What Size Chainsaw Do I Need? (16 inch or 18 inch)

Are you thinking of buying a chainsaw? Hold up. Assess it.

We know homeowners look dashing with a robust chainsaw in their hands, powerfully working on their yards. However, having an odd-looking chainsaw in your hand will not affect your image but also your work.

Nowadays, several designs of the chainsaw with different lengths and weights are available. For beginners, you need to consider the factors such as:

  • Chainsaw bar length
  • Daily use
  • Pruning limbs
  • Tree size
  • Removing branches
  • Physical strength
  • Chainsaw experience

Before you think of buying one that looks good in your hands, remember, you need one that works most in your favor. In this article, we’ll point out all the essential factors to make the decision easy for you.

Factors to Consider for Right Size Chainsaw

1. Chainsaw Bar Length

It is necessary to be aware of the exact length of the bar of a chainsaw. For your information, the guide bar can be known as a blade, is the metal bar where the chainsaw chain revolves around.

Generally, the guide bar’s full measurement is found on the side of the blade in the manual of the product or displayed in the specifications of the product.

However, if you cannot find the length in these ways, you can manually measure it yourself since several chainsaw types have distinctive sizes for different work. Depending on your work, you need to select the chainsaw with the right bar length.

  • For measuring it, you only need a tape measure.
  • Then, use the tape measure to closely estimate from the guide bar’s furthest tip to the blade’s base that houses the chainsaw engine.
  • If the measurement shows an odd-numbered length, you can round it to the nearest even number as all the chainsaw bars are available in even-numbered sizes, such as 14”, 16”, and 18”.

2. Daily Use

This factor is the second thing to consider so that your chainsaw suits your property and the tasks you do with it daily. Depending on the type of work, you need to choose the right sized chainsaw.

For instance, there are three types of work: occasional light use, moderate use, and heavy-duty use.

If your daily task is for light chores or occasional light use, you will need a smaller model with a 13 to 16 inches’ bar.

  • This smaller model can be a classic for casual light trimming, pruning, trimming limbs or bushes, etc.
  • For trimming a few branches or cutting out a hedge in the yard, you can use a lighter gas-powered saw with a 13” to 16” bar for sufficient handling and comfort.
  • However, if the branches are closer to your house and a power source, you might want to switch to an electric saw as these are lighter-duty saws without a wallet-numbing cost.

For a moderate or general use of an all-purpose chainsaw, you will need one with a bar length ranging from 16” to 18”.

  • This model can slash through thick tree logs and branches effortlessly.

For heavy-duty use, more extensive and sturdier chainsaws are suitable.

  • In rural properties, farmers and ranchers often look for a dependable heavy-duty chainsaw with bar length ranging up to 20” long.
  • This chainsaw model can clear a field of crowded trees and bushes and cut down extensive piles of firewood.
  • However, please do not go overboard with chainsaws larger than 20 inches (if you’re not a professional) as they will be heavy and challenging to manage, which can compromise your safety.

3. Pruning Limbs

This particular task does not require much engine power or bar length; it is a light-duty task with a large number of limbs being smaller than 8 inches.

  • As long as you know proper pruning techniques, use a chainsaw ranging from 6 to 10 inches.
  • It can easily prune small and thin branches or trees.
  • However, a small handsaw might be appropriate for pruning if the branches are too thin.

4. Removing Branches

In this case, you need to use a chainsaw with more length since branches have a larger circumference than limbs.

  • Some trees are unusually thick, often about 6 to 10 inches.
  • Larger blades ranging from 8-12 inches long are easier to handle and efficiently cuts through branches.

5. Tree Size

The size of the chainsaw you should get depends on the size of the tree you’re going to take down as well.

  • Small trees require a chainsaw of about 12 to 16 inches to cut down; however, you need to bear in mind the tree trunk’s thickness.
  • Medium-size trees with a thickness of about 14 to 16 inches require a chainsaw extending from 16” to 18” for felling the tree in one move.
  • For splitting logs into firewood, you are better off with a 14 to 16 inches long chainsaw.
  • Larger trees require not only a lengthier blade but a powerful motor as well. However, this type of tree is better handled by professionals, but if you have previous chainsaw experience, you can go ahead with a chainsaw with a guide bar ranging up to 20” long.

6. Chainsaw Experience

Apart from the other factors we’ve mentioned, your ability to control the chainsaw also matters (a lot). With limited experience in dealing with power tools, you need to be vigilant.

Working with a chainsaw for removing or cutting down large size trees is particularly dangerous. That’s why it is preferable that you leave it to professionals. If the blade length is long, then it will be more pretty hard to handle.

Chainsaws with longer bars usually have unpredictable kickbacks, something you need to predict. Nonetheless, if you intend on tackling this crucial sawing work, it is recommended that you find a chainsaw with a low kickback.

Moreover, longer bars are heavier and exhausting to hold for long periods. Also, for a seamless cutting, you have to apply more force than general to make sure the metal teeth slit into the wood.

In order to be prepared thoroughly, you need to gain insight into safety precautions if you are concerned with your chainsaw experience.

7. Physical Strength

This factor might not seem significant at first glance, but it will be beneficial nevertheless. At the time of wielding a chainsaw, you will depend on your physical strength to manage the chainsaw’s load.

For this reason, homeowners tend to use electric chainsaws rather than gas chainsaws. For instance, electric ones need much fewer parts and are notably more lightweight. Although gas-powered units have more power for cutting, they can tire you out in a short time.

Final Words

Like all things in nature, chainsaws also differ in size and shape. The right chainsaw can make your work more comfortable and even boost productivity.

Working with a chainsaw requires your immense attention. So, know what project you have in hand, and choose the saw accordingly.

We hope this article was of help!

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