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Best chainsaws save time with storm clean-up

Posted February 16, 2021 5:44 p.m. EST

You’ve got a lawn mower and maybe a string trimmer and a leaf blower, so what about adding a chainsaw to your arsenal of outdoor equipment?

Whether it’s for cutting firewood, cleaning up after a storm or doing other backyard chores, a chainsaw can save you a lot of time.

Consumer Reports just finished testing some and reveals which ones can tackle the toughest tasks.

Consumer Reports looks for a number of safety features when assessing chainsaws. One of them is a cover for the blade to protect you from getting cut when the saw isn’t in use.

Testers also look for a chain break, which is designed to engage and stop the blade from spinning if you get a kickback while you’re cutting.

Consumer Reports says the biggest surprise in tests was how much battery-powered chainsaws have improved over the years.

The EGO CS-1804 for $350 is the best of the battery-powered models and is very easy to use.

For smaller jobs, consider a Consumer Reports Best Buy, the Ryobi 40550 for $250. It cuts almost as fast but has a slightly shorter cutting bar, and the batteries need to be recharged.

If you’re the type to wait and do all of your cutting on a weekend, you might be better served by a gas chainsaw, because you can cut indefinitely as long as you keep adding fuel.

The top-rated Jonsered CS2245 for $320 is a good option.

For lighter-duty jobs, the Stihl MS-180 C-BE for $250 is a Consumer Reports Best Buy.

When you’re operating a chainsaw, it’s important to wear proper safety gear. Consumer Reports recommends a helmet with a face shield, chaps, hearing protection, protective gloves and sturdy shoes.

If that sounds daunting, and your trees are small with branches no more than 4 inches in diameter, consider using an electric lopper, which some homeowners find less intimidating than a chainsaw.

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