7 Best Gas Powered Chainsaws (By Size and Category)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

When I was a kid, whenever I read about someone cutting down a tree, I would picture them swinging an ax a few times till the tree fell down with a thud. When I grew up, I realized — to my embarrassment — that the reality was far different. 

This embarrassment quickly turned to delight when I discovered gas chainsaws. They were powerful and easy to use! And when I started working with wood, they became a valuable tool to have. 

Below is a list of the 7 best gas chainsaws for all your wood cutting needs.

refilling chainsaw gas tank

A gasoline powered chainsaw is a powerful tool that is used for cutting trees, pruning branches, chopping firewood, and sculpting the foliage in your lawn. It is a portable machine that contains a metal bar which guides a rotating chain with teeth attached in a circular motion to cut through the wood. 

There are various types of gas chainsaws available- right from light-duty ones for the occasional lawn maintenance to heavy-duty ones for professional loggers. Let’s look at the 7 best gas chainsaws. If you want to skip to the how-to-choose guide, scroll down to the bottom!

No matter what you need it for, I guarantee that you will find a gas chainsaw for it from the list below.

Best Gas Chainsaw For Cutting Trees – Husqvarna 460R 

  • Bar length: 24 inches
  • Cylinder displacement: 60.3 cc
  • Power output: 3.62 hp
  • Maximum speed: 9000 RPM
  • Weight: 13.2 lbs

The Husqvarna 460 Rancher gas chainsaw is a workhorse and is a great tool for medium as well as heavy-duty work. Its 24 inch blade is long enough to cut through trees. It even comes with distinct felling marks for great felling precision. You can also fit an 18 inch or a 20 inch bar. 

Like the Husqvarna T525, it has several features such as the X-Torq engine, quick release air filter, air purge, snap-lock cylinder cover, smart start, and side chain tensioning. For more details on this, scroll down to the Husqvarna T525 section!

This saw also has several additional features that make it safe to use. Its low vibration system along with the front handle grip reduces muscle fatigue. To protect you against chainsaw kickback, it features an inertia activated chain brake

It has a centrifugal air cleaning system that removes debris even before it reaches the air filter. Using the adjustable oil pump, you can control the oil flow depending on the weather or the type of wood you are cutting. In short, each of its features enhance user safety and performance.

Pros

  • Powerful enough to cut bigger trees
  • Easy to use
  • Lots of safety features including anti-vibration technology
  • X-torq engine
  • Front handle ergonomics
  • Adjustable oil pump
  • 2 year warranty

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Lacks a bit in power with the 24 inch bar

My Thoughts: For medium and heavy-duty work, you really can’t find many more chainsaws that offer such amazing features. If you want more power, I would suggest using the 20 inch bar, although it is good to have both. However, do keep in mind that this saw is quite heavy, so if you can’t lift weights, I would suggest avoiding this one. 

Best 14 inch Gas Chainsaw For Home Use – Remington RM4214CS Rebel

  • Bar length: 14 inch
  • Cylinder displacement: 42 cc
  • Power output: 3.2 hp
  • Weight: 12 lbs

The Remington RM4214CS with a heavy duty 14 inch low kickback bar is a great chainsaw for homeowners who want to maintain their yards and occasionally chop down a small tree or two. It is designed to be lightweight and has an aluminum handle with comfort wrap for better grip, so you can easily maneuver it- even in hard-to-reach spots! Its 3 point anti-vibration system reduces vibrations, so you can work for longer without enduring muscle fatigue.

The saw features a QuickStart technology, so you rarely need to pull it more than twice to start it up. The 14 inch bar along with the metal bucking spikes help you cut with ease. 

There is a spark plug and a tool-free access to the air filter for easy maintenance. My favorite feature of this saw is the adjustable automatic oiler which keeps your chain smooth and lubricated for better cuts!

Pros

  • Heavy duty 14 inch bar cuts through tough woods.
  • Lightweight.
  • Easy to grip and use.
  • QuickStart feature allows it to start quickly.
  • Metal bucking spikes.
  • Adjustable automatic oiler.
  • Easy to maintain.
  • 2 year warranty.

Cons

  • The chain is not that great.
  • Not suitable for heavy-duty work. 

My Thoughts: A 14 inch blade is more than enough for homeowners and this chainsaw more than delivers! It is lightweight, powerful, and easy to use, making it a great fit for beginners. It is one of the best saws in the market for under $200.

Best 18 inch Gas Chainsaw – Stihl MS 251 Wood Boss

chainsaw 18 inch
  • Bar length: 18 inch
  • Cylinder displacement: 45.6 cc
  • Power output: 2.95 hp
  • Maximum speed: 13500 RPM
  • Weight: 10.8 lbs

The Stihl MS 251 Wood Boss is a top-of-the-line 18 inch chainsaw with a host of amazing features. It is powerful yet lightweight and is perfect for pruning trees, chopping firewood, and even felling small trees. In short, homeowners who need a saw for extensive yard work will benefit from this. 

The tool comes with a Stihl Oilomatic saw chain. Yes, Stihl makes its own saw chains and everything is manufactured in the USA! It has a Master Control Lever– a single lever that acts as an on/off switch and operates the choke and throttle lock. The Ematic Bar is a polymer ramp reservoir which is capable of holding bar oil till it can be picked up by a passing chain. These features reduce oil usage by a whopping 50% when compared to other Stihl models!

It also has an anti-vibration system, bumper spikes, spark arrestor muffler to reduce noise levels, automatic bar and chain oiler, and a translucent fuel tank. The Stihl Quickstop Chain Brake System can stop the chain in a fraction of a second to avoid any injuries. The tool is also very easy to dismantle and put back together again, so you can make sure that it is well maintained!

Pros: 

  • Lightweight and ergonomic design makes it easy to use and carry.
  • Made in the USA using several of Stihl’s own parts and features.
  • Reduced oil usage.
  • Several safety features.
  • Air filter cover.
  • Throttle trigger lockout.
  • Easy to start.
  • 1 year warranty.

Cons: 

  • Replacing bars and chains is very expensive.
  • Not suitable for heavy-duty use.
  • A bit difficult to start it in cold weather.

My Thoughts: The Stihl MS 251 is one of the best lightweight 18 inch gas chainsaws- perfect for the homeowner who needs it for some light- to moderate-duty jobs. It is also a very powerful tool! Stihl is a great brand that makes quality power tools, so I would highly recommend this. 

Best 16 inch Gas Chainsaw – Craftsman S165

  • Bar length: 16 inch
  • Cylinder displacement: 42 cc
  • Power output: 3.2 hp
  • Weight: 12.25 lbs

The Craftsman S165 is one of the best-selling saws, and all for good reason! It has a low kickback 16 inch bar that can cut any wood easily. But do keep in mind that it is only designed for light- to moderate-level jobs, so it will be better for DIY-ers or homeowners who need a saw for cutting firewood or maintaining their lawn. 

I love that it comes with a cushioned full-wrap aluminum handle making it very easy and comfortable to hold. This, along with its 3 point anti-vibration system, allow for a longer runtime and easy maneuvering. Its chassis is made out of durable polymer, so the tool is lightweight as well. The bucking spikes give you greater control over how you saw. 

The saw has an easy start technology and has features that make it very easy to maintain- such as the adjustable automatic oiler and tool free access to filter and spark plug. The inertia-activated chain brake helps you avoid any accidental injuries. 

Pros

  • Lightweight, easy to hold, and easy to use.
  • Durable polymer chassis.
  • Easy start technology.
  • 3 point anti-vibration system.
  • Easy to start.
  • Safe to use. 
  • Easy to maintain.
  • Comes with a quality hard case.
  • Affordable.
  • 2 year warranty.

Cons

  • It’s hard to start sometimes.
  • Leaks bar oil.
  • Not too powerful and won’t last forever.

My Thoughts: This is not the most powerful chainsaw out there, but it is a pretty great tool for beginners and homeowners. It comes with several great features that make it very easy to use. For the price tag, this tool is definitely a steal!

Best Gas Chainsaw For The Money – Makita EA6100PREG

  • Bar length: 18 inch
  • Cylinder displacement: 61 cc
  • Power output: 4.6 hp
  • Maximum speed: 13800 RPM
  • Weight: 13.2 lbs

If you are looking for the best chainsaw for your money, then you should definitely consider the Makita EA6100PREG! The saw weighs only 13.2 pounds, but manages to pack an output of 4.6 horsepower and a maximum speed of 13800 RPM! That is a very high power to weight ratio which means this is a true powerhorse in a compact package.

If you want to cut lots of wood and if you want to cut them fast, the Makita will deliver beautifully. It is durable and easy to handle. It comes with a lightweight magnesium housing and has smooth rounded surfaces. Its Easy Start spring assisted starter makes it easy to start the tool. The heavy duty air filter system provides an extended life to the filter. 

It has an easy-to-clean chain compartment to clear away any chips and an advanced anti-vibration system. Its two point durable inertia/ mechanical chain brake makes it clear that it is designed for safety. You can also switch the engine off with a single touch using the touch and stop single lever control. During winter, you can configure the slide out baffle for a much more efficient operation. 

Pros: 

  • A high power to weight ratio
  • Durable and easy to use
  • Super fast
  • Advanced features
  • Safe to use

Cons: 

  • None

My Thoughts: This is a great tool packed with power for all kinds of operations. I am impressed with all of its features. If you want a professional chainsaw that will give you the best value for your money, go for the Makita! 

Best Cheap Gas Chainsaw For Home Use – Ryobi RY3714

  • Bar length: 14 inch
  • Cylinder displacement: 37 cc
  • Weight: 10 lbs

With a 14 inch blade and weighing just 10 pounds, this is a perfect saw for home use. The 37 cc motor packs enough power to get any lightweight job done for homeowners. It is very easy to carry and its anti-vibe handle reduces vibrations, making it easy to use for anybody- even beginners.

It has several safety features such as an automatic adjustable oiler and an inertia activated chain brake. The feature that really makes it stand out is the safe T-tip device at the end of the bar which protects you against rotational kickback. 

To make maintenance and cleanup easier, it has a tool free air filter cover and a side access chain. Overall, it is one of the best and cheapest gas chainsaws for home use!

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Anti-vibration handle
  • Safe to use and easy to maintain
  • Perfect for home use
  • Safe T-tip device
  • 3 year warranty

Cons

  • Can be a bit difficult to start sometimes. 
  • Ignition system overheats sometimes.

My Thoughts: This isn’t the most powerful chainsaw out there and is not suitable for cutting through trees. But, its modest power and bar length make it great for home use! The compact design certainly helps matters. If you are not used to handling power tools and just want a small saw that will get things done around the house, I highly recommend the Ryobi RY3714. You will be pleasantly surprised!

Best Small Gas Chainsaw – Husqvarna T525

small gas chainsaw
  • Bar length: 12 inch
  • Cylinder displacement: 27 cc
  • Power output: 1.48 hp
  • Maximum speed: 13500 RPM
  • Weight: 5.95 lbs

At a weight of less than 6 lbs, the Husqvarna T525 Top Handle Chainsaw is one of the lightest and smallest gas chainsaws available. With an ergonomic design, this gas chainsaw is the perfect package for pruning and trimming trees without making your muscles ache. The bar length is flexible and is recommended to be between 8 – 12 inches.

This chainsaw’s features make it a great fit for both beginner tree care workers and for professionals. The belt eyelet makes it easy to connect the saw to a climbing harness for when you want to trim the branches at the top. In order to allow you to make adjustments to the saw while functioning, it comes with a retaining bar nut. No more worrying about where to place the nut, too!

My favorite feature about this chainsaw is the X-Torq engine which reduces fuel consumption and emissions by 75% and 20% respectively! This means you spend less money on gas and also help the environment. Other than that, it has an auto return stop switch, a quick release air filter cover, and a smart start feature for ease of use. 

Pros

  • Small and lightweight with an ergonomic design.
  • Belt eyelet.
  • Flexible bar length.
  • X-torq engine.
  • Retaining bar nut.
  • Easy cold start.
  • Chain tensioning from the side.
  • Quick release air filter cover.
  • Auto return stop switch.
  • Flip up tank cap to easily open and close during refueling.
  • 2 year warranty.

Cons

  • Not suitable for cutting firewood. 

My Thoughts: This is a great tool for homeowners – especially beginner woodworkers – who just want a small saw to prune and trim their trees. Its amazing features make it a very worthwhile investment! 

Why Get a Gas Powered Chainsaw? 

firewood with a gas chainsaw

Now that we have looked at 7 of the best gas powered chainsaws, it is time for an in-depth guide that will let you know what features and specifications to look out for before purchasing. But before that.

Chainsaws commonly come in three types: gas, corded, and battery operated. Out of these, gas chainsaws come out on top. They are tougher and more powerful, making it easier for you to cut through even the hardest wood. They also remain the best option to cut large trees

Moreover, gas chainsaws give you a longer runtime since they only need oil and gas. They do not need batteries that run out fast and need to be recharged every hour. They are also even more portable than cordless chainsaws. You can use them in the middle of a forest, too, if you so wish!

Since it uses gas, there have been concerns about the impact of gas chainsaws on the environment. However, more and more companies are using advanced engines that reduce fuel consumption and emission by up to 75%, so you can always go for those. Many of them are even EPA compliant. 

Convinced? Great! Now let’s move on to the how-to-choose guide.

What To Look For In a Gas Chainsaw 

closeup gas chainsaw

There are different gas chainsaws for different types of uses- light duty, moderate duty for general purpose, and heavy duty professional grade chainsaws. So, the first thing you need to do is identify your intended use, because you cannot use the same chainsaw for light pruning and felling large trees. 

Once you’ve decided that, check for these features:

Bar Length

The chain in any chainsaw runs around the bar whose length determines the types of items you can cut. Light duty chainsaws with a bar length of 12 or 14 inches are usually great for home use and some light yard work such as pruning branches. For cutting small trees, a 16, 18, or 20 inch chainsaw would be ideal. 

After the 20 inch mark, chainsaws move over to the professional side and are best used for cutting down large trees or chopping logs that have a diameter of at least 20 inches. 

As a rule of thumb, the maximum cutting capacity runs a few inches shorter than the blade length (usually 2 inches), so keep that in mind before you purchase. For example, to cut through a log that is 16 inches, you would need a 14 inch bar

Power/ Engine Size 

The engine size is measured in cc (cubic centimeters) and indicates the capacity of the engine. The greater the engine capacity, the more fuel it consumes and the more power it gives

A general purpose chainsaw will have an engine capacity of around 40 cc and is more than enough for landscaping or cutting small trees. If you need a heavy duty chainsaw, look for ones with more than 50 cc. 

Oiling Method 

For any gas chainsaw, it is crucial to keep the bar and chain lubricated. This will prevent the components from suffering damage due to overheating. The blade may also become dull.

There are 3 types of oiling methods available:

  • Manual oiler. You need to manually oil your saw by pressing a button. This gives you control over when and how much to lubricate. 
  • Automatic oiler with a fixed flow. The machine itself will oil the bar and chain periodically, but you cannot increase or decrease the amount of lubrication. These gas chainsaws may sometimes experience a gas leak.
  • Automatic oiler with an adjustable flow. This is my favorite method out of the three. The device self lubricates itself but allows you to adjust the flow. This is the best option because you get to control the oil flow based on the weather and based on the type of tree you are cutting. 

Safety Features 

Chainsaws are quite powerful tools. Different chainsaws offer different safety features, but here are some of the most common ones to look out for:

  • Chain brake system. No matter how much of a pro you are, sometimes you simply cannot avoid kickbacks. A chain brake system helps prevent accidents when a kickback does occur. The inertia activated chain brake system is the most advanced type out there. 
  • Chain catcher. This feature prevents a broken chain from suddenly flying off the bar and hitting you in the face.
  • Throttle lock trigger.

Weight and Ease of Use

More and more brands are manufacturing lightweight chainsaws without compromising on performance. Lightweight tools are easy to handle and carry around and can be used by everyone. So if you are someone who is not used to power tools, this is definitely something to consider. 

There are several features that increase ease of use:

  • Anti-vibration handle. Reduces vibrations, allowing you to work for longer without enduring muscle fatigue.
  • Quick start technology to start the device easily within seconds.
  • Tool free air filter cover.
  • Bucking spikes to help you make more precise cuts.
  • Centrifugal air cleaning system to remove chips and debris.
  • Belt eyelet to connect it to a harness and climb while pruning the tops of trees.

A final piece of advice before I go: always make sure to wear safety gear and clean and maintain your chainsaw regularly for a longer lifespan. And, as always, happy woodworking! 

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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