Which Chainsaw Should I Buy?

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Which Chainsaw Should I Buy?

A chainsaw can be used to trim branches, clear vegetation, fell trees, and saw logs. Chainsaws fall into three categories: domestic, semi-professional, and professional use. Most buyers require a domestic use chainsaw, but those who often saw bigger logs or tougher objects may require a semi-professional use chainsaw. Domestic chainsaws come in corded and petrol varieties. Heavy duty equipment usually features a petrol motor as these tend to be stronger. A chainsaw cuts with a metal chain with cutting teeth that is driven around an oblong guide bar by the motor. When the chain makes contact with an object the teeth are dragged along its surface and cut into it.

To find the right chainsaw, a number of factors should be considered. The purpose of the chainsaw dictates the power required and, as a result, the type of chainsaw needed. Chainsaw features, such as the chain bar length, the chain cutting speed, and chain lubrication system, should be taken into account. Similarly, the chainsaw’s power and weight should be considered. Chainsaws are dangerous and you should take note of a number of safety tips and use a chainsaw only while wearing protective clothing. Chainsaws are available from DIY and hardware stores, and from online sources like eBay.

Types of Chainsaws

Two types of chainsaws are available: corded and petrol. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages that should be considered before deciding on the right type. If you need a chainsaw for heavy duty work, consider a low end semi-professional model. Although these chainsaws are more expensive than domestic use models, they have improved anti-vibration systems, are built to higher specifications, and have stronger, more durable engines. Their power to weight ratios tend to be better, making it a pleasure to work with them.

Corded Chainsaws

Corded chainsaws work with mains power and are not as strong as petrol chainsaws. However, they are quieter and lighter, and do not produce emissions, making this type of chainsaw a more environmentally friendly option. These chainsaws tend to be less expensive than petrol models and are perfect for occasional, light use around the garden. As they tend to be fairly light they are easier to use, being more manoeuvrable and not tiring users as quickly as heavier petrol chainsaws. Most models can cut logs and firewood without any trouble. Corded chainsaws require little maintenance. These chainsaws should not be used with long extensions as higher wattage improves performance.

Petrol Chainsaws

Petrol chainsaws can be used without a nearby power source, but they do need a special fuel mix, made of engine oil and petrol. The exact petrol to fuel ratio can be found in the user manual, but is usually 50:1. Petrol chainsaws have two-stroke engines, like those in mopeds, which is why they need a two-stroke fuel mix. They are more powerful and make a lot of noise. They also tend to give off fumes and emit smoke while in use. Petrol chainsaws are useful for more heavy duty or frequent work, or pruning and cutting away from a power source. Those who intend to use a petrol chainsaw in a residential area should bear in mind that extended use of the chainsaw may cause a rift with the neighbours.

Maintenance of Petrol Chainsaws

Additional power carries a further cost. Petrol chainsaws require more maintenance and care than corded ones. The engine requires servicing, the cutting teeth must be sharpened when needed, the chain must be kept at the correct tension, the fuel tank must be topped up, and the chain must be kept lubricated to keep it running smoothly. Many petrol chainsaws come with built-in oil chambers that lubricate the chain automatically, but it is always best to confirm that this feature is included when buying a petrol chainsaw to avoid difficulties when using the machine.

Features to Consider When Buying a Chainsaw

In addition to weight and chainsaw type, some additional features should be considered when shopping for a chainsaw. This includes the chain bar length, cutting speed, engine power, and weight of the chainsaw.

Chain Bar Length

A longer chain bar allows you to cut thicker logs safely. The logs to be cut should be shorter than the exposed cutting chain bar length. If the chainsaw will be used only for trimming and pruning, choose the shortest chain bar length available for a lighter, more manoeuvrable machine. For domestic use, a 12 inch chain bar is usually long enough.

Chain Cutting Speed

The chain cutting speed is measured in metres per second (m/s). A chainsaw with a higher chain speed cuts faster.

Chainsaw Motor and Engine Power

The motor power of an electric chainsaw is measured in watts, and the higher the wattage, the stronger the engine. The engine power of a petrol chainsaw is measured in cubic centimetres (cc) and, similar to electric models, the higher the number, the stronger the engine. For domestic use, an engine size of 30 to 40 cc should suffice.

Chainsaw Weight

Petrol chainsaws are heavier than corded ones as the fuel tank adds weight. Do not buy a petrol chainsaw unless it is necessary as you may find that it is too cumbersome to work with. If in doubt, make a shortlist of potential chainsaw models and try them out at the local DIY store. If you cannot hold a particular model or make the necessary motions for cutting and pruning for longer than a few minutes, that model is not for you.

Chainsaw Safety Tips and Equipment

Chainsaws are dangerous and should be handled with care. Never use a chainsaw while standing on a ladder or to cut anything that is higher than your chest. Do not force a chainsaw through the object being cut by applying pressure as this could damage the chain. Always make sure that the chainsaw has been switched off before putting it down. Chainsaws feature a number of safety mechanisms, including chain brakes that are designed to prevent injury from kickback. This is the most common type of chainsaw related injury and occurs when the guide bar is thrown upwards towards the operator because its tip has been trapped in the object being cut or has made contact with another hard object.

Safety Clothing

Safety clothing is essential to protect against injury while operating any power tools, especially chainsaws. Chainsaw safety helmets are designed to protect against kickback, provided the chain brake has been activated by the user in time. They often come with integrated eye and ear protection. If the helmet does not feature this, wear separate safety goggles and ear defenders. Chainsaw trousers and gloves are made from specialist fabric that reduce injury. Safety boots should be worn to protect the feet.

Buying a Chainsaw on eBay

Finding the right chainsaw on eBay is easy when you know how to look for it. Type a keyword or search phrase, for example "electric chainsaw&" in the search bar, which can be found on every page, to see the items listed. Refine your search by choosing the most appropriate category and item features. Use the advanced search feature for more search options.

Evaluate the Item and the Seller

Before you buy on eBay, take a moment to learn about the item and seller. Click on an individual listing to view the item listing page where you will find the information that you need about the item, the bidding and buying process, accepted payment methods, and the seller’s feedback information. To learn about the seller, click on the number next to his or her username to view the seller’s feedback. Detailed seller ratings provide more information about aspects, such as the seller’s communication and the accuracy of the item description, with comments from previous buyers. Individual comments can also be seen on the item listing page.


A chainsaw is often needed for heavy duty trimming, or cutting back trees or branches in the garden. Domestic use chainsaws are available in corded and petrol designs. Corded chainsaws are powerful enough for general domestic use, including cutting firewood. They run relatively quietly, require little maintenance, and do not give off emissions. Petrol chainsaws tend to be more powerful, but their two-stroke engines require special fuel, are noisy, and give off petrol fumes. For heavy duty cutting and sawing, consider buying a domestic or semi-professional petrol chainsaw.

In addition to deciding on the best type of chainsaw for you, buy a saw with the right chain bar length and cutting speed. The longer the chain bar, the more difficult it is to use the chainsaw, but thicker logs can be cut safely. The motor or engine should be powerful enough to handle the work that needs to be done. For domestic use, a 12 inch chain bar and 30 to 40 cubic centimetre engine for a petrol chainsaw is adequate. Always wear safety equipment and follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions. New and used corded and petrol chainsaws are available from eBay sellers.

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