A chain saw is an invaluable tool if you have your own home
because it does what it does so efficiently when nothing else will. Chain saws
are great for trimming and pruning, light cutting (like tree limbs and what
not), and more heavy-duty cutting, such as with firewood.
The problem with chain saws though, is that if you have a
small to medium sized yard and you don’t have a lot of money, they can be
intimidating to buy. You don’t want to get something completely underpowered to
the point it’s not good for around your home.
Luckily, if you’re on a budget and need a chainsaw, I can
tell you right now you’re not going to need a heavy-duty, gas-powered chain
saw. Today’s electric chain saws are extremely cheaper, and they’re powerful
enough to get through pretty much anything you need around your home within
reason (meaning don’t expect an electric chain saw on this list to cut through
a huge Oak trunk or something). There are just a few things you need to keep in
mind while shopping around.
Light Weight Design
Chain saws can easily cause arm fatigue when in use because
they’re often times quite heavy. So, the lighter your saw is without
sacrificing power, the better. You want to pick a chain saw that you know
you’ll feel comfortable with holding up and at arm’s length for extended
periods of time.
Bar and Chain Length
The bar and chain length of your chainsaw is essentially how
much cutting space you have. For instance, a chain saw with a 10 inch bar and
chain length can only cut through wood 10 inches thick. I find that a length of
at least 14 inches is perfect because it’s not so small that you feel limited
in regards to what you can and can’t cut. A bar and chain length of at least 14
inches is perfect for practically anything you’ll have to cut around your home.
In order for your chain saw to cut efficiently and safely,
it needs to stay properly lubricated with oil. Stopping a job to oil your chain
manually can be tiring, which is why I think auto chain lubrication is the best.
You don’t have to worry about keeping your saw safe to use.
No one wants to have to buy extra stuff, which is why a
chain saw that doesn’t require extra tools to install and tension the chain is
better. You’re already dropping a lot of money on the tool. You don’t need to
buy more stuff.
There are also some things that may be great to have, but
not a necessity.
Some chain saws offer ergonomically designed handles or
handles with rubber grip to make sure hand fatigue isn’t an issue. This is
great to have, but don’t think it’s a must with chain saws. I did mention they
should be light weight, after all.
Oil Level Window
Some chain saws offer an oil level window as a convenience.
This is good if your saw doesn’t auto lube because you’ll have to check it
more. However, with an auto lube feature you won’t have to check the oil level
as much. Don’t ever pay extra for features like this.
Some chain saws tip the blade with a small cover that makes
it safer to use. This is good, no doubt, but chain saws already have other
safety measures in the form of kickback protection or chain brakes. So, a tip
is just an extra precaution.
This makes storing your chain saw safer because it keeps the
blade covered. However, just like the safety tip it’s an extra safety
precaution, not a must.
You also don’t really need to worry much about horsepower or
amp rating in regards to the amount of power the electric engine provides. Most
electric chain saws are around three HP and 12 amps, which is more than enough
to cut through anything around your home.
Craftsman, Poulan, and GreenWorks all make great quality,
lower priced chain saws that will meet and exceed your needs. Husqvarna, Stihl,
and Hitachi should be avoided due to price.
As long as you keep the above-mentioned facts in mind buying
a cheap chain saw isn’t intimidating.