Chainsaw Guide

Chainsaws are popular with a wide variety of users. This includes homeowners, farmers and also the demanding contactors and professional users. With a wide variety of chainsaw models and brands available in the market today, finding the right chainsaw for you could seem like a daunting task!

Here we will highlight the different chainsaws with their intended use, to assist you in making an informed choice when deciding on a chainsaw.

The different classes of a Chainsaw are:

• Hobby or Homeowner saws
• Farmer saws
• Professional saws
• Arborist saws or Top handle saws

These chainsaws are powered by a petrol two cycle engine, electric or battery.

Homeowner Chainsaw





Stihl MS170 Chainsaw


Chainsaws-Stihl- MS170- Chainsaw-min


These basic chainsaws are aimed for infrequent domestic use with a user friendly design. They’re lightweight, easy to use, comfortable to handle and are dependable. These chainsaws are used in maintenance of residential gardens and occasional light duty work. They are usually in the 30cc to 45cc class, features a outboard clutch and front tensioning chain system.


Husqvarna 420EL Electric Chainsaw



Chainsaws-Husqvarna- 420EL- Electric- Chainsaw-min


Low weight and zero emissions makes the electric chainsaw a popular choice with the homeowner. They are aimed at both outdoor and indoor work. Ideal for work in the yard, carpentry work or wood chopping. These chainsaws are easy to maneuver thanks to an ergonomic and slim sawing body. The electric motor is strong.


Husqvarna 535i XP Chainsaw


If mobility, light weight and low noise is a must, then a battery powered chainsaw is the one for you. This battery equipment has performance comparable to petrol chainsaws of up to the 40cc class. They are also available as professional variants, where low noise is a requirement.


So don’t be surprised if you spot a cordless chainsaw being operated near a hotel ,school and other noise sensitive area. Cordless chainsaws have zero direct emissions, are light weight, easy to use, yet powerful enough to meet the need of even the most demanding consumer. As advantage they require low maintenance and low operating cost.
The result is quieter and cleaner green space management. Cordless chainsaws come with a intuitive user interface for clear status view and low noise for easier communication with other operators. The elimination of annoying idle driving equates to longer working shifts in noise sensitive environments.


High chain speed contributes to productivity and smooth efficient cutting. Both the electric and cordless saws are also equipped with inertia activated chain brakes. A variety of batteries and chargers are available.

Farmer chainsaws






Stihl MS250 Chainsaw

Farmer chainsaws are in the 40cc to 50cc class. They are more powerful and robust than the hobby saws and has more professional features. Stihl introduced their farmer saws under the Farm boss category, whilst Husqvarna has the Rancher range.

These chainsaws feature efficiency, ergonomic design, ease of use and easy maintenance . They are lightweight ,but robust enough to be used around the farm for occasional use. Usage of these robust all-round saws includes fire wood cutting and occasional tree felling.


Professional Chainsaws




Husqvarna 372XP Chainsaw

Professional chainsaws are robust, powerful and have all the features expected by professionals and contractors. These chainsaws have more power, are more durable and have more convenient maintenance than the farmer saws. The powerful heavy duty saws are developed and designed for intensive use in rough conditions.

Features to expect in a professional chainsaw:

• Magnesium crankcase
• Adjustable oil pump
• Front handle aluminum
• Side chain tensioner
• Easy Start function
• Decompression Valve
• High power to weight ratio
• Low vibration
• Ergonomic design
• Quick release air filter
• Dust control and debris management system
• Inboard clutch

A magnesium crankcase reduce the weight of the chainsaw and its main function is heat dissipation. A cooler engine relates to less wear and tear and longer service life. An adjustable oil pump ensures the correct amount of oil flow to the cutterbar while working.


Saws have speed controlled flow from the oil pump. This ensures the saw chain is well lubricated and cooled. Proper oil flow prolong the life of both the bar and chain . It also ensures the maximum cutting efficiency is achieved .


The oil tanks are adapted according to the size of the fuel tank to minimize running interruptions. It is a good practice to refill the oil tank every time you fill the saw with fuel mixture. The use of aluminum and other composites for the front handle reduce the overall weight of the chainsaw.


Most chainsaws are equipped with a side mounted chain tensioner, which provides faster, easier chain tension adjustments. Easy start function is achieved by a special spring loaded recoil spring. Larger saws 70cc and above often features a decompression valve. The valve is engaged upon starting of the chainsaw.


It reduces cylinder pressure and as result the effort required when pulling the recoil starter. Upon the starting of the chainsaw, the valve returns to its normal position and cylinder pressure returns to normal. Top chainsaw manufactures Stihl and Husqvarna is in a constant race to reduce the weigh and increase the power in their chainsaws.
This results in professional chainsaws with high power to weight ratios. As professional users use chainsaws for prolonged durations, excessive chainsaw vibration can have a negative effect on the hands of a chainsaw operator. As a solution professional chainsaws are fitted with a anti vibration rubbers.


Some are fitted with a combination of rubbers and anti vibration springs to reduce the vibration of the chainsaw. Compared to rubber mounts, steel springs are more resistant to fuel, oil, UV light, chemicals and temperature. This adds to the overall durability of the chainsaw and increases user comfort. The chainsaw engine is separated from the handles and are only connected via the anti vibration rubbers or springs.


Rubber suspension reduces vibrations in the carburettor for smoother operation and longer product life. An Anti vibration mounted carburettor system reduces vibration in the carburettor by mounting the carburettor on rubber isolators and using a rubbery intake boot.


The carburettor is not rigidly mounted to the cylinder intake and is therefore not subject to the negative effects of vibration. The inlet manifold and carburettor mountings are made out of rubber. These rubber mountings reduce carburettor vibration. This ensures smooth running, more reliable adjustments and longer life.
Modern professional chainsaws are sleek with ergonomic design. This is necessary as operators work in potentially dangerous environment and need to be able to handle the chainsaw effectively. Professional chainsaws is known for its smooth surfaces without protruding components.


This serves to prevent the saw from getting stuck on the tree trunk when limbing. For example, holding a chainsaw tires the hands of the users, since it is a tool with the hands must constantly grip the handles, the front handles are angled so that you can work with a straight wrist. The rear handle and controls of a chainsaw have a soft, flexible form.
You can work with your hands in a natural position, thus causing less fatigue. A high centre of gravity makes the chainsaw easier to use in various positions, the low weight of the engine’s moving parts minimizes the giro forces, thus giving better handling performance, rapid acceleration and less vibrations. Professional chainsaws has low weight due to the use of different composite materials and magnesium.


By using the correct material quality, the lifetime of the products can be maintained or improved. Low weight allows the operator to use the chainsaw for longer periods of time without feeling the effects of fatigue. Quick release air filters make it easy to quickly clean or replace a clogged air filter while out in the field
Dust control and debris management systems are a unique function in some chainsaws. The design of the recoil starter and cooling fan ensures dust are removed from the intake air before it reach the air filter. This keeps the chainsaw air filter clean for longer periods.


All air for the engine both for cooling as well as for the air filter and carburetor is drawn in through the starter housing. Centrifugal force generated by the flywheel efficiently separates the sawdust dirt and other particles from the air before it passes through the specially designed air intake nozzle to the air filter.
The engine breathes cleaner air and combustion is more efficient resulting in smoother running and more power. This system also reduces engine wear considerably as it minimizes the number of foreign particles in the carburetor and cylinder. Another significant advantage of this system is that you do not need to clean the air filter as often as with other chain saws without this feature.


There are different air filters available for your chainsaw. A felt filter for dusty and dry conditions and a nylon filter as standard. Chainsaws are equipped with either an inboard or an outboard clutch. With the outboard clutch, the bar is closer to the center. This gives far better handling and balance, especially when limbing.
Frictional heat from the clutches is directed away from the crankcase. The inboard clutch is found on large saws mainly used for professional felling and cutting where limbing performance is less important. The inboard clutch is found on large saws mainly used for professional felling and cutting.


Where limbing performance is of less importance, the floating rim can be changed in the field with only the use of a wrench. It’s important to clean the cylinder regularly, to avoid overheating of the engine. It’s an advantage that a small chainsaw have an outboard clutch.
The saw is easier to operate because the bar comes closer to the center and the chainsaw becomes narrower. If the chain break is built into the clutch cover, then it’s easier to dismantle the clutch. The crankcase is made of magnesium, which always stands for professional work. The cylinders are chill casted, which gives top engine performance.

Arborist chainsaws




Husqvarna T435 Arborist Chainsaw

Often also referred to as top handle chainsaws, arborist saws handles are located at the top of the saw, as opposed to at the back, as with traditional saws. These chainsaws are developed for professional tree pruners, tree surgeons and other arborists. There can be minor differences in features between models.


The lightweight, slim drop design makes the saws easier to use in narrow spaces or up in trees. Besides lightweight and user friendly design, these chainsaws are equipped with features to make tree pruning easier. The compact design and high centre of gravity ensures easy maneuverability and work, even in tough conditions.


Remember to call on B&S Commercial Power if in need of a chainsaw. We have a large range of Husqvarna and Stihl Chainsaws in stock at our Cape Town warehouse. We also stock chains , oils, protective clothing and genuine spare parts for fast, convenient service that will get you back in the field in no time!