Planning ahead is critical to picking the best chainsaw to suit your needs. With all of the available options out there, how can you know you’re buying equipment that is big enough to do the job, but not overwhelming with engine power and size? This guide will help you decide. First, you need to ask yourself these questions to narrow down your selection.
What types of trees will you be cutting?
Gas chainsaws remain the fastest and most powerful option for heavy-duty use. If you are planning on using your chainsaw for bushes or shrubs, most electric models will serve your purposes, even for the occasional firewood harvesting. Heavier-duty saws have bar lengths of 16-20 inches, but bigger isn’t necessarily better. For most home users, a 16 inch bar is more than adequate, as a longer bar can increase the chances of kick back. Professionals have the experience to handle a long bar and would best benefit from a 20 inch blade to handle the toughest jobs.
Where will you use your chainsaw?
Don’t buy a gas powered model if you’ll be working inside. An exhaust-emitting engine without ventilation is a recipe for disaster. If you’ll be venturing into the woods, away from power, you won’t want to be attached to a cord so go for a gas powered chainsaw.
Do you have a generator for power?
If you don’t have a generator, pass on the electric models. If you need a chainsaw ready for an emergency, a gas model is ideal. They’ll run as long as you supply them with the proper fuel and oil.
Now that you know your application, you need to narrow down the available features.
Here are a few to consider:
- Anti-vibration handle – Gas powered chainsaws should have metal springs or rubber bushings between the handle and body, protecting the user from painful vibration and fatigue.
- Chain Brake – This will stop the chain if the front guard is pushed forward, or if kickback occurs. Don’t overlook this, it is critical for safety.
- Trigger Locks – These will stop the cutting chain automatically when the trigger is released, which eliminates accidental starts.
- Warranties – A good warranty period for chainsaws is at least 2 years. Cub Cadet models come with a 3-year limited warranty. Be careful when shopping for cheaper models, as many only offer 1 year of protection.
- Anti-kickback Chain – This chain type boasts extra guard links and a tempered cutting profile to stop it from causing kickback.
- Self-Oiling Chain – Keeping the chain well lubed is a nice feature to have so you don’t have to stop mid-job to oil the bar, or remember to bring lube out into the woods.
- Side-mounted Chain Tensioning – This increases efficiency as it makes adjusting the tension easier when you’re on the job, allowing the operator to easily see what he’s doing without the need for additional tools.
- Decompression Valve and Primer Bulb – Gas-powered saws that come with these features make starting much easier. They remove air bubbles from the gas line and reduce compression in the cylinder.
- Translucent tanks – Helpful for knowing when fuel is getting low by taking a quick glance.
Maintenance and Service
Now that you know what to look for when buying a chainsaw, don’t forget that every piece of equipment with a small engine needs ongoing care. Without proper maintenance, your equipment can’t perform at its full potential. It’s important to keep chains sharp, well-oiled and tensioned properly. A loose chain is likely to slip off and one that’s dull or rusty is more likely to kick back and run slow. Oil filters need to be changed regularly and spark plugs wear out. Check your owner’s manual for detailed maintenance schedules and recommended parts.
You can do basic maintenance and replacements on your chainsaw with the proper parts and advice from professionals. The staff at cubparts.com is ready and willing to help you not only find the parts you need but ship them directly to your door. Contact them for advice on the latest Cub Cadet chainsaws and recommended OEM parts.