The 5 Best Budget Chainsaws You Can Own Today (Gas or Electric)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

It used to be the case that owning a chainsaw was a huge deal. Chainsaws tended to come with a massive price tag, but things are different today.

To help prove this point, I’ve checked out a host of budget chainsaws to create this list. I admit that I am a bit partial to using a chainsaw every now and again, so I know what you should look out for when buying one.

But I’m not only going to review these chainsaws. I will also give you some valuable tips on how to go ahead and select the best budget chainsaw for your needs.

chainsaw splitting logs into firewood

How I Made My Decision

Aside from my personal experience, I also used several criteria to help create my list.

I looked at what owners said about their chainsaws to help determine if it was even worth a budget price. Not only that, but I also looked at issues such as weight, vibration, whether it was gas or electric, and also whether or not it’s durable.

After all, I don’t want you to suddenly discover your brand-new chainsaw simply cannot cope with things.

Best Budget Top Handle Chainsaw – Dewalt DCCS620B Compact Chainsaw

  • Weight: 8.8lbs
  • Power: 20V battery
  • Blade Length: 12 inches

OK, so I know what you are thinking; how can a Dewalt tool fall into a budget chainsaw category? This is for the tool alone, but it’s such a fantastic chainsaw that I just had to include it.

This model weighs a mere 8.8lbs, and that’s almost nothing in the world of chainsaws. It also feels exceptionally comfortable to hold, and you won’t feel as if your arms are becoming exhausted.

It comes with a brushless motor, so there’s less chance of it burning out even when you are ripping through your project. However, I love that it comes with tool-free chain tensioning.

Being tool-free means making those slight adjustments while working with your chainsaw is significantly easier. There’s no need to strip everything down to adjust and rebuild just to get back to work.

Plus, if you have previously used a gas-powered chainsaw, you will be shocked at how quiet this is. Also, there remains little in the way of vibration, but don’t think it’s not doing anything. It comes with a 20V battery capable of almost 100 cuts per charge.

From a safety perspective, I loved that it has sturdy guards, and mixed in with easy operation, this chainsaw is outstanding.

Pros

  • You get a high-quality chainsaw for a fantastic price
  • The tool-free chain tensioning makes a real difference
  • The guards are sturdy and offer serious protection
  • It feels light but is also easy to use
  • The brushless motor increases the lifespan
  • A low kickback bar and chain provide additional safety

Cons

  • Left-handed people may find the controls awkward
  • You need to buy the battery 

Best Budget Chainsaw for Home Use – Greenworks 12-inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw

  • Weight: 6lbs
  • Power: 40V battery
  • Blade Length: 12 inches

First, I was blown away by the power of this chainsaw. It may come in at a budget price, but Greenworks has sought to include as much power as possible. But with the blade length and weight, I still feel this is better suited to lighter jobs than heavy-duty jobs.

It does come with a handle that was ergonomically designed. That means it feels comfortable and supportive in your hand, no matter the angle you use it at.

I think this is an excellent addition. It means you can hold the chainsaw at various angles without stressing that you will lose control. 

Adjusting the chain is also toolless with this model, making the entire task quick and pain-free. Greenworks has also ensured this model is self-lubricating, so the days of it sticking when used are behind you.

You will also notice it comes with a 12-inch steel chain that is robust and can cope with a lot of punishment. A ⅜-inch chain pitch also helps to reduce the amount of kickback you get when using the chainsaw.

Overall, this model by Greenworks does the job, and even though it’s lightweight, don’t make the mistake of thinking it will struggle. Instead, this chainsaw will surprise you time and time again.

Pros

  • The chain is very robust, so it can cope with a lot of punishment
  • The handle is exceptionally comfortable to hold
  • You get little in the way of kickback from the model
  • It is incredibly light, which makes it easier to use
  • It comes with tool-less chain tensioning

Cons

  • You may feel it struggles with the biggest of jobs

Best 16” Budget Chainsaw – WORX WG303.1 Powered Chainsaw

  • Weight: 11lbs
  • Power: 14.5 amp motor with 3.5HP
  • Blade Length: 16 inches

If you feel that a 12-inch chain is a bit on the short side, then this WORX model comes in with a 16-inch chain. It is also equipped with a powerful motor, so expect it to manage to make quick work of most tasks.

But don’t worry about it having a bit more power than other chainsaws. It comes with a low kickback and a particular chain brake mechanism. That mechanism kicks into effect if you experience a kickback when in use.

I do also love the fact that this model is self-lubricating. It just makes life so much easier, and you will find a smoother operation. The model also comes with its own patented tensioning system for the chain, which is automatic, so you should see little to no interruptions for you when in use.

Overall, I feel this could be the perfect chainsaw for someone who is an absolute novice at using one. It may feel heavy, but it’s reliable and easy to use.

Pros

  • The longer chain helps with various tasks
  • The chain brake mechanism is a fantastic inclusion
  • The low kickback makes the chainsaw safer to use
  • The self-lubricating mechanism helps
  • The chain tensioning system is surprisingly good

Cons

  • It is heavier than most at 11lbs

Best Electric – Earthwise CS33016 Electric Corded Chainsaw

  • Weight: 9.9lbs
  • Power: 12 amp motor
  • Blade Length: 16 inches

If you prefer to stay with a corded power tool, the best electric-powered chainsaw is the Earthwise CS33016. It has a 12 amp motor and a 16-inch bar, so this chainsaw will pack a serious punch.

However, I would still suggest sticking with either small or medium-sized jobs with this one. It does lack some of the brute force you get with more expensive chainsaws, but it’s still good enough for most home projects.

But the thing I love most about this, as it’s such a helpful feature, is the hook designed to keep the power cord away from the sharp end. It reduces the chances of accidents, and you will undoubtedly be glad it’s there.

It offers low kickback, but no brake mechanism is included. I’m not too happy about that, but taking your time when using it should circumvent those issues.

Overall, this chainsaw, complete with an auto-lubrication mechanism, can perform admirably without breaking the bank.

Pros

  • It’s relatively light but also powerful
  • That hook feature for the cord is excellent
  • It does have an auto-lubrication feature
  • It is very easy to handle
  • It is extremely affordable

Cons

  • That lack of a brake mechanism is disappointing
  • You need to pay close attention to the auto-lubrication to ensure it keeps working

Best Budget Gas Powered Chainsaw – Craftsman CMXGSAMA426S 2-Cycle Chainsaw

  • Weight: 13.84lbs
  • Power: 2-stroke 42cc gas engine
  • Blade Length: 16-inches

Finally, if you want to opt for a gas-powered chainsaw, I suggest checking out this model by Craftsman. It comes complete with a 2-stroke 42cc gas engine, so you have an impressive amount of power pushing that blade.

Talking of the blade, it does come in at 16-inches, but it has the power behind it to cope with a wide range of jobs. However, I don’t want you to worry about the power because this chainsaw covers you from a safety perspective. 

It has a low kickback, and the model also comes with an inertia-activated brake. That means if a kickback does occur, the chain will stop instantly.

Also, I know some gas-powered models can be challenging to start, but that’s not the case here. People often report only a couple of pulls being required before it kicks into action.

Finally, not only does it have an auto-lubricating system, but it also seeks to reduce vibration as well. That’s great because this model is heavy, so reducing vibration means less fatigue when using it.

Pros

  • The engine is impressive, delivering a lot of power
  • The brake works exceptionally well
  • The ability to reduce vibration makes it less tiring
  • It starts very quickly for a gas-powered tool

Cons

  • It has a tendency to leak some oil when not in use

How to Choose Your Budget Chainsaw

budget chainsaw

The five models listed above can perform exceptionally well with almost any type of small or medium-sized job. However, you may still feel uncertain about how to choose your chainsaw. But don’t worry, I’m here to help.

You see, I feel there are several vital points to consider when choosing a chainsaw. So, let’s go through them.

Power Source?

First, how do you want your chainsaw to be powered? You can have a battery, main power, or gas-powered chainsaw. 

People have their preferences, but you should know that gas-powered tends to be the heaviest, followed by battery. That weight aspect could make a difference. 

Also, gas-powered means a bit more maintenance on your part. That may not be something you want to do. However, there just feels something quite authentic about a gas-powered chainsaw when you pull that cord, which then rips into action.

Chain Tension

You need that chain to be tight, and you also don’t want to keep stopping and starting and doing everything manually. I suggest making sure the model you want to buy comes with some form of auto-tension mechanism.

This feature will save you so much time and effort on your part. 

Lubrication

Most modern chainsaws come with an auto-lubrication system. Even most budget chainsaws have it as standard now. However, I still suggest double-checking in advance. 

This helps keep the chainsaw working smoothly and prevents jarring. If your model does not come with this system, then expect to keep stopping to oil the machine.

Safety

A chainsaw is clearly a dangerous tool, so safety is always paramount. You want a chainsaw with a low kickback. That happens when the tip of the blade hits some object and either jars or pinches for just a moment. This throws the bar upwards, leading to the risk of injury.

You want to own a chainsaw that reduces the chances of that happening. Also, it’s best to get a model with some form of brake mechanism that kicks into action should a kickback occur.

Blade Length

Most budget chainsaws will come with either a 12-inch or 16-inch blade. I don’t have much personal preference for one over the other, but you should think about how you plan on using your chainsaw.

It makes sense the 16-inch blade version has a more extensive reach. However, you need to think about the weight and balance of the chainsaw to see if you can fully use those extra inches.

For most people doing jobs around their property, the 12-inch blade should be enough.

Weight

Finally, there’s the weight. As I mentioned earlier, gas-powered chainsaws tend to be the heaviest, while mains-powered models come in the lightest of all. But you also need to check the power ratio in line with the weight. Having a bit more weight can help with more demanding jobs.

I would also pay attention to how the chainsaw is designed and whether or not it does anything to cut down on vibration. The chainsaw could weigh very little, but you will still get extremely tired if it bounces around and vibrates constantly.

But if you only plan on carrying out small jobs taking no time at all, then weight becomes less of an issue.

Overall, I strongly suggest you spend more time thinking about how you will use your chainsaw before making any purchase. A budget version may not be suitable for heavy-duty tasks, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about them.

Once you conclude how you will use your chainsaw, you will find it easier to understand these different features when making your decision.

Overall Conclusion

Owning a basic chainsaw does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. The five models listed above are cheaper than you expect, and I know you will be happy with any of them.

I was always amazed at how often I would use my chainsaw. There’s no doubt this is a handy tool at your disposal.

So even if you feel you would only use one sparingly, it is still worth splashing out to even own one of these budget chainsaws. You won’t be disappointed.

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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