Top Chain Saws

When the next big storm hits, are you ready to tackle the cleanup? Chain saws make quick work of clearing downed tree limbs and branches.

Consumer Reports’ latest ratings finds some chain saws are much better than others.

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.” said Germaise.

Consumer Reports tested 20 chain saws ranging in price from 70 to 400 dollars.

Testers rate how fast each saw cuts.

They use a meter to measure vibration — too much can make a chain saw harder to hold, especially for a long time.

And this test assesses kickback —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 this one from Worx a Best Buy at 100 dollars.

“Of course you’re connected to the power cord. And if the power’s out, you’re out of luck.” said Peter Sawchuk.

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.” Said Sawchuk.

Consumer Reports top-rated this gas saw from Stihl, for 230 dollars.

For even less, there’s the
150-dollar 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.

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