Buying and owning a chainsaw

Buying and owning a chainsaw

In this guide, we’ll look at some of the key questions to consider before choosing a new chainsaw, including:

  • Which is the best chainsaw brand?
  • Choosing the right chainsaw
  • Using your chainsaw
  • Maintaining your chainsaw
  • Proper protective equipment
  • How to store your chainsaw

Which is the best chainsaw brand?

For many people, Stihl is the answer to that question. Many professional tree surgeons choose the German brand, which has an outstanding and hard-earned reputation for excellence and reliability. Stihl Chainsaws are renowned because they offer a superb balance between the weight of each machine and the power it provides.

Stihl’s range includes both petrol and electric machines, alongside a complete range of outdoor tools, including Lawnmowers, Strimmers and Brushcutters, and Pressure Washers. Click here to browse our complete range of Stihl products.

Of course, if you’re adding to an existing tool kit, you might already have a brand that you prefer. That’s not a problem; ToolStore UK’s range of Chainsaws includes models from DeWalt, Makita and Milwaukee.

stihl chainsaw

Choosing the right chainsaw

Buying a chainsaw is no different to choosing any other tool; getting it wrong can be an expensive mistake! It’s always a good idea to ask yourself what you need the tool to do, how often you need to use it and the conditions you will be working in.

For example, a professional Tree Surgeon travelling from job to job, or working on a large site, might want a machine with a Petrol engine, for the ultimate combination of power and portability. A DIY enthusiast with a tree to take care of in their garden might want a battery-powered chainsaw which is compatible with their existing tools, in which case a ‘Body Only’ unit, such as the DeWalt DCM565N 18V XR Brushless 30cm Chainsaw could be a great choice.

The next thing to consider is the size of the Guide Bar, which is the metal bar or blade that the chain rotates around. Ideally, the Guide Bar should be at least 5cm longer than the thickness of the branch or tree being cut; this allows the user to cut through the wood in one easy pass. That makes the DeWalt DCM565N ideal for pruning limbs or thinner branches, but possibly not the best choice for tending to more mature trees.

Another thing to consider is the engine powering your chainsaw. As a rule, as the size of the Guide Bar increases, so does the size of the engine and the speed at which the chain rotates. This means that the Milwaukee M18FCHS-121B BTY 18v Chainsaw with 1x 12ah Battery will achieve deeper cuts and a greater number of cuts per battery charge than the DeWalt unit.   

There are some jobs made for Petrol chainsaws. The Stihl MS181 16" / 40cm Chainsaw can fell small trees, but is equally suited to building work and chopping firewood. With its large Guide Bar and innovations designed to reduce fuel emissions and improve performance, the tool is an outstanding piece of kit.

Using your chainsaw

Makita chainsaw


All tools need to be handled with care, but that’s especially true of chainsaws, which are the most dangerous tool you can buy without a licence. One thing to be especially careful to avoid is “kickback”, where an object comes into contact with the top half of the end tip of the blade. This changes the cutting momentum and can cause the saw to slam back into your body. To minimise the risk of kickback, keep the chain sharp and tensioned and always cut below shoulder height. When using your saw, find a comfortable stance, and keep both feet firmly planted as you work. Hold the chainsaw with two hands and at an angle or a little to one side rather than directly in front of you, in case of kickback.

Before starting work, always make sure you have the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Some information about the kind of PPE available from ToolStore UK is available further down the page.

Can chainsaws cut through metal?

Chainsaws aren’t designed to cut through metal, but they can get through it if they are powerful enough and have a chain which is either carbide-tipped or has metallic reinforcement. Most models for home use simply wouldn’t be able to get through metal, but professional grade tools can get through nails without much difficultly.

It’s important to note though that just because a chainsaw can cut through metal, that doesn’t mean it should. We strongly recommend that if you need to cut through metal you use a tool specifically designed for the job, such as the Makita DCS552Z 18v 136mm Metal Cutting Saw.  

Extra tips for using your chainsaw

Stihl have a playlist of how-to videos on their YouTube channel designed to help users assemble and get started with new chainsaws. In addition, the Health & Safety Executive have a free leaflet called ‘Chainsaws at Work’, which you can download by clicking here.

Dewalt chainsaw

Maintaining your chainsaw

Chainsaws do need to be looked after but, when properly maintained, can provide years of efficient work. Petrol chainsaws need the correct mixture of fuel and oil to operate at maximum efficiency and it is important to keep the chain sharp.

Can chainsaw chains be sharpened?

Yes. You’ll need a round file and a flat file, suited to the gauge of your chain. You’ll know when the chain has become dull; you’ll have to apply more force to achieve your cuts when using the saw. Stihl even offer a 2-in-1 tool which can sharpen the teeth and depth gauge in a single action.

Can chainsaws overheat?

Because they work at high speed, there are times when you might hit a harder spot and they are precision machines which need a bit of looking after, it is quite possible for chainsaws to overheat. Good maintenance can help reduce the risk of this happening. It is always a good idea to clean the air filter and spark arrestor before you start using the saw, to make sure there’s no debris or obstructions blocking these parts. Ensuring that your oil well is kept topped up will keep the chain lubricated, which helps prevent overheating. Keeping the chain sharp and at the right tension is important too.

Whatever you need to keep your chainsaw in perfect condition, ToolStore UK is here to help. Our range of Chainsaw Accessories includes files, replacement chains, guide bars and oils.

Milwaukee chainsaw

Can chainsaws get wet?

All modern power tools are built to withstand a bit of bad weather, so if rain starts to fall while you’re working with a chainsaw, the tool will keep working. However, blades and guide bars are susceptible to rust and wet wood or ground can make jobs more hazardous.  If either the chainsaw or the wood are wet, there’s a higher risk of slippage. Remember as well that ‘oil and water don’t mix’; allowing water to enter the fuel supply will contaminate it, creating a risk of equipment malfunction.

Proper Protective Equipment

Chainsaws are dangerous machines, so should be used alongside suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The PPE you’ll need will depend on the job you’re tackling, the conditions you’re working in and your personal preferences.

ToolStore UK’s range of Workwear and Protection includes Stihl HighVis Chainsaw Trousers, Safety Footwear, and Eye and Face Protection too.

Always ensure you have the correct equipment for your task and that someone knows what you’re doing before you start work.

How to store your chainsaw

The best way to store your chainsaw is in a lockable room to keep it safe and away from children. Ideally, the environment should be as dust-free as possible, so a Chainsaw Bag might be useful.

Can chainsaws be stored vertically?

Yes, but if you want to store a chainsaw vertically, or it isn’t going to be used for a while, you should take some steps to prevent damage. These include emptying and cleaning the fuel and oil tanks, then removing the chain and guide bar and spraying them with protective oil. When hanging the saw up, do so from the handle, keep it out of the sun and away from solvents that might damage the plastic components. It’s also a good idea to make sure that the hook you’re hanging the machine on is strong enough to bear its weight and will distribute it evenly.

best chainsaw

Chainsaws, accessories and great service from ToolStore UK

ToolStore UK is proud to offer a wide range of chainsaws, all the accessories you need to work efficiently and keep your tool in shape and we aim to provide complete satisfaction for all our customers. If you still have questions, our friendly and knowledgeable team is here to help. You can contact us by clicking here, or call us on 03330 043777. We’re always happy to assist.

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29th July 2021

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