign of an entrepreneurial spark. Drew lives in North London with his wife, two children and a slightly bonkers cat
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