Best Chainsaws for Cutting Firewood (2020 Review)

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One of the most common reasons for a homeowner to bust out a chainsaw is to use it to cut up firewood. Say goodbye to spending your hard earned money on expensive wood bought at the store, when you can easily cut it in your own backyard! But how do you find the right saw for the job?

Read on to learn about the best chainsaws for cutting firewood on the market today.

Comparison Chart of the ​Best Chainsaws for Cutting Firewood

Product

Our Rating

​Price

​Makita XCU03PT1

​Best Overall

​Greenworks 20312

​Runner-up

​Westinghouse 40V Cordless Chainsaw

​Best for the Money

​Husqvarna 445e II

​Best Husqvarna Chainsaw for Cutting Firewood

​Husqvarna 120 Mark II

​Editor's Pick

Can Any Chainsaw Be Used for Cutting Firewood?

There are some chainsaws that will work better for cutting firewood than others. Usually, when considering a chainsaw, you want to weigh the pros and cons of a longer bar. A longer bar typically means a more powerful saw that can cut through thicker logs, but any increase in bar length also makes the saw more complicated to maneuver. 

Fortunately, when cutting firewood, maneuverability is not as important, as you will likely be cutting it in an open space and making straightforward cuts. With that in mind, you should find a chainsaw with a bar of at least 18 inches in length.

Why Did These Chainsaws for Cutting Firewood Make Our List?

Here is what sets a good firewood cutting chainsaw apart:

Durability

Firewood is tough – it has been dead for a while and is likely dried out, meaning it will be extremely hard and difficult to cut through. You want a chainsaw that is going to be able to handle even the most wizened old wood.

Bar Length

We have already touched on this a bit, but you really should go with an 18 inch bar when dealing with firewood. You could also even go bigger – since you are not going to be making any small, precise cuts, a bigger bar may be able to handle tougher logs.

Versatility

Odds are you are probably not going to want a chainsaw that is really only good for cutting firewood, especially when chainsaws are such useful tools! Invest in a saw that you can use for a variety of different projects.

Quick Take: Best Chainsaws for Cutting Firewood

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best​ chainsawss for cutting firewood:

  1. Makita XCU03PT1
  2. Greenworks 20312
  3. Westinghouse 40V Cordless Chainsaw

Review of the Best Chainsaws for Cutting Firewood

Here is a comprehensive list of the best chainsaws we could find for firewood cutting:

​Best Overall:
Makita XCU03PT1

PROS

  • No cord to contend with
  • Quieter than competitor brands
  • Lightweight – great option for women
  • Uses two batteries, so although it is marketed as 18 volts, it is really a 36 volt saw

CONS

  • Chain will need to be adjusted a decent amount

Our Review

The variable speed motor system on this saw is absolutely fantastic. It can easily be adjusted using a dial system, making it simple and straightforward to use; plus, the motor is brushless, which will extend the saw’s engine life.

The engine is powerful for a cordless saw as well. We also appreciated a lot of this saw’s safety features, which include automatic switch offs, a lock off lever, and a lit up LED power button for increased visibility.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

We loved this saw’s automatic lubrication system. It keeps the saw running smoothly and efficiently, as well as prevents rust. And because it is automatic, you will not need to constantly be checking to make sure your saw is oiled properly.

​Runner Up:
Greenworks 20312

PROS

  • Motor is brushless
  • Has a four year warranty
  • Uses a 40 volt lithium ion battery
  • Automatic oiler system for convenience

CONS

  • Can skip every now and then, and skipping always requires a restart

Our Review

We were impressed at the massive strides Greenworks has taken to reduce vibration with this saw – it has a seventy percent lower vibration rate than most saws on the market today, which is pretty ridiculous.

Lower vibration means less unnecessary drain on the battery, and also a more safe experience for the user, as your arm will not be numbed and tired from all the shaking. Another safety feature on this model is the chain brake, which activates in any instance of kickback.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

In today’s era of climate change, we really appreciate a company that is making strides to protect the environment. Greenworks has done just that with this saw, which is designed to have a smaller carbon footprint than most other models.

​Best for the Money:
Westinghouse 40V Cordless Chainsaw

PROS

  • Makes fast cuts
  • Battery life lasts for a long time
  • Brushless motor allows for greater efficiency and increased power output
  • Great for cutting through branches and logs smaller than six inches in diameter

CONS

  • Chain oiler does not work particularly well
  • Some customers have gotten 2ah batteries instead of 4ah

Our Review

We were impressed that this product comes with a high quality Oregon chain already included. Most saws on the market have their own factory chains shipped with them, which are typically much lower quality and do not last as long as Oregon chains.

It is also one of the easiest saws to use and operate on this whole list, with its quick change system for the blades and its smaller size, which makes it more simple to maneuver around.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

We could not believe how inexpensive this saw was. When we saw the price, we figured it must not be particularly high quality, but we could not be happier to be completely wrong – this Westinghouse can definitely cut firewood with the best of them.

​Best Husqvarna Chainsaw for Cutting Firewood:
Husqvarna 445e II

PROS

  • Well balanced
  • Straightforward operation
  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • Comes with a two year warranty that can then be extended to last even longer

CONS

  • Not designed for heavy, constant use

Our Review

This is a great saw choice if you are looking for a saw not just to cut firewood from trees that are already on the ground, but also to cut down trees that are still standing.

This saw actually includes felling marks, so the process of cutting a tree down will be significantly more simple. Plus, users report that this saw is always easy to start, even if it has not been started up in a long time, and even if temperatures outside are below freezing. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The air filtration system on this model is a world apart from other saws. It is specifically designed to catch large pieces of debris before they would reach the engine, which has a significant impact on overall wear and tear on a saw.

​Editor’s Pick:
Husqvarna 120 Mark II

PROS

  • Easy to handle
  • Excellent option for casual use
  • Anti vibration feature reduces shaking
  • Has a tool less chain tensioning system

CONS

  • Some users report the saw will stall out for a bit until it is properly broken in

Our Review

This saw easily balances power and size. It has a 2.4 horsepower engine, yet the saw itself still weighs under ten pounds in total, which is a size to power ratio that is basically unheard of.

It is easy to carry, yet can still get the job done. This quality makes it a fantastic option for casual yard use. And of course, investing in the reliable Husqvarna brand means access to great customer service and a satisfaction guarantee.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This model is definitely one of the most comfortable and easy to use chainsaws on the market today. It has been intentionally designed to include specific ergonomic enhancements to increase user comfort, plus it has an built in safety break as an additional safety feature.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Still struggling to narrow it down? Here are some additional qualities to think about:

Motor Type

Do you want a chainsaw powered by gasoline, by a cord, or by a battery? Gasoline chainsaws are typically the toughest, which might make them a good option for cutting firewood, but they are also expensive and bad for the environment.

Safety Features

Chainsaws are definitely some of the most dangerous power tools you can work with. Look for a saw with enhanced safety features like an automatic shut off or kickback support – it could help you hold onto your fingers.

Ease of Operation and Maintenance

This quality is also somewhat related to safety – the easier a saw is to operate, the less likely you will make a mistake that may result in an accident. But this is also about simple convenience. The last thing you want is to spend time working on your saw that could be spent working on your yard.

How to Cut Firewood with a Chainsaw

​Make sure the wood you are trying to cut is stabilized, usually by being secured on both sides with other pieces of wood. Put on your safety glasses and ear plugs.

​Start up your saw and make vertical cuts through the log. Be aware that if you hit a knot in the wood, you will likely not be able to continue making a straight clean cut, but may need to wiggle your saw back and forth a little bit to get it through the knot.

​Once you hit the last quarter of an inch of wood, pull your saw back. You should be able to rip the wood apart at that point, and you do not want your saw to cut all the way through and into the grass, which could damage the blade.

​You will notice that your cutting has created a lot of mulch sized wood pieces – you can use those for starting your fire, or for hutches if you happen to keep rabbits or chickens. You will also probably need to stop sawing at various points to clear these chunks out of your saw – make sure to turn your saw off before sticking your hand inside to clear it out!

Check out this video for a visual of what was explained above:

Conclusion

Chainsaws are really your best option when it comes to cutting your own firewood, and you are not going to be able to find chainsaws that are more up to the task than the ones on this list. Whether it is durability, versatility, safety features, or efficiency that you are prioritizing in your firewood cutting, these saws have got it all.

People Also Ask

Hopefully we can clear up any remaining questions you may have about saws specifically designed for cutting firewood.

What Size Chainsaw Should I Use for Cutting Firewood?

As mentioned above, the best size chainsaw for cutting firewood is one with an 18-inch bar. This bar length is usually versatile enough to handle both smaller and larger logs, though if you anticipate cutting through some huge logs, you may want to go bigger.

How Do I Measure a Chainsaw?

Chainsaws are measured by their bar lengths, and bar length is measured from the cutter tooth which is closest to the body of the saw, all the way to the very front tip of the bar. Usually, these measurements are not in exact inches, so round it up to the nearest even number.

What is the Best Chainsaw Chain for Hardwood?

Oregon is really the gold standard when it comes to manufacturing chainsaw chains for any type of cutting. And if you plan to be cutting through hardwood, there is no reason why you should not get the best, so plan to invest in an Oregon chain.