Like many people, Scott Germaise finds his chain saw useful for cleaning up after a storm.
“Instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on contractors, I was able to chop that stuff up myself,” says Germaise.
Consumer Reports tested 20 chain saws ranging in price from $70 to $400.
Testers rate how fast each saw cuts.
They use a meter to measure vibration and too much can make a chain saw harder to hold, especially for a long time.
And this test assesses kickback and that`s when the tip of the saw hits the wood and lurches back. Some chain saws kick back more than others.
For cutting up branches just once or twice a year, electric chain saws are convenient.
Consumer Reports named one from Worx a Best Buy at $100.
“Of course, you`re connected to the power cord. And if the power`s out, you`re out of luck,” says Pete Sawchuk of Consumer Reports.
For bigger jobs, gas-powered chain saws are a better choice, but they`re trickier to use.
“You need to know the right mixture of gas and oil for your saw, and how to start it. It can take several pulls of the starter cord to get it going,” says Sawchuk.
Consumer Reports top-rated this gas saw from Stihl, for $230.
For even less, there`s the $150 Craftsman. It`s not quite as fast, but it comes in a storage case with the supplies you need, including chain oil and a chain-tightening tool.
Consumer Reports says to use gas chain saws for an hour, you`ll need about 32 ounces of pre-mixed gasoline and oil and a quart of bar oil.
For corded electric saws, you`ll need a heavy extension cord, one that`s 12-gauge.