Best Chainsaws for Carving – 2020 Top Picks

Tool Tango is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

​When you think of good tools for carving fine pieces of wood art, a chainsaw is probably the last option that comes to your mind. Chainsaws are for hacking away at firewood and downed limbs, not fine woodworking!

But think again – chainsaws are actually one of your best options when it comes to efficient woodwork.

Comparison Chart of the ​Best Chainsaws for Carving

Product

Our Rating

​Price

Remington RM4216

Best Overall

Greenworks 20292

Runner-up

Tanaka TCS33EDTP

Best for the Money

Dewalt DCCS620B

Best DeWalt Electric Chainsaw for Carving

Echo 12 Inch Gas Chainsaw

Best Echo Chainsaw for Carving

What Makes a Chainsaw Great for Carving Wood?

These are the qualities you should look for with a wood carving chainsaw:

Precision

You obviously want a chainsaw that is going to be able to make the most precise, fine, straight, and smooth cuts possible. You can get away with rougher cuts if you are just chopping up firewood in your yard, but for carving, things have got to be precise!

Maneuverability

A carving chainsaw would be absolutely useless if it were not easy to manipulate and maneuver. You will likely be using this saw to make cuts at weird angles and sometimes really tight spaces, so make sure it’s one you can adjust easily.

Weight

Carving projects take a LONG time, often days or weeks to complete. The last thing you want is a saw that is going to burn your muscles out from having to shoulder its weight day after day. Find yourself a saw that is lightweight enough for you to handle.

Quick Take: Best ​Chainsaws for Carving

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best chainsaws for carving:

  1. Remington RM4216
  2. Greenworks 20292
  3. Tanaka TCS33EDTP

Review of the Best Chainsaws for Carving

We have come up with a comprehensive list of all the best carving chainsaws you can find:

​Best Overall:
Remington RM4216

PROS

  • Makes smooth cuts
  • Ready to go upon arrival
  • Automatic oiler increases overall efficiency
  • Has a five point anti vibration system to prevent and decrease user fatigue

CONS

  • Chain and sprocket may need to be upgraded per user preference

Our Review

This saw is the ideal carving saw. It boasts a cushioned wrap around grip, which boosts overall user comfort. This quality can really make or break a carving saw, which you may be trying to use for hours at a time – preventing your hands from cramping up can be key when you are scraping out those fine details.

It also has some excellent safety features, including a chain brake and a more balanced weight. The balance helps with keeping the saw straight and allowing you to make precise, smooth cuts to keep your carvings beautiful.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

We appreciated that this model comes with its own protective case. If you are transporting your saw back and forth to different carving projects, it can make a big difference to have a system to keep it operational and clean when you are not using it.

Runner-up: 
Greenworks 20292

PROS

  • Well designed
  • Has a lot of power
  • Comes with a four year warranty that can then be extended to last even longer
  • Greenworks is a reliable power tool manufacturing company that you know you can trust

CONS

  • Does not work super well on larger pieces of wood that require bigger cuts

Our Review

This saw is cordless, which is definitely more convenient than a saw that always requires you to be within an extension cord’s length of a power outlet. Although you may be hesitant to trust in a battery powered saw, ​there is no need to worry.

The battery life on this Greenworks model will last just as long as your average tank of gas on a gasoline powered saw would. It is also straightforward and easy to operate, as the blade does not require tools in order for the user to detach it and properly maintain the saw.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This saw is one of the most well balanced saws available on the market today. Its weight is just enough to produce a feeling of stability, which matters when you are making carving cuts. But it is not so heavy that it will tire you out.

​Best for the Money:
Tanaka TCS33EDTP

PROS

  • Fuel efficient
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Has a seven year consumer warranty
  • Side chain tensioner allows for easy access

CONS

  • Not a lot of bottom end torque

Our Review

This saw is top notch when it comes to maneuverability. Because of its anti vibration system, users can hold onto it for long periods of time without becoming fatigued. Plus, its sprocket nose bar adds an increased level of user control, especially when making more precise carving cuts.

You will never have to worry about needing to try multiple times to get this saw up and going. With its purge primer bulb and half throttle choke, it is always simple and straightforward to get the motor started, regardless of whatever the temperature may be.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

If you are just getting into wood carving, and do not want to drop a ton of big bucks on a saw for a hobby you are not sure whether or not you will like, this is the saw for you. The Tanaka is a high quality saw for a low quality price.

​Best DeWalt Electric Chainsaw for Carving:
Dewalt DCCS620B

PROS

  • Easy to set up
  • Chain is sharp upon arrival
  • Does not produce a lot of kickback
  • Will not need high quality, expensive oil

CONS

  • Overheats faster than some other models

Our Review

This saw is remarkably easy to use, making it a great option for beginner wood carvers. It has a chain tensioning system and a bar tightening system that will not require tools to operate and can be simply adjusted using your hands.

This saw is also a good option if you plan to be working with larger pieces of wood, as it is stronger than some of the others saws included in this review. Despite how tough it is, it is not particularly heavy, with its weight coming in at just under 9 pounds.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

We liked that this saw does not mess around when it comes to high quality parts included with purchase. Both the bar and the chain on this model were manufactured by Oregon, which is essentially the gold standard for chainsaw chains.

​Best Echo Chainsaw for Carving:
Echo 12-Inch Gas Chainsaw

PROS

  • Has a lot of power
  • Compact and easy to transport
  • Durable, will last for years and years
  • Endorsed for use by professional wood carvers

CONS

  • Chain brake feels flimsy
  • Oil and gas caps both become dirty pretty quickly

Our Review

This saw is an awesome option from the reliable Echo brand, and has a number of qualities which make it a great choice for carving. It starts up easily, so you can get started on your project right away and not need to constantly be yanking a pull cord. It is known for making straight, clean cuts that are aesthetically pleasing.

It is efficient in terms of both gasoline fuel usage and bar oil usage, so you will not be breaking the bank to keep it running and well maintained. Plus, it is super powerful!

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This saw is so lightweight that it can be operated by just one hand. This makes it a great option for users who may not have a lot of upper body strength, older users, and anyone who wants a free hand available to work on other aspects of their carving.

Chainsaw Carving Tips, Tricks, and Hacks for Success

You need to keep the following aspects in mind when using a chainsaw for carving:

Symmetry

It is usually a good rule of thumb to keep your project as symmetrical as possible. If you make a cut on one side of your piece, try to mirror that same cut on the other side of your piece as exactly as possible. It helps if you have a saw that can make precise cuts!

Variety of Saws

It would be nice if just one saw could fit all of your carving needs, but the truth is, you are probably going to need multiple saws if you want to get serious about wood carving. Smaller saws are great for the more accurate, smaller cuts, while bigger saws are a better option for the initial larger cuts.

Rounded Edges

Rounded edges are some of the most complicated cuts to make when carving a wood piece, especially for someone who is new to the wood carving game. They can be made a lot easier if you bring the blade of your saw up at an angle against the wood.

Chainsaw Carving for Beginners: How-To

Identify the wood you are going to use to carve. You can buy your wood, or, if you happen to live near a forest, you can head out into the woods and identify a piece of dead wood that will suit your carving needs.

  • Use a few sheets of plywood to give your carving wood a stable base. You can attach it to the base of your wood log or wood piece using wood screws.

  • Make sure you have all of your personal protective equipment: a helmet, a face guard, ear plugs, goggles, Kevlar pants, steel toed boots, and leather work gloves.

  • To start off, use your chainsaw to make a cut across the top of your log to make it a level surface.

  • When making cuts, hold the back of the saw snugly against your body so that it is as stable as possible and can make smooth, clean cuts.

  • Cut a small slot in the back of your piece to allow the wood to expand and contract and to minimize overall stress on the wood, which will prevent cracking down the line.

  • Carving is usually a multi day project, not something you can get done in a quick session. Make sure to sharpen and oil your saw between carving sessions.

For a chance to see the above steps in action when carving a bear, check out the below video: 

​Conclusion

As you can see, chainsaws are a really excellent choice for working with wood carving. Just make sure you invest in a saw with the ability to make fine, precise cuts, and that you will be able to work with for hours at a time. We promise any of the chainsaws are our list above will be a great option for giving you gorgeous finished pieces!

People Also Ask

Carving with a chainsaw can be really complicated, so here are answers to the most common questions:

What Type of Wood is Best for Chainsaw Carving?

Basswood is the best option for chainsaw carving, particularly for beginners. It is technically a hardwood, but it is softer than many other hardwoods which makes it easy to carve.

What Are The Easiest Designs to Carve?

It is typically a good idea to start out with designs that might actually look better if they are a little bit on the rougher side. The bear carving in the video above is a great beginner option because if it is asymmetrical or has some broken edges, that adds to its rustic appeal.

What Type of Chain Do You Need for Chainsaw Carving?

With carving chains, you want to pay attention to the tip, which is often used for detail work. Good carving chains have a quarter or a dime pitch tip, which means that the tip of the chain is roughly the size of a quarter or a dime.