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What Size Chainsaw Do I Really Need?

Last Updated: 28 December 2020

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Chainsaws are mechanical devices that can be used to do several things including felling trees, cutting firewoods and pruning tree branches. That already tells you it’s one of the major tools of heavy-duty artisans like lumberjacks and loggers. However, it can also just be a domestic tool that can be used at home to cut firewoods and make a fireplace. Whatever it is you are using the tool for, you need to know the size as that’d help it serve its purpose efficiently. Chainsaws come in different sizes to ensure versatility and flexibility in performing tasks whether heavy-duty or domestic. Figuring out the right size for your needs can be quite puzzling but not to worry, we have put together this guide to make things easier for you. This guide will show you how to measure chainsaw size and put to rest the question “How big of a chainsaw do I need?”.

Chainsaw Sizes: Important Things to Know

Like we mentioned earlier, chainsaws come in different sizes and that can make things difficult. So, knowing the appropriate size will determine whether or not you will have a satisfactory chainsaw experience. Below is the part of the article that tells you all about chainsaw sizes and how to measure them.

How to Measure Chainsaw Size

How to Measure Chainsaw Size

The key to figuring out how to measure chainsaw size is the length of the chainsaw bar. The bar is that part of the chainsaw that spins around, so we’ll start with figuring out how to measure a chainsaw bar. The bar is measured from the tip to the end. The end is where it stops being visible and enters the body of the chainsaw. Below are two simple steps to measure the chainsaw bar.

  • Get a normal measuring tape and measure from the tip to the base of the bar i.e. the point where it enters the body. If it’s not a cordless chainsaw, you might want to unplug before measuring.
  • If after measuring, you have an odd length, just approximate it and it’d still be an accurate length. So, if you have 15.8, just round it up and call it 16.

The good thing about chainsaw bars is that they are removable and can be changed for another size which could be shorter or longer. When you buy a chainsaw, the size of the bar is vital information that usually comes with it. It’s either in the product manual or written somewhere on the bar. Chainsaw bars for domestic use usually measure between 12-20 inches. The question “what size chainsaw bar do I need?” will be answered as we go on.

Still, on sizes, one other thing to look out for is the size of the engine. The size of the engine usually determines the intensity so that’s one other thing you should look out for. The standard engine size is between 35-45 ccs whether it’s a cordless chainsaw or not.

How Big of a Chainsaw Do I Need?

What Size Chainsaw for Cutting Trees

This right here in the heart of this article, the only reason we are talking about the different sizes is to figure out the best one for you. We understand that the question “what size chainsaw should I get?” is ringing in many minds right now. Well, the good thing is we are closer than ever to getting helpful answers.

What Size Chainsaw for Cutting Trees?

Felling trees is a heavy-duty task and is usually executed by professionals called lumberjacks. So you’d expect that such people have the requisite level of expertise to determine the perfect chainsaw size guide for felling trees. However, we are not going to rule out the fact that there are amateurs who might need to cut some trees for one reason or the other. If you are one and your question is “what size chainsaw to cut down trees?” you are about to get answers.

If you are dealing with small trees in a garden or near your cabin in the woods, we recommend a chainsaw of about 12-15 inches. If your goal is to fell a medium-size tree, you’ll need a much larger chainsaw, one that measures between 16-20 inches. Bear in mind that medium-sized trees have a height of 25 to 40 feet. For the large trees between 40 to 100 feet or more, you’ll need a chainsaw with a bar that’s at least 20 inches long. That’s going to be pretty heavy to handle and requires experience and expertise and if you lack that, we recommend you sit this one out and leave it to professionals.

Husqvarna 20 Inch 450 Rancher II Gas Chainsaw
  • X-TORQ - Delivers lower fuel consumption and reduced exhaust emission levels in accordance with the world´s most stringent environmental regulations
  • AIR INJECTION - Centrifugal air cleaning system removes larger dust and debris particles before reaching the air filter. This results in reduced air filter cleanings and improved engine life
  • SMART START - The engine and starter have been designed so the machine starts quickly with minimum effort
  • EAST TO START - Combined start/stop switch, Smart Start and fuel pump make the saw very easy to start. Sound power level, guaranteed (LWA)- 115 dB(A). Sound power level, measured- 113 dB(A). Sound pressure level at operators ear- 104 dB(A)
  • SNAP-LOCK CYLINDER COVER - Saves time when changing spark plugs and cleaning; Maximum power speed: 9000 rpm

What Size Chainsaw for Milling?

What Size Chainsaw for Milling

Most times when people fell trees, it’s so they can mill it and have a freshly cut timber ready for use. If you have succeeded in cutting down a tree, you might want to mill the logs into usable sizes. Most times, milling is done in large milling industries with industrial machines. However, if you are trying to just mill in your backyard, you can use your chainsaw. Except you have those machines, a chainsaw mill is your best shot. Of course, you should know that if you are going to be using a chainsaw for milling, you’ll need the best chainsaw mill. The best chainsaw for milling purposes has to measure at least 20 inches depending on the log. We also recommend that you get a cordless chainsaw with at least 50cc engine power.

Oregon 603348 CS1400 Corded Chainsaw, Black/Grey
  • 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 increases the saw’s run time
  • Tighten chain directly on the saw without additional tools
  • Easy to assemble. Just put the tensioner on the guide bar and the bar and chain on the saw.

What Size Chainsaw for Cutting Firewood?

What Size Chainsaw for Cutting Firewood

If you are getting a chainsaw to split logs for firewood, a cordless chainsaw of about 14-18 inches will be just fine. Although, for some logs, you might need something a little bigger than the best small chainsaw. Either way, you just need to make sure you are circumspect in choosing.

Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14' Chain Saw Kit with, 4 Batteries (5.0Ah) , Blue
509 Reviews
Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14" Chain Saw Kit with, 4 Batteries (5.0Ah) , Blue
  • 2 Free Batteries with qualifying X2 kits for a limited time (4 batteries included)
  • Variable speed trigger and high chain speed (0-3, 940 FPM) For improved cutting performance
  • "Tool-less" chain adjustment for convenient operation and maintenance. Chain pitch : 3/8 inch
  • Built-in lock-off lever helps prevent the chain from accidentally engaging
  • Built-in L. E. D. On/off switch with auto power-off function; automatically shuts the saw off when operation is delayed for extended Battery life

The Bottom line

If you are getting a chainsaw for whatever purpose, make sure you have the correct chainsaw size or at least something very close. A lot of people have trouble with chainsaws because they are using the wrong sizes for their tasks which often becomes an exercise in futility. We trust that this guide has fortified you with enough knowledge to stop that from happening. Now, you have answers to the longstanding question “What size chainsaw do I need?”. Not many things feel better than using a tool and having it work smoothly and you already have all it takes to experience that with a chainsaw.

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