Whether you're slicing wood for the log burner or pruning the garden, you can't get the job done effectively without a reliable chainsaw.
You might be tempted to pick up the cheapest model you can, but without consulting our independent reviews, you risk buying a chainsaw that's weak and lacking on features.
Our guide runs through the various types of chainsaws on offer based on your budget, as well as vital safety information and key features to look out for.
Watch our video to see the key things to look out for when you're on the hunt for a new chainsaw.
Cordless chainsaws are ideal if you want to work among branches, as they don't have a trailing cable and are generally quite light and compact. They're less tiring to use and easier to manoeuvre than other types. It’s still worth testing one out before you buy to check it has enough battery power and will run for long enough for your jobs.
Pros: Lighter, easier to maintain and quieter than petrol chainsaws, no need to be plugged into a power source
Cons: The battery may not give you a lot of run time and they're very expensive
If you have a lot of logs to cut or heavy pruning to tackle in the garden, a petrol chainsaw is a good choice; it will cut through large logs faster than any other machine and you can use it anywhere without the hassle of a trailing power cable.
It is generally recommended that unleaded fuel used for chainsaws does not have a higher ethanol content than 10 % - this is because ethanol attracts water which can cause corrosion if fuel is left in the chainsaw for long periods.
E10 fuel is fine to use, but super unleaded with an ethanol content of 5 % is better and what we would recommend.
It's good practice to empty the fuel tank as much as possible – and completely if not in use over winter. Petrol is better stored in a bespoke container rather than in the machine.
Pros: Powerful, portable, great for chopping logs
Cons: High maintenance, noisy, overpowering emissions, expensive
Corded electric chainsaws are the cheapest models you can buy. They are ideal if you’re sawing logs or pruning close to the house and can plug the cable straight into a mains socket. Often the power cable is quite short, so if you're chopping logs at the end of your garden you may need to use an extension cable and residual current device (RCD), which cuts off the power if the cable is cut.
Pros: Much easier to use than petrol chainsaws, great for chopping logs, easier to maintain and quieter than petrol chainsaws
Cons: Bulky motor and cable can make them awkward to handle, tend to lack the power of petrol machines, need to be plugged into a power source
This all depends on what type of chainsaw you want to buy; how much you can afford and how robust you need it to be. If you're using it only occasionally then a cheap, corded electric machine will be fine. But for more substantial jobs or more frequent use, you'll need to get a petrol chainsaw. Remember that you will need to buy appropriate protective clothing, too.
Some of the cheapest chainsaws we've seen come from Lidl or Bosch, at around £85. At the other end of the scale are chainsaws costing closer to £450 from brands such as Stihl.
Manufacturers often have one or two standard batteries and chargers that can be used with a wide range of tools. Before you buy check to see if any of your existing tools has a battery and charger that can be used with the tool you are planning to purchase as this could save you a considerable amount of money.
As some people may already own a compatible battery and charger, these are sometimes not included in the price quoted for your tool, so check the small print before you buy.
Alternatively, you may see it as a good chance to buy a second battery for your tools. Batteries are sometimes cheaper when bought with a tool, and it’s often useful to have a second one charged and ready to go when you’re carrying out jobs that will take some time to finish.
Before you start sawing, you'll need to buy a full set of protective clothing. We recommend a safety helmet, boots and ear defenders as well as chainsaw gloves and chainsaw trousers.