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Guide to buying a petrol chainsaw

Is a petrol chainsaw right for me?

A petrol chainsaw is a good choice if you have a lot of logs to cut or heavy pruning to tackle in the garden as it will cut through large logs faster than any other machine and you can use it anywhere without the hassle of a trailing power cable.

It will need regular maintenance including:

• Servicing the engine
• Keeping the fuel tank topped up
• Sharpening the cutting teeth
• Keeping the chain at the correct tension

Petrol chainsaws can also be heavy, so it’s worth testing one out before you buy to check whether it’s one you could use comfortably for a reasonable period of time. Consider how you would use a chainsaw for different jobs: pruning branches would involve making single cuts with rests in-between but chopping logs would be a series of vertical cuts in a continual motion.

Petrol chainsaws are noisy, some more than others, but all are likely to irritate the neighbours if you use them constantly and they give off powerful petrol fumes.

Pros: Powerful, portable, great for chopping logs

Cons: High maintenance, noisy, overpowering emissions, expensive

Which petrol chainsaw should I buy?

Petrol chainsaws come in different sizes and power capacities depending on the sort of work they’re designed to do, from pruning the branches of a shrub to felling large trunks.

There are three categories of use:

• domestic
• heavy
• professional

Most of the petrol chainsaws you’ll find in DIY stores and garden centres are designed for domestic use and have a guide bar of 40cm or less and are the best choice for cutting jobs around the garden. Howeverer, choosing a chainsaw isn’t just about cutting. You want a machine that’s easy to use, manoeuvre and maintain.

How does a petrol chainsaw work?

With a petrol chainsaw the engine drives a metal chain, with lots of cutting ‘teeth’, at high speed around an oblong-shaped guide bar. As the spinning chain makes contact with a log or tree trunk, its teeth are dragged along the surface, cutting the wood. The circular motion of the chain keeps the teeth in contact with the wood, so the saw keeps cutting until it has sliced all the way through or the power is stopped.

Most petrol chainsaws have two-stroke engines, which are similar to those used in mopeds or outboard boat engines. It’s worth bearing in mind that a petrol chainsaw’s engine will require regular servicing to keep it in good working order.

Oil and fuel for petrol chainsaws

Petrol chainsaws need a specific mix of petrol and engine oil. Most petrol chainsaws run on a 50:1 petrol-to-oil ratio, but check the user manual for the exact ratio your chainsaw needs.

Petrol chainsaws also need lubricating oil to ensure the chain runs smoothly and doesn’t snag. Look for a chainsaw with an integrated oil chamber that supplies oil automatically, as this will save you time and hassle. Most petrol chainsaw models come with these as standard, but check before you buy.

If you don’t use a petrol chainsaw regularly you must drain it of fuel and oil between uses.

If you have any questions, require help choosing a petrol chainsaw or your chainsaw needs servicing then please contact Jeremy or Graham on 01403 700743 or email us and we will be happy to help.