BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details

Best Gas Chainsaws

Updated October 2023
Bottom line
Best of the Best
Craftsman 16-inch 42 cc Gas Chainsaw
16-inch 42 cc Gas Chainsaw
Check Price
Most Versatile
Bottom Line

A versatile chainsaw that has the power to tackle a wide range of jobs, according to our home improvement expert.


This saw's 16-inch bar and 42 cc engine combine to offer the best in both maneuverability and cutting power. An Easy Start ignition and tool-free air filter access makes maintenance easy.


At 16 pounds, this chainsaw is on the heavier side for its size.

Best Bang for the Buck
Husqvarna 120 16-inch 38 cc Gas Chainsaw
120 16-inch 38 cc Gas Chainsaw
Check Price
Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

Husqvarna's feature-rich chainsaw makes short work of light to medium cutting tasks, according to our expert.


This saw's X-Torq engine reduces harmful fume emissions and increases fuel efficiency. Air Injection Technology expels sawdust before it reaches the air filter and the chainsaw’s LowVib handle cuts down on fatigue-inducing vibrations.


This saw only weighs 13.5 pounds, but lacks the power of our recommended pick.

Husqvarna 455 Rancher 20-inch 55.5 cc Gas Chainsaw
455 Rancher 20-inch 55.5 cc Gas Chainsaw
Check Price
Best for Experts
Bottom Line

A no-compromises chainsaw for contractors and ambitious property owners alike.


The chainsaw's 3.5 hp, 55.5 cc X-Torq engine and 20-inch bar make it great for cutting through thick trunks. LowVib anti-vibration technology, easy starting for quick engine turnover, a side-mounted tensioning system and an automatic chain oiler make operation and maintenance a breeze.


This chainsaw packs more power and a longer bar than most homeowners need.

Echo CS-590 20-inch 59.8 cc Timber Wolf Chainsaw
CS-590 20-inch 59.8 cc Timber Wolf Chainsaw
Check Price
Durable & Rugged
Bottom Line

This addition to Echo's Timber Wolf lineup delivers commercial-grade torque and reliability.


Loaded with power and features, this saw's G-Force Engine Air Pre-Cleaner keeps grime out of its 59.8 cc, 2.91 hp motor. Its 20-inch bar can cut through limbs up to 35 inches in diameter and you can adjust its chain tension without the need of any tools.


Some users report that this saw can be difficult to start.

Poulan Pro 16" 40cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw
Poulan Pro
16" 40cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw
Check Price
Simple Yet Solid
Bottom Line

This powerful 16 inch chainsaw doesn't have a lot of fancy features, it just does what it does well, earning it our home improvement expert's approval.


Economic fuel consumption for reduced emissions. The ergonomic design and anti-vibration system help combat user fatigue. Onboard storage of the scrench is highly convenient.


It may require a little tweaking to get this machine idling smoothly.

Header Image
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

Category cover

Buying guide for best gas chainsaws

Today’s battery packs have seen recent advances in power and longevity, but some tools still perform best when equipped with a combustion engine. Gas chainsaws, for example, are still widely preferred over electric alternatives for most commercial and consumer uses. While there is much to be said about the cleaner, quieter operation of a battery-powered tool, gas chainsaws remain the superior option for taking on major tasks that demand consistent performance or for working in remote areas with limited access to electricity.

Whether you’re a homeowner looking for a quick way to cut firewood or a contractor in need of a tool that can reliably perform a range of cutting tasks every day, you’ll find that the additional power and consistency provided by a gas chainsaw more than make up for the maintenance and fueling considerations they require.

Craftsman’s 16-inch 42 cc chainsaw is an excellent choice for most buyers. The bar length is manageable enough for less experienced users to feel comfortable using the tool, and the 42 cc engine provides the torque needed for all but the toughest commercial jobs. The saw’s attractive price, features and power make it a well-rounded option for both businesses and homeowners alike.

Expert Tip
Do not use chainsaws alone. You want to have a buddy on-site to help you or call for help in case of an emergency.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert

Gas chainsaws

Craftsman 16-inch 42 cc Gas Chainsaw

This saw has a two-cycle, 42 cc engine that delivers 3.2 horsepower with minimal vibration to prevent hand fatigue and allow for better control. The cushioned handle and weight distribution are specifically engineered for comfort through long periods of use. Craftsman’s Easy Start ignition takes the hassle out of engaging the motor, and its automatic oiler lets you manually adjust the flow of lubrication as needed. This ensures that the chain and bar operate consistently and smoothly, which helps lengthen the saw’s life. You can access the air filter and spark plug without tools, making any on-the-job maintenance a breeze.

Its polymer casing helps reduce the overall weight, but at 15 pounds it’s still one of the heavier tools on our list. With ample power and a bar length of 16 inches, this gas chainsaw is a heavy-duty option.

Husqvarna 120 16-inch 38 cc Gas Chainsaw

Husqvarna products are loaded with proprietary features that offer enhanced performance and comfort. This tool includes Husqvarna’s X-Torq engine technology, which reduces harmful fume emissions by up to 60%, with a 20% increase in fuel efficiency. Air Injection Technology expels sawdust before it reaches the filter, greatly reducing the possibility of friction-causing particles wearing down the engine’s moving parts. Finally, the chainsaw’s LowVib feature cuts down on vibrations, lessening hand numbness and letting you work longer without grip fatigue.

This 16-inch chainsaw offers less power than our top pick, with a 38 cc, 1.8 horsepower engine. It’s also a two-cycle machine, but it’s a bit lighter at 13.5 pounds. The chainsaw delivers on both torque and maneuverability, making it great for the light to medium cutting tasks that homeowners typically encounter on their property.

RYOBI 16-inch 37 cc Gas Chainsaw

This RYOBI 16-inch saw comes packed with safety features, and its 3-year warranty highlights the company's confidence in the tool’s reliability and build quality. The chances of rotational kickback are all but eliminated thanks to the Safe-T-tip shield that keeps the end of the bar from getting buried in the material you’re cutting. The two-cycle saw offers mid-range power at 37 cc and can cut branches up to 28 inches in diameter.

An inertia-activated brake stops the tool’s chain automatically. The chainsaw also comes with a rugged carrying case that protects it from bumps, dents, spills and debris. Other noteworthy features include an automatic chain oiler, side access to the chain tensioner and anti-vibration technology for improved comfort. It’s one of the lightest options on our list, weighing only 10 pounds.

Husqvarna 455 Rancher 20-inch 55.5cc Gas Chainsaw

If you need to tackle major cutting jobs or you’re looking for a chainsaw with the strength and durability to perform commercial work, this two-cycle Husqvarna saw is an excellent option. Its 3.5 hp, 55.5 cc X-Torq engine and 20-inch bar make it great for cutting through thick trunks and branches while clearing land.

And all that performance doesn’t result in any compromises, because the chainsaw also has LowVib anti-vibration technology, easy starting for quick engine turnover and an automatic chain oiler. A quick-release air filter lets you install a fresh one in seconds, and its side-mounted tensioning system means you can make fine adjustments on the job. This chainsaw weighs 13.22 pounds.

ECHO CS-590 20-inch 59.8 cc Timber Wolf Chainsaw

ECHO says that its Timber Wolf lineup is built specifically for the biggest jobs in the toughest environments. Packed with robust features that make for reliable operation, its G-Force Engine Air Pre-Cleaner ensures that the air entering the motor is free of sawdust and dirt. With a 59.8 cc, 2.91 hp motor and 20-inch bar, this saw is a great choice for commercial users who have to cut through especially thick trees. It can handle branches up to 35 inches in diameter.

You can adjust the chain tension without having to reach for a tool, and, due to the saw’s translucent fuel tank, you can easily check the gas level as you work to prevent sputtering out mid-task. This machine runs on a two-cycle engine and weighs 16.1 pounds.

Poulan Pro 20-inch 50cc Gas Chainsaw

This 20-inch, two-cycle chainsaw from Poulan offers premium features at a competitive price, making it an attractive option for property owners on a budget. The brand’s OxyPower engine technology offers increased power delivery, a 20% increase in fuel efficiency and an amazing 70% decrease in harmful emissions. The tool features a powerful 50 cc, 2.8 hp engine and can handle branches up to 40 inches in diameter.

Starting the tool requires 30% less pull force than competing tools, making it easy to get right to cutting. The chainsaw’s purge bulb is thoughtfully recessed into the body of the tool, keeping it well protected from accidental damage or puncture. A combination tool used to maintain and adjust the saw is included and fits discreetly into its rear handle for easy access right where you need it. At 17 pounds, this saw is on the heavier side.

Sportsman 20-inch 52 cc Gas Chainsaw

At only 12 pounds, Sportsman’s 52 cc chainsaw provides easy maneuverability in spite of its 20-inch bar length. It can handle branches up to 35 inches in diameter. A built-in brake stops the saw’s chain from moving in the event of unsafe operation, and anti-vibration handles let you work for extended periods without experiencing fatigue that can lead to accidents.

This two-cycle chainsaw doesn’t include many of the safety and convenience features touted by some other brands, and it is not the best choice for contract work or major clearing jobs. However, if you’re looking to cut firewood or keep your property trimmed as needed, you’ll find a lot to appreciate in its low price and basic, no-frills design.

What to consider when choosing a gas chainsaw

Motor power

Most chainsaw motors are two-cycle (or two-stroke) motors. Instead of having engine oil in a sump (which would add weight and make it cumbersome to carry around), you mix a small amount of two-cycle oil with the gas. Common ratios are 40:1 and 50:1, but you should always check your chainsaw operating manual to be sure.

In gas chainsaw motors, power is indicated by two figures. Horsepower (hp) measures the amount of power in the engine, while cubic centimeters (cc) measures the volume and/or size of the engine. You aren’t likely to find a gas chainsaw under 30 or over 75 cubic centimeters. Machines using a 30 cc to 40 cc engine would usually be considered consumer-grade chainsaws, the kind you’d use for general pruning, yard maintenance and storm clearance. A motor like this usually produces around 1.5 to 2 horsepower.

If you step up to the 40 to 60 cubic centimeter range, you’ll find gas chainsaws that are often referred to as “ranch” or “farm” chainsaws. Producing somewhere between 2 and 4 horsepower, these tools can handle a heavier workload. Most individuals, even those with substantial properties, would never need anything more powerful than this.

Chainsaws with motors above 60 cubic centimeters can produce anywhere from 4 to 8 horsepower. These are specialist tools for serious professionals. In fact, many are so big that they're only used for tree felling.


Starting has long been considered something that was difficult with gas chainsaws. However, today’s gas chainsaws are much easier to start thanks to electronic ignition, automatic chokes, air purges and other features.

The key is to follow the starting procedure as explained in the owner's manual. Many times when people complain of troubles, it's because they tried to start a chainsaw using a method they used years ago — but on a new machine. If you read the manual and follow the instructions carefully, starting a gas chainsaw shouldn’t present any problems.

Chainsaw bar

The blade that the cutting chain runs around is called the bar. Different bar lengths offer different cutting capacities. Therefore, a chainsaw’s bar length gives an indication of its intended use, but it is not a direct correlation.

Using the right technique, a chainsaw with a 12-inch bar is theoretically capable of cutting down a tree nearly 24 inches in diameter. But that isn’t likely in practice. The motor on a 12-inch gas chainsaw just isn't going to provide enough power for that.

The following is a better guide to general chainsaw performance. For chainsaws that overlap these parameters look carefully at why a particular motor/bar combination has been chosen.

12 to 14 inches: This size bar is generally matched to an engine in the 30 to 40 cubic centimeter range. You end up with a tool that's relatively light and easy to manage, a tool that’s perfect for clearing overgrown areas, pruning, lopping and cutting logs. It's capable of felling a modest size tree on occasion, but it isn’t the machine for doing that regularly.

16 to 20 inches: This bar might be paired with a 40 to 60 cubic centimeter motor, though the latter is unusual. While it's easy to think of this kind of chainsaw as “medium” or “average,” there's no way that should be interpreted as derogatory. These are powerful, flexible tools that can do pretty much everything a small chainsaw can do, but they have the capacity to work hard all day if needed.

20 inches and more: These bars are found on professional-grade chainsaws, big tools for heavy-duty logging over extended periods of time. These gas-powered giants demand a high price and a high level of skill to get the most out of them. For most people, a bar of 20 inches or larger would simply be overkill.


The heaviest component on a gas chainsaw is the engine. More power means more weight. If you’re fairly fit, a heavier chainsaw shouldn’t be a problem, but most people are concerned about user comfort and fatigue, and rightly so. And there's no point in buying a heavy chainsaw if you don't need one.

Saws designed for light to medium work tend to weigh between 12 and 14 pounds, while larger tools with bulkier engines can weigh 16 or more pounds. However, the inclusion of lightweight plastic components, variable bar lengths and advances in engine technology can significantly reduce the heft of power saws. Consider how much weight you’re comfortable working with, and keep in mind that a full tank of fuel will increase it further.

Other features to consider

Automatic chain oiler: If the chain isn't lubricated properly, it will overheat and stretch, leading to poor cutting performance and shortened life. An automatic chain oiler is a definite bonus.

Tool-free adjuster: The easier it is to adjust the blade the better. Many chainsaws have a tool-free adjuster that is fast and simple.

Chain brake: A chain brake is an excellent safety feature that is usually incorporated in a guard for the front handle. Push it forward and it prevents the chain from rotating when the engine is running. Pull it back and the chainsaw works normally.

Blade cover: All gas chainsaws should come with a blade cover. A carrying case is a bonus.

CARB-compliant motor: In certain states, it's illegal to use a gas chainsaw with a motor that isn't CARB-compliant. Check local regulations before buying.

Expert Tip
Avoid mixing oil and gas in a driveway or on concrete as spills of oil and gas will cause stains.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert

Tips for using a gas chainsaw safely

While chainsaws aren’t the scary tools they're often made out to be, there's obviously an inherent danger in something with the power to rip through trees and branches. Sensible precautions will help keep you safe.

  • Practice good safety procedures. Wear work gloves, ear protection, face shield and sturdy footwear when using a chainsaw. Never operate a chainsaw when you’re tired or unwell. Make sure your body is properly balanced and your footing firm. Always work in front of you; never twist to the side as you work. Never overreach with your chainsaw, and never cut above shoulder height. Keep children and pets out of the work area. And beware of fuel spills that could start a fire.
  • Know how to use your chainsaw. Get comfortable with the machine. Make sure you understand how to turn it off quickly. Start the chainsaw on the ground. On most gas chainsaws, the rear handle is designed so you can put your foot in there to keep it steady. If you've never used a chainsaw before, start on small branches and work your way up. Kickback is the most common problem when sawing. Avoid cutting with the tip of the bar. Never undercut. Never make adjustments to your chainsaw while the engine is running.
  • Maintain your chainsaw. Make sure the chain is properly adjusted and replace it if it’s worn. Check the blade regularly and sharpen it as needed. Poor chainsaw performance is often a result of a badly adjusted or blunt blade. If your chainsaw is smoking or choking, check that the air-intake slots are not blocked by sawdust or debris. Don't be cheap when it comes to replacement blades. A high-quality replacement can be like having a whole new chainsaw.
  • Use the right tool for the job. If most of what you do is woodland management that rarely requires felling trees, consider a small, top-handled gas chainsaw. These remarkably compact tools have plenty of power.
Expert TIp
Secure long hair and wear snug clothing. These are often overlooked in safety guidelines, but are still very important.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert


Q. How much does a good gas chainsaw cost?

A. There are some very cheap gas chainsaws available, but we advise caution. A low-quality chainsaw might not stand up to the rigors required of it, and component failure could have serious consequences. Many good-quality gas chainsaws with a motor of 30 to 50 cubic centimeters and a bar of 12 to 20 inches cost $200 to $250. Professional-level gas chainsaws cost $450 to $950. As you can see, they jump substantially in price.

Q. How will I know when to sharpen my chainsaw blade?

A. The manufacturer will probably suggest a time frame, in working hours, as a guide for sharpening the blade. But if you don't use your saw often, it's tough to keep track of the number of hours worked. Don't worry. You'll know anyway when the chain fails to cut efficiently or stalls or jams. You'll get fine dust or sludge instead of the sawdust you expect. In extreme cases, the saw will burn the wood where it's rubbing instead of cutting.

Q. How do I sharpen a chainsaw blade?

A. You can sharpen a blade with a round file specifically designed for the purpose. It might take a bit of practice to get the angle right. Round files cost very little, and for a bit more you can buy a jig that holds the blade and file at the proper angle.

Easier still is a mechanical sharpener. Several models are available. Alternatively, you could find a local garden center or hardware store that offers a sharpening service. They'll do it for you for a few dollars.

Q. Can I buy a replacement chain from a brand other than the manufacturer of my chainsaw?

A. You can purchase a replacement chain from another reputable chainsaw brand, but we advise against buying cheap ones if you’re just trying to save some money. You should always buy high-quality chain replacements from reputable makers. They stay sharp longer, last longer and can improve the performance of your chainsaw.