Before investing in a chainsaw, it's important to make a proper assessment of your needs. If you want to cut wood once a year in preparation for winter, or if you cut down trees all day for a living, you can imagine that the type of machine you need will be quite different. Here are some guidelines to assist you in your choice.
Pruning and regular tree maintenance
For regular use on trees and branches, choose a pole pruner. Its engine capacity is between 20 and 35cm3 and its guide length 20-35cm. For optimal ease of use, go for a telescopic pole.
For more intensive work, pruning from the ground with a pole is out of the question. Instead, choose a specific pruning chainsaw. Its guide length is 35cm max. and its engine power is 25–40cm3. Specific pruning saws are designed for use in one hand, so ideally choose a lightweight model - 3–4kg maximum. Beware, however, because even smaller pruning chainsaws are aimed at experienced users and professionals. There are many risks associated with using a chainsaw in only one hand - poor recoil control, chain skipping, injuries to the free hand, etc.
Frequent cutting, maintenance and felling use
For more regular use, choose a relatively powerful engine (> 35cm3 ) and a versatile guide (up to 45cm). Using this type of saw safely and efficiently still requires experience; regular maintenance of oil levels, starter, chain and filters is essential. Choose a high-quality chainsaw (trusted brand) for regular use.
Intensive cutting and felling
You'll need to go in at the deep end! Depending on the type of felling, choose a suitable guide length between 45 and 55cm for trees of small to medium cross-section, and greater than 55cm for chunkier trunks. Same deal with engine power: you'll need 40cm3 minimum. As you may have gathered, engine power ratings pattern with guide length. If you do choose a more powerful model of chainsaw, make sure you know what you're doing - whether you're a seasoned home user or a professional. And of course this doesn't mean taking any unnecessary risks, either from the saw itself or from falling trees. Always wear appropriate protective gear.