The right chainsaw can ease yard work
Posted October 28, 2013
Whether it's the aftermath of a big storm or just time to clean up the yard, chainsaws make the job go quickly.
Homeowners with access to a chainsaw can take care of downed tree limbs without spending to contract help.
Consumer Reports tested 20 chain saws that range in price from $70 all the way to $400. They rated how fast they cut and how much they vibrate. Too much vibration can make a saw hard to hold, especially for a long time.
Testers also checked "kickback" – when the tip of the saw hits the wood and lurches back.
If you just need to cut branches a couple of times a year, testers say an electric chain saw is convenient.
Consumer Reports named a $100 model from Worx a Best Buy.
"Of course you're connected to the power cord," pointed out Consumer Reports' Peter Sawchuk. "If the power's out, you're out of luck."
For bigger jobs, testers recommend a gas-powered saw, but found those are they're trickier to use.
"You need to know the right mixture of gas and oil for your saw and how to start it. It can take several pulls of the starter cord to get it going," Sawchuk said.
The top rated gas saw was a Stihl for $230 dollars. For even less, a $150 Craftsman is a good choice. It's not quite as fast, but it comes with a storage case and some supplies, such as chain oil and a chain-tightening tool.
Either can make quick work of that next yard project
Consumer Reports says to use gas chainsaws for an hour, you'll need about 32 ounces of pre-mixed gasoline and oil and a quart of what's called "bar oil." For electric saws, you need a heavy extension cord, one that's 12 gauge.