Maybe you’re a professional construction worker with a lot of wood to cut through. Maybe you’re a DIY enthusiast who’s looking to do some remodeling in your home. Maybe you’re looking to cut down some trees and do some landscaping in your backyard. Whether you’re a professional, amateur, or anything in between, however, there is no denying that the raw power of a chainsaw cutting smoothly and perfectly into a tree or some lumber is one of the most wonderfully satisfying feelings imaginable.
On the other hand, however, feelings are worse or more dangerous than a chainsaw cutting in rough, herky-jerky fashion, or just not functioning properly. For every task, there is a proper tool, which is why you’ll want to take a look through our selection of the best chainsaws on the market today and decide which one “makes the cut” for you.
Of course, chainsaws can run a little expensive, which is why you’ll want to focus on cutting costs as well as trees with your purchase. Thankfully, there are plenty of high-quality affordable chainsaws available for less than $200. That said, you don’t want that lower price to come at the cost at some of a chainsaw’s most essential features. As we discuss in the Buyer’s Guide, there are some qualities you’ll need to make sure that any chainsaw you purchase has.
Best Chainsaws Under $200 in January, 2021
Thankfully, each of the chainsaws on this list ranks highly in the essentials, and have their own upsides:
With that table and overview out of the way, let’s take a closer look at what each of our five sub-$200 chainsaws of choice has to offer.
Black+Decker has been in the chainsaw game for a while, and this model is, therefore, highly conventional. Imagine an “electric chainsaw,” and chances are you’ll picture something like this.
This offering from Black+Decker boasts 40V of battery life, meaning that it should be powerful enough to handle most light to heavy chainsaw work. The lithium-ion battery offers good battery life and is able to remain charged up to five times longer than many rival brands.
The chainsaw is deft and maneuverable enough to handle smaller cutting jobs that require a bit more touch, such as pruning branches. It also does a good job of chopping up fallen tree limbs.
In addition, while this model can cut through small tree limbs deftly, it isn’t designed for larger branches.
The first thing to notice about this chainsaw is easily the price tag. It’s significantly less expensive than most other gas or electric-powered chainsaws. Add to that the fact that, as an electric chainsaw, you don’t have to worry about refueling costs, and this chainsaw’s status as a prime budget option is secure.
As for the build of the chainsaw, the auto lubricator is located at the top between the two grips for your hands, making it easily accessible for mid-job attention.
One of the most important features of this chainsaw from Worx is its auto-tension abilities. This can help keep the chain from sagging or snagging, thus enabling you to saw away without interruption. The auto-lubricator does a good job of keeping your chain lubricated, ensuring that it cuts and operates smoothly. An oil level indicator makes it easy to see how much oil you have and when it’s time for a change.
The chainsaw only weighs about 6.2 lbs, which is easily the lightest of any option on this list. This can be extremely helpful for those who want to do some chainsaw DIY and landscaping work around the house, but don’t feel like wielding a beast of a buzz saw. That lighter build also makes it a lot more maneuverable than most models, thus allowing you to get into narrow nooks and crannies and cut away with greater ease and precision.
Can this offering live up to its big name as well as the big-name brand of DeWalt?
We think so.
For one thing, it’s built with the kind of compact sturdiness you would expect from a DeWalt product. The chainsaw isn’t too big without feeling like a toy and can be gripped with ease.
This is also another model that is built with auto tensioning. It also has an easy-to-use knob for tightening the chain and adding clamping force to the bar as needed.
This is another relatively lightweight model, weighing just less than 9 lbs.
It’s important to note that the listing covered here does not come with a battery, though there are variations on this chainsaw from Greenworks which do include it if you need one. This matters because there is a huge variation in price between the two.
The model listed here, without the battery, costs under $200, making it a good bargain buy. With the battery, however, the price jumps to over our $200 limit, so you’ll need to ask yourself just how much that added battery is worth.
This is another chainsaw with a brushless motor, which cuts down on vibration considerably and helps it run for a longer period of time without needing adjustment. This particular motor also provides 30% more torque and power than some other models. When paired with the solid 40 V battery, it makes for one of the more powerful, heavy duty electric chainsaw options on this list. If you are looking to do jobs that require a bit more force than you might otherwise naturally expect from your chainsaw, this may be a good model to consider.
From a safety standpoint, this unit offers a good chain brake and hand guard, making it one of the safest options on this list.
It should be noted, however, that battery compatibility options are mostly limited to other batteries in this line.
As with the Greenworks, the listing for the chainsaw from EGO Power+ does not come with a battery, though there are variants on this model that do. That said, this is another electric chainsaw with a good build, and the model is easy to grip and use.
The first thing to note about this option from Ego Power+ is the tremendous battery life, 56 V, which is far and away the most on this list. If you are looking for a chainsaw with high-end battery life and a bit more power than you might otherwise expect, this may be a good option to consider.
In addition, this is another model to boast a brushless motor.
It is also weather resistant, which is definitely a nice touch if you live somewhere where rain and snow are a serious concern.
Best Cheap Chainsaw Under $200 – Buyer’s Guide
Let’s begin by addressing the 20-volt elephant in the room – all of the chainsaws on this list are electric-powered. The divide between more traditional gas-powered chainsaws and the electric-powered new kids on the block can be a contentious one in construction and landscaping circles. However, we’re going to cut through all that controversy, get to the facts, and hopefully, you’ll get a better idea of why our list is so electric-centric.
The debate between gas and electric-powered chainsaws is an article unto itself, but to delve into the basic pros and cons of each:
- Tend to be more powerful
- Can cut through large branches and trees
- Can run for a longer period of time (with refuels)
- Usually heavier
- Are a lot louder
- Can emit lots of fumes
- More high maintenance
- Are much quieter
- Do not emit fumes
- Are less high maintenance
- Usually more lightweight
- Are typically less powerful
- Can run for a shorter period of time
- Can have a harder time cutting branches and trees
Given those pros and cons, a couple of reasons for favoring electric-powered chainsaws spring to mind. First and foremost, they are typically less expensive and, thus, more likely to fall under our sub-$200 price limit.
Then there’s the fact that, as with any gas-powered motor, gas-powered chainsaws can give off fumes which are none too fun to smell while cutting, let alone their negative environmental impact. By contrast, electric-powered chainsaws spare your nose, lungs, and the environment those foul fumes.
Gas-powered chainsaws can run for a longer period of time, but they also require refills, which can add to the overall cost of ownership. By contrast, while the lifespan of your battery may vary with an electric chainsaw, you don’t have to worry about extra fueling costs. Simply charge it or plug it in and let her rip.
Corded Versus Cordless
A further distinction needs to be drawn between corded and cordless electric chainsaws. The options we have chosen fall into the latter category, which are typically far more maneuverable and are not bound to by the 100 ft limit which binds most corded chainsaws.
Once upon a time, opting for a cordless chainsaw came with the significant drawback of severely limited battery life. While corded chainsaws still eliminate that worry completely, it has in large part been mitigated with cordless chainsaws the last few years via better batteries with improved voltage, longevity, and overall performance.
Cordless batteries can potentially still weigh a bit more due to the battery, and swapping it out for a fresh one can take a bit of time as well. That said, the benefits of going cordless at this point are numerous enough to make us opt for this electric chainsaw variety.
Cordless Electric Chainsaw Essentials
With the rationale for our preference for electric-powered chainsaws established, let’s take a closer look at what to look for in an electric chainsaw:
- Ease of Maintenance: We touched on this above, but it’s really worth underscoring just how much easier a cordless electric chainsaw is to take care of compared to its gas counterparts. You don’t have to worry about refueling or all those noxious fumes, you don’t have to clean up the residue of that oil and exhaust afterward, and you don’t have to deal with a combustion engine at all. All you have to do is add a bit of oil to the chain to keep it well-lubricated. You will also want to make sure that the engine is primed before you use it.
- Lightweight: You never want to struggle to hold your chainsaw erect or in the proper cutting position, and you certainly don’t want to lose control of it while cutting. As such, it is essential that you get a chainsaw that is light enough for you to handle with ease. While the battery can add a bit of heft, electric chainsaws still tend to be lighter than their gas-powered counterparts. Ideally, your electric chainsaw should not be more than a few pounds.
- The Right Batteries: In the past, nickel-cadmium batteries were the battery of choice for chainsaws. However, they were less than efficient, could drain quickly, and could sometimes take up to 12 hours to recharge. That’s why these days lithium-ion batteries are the battery type used by most high-quality electric chainsaws. These batteries are lighter, have more capacity, can hold a charge longer, and can typically be recharged in about an hour. That said, you’ll still want to check the total voltage as well as the battery life of each option.
- Automatic Oiling: The less time you have to spend doing maintenance on your chainsaw, the better. That’s why chainsaws that boast automatic oiling are all the rage right now. They ease the friction of metal coming into contact against metal, which left unchecked can wear down blades or vital gears within your chainsaw and cause mechanical problems and safety hazards. With an automatic oiling system, you can keep your chainsaw in good working order without having to stop and oil the bar yourself.
- Automatic Tensioning: The same holds for chainsaws that offer auto-tensioning features. You don’t want the chain on your chainsaw to come loose, as this can pose a safety hazard and seriously undermine the effectiveness of the unit. At the same time tensioning can be a tedious process. Automatic tensioning can help you make sure that your cutting chain remains nice and tight without you having to manually adjust it.
- Brushless Motor: For any chainsaw, having the right motor is essential. You need something that is going to be powerful enough to drive your cutting efforts without being too high maintenance. The smoother your motor works and the less internal friction it causes, the more efficiently it can operate with the fewest chances for malfunction. Brushless motors meet all of those requirements.
- Prevent Kickback: When the transferring chain on the chainsaw you’re using becomes pinched while cutting the wood, it results in a kickback. This can cause a herky-jerky motion, which can be very dangerous and lead to injuries. Another benefit of electric chainsaws is that they are less prone to this than gas-powered ones. Nevertheless, you’ll want to be on the lookout for chainsaws that can avoid this and boast solid safety features.
The chainsaws on this list have earned their place here by scoring highly in those buyer’s guide requisites, and they all have their pros and cons. Ultimately, it’s less about which is best than what is best for you.
If you are looking for unbridled power and high-end battery life, for example, the Ego Power+ with its 56V and the Greenworks with its added torque are both solid options.
DeWalt is a company with a long, proud history of creating solid products designed to satisfy customer needs, and the all-around nature of its electric chainsaw is a testament to and worthy of that legacy.
Worx users should be pleased with the intercompatibility of this chainsaw’s battery with other tools it sells. If you have tried their products before, are pleased with them, and wouldn’t mind having a backup battery on hand from the start, their chainsaw with its compatibility with other batteries from Worx may be a savvy choice. It is also the most affordable option on this list.
The Black+Decker’s 40V affords its solid battery life and power, while its relatively lightweight build allows you to cut with ease.
Ultimately, the model that is “best” for you will be the one with attributes that best suit the task at hand. Take a good look at the different upsides to each, match them against your needs, and you’ll likely find an option that more than “makes the cut.”