Home » Best Arborist Chainsaw [2020 Review]

Best Arborist Chainsaw [2020 Review]

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Arborist chainsaws are essential power tools to climb a tree and prune overgrown branches, or even cut damaged ones due to their lightweight design. The best arborist chainsaw goes beyond this, they’re also easy to maneuver with only one hand. 

Our Top Arborist Chainsaw Reviews

We understand that finding the right arborist chainsaw can be difficult because of several options available. That’s why we have compiled a list of the top-rated arborist chainsaws to help you choose the right model.

Brand
Best Overall
Craftsman CMCCS620M1
Best for the Money
Worx WG322
Best Cheap Pick
Greenworks 20292
Product
CRAFTSMAN V20 Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch...
Worx WG322 20V Cordless Chainsaw with Auto-Tension
Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw, Battery...
Style
20V Chainsaw
Battery + Charger Included
Tool Only
Product Dimensions
26.94 x 9.03 x 10.88 inches
25 x 7.5 x 9.5 inches
26.4 x 8.1 x 11 inches
Rating
-
-
-
Best Overall
Brand
Craftsman CMCCS620M1
Product
CRAFTSMAN V20 Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch...
Style
20V Chainsaw
Product Dimensions
26.94 x 9.03 x 10.88 inches
Rating
-
Best for the Money
Brand
Worx WG322
Product
Worx WG322 20V Cordless Chainsaw with Auto-Tension
Style
Battery + Charger Included
Product Dimensions
25 x 7.5 x 9.5 inches
Rating
-
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Greenworks 20292
Product
Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw, Battery...
Style
Tool Only
Product Dimensions
26.4 x 8.1 x 11 inches
Rating
-

Best Overall Arborist Chainsaw: Craftsman CMCCS620M1

CRAFTSMAN V20 Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch...

The Craftsman CMCCS620M1 arborist chainsaw comes with a high capacity of 4 ampere-hours (ah) battery that you can use for a long period. It also strikes a good balance between being bulky enough to absorb adequate torque from the chain during use and being compact to make transporting it to different job sites an easy task.

This model also comes with a bubble level indicator to ensure you end up with precise cuts. Additionally, it auto oils the bar and chain to ensure low maintenance, while boosting efficiency. 

Operating this chainsaw is also straightforward since both the chain adjustment and bar tensioning process doesn’t require any specialized tools. Moreover, its compact design makes it ideal for accurate cutting in tight areas as it will allow you to saw in small spaces effortlessly.

The Craftsman arborist chainsaw is also an ideal option for cleaning up emergencies such as after a storm. You can also use it to prune branches and cut down small trees. One good thing about this model is that it comes with a charger and battery to ensure you have a full kit that you can use immediately upon arrival.

Additionally, the replacement parts of this cordless chainsaw are readily available that you can buy separately to ensure smooth running in case of damage or malfunctioning parts. Weighing only 14 pounds, the CMCCS620M1 model is also portable to allow you to carry it on the go.

So, if you like lightweight models that you can transport easily to different job sites, this battery-powered chainsaw is ideal for you. It also comes with a detailed and thorough manual to make the setup process a breeze. 

What We Like 

  • The bubble level indicator for precise cuts
  • It auto oils with tool-free tensioning
  • Perfect for cutting in tight spaces
  • Comes with a charger and battery 
  • High capacity 4 ah battery

What We Don’t Like

  • Unsuitable for heavy-duty cutting jobs
  • Chain oil leaks after sometime 
  • Little cutting power
CRAFTSMAN V20 Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch...
  • Part of the V20 cordless system
  • Part of the versa-track wall organization system. Chain Pitch-3/8 inch
  • High capacity 4. 0Ah Battery pack - for extended runtime

Best Arborist Chainsaw for the Money: Worx WG322

Worx WG322 20V Cordless Chainsaw with Auto-Tension

The Worx WG322 is another incredible cordless arborist chainsaw with 10 inches diameter cutting capacity. Its compact design makes it a great option for a range of cutting jobs around your yard as it can reach tight spaces easily. It also comes with beginner-friendly controls, which makes it ideal for novice woodworkers.

Although this model can’t compete with more powerful chainsaws, it can still deliver reliable and efficient performance. Moreover, its lightweight design makes it easy to use and handle during operation. Starting it up is also very simple. 

You only have to slide in the battery then press the power button. When it comes to cutting performance, the Worx saw can effortlessly cut 6 inches diameter in a single pass. However, trees or branches with more than 6 inches can cause it to struggle and even drain the battery. 

This arborist chainsaw also boasts of ergonomic design as it comes with guards and handles that prevent your arm and hand from straining as they are comfortable to hold. Its oiler filler is on top of the saw to make filling the chain and bar an easy task as it prevents spillage.

The only major issue with the WG322 model is its small bar guide. So, if you want to cut down several trees, then you will have to look for a saw with more power. Moreover, the smaller guide bar will limit the size of timber you can cut. This cordless saw also doesn’t come with a chain brake. 

However, if you are searching for an arborist chainsaw that can handle light-duty jobs with beginner-friendly controls, this model is a great purchase worth considering.

What We Like 

  • 10 inches diameter cutting capacity
  • Perfect for different cutting jobs
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Excellent cutting performance
  • Easy to use and handle

What We Don’t Like

  • Not ideal for wood pieces with more than 6 inches 
  • Unsuitable for professional use
  • Small guide bar
Sale
Worx WG322 20V Cordless Chainsaw with Auto-Tension
  • [FAST, CLEAN CUTS] This cordless 20V PowerShare chain saw is as fast and powerful as anything in its...
  • [AUTO-CHAIN TENSION] The automatic, tool-free chain tension system ensures you’ll always have the...
  • [AUTO-CHAIN LUBRICATION] The automatic chain lubrication system not only makes for smoother, more...

Best Cheap Arborist Chainsaw: Greenworks 20292

Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw, Battery...

The Greenworks 20292 arborist chainsaw comes with an oversize automatic bar and chain oil tank to ensure you don’t run out of oil while working on your projects. The tank also has a big translucent window to allow you to keep monitoring the amount of oil left.

The chain oiler and automatic bar are great features on a saw as they reduce friction whenever the chain passes over the bar. In turn, this area is lubricated by the bar and chain oiler to prevent heat from building up and damaging both the chain and automatic bar metal parts.

Nowadays, most cordless battery-operated arborist chainsaws come with tool-less bar and chain tightening functionality, and the Greenworks model isn’t an exception either. The model has a T handle located at the front of the saw. Its function is to cover the tensioner while loosening the bar. 

There is also a round knob located at the rear that will help you adjust the length of the saw blade and also the chain tension. The model’s 2 ampere-hour battery also delivers adequate power for cutting wood with 2 to 10 inches diameter and will give you 25 minutes of runtime. 

However, Greenworks provides a 4 ampere-hour battery that is sold separately to help you increase the runtime. Moreover, inserting the battery is a breeze as you will only have to slide it into the rear of the saw. The battery also comes with a power gauge and 4 led lights that will allow you to check the amount of power remaining in the battery.

What We Like 

  • Tool-less bar and chain tightening functionality
  • The translucent window for checking the amount of oil
  • The round knob for adjusting saw blade length
  • A large automatic bar and chain oil tank
  • Led lights for monitoring battery power

What We Don’t Like

  • Unsuitable for cutting wood with more than 10 inches diameter
  • No automatic chain brake
  • Short battery runtime
Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw, Battery...
  • G-MAX 40V Li-Ion Battery System powers multiple tools for complete yard system-Battery and Charger...
  • 12-Inch Oregon bar and chain, perfect for cutting branches and limbs with ease
  • Tool-less chain tensioning for quick adjustments so you can get back to the task at hand

Best Corded Arborist Chainsaw: Oregon CS1400

Oregon CS1400 Corded Electric Chainsaw

The Oregon CS1400 arborist chainsaw features a self-sharpening chain that will save you time as you won’t have to stop in between your cutting tasks to sharpen the chain. You only have to pull the lever on the side of the saw and then hold it down to allow the chain to run for a few seconds.

While the lever is down, hold a sharpening blade against the chain, which will sharpen it automatically. However, if you prefer to install a conventional chain, remove the sharpening blade. When it comes to safety, the model has a chain brake to prevent accidents.

There is also a 16 inches guide bar and chain to minimize kickback. One good thing about the chain is that you can tighten it without looking for any special tools. Its handles also boast of ergonomic design to ensure maximum comfort, especially when using the saw for extended periods.

Assembling the Oregon model is also easy as you only have to place the bar and chain on the chainsaw and the tensioner on the guide bar. Additionally, this saw comes equipped with the automatic oiler that ensures the bar and chain have enough lubrication to prevent premature wear.

The corded chainsaw is also perfect for homeowners that want to prune branches in their backyards since it doesn’t produce too much noise during operation. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about mixing oil or inhaling harmful fumes as it is with their gas-powered counterparts. 

The CS1400 also starts instantly to allow you to begin working on your tasks immediately. One major issue with this model is that the chain occasionally jumps off the bar. However, you can adjust the chain tension to resolve this issue.

What We Like 

  • You can tighten the saw without tools
  • Chain brake for preventing accidents
  • Ergonomic design for added comfort 
  • 16 inches guide bar and chain 
  • Self-sharpening chain feature

What We Don’t Like

  • The chain tends to jump off the bar
  • Unclear setup instructions
  • Some plastic parts
Sale
Oregon CS1400 Corded Electric Chainsaw
  • Get to work right away with the instant start capability
  • Low noise, silent between cuts
  • The chain stays oiled using the built-in Lubri-Tec oiling system which reduces chain friction and...

Best Cordless Arborist Chainsaw: Black Decker LCS1240B

BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch,...

The Black Decker LCS1240B has an automatic oiling system that ensures the 12 inches bar and chain have enough lubrication. The bar and chain will also help you create smooth and quick cuts. One remarkable thing about the saw is that it provides tool-free chain tensioning to allow you to adjust the chain effortlessly. 

However, you should ensure you have a good supply of oil to keep the saw running for a long period. At only 8 pounds, this cordless chainsaw is portable. So, if you plan to work on different project sites, you won’t have issues transporting it to those sites. It’s also perfect for trimming branches and cutting fallen trees. 

Its runtime is also exceptional. With a single charge, you can enjoy up to 120 minutes of working on your tasks to ensure you complete them. However, when it drains the battery, it can take up to five hours to recharge fully. 

Due to this, we recommend buying an extra battery. This will ensure you don’t have to interrupt your work because you will have one that is ready for use when the other gets depleted.

Using the Black Decker chainsaw isn’t difficult either as it is lightweight enough to be used for extended periods without straining your hand. 

Its compact design also makes maneuvering the saw a breeze in small spaces. Moreover, the model comes with a full wrap-around handle to ensure you are comfortable while cutting regardless of how you choose to position the chainsaw. 

Overall, the LCS1240B arborist chainsaw is a great model that is ideal for executing smaller tasks such as pruning and trimming. So, if you have several pieces of wood to cut, consider getting another saw.

What We Like 

  • Tool-free chain tensioning mechanism 
  • Easy to handle and maneuver
  • Lightweight and portable
  • 12 inches bar and chain
  • Automatic oiling system

What We Don’t Like

  • The battery takes long to recharge
  • Uses a lot of oil
  • Oil tends to leak

Arborist Chainsaw Features and Considerations

An arborist chainsaw offers great balance and convenience for one-handed applications. However, you can only have a smooth operation if you know what to look for while shopping for one.

To ensure you pick the best arborist chainsaw, these are the essential factors you should pay attention to before purchasing:

Arborist on top of a tree pruning branches

Power Source

Arborist chainsaws fall under three different power sources: battery-operated, electric, and gas. Due to this, you should consider the power source that is ideal to you since each source has strengths and weaknesses.  Let’s take a look at each of the three types of chainsaws.

Gas-Powered Arborist Chainsaws

These chainsaws make cutting much easier as they are the most powerful. Moreover, they are capable of tackling heavy-duty work and are also mobile. This makes them an excellent choice, especially, if you intend to use your chainsaw on a job site without a power outlet. 

However, gas-powered chainsaws are noisy and bulky compared to their electric counterparts. They also require high maintenance due to regular service of the spark plug and motor’s air filter, as well as, buying fuel regularly. Gas models are also costly.

Moreover, they require a lot of work to get started, which can be exhausting and tedious. You should also avoid operating them indoors as they produce dangerous carbon monoxide, which when inhaled can cause respiratory problems.

Electric Arborist Chainsaws

Unlike gas-powered arborist chainsaws, electric saws require little maintenance and are quieter. Starting electric chainsaws is also easy as you only have to pull the trigger. Additionally, they are lighter and cost less compared to gas chainsaws. 

One major issue with corded chainsaws is that they can only handle light and medium-duty jobs such as shaping hedges due to their slower sawing speed. However, some models can tackle heavy-duty jobs. 

Moreover, your movement will be limited because you can only cover the areas the power cord allows you to reach. The cord also tends to pose potential accidents as it can get into your way while working. So, you will have to be careful when sawing.

If you want to enjoy an optimal performance when using your corded chainsaw, look for a quality power cord with at least 50 feet and the right gauge. 

Battery-Operated Arborist Chainsaws

These chainsaws will free you from an extension cord as they run on battery power. Their performance tends to be better compared to that of a light-duty gas saw. Unlike gas models, they also don’t emit harmful fumes while in operation. 

Battery-powered chainsaws also require low maintenance, are easy to run, and are portable as you can take them to different job sites. Additionally, they are suitable for light to medium-duty jobs. This is because they lack the power of corded or gas chainsaws. 

Man hanging on a tree and using a chainsaw to cut branches

In terms of price, they are more expensive than their electric and gas counterparts due to the additional cost of chargers and batteries. Their battery runtime can also be limiting. For instance, a single charge can give you up to 40 minutes of continuous cutting, while recharging can take up to 1 hour.

So, to avoid stopping in between your projects to charge the battery, ensure you have extra batteries on standby to act as backup. 

Tooth Chain Type

This is another important factor to consider as it will determine the material you can cut your chainsaw with. There are two types of tooth chain available:

Steel Tooth Chain

Most chainsaws on the market have a steel chain. However, this chain tends to dull easily when it comes into contact with metal such as nails or dirt as it is standard. This means if you plan to cut dirty or rotten wood, you should keep your sharpener closer.  

Carbide Tooth Chain

This chain can cut through different materials with ease. Also, nails and dirt won’t dull it like the steel tooth chain. If you are likely to run into nails while working, this is an excellent choice. 

However, once they dull, you will have to look for the manufacturer to sharpen them because you won’t be able to do it yourself. They’re also more expensive than their standard counterparts. 

Intended Use

It’s crucial to decide the kind of applications you want your arborist chainsaw to carry out before buying. This is because different chainsaws can perform a specific task. That said, here are some common chainsaws you can consider getting depending on your projects:

  • Professional Chainsaws: These models are perfect for professional uses since they provide great ergonomics and excellent performance to arborists, loggers as well as foresters. 
  • Ranch Chainsaws: Ranchers prefer these as they are better for occasional firewood cutting applications.
  • Arborist Chainsaws: These are better for professional arborists that regularly prune trees. 
  • Homeowner Chainsaws: They are ideal for occasional residential use as they are easy to use and very compact.
Man crouching down and using a chainsaw to cut off a whole tree

Automatic Oiler

You shouldn’t overlook an automatic oiler while shopping as it will impact the entire cutting process and determine whether you will cut efficiently. This functionality plays a crucial role in lubricating the chain regularly, which in turn reduces friction between the wood and chain. 

However, it is important to ensure that the chain has enough lubrication to avoid damaging the motor as it can increase the chances of kickback. An automatic oiler also releases a continuous flow of oil to provide the chain with enough oil so that it runs smoothly.

Easy Pull-Start System

You should also consider an arborist chainsaw with an easy-start system to avoid getting frustrated when starting your saw. Fortunately, most of the chainsaws on our list have a system that makes the pull-start process a breeze.

Generally, if the motor is bigger, it will be difficult to pull. So, you should go for arborist chainsaws with a small motor. Other saws come with a decompression valve that also makes the process easier. 

The valve reduces compression as it opens into the cylinder. However, this functionality is only found on bigger chainsaws

Size

The size of your arborist chainsaw will depend on how you plan to use it and whether you prefer lightweight or bulky models. While a compact chainsaw is easy to maneuver and use, it will only be perfect for light and medium-duty jobs because it has a smaller guide bar length. 

Moreover, it is likely to have a less powerful and smaller motor. On the other hand, a larger saw is more powerful, which makes it ideal for heavy-duty jobs. However, you will have difficulties moving it around due to its weight.

So, the best thing to do would be to find the right balance between ease of use, performance, and power.

Weight

Although a bulky arborist chainsaw is ideal for handling several cuts quickly, it can cause you to feel fatigued when used for an extended period. You can also feel drained, especially if you are planning to cut a lot of top branches. 

Man on top of a tree pruning branches

A heavy model will also leave you with painful blisters in your hands even though maneuvering it will be easier. However, the ideal weight will depend on where and how you plan to use the saw, as well as, your physical capabilities.

It is also important to mention that the type of arborist chainsaw you want to buy will determine the weight of your model. For example, battery-powered saws are heavy, while their corded counterparts are usually lighter.

Bar Length

Generally, bar length ranges from 10 – 24 inches. Thus, it is important to note that different arborist chainsaws have different bar lengths. So, you should be careful with this factor when looking for your saw. 

Also, find out the average width of the material you will be cutting so that you buy a model with the right bar length. That said, a model with a smaller bar length is an excellent option for cutting a tree with less than 8 inches in diameter. 

However, you will require a bigger diameter if you will be cutting down trees that are measuring 90 feet long. A longer bar is ideal as it will ensure you get deeper and accurate cuts in a single pass. 

Typically, a model that comes with 13 to 19 inches of bar length is perfect for professional wood cutting. However, if you are going to handle thick cuts, opt for a chainsaw with 20 to 24 inches bar length.

Ease of Use

An arborist chainsaw should be straightforward enough to make working with it enjoyable. Thus, many factors can determine whether using the saw will be easy or not. First, you should not struggle to start your saw.

Also, you should avoid heavy models as they have uncomfortable handles that can outbalance the saw during use. As a result, this can lead to reduced productivity due to taking a lot of time to complete your tasks.

Moreover, it can increase the risk of injuries and damages. To avoid encountering all these issues, go for a lightweight chainsaw. Other features like battery indicator and oil reservoir window will also make the model easier to use.

Safety Features

Man on a lift pruning trees while using a chainsaw

Although arborist chainsaws are amazing power tools, they can also be dangerous. For this reason, we recommend finding a model with safety features like a chain brake and anti-kickback chain to help prevent injuries.

The chain brake will stop the chain instantly when the chainsaw kickbacks or when you accidentally push forward the front handguard. On the other hand, the anti-kickback chain will prevent the chain from grabbing several wood pieces at once as this can cause kickback.

A sheath or case is also crucial. It covers the bar and chain, while protecting you from accidental cuts, especially when storing or carrying the saw. Additionally, the sheath helps contain leaking oil from the chain.

You should also have other safety features like gloves to protect your hands from cuts. Hearing protection is also essential as it will prevent your ears from being affected by the loud noise that is usually produced by some chainsaws.

Wrap Up

If you are planning to do some pruning in your home, an arborist chainsaw will be an excellent choice. It is lightweight and compact and will give you more control while sawing. However, you can only get the right model if you consider the factors we have highlighted in our buying guide.

If you are finding it difficult to choose a chainsaw that meets your needs, read our reviews again and you will get a model that is suitable for you whether you are an arborist or a DIY enthusiast.