Buying a chain saw – what do you need to pay attention to?

What you need to know when buying a chainsaw

Types of chainsaws. Operating life. Cutting speed. “Backfire. Anti-vibration system. Strength to weight ratio of chainsaws. Ripper types. Length of bar. Chains. Set of piles. Gas and oils. Acquisition and operation of chainsaws.

Types of chainsaws

Chainsaws can be divided into three classes:

1. domestic, which can work “occasionally”. As a rule, these are relatively low-powered tools, which can be used to make firewood for a fireplace. They have a minimum of functions, are designed for an average use of up to 20 hours a month (about 40 minutes a day), and their low performance is compensated by the small weight and ease of handling the saw.

2. Semi-professional models. You can do all repair and construction work on trees. Their “weak point” is the inability to use for 8-10 hours a day for a long period of time (hence “semi-professional”). Such saws are often used as button saws in forestry.

3. Professional saws. They have a high capacity (usually more than 2.5 kW), have a variety of functions. They are mostly used as “wave saws”, they can work for 10-16 hours a day. The main feature of the professional tool is the ability to work up to 8 hours without interruption. Such saws consist of wear-resistant and weather-resistant materials, and their resource ranges from 1300 to 2000 matok (domestic models of motor saws have a resource of 2-3 times less).


Chainsaw service life

There is no precise and clear definition of “service life”, which is used by all manufacturers and sellers equally. For example, there is a “household” definition – the time before the tool is sent to the scrap yard. Other definitions are “more scientific” and more modest: the time until the first engine overhaul or a 40% reduction in compression. As you can see, even in these cases, it is difficult to count on an exact figure, and almost impossible. Regardless of the figures heard, it is recommended to pay attention to the main advice on the availability of a branded service.

The main recommendations for the operation of chain saws (as, however, and any other tool) are as follows: The main attention should be paid to the correct choice of modes of operation and avoid significant overloads. The “love formula” works here: Both with the tool and the tool with them.

Cutting speed

When buying a chainsaw, buyers often ask about the cutting speed of a particular instance of the saw (e.g., whether the tool needs to be “pressed” while working). First, it depends on the condition of the saw head and especially the chain. When working, a blunt chain is not only a low cutting efficiency, but also the probability that the saw will fail, because the load on the motor increases. Therefore, if it is a professional use, it is recommended to “straighten” the chain regularly (for example, at the end of the working day). In addition, the shape of the cutting tooth and the pitch of the chain make a significant contribution to performance.

The best result is achieved with an optimal choice of chain and motor power. Cutting power is the second important parameter characterizing the “activity” of the saw and determining the boundary conditions of applicability of this model.


The most dangerous moment when the saw is working is the so-called “kickback” – a sharp throw of the tool in the direction of the operator. It occurs when the outermost end of the saw bar “strikes” the surface of the wood being worked.

The only way to avoid injury in this case is to stop the chain quickly. This is done by a special brake (called the “inertia brake”) that is actuated by a shield in front of the operator’s left hand. It is a kind of lever that can take two positions. Before starting, the shield is switched to the position “closer to the hand” and thus “cocked”. At the moment of recoil the operator’s hand rests on it and the shield activates, immediately activating the chain brake. In addition, it can change its position without interacting with the operator’s hand, just by inertia. The inertia chain brake activates immediately when the tire bounces back.

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Another way to avoid kickback is to eliminate the danger zone from the sawing process. This is done with another special shield (safety sector) that covers the end of the saw headset and prevents the tool from “kicking out”. However, this method is used much less frequently than installing a chain brake. In addition, Swedish saws (Husqvarna, Jonsered, Partner) are deliberately not equipped with such guards. The reason is that Swedish safety standards allow for the possibility of working with the end of the bar. Felling a tree with a Swedish logger is very similar to slicing a loaf of bread: the operator first “bites” the tree with the end of the tire and then draws a circle around it. This makes it possible to cut down a tree that is twice the length of the hoop. In our country, such a method is only allowed for high-grade felling operators.


anti-vibration system.

Anyone who has worked for hours on end with a high-powered saw knows how much the hands vibrate. Prolonged work with a tool that vibrates a lot can lead to serious joint problems. Therefore, especially in professional models, the presence of an anti-vibration system is simply necessary. Its simplest type is a set of rubber pads between the handles and the body. But this kind of anti-vibration system is practically never used in modern chainsaws, as a rule, the principle of “two masses” is realized – the engine block is separated from the handlebar block and fuel tank block. The engine block and handle block are made as two separate parts to keep vibration to a minimum. The two parts are connected with a special damping element.

If the tool is not equipped with sufficient anti-vibration protection, after a few years of work, it may well cause blood circulation disorders in the hands and other unpleasant consequences. Therefore, if you do not want to acquire any “occupational” diseases while working as a lumberjack, you should pay attention to the vibration protection that this anti-vibration system provides. Better yet, when you buy, ask if you want to start the chainsaw and hold it in your hands.

performance and weight

In budget models, manufacturers avoid increasing the power, because it leads to an increase in weight. Also, high power is not the most important factor when using a chainsaw at home.

A favorable weight/power ratio is also important for the professional, because this parameter affects the comfort during work and, consequently, the quality of work. In general, the class of professional chainsaws is characterized by a much larger range of power (from 2 to 6 kW) than for the home class. This is due to the variety of conditions in which professional models are used (different thickness of trees, hard or frozen wood, etc.).

types of tires

There are different types of saw wheels and chains, designed for different tasks and different users.

1. The saw bar mounted on domestic chainsaws. It is designed for users who work occasionally and do not have special professional skills. Therefore, in order to maximize the safety of such “operators”, manufacturers install a narrow, flat bar with a low chain, which has very little “tendency” to counter-impact.

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2. There are lightweight tires that can do work where the weight of the tool plays a role (such as sawing at height). Such tires consist of two steel plates with selected grooves, the voids between which are filled with polyamide. This design significantly reduces the weight of the tool.

Replaceable nose bars have been designed for professional use. They are designed for long life and are used on medium to high power saws.

bar length

In the technical specifications of a chainsaw, the length of the bar is usually added to the “recommended”. What does this mean? The fact is that the longer the bar, the more resistance to the torque of the engine crankshaft. With insufficient power, chainsaws will have to exert additional effort during operation, which will lead to premature wear of the saw headset and sawmill. Since most of the power is increased at idle, fuel consumption increases.

The length of the bar must therefore be matched to the power of the saw, and the word “recommended” essentially means “maximum” (shorter bars can be used, but longer ones are undesirable).

Low-profile chains are designed for non-professional use. Usually, its pitch is 0.325 inches. Therefore the main advantage of such chain (minimum vibration level) flows smoothly into its disadvantages – reduced productivity.

For powerful chainsaws it is recommended to use chains with a pitch of 3/8 and 0,404 inches. The vibration level is higher, but the power is much higher. It is these chains that are best suited for felling and cutting thick trees.

There is also a special class of work for which conventional chains cannot cut dirty or frozen wood. For this type of work, we recommend the use of special carbide-tipped chains.


Why 3/8 and not .375?

Many people have repeatedly asked what a chain pitch is and why it has such strange names: in one case as decimal fractions and in another as plain. The answer is this: theoretically, one pitch is the distance between the next two teeth, and practically the distance between the rivets of the chain is divided in half. Chain pitch is measured in inches and can be 0.325, 0.375 or 0.404. Worldwide practice has shown that users often confuse the number of markings, as 0.375 and 0.325 differ by only one digit. To avoid such incidents, the manufacturers decided to stick to a single designation system, according to which three values are required for the chain pitch: 0.325, 3/8 and 0.404 inch.

Pile set

Keep in mind that the components of a saw head kit (chain, bars, drive chainwheel or sprocket) from different manufacturers are usually incompatible. The differences lie in the parameters of the drive chain wheel (after which the chain pitch must be) and the thickness of the drive chain limb, which varies between 1.3-1.6 mm. By choosing a particular model, whether it is an electric or chainsaw, you almost always become a “fan” of the components of the same brand.

Many people believe that the greater the pitch of the chain, the more aggressive it is. In practice, the situation is somewhat different. It turns out that the “aggressiveness” of a saw with a certain chain to a large extent depends on the power and the corresponding torque.

The power of the tool determines the ability of the saw to “pull” the chain through the cut. The designers of many manufacturers have been battling over this process shortly before. As it turned out, for a saw with a small cylinder volume (and therefore low output), a chain with a 3/8-inch lift is unprofitable; it goes deeper into the wood; with a wide tooth pitch, the chain goes deeper into the wood, but the engine can’t “pull” it through. As a result, uneconomical operation is only part of the blade. Conversely, powerful saws with a 0.325-inch chain just pull the chain without touching the wood.

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The following pattern has been derived. For saws with a 40-50 cc cylinder, a 0.325″ pitch is most effective, while a 3/8″ pitch is optimal for more powerful machines. The 40-50 category, on the other hand, uses “cubes” as well as other chains – the choice depends on the specific characteristics of the model.

There is another category of saws with high torque (for example, our “Ural-2te”). On such machines you can install a chain with a pitch of 0.404 inches.

And finally, do not forget: if you change the chain with a different pitch to another, it is necessary to change the drive sprocket.

Gas and oil

Each saw has a two-stroke carburetor and two tanks (one for filling the fuel mixture, the other for pouring oil to lubricate the chain). The volume of the fuel tank is 0.3 to 1 liter, while the volume of oil is usually 1.5 to 2 times less. This volume ratio means that the oil for chain lubrication and the fuel mixture run out at about the same time, namely after 30-45 minutes of operation (at full load).

The need for fuel mixture preparation is clear to anyone familiar with two-lift engines: The difference between the duty cycle of a two-lift and a four-lift engine means that all friction parts (piston, wave, etc.) cannot be made with oil pumps Apply and add oil directly to the gasoline. All this is very important, because trying to work only on gasoline or the necessary proportions of gasolineengineering lead to a malfunction of the tool.

Recommendations for gasoline and oil brands and fractions of the fuel mixture are as follows. When working with Russian chainsaws you should use 76 gasoline and ordinary oils for two-stroke engines, which are added to the mixture in the amount of about 4%, i.e. in the ratio of 1/25. Foreign models require the use of gasoline with octane number 92 (or higher) and “brands” of chainsaw manufacturers (the oil content in such mixture must be about 1/40).

In principle, domestic oils for two-stroke engines can also be used for foreign chainsaws, but two things must be taken into account. First, you have to be sure that the gasoline is clean. Second – if the engine oils are designed for speeds up to 8.5 thousand rpm and can reach 11 to 14 thousand rpm for foreign-made, then the use of such oils reduces the tool life by 7-10% on average. Whether the game is worth the candle is up to you to decide.

It’s easier to lubricate your chain saw with oil: All domestic and professional chainsaws can use regular Zhiguli oils (for example, engine oils are recommended for Husqvarna models, and transmission oils for STIHL).

The seasonal characteristics of the tool must be observed. If the saw is used at low temperatures, the quality of the oil-fuel mixture may be unsatisfactory, even if all the ingredients are chosen correctly (crystallization and a considerable increase in viscosity). In this case, the saw itself must be adapted to such conditions – for example, it must be possible to heat the carburetor during operation. In addition, it is recommended to warm up the saw before operation (if it has been stored in an unheated room) to avoid undesirable consequences due to condensation.

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Buying and operating a chainsaw

When buying a saw, the natural desire of every buyer is to check the performance of the tool. In this regard, there is a simple process that has its own pitfalls. We are talking about the design features of chain saws.

Special attention: Any chainsaw must not be started without an installed and adapted saw set (bars, sprockets and chain). Otherwise the clutch will immediately “fly out” with this kind of starting. Therefore do not be in a hurry to pull the cord – carefully read the instruction (if the imported chainsaw has officially got on our market, the instruction in Russian should be).

After buying a chainsaw be sure to “run it in” for 40-50 minutes at low speed (this roughly corresponds to the gasoline tank depletion), then turn off the engine and additionally check the chain tension. Next you need to make a few cuts, applying a weak force, and only then work “at full force”. Each new chain (or rod) should take a few minutes to break in. This is to make sure that the sprocket, bar and chain are well warmed up and that the oil gets to all the lubricated parts of the saw.

Approximately 90% of saw failures are caused by careless handling of the saw headset and, in particular, insufficient care of the chain. In other words, when the chain is sharpened, it gets the job done; when it’s dull, it has to work, plus the added stress on the motor. In addition to the obvious inconvenience, this increased workload results in a significant reduction in tool life.

After a mandatory pre-start check of the saw headset and fuel and oiling, the saw is ready to go. To quickly start it, you need to pull the “choke”, completely remove the starter wire and start with a strong jerk (with sluggish voltage you risk to flood the spark plug, which will somewhat hamper the subsequent start attempts). . If done correctly, the saw will start the first time.

The right choice. How to choose a chainsaw?

On the YouTube channel “220 Volt” there is another series of programs “The Right Choice”, devoted to the choice of chainsaws.

We have prepared for you a text version, as well as compiled the top of the best chainsaws according to experts “220 Volt”.

range of application

Chainsaws are used for felling trees, chopping firewood, trimming branches, sawing building materials, in art, etc. You can use a chainsaw to collect deadwood in the woods (but it is better to check the current information in your area first).

Chainsaws are heavier than similar cordless and battery-powered saws. They are more difficult to use, but are suitable for longer, more demanding jobs.

Because of their mobility, they can also work away from stationary power sources – in the woods or on a construction site without electricity.


The class of a chainsaw determines the power of its engine and the duration of continuous operation.

  • Amateur. Power of 1.7 to 2 hp. Engine life – 200-400 hours. Used for agricultural work. Suitable for pruning branches, chopping firewood etc.
  • Farmer’s (semi-professional). Power of 2.2 to 3.4 hp resource – 600-800 hours. Not intended for daily use, but more durable than hobby chainsaws. Suitable for private use. Suitable for chopping firewood, trimming branches, etc.
  • Professional. The most powerful (over 3.4 hp) chainsaws. Resource – more than 2500 hours. Can work 8-10 hours a day. Used for daily work in logging or construction sites.
  • One-handed. Lightweight and compact saws. Power not more than 1.4 hp. Used for working at heights, trimming small branches, and for shape and compound sawing.
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bar length

The bar guides and lubricates the chain. The size determines how thick wood the saw can cut. For use in the country house, models with a bar of 30-40 cm are enough, for felling trees – from 50 cm. The length of the bar depends on the power of the engine. It is impossible to change the bar for a longer one – the saw will not withstand the increased load. The engine will start to overheat, which will eventually lead to a stop. Installing a smaller guide bar than recommended is acceptable.

Chain pitch

Chain pitch is the distance between two adjacent chain saws. It affects the performance of the saw. The recommended value is specified by the manufacturer and depends on the purpose of the saw:

  • 0.375 “(3/8”). Suitable for trimming branches, small cottages.
  • 0.325 “. Minor construction or billets for the house.
  • 0.404 “. Professional work in forestry, construction work, etc.

Depends on motor power and saw’s purpose.

  • For pruning, choose lightweight saws up to 3.5 kg. This way your hands are less tired when working on the weight.
  • For cottage construction and firewood, choose a saw from 4 to 5 kg. You will be comfortable to be a protocol saw, the weight of the tool facilitates vertical cuts.
  • Professional units for felling trees can weigh more than 5 kg. The large weight is due to the power of the engine and the volume of the gas tank.

gas tank

The volume of the gas tank depends on the purpose of the saw. Amateur and farm chainsaws are designed to run no more than 4 hours a day. They do not need much fuel, they are fitted with tanks up to 0.5 liters.

Professional models work up to 12 hours and consume a lot of gasoline. Benzos over 0.5 liters can be interrupted for refueling less frequently.

Useful features

  • Chain brake prevents injury during reversing. When the chain jams, the hand moves straight ahead by inertia, bumps into the chain guard, and the saw stops.
  • Primer is pumped into the carburetor before starting. Makes it easier to start an unheated engine.
  • The anti-vibration system reduces strain on the hands. It is initially necessary in professional models.

Helpful hints

After installing a new bar or a new chain, run the chainsaw for a few minutes without load. This helps to evenly lubricate everything.

The bar sprocket needs separate lubrication. There is a technical hole in the bar itself. Oil is poured into the narrow neck with a syringe or oil.

Standard machine oil does not take the peculiarities of chainsaws into account. Special chainsaw oil has excellent rust-preventing and lubricating properties. It is completely combustible and contains no impurities that can contaminate the carburetor.

To prolong the life of the tire, rotate it regularly. Usually the tire is only removed by one edge, so it wears out quickly. Changing positions distributes the load evenly, which prolongs service life.

Do not make a fuel mixture for several days. It loses its properties when stored for long periods of time. It is optimal to prepare the mixture shortly before starting work.

Rosopil’s 220-volt rating

Our technical experts have chosen five of the best chainsaws for campers, farms and professionals.


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