The Best Chainsaw in Australia: Stihl, Ego, Husqvarna

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Chainsaws can be the best way to clean up your yard and trim your trees. However, with so many varied options on the market, it’s easy to get confused about which products are great and which are not so great.

Below we take a look at 6 of the best chainsaws on the market in Australia. After our chainsaw reviews, we list the key things you’ll want to watch out for when choosing to ensure you get the right tool for your needs.


1. STIHL MS 170 Mini Boss 35cm 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw (Top Pick)

 

The Stihl MS 170 Mini-Boss is a great entry-level chainsaw for light to medium work. Use it for trimming trees or cutting firewood and it won’t let you down. 

Handling it is easy as it is fairly lightweight and manageable. Cutting is quick and clean but some people may find it a little underpowered when cutting large wood, or stumps, especially if it hasn’t been sharpened for a while. 

Overall, this is an excellent small chainsaw with a solid construction and should be your first choice for domestic work.



2. Black+Decker 25cm 18V 2.0Ah Lithium-ion Chainsaw (Best Value)

BLACK+DECKER GKC1825L20-XE18V 25cm Lithium Chainsaw 2.0Ah,


If you’re after an affordable, hassle-free solution for odd jobs around the garden, this battery-powered chainsaw is one of your best bets. At only 3.1kg it is lightweight and maneuverable. It features a comfortable handle and has good balance, making it a pleasure to use.

Tool free chain tensioning makes for quick and easy chain fitting and adjustments, while the fade-free lithium-ion battery powers through up to 220 cuts on one charge


What We Like:

Affordable
Lightweight and easy to use
Leak-free oil system

What We Don’t Like:

Shorter guide bar length


3. EGO Power+ Chainsaw CS1400E 35cm


This chainsaw from EGO is well balanced and easy to use. The construction is good quality and the unit will handle most jobs you throw at it. 

Like other electric chainsaws, it runs pretty quietly and there is no petrol smell. Charge time is pretty short; you can fully recharge it in under minutes. It lasts a while too; a single charge was enough to cut through 50 logs with power to spare.  

It has less power than a petrol chainsaw, but it will cut through just about anything. If you want a chainsaw that is easy to use and more convenient than petrol, then give this one a go.



4. Baumr-AG 62CC E-Start Commercial Petrol Chainsaw


The SX62 is a good budget chainsaw. It is no Stihl or Husqvarna, despite that it claims to be commercial, but if you want something to use infrequently, then this is a good choice. 

It has plenty of power and handling is easy, so it is perfect for most domestic tasks. Starting it up is pretty consistent too. The construction is reasonable for a lower-priced chainsaw; as long as you take good care of it, it should last a long time. 

Some people have found that it leaks small amounts of oil when not in use. You can prevent this by tightening the oil screw while it’s not in use, but some people may find this inconvenient. 

Overall, this is a good chainsaw if you just need something for occasional jobs.



5. STIHL MS 251 450mm Wood Boss 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw


The MS 251 from Stihl is a great quality chainsaw and has loads of power. It is a mid-range tool, bridging the gap between domestic tasks and commercial use. It can cut tree roots and stumps, railway sleepers, and other tough jobs with ease. 

The construction is very good; this unit should last a long time. Starting it up is easy and there is reasonably low vibration in the front and rear handles, so handling is quite comfortable. It also uses fuel pretty efficiently and maintenance is simple. 

This is a great all-around chainsaw, but some people may find it too pricey for something to just use around the home.


What We Don’t Like:


6. Husqvarna Petrol Chainsaw 120 Mark II


The Husqvarna 120 Mark II is a budget version of the higher-end models. It is relatively low priced for a name brand chainsaw, but this can be good and bad. 

Many people have found it difficult to start. People have also complained that it is underpowered for its size. These inconveniences may come hand-in-hand with the low price tag.

On the positive side, it cuts cleanly and quickly. The construction is solid and it should last a while if you take good care of it. Handling is quite good as the unit is fairly lightweight. 

This is a good choice for a hobby chainsaw. You will sacrifice a little performance, but you can get a reliable, big name chainsaw at a pretty low cost.



Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide


Not sure where to start on your search for your backyard companion? Keep the following things in mind when selecting your chainsaw:

Purpose

It is important to choose a chainsaw that suits your needs. If you are inexperienced, then it is better to go for a lighter model. If you want something for cleaning up the yard and other occasional tasks, then there is no need to buy a high-end chainsaw. 

If you need something heavy-duty, or you plan on using it regularly, then it is better to invest in a professional machine. A good quality chainsaw will last longer and require fewer replacement parts.

Handling

Your chainsaw must be powerful enough for what you need, but it should also be light and easy to manage. Good handling is just as important for safety as protective gear. Don’t go overboard on power if it is going to make the chainsaw too heavy. 

Also, check the vibration rating of the handles. Low vibration reduces the risk of injury and keeps your hands from cramping. Even if you are using the machine infrequently, low vibration will make it much more comfortable to use.

RELATED: The Best Pruning Saws

Petrol Or Electric

Petrol/gas chainsaws tend to be more powerful than electric, and they are more convenient if you are working long hours. A tank of petrol will last longer than a fully charged battery. On the other hand, petrol chainsaws give off fumes and emissions that have a strong smell and can give some people a headache. They are also quite loud and have greater vibration than electric. 

Electric chainsaws are good for infrequent jobs and housework. The lithium ion battery won’t last as long as petrol, but you can buy two and charge one while you are using the other. They are much quieter than petrol and have little vibration. There are also no fumes to worry about.

Another option is corded electric chainsaws. The benefit of this variety relates to the fact they don’t rely on battery power. This means they are more powerful and you can work for longer without needing to recharge batteries. They are also generally more affordable than the other varieties of chainsaws.

The obvious downside of these power tools relates to maneuverability. They need to be connected to a power source at all times, limiting the locations you can use them. The cord can also be inconvenient if working in dense bush or around other obstacles. 

Guide Bar Length

The guide bar length is one of the key considerations when choosing a chainsaw, and the ideal size will be dependent on what you intend to use it for. 

Most chainsaws come with a bar length in the range of 16” to 24”, while smaller sizes do exist. Longer chainsaws will generally be more powerful and allow you to cut thicker objects, however they weigh more, offer less control, and users are more likely to experience kickback. Smaller chainsaws are generally better for control, which can make them a safer option.

Ideally, the guide bar length should be around 2 inches (5cm) longer than what you want to cut. However, you also need to consider the size and weight in relation to your strength and ability. Women will often opt for 16” to 18” chainsaws. Keep in mind that if your chainsaw is shorter than what you are cutting, you will need to make more passes to cut it.

Chain Speed

This relates to the speed at which the chain moves and determines how fast you can cut. The average chainsaw runs at around 90 to 95 km/h. One of the major benefits of petrol/gas powered chainsaws is their superior chain speed.

Kickback Brake / Chain Brake

A kickback brake, also known as a chain brake, is a safety feature that activates when there is a kickback and prevents the chainsaw operator from coming into contact with the running chain, which can cause serious injury or death.

Chain brakes can be used manually by the operator or as a safety feature as described above.

Easy Start System

Gone are the days of frustrating chainsaws that won’t start. Many manufacturers now offer models with easy start features that are more reliable and take less effort to start. Keep an eye out for this feature if this is important to you.

Handle and Balance

Many chainsaws offer different grips. Choose one that sits comfortably in your hand and isn’t too big or too small. Check the balance as well. You shouldn’t have to compensate too much when holding it. The grip and the balance will determine how comfortable it is to hold the chainsaw for long periods. 

Tips For Using Your Chainsaw

While every chainsaw is different, and you should consult your instruction manual and local dealer before using your power tool, here are some general tips for the effective use of your chainsaw:

Avoid the kickback zone – The top half of the guide bar is known as the kickback zone. If this part of the chain saw comes into contact with a log or tree branch while in operation, it is likely to kick up towards the operator, potentially causing injury.

Use the right chainsaw for the job – Don’t be tempted to use a saw that is too big or small for the task.

Keep your tool sharp – Blunt chainsaws can be dangerous and ineffective. Keep an eye out for the signs of a dull chainsaw, such as the saw chain not pulling itself into the wood.

Learn to handle your chainsaw correctly – Many injuries occur from incorrect use and while it may seem obvious which hand goes on the front handle, rear handle and throttle, there are precautions that drastically reduce the risk of injury. Ensure you are fully aware of the recommended use of your machine, including safety precautions.

Ear protection – Extended use of power tools such as these can lead to hearing damage. Be sure to use appropriate ear protection to prevent damage.

Maintenance – Maintaining your saw is one of the most important parts of keeping it running effectively and safely. Parts of the saw that require maintenance include the chain, guide-bar groove, oil ports, cooling fins, sprockets, air filter, spark plug, exhaust, carburetor, starter, oil filter and clutch.

Other features – As technology continues to progress, so does the range of features available in chain saws. These include tool-free chain tensioning and automatic chain oilers.

Safety

Finally, before you even buy a chainsaw, make sure you are comfortable with the risks involved and are taking appropriate safety measures. Below are a few resources to get you started:

https://www.safework.sa.gov.au/business-industry/agriculture-horticulture/hazards-risks/chainsaws

https://www.stihl.com.au/safety-tips.aspx

https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/tools/reviews/a11294/7-simple-chainsaw-safety-rules-17209863/


Chainsaw FAQs


Do Chainsaw Chains Stretch?

Not exactly, however, they can become loose which is a safety concern. The most likely cause is the rivets being worn down, either in initial use or over time. This can have the effect of the chain being looser and therefore is something that needs to be kept an eye on and the chain tensioning adjusted if necessary.