Tools & Equipment

The UK’s Best Petrol Chainsaws For Cutting Through Wood

cutting through a log with an electric chainsaw

A chainsaw is among the most potent of power tools, and within chainsaws petrol models are the most powerful. Petrol chainsaws are the tools of choice in forestry and bucking; they can do it all from pruning a branch to felling a tree . . . Timberrr!

Where most folks are concerned, chainsaws conjure up grisly visions – thank you Hollywood! Yes, chainsaws are dangerous and especially so in the hands of novices or those who do not respect this power tool, take proper precautions, or do not take the time and trouble to learn how to use it properly. 

As for petrol chainsaws, they are the most dangerous type but also the most powerful, and by far. This is the power tool that lumberjacks and loggers use on site. Back in time and myth, Paul Bunyan felled all those trees and cleared Texas for habitation with nothing but his trusty axe. You can down a tree or two with a petrol chainsaw but, probably among all power tools, where a petrol chainsaw (and table saw) is concerned it is imperative to learn the proper technique, wear protective gear from helmet to non-slip reinforced boots, and stay ’switched on’ all throughout. 

Proper technique includes precisely tensioning the chain, correctly gripping and holding the chainsaw, adopting the right stance, maintaining your balance, staying alert for kickbacks, and knowing just how to run the saw against logs and limbs. 

Unlike some other power tools, say a table saw or even a little palm router-trimmer, a chainsaw is a relatively uncomplicated tool. It comprises of a motor, a bar, and a toothed chain and that’s about it. Sure, there are a carburettor, a tank, a brake, and such, but these go with the motor.

Therefore, comparatively speaking, a chainsaw is a simple beast but it is a strong and mighty one.

A chainsaw’s chain is interchangeable but if you buy one be sure you know the chain gauge and chain pitch. Also, there are different kinds of chains. Different chains are meant for different chainsaw applications; however, a particular type of chain sometimes works best with a particular make and model. A chain’s Cutter Type is classified as full chisel, semi-chisel, and skip chisel aka low-profile, and a chain’s Sequence Types (or Inter-Cutter Spacing) come in full skip, semi skip, and standard aka full house variants. Not only sawing speed but other variables like the chance of kickbacks, intensity of vibrations, and maintenance vary from chain to chain.

Petrol chainsaws have two-stroke engines. They prefer unleaded high-octane petrol to which a dash of engine oil needs to be added. Medium-duty chainsaws typically have standard 20-inch (50-centimetre) bars and their engine sizes range from 38 cc to 62 cc, generating 2,000 to 2,500 watts of power. As we said, chainsaws are strong and mighty beasts.

Our #1 Top Pick
P1PE P6220C 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw Easy Start 20-inch Hyundai Powered 62cc Engine
Engine
62cc
Bar Size
20"
Weight
6.8Kg
Price
£125.98
Value Pick
58cc 20" Petrol Chainsaw + 2 x Chains + Oils + More
Engine
58cc
Bar Size
20"
Weight
10.3Kg
Price
Price not available

Last update on 2020-10-29 / Affiliate links / Images / Pricing from Amazon Product Advertising API

Right— if only old Paul Bunyan had had a chainsaw, he could have cleared not only Texas, but Arkansas and Oklahoma too. Maybe you could give it a shot after choosing one of the chainsaws from the following set of reviews!

Best Pick: P1PE P6220C 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Powerful enough and reliable to boot, P1PE’s chainsaw is one of those kits that nail a solid B+ on every count to edge out its rivals and get an overall A.

P1PE’s chainsaw is powered by a Hyundai 62 cc air-cooled 2-stroke engine. It has a 50-centimetre bar and a 3/8” chain.

Among its user-friendly features are an anti-kickback safety brake, anti-vibration ergonomic handle, and automatic chain lubrication – and these claims aren’t just marketing hype.

The P6220C keeps going and going like the Energizer Bunny but unlike that cute bunny this critter is a raging tiger; it has palpable power. Unfortunately, the supplied chains don’t match up with the machine; they may blunt or snap. Just buy better chains and you will be able to rip through hardwood logs of up to 40 centimetres.

You can count on regular trouble-free starts from the Hyundai-powered motor but a cautionary note is in order: if you tilt this rig to the right it may stall because of the way its petrol tank and supply are designed.

Assembly is a breeze. The manual is quite comprehensive, the instructions are lucid, and the video makes things very easy.

Even though this inexpensive chainsaw has quite a few plastic parts, it surprises us with its very good build quality and fine finishing and machining. However, the odd unit may leak petrol or just break down.

It is comparatively on the heavy side at 6.8 kilogrammes.

Meant for hobbyists and built for medium-duty use, this P1PE chainsaw is not a bad choice for tradesmen on a budget either. And in view of its overall good quality, thoughtful features, serious power, and reliable starts the P6220C is just as good a choice for a Best Pick.

The generous array of accessories includes two chains, bar cover, carry bag, spare spark plug and tool kit (comprising of spark plug spanner, flat head screwdriver, hex key and chain file).

P1PE provides a two-year warranty.

Pros

  • The Hyundai engine has power to burn.
  • Relatively trouble-free reliable startups.
  • Excellent set of accessories included in a moderately-priced saw.

Cons

  • The chains are adequate but not what this saw deserves.
  • Now and then a defective unit may leak or quit working.
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Value Pick: ParkerBrand 58cc Chainsaw

An unmatched power-to-price ratio is the hallmark of Parker’s chainsaw but so is reliability and a full complement of accessories in this budget-priced kit.

Parker’s 58 cc chainsaw has 2,400 watts of power that drive it at a max speed of 10,500 RPM and an idle speed of 2,700 RPM. The bar is 50 centimetres. The fuel tank’s capacity is 560 cc’s.

While the automatic chain lubrication works very well, we wouldn’t have known about the anti-vibration system if we hadn’t read about it.

The supplied chains are quite decent and unexpectedly so for a budget-priced kit. You can go through 35 to 40 centimetre hardwood logs with Parker’s chainsaw.

Every once in a way a screw here or a pin there tends to break or fall out. Other than this odd problem of some little thing or another falling out or breaking, this chainsaw is a workhorse.

Where starts are concerned, this one gets high marks; not infrequently it starts on the first pull.

The manual has colour pictures and it is well laid-out and very useful.

On power-to-price ratio, this chainsaw can’t be beaten and on this ratio it outranks all the others in this set of reviews.

The DIYer who wants to cut up firewood and prune limbs and wishes to buy a chainsaw without spending a small fortune need look no further than this Parker Brands 58 cc. And at only 101.2 dB, by chainsaw standards, this one whispers. It is also lightweight at 5.4 kilogrammes.

The generously-supplied accessories include two chains, carry bag, bar cover, fuel mix bottle, engine oil and basic tool kit (including blade sharpener). The whole well-rounded package at the low price equates to an awesome value for money; factor in the reliable starts and we have a clear winner for the Value Pick slot.

Parker provides a two-year warranty; however, their after-sales support is spotty.

Pros

  • Tops in power-to-price ratio.
  • A very reliable starter.
  • At its price, this chainsaw is an astonishing value.

Cons

  • Every so often a nut here or a pin there will come loose or fall off.
  • Parker’s after-sales support is dodgy.
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Hyundai HYC6220

Both heavyweight and heavy-duty, Hyundai’s chainsaw’s calling card is raw power as this one can fell trees, but the features and design are also impressive. 

The Hyundai HYC6220 sports a huge 62 cc engine. It has a 50-centimetre bar. The 2,300-watt engine drives the chain at 11,000 rpm, generating quite a bit of noise at 118 dB. 

Among the ‘usual’ features are the anti-vibration system and automatic chain lubrication. But what distinguishes this kit from the competition are the safety features: inertia-based automatic anti-kickback brake plus the twin-pivot manual safety brake. 

Then there’s the decompression valve which really makes a difference in facilitating quick, smooth starts. However, the HYC6220 is a fairly reliable starter, decompression valve or not.

The tensioner is easily accessible but the screw sometimes slips during re-tensioning which can be a nuisance.

The front hand guard is distinctly above average. The supplied multi-tool is smartly housed underneath the handle.

This powerful chainsaw will not only cut through logs and even trees, but it can also take care of several in one go. A hard-running, robust and powerful kit, it is a smart choice for DIYers who need now-and-then but heavy-duty chainsaw usage. Though not the kit of choice for loggers, it can certainly be a groundsman’s go-to chainsaw.

This heavy-duty rig is also on the heavy side at 6.7 kilogrammes and you need some brawn to use it for extended periods.

Hyundai’s chainsaw is generously kitted out with two chains, carry bag, bar cover, mixing bottle, chain file, and multi-tool.

Hyundai provides a 3-year warranty.

Pros

  • By DIY chainsaw standards, this huge, powerful beast is a gorilla.
  • Reliable starting is further enhanced by the decompression valve. 
  • Among the best safety features in its class.

Cons

  • May be too heavy for many a DIYer.
  • The tensioning screw is prone to slipping.
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Husqvarna 135 Petrol Chainsaw

Though low in power this one’s high in price because Husqvarna is a marque of quality: you can count on first-rate build quality, reliability, and durability.

Husqvarna entry-level chainsaw is powered by 1,600 watts that drive the chain at a max speed of 9,000 RPM and idling speed of 2,900 RPM. This little kit has a 38 cc engine and a 35-centimetre bar. It comes with a very good chain.

Husqvarna is renowned for reliable starts and the 135 doesn’t disappoint; it starts within a few pulls, often on the first one. It does have a niggling problem, though. The chain’s lubrication ducts get clogged very quickly and they need regular cleaning. On the other hand, the air filter will seldom need to be cleaned due to its design, probably the centrifugal air-cleaning system.

The instruction manual is very good to the point of being almost elaborate.

This is an excellent chainsaw for pruning. It is a light-duty kit and you can saw up to 25-centimetre limbs with it. This rig verily radiates top build quality.

At 114 dB its noise levels are right around average. At a mere 4.7 kilogrammes, this kit can easily be handled by most persons.

The Husqvarna 135 is a lightweight, light-duty chainsaw but it is expensive. At the price, we feel that it is comparatively underpowered. With a Husqvarna, you pay a premium for recognised quality and durability but also for an established and famous name that’s made in Sweden. And, yes, for top-notch build quality.

For the rich hobbyist who wants the best and likes to saw his own firewood, this is the chainsaw of choice. Also for the Steve McQueen fan: that epitome of 60’s cool rode a Husky; you can saw with one.

It comes with a cover bar, a screwdriver assembly kit, and a multi-tool that has an integrated chain-tensioning key.

Husqvarna provides a two-year warranty.

Pros

  • Standout build quality, robustness, and durability.
  • Just about the most reliable starts among all chainsaw brands.
  • As good a chain as you will see included with any chainsaw.

Cons

  • The price is too high but the power is too low.
  • Lubrication ducts need to be cleaned regularly as they are prone to blockage.
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TRUESHOPPING 52cc Easy Start Petrol Chainsaw

If you learn its difficult startup procedure, TrueShopping’s affordable chainsaw with its user-friendly features and considerable power will please the DIYer.

TrueShopping’s inexpensive chainsaw has serious muscle at 2,200 watts which drive the chain at 11,000 RPMs. It also has a big, air-cooling 52 cc engine. The bar is 50 centimetres. The fuel tank capacity is 310 millilitres.

This rig has an interesting three-handle design. There is a rear handle, a big upper handle, and a front handle which doubles as the chain brake. And this chain brake is very good – firm, solid, and effective.

User-friendly features include an anti-vibration device, throttle trigger lockout, and spike bumper.

This rig does not start quickly or easily and this balkiness is TrueShopping’s chainsaw’s weak point. Be careful not to overdo with the priming or the choke and end up flooding the kit, and remember to turn on the switch in the front. Best of all watch the video to grasp just how to start it. Once it starts, though, this thing’s a demon. It is excellent for pruning big limbs and cutting up logs.

Now and then a unit throws up an annoying little defect; perhaps the primer pipe may not be properly attached, the screw holes may be misaligned, or some such.

TrueShopping markets this chainsaw as, ‘Suitable for both heavy-duty domestic and light trade use’ and this positioning appears to be on the money.

The manual and its illustrations are not very helpful in putting together the chainsaw but they’re not awful either.

It is heavy at 6.5 kilogrammes.

Not a deluxe chainsaw, this is a moody but stout workhorse available at a budget price; however, the hidden ‘price’ is that you have to learn its idiosyncratic startup method.

It comes with a mixing bottle and a 5-piece tool kit.

TrueShopping provides a one-year warranty.

Pros

  • Big wattage, bigger engine, biggest RPMs.
  • Smartly-designed and useful three-handle design.
  • If you can start it, you’ll have a workhorse that’ll keep going.

Cons

  • Balky starter and sometimes quite troublesome to start; you must learn the technique.
  • The odd, random unit may have some little flaw or quirk.

What Petrol Should You Use In A Chainsaw?

You should use a non-ethanol unleaded high-octane petrol, say with an octane rating of 89 or higher. But before you fill up your chainsaw’s tank with any petrol, be mindful that it needs a bit of two-stroke engine oil to be added to the petrol, and the mixture shaken. The petrol:oil ratio varies from 25:1 to 40:1 depending on chainsaw makes and models.

How To Start A Petrol Chainsaw

Chainsaws can sometimes be stubborn customers, and tricks and techniques to get a balky unit started vary from brand to brand. Here are some tips.

• First, be wary of flooding the chainsaw. Flooded chainsaws are a main reason for stalls. If your chainsaw is flooded, do not prime it, give it throttle or set the choke. Instead, turn off the chainsaw completely and let it be until the carburettor and/or engine clear. Check if the spark plug is clean and dry; if it is not, clean and dry it.

• Another reason for failure to start can be incorrect petrol:oil mix, poor quality petrol, and/or incorrect type of engine oil. See What Petrol Should You Use In A Chainsaw?, above

• Other reasons for stalls include cold weather and trying to start a chainsaw after a lengthy spell of disuse; in these cases, you will have to use the throttle, the choke, or both.

• Set the choke to half (only), and press the primer bulb three times to get the petrol flowing.

• If there is a chain brake or chain lock, engage it.

• Put the chainsaw on the ground but make sure the chain does not touch the ground.

• With one foot on the rear handle and one hand gripping the side handle, pull the crank cord. If the chainsaw doesn’t start on the first pull, do a Robert the Bruce (that is, try, try again). With a decent chainsaw that should be enough. You could press the primer a few more times but be wary of flooding the motor.

• If you have pulled the cord about seven times without success, depress the throttle and pull the cord a few times.

• If that doesn’t work, open up the choke and then pull the cord a few times. You may also push in the decompression valve if your chainsaw has one.

• As soon as the chainsaw starts, set the choke back to the closed position.

About the author

Kersasp 'Kersie' Shekhdar

Kersie learnt the basics of gardening as a toddler, courtesy of his grandfather. In his youth he was an active gardener with a preference for flowering plants. He is a professional and vocational writer and his freelance projects have spanned various kinds of writing.

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