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Best Gas Chainsaws For 2019 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]

There are chainsaws, and then there are chainsaws. Not every model is good for every chainsaw-related purpose. This review will be focused on light- to medium-grade chainsaws for homeowners and for farm and ranch applications. Professional chainsaws recommended for logging will not be discussed here, deserving of a focused article all on their own.

The models featured in this review derive from two manufacturers: Husqvarna and Makita. There are many strong brands out there such as Remington, Poulan, Echo, Black & Decker, Oregon, and others.

Those brands not listed here should not be taken as a rejection of those products. We just have to draw the line somewhere when choosing a few for backyard use and a few for farm work. Here, we present our picks for 2019 in the consumer and farm chainsaw market.

(Word of advice: Fuel problems cause starting and running headaches. Do it right. Don’t pour in about that much of this with a little bit of the other stuff and say “go”. Mix your fuels in a separate container, at the proper ratios, then add to the tank. Take the time for this little step and your whole experience will be much, much better).

Our Best Gas Consumer Chainsaw Reviews and Comparisons

PRODUCT FEATURES

TOP PICK

1. ​​​​Husqvarna 440 II e-series
  • Engine: 2-cycle 40.9 cc at 2.4 hp
  • Spark arrestor: available my request
  • Bar: 16”
  • Automatic oiler: yes
Check Price

RUNNER UP

​2. ​​​​Makita EA4300FRDB
  • Engine: 2-cycle 42 cc at 3.0 hp
  • Spark arrestor: yes
  • Bar: 16”
  • Automatic oiler: yes
Check Price
​3. ​​​​​Husqvarna 460 Rancher
  • Adjustable oil pump for cold weather use
  • LowVib vibration dampener
  • Centrifugal air cleaning system
  • 3.63 hp
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​4. ​​​​​​Husqvarna 455 Rancher
  • Adjustable oil pump for cold weather use
  • LowVib vibration dampener
  • Centrifugal air cleaning system
  • 3.5 hp
Check Price
5. ​​​​​​​Makita EA5600FRGG Ridgeline
  • Engine: 2-cycle 55.6 cc at 4.1 hp
  • Spark arrestor: yes
  • Bar: 20”
  • Automatic oiler: yes
Check Price

Homeowner Gas Chainsaws

1. ​​​​Husqvarna 440 II e-series

Product Highlights

The Husqvarna 440e is an ideal chainsaw for homeowners, yet has enough strength for some “semi-professional” application. Weighing only 10 pounds, it is a 16” bar model driven by a 40.9 cc 2-stroke engine, called the X-Torq, and tops out at a maximum output of 2.4 hp. The 440e also features tool-less chain tensioning, a real convenience for novice users. It retails at just under $300.

Features

  • Engine: 2-cycle 40.9 cc at 2.4 hp
  • Spark arrestor: available my request
  • Bar: 16”
  • Automatic oiler: yes
  • Chain tensioning / brake: Tool-free / hand guard and inertial

The Good

The engine on the 440e is rather strong with a maximum speed of 9000 rpm, quite a lot of power in such a small package. With a fresh chain, it will slice through an 18” hardwood log in about a minute without bogging. It employs a LowVib vibration dampening system to reduce user fatigue. Users report very low kick-back.

The Bad

There have been some user complaints about needing to have the carburetor retuned by a small engine mechanic before the saw will start easily or run steadily. Typically, users report that the carburetor is set too lean from the factory.

​Pros

  • ​Small and powerful
  • ​Tool-less chain tensioning
  • ​Vibration dampener


​Cons

  • ​Carburetor needs a tune-up

​2. ​​​​Makita EA4300FRDB

Product Highlights

The Makita EA4300FRDB (formerly the Dolmar PS-421 before the Makita buyout) features a 16” bar powered by a 42 cc 2-cycle engine. Weighing 10.8 pounds, the engine housing is magnesium for long-term durability and has a spring-assisted starter for easy starts.

The starting system has a low spark coil and uses their proprietary Memory-Power-Ignition (MPI) technology. This system stores energy for easier restarts. The intake features a cold weather baffle, a very nice addition. The Makita retails for just under $400.

Features

  • Engine: 2-cycle 42 cc at 3.0 hp
  • Spark arrestor: yes
  • Bar: 16”
  • Automatic oiler: yes
  • Chain tensioning / brake: Combo-tool provided / hand guard and inertial

The Good

The biggest headache with chainsaws seems to be starting them. The Makita EA4300FRDB is extremely easy to start and has completely overcome this problem.

Notwithstanding the 16” bar length, the saw does pack a punch with a 3.0 hp engine, so it can take on more challenging jobs. In fact, some reviews classify this saw as a farm and ranch saw, despite the short bar.

The Bad

Some of the safety features are overzealous. A chainsaw, by nature, is a dangerous tool, so safety features are always welcomed. Users have reported that the trigger safety occasionally trips and causes temporary trigger lock-out.

​Pros

  • ​Powerful and light
  • ​Vibration dampener
  • ​Easy, easy start


​Cons

  • ​Trigger safety trips sometimes when not necessary

​Farm and Ranch Gas Chainsaws

​3. ​​​​​Husqvarna 460 Rancher

Product Highlights

The name says it all: Rancher. Both saws reviewed here from the Husky Rancher series are heavy-duty work horses. The 460 has a 24” bar driven by a 60.3 cc X-Torq engine putting out 3.63 hp and about 3.4 Newton-meters of torque.

With the right chain, it will go through anything you throw at it short of cutting down redwoods. As such, the saw has been described as a “prosumer” product, one intended for non-professional use but which will step up to bigger jobs if required. Despite all that power, the saw only weighs 13.2 pounds. The 460 retails at about $500.

Features

  • Adjustable oil pump for cold weather use
  • LowVib vibration dampener
  • Centrifugal air cleaning system
  • 3.63 hp

The Good

The 460 is considered a versatile, strong, work-horse of a saw. It is well-regarded by many. Pull cord tension during starts is 40% less than saws with similar engine displacement due to their Smart Start technology.

This saw is at home working in cold conditions as well, since it features an adjustable intake cover to reduce air filter icing during cold starts. Also, the 460 has an adjustable oiler to compensate for cold conditions.

Warm engine starts are assisted by a decompression valve that releases cylinder pressure and an air purge diaphragm to prevent air lock.

The Bad

Some users have complained about hard starts. Often, this comes down to fuel issues: never used ethanol-amended fuels in small engines. You are just asking for trouble.

​Pros

  • ​Power (3.63 hp)
  • ​Torque (3.4 Nm)
  • ​Not too heavy (13.2 pounds)


​Cons

  • ​Some start issues, likely due to fuel quality problems (use real gas)

​4. ​​​​​​Husqvarna 455 Rancher

Product Highlights

The 455 is the little brother of the 460 and possesses many of the same features. The main differences are bar length (20”), engine displacement (55.5 cc), power (3.5 hp), and torque (3.2 Newton-meters).

Nonetheless, it is part of the Rancher series and is highly regarded by many as the quintessential farm chainsaw. Many users prefer the slightly shorter, 20” bar length as more manageable and easier to control. The 455 retails for about $450.

Features

  • Adjustable oil pump for cold weather use
  • LowVib vibration dampener
  • Centrifugal air cleaning system
  • 3.5 hp

The Good

As with its bigger brother, the 455 is considered a strong work-horse chainsaw. It has all the features described in the 460 above, just in a slightly lighter, smaller, easier to handle package.

This does not mean, however, that the 455 is a lightweight. It is a heavy-duty saw that will serve you well if you have a farm or some wooded property to manage. It will cut through both small and large trees.

The Bad

As mentioned above, some problems with hard starts. Usually, this is a fuel problem, not a saw problem. All the saws on this list, the 455 included, are 2-cycle engines that require a 50:1 ethanol-free gas to 2-cycle oil ratio.

​Pros

  • ​Power (3.5 hp)
  • ​Torque (3.2 Nm)
  • ​Not too heavy (13.2 pounds)

​Cons

  • ​Some hard starts, likely the result of bad fuel


​5. ​​​​​​​Makita EA5600FRGG Ridgeline

Product Highlights

The EA5600FRGG, more commonly known as the Ridgeline, is a rugged, heavy-duty saw. It features a 20” bar powered by a 55.6 cc 2-stroke engine (Dolmar) generating 4.1 hp.

It has a spring-assisted starter, similar to the EA4300 described above for easier starts. For all that horsepower, the saw is rather light (only 12.8 pounds). There is a baffle over the intake for cold weather use. The Ridgeline retails for about $450.

Features

  • Engine: 2-cycle 55.6 cc at 4.1 hp
  • Spark arrestor: yes
  • Bar: 20”
  • Automatic oiler: yes
  • Chain tensioning / brake: Slide mounted with combo-tool provided / hand guard and inertial

The Good

The Ridgeline features the same easy start system described above for its little brother. The saw also has a duel spike bar on the hilt and an automatic bar oiler. It also has a vibration dampening system to reduce user fatigue.

The air intake has a stratified scavenging-type system that blows out engine exhaust to keep the air intake clear of debris before taking a “breath” of clean intake air. This allows it to function without air fouling.

The Bad

[Write about all the BAD things you can find about the product *hint – you can use Amazon readers reviews]

​Pros

  • ​Powerful and light
  • ​Vibration dampener
  • ​Easy, easy start

​Cons

  • ​None reported

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Best Gas Chainsaws For 2019 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]
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