How to Choose the Right Chainsaw

Date Posted: 22 July 2022 

While chainsaws are known for cutting wood, they can also cut through concrete and stone. Choosing the right chainsaw could make or break your next project. There are many options on the market, and knowing which is the best can feel like an impossible task.

Instead of buying an ineffective product, you should understand how different chainsaws can meet your woodworking needs. Check out this chainsaw buying guide to help you select your next power tool.

Chainsaw Buying Guide: Usage Considerations

Knowing how to choose a chainsaw is as easy as understanding what you’ll use the tool for. Different tools are better for different jobs. So, what’s your chainsaw going up against?

What Am I Using a Chainsaw For?

Before choosing the right chainsaw, think over the following questions:

  • Are you cutting firewood?
  • Clearing brush?
  • Taking down trees?
  • Sculpting?

The answer will help guide your decision on which features are most important. For example, big tasks like taking down trees need powerful, durable chainsaws. But, intricate jobs like sculpting may require more precise tools.

What Type of Wood Will I Be Cutting?

We couldn’t call this a chainsaw buying guide if we didn’t talk about wood. The type of wood you’ll be cutting is one of the most important factors in choosing the right chainsaw.

For example, a smaller saw will suffice if you’re only cutting softwoods. But if you’re planning on cutting hardwoods, you’ll need a more powerful saw.

Chainsaw Buying Guide: Features

Though important, there are more factors to consider when buying a chainsaw than usage. Therefore, you should also consider the features you need or prefer before deciding. Some major components to consider include:

Chainsaw Power Source

When choosing a chainsaw, you should consider what kind of power source you want. Electric chainsaws are more lightweight and easier to manoeuvre. But they require an extension cord or replaceable batteries and may not have as much power as a petrol chainsaw.

Petrol chainsaws are more powerful, and you can use them without tethering yourself to an outlet. But they are heavier and can be more cumbersome to control. 

Finding a chainsaw that provides a good balance between what you need for your project and what disadvantages you can manage will help you make the best decision.

Chainsaw Safety Features

There is a myriad of fantastic safety features in modern chainsaws that have driven chainsaw accidents to a downward trend in recent years. Some essential features to look for when choosing a chainsaw are:

  • Kickback guard: Protects you if the saw blade kicks back
  • Chain brake: Stops the chain from moving if it gets caught on something
  • Chain Catcher: Catches the chain if it breaks off, making it less of a hazard for the user and bystanders

These safety features are a few of many that will keep all your fingers intact when operating a chainsaw. Choosing a chainsaw with a few or all of these safety features is the best decision.

Anti-Fatigue Chainsaw Features

One of the most important features to look for in a chainsaw is anti-vibration. Vibration can cause fatigue, tingling, and numbness in your hands and arms, so finding a saw that minimises these things is important.

Look for a saw with counterweights or springs that help reduce vibration. You should also ensure the saw has comfortable handles that won’t vibrate too much.

Chainsaw Budget

A chainsaw is a big purchase, so you’ll want to take your time to choose the right one. First, you need to decide how much you’re willing to spend. You can find chainsaws for under $100, but they may not have all the features you’re looking for.

Conversely, you can find models that cost over $1,000, but they may be more than you need. It’s essential to set a budget before beginning your search. Remember to factor in enough money to buy chainsaw maintenance accessories as well.

Chainsaw Cutter Type

When choosing a chainsaw, one of the most important factors to consider is the type of cutter. The two most common types are semi- and full chisel.

Semi-chisel cutters are ideal for general-purpose cutting and can be used on various materials. On the other hand, full chisel cutters are designed for cutting hardwoods.

Chainsaw Bar Type

The bar is the part of a chainsaw that holds and guides the chain. The two most common types are sprocket nose and hard nose.

At the most basic level, sprocket nose bars have teeth that protrude from the end of the bar and are designed for cutting through softwoods. Hard nose bars have a flat end and are better suited for cutting through hardwoods.

Moreover, hard nose bars help users work faster because they have a larger cutting surface. They also reduce time spent sharpening the chainsaw by sawing through hardwood with fewer teeth (less time sharpening).

However, hard-nosed bars are more expensive than chainsaws with soft-nosed bars. Therefore, we only recommend choosing a hard-nosed bar if you work primarily in hardwoods or need a professional-grade chainsaw.

Frequently Asked Questions

Once you have a chainsaw, knowing the safe and effective use and maintenance practices is important. Here are a few FAQs that we get regarding chainsaw maintenance:

What Angle Should I Sharpen My Chain?

Each manufacturer recommends sharpening its chain at certain angles. For example, Jono & Johno recommend using a 25-degree angle for their Hurricane chain. Check your user manual to know what angle you should sharpen your chain at. 

Do You Sharpen a Semi-Chisel Chain Differently Than a Full Chisel Chain?

Yes. The standard 90-degree angle you use on a semi-chisel, while possible to use on a full-chisel, is not ideal. Instead, most full chisel chains require a downward tilt of around 10 degrees.

What File Size Do I Need?

File size corresponds to the ‘pitch’ of your chainsaw chain. Check out a more detailed chart on the Jono & Johno FAQ page to match your pitch to the right file size.

How Do I Maintain Chainsaw Rakers?

Rakers prevent the entire length of your chainsaw tooth from penetrating the wood. Without them, your chainsaw would get caught often and be more challenging to handle.

You should file down the rakers as the teeth of your chainsaw wear down. Use a depth gauge tool to know how far to file your rakers down each time you do it.

How to Buy a Chainsaw

Now that you've read the most thorough chainsaw buying guide Australia has to offer, it’s time for the fun part: shopping for your new power tool. Find your perfect chainsaw at Jono & Johno. 

Our wide selection of a range of chainsaws means you can customise your purchase to your needs. Our expert customer service team and flexible returns policy mean you’ll walk away from your experience satisfied. Shop chainsaws today at the Jono & Johno website.