It is often thought that the best chainsaws are those that cost thousands of dollars. While this may be true, not everyone has a thousand dollars to spend on a chainsaw. For most of us, $400 is the most we are willing and able to spend on a chainsaw.
It is for this reason that models from trusted brands dominate the under $400 market. This makes it a bit tough to find the best chainsaw under 400. We decided to test some of the best options in this market and came up with a list of eight.
The tops our list thanks to its unique self-sharpening feature. The comes in at number two.
You may find that some of the other options are better suited at specific tasks, thus are worth a look at.
What Type of Chainsaw Is Ideal For Professionals?
For professionals such as arborists a compact and lightweight model, will be the ideal type of chainsaw. The EGO Power+ CS1604 is an ideal choice for arborists.
Chainsaws Under 400 Are Best Suited For?
As is evident from our list, most in this price bracket are cordless and lightweight. These are best suited for light to medium tasks. Most chainsaws in this price category can cut through logs of up to 16 inches in diameter.
Furthermore, most have a chain and bar size of 12 to 16 inches. This makes them ideal for homeowners, carvers, and arborists.
How can I avoid kickback when using a chainsaw?
Kickback occurs when the chain comes in contact with something hard and jerks violently backward. To avoid this, it is advisable to ensure the chain is well sharpened before use. Also, use a low profile chain as they are less vulnerable to kickbacks.
Other chainsaw safety tips
- Use both hands to control the chainsaw.
- Always check if the chain is tensioned correctly before use and tension it if it is not.
- When moving with a chainsaw, hold it by the front handle with your left hand to avoid accidental acceleration.
- Ensure the chain is sharp before using
- Wear protective wear, including a steel top cap boots, a hard hat, and snug work gloves
Review Of The Best Chainsaw Under 400 Dollar
Oregon Cordless 16-inch Self-Sharpening Chainsaw
The Oregon Cordless self-sharpening chainsaw has an elegant design. But an eye-catching design isn’t what you are interested in. Thankfully, while its four-hour battery charging time is disappointing, it is an excellent option for homeowners.
From its name, it has a 16-inch bar and chain. The latter is an Oregon PowerSharp chain with a low profile to reduce kickback. What is unique about it is that this chain is self-sharpening. However, because of this, it is the only chain that can be used on this chainsaw.
But what we really loved about the chain and bar was the inclusion of steel bucking spikes. This means you get a better experience when making vertical cuts.
To the performance now. According to Oregon, this chainsaw can handle logs of up to 15 inches in diameter. However, based on our tests, it offers lots of power to cut through a 10 inch log with ease.
It can handle thicker wood but draws more battery power. Thus it can handle the occasional 15-inch diameter logs similar to models with a 20 to 30 cc engine available in this price range.
EGO Power+ CS1604 16-Inch 56-Volt Lithium-ion Cordless Chainsaw
Battery technology has come along way, and today’s cordless models can match their gas-powered counterparts. So is this true with the EGO Power CS1604 cordless chainsaw.
The design of this is what you would expect from a cordless chainsaw. There is a 16-inch Oregon bar with an Oregon 90 chain wrapped around it. The tensioning knob makes it easy to adjust the tension of the chain.
The bucking ridges on this chainsaw have a small profile and are made of plastic. While this is worrisome, it redeems itself in other aspects.
This chainsaw uses a brushless motor powered by a 5.0 Ah battery that comes included in the package. When it came to performance, this unit was able to slice through an 8-inch pine log in under 6 seconds.
This was quite impressive for a cordless model. And what was more impressive was the long two-step mechanical trigger. The latter gives you more room for grip.
Makita XCU04Z 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless
The tool-only version of the Makita XCU04Z costs slightly under $250. If it does not come with a chain bar or batteries, is it worth it? We sought to find out.
While not included, two 18 v batteries powered by this deliver a combined output of 36v. On the other hand, it accommodates a 16-inch chain and bar. A brushless motor controls the latter.
One thing we loved about this model was the variable speed trigger. This allows you to set the speed from 0 to 3940 RPM. Also, as with most other cordless options, it is easy to use.
There is a tool-less chain adjustment mechanism and a built-in LED on/off switch. And to preserve the battery, it automatically shuts off when it goes unused. The handle on this model has a rubberized grip for your comfort.
With batteries included, this unit weighs 11.7 pounds, which is lightweight for most people.
ECHO CS-271T 12 In. Chainsaw
There are also a couple of great gas-powered models in the under $400 market. And the Echo CS-271T is one the best in this category.
The 26.9cc engine on this model won’t be blowing anyone away in regards to power. Nonetheless, paired with a 12-inch chain and bar, it makes for an excellent chainsaw for home use.
Weighing 6.6 pounds, it is lighter than most of its battery-powered counterparts. Also, this means you can use it for long without feeling fatigued. In particular, this chainsaw is perfect for carving, thanks to its lightweight.
It is clear that this is not a conventional gas-powered model. And this becomes even more clear when you consider its starting system. The throttle lockout switch is easy to start and the clutch-driven oiler helps keep the chain lubricated.
Husqvarna 14 Inch 120i Cordless Battery Powered Chainsaw.
The Husqvarna 4 inch 20i cordless powered chainsaw is a small and lightweight chainsaw designed for home use. The 14-inch chain and bar are standard for this type. It is powered by a brushless motor and is also lightweight.
With its 4 inch chain and bar, the chances of a kickback are incredibly low. But just to be safe, it also has an inertia-activated chain brake. It also features a tool-less chain adjustment system to make adjusting the tension of the chain easier.
Powering this Husqvarna unit is a 40-volt battery. When fully charged, you should be able to get 45 minutes of cutting time. This is pretty impressive for a chainsaw in this price range. Recharging the battery takes about 2 hours, which is standard for a cordless chainsaw.
You can purchase the Husqvarna fast charger for faster charge time, which should charge your battery in about 30 minutes.
Farmertec 92cc Holzfforma Blue Thunder G660 Gasoline Chain Saw Power Head
For less than $400, you can get a powerhead to go with your chain and bar. One of the best powerheads is the Farmertec 92cc Holfforma Blue Thunder. The latter is a gas-powered unit with a 92 cc engine.
This is designed for large chains of 20 to 36 inches. And with its 7.0HP output,the engine offers lots of power to cut through large trees or logs. Its maximum engine speed of 13,500 RPM is sufficient for cutting thicker pieces of wood.
The handlebar on this unit is a standard handle with a magnesium alloy recoil. The parts are interchangeable and can be used with the MS660 066 parts. This is the most powerful chainsaw on the list.
Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14″ Chain Saw
Makita is one of our favorite brands. And the company’s XCU03PT cordless 4-inch chainsaw is an excellent chainsaw for light to medium tasks. And the best part is that it comes calibrated to work right out of the box.
While this is a bit underpowered compared to other similar products from its competitors, it was still able to slice through 12-inch logs in 10 – 15 seconds. It also had no trouble cutting through 16-inch logs.
Two 18 volts batteries power the saw for a combined output of 36volts. This is sufficient for most light-duty tasks.
One area we feel that Makita improved on is ergonomics. It is much easier to remove the batteries on this model than on other Makita models. Also, the handle is a two grip handle with a wide back handle to give you more room.
DEWALT FLEXVOLT 60V MAX Chainsaw Kit
The Dewalt Flexvolt chainsaw is unique, thanks to Dewalt’s flex volt technology. So what does this technology do? The flex volt system uses unique batteries that change voltages from 20v to 60 volts depending on the requirement.
This is a unique feature and enough to earn this chainsaw the best chainsaw title for 400. However, there is more to it than this.
It will take you about 5.93 seconds to cut through an 8-inch log of pine with this chainsaw. This makes the Flexvolt one of few in this price range capable of slicing through logs in under 6 seconds.
But how does it compare in terms of ease of use? Well, it is what you would expect from Dewalt. The oil-cap has a flip-up tab that makes it easy to open and refill the oil. Our only disappointment is that the cap takes up an unnecessary amount of room in the oil tank.
This leads to oil overflowing if you add too much. When it comes to ergonomics, this unit is designed to be easy to handle. The rear handle has a good grip, and there is also a handguard.
What To Consider If You Have Less Than 400 Dollars For a Chainsaw
When you decide to purchase a chainsaw for less than 400, you should consider a couple of things. The main things you should consider are;
The amount of money you are able and willing to spend on a chainsaw will influence your decision. $400 or less will get you a lightweight and compact model with a 12 to 16 inch chain and bar . And while most are cordless there are a couple of gas-powered options.
A 12-inch chainsaw will be an ideal option for carving. On the other hand, a 25-inch chainsaw will be suitable for felling trees. What you intend to do with a chainsaw will also influence your choice. For carving purposes, look for a small and lightweight chainsaw of at most 14 inches.
If you plan on felling small trees, a 16-inch chain and bar will be a better choice.
The amount of power a chainsaw has will dictate the size of logs you can cut with it. Ideally, a 36v battery will offer enough ability to cut through a 10 to 12-inch log the same as a 30 cc engine. If you plan on cutting thicker logs, a gas-powered model will be a better choice.
Should you go for a cordless, corded, or gas-powered models? If portability is important to you, then your choices will be narrowed to cordless and gas-powered . Cordless options are usually lightweight and easy to use.
Thus they are a better choice. While gas-powered tend to be more powerful, at this price point, both types are matched.
When it comes to bar size, the basic rule of thumb is the bigger the bar size, the bigger the logs you can cut. Thus if you plan on cutting thicker logs, then a 16 inch or bigger bar will be ideal. For tasks such as carving, a smaller bar size is recommended, such as a 12 inch.
At this price point, you will want a lightweight model. A lightweight model will be easier to maneuver and will not cause fatigue when used for lengthy periods. Ideally, you want something that weighs less than 12 pounds.
At this price, you will want a chainsaw with automatic oil lubrication. This removes the hassle of having to lubricate the chain yourself.
The purpose of the chain brake is to prevent injuries in the event of a kickback. As such, it is an important safety to have in any chainsaw. That being said, a model with this feature will be safer to use especially for a beginner user.
Front guard handle
The front guard’s work is to keep your hands away from the spinning chain as you cut. This is an important safety to have in a chainsaw. This is something you will want to look out for if you have limited experience with chainsaws.
Continued use of a chainsaw leads to its chain becoming loose. A loose chain is incapable of cutting effectively. It is therefore essential to adjust the chain’s tension. How easy it is to do this matters.
You will want a chainsaw with a tool-less chain tensioning system. This way, you can adjust the chain’s tension without using any tools.
Most products you buy feature a warranty. The length of the warranty is usually a sign of the manufacturer’s confidence in the product. A longer warranty is always a good thing to aim for.
Extra features such as a self-sharpening system make your work easier. Thus, when buying a chainsaw, consider what additional features it has and how they will be of value to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I spend $400 on a chainsaw?
Yes, while there are cheaper chainsaws, models that cost $400 or below offer better performance and are more durable than those costing less than $200.
How much power output should I expect for a $400 chainsaw?
A gas-powered chainsaw costing less than $400 will have an output of about 50cc maximum. For electric chainsaws, you are looking at an output of 15 amps. This is sufficient for light to medium tasks.
How often does a $400 chainsaw require maintenance?
This depends on how often you use it. If you use it once or twice a month, it’s good to plan for maintenance every fortnight or month. But if you use it frequently, maintenance should be done at least twice per week.
Can the Best chainsaw under 400 handle heavy-duty tasks?
Yes, though not as efficiently as a powerful and pricier gas-powered chainsaw.
Is it possible to use a chainsaw without oiling it?
It’s not recommended as it is dangerous. However, for electric and cordless models, lubrication is not required.
There are plenty of options in the under 400 market for you to choose from. The ones we picked for our list will give you great value for your money.