How to choose your chainsaw: advice, models and cost

The chainsaw is the ideal and essential tool for all cutting and pruning work in the garden. From simple branch cutting to cutting down large trees, there are chainsaws for every type of use.

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What is the purpose of a chainsaw?

A chainsaw is a wood cutting tool for logging activities and the maintenance of green spaces. It is used as much for felling wood as for cutting, delimbing or pruning it. A chainsaw can do small jobs in the house garden (the chainsaw is very useful for cutting wood for heating), but also more intensive work such as felling trees for example.

Description of the different chainsaw models

There are several models of chainsaws depending on the purpose for which they are intended:

The electric chainsaw

An electric chainsaw is light and easy to handle. It is used for small work in the garden and cutting wood with a maximum diameter of 45 cm. The electric chainsaw operates on 230 Volts. The power of its motor is from 1,400 to 2,000 Watts. The advantages of this chainsaw are low energy consumption, no pollution and low noise. Like all power tools, this chainsaw must be connected to the mains supply by a power cord. Its use can therefore only be made within a limited radius.

The battery-powered chainsaw

Very handy, autonomous and lightweight, the battery-powered chainsaw is used for small occasional wood cutting jobs. It is easy to use, non-polluting and low noise.

The thermal chainsaw

The chainsaw is powered by a 2-stroke petrol engine. It is used for routine, even intensive cutting work, made possible by its high power (from 740 to 6,400 W). This chainsaw is autonomous, without electrical connection. On the other hand, it is noisier, more polluting, heavy to handle and above all the thermal chainsaw requires careful maintenance. This chainsaw has a blade long enough (up to 90 cm) to cut large logs. It also exists in several sizes to adapt to different levels of wood cutting work.

How to choose a chainsaw?

The chainsaw model is first chosen according to the extent of the wood cutting work to be carried out. Other criteria must also be taken into account:

The length of the guide bar

The guide bar holds and guides the moving chain of the chainsaw. The latter is composed of 3 types of links (drives with depth limiter, cutting gouges, connecting parts) assembled using rivets. The length of the guide bar indicates the cutting capacity of a chainsaw: a 30 cm guide bar, for example, can be used to cut 60 cm diameter wood.

Lubrication of the chain

All chainsaws have a chain lubrication system because the chain heats up at high speed and can deteriorate with vegetable oil. The flow rate of this oil is the same on all chainsaw models but some give the possibility to adjust this flow rate according to the hardness of the wood to be cut. For thermal chainsaws, the oil tank must be filled with each full tank of fuel. For electric chainsaws, a level indicator is available to monitor the presence of this essential lubricant.

The shape of the front handle

The chainsaws, which are held with both hands, have 2 handles, one front and one rear. The chain brake is located on the front handle, a powerful safety device that stops the chain in the event of a bounce.

The shape of the front handle determines the possibilities of use:

  • a front handle in the shape of an arch makes it possible to work horizontally to fell a tree or prune branches, but this position may limit the operation of the chain brake.
  • a front right handle allows more particularly trunk cutting work.

Safety and maintenance of a chainsaw

The chainsaw is the ideal power tool when you have a garden with trees that need to be maintained. However, its use requires special precautions to avoid accidents and ensure its proper functioning.

First of all, it is very important to use a chainsaw with protections such as a visor helmet, work gloves, safety shoes or clothing with cut-resistant reinforcements.

Preventive measures are also necessary when using a chainsaw: do not use a ladder; always cut wood higher than your shoulders; do not lay the chainsaw on the ground while it is running.

Before starting to use a chainsaw, remember to keep children and all unprotected persons more than 15 metres from the workplace, and make a few checks to ensure that it is working properly:

  • check that the chain brake is activated
  • check that the handles are clean and non-slip.

Regular maintenance of a chainsaw is the guarantee of its proper operation and maximum safety. The chain tension, lubrication and sharpening must be checked regularly; the guide bar must also be regularly cleaned, especially the lubrication holes.

How much does a chainsaw cost?

It depends on whether you buy a new or used chainsaw. The price of a chainsaw varies depending on the type of model, power and size. Count between 70 and 350 euros for a new electric chainsaw. A battery powered chainsaw costs from 100 to 700 euros and a thermal chainsaw is sold commercially for 100 to 2,000 euros for the most efficient. It is also always possible to rent them, if this budget is too large for you.

How to kill a tree?

It is possible to want to get rid of a tree that is sometimes embarrassing, too close to a house or invasive. How to devitalize a tree ?

garden with tree and flowers

Killing a tree with specific products

The easiest way to get rid of a tree is to cut the trunk to take care of the stump. Some chemicals are specially designed to attack strains. These are devitalizing products, to be handled with care. If the strain is small enough, wear gloves and brush the product onto the strain. If the strain is large, make multiple holes to put product in. These products will infiltrate the strain to attack all roots. So you can easily pull it off once all the roots have died. It is best to cut your tree in the fall and apply the product soon after.

Killing a tree in an environmentally friendly way

If you can’t cut down the tree or cut the trunk, here are some tips to try to weaken the tree and then kill it. One technique consists in drilling the bottom of the trunk and the large roots to introduce garlic. The holes must be wide enough and positioned in various places. Place one clove of garlic per hole. Do this in August, when the sap comes down. In this way, the substance released by the garlic will spread to the buried roots. The method also works with coarse salt, which burns the roots. Don’t forget to fill in the holes and add salt over the months. These methods will also prevent you from using products that are harmful to your garden. They also apply to strains if you do not wish to use chemicals.