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The Best Chainsaw for Carving

Not everyone is a lumberjack or lumberjill, and not everyone uses a chainsaw to hack up logs for firewood. So, for those of you who are artists and need the best chainsaw for carving, you might think you need something different than those who are felling and bucking trees. Well, you’re somewhat right. You certainly won’t require as much power, but you still need some oomph from your tool. Really, what you’re looking for is a balance. To find the right chainsaw for your carving projects, you have to look at a variety of factors. It’s also important to check out the best chainsaw for carving reviews. Keep reading for a look at the features, specifications, and power that make for the best chainsaws for carving.

5 Best Chainsaw for Carving Comparisons

Model
          Features
DEWALT DCCS620B Cordless Chainsaw Kit



  • Power: 20V
  • Source: Battery
  • Bar size: 12 inches
  • Weight: 8.8 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 25 x 9 x 9 inches
  • Warranty: 3 years
Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw



  • Power: 60cc
  • Source: Gas
  • Bar size: 24 inches
  • Weight: 21 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 38 x 12 x 12 inches
  • Warranty: 2 years
BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 Lithium-Ion Chainsaw



  • Power: 20V
  • Source: Lithium-ion
  • Battery & Charger included: Yes
  • Bar size: 10 inches
  • Weight: 7.2 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 16.7 x 8.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Warranty: 2 years
WORX WG303.1 Electric Chainsaw



  • Power: 14.5A
  • Source: Electric
  • Bar size: 16 inches
  • Weight: 11 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 19.69 x 14.57 x 8.07 inches
  • Warranty: 3 years
Makita XCU02PT Chain Saw Kit




  • Power: 36V
  • Source: Battery
  • Battery & Charger Included: Yes
  • Bar size: 12 inches
  • Weight: 12.3 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 24.5 x 12.5 x 12 inches
  • Warranty: 3 years

What is Important When Choosing the Right Chainsaw?

When you break it down, there are three important factors to choosing the best carving chainsaw. These aren’t all that matters, rather just the most important bits.

Weight

If you’re looking to work with your tool for extended periods, then the weight of that tool is a consideration. Buy a chainsaw that’s too heavy and you won’t be able to use it for very long. Unless you’re planning to only make a few cuts and then walk away from your project while your arms recover, and you regain feeling in your hands again, you’ll want to choose a chainsaw that’s relatively lightweight. This also offers you more freedom of movement with the tool, allowing you to make more difficult cuts.

Related, but different is antivibration. If you find a suitable chainsaw with an anti-vibration feature, all the better. It can reduce fatigue that you feel when using a power tool, and it can allow you to use the tool for a longer stretch without experience numbness in your hands or tingling.

Power

Obviously, you don’t need a monster of a chainsaw that’s capable of slicing through 48-inch thick trees, but you don’t want to choose the absolute lowest-power chainsaw on the market. You’re looking for a balance between weight and power. You want a chainsaw that can deliver on performance, but that’s easy to handle. We’ll get to the power source soon. For this section, just know that a chainsaw should be able to pump out enough power for you to make some of those hard, straight cuts, but also not be too powerful that you can’t control the saw as you make more delicate cuts.

Versatility

The best chainsaw for carving allows you to switch out the bar and chain easily. This is vital because you’re likely going to need to invest in some kits to turn your chainsaw into a carving tool. Most chainsaws don’t come ready to carve – especially for detailing. For that, you’ll need a bar and chain with a narrow nose. Also, keep in mind that these kits can be expensive, so you’ll have to adjust your budget for the chainsaw and the kit.

Does the Power Source Really Matter?

There are three main power sources for power tools today: gas, electric, and battery. Which one you choose is really a matter of preference, but it might also be dictated by how much power you need.

Battery

At the low end of the spectrum is a battery-powered chainsaw. Surprisingly, some of these can stand up to a gas-powered chainsaw, but it’s rare to find an affordable one that powerful. Generally, these are lighter in weight and easy to use. Although not recommended, you could use some of these chainsaws one-handed, which is sometimes needed as you’re carving. Still, not recommended. Please don’t chop off any limbs that aren’t wooden.

Electric

As long as you’re near an outlet or have an extension cord, these chainsaws are fantastic for carving. You get just enough power and weight balance. These tools aren’t too heavy, typically. Also, they’re fairly affordable, so you’ll be able to buy the carving kits you want and need. You still won’t get the power of a gas-powered chainsaw, though, so giant yard carvings might be out of the question.

Gas

This is where you’ll want to shop for the most power. A gas-powered chainsaw can also go all day before you have to refill its tank. The biggest issues with these tools is that’s a bit heavier, so you might not be able to keep up with your chainsaw, and they require a significant amount of maintenance. You’ll have to devote time to mixing oil and gas and make sure you keep your chainsaw in good working condition. There are also emissions to worry about, so you shouldn’t really use these in enclosed spaces.

So, does the power source matter? Kind of. You have to find the one that makes the most sense for the type of carving projects you have.

Features You Want and Need

There are a few features that are must-haves, and others you can live without. Here are the features that carvers require of their chainsaws.

Anti Vibration

We already covered this, but it bears repeating. Anti Vibration features protect you, the user, and are necessary for safety reasons. This feature can also help keep you steady as you’re producing art.

Mounting Capability

You’re going to need to be able to use different bars and chains on your saw, so be sure that you can change them out, and be allowed to use a ¼ pitch chain, sprocket, and dime tip.

Power-to-Weight Ratio

The power is necessary, especially when you get into carving hardwoods, but typically more power means more weight. So, look for a good balance between the two, which will allow you to make difficult cuts more easily, and still be able to control your tool.

Top 5 Best Chainsaw for Carving Reviews

DEWALT DCCS620B Cordless Chainsaw Kit

Quick Info

  • Power: 20V
  • Source: Battery
  • Bar size: 12 inches
  • Weight: 8.8 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 25 x 9 x 9 inches
  • Warranty: 3 years

Kickback is rarely a big issue for carvers, but it’s something you’ll have to worry about even less with the DEWALT DCCS620B compact cordless chainsaw. This battery-powered chainsaw has a brushless motor, which contributes to its efficiency. Plus, the tool-free tensioning feature makes it easy for you to adjust the tension on the chain. This chainsaw is great for carving, as it has a good power-to-weight ratio. It’s just under 9 lbs., making it one of the lightest weight chainsaws you can buy.

You’ll have to purchase a battery separately or find the kit with a battery. But while you’re buying a battery and charger, you might want to get a second battery. You aren’t likely to get a long charge, so having a backup is helpful. One feature you’re likely to adore is the automatic oiler. There’s no need to pause your craftwork to oil the chain and bar. Just keep carving and let it do its thing. You might find that the oil cap is a bit tight, though, and could break. Plus, leakage is common with this chainsaw.

Pros

  • Tool-free tension adjustment
  • Chain brake
  • Low kickback bar
  • Automatic oiling with window
  • Quiet operation
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Oil cap too tight
  • Leaks often
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Pro tip

You might want to consider this chainsaw for your carving needs, but possibly as a second chainsaw used for detailing, as it doesn’t have as much power as others.

Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw

Quick Info

  • Power: 60cc
  • Source: Gas
  • Bar size: 24 inches
  • Weight: 21 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 38 x 12 x 12 inches
  • Warranty: 2 years

For one of the most powerful gas-powered chainsaws you could use for carving, Husqvarna presents the 460 24-inch rancher chainsaw. It has 60ccs of power and a two-cycle engine. If you’re going after some thick hunks of wood to carve, this chainsaw could meet your needs. It’s also going to work well against some hardwoods. Expect this chainsaw to come with a few maintenance requirements, though. And you’ll need to keep gas and oil on hand to keep it fueled and going for all your projects.

Husqvarna seems to get it when it comes to chainsaw design. The antivibration features can keep you working all day, if you want, without your hands or arms numbing or tingling. And in the long run, it’s a must-have safety feature. An air cleaning system will keep the filter free of debris, and that could mean less maintenance you have to perform. Compared to other chainsaws, this is a bit of a beast and could be too heavy for you to use. It’s also an expensive chainsaw to invest in for carving, but it could be the chainsaw you’ve been missing from your arsenal. Keep an eye out for faulty oilers, too, as that seems to be a common issue.

Pros

  • Chain brake
  • Anti-vibration
  • Air cleaning system
  • Automatic Oiler
  • Easy to start
  • Powerful

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Faulty oiler in some
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Pro tip

If you’re looking for a powerful gas-powered chainsaw, this pricey one could be ideal for making thick, straight cuts, or working on hardwoods.

BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 Lithium-Ion Chainsaw

Quick Info

  • Power: 20V
  • Battery: Lithium-ion
  • Battery & Charger included: Yes
  • Bar size: 10 inches
  • Weight: 7.2 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 16.7 x 8.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Warranty: 2 years

The BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 is a bit smaller than most chainsaws, and it only comes with a 10-inch bar, but that could be all you need for the smaller carvings you’re working on. Perhaps the biggest issue is most of the dime tip bars and chains available for chainsaws don’t necessarily work on this chainsaw. That’s not to say that there aren’t bars out there for the B+D chainsaw. The low kickback chain and bar makes it safe for you to use.

One of the biggest benefits of this small chainsaw that you can use for carving is that it requires little to no maintenance. It’s battery-powered, so it doesn’t require you to keep gas and oil on hand. You only need to make sure the oil reservoir is filled, and the automatic oiler will keep your chain and bar oiled. There have been reports of defects with the oiler, but the warranty should protect you. Also, keep in mind that the battery likely will last only about 30 minutes or so.

Pros

  • Tool-free tension adjustment
  • Lightweight
  • Low kickback chain/bar
  • Oil view window
  • Quiet operation
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Short battery charge
  • Automatic oiler may be faulty
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Pro tip

If you want one of the lightest chainsaws for carving, and you don’t mind a battery-powered one, this could be a good one for you.

WORX WG303.1 Electric Chainsaw

Quick Info

  • Power: 14.5A
  • Power source: Electric
  • Bar size: 16 inches
  • Weight: 11 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 19.69 x 14.57 x 8.07 inches
  • Warranty: 3 years

The WORX WG303.1 16-inch electric chainsaw comes with plenty of features that would make it a great chainsaw, whether you’re trimming tree limbs, or carving pretty pieces of art out of wood. The tool-free tension knob works well, for the most part. You might notice it loosen as you work, which could get annoying. Its low kickback chain and bar are helpful, but not so much in some situations – like when you want to use the tip of the chainsaw for detailing.

The good news is that there are carving bars made to work with this chainsaw, so you can use it for carving. While this is lightweight compared to gas-powered chainsaws, it’s much heavier than battery-powered counterparts. Though it’s only heavier by a few pounds, those few pounds add up over hours of use. The automatic oiler works well, but this chainsaw wants thin oil, so it may lubricate too much. Thicker oil has a harder time making its way through the oiler.

Pros

  • Tool-free tension adjustment
  • Works with some dime tip bars
  • Low kickback chain/bar
  • Oil view window
  • Chain brake
  • Long warranty
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not quite balanced
  • Automatic oiler requires thin oil
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Pro tip

If you’ve decided on an electric chainsaw for carving, this might be one of the best out there for your needs.

Makita XCU02PT Chain Saw Kit

Quick Info

  • Power: 36V
  • Power source: Battery
  • Battery & Charger Included: Yes
  • Bar size: 12 inches
  • Weight: 12.3 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 24.5 x 12.5 x 12 inches
  • Warranty: 3 years

A battery-powered chainsaw like the Makita XCU02PT makes use of two 18-volt batteries, rather than just a single 20-volt battery, for example. What this accomplishes is more power at once. And this chainsaw comes with all the features you’d expect of a power tool like this. You get the tool-free tensioning adjustment and a chain brake. You also get the freedom of movement with the cordless part of this chainsaw.

However, for a cordless chainsaw, this Makita is kind of heavy compared to other battery-powered chainsaws. Weighing in at more than 12 pounds, it’s nearly 5 pounds heavier than some of its competition. Granted, that weight is coming at a benefit of more power. Still, it may be difficult to carve with such a heavy tool. The good news is there are some carving bars available out there that will fit the Makita chainsaws.

Pros

  • Tool-free tension adjustment
  • Works with some dime tip bars
  • Batteries charge quickly
  • Chain brake
  • Quiet operation

Cons

  • Heavier than most cordless
  • May leak oil
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Pro tip

If you’re looking for a battery-powered chainsaw with more power for carving, this might work well for you.

The Bottom Line

 

Any of the chainsaws listed above will work well for your carving needs, but there are a few that are better than the others. They’re all relatively lightweight, and most of them are affordable. Not all of them have a guarantee of working with carving bar kits, but you can probably go with a custom bar if you wanted. A chainsaw that stands out from the others is the Makita XCU02PT 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 12″ Chainsaw Kit (5.0Ah). This battery-powered chainsaw gets good marks for its cordless properties, making it easy to use wherever you decide to take your carving skills. However, it is a bit heavy for what this chainsaw is. If you don’t mind that, it comes with quite a bit of power, thanks to two 18-volt batteries, and there are carver bar kits that will fit this model.

 

 

About The Author

Candace Osmond

Award Winning Designer, Candace Osmond has been in the industry for over a decade. She studied Interior Decorating & Design and is also an accomplished writer and multi-published author. When she's not typing away from the comforts of her desk, Candace can be found travelling to warm destinations, tending to her garden, or enjoying the outdoor haven that is her backyard. Candace currently resides in the breathtaking Maritimes of Eastern Canada with her husband, two beautiful kids and one slobbery bulldog.

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