Which chainsaws are the best for fall cleanup?

Consumer Reports tests chainsaws to find the best one for your money

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?
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?

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.

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

The biggest surprise in CR’s tests is 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 CR 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 CR Best Buy.

When you’re operating a chainsaw, it’s important to wear proper safety gear. CR 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.


About the Authors:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.