10 Best Chainsaws for the Money in 2021 [Reviews]

Close up of a chainsaw blade

The average homeowner is likely more interested in the best chainsaw for the money than the one with the most bells and whistles. As long as a chainsaw can get the job done whenever it’s needed, affordability is often more important than sheer power.

There are lots of options to choose from when selecting a chainsaw — power source, weight, price, and saw bar length are all key factors.

If you’re seeking the best bang for your buck, price is the most important factor to consider, and this article will explain why the most expensive type of chainsaws (battery-powered chainsaws) didn’t make our cut. 

We’ve researched dozens of chainsaws, picked out the 10 best chainsaws for the money, and we included a buyers guide that will help you whittle down the field and choose the right model for you.

Top 10 Chainsaws for the Money – Reviews

1. Sun Joe SWJ701E

Sun Joe SWJ701E 18-inch 14.0 Amp Electric Chain Saw with Kickback Safety Brake

The Sun Joe SWJ701E is a corded electric chainsaw that’s perfect for thick limbs, logs, and firewood. It’s strong with 14 amps of power, yet still lightweight at under 10 pounds.

This chainsaw’s 18-inch saw bar has an automatic oiling system so it stays lubricated while in use.

The Sun Joe SWJ701E is designed to be lightweight and maneuverable with a sleek body and an ergonomic handle. The handguard and kickback brake function help to maximize safety and comfort. 

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Electric
  • Power: 14 amps
  • Weight: 9.7 lbs.
  • Saw bar length: 18 inches

Pros

✓ Lightweight, yet powerful
✓ Built-in safety features
✓ Automatic oiling

Cons:

✗ Some reviewers report difficulty tightening the chain 
✗ Some reviewers complain of leaking oil reservoir

2. WORX WG304.1

WORX WG304.1 Chain Saw 18-Inch 4 15.0 Amp

The affordable WORX WG304.1 is a powerful, portable, and easy-to-use chainsaw. It has a 15-amp motor that gives it enough power to handle tough trees.

The WORX WG304.1’s chain is designed to stay tight and secure with a patented tool-free chain replacement and auto-tensioning system. It’s also built with safety in mind. The WG304.1 has a built-in chain brake, low kickback bar, and ergonomic handles.

Specifications

  • Power source: Electric
  • Power: 15 amps
  • Weight: 11.3 lbs.
  • Saw bar length: 18 inches

Pros

✓ Powerful 15-amp motor
✓ Patented auto-tensioning system prevents over-tightening
✓ 18-inch, low kickback saw bar

Cons:

✗ Some reviewers complain of gear issues
✗ Some reports of leaking oil reservoir

3. CRAFTSMAN CMECS600

CRAFTSMAN Electric Chainsaw, 16-Inch, 12-Amp (CMECS600),REd

The CRAFTSMAN CMECS600 is the most affordable and lightest chainsaw on our list at just over 6 pounds. Despite its light weight and low cost, it still packs a punch.

This chainsaw has a 16-inch saw bar and a 12-amp motor that give it enough power to take down small trees. Plus, it has automatic chain oiling and tool-less chain tensioning to keep it low-maintenance.

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Electric
  • Power: 12 amps
  • Weight: 6.2 lbs.
  • Saw bar length: 16 inches

Pros

✓ Lightweight design
✓ Auto-oiling and tool-free tensioning
✓ Most affordable chainsaw on our list

Cons:

✗ Less power and shorter length than the competition
✗ Some complaints of a leaking oil reservoir

4. BLACK+DECKER CS1518

BLACK+DECKER Electric Chainsaw, 18-Inch, 15-Amp (CS1518)

The BLACK+DECKER CS1518 is a heavy-duty chainsaw that won’t break the bank. This 18-inch chainsaw comes with the amperage to tackle tough trees with ease.

This chainsaw’s low kickback bar and chain are made by Oregon, making it a high-quality cutting machine. It also has automatic oiling, tool-free chain tensioning, and a chain brake system for added safety.

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Electric
  • Power: 15 amps
  • Weight: 12 lbs.
  • Saw bar length: 18 inches

Pros

✓ Durable 18-inch bar and chain
✓ Simple chain tensioning system
✓ Automatic oiling system

Cons:

✗ Initial chain assembly can be difficult
✗ Uses up chain oil quickly

5. Remington RM1645

Remington RM1645 Versa Saw 12 Amp 16-Inch Electric Chainsaw with Automatic Chain with Auto Oiler-Soft-Touch Grip and Hand Guard, 32.80 x 9.80 x 8.80, Orange

The Remington RM1645 is a corded chainsaw with a 12-amp motor and 16-inch bar. It’s compact and versatile enough to handle trimming, limbing, and felling small trees.

Bonus points: The ergonomic handle has an over-mold design for balance and reduced vibration.

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Electric
  • Power: 12 amps
  • Weight: 9 lbs.
  • Saw bar length: 16 inches

Pros

✓ Automatic chain oiling with oil level viewer
✓ Quick-adjust chain tensioning with tool included
✓ Comfortable, ergonomic handle reduces vibration

Cons:

✗ Some complaints about leaking oil reservoir
✗ Some users reported issues with overheating

6. Oregon CS1500

Oregon CS1500 Self-Sharpening Electric Chainsaw

The Oregon CS1500 is the only self-sharpening electric chainsaw on our list. Its PowerSharp chain sharpening system allows you to easily sharpen dulled blades in as little as 3 seconds. Just pull the lever to engage sharpening, run the saw, and you’ll have a sharpened blade in almost no time. 

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Electric
  • Power: 15 amps
  • Weight: 13.2 lbs.
  • Saw bar length: 18 inches

Pros

✓ PowerSharp self-sharpening system
✓ Tool-less chain tensioning
✓ Powerful 15-amp motor

Cons:

✗ Reviewers report issues with overheating
✗ Replacement chains are expensive

7. Earthwise CS30116

Earthwise CS30116 16-Inch 12-Amp Corded Electric Chain Saw

The Earthwise CS30116 is a light but powerful 16-inch chainsaw. It’s slim, easy to use, and comes ready to cut right out of the box. Just add some chain oil to the automatic oiling system, plug it in, and press start. It’s great for clearing brush or debris, trimming trees, or cutting firewood.

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Electric
  • Power: 12 amps
  • Weight: 10 lbs.
  • Saw bar length: 16 inches

Pros

✓ Automatic oiling
✓ Tool-less chain tensioning
✓ No assembly required

Cons

✗ Some reported issues with the chain falling off too frequently
✗ Some reviewers report issues with the automatic oiling system

8. HUYOSEN 5820L

HUYOSEN 58cc Gas Chainsaws 2-Cycle Gas Powered Chainsaw, 20-Inch Chainsaw, Cordless Handheld Gasoline Power Chain Saws for Cutting Trees, Wood, Garden and Farm(5820L)

The HUYOSEN 5820L is a gas-powered cutting machine. It’s the most powerful unit on our list, with a 3.6-horsepower, 58 cc engine and 20-inch saw bar. 

Not only is this chainsaw powerful, but it’s also comfortable to use. The non-slip, shock-absorbing handle is ergonomic and helps to reduce vibration. Add in the automatic oiling system, bucking spikes, and low kickback bar and you’ve got a heavy-duty chainsaw for any job.

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Gas
  • Engine: 58 cc
  • Weight: 18.5 lbs.
  • Saw bar length: 20 inches

Pros

✓ Variable speed trigger
✓ Electronic ignition for quick startup
✓ Automatic oiling system and built-in bar nose sprocket

Cons:

✗ Some reported issues with damaged spark plugs
✗ Some reviewers report difficulty with the first startup

9. DEREAL 6220F

DEREAL 62cc-Gas-Chainsaw 2 Cycle Gasoline Powered Chain Saws Handheld Cordless Petrol Chainsaws Optional-18 Inches Guide Board Power Chain Saws for Trees Wood Farm Garden Ranch Forest Cutting

The DEREAL 6220F chainsaw is safe, reliable, and affordable. It has plenty of power, too, with a  two-stroke engine that puts out 3.4 horsepower. It has an automatic oiling system to keep the 20-inch bar lubricated while cutting.

This chainsaw also has a dual throttle operation that prevents accidental starting, a variable speed trigger, a trigger lock for sustained cutting speeds, and a built-in chain brake for safety.

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Gas
  • Engine: 62 cc
  • Weight: 18.3 lbs.
  • Saw bar length: 20 inches

Pros

✓ Powerful 3.4-horsepower engine and variable speed trigger
✓ Automatic oiling system
✓ One-year warranty included

Cons:

✗ Chain tensioning requires disassembly
✗ Can be difficult to start on first use

10. Remington RM4618 Outlaw

Remington RM4618 Outlaw 46cc 2-Cycle 18-Inch Gas Powered Chainsaw with Carrying Case Automatic Chain Oiler and 5-Point Anti Vibration System, 46 cc-18, Orange

The Remington RM4618 Outlaw is designed for both power and comfort. It has a 5-point anti-vibration system and a cushioned, full-wrap handle. It runs on a gas-powered, 46 cc two-cycle engine and uses an 18-inch saw bar.

Bonus points: The die-cast chassis gives it added durability, and the automatic oiling system makes lubrication convenient. The Remington RM4618 also uses quickstart technology for smoother, easier pull starts.

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Gas
  • Engine: 46 cc
  • Weight: 16.4 lbs.
  • Saw bar length: 18 inches

Pros

✓ 5-point anti-vibration system for smooth operation
✓ Low kickback chain reduces risk
✓ Automatic oiling system with chain oil included

Cons:

✗ Some reviewers complain that the chain dulls too quickly
✗ Some reports of a leaking oil reservoir

Buyers Guide

The work you intend to do with your chainsaw will be a big factor in which one is best for you. Think about the types of jobs you’ll be tackling and the kind of experience you want to have when using your chainsaw.

This buyers guide will help you make the best decision for your specific chainsaw needs, all with your budget in mind.

Gas vs. electric

What’s the difference between gas-powered and electric chainsaws? Gas chainsaws are more powerful and are much more suitable for heavy-duty work, like felling large trees. They’re also more expensive.

Electric chainsaws are much more cost-effective, but they’re less powerful and less portable since they’ll keep you within range of an outlet.

The power of a gas engine comes with a few disadvantages. Gas-powered chainsaws are fairly high maintenance machines and come with the added costs of gas and oil refills.

Gas chainsaws are noisy, producing decibel levels that can be damaging to your ears after prolonged exposure. They also release harmful emissions.

Electric chainsaws might not be as powerful as gas models, but they are still strong. They also start right away, usually at the push of a button. They’re quiet, light, and don’t release any emissions. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about filling up your chainsaw’s gas tank.

You also have the option of choosing a battery-powered chainsaw. These have all the benefits of an electric chainsaw with the portability of a gas-powered saw.

Battery-powered models come in all shapes and sizes, but they’re generally more expensive than their gas or electric counterparts.

Battery-powered chainsaws are so pricey that not one of them made our list of the best chainsaws for the money.

Chain oil

Chainsaws need bar oil to operate effectively. It keeps the chain running smoothly and helps to avoid overheating.

Lots of modern chainsaws are built with an automatic oiling system that continuously releases oil onto the saw bar to keep it lubricated. As long as the saw’s oil reservoir is full, the automatic oiler will do the oiling work for you. 

Some automatic oiling systems are adjustable so you can increase or decrease the oil flow as needed. Older chainsaw models that don’t have an automatic oiler need to be manually oiled to avoid damage.

Chain tensioning

The friction of cutting will cause your chain to get hot during use. As the chain heats, it expands and can become loose enough to slip off the bar. This means you’ll need to monitor the tension in the chain, and tighten it as needed so that the chain doesn’t fall off the guide bar while you’re cutting. 

Some chainsaws have automatic chain adjustments or a “tool-less” chain tensioning system that makes tensioning easy. Other models will require you to keep a specific tool or a screwdriver handy so that you can tighten the chain when needed.

Safety features

Chainsaws are dangerous and can cause serious injury if used improperly. Safety features should be an important factor when looking for a chainsaw, especially for beginners.

One of the most important safety features is a chain brake. This allows you to quickly stop the chain from spinning if it breaks or comes off the bar. Some models have a lever that engages the brake or have the feature built into a trigger. Others will stop the chain automatically when cutting stops or it senses the chain has fallen off the bar.

Kickback is when the tip of the saw catches on something and causes the entire chainsaw to “kick” back at you. Low kickback chains and bars are designed to limit kickback or “bucking” to protect chainsaw users. Bucking spikes can be used to leverage against kickback, too.

Check out this video for tips on how to safely operate a chainsaw:

FAQs About Chainsaws

1. Is gas or electric better?

It depends on the type of work you need your chainsaw for. 

A gas chainsaw will have more power and is the better option for long periods of cutting tough trees. 

Most electric chainsaws can handle light-duty to moderate work. The strongest models will even be fit for felling small trees. They’re quieter than gas, require much less maintenance, and they don’t have any toxic emissions. 

If you need a saw that can take down large trees or handle other heavy-duty work, an electric motor might not be enough. You’ll want a gas-powered chainsaw.

2. What should I look for when buying a chainsaw?

What to look for in a chainsaw will depend on what you need it for. 

Those who need power should look for a gas-powered model with lots of horsepower. 

If you want something low-maintenance, look for a saw with automatic oiling and tool-less chain tensioning. 

Choose from electric or battery-powered saws if you want something that’s quiet and easy to maneuver. 

All chainsaw users should look for the best safety features.

3. What size chainsaw should I buy?

Ideally, you want your chainsaw bar to be at least 2-3 inches longer than the width of what you’re cutting.

For example, if you’re cutting trees or limbs that are 12 inches wide, you’ll need a chainsaw that is at least 14 inches long.

4. Who makes the best chainsaws?

We ranked the best chainsaws for the money based on price, but there are other options to choose from that didn’t quite make the cut.

Popular cordless tool brands like Stihl, Echo, Milwaukee, DeWALT, and Makita all have their own take on the modern chainsaw. If you’re happy with a particular tool brand, you may want to purchase a chainsaw from that manufacturer.

Conclusion

For savvy shoppers of chainsaws, price is the top priority. Our buyers guide kept that in mind when ranking the best chainsaws for the money. Whichever chainsaw you choose, you can be confident that you’ll get the best bang for your buck.

And if wielding a chainsaw isn’t your thing, no matter how affordable the needed tool is, you can always leave the tree work to the professionals. Find a tree care professional near you in seconds so you can choose what to watch on Netflix instead of which saw to buy.

Main Photo Credit: kimmo tirkkonen Flickr / CC BY 2.0

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Ryan Plank

Ryan Plank

Ryan Plank is a freelance writer and journalist in Orlando, Florida. He studied at Florida State University and is an avid golfer.