Best Firewood Chainsaw Picks: Long Lasting, Smooth Cutting Machines
Many homes still depend on firewood for heat through the cold winter months, and an economical way to supply your fuel source is to cut your own wood. When I moved into a house that had a wood burning stove, I found that I could lower my heating bill by an enormous amount of proper wood burning techniques. Even if all you have is a fireplace, you may be surprised at how much you can save each month with the use of supplemental wood burning heat.
The best chainsaw for cutting firewood doesn’t need to be the biggest chainsaw available. Firewood is cut from older, downed, and/or dried out trees, and larger rotted, or live trees are not going to be your main focus. Therefore, an easy to handle, a smooth cutting saw is your best bet as you will most likely work for longer periods of time cutting logs to length for transportation and easy stacking.
Table of Contents
- How often do you plan to use the chainsaw?
- Where do you plan on cutting firewood at?
- How much experience do you have with a chainsaw?
- Are you aware of the features of your saw?
- Homdox 20″ 52CC Chainsaw
- Husqvarna 450 18-Inch Gas Powered Chain Saw
- Craftsman 18″ 42cc Gas Chainsaw
- Zombi ZCS12017 16-Inch 13-Amp Corded Electric Chainsaw
- Greenworks 16-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw
Whether you prefer a gas powered, or electric chainsaw, the premise behind both is similar. Power is provided to the gears of the sprocket that holds the chains so it can spin at a fast rate of speed. This chain rotates along the edge of a guide bar to provide the tensile strength needed to cut through the materials you need cut. You hold and control your saw by a grip that includes a clutch that controls the gears, and a bar grip or handles for balance and direction.
The size of your bar and chain are highly influential on the efficiency of your job as well. When cutting firewood you want a long enough bar for the diameter of logs you will be cutting, but nothing so large as to negatively affect the balance and weight that may cause user fatigue. You also need to take into account that your care of the saw influences how well it works. Sharp chains and well-maintained tools work more effectively and help your saw last for years.
Technically, there are 4 different types of chainsaws, and all are effective in cutting firewood- however, a few are preferred over others. The type of saw you choose specifically for firewood cutting has more to do with personal preference and the amount of effort you want to exert more than any other factor.
Gas-powered saws are the more powerful saw choices and come is a wide variety of sizes for all sorts of cutting jobs. They are powered by a 2-cycle engine, which requires regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly. They are often larger, heavier, and noisier, and emit exhaust compared to electrically powered choices. However, compact, easy to handle design exist for smaller sized jobs and easier handling.
Electric chainsaws come in corded or battery powered choices. Often less powerful than a gas powered chainsaw, they shouldn’t be completely overlooked for moderate to the occasional heavy duty job. They have fewer maintenance needs and are often lighter, easier to handle and run much more quietly.
Corded electric versions are generally more powerful than a battery powered choice, and can often rival some of the smaller gas engine powered products. With recent advances in technology, even some of the battery powered version may provide relative strength and long-lasting power.
Manual, or pocket, chainsaws are generally not used for firewood cutting unless as s solution for backpacking and other outdoor activities that make a gas or electric chainsaw non-feasible for the activity. These saws have a handle on each side to move it back and forth against the material you need cut. They are very effective, but not conducive to larger jobs.
As mentioned above, chainsaw engines and bar length are variable and are often specific to the type of job you need them for. The larger the engine, the faster and stronger your chain will turn. Long lasting jobs, large jobs, and difficult to cut material generally require a stronger engine to avoid overheating. However, just because you have a smaller saw doesn’t mean you can’t complete larger jobs- it just will take more time as you need to allow for the strength of your saw to work as it is meant to do rather than force it through thicker materials, or work without pause to allow it to cool down.
Most gases powered chainsaws used for firewood cutting have a 14 to 18-inch bar and run a 30 to a 55cc engine. Electric chainsaws may run a 14 to an 18-inch bar with more powerful 12 to 15 amp engines. Again, this doesn’t mean smaller or larger engines or even variable chains sizes are not used. These are simply a popular average for firewood cutting that helps provide a decent weight to power ratio for the time it takes to get the job done.
- Wear the correct safety gear. This includes eye and ear protection, gloves, boots, and kevlar chaps that are cut resistant and will jam a blade that it comes in contact with.
- Stand in a boxing stance with your dominant foot forward, to the side of the cut, and be sure you are well balanced.
- Keep both hands on the saw, and never take your eyes off the blade while you cut.
- Plan your cut and know where the bar will exit the cut. It isn’t where you start, it is where you finish that is important.
- The top of your chainsaw bar at the tip is called the chainsaw kickback zone. Because of the rotation of the chain, if you suddenly come in contact with a hard object you risk allowing the bar to kick back towards you. Always be mindful of this zone as you cut, even if you have special chains and features to help keep this from happening, and do not stand directly behind the blade.
The responsibility of owning a chainsaw is not only to understand how it works and using it correctly but also maintaining it correctly. A saw that is properly taken care of can last for many years, and run efficiently. Gas-powered saws require the correct gas to oil fuel mixture, the cleaning of the filters and spark plugs, and correct storage when not in use.
Electric saws have less maintenance, but like a gas, saw needs the correct levels of bar and chain oil use, regular cleaning of the parts after each job, the tension of the chain kept correctly taunt, and chain sharpening to keep the engine from being overly taxed. Chainsaws are actually very easy to take apart and put back together for basic cleanings. Even gas components are easily accessed to cleaning and/or replacement.
When choosing a chainsaw for firewood cutting, you want to pay close attention to your own comfort with the saw as cutting firewood is timely, and requires a lot of movement on your part. If you are looking for a saw that can be used for multiple jobs, take into account what jobs you have for it to ensure you get the best possible saw the value.
How often do you plan to use the chainsaw?
If cutting firewood is only a seasonal job for you, and your saw will only be used for a few days out of the year- you probably are looking for a more budget-friendly product that is efficient for when you use it. But if cutting firewood is a regular job, or you have other jobs you need your saw for, then making an investment in a longer lasting tool may be right for you.
Where do you plan on cutting firewood at?
Cutting and bucking firewood out in the forest requires a portable saw opposed to a corded electric. But if you are only working on your property, then you have a few more options for the type of make and model available to you.
How much experience do you have with a chainsaw?
Chainsaws are powerful, dangerous tools even in the most experienced of hands. However, they are highly efficient, simple to run, and are easy to use. Getting familiar with various saws and knowing how they work is worth the little bit of effort it takes in order to truly take advantage of them and become comfortable with their use.
Are you aware of the features of your saw?
Cutting and bucking firewood isn’t a difficult task, but it is a very physical one that requires a lot of movement and bending. Because of this, you want to look for a saw that is easy to grip and has a well-balanced weight. The lighter the saw, the less effort you have to put forth as well, and those saws that have anti-vibration features can make your job a lot easier when you have hours of work to complete.
With the many makes and models of chainsaws available, the top picks below help illustrate what features and details you may want to consider before choosing a chainsaw for firewood. The choices below also span some top rated saws from various value ranges to help you stay well within your budget without sacrificing working power is this is a need.
- Weight: 17.6 lbs
- Bar Length: 18-22 inch capabilities
- Power: 52cc
- Warranty: minimum of 2 years
Homdox has become a popular saw brand due to the power and value it provides. The same saw is sold under the store name, Meditool, and boasts a powerful 50cc gas engine with a 20-inch bar and chain that can handle some of the heaviest jobs you can put it to work upon. It also is compatible with both 18 and 22-inch bars, making it even more versatile for variable work conditions.
Made specifically to provide a durable homeowner option, as a gas engine it is highly portable, and features a low kickback bar and chain, anti-vibration technology, and a quick stopping control to make your work cutting more comfortable- and safe if you begin to fatigue. It also has 70% fewer emissions, and 20% less fuel consumption to make your work more efficient. It also is considered well balanced and fairly lightweight for the engine size and power it provides.
- Interchangeable bar length
- Long lasting and extremely durable
- Impressive power
- Oil may leak in a storage
Large and powerful, this is a good choice for firewood cutters who need a portable machine. It also provides the dependability to address the sizes and amount of work you may come across when cutting in the forest.
- Weight: 10.8 lbs
- Bar Length: 18 inch
- Power: 50.2cc
- Warranty: up to 4 years with registration
This is a dependable brand that has been a popular pick for decades due to the quality and power they lend to the jobs they are used upon. The 450 model has a 50.cc engine and 18-inch bar that can be traded out for both longer, or shorter versions. Made specifically for moderate to heavy cutting jobs, it is designed to work for long hours without overheating. It also has a patented X-Torq engine that was created to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency.
The design of the frame is one of the most lightweight offered by the company, and when combined with the LowVibe anti-vibration dampeners help spare you fatigue so you can work more comfortably. Soft inlays in the handle, ergonomic trigger, and grip design help keep the body balanced as you cut as well.
- Great for landowners who need regular tree maintenance solutions
- Cuts smoothly and quickly
- Lightweight and easy to handle
- Check for correct chain installment- factory installed maybe backward
- Oil flow not adjustable
For a long-lasting product that can be used in just about any situation, the Husqvarna 450 is the perfect lightweight model for moderate to heavy cutting jobs both away, and at home. It is made for long lasting jobs and designed for user comfort.
- Weight: 13.2 lbs
- Power Source: gas, 42cc
- Bar Length: 18 inch
- Warranty: 2 year
Another popular brand name, Craftsman has been a go-to for home maintenance for almost a century, and their chainsaws are no exception. Made specifically for home use, the 42cc gas engine and an 18-inch bar of this model are made for more moderate to heavy jobs, and can handle your firewood cutting needs with relative ease. It also is designed with user comfort in mind and includes an easy start system, anti-vibration handle, and wrap around grips for long-lasting, comfortable use.
Like most Craftsman products, it has some perks to specifically make storing and maintaining it easier. On top of a bar cover, it also comes with a carrying case, automatic oiling, and an easy screw tensioning system. It is considered easy to clean and maintain when away from a workbench, making it a good, portable choice.
- Lightweight and easy to handle
- Powerful, compact design
- Long lasting
- Can get oily when stored
Made for regular use, the 13 lb weight is a perfect choice for firewood cutting and other work in and around the home. Strong, durable, and backed by a 2-year warranty, this is a decent pick for simple cutting jobs.
- Weight: 13.5 lbs
- Bar Length: 16 inch
- Power source: corded, 13 amp
- Warranty: 5 years
Corded chainsaw choices may keep you limited to your extension cord reach, but many of these can rival the best of the light to moderate duty gas powered engines. Zombi power tools are known for their powerful durability. This 13 amp corded saw has a 16-inch bar and compares well to a 2-stroke engine. Built to cut efficiently and smoothly, this is the perfect choice for bucking logs to length at home as it has a low kickback bar and chain, anti-vibration technology, and a well-balanced grip for long lasting work.
At 13.5 lbs it is a larger corded version built for power, and with the low maintenance needs, is a great choice for when you need to grab a tool to get a job done fast. It also has a cord holder to help keep your cord safely out of the way to keep you moving efficiently through your job.
- Seriously powerful and long lasting
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Not very loud
- Limited by cord length
- The chain must be kept correctly adjusted to avoid slippage
This a is a great value chainsaw that the only drawback is the lack of portability. It is durable and powerful, and perfect for working through your firewood with ease.
- Weight: 10.2 lbs
- Bar Length:16 inch
- Power source: cordless, 40 volt
- Warranty: 4 years
The environmentally friendly company, Greenworks, is devoted to usable, powerful, and more economically sustainable power tools. Their cordless options include a powerful, 40-volt chainsaw that has a 16-inch bar for moderate to large jobs. Plus, the brushless motor provides added torque and long run times to ensure you get the job done.
The 70% vibration reduction, low kickback, electronic brake, and noise reduction feature make for a more comfortable, and safe, work experience. Weighing in at only 10 lbs, it has a 150 cut runtime which is more than enough to get some serious firewood piled up before needing a charge. Plus, if you purchase an extra battery you can work without pause for even longer.
- Can handle large cuts with ease
- Long lasting battery
- Durable and easy to hold
- Oil may drain out when in storage
- May not work reliably after a few years of regular use
This is an incredibly portable, easy to use saw for firewood cutting and bucking, and is especially nice for residential areas due to the lower noise level it produces compared to gas and corded powered saws.
Each of the above saws is more than capable of making short work of your firewood load. Depending on the overall power, and location of your cutting, each of these highlights the comfort features you may want to pay close attention to when deciding on the best choice for you. Firewood cutting is characterized by the time it takes to buck your logs, and power and comfort are two details to pay particular attention to.
The Homdox 20″ 52CC Chainsaw is our favorite pick of the best all-around chainsaw for firewood cutting. It is a great value for the power it provides and is a choice that is not limited by the space you want to use it within. Created specifically for homeowner use, it also makes a good choice for any other jobs you may have on your property. Plus, with the ability to use it with variable bar and chain length, you have a very versatile machine.
If you have any questions or comments about any of the above picks, please let us know below, and, as always, please share!