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?

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

Marilyn Moritz is an award-winning journalist dedicated to digging up information that can make people’s lives a little bit better. As KSAT’S 12 On Your Side Consumer reporter, she focuses on exposing scams and dangerous products and helping people save money.

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